Slow things down a bit
Let's take a break from news at light speed
Thanks for all your support, especially to our friends at Armory Square Ventures! Sree’s newsletter is produced with Zach Peterson (@zachprague), with a tech tip from Robert S. Anthony (@newyorkbob). Cartoon by John Darkow.
🗞 @Sree’s Sunday #NYTReadalong: Sunday mornings, 8:30-10 am ET, we read a print newspaper out loud on our Readalong video show, as we have almost seven years now. Usually, it’s the NYT, but we’ve done the Chicago Sun-Times, the Philadelphia Inquirer, the Washington Post and more. Watch two years of our archives here. The Readalong is sponsored by Muck Rack. Interested in sponsorship opportunities? Email email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org.
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With Thanksgiving in the US this week, some of you may find yourself with some extra time to read. So this newsletter has some items you can do a deep dive into.
An American Girl - John Woodrow Cox, The Washington Post
This story centers around 10-year-old Caitlyne Gonzales, a survivor of the massacre in Uvalde, TX. It’s an incredible look at the life of a child who should have never seen the things she’s seen, and what “normal” means after such events. It’s moving and powerful, and all the more poignant given recent reporting on what really happened when police entered the school.
Two Weeks in Tehran - Azadeh Moaveni, London Review of Books
The protests in Iran over the last several weeks are not about incremental change. There is a feeling of permanence to the images of women removing their head-coverings, and the brutality visited upon them by police (both uniformed and not) is not exactly working to calm people down. This time around, it seems like a few figurehead, “liberal-minded” people shuffled around in the ruling regime will not satisfy Iranians’ need for something different than what they have now.
I Remember the Bookstore - Jason Guriel, LongReads
When you browse and buy in person, paragraph and place are joined forever.
Jon Stewart’s return to the small screen is welcome. He was always at his best when he would buckle down and put on a journalist hat for a few minutes. Stewart’s line of questioning here is about as non-partisan as it gets, and this could easily have been done for an evening network newscast.
This is exactly how journalists should approach interviews that they know will be loaded with lies, absurdities, and worse.
Texas state politics is a gruesome business, and it’s only getting more awful.
It’s both hard and exhausting to keep up with headlines, and I encourage you to take the time to stop the doom-scroll and take that time to dig into something more fulfilling.
A word from Armory Square Ventures
Secondary cities offer more than clean, healthy, affordable living. They are quickly also becoming burgeoning hubs for innovation.
As part of a new series on entrepreneurship, sponsored by Armory Square Ventures, business journalist Elizabeth MacBride of Times of Entrepreneurship will travel and interview people in spots often overlooked by traditional media outlets.
This month, the series "Deep Dives in Secondary Cities," is focused on the Steel City of Pittsburgh, a place that has been investing in biomanufacturing for several years. Elizabeth spoke to startups, incubators and foundations about some of the projects there now underway.
Take a look. For more pieces in the series, follow us on Twitter at @armorysv or follow Times of Entrepreneurship at @TimesOfE.
Tech Tip: Tis’ the Season for Updates and Upgrades
By Robert S. Anthony
Each week, veteran tech journalist Bob Anthony shares a tech tip you don’t want to miss. Follow him @newyorkbob.
While the holiday gizmo-and-gadget season seems short on earth-shaking new tech products, there’s no shortage of notable upgrades. Savvy tech shoppers should be able to find good values on products they already know.
The $130 XGO3, which features a 1.4-inch color display, works as a smartphone and has a GPS radio, thus allowing parents to track their child’s location on a live map via a free mobile app. Parents can set a safety zone which limits where a child can go. If the child strays outside the safety zone, an alert is sent to the parent’s phone.
All Xplora smartwatches are internet- and social-media-free. Parents control who children can contact and can set a “school mode” which switches off menu, phone and camera features, leaving just a basic watch screen.
The $199 X6 Play offers all of the above capabilities, but comes with a larger 1.5-inch display, a more powerful processor (Qualcomm’s Snapdragon Wear 2500 platform) and a 5MP camera while the $249 X6 Play Pro, designed for older children, has a higher-resolution AMOLED display, Qualcomm’s Snapdragon Wear 4500 platform and superior speakers. The X6 Play is now available on Xplora’s UK website, but both X6 units are expected to be available in the US by the end of the year.
Step-counting sensors in the smartwatches allow children to earn online coins for keeping active. These coins can be used for access to games and other online activities on the Xplora Goplay website.
After two years without an update, Amazon finally released a new version of its midsize, book-reading-friendly Fire HD 8 color tablet. While the 8-inch screen, 1,280-by-800-pixel resolution, 2GB of RAM and 2MP front and back cameras remain the same, the 2022 Fire HD 8 is thinner and lighter and slightly more powerful. The unit comes with 32GB ($100) or 64GB ($130) of storage.
The new Fire HD 8 tablet uses a six-core ARM Cortex processor which is 30 per cent faster than the four-core chip used in the2020 version of the tablet, according to Amazon. One notch up in Amazon’s lineup is theFire HD 8 Plus, which adds wireless charging capability, comes with 3GB of RAM and comes with 32GB ($120) or 64GB ($150) of storage. Note that many of Amazon’s tablets will be offered at significant discounts during the holiday shopping season—so keep your eyes open.