September 19, 2017

The iOS 11 reviews are rolling in, here’s a live list

Apple officially released iOS 11 today and, as you’d expect, the reviews are rolling in. I’m accumulating a list of reviews below and will add more as I encounter them.

See a comprehensive review that I’ve missed? Please send a link my way and I’ll add it.

This is a little hard to explain, so take a moment to jump to the AtF Spark web site. Their examples make the concept quite clear.

In a nutshell, you download a font that lets you use a simple markup to embed cool little charts in your text. Terrific idea.

Juli Clover, MacRumors:

Demand for Apple’s high-end flagship iPhone X is “very likely” to cannibalize iPhone 8 pre-orders, predicts KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo in a note sent out to investors this morning.

iPhone pre-orders traditionally sell out in September due to high demand, but this year, many models of the iPhone 8 and the iPhone 8 Plus were available for launch day delivery through the weekend, and continue to remain readily available for launch day pickup in Apple retail stores.

And:

As for the Apple Watch Series 3, Kuo says demand for the LTE version of the device was “significantly stronger” than expected, perhaps due to the “low premium of $70” over the non-LTE version of the watch.

Both are believable. The iPhone X is compelling, no matter how you feel about the notch.

And the low premium over non-LTE Apple Watch models is a small price to pay for the future-proofing it offers. Pay an extra $70, you’ll be able to turn LTE on if you decide you have the need. If I had the chance to pay $70 and get a WiFi+cellular iPad instead of WiFi-only, I’d make that choice every time.

Reuters:

Sprint Corp said on Monday it will offer Apple Inc’s new iPhone 8 for free with a qualifying phone trade-in, following AT&T Inc’s buy one, get one free promotion on Friday for DirecTV and U-verse TV customers.

And:

Both new and existing customers who enroll in the Sprint Flex leasing program will get a free 64GB iPhone 8 if they trade in newer iPhone and Samsung models, Sprint said on Monday.

AT&T’s video customers could buy a new iPhone 8 or 8 Plus, add a line and receive a $699 credit for a second device beginning with pre-orders on Friday.

Carrier wars. Competition that is good for consumers.

Wall Street Journal:

Thorstein Veblen was a cranky economist of Norwegian descent who coined the phrase “conspicuous consumption” and theorized that certain products could defy the economic laws of gravity by stoking more demand with superhigh prices.

And:

Typically, raising the price of a good lowers demand for it. If beef becomes too expensive, people will buy more chicken.

Mr. Veblen’s theory posits that some consumers want a product even more when the price rises because the expense broadcasts status, taste and wealth.

And:

By unveiling the new iPhone X last week with a price of $1,000, Apple Inc. is pushing the envelope even further than Samsung Electronics Co., which unveiled the $950 Note 8 phone this year. Rather than trying to attract consumers with cheaper prices, the companies are fighting for customers with expensive price tags.

And:

The biggest spikes came for iPhones that were the most visibly distinct, such as 2014’s iPhone 6, the model in which Apple changed the shape, enlarged the device and raised prices by $100.

Big lesson learned for Apple with the iPhone 6. I hear a ton of discussion of the pros and cons of the iPhone X, with many opinions on the notch and its distinctive look. Can’t help but think of this as a bit of a badge for Apple, another play towards uniqueness that will mark the iPhone X as the new must-have shiny.

I have a very short list of absolutely essential 3rd party Mac software. Tops on that list? Keyboard Maestro.

If you use a Mac and are not familiar with Keyboard Maestro, go here and watch the video, read through the list of things it can do. I use it every single day. My highest recommend.

Review: iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus

Apple introduced the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus during a special event at its new Apple Park campus last week. While many people were focused on the launch of the iPhone X, the iPhone 8 is an incredible piece of hardware that features many improvements over its predecessor. I’ve been testing both the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus for about a week.

The iPhone 8 has the same physical layout as the iPhone 7, so the accessories you purchased for the previous generation, like cases, will still work with the new iPhone. That’s a great bit of news for those that purchase a lot of extras for their devices.

Like most of Apple’s updates, that’s where the comparisons stop with the previous generation—Apple has made some big changes to the iPhone 8.

