By JP Mangalindan
October 31, 2012

Also: the iPad Mini reviewed; is Wikipedia tapped out?


“Wow, it feels like a Kindle.”

“Ew, the screen is terrible.”

That was my wife’s initial reaction when I handed her the iPad Mini to see what she, an avid daily user of an iPad 3, thought. Her initial reaction matched mine exactly, and perfectly encapsulates the experience. The iPad Mini is not a device you need to spend a lot of time with to understand. My snap reaction from a week ago remains unchanged after a week of daily use.

Apple shake-up signals Tim Cook era [THE WALL STREET JOURNAL]

With his revamp, Mr. Cook is putting his own stamp on Apple and its executive team. Since taking over from Mr. Jobs last year, Mr. Cook has made a series of decisions that deviate from Mr. Jobs’s management tack and style. He has backed efforts pushed by investors and employees such as a stock-buyback program and a charitable giving program that Mr. Jobs had previously opposed.

What Disney is really buying [FORTUNE]

On a Tuesday conference call, the company’s executives began mapping out Lucasfilm’s future. Disney will, for one, make more “Star Wars” movies. Following one slated for release in 2015, the company said “more feature films [are] expected to continue the ‘Star Wars’ saga and grow the franchise well into the future.” It will also find ways to use “Star Wars” throughout its businesses, including theme parks, consumer products, television and so on. “I’ve always believed that ‘Star Wars’ could live beyond me, and I thought it was important to set up the transition during my lifetime,” George Lucas said in a statement. “I’m confident ‘Star Wars’ will certainly live on and flourish for many generations to come.”

Surmounting the insurmountable: Wikipedia is nearing completion, in a sense [THE ATLANTIC]

But what if the decline in engagement has little to do with culture or the design of the site? What if, instead, it’s that there’s just less for new Wikipedians to do?

It may seem impossible for an encyclopedia of everything to ever near completion, but at least for the major articles on topics like big wars, important historical figures, central scientific concepts, the English-language Wikipedia’s pretty well filled out. (There is, of course, room for improvement in articles that have received less attention, but that is a different, yet still very important, set of challenges.) There’s always going to be some tidying — better citations, small updates, new links, cleaner formatting — but the bulk of the work, the actual writing and structuring of the articles, has already been done. “There are more and more readers of Wikipedia, but they have less and less new to add,” writes historian and Wikipedia editor Richard Jensen in the latest issue of The Journal of Military History.

When floodwaters rise, web sites may fall [THE NEW YORK TIMES]

“Suddenly, nobody could get online,” said Arianna Huffington, president and chief executive of The Huffington Post, which went offline about 7 p.m. Monday when the computer servers of Datagram, which distribute its work on the Internet, stopped working because of rising water in Lower Manhattan.

About six hours later, Huffington Post was online, but it crashed again several hours later. It was running again at 8 a.m. Tuesday.

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