March 28, 2017

Insane front flip of a monster truck

One distance flip was enough for winning the Freestyle Competition in Las Vegas on March 25, 2017. Lee O’Donnell driving VP Racing Mad Scientist Monster Truck takes home his first ever Monster Jam World Finals Freestyle Championship after he performed one crazy distance flip.

How much fun would it have been to be inside that truck?

Popular Mechanics:

How does the world’s largest police department balance the security of the spontaneous masses with the freedoms that make us who we are? The counterterrorism cops of the NYPD take us deep inside their extraordinary operation.

This is an utterly amazing operation and the balance the NYPD has to maintain between security and the revelers is remarkable.

Shutterbug:

National Geographic photographers are pretty much the cream of the crop when it comes to travel and adventure photography. And now you can get their advice for free with this pdf download of the “National Geographic Guide to Photography.”

The 15-page handbook includes beautiful images as well as succinct information on capturing great shots during your next adventure. And once you download the 11MB file you can upload it to the Cloud so you have it available wherever your travels take you.

The folks at National Geographic have forgotten more about photography than I will ever know.

Macworld:

While Macworld readers may already know these sorts of calls are a scam, it’s vital to alert friends, family, and colleagues about such calls and help immunize them from falling for it. Many of these services sound and act professional, and have been victimizing Windows users for years.

Below are some of the “tells” for me that it was a fraud, and that you can teach others about.

I’m seeing widespread reports of this call. Please warn your friends and family who aren’t tech savvy.

Quartz:

Registration for Apple’s annual developer conference, WWDC, opened today. And for the thousands of developers, engineers, and Apple acolytes hoping to spend $1,600 on a ticket and attend in June, they’ll find a new code of conduct that they’ll have to agree to before they can step foot in the convention.

The new policy, found on the conference’s registration page, goes into some depth about what sorts of behavior will not be tolerated at the conference. “Apple is committed to diversity and to providing a harassment-free conference experience for everyone,” it states. It also specifically lists what harassment could entail.

As mentioned by many on Twitter, the other notable aspect of this document is the plain English writing style. Very much appreciated by those of us who have to wade through such things.

The Verge:

Apple released iOS 10.3 yesterday with a new modern file system, but like any software update there are many undocumented changes. One particular change has been revealed through Apple engineer Renaud Lienhart‏, who works directly on the iOS operating system. “iOS 10.3 feels ‘snappier’ because many animations were slightly tweaked & shortened, for the better,” says Lienhart on Twitter.

Here’s the tweet:

Why the snappiness?

Apple’s new file system in iOS 10.3, that’s rolling out to millions of iPhones and iPads, should help make the OS feel a little faster, too. As APFS is designed to be low latency, this should also improve read and write speeds on iOS devices. You won’t notice this immediately, but apps that write a lot of data to a disk (like video processing) might seem faster

Lots of people talking about this. My favorite quote? This, from John Gruber:

I upgraded my phone today, and it did seem to me that it took an unusual amount of time. Understandable, considering it was changing the file system. This is one of those things where if it all goes according to plan, normal people will have no idea it happened. But for us nerds, what Apple pulled off today seems almost impossible — tens of millions of devices are being upgraded to an altogether brand new file system, in place, silently. My sincere congratulations to Apple’s file system team on a job well done.

That’s the key. These last few months, I’ve been upgrading all my devices each time a new beta hits and have yet to encounter a problem. Apple really deserves kudos here.

UPDATE: Tiny nit, but a cricket told me the Verge got one detail wrong, that Richard Lienhart is no longer an Apple Engineer. Just passing that along. Story core still correct.

Small fonts an issue on your Mac, especially as your eyes get older? Rob Griffiths walks you through the solution, the Zoom tab in the System Preferences Accessibility pane. Good tips.

Jeff Banjamin, 9to5Mac, walks you through the new Apple TV remote app. Biggest plus? It’s now available on the iPad. Biggest complaint?

Unfortunately one of my main complaints about the initial Apple TV Remote app release — the lack of software volume controls — has yet to be addressed. I understand that the hardware version of the remote utilizes its built in IR blaster to communicate with a television, but it would be nice if there was a software provision for adjusting volume via the app.

UPDATE: As noted in the comments and on Twitter, this is an HDMI issue. If the TV supports HDMI-CEC, the remote can control volume.

Gender and the final 2017 emoji list

First things first, the draft 2017 emoji list has been finalized. Here’s the official list (follow the link and search for “2017 Emoji List”).

Part of the evolution of emoji is the portrayal of gender. To truly understand the newest emoji, read the excellent What is Gender and and Why Does it Matter to Emoji?, which does an excellent job telling the story of emoji and its history with gender.

From the post:

Filling out the middle of the spectrum, we have a set of three new people emoji with inclusive gender, characters that were conceived to represent all people regardless of gender.

These emoji are intended to depict a child, an adult, and an older person. I proposed the addition of the gender inclusive emoji characters in order to provide better representation for people who want to express themselves in emoji as exactly that: just people.