The Experience

For some people, the iPhone experience starts after they have it all set up and they are ready to use the device. For me, it starts as soon as I open the box. Setting up the iPhone 8 was a delight that even I was surprised with.

Usually when you set up a new iPhone, you type in your Apple ID and password to get started, but Apple has changed that if you are setting up a device and have another one nearby.

After I turned it on, the iPhone 8 asked me to pick up my iPhone 7 and use it for setup. When I did, I saw this message.

I clicked continue and saw this.

And then this.

The iPhone 8 asked me if I wanted to restore from my latest iPhone 7 backup—it already knew which was the latest one in iCloud because it used my Apple ID to sign-in. I could also chose to update the current backup and use that to restore to my new iPhone or set up as a new phone. I chose to update the backup.

When it was done, it restored and it started downloading the apps from the App Store as it normally does after you do a restore. The entire process was absolutely painless and very intuitive.

I have not seen any device that was as easy to setup out of the box as this iPhone 8.

True Tone Display

I tweeted a couple of weeks ago that if Apple only added True Tone technology to the iPhone 8, I would be happy. Well, they added it to both the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus. This is a massive feature, especially if you use your iPhone outside in the sun—we all do that.

Here’s how Apple describes True Tone:

True Tone technology automatically adjusts white balance to match the light around you. For a better viewing experience in all kinds of environments.

So in practical terms, what does that really mean?

It means that the iPhone is continuously adjusting the screen, using a four-channel ambient light sensor, to match the color temperature of the light around you. To put it even simpler: you can read your iPhone in direct sunlight.

First introduced in the iPad, True Tone is a very subtle technology—you won’t see the screen change, it just will. All you will notice is that no matter where you are, you can see the screen better.

This is much different from auto-brightness. That feature simply adjusts the screen brightness—True Tone takes it many steps further by recognizing the lighting conditions around you and adjusting the screen for those conditions.

This is a technology that you truly have to use to appreciate, and I love it.

iPhone 8 also features a wide color gamut, giving it even better color accuracy on the new Retina HD display.

Wireless Charging

One of the design changes Apple made with the iPhone 8 is to add a glass back and wireless charging system to the device. I’ve been testing my iPhones with a Mophie Wireless Charging Base.

I usually charge my iPhone using a fast charging adapter, so it’s very quick. If I have 45 minutes before I’m heading out, I can plug in my phone and get a great charge before I leave.

That’s not what wireless charging does on an iPhone 8—it provides a slower charge, equal to that of the 5W USB Power Adapter that Apple provides with the iPhone. That will increase slightly later this year with a software update from Apple, but for now, that’s what you get.

I’ll be honest, I was a bit disappointed with it at first, but then I realized that wireless charging is more about convenience than getting that quick full charge.

I had the wireless charger beside me where I work. When I sat down, I just put the iPhone 8 on the charger, instead of putting it on the desk. Basically, the iPhone was getting a charge whenever I sat down to work.

This negated the need to do any type of quick charge, because the iPhone was always getting charged.

I asked Apple if there was any worry of wearing down the battery from continuously charging and they said it wasn’t a concern. You can continually update the battery using the wireless charger, so your phone is always topped up.

Overall, the wireless charging worked very well and it’s a feature I’ll be using a lot, probably with multiple charging stations around the house.

Camera

I’ve said it before, but I really suck at taking pictures. The good news for people like me is that Apple keeps making its camera technology better.

The iPhone 8 has a 12MP camera with a larger, faster sensor. The new sensor allows for video stabilization and higher video frame rates. It also provides a level of stabilization to reduce motion blur and handshake in low-light photos and videos.

The new iPhone features an Apple-designed image signal processor that analyzes a scene and detects motion, people, and lighting, even before you take a photo. This seems amazing to me—the camera has already detected what’s going on before I even hit the button to snap a picture.

One of the features I used the most with my camera is Portrait Mode and it just got better in the iPhone 8 Plus. The Plus has two cameras on the back—one wide angle and one telephoto, allowing even the most amateur photographer to take great pictures.

If you haven’t seen Portrait Mode, it blurs the background of your photo and focuses the attention on the subject. It’s a really beautiful depth-of-field effect that used to be something you would only see from professional photographers.

