Ariel Schwartz:

Gum’s turn in the spotlight may be ending, however. In a report, Nicholas Fereday, executive director and senior analyst of food and consumer trends for Rabobank, has surveyed the state of the gum market and discovered some surprising data: The $4 billion gum industry has gone into freefall, with sales down 11% and volume down 20% in the past five years. No type of gum is immune—everything from sugar-free gum to bubble gum is experiencing the drop in sales. What’s going on?

Insert “Bubble” joke here. Also, this is really odd. I used to chew gum all the time. I never do anymore. Not really sure why. I just stopped. But I didn’t think everyone else did too.

Daisuke Wakabayashi on the screens likely to find their way into the next iPhone:

Mass-producing sapphire is complex. Sapphire crystals are grown in massive furnaces at high temperatures. After the ingredients crystallize in an energy-intensive process, the result is a giant hockey-puck-shaped cylinder called a boule, which is carved into different shapes. Apple’s Arizona plant is using next-generation furnaces capable of producing boules larger than 440 pounds.

By forming boules more than 50% larger than produced by current machines, Apple and GT aim to drive down the price of sapphire and close the gap with glass.

Chalk it up to: things you can do when you have over $100 billion just laying around.

(As an aside, I keep thinking of this.)

Andrea Chang on the rise of YouTube as a star-making platform:

That has upended the way viewers, particularly those in the prized younger demographic, watch content: YouTube now reaches more U.S. adults ages 18 to 34 than any cable network, according to Nielsen.

That’s staggering. Imagine what it means for cable television five or ten years from now…

And imagine how much every television/media company would be willing to pay for YouTube right now if it were an independent entity…

michaelbartholomew asked:

Hi MG, after reading "Twitter's Small Chance To Maim Email" I just wanted to offer a thought for an alternative method of maiming email: paid emails for all non opt-in emails. All opt-in email contacts could email each other for free while everyone else would pay say $0.99 per email. This could help eliminate spam while generating revenue for the email provider. What do you think?

Bill Gates once had a similar notion (though based mostly around the massive spam problem in the early 2000s). Sadly, it didn’t end up going anywhere.

When I posted my remote control rant the other day, Doug Harris pointed me to this great Christopher Mascari post from 2008 detailing the history of TiVo’s remote. One anecdote:

The designers were adamant about keeping the remote’s button layout as simple as possible. But with the DVR’s numerous features, the designers needed to create lots of extra buttons. To keep things straight, each button needed to have a distinctive feel, giving the ability to control the remote without even looking at it, which Newby described as a “key Braille-ability” surprisingly helped by the “blank finger parking spots between keys” that were equally important.

I owned a (second generation) TiVo and I can confirm that it did indeed have a brilliant remote. Nearly everything about it felt perfect. So I could not be less shocked to learn how much thought and care went into the creation of that remote.

And naturally, TiVo’s big-name television manufacturing partners hated it.