Not everyone identifies as male or female. Some of us identify as a bit of both, or neither, or something else altogether. Regardless of your gender identity, I hope we can all find adequate ways to express ourselves in emoji.

And finally, thought you might find it interesting to see an actual proposal for change to the Unicode Consortium, the group that has final say on emoji.

A few highlights:

In 2016, Apple audited 705 suppliers and compliance with a 60-hour maximum work week reached 98%, an all-time high. Apple also tripled the number of supplier sites in the Energy Efficiency program, resulting in the reduction of over 150,000 metric tons of carbon emissions — the equivalent of taking 31,000 cars off the road for a year.

And:

For the first time, Apple suppliers achieved 100% UL Zero Waste to Landfill validation for all final assembly sites in China. Since 2013, Apple’s Clean Water program saved over 3.8 billion gallons of fresh water, enough to provide every person on the planet with 18 glasses of water.

And:

Apple’s responsible sourcing efforts expanded beyond conflict minerals to include cobalt for the first time. For the second year in a row, 100% of Apple’s tin, tungsten, tantalum, and gold (3TG) smelters and refiners are participating in independent third-party audits.

And:

In 2016, Apple trained more than 2.4 million workers on their rights as employees.

Think about all the products you use every day. How many of the companies that produce those products spend their money this way, make these sorts of efforts?

Reminds me of the time a shareholder asked Tim Cook to consider only doing things that were profitable. Tim’s reply:

“When we work on making our devices accessible by the blind,” he said, “I don’t consider the bloody ROI.” He said that the same thing about environmental issues, worker safety, and other areas where Apple is a leader.

Amen, Tim. Amen.

March 27, 2017

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There were a lot of updates on the security front.

Seriously, this is absolutely amazing.

An eatery in Trenton, NJ, previously known as Weedman’s Joint — that sells food only in a weed-themed setting — is rebranding as “Weedbukx”. I give it 30 days before Starbucks AND Exxon file a trademark suit against them.

I can’t imagine it’ll take that long.

The Dalrymple Report Podcast: With special guest Rene Ritchie

This week I’m joined by iMore’s Rene Ritchie to talk about WWDC and its move to San Jose; Tim Cook’s assertion that creative pros are important to Apple; The MacBook Pro and Mac Pro; iPad sales; and Pandora Premium.

Subscribe to this podcast

Brought to you by Squarespace.

Links:

Apple brings WWDC back to San Jose in 2017

MacBook Pro

Mac Pro

Apple’s first quarter earnings and sales

Pandora Premium

Beard Bash 2017 at WWDC

I am so happy to announce that for the seventh straight year I’ll be holding a party at WWDC as a way to say thank you to developers. The party is being held at the City National Civic Center in San Jose—directly across the street from WWDC. The event will be on Monday, June 5, 2017 from 8-12 pm.

I have posted an FAQ with all the information about the party. I hope to see you there.

WWDC ticket lottery kicks off today

Apple on Monday kicked off its annual Worldwide Developers Conference ticket lottery. This gives developers the opportunity to purchase a ticket for the event, but doesn’t guarantee that you’ll get one.

“The opportunity to buy tickets to WWDC 2017 is offered by random selection. Register by Friday, March 31 at 10:00 a.m. PDT for your chance to join thousands of others coming together to change the world,” according to Apple’s web site.

Apple also updated other parts of its WWDC web site providing information on scholarships and some tips if you’re attending the conference.

The company is also providing information on a number of other developer events that are being held in conjunction with WWDC that Apple dubs “Beyond WWDC.” Events include the Beard Bash, a party that I put on every year, John Gruber’s Talk Show, Layers, and others.

Register for your ticket! I look forward to seeing you there.

iMore:

Tomorrow, the House of Representatives votes on an already-passed joint resolution from the Senate. This bill would repeal the FCC’s 2016 privacy rules on how ISPs can and can’t use your private data.

In plain English: If you connect to the internet using a service like Charter, Comcast, Verizon, AT&T, or others, those companies are currently bound against doing certain things with your data. By passing this bill, Congress (and the President) would remove that barrier.

Regardless of the “I don’t have anything to hide” argument, this is something everyone should be concerned with.

How to do a burnout

I won’t lie – I’ve always wanted to do this. I’ve gone through four sets of motorcycle tires in 2 years and I’d love to burn the rear off.

Fortune:

Costco is a retailing colossus. Its worldwide sales trail only those of Walmart, which has 11,528 stores to Costco’s 715, and Amazon, which just climbed into second place. Costco is the world’s largest seller of choice and prime beef, organic foods, rotisserie chicken, and wine (!), and it moves more nuts than Planters. Its private label, Kirkland Signature, which sells everything from packaged goods and beverages to apparel, generates more revenues than the Coca-Cola Co.

But Costco, big as it is, prides itself on not being your typical multibillion-dollar company. That is where the culture comes in.