The new Portrait Mode improves background blurring and performance in low light to make those photos even better. Not only that, Apple has added a new portrait feature to the iPhone 8 Plus: Portrait Lighting.

Portrait Lighting uses facial landmarking and depth maps to create photos that are unbelievable—and quite honestly photos that were unattainable to people like me before using this iPhone.

Here are the options for Portrait Lighting:

  • Natural Light: Your subject’s face in sharp focus against a blurred background. Studio Light. A clean look with your subject’s face brightly lit.
  • Contour Light: Dramatic shadows with highlights and lowlights.
  • Stage Light: Your subject’s face spotlit against a deep black background.
  • Stage Light Mono: Like Stage, but in classic black-and-white.

When you take a portrait, the lighting option appears on the bottom of the screen—you choose the one you want and take the picture. Here’s the best part—you can change the lighting option after the picture has been taken. If you go into your photo library and tap on the picture, all of the Portrait Lighting options pop up on the screen.

The depth maps are so accurate that when you change the lighting to Stage Light, it can accurately isolate the subject of the photo and completely remove the background. It is truly remarkable to see in action.

That old saying: “The best camera is the one you have with you,” just got a lot bolder when you’re carrying around an iPhone 8 or iPhone 8 Plus.

Stereo Speakers

If there is one thing about the new iPhones that surprised me the most, it would be the stereo speakers—they are loud.

Apple says the speakers are about 25 percent louder than before and that sounds about right to me. In fact, I had to turn the speakers down a bit when I was listening to music on the iPhone 8.

I know this may sound strange to some, but I listen to music from my iPhone quite a bit when I work. I could use my Mac or even AirPods, but I always use my iPhone. I’ve been doing this for years, so now it’s just habit for me to turn on music while I work.

If you like listening to music on your iPhone, you’re going to love these speakers.

Augmented Reality

I’m an AR newbie for sure, but I’ve had some fun using the new iPhones with a few AR apps. I’ve been using The Machines AR by Directive Games, IKEA, and Sky Guide by Fifth Star Labs.

AR is much easier to use than I thought it would be and all of these companies have a great job of making the apps work with an iPhone that was designed with AR in mind.

I must admit, being a bit of a stargazer, I really enjoyed looking at the planets and stars with Sky Guide. It’s fascinating.

iOS 11

There has been thousands of words written about iOS 11 in the past several months, so I won’t go into that here. I will say that I’ve thoroughly enjoyed all of the new main features that Apple has introduced in the operating system and would strongly recommend upgrading.

There is one feature that I would like to call out though: App Store.

I love the new App Store in iOS 11. I basically stopped visiting the App Store because it wasn’t very helpful to me, as a user. The apps were all games, and not being a gamer, going to the App Store was a waste of my time. I would download an app that friends recommended, but that was about it.

The new App Store is a breath of fresh air from Apple. It gives me recommendations, and while some are games, it doesn’t feel like they are completely taking over the experience.

There are stories, videos, and collections to help you find apps that you may like or use. I’ve even read stories about cooking apps and I can’t cook at all.

I’ve also downloaded more apps in the past few weeks than I had in the months before using the new App Store.

The App Store team did a great job with that.

Wrapping Up

There is nothing I didn’t like about the iPhone 8 or iPhone 8 Plus. It’s more powerful, has better cameras, Portrait Lighting, better Portrait Mode, Wireless charging, a better display, True Tone, and iOS 11.

These are just great devices that I would not hesitate to recommend.

September 18, 2017

When macOS High Sierra is released to the public next week, the new Apple File System (APFS) feature will be limited to Macs with all-flash built-in storage, which means it won’t work with iMacs that include Fusion Drives.

iMacs with Fusion Drives were converted to APFS during the beta testing process in the first macOS High Sierra beta, but support was removed in subsequent betas and not reimplemented.

Starting Tuesday, iPhone and iPad customers around the world will be able to update their devices to iOS 11, a major update to the world’s most advanced mobile operating system and the biggest software release ever for iPad.

