February 17, 2019

John Pfaff:

An Apple IIe. Sat in my parents’ attic for years. Decades. And it works.

Put in an old game disk. Asks if I want to restore a saved game. And finds one!

It must be 30 years old.

I’m 10 years old again.

I never had one but what a lovely, funny little Twitter thread.

February 16, 2019

Today I Found Out:

But let’s imagine for a moment that a super-rich person…wanted to buy something worth millions of dollars not with a credit card, but cash. Could they? Well, surprisingly, in many countries no, with some exceptions. So let’s now talk about how the uber-wealthy actually go about paying for things worth millions upon