What I’m reading and writing, June 15

• At Atlanta Soccer News I talk to a white South African about his nation playing host to the World Cup, and what it means for more than sporting reasons.

• Self-styled “sports and politics” writer Dave Zirin has resurfaced on NPR with an off-base gripe about why the far-right hates soccer. Not only is this a ploy to scoop up Glenn Beck-related linkbait, but Zirin also knows the soccer antipathy in America is hardly limited to those with Tea Party sentiments.

• You might have heard about Jeff Jarvis’ most recent snit, this one about the iPad, that prompted him to box it up and ship it back to Apple. For those of us who don’t reflexively treat each new invention like an impulsive 14-year-old boy, the The Economist has a must-read leader this week about the benefits of creating technology for everyday users, and not just the fanboys who want all the bells and whistles:

“But now there are signs that technologists are waking up to the benefits of minimalism, thanks to two things: feature fatigue among consumers who simply want things to work, and strong demand from less affluent consumers in the developing world. It is telling that the market value of Apple, the company most closely associated with simple, elegant high-tech products, recently overtook that of Microsoft, the company with the most notorious case of new-featuritis. True, Apple’s products contain lots of features under the hood, but the company has a knack for concealing such complexity using elegant design. Other companies have also prospered by providing easy-to-use products: think of the Nintendo Wii video-games console or the Flip video camera. Gadgets are no longer just for geeks, and if technology is to appeal to a broad audience, simplicity trumps fancy specifications.”

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