I’m a huge fan of Field Notes notebooks. Anyone that’s seen me at an Apple event will know that I take one with me all the time. I love that they went back in time for the latest design.

Apple Music documentary on Clive Davis, dropping October 3

Hot on the heels of HBO’s The Defiant Ones, Apple Music is about to release a documentary on Clive Davis, a key figure in the evolution of the music industry since the 1970’s.

His impact is about as big as any other music executive, finding and nurturing artists such as Janis Joplin, Bruce Springsteen, Chicago, Billy Joel, Aerosmith, Aretha Franklin, The Grateful Dead, TLC, Usher, Outkast, P!nk, Toni Braxton, Notorious B.I.G., Puffy Combs, Kelley Clarkson, Whitney Houston, the list goes on and on.

Clive was the man with the golden ear. He envisioned hits. I am looking forward to this. The trailer is embedded below. Seems to me, this is a perfect fit for Apple, a core representative of the sort of original content they should be producing.

A nice supplement to Matthew Panzarino’s interview with Craig Federighi. This particular edition of John’s podcast is relatively short (about 20 minutes), but worth every second.

Craig Federighi has really come into his own as an on-stage Apple presenter. He’s both genuine and knowledgable, a terrific combination.

Matthew Panzarino, TechCrunch:

Face ID is easily the most hot-button topic to come out of Apple’s iPhone event this week, notch be damned. As people have parsed just how serious Apple is about it, questions have rightly begun to be raised about its effectiveness, security and creation.

To get some answers, I hopped on the phone with Apple’s SVP of Software Engineering, Craig Federighi. We went through a bunch of the common concerns in rapid-fire fashion, and I’ve also been asking around and listening to Apple folks who have been using the feature over long periods. Hopefully we can clear up some of the FUD about it.

And:

“Phil mentioned that we’d gathered a billion images and that we’d done data gathering around the globe to make sure that we had broad geographic and ethnic data sets. Both for testing and validation for great recognition rates,” says Federighi. “That wasn’t just something you could go pull off the internet.”

Especially given that the data needed to include a high-fidelity depth map of facial data. So, says Federighi, Apple went out and got consent from subjects to provide scans that were “quite exhaustive.” Those scans were taken from many angles and contain a lot of detail that was then used to train the Face ID system.

Imagine the process of deciding on a representative group of faces. A daunting problem.

“We do not gather customer data when you enroll in Face ID, it stays on your device, we do not send it to the cloud for training data,” he notes.

And, these tidbits on when Face ID yields to demand a passcode:

  • If you haven’t used Face ID in 48 hours, or if you’ve just rebooted, it will ask for a passcode.
  • If there are 5 failed attempts to Face ID, it will default back to passcode. (Federighi has confirmed that this is what happened in the demo onstage when he was asked for a passcode — it tried to read the people setting the phones up on the podium.)
  • Developers do not have access to raw sensor data from the Face ID array. Instead, they’re given a depth map they can use for applications like the Snap face filters shown onstage. This can also be used in ARKit applications.
  • You’ll also get a passcode request if you haven’t unlocked the phone using a passcode or at all in 6.5 days and if Face ID hasn’t unlocked it in 4 hours.

Great questions. Nice job, Matthew.

Juli Clover, MacRumors:

With the LTE-enabled Apple Watch Series 3 only available in a handful of countries at the current time, it might be tempting to purchase one in another country, but it won’t work. Series 3 models appear to be limited to connectivity in their original country of purchase.

An Apple support representative who spoke to MacRumors reader Thomas said that an Apple Watch purchased in the U.S. online store will only work with the four carriers in the United States, perhaps due to hardware limitations.

So no buying an Apple Watch in another country, and no using your Apple Watch cell when you travel internationally. Caveat emptor.

UPDATE: Did some reading on the Apple Watch carriers page. Seems to me it’s more country groupings, rather than individual countries. One model would work in US, Canada, Puerto Rico, another model in Australia, France, Germany, Japan, Switzerland, UK. Still worth knowing it, still suggests caveat emptor.

UPDATE 2: From this Telegraph article [H/T Sam Gross]:

The feature is likely to be a boost for runners who leave their phone at home, or when a battery dies. However, it has emerged it will only connect to networks in the country it was bought from.

This means owners in the UK and Europe, who ostensibly enjoy free mobile roaming, will not be able to connect when crossing borders.

And on the carrier page referenced above:

Roaming is not available outside your provider network coverage area. So that clarifies that.

Last week, a group of ad agencies blasted Apple for Safari’s emerging anti-tracking technology, which would clearly undermine current advertising practices.

Here’s a link to that story, as well as to another post with Apple’s official response to that shot across their bow.

I was doing a bit of reading on the issue and found myself on the WebKit.org post that started the whole kerfuffle, a blog post by John Wilander entitled Intelligent Tracking Prevention.

From the post:

WebKit has long included features to reduce tracking. From the very beginning, we’ve defaulted to blocking third-party cookies. Now, we’re building on that. Intelligent Tracking Prevention is a new WebKit feature that reduces cross-site tracking by further limiting cookies and other website data.

And:

Websites can fetch resources such as images and scripts from domains other than their own. This is referred to as cross-origin or cross-site loading, and is a powerful feature of the web. However, such loading also enables cross-site tracking of users.

Imagine a user who first browses example-products.com for a new gadget and later browses example-recipies.com for dinner ideas. If both these sites load resources from example-tracker.com and example-tracker.com has a cookie stored in the user’s browser, the owner of example-tracker.com has the ability to know that the user visited both the product website and the recipe website, what they did on those sites, what kind of web browser was used, et cetera. This is what’s called cross-site tracking and the cookie used by example-tracker.com is called a third-party cookie. In our testing we found popular websites with over 70 such trackers, all silently collecting data on users.

It all comes down to privacy. Do you want the ability to browse the web without being tracked? Do ad agencies have the right to impose a “tracking cost” as the price of you being able to browse? Is it their web? To me, there’s an underlying presumptuousness, arrogance, in portraying agencies as the injured party because they are losing their right to track users.

Last Thursday, we ran a piece about the new generation of iPhone hardware not supporting T-Mobile’s emerging 600 MHz network, known as Band 71.

There was a lot of discussion about this, both on whether the new network will be out soon enough to even matter, and whether support for this future network should impact someone’s choice of T-Mobile as a network.

Peter Cohen sheds light on the coverage issue here, well worth reading if you are a T-Mobile customer or considering a carrier switch.

September 15, 2017

Thanks to Hullo for sponsoring the Loop this week. Your pitiful old squishy pillow needs constant readjustment. It’s invariably too thick, too thin, sometimes just too warm. Flipping, folding and fluffing are getting in the way of your rest. You spend around one-third of your life on that pillow of yours. Try something different: a Hullo buckwheat pillow will conform perfectly to the shape of your body and provide comfortable cool support all night long without fuss. Hullo’s features include:

  • Quality construction & organic materials.
  • Breathable fill that prevents uncomfortable heat build-up.
  • American-made craftsmanship.
  • Free shipping.

Check out Hullo. Try it for 60 nights. If it’s not your favorite pillow, send it back for a refund.

Apple responds to ad group’s criticism of Safari cookie blocking

Apple introduced a new technology to intelligently block browser cookies in Safari, which brought criticism from a number of advertising organizations. Apple believes in privacy with every product it makes, and the advertising groups want to track everything we do so they can sell ads.

Apple responded to that criticism this afternoon by fully explaining what they are doing for the consumer and standing up for themselves.

“Apple believes that people have a right to privacy – Safari was the first browser to block third party cookies by default and Intelligent Tracking Prevention is a more advanced method for protecting user privacy,” Apple said in a statement provided to The Loop.

“Ad tracking technology has become so pervasive that it is possible for ad tracking companies to recreate the majority of a person’s web browsing history. This information is collected without permission and is used for ad re-targeting, which is how ads follow people around the Internet. The new Intelligent Tracking Prevention feature detects and eliminates cookies and other data used for this cross-site tracking, which means it helps keep a person’s browsing private. The feature does not block ads or interfere with legitimate tracking on the sites that people actually click on and visit. Cookies for sites that you interact with function as designed, and ads placed by web publishers will appear normally,” the company said.