Costco became a phenomenon by doing things its own way. But with Amazon ever more powerful, millennial shoppers burgeoning, and a new generation of leaders awaiting its turn, can the company preserve its edge?

I’m not a big box store fan but this story about Costco was fascinating.

Macworld:

The BeatsX headphones fix my biggest annoyance with the AirPods, which is their reliance on Siri. BeatsX has a microphone so you can use Siri to queue up music or make a phone call, but since the two earbuds are connected with a wire, there’s room for a three-button remote, which lets you adjust the volume and control playback without getting Siri involved.

That’s a really big deal. The BeatsX also offers superior comfort, longer battery life, and more convenient charging, but just the existence of the inline remote makes these the winner over the $159 AirPods. BeatsX even costs $9 less and comes in colors. It’s barely a contest, unless you’re totally hooked on the AirPods’ wire-free style.

Everyone rightfully raves about the AirPods but they are not necessarily the best for everyone. Read this review for info about the new BeatsX.

Uber Technologies Inc [UBER.UL] suspended its pilot program for driverless cars on Saturday after a vehicle equipped with the nascent technology crashed on an Arizona roadway, the ride-hailing company and local police said.

That doesn’t sound good, but…

The accident occurred when the driver of a second vehicle “failed to yield” to the Uber vehicle while making a turn, said Josie Montenegro, a spokeswoman for the Tempe Police Department.

I’m not sure that any car, driverless or not, could have avoided a crash in this situation.

Tech giant Samsung Electronics Co Ltd (005930.KS) said on Monday it plans to sell refurbished versions of the Galaxy Note 7 smartphones that were pulled from markets due to fire-prone batteries.

How could you possibly trust this device?

Click through to the ad, then either click (or tap) to step through the pages or, if you are on a larger display, click the magnifying glass for a larger version.

I found the whole thing fascinating. Guns without orange tips, a full size 10-speed bike for $69.99, a Nintendo set that came with a robot, so much chewy goodness.

Using iOS Maps to avoid tolls, highways

There’s both a useful tip and a lesson here.

The tip: If you use Apple Maps on a regular basis, take a moment to fire up the Settings App and make your way to:

Settings > Maps > Driving & Navigation

Look over the page. Among other settings, here’s where you can tell Apple Maps to avoid Tolls and Highways. You can also enable the Compass on your directions page.

The lesson: Where to hide the settings has long been a decision for app developers and their choice might not always be obvious. For example, Apple Maps has a switch to turn Traffic on an off. That switch is embedded behind the info icon (upper right corner of the Maps main view). But the switches for Tolls are in Settings.

Bottom line, if you did not know to look, the Tolls switch would be difficult to find. If you go to the Settings search box (drag down on the main Setting page) and type Tolls, nothing shows up. So you are left to search the tree of possibilities.

Or, more likely, head to Google and find your answer there, as I did on this OSXDaily post.

I normally avoid these slide show advertising buckets, but this is Jason Snell and, per usual, he does a nice job. In this case, he walks through a set of 25 examples of Workflow in action. If you’ve never used the app, make your way through the examples to get a sense of what Workflow can do.

Interested in learning about Clips? Read this CNET article, or just watch the video embedded below.

The Guardian:

The US-UK ban on selected electronic devices from the passenger cabins of flights from some countries in north Africa and the Middle East was partly prompted by a previously undisclosed plot involving explosives hidden in a fake iPad, according to a security source.

When it was sneakers and underwear, they did not ban sneakers and underwear. This seems arbitrary at best.

March 26, 2017

theverge:

Drake’s latest project More Life was streamed 300 million times worldwide in its first week on Apple Music, Republic Records tells The Verge, surpassing the 250 million streams the label said Views, an Apple Music exclusive, did in its first week last year. The biggest first week for any album on a single service is Ed Sheeran’s Divide, which was streamed 375 million times on Spotify. The label also says early calculations for More Life have it at around 600 million streams worldwide, which would be a record for an album.

Drake has been tied at the hip with Apple Music since it launched in 2015, releasing a series of exclusive songs and albums through the service and on OVO Sound Radio, with his co-manager Oliver El-Khatib serving as the usual host. And More Life debuted on the most recent episode. “What we saw on Drake’s radio show were TV numbers,” says Jimmy Iovine. The episode set the record for the most listened to Beats 1 show to date.

Those are incredible numbers.

Engadget:

Japanese toilets have long been a mainstay in Asian households, but the concept is still something of a curiosity in much of the Western world. Toto, Japan’s biggest toilet maker, has attempted to market its high-tech commodes to American audiences for decades with little success. The company is trying to change all this with a brand new “experiential” showroom that launched this week in San Francisco. It’s called Concept 190, and it’s equipped with four sensor-laden bathrooms where visitors are invited to pee, poo and have a toilet experience unlike anything they’ve had before.

I experienced Toto toilets in Tokyo. Mindblowing tech for something so “simple”.