Betabeat Presents: Beach Reads for Your Mid-Week Independence Day

Do not, repeat, do not stay at your desk and work.

Betabeat endorses both sun and sand. (Photo:

Expect posting to be a little light around these parts tomorrow. Unless the Singularity happens between now and lunchtime tomorrow, our plans have room for little other than Coronas on the beach or, in the event of thunderstorms, Magic Mike.

However, Betabeat would never be so neglectful as to leave our readers without a little Instapaper fodder for your own lazy Independence Day. We’ve therefore rounded up a few long reads for tomorrow’s downtime:

1. In which Steven Levy talks blue jeans with the Twitter cofounder: “The Many Sides of Jack Dorsey,” Wired 

Once, Dorsey says with quiet awe, Morrison provided rigid, unwashed jeans to dishwashers at a New York City restaurant. They wore them constantly in the filthy steaming kitchens, creating a bewitching pattern of wear that was painstakingly replicated by Morrison’s jeansmiths.

2. Kara Swisher takes a flying leap into the digital future–in 1998: “I Cut the Cord: Our Reporter Goes Totally Wireless–And Lives to Tell About It,” Wall Street Journal  

But I loved whipping out my phone on a beach to make a restaurant reservation. I adored calling friends from the Painted Desert to describe the view. Craig McCaw, the Christopher Columbus of cell phones, the man who allowed me to walk and talk and chew gum at the same time, was my idol. Was I some sort of communications freak?

3. Eulogizing the Minitel: On the Farms of France, the Death of a Pixelated Workhorse,” New York Times

Conceived in France, by the French, for the French—efforts to export the technology met with little success—the Minitel was long ago overtaken by the borderless, freewheeling Internet. It has remained in service, though, and it still has its devotees, including about 2,500 dairy farmers in Brittany who rely on it to call for the inseminator when a cow is in heat or to request that the authorities come to haul away animal carcasses.

4. Gadget lovers take a regret-filled stroll down memory lane: “Tech remorse: worst gadgets we ever bought,” Ars Technica

As cute as the thing was—it came in a palette of kitchen-friendly colors that included “sunshine” and “meadow,” and was sponge-cleanable—it was particularly pointless for something that cost almost as much as a real PC.

5. News you can use: “Exactly How Hot Is It? Picking the Right Weather Site for You,” The Atlantic Wire

There is a whole world (wide web) of temperature- and precipitation-related sites out there. Let’s put aside weather website loyalties for a moment and make sure we have the right site for our sensibilities.

Try not to bust a gut eating hotdogs or lose a hand lighting firecrackers, everybody. Betabeat Presents: Beach Reads for Your Mid-Week Independence Day