Those last two sentences say a lot to me. If, as a user, I interact with an advertisement on the Internet, it will allow tracking for those sites—that’s fair. However, it won’t allow these ad groups to endlessly track everything I do on the Web and show me ads—that’s fair too.

What Apple is doing is good for consumers. We don’t need creepy ad groups tracking everything we do. If you do want that, there are Web browsers that aren’t so intelligent that will allow that to happen. You can also disable the Intelligent Tracking Prevention feature if you wish.

I’ll stick with Safari.

Ahead of next week’s launch of the new Apple TV 4K with HDR support, Apple has begun releasing 4K HDR content on iTunes in the United States and other countries.

I love Apple’s commitment to getting this content out now, so people who purchase the new Apple TV 4K can start to enjoy it.

Alphabet Inc. has held conversations with Lyft Inc. about a potential investment in recent weeks, signalling strong support for Uber Technologies Inc.’s main U.S. competitor, according to people familiar with the matter.

An investment of about $1 billion in Lyft may come from Google or CapitalG, Alphabet’s private-equity arm, said some of the people, who asked not to be identified because the discussions are private.

This makes perfect sense for both companies. Waymo, Alphabet’s self-driving car division, signed a deal with Lyft to test that technology. The strange part is that Alphabet is also an investor in Uber, but Waymo is suing them for allegedly stealing their self-driving car technology.

BMW (BMWG.DE) is reviewing the necessity of car keys, Ian Robertson, the company’s board member responsible for sales told Reuters.

The fact that customers now all carry a smartphone and the availability of a BMW App which allows customers to unlock their vehicle, has made old fashioned keys less relevant.

Yes and no. I get where they’re going, but there are some obvious situations where you may need a key. What if your phone runs out of battery or you lose it—now you can’t even get in your car.

iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus, Apple TV 4K, Apple Watch available for pre-order

If you plan to get one of Apple’s new products, they are available for pre-order now.

Keith Krimbel sent an email to Craig Federighi, asking three questions:

  • I’ve seen the explanation for what happened on stage at the keynote. Will this happen every time someone else interacts with my phone when it’s locked? I’m concerned the phone will require a passcode much more often than TouchID does.

  • Will FaceID work with sunglasses?

  • What will prevent a thief from taking my phone, pointing it at my face, and running?

Great questions. And Craig took the time to answer them, as seen in the tweet below. Thanks for asking Keith, and thanks for sharing.

ZDNet:

As if laying out $1,000 on a new iPhone X isn’t expensive enough, Apple hasn’t even included the equipment necessary to benefit from its new fast-charging capability.

Ignore the “hasn’t even included” rhetoric and read on.

The feature is available in the iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus, and iPhone X unveiled this week by Apple. It means a flat battery can reach a half charge within 30 minutes, which is as fast as new flagship Android devices that support fast charging.

Apple’s specs page for the all three devices says they’re “fast-charge capable.” But then, in fine print, Apple declares that it tested fast-charging on the devices with Apple USB-C power adapters, and lists its 29W Model A1540, 61W Model A1718, and 87W Model A1719 power adapters.

Bottom line, the iPhone 8, 8 Plus, and iPhone X will rapid charge if you use a 29W adapter, which you likely have if you own a MacBook or MacBook Pro with a USB-C port. Not certain of this, but I suspect they will also rapid-charge on an iPad 29W charger. [Dave: Nope, no iPad 29W charger. Musta dreamed that.]

And, I also suspect less expensive 3rd party chargers will be hitting the shelves as well, though do a bit of homework first to make sure the chargers are properly tested and recommended by folks that do that sort of thing.

UPDATE: Here’s a good thread discussing the various chargers. And another. Some nice detail in both. [H/T Mark Crump]

Lance Ulanoff, Mashable:

Apple explained that, yes, there were some interesting acoustics in the space, one that, incredibly, doesn’t have a single column to hold up the ceiling or to slice up the sound, but I might have noticed that there were no echoes during the iPhone X launch event. People, they said, act as a natural sound absorber. If there were a small gathering, though, Apple might choose to put a bit of temporary acoustic absorption up on the walls.

And:

What you see when you look at the Steve Jobs Theater from the outside is simplicity in the extreme. Inside, there’s no visible frame, pipes, wires, or speakers to break the illusion. The secret, though, is that it’s all there.

The carbon fiber roof is supported by the glass frame. Foster + Partner also hid the wires and pipes in plain sight. Twenty of the thin joints separating each glass panel house specially-designed water pipes for the sprinkler system, itself hidden under dozens of recessed circles in the carbon fiber roof. The remaining joints are home to wiring for power, data, and audio.

This is just a taste. Great read. Take a look at the video embedded below. The elevator turns as it goes up and down. A magical space.

This is a great collection. Just a taste of this massive catalog:

  • Indiana Jones’ whip
  • Xenomorph egg from Aliens
  • Marty McFly’s 2015 Nike Shoes from Back To The Future Part II
  • Conan’s sword from Conan the Barbarian
  • Bill Murray’s original jumpsuit costume from Ghostbusters

Lots, lots more. Here’s the Prop Store auction link. Let me know if there’s anything particular that jumps out at you.

Lory Gil, iMore:

Recently, Equifax announced it had been compromised and as many as 143 million U.S. residents may have had their personal information exposed, including home addresses, birth dates, credit account information, and Social Security numbers. One suggestion from the credit reporting agency, as well as many banks and credit card companies, is to freeze your credit report.

A credit freeze is a way for you to restrict access to your credit report to protect you from identity theft. If you’ve put a freeze on your credit report, it doesn’t affect your credit score or keep you from being able to apply for loans. There are some caveats though.

If you’ve put a credit freeze on your credit report, there are a few things you should know about applying for your iPhone Upgrade Program loan.

This is worth reading, certainly for the specifics on the iPhone Upgrade Program, but also to wrap your head around the implications of freezing your credit report.

My 2 cents: If you choose to not freeze your credit report, do a regular check on your credit report to see who is running credit checks on you. Believe it or not, there are companies out there that sell product purely on credit to someone who has the right credentials. In other words, they will ship out an Xbox if you have the right combination of social security number and other identifying personal information AND if they can run a credit check.

Freeze your credit and that can’t happen. If you don’t freeze your credit, pay attention. Identity theft is a painful thread to unwind.

Ad Week:

The biggest advertising organizations say Apple will “sabotage” the current economic model of the internet with plans to integrate cookie-blocking technology into the new version of Safari.

And:

Six trade groups—the Interactive Advertising Bureau, American Advertising Federation, the Association of National Advertisers, the 4A’s and two others—say they’re “deeply concerned” with Apple’s plans to release a version of the internet browser that overrides and replaces user cookie preferences with a set of Apple-controlled standards. The feature, which is called “Intelligent Tracking Prevention,” limits how advertisers and websites can track users across the internet by putting in place a 24-hour limit on ad retargeting.

From the perspective of the folks whose living depends on ad sales, I do understand this anger. But.

From the perspective of the user, the ability not to be tracked is absolutely fair. I do not want to be tracked. Period. Don’t try to sell me on the supposed benefits of tracking my behavior. To me, it smacks of snake oil.

When I see an ad for something I momentarily glanced at on Amazon appearing again and again as a browser ad, I don’t see that as a benefit. Instead, I see it as psychological manipulation. You are not showing me that ad repeatedly to help me. Instead, you simply want the money that ad brings in.

My ultimate reaction to this article is a sense of appreciation for Apple. While they certainly are not perfect, again and again I get the feeling that they have my back in this relationship. More than anything else, that sense keeps me on board the ecosystem.

September 14, 2017

Second, what kind of sociopaths are these people that they want to put mom-and-pop corner stores and bodegas out of business?

Yeah, “fuck these guys.”

Business Insider:

Just after 6:32 a.m. EDT on Friday, a bus-size object will scream over the cloud tops, burst into millions of pieces, and glow like a meteor.

But this meteor isn’t a rock: It’s NASA’s nuclear-powered Cassini spacecraft plunging to its doom.

However, NASA TV is broadcasting live online video of the final stages of Cassini’s “Grand Finale,” the moment its last stream of data comes in, and — by extension — confirmation that it’s died.

An amazing mission and a fitting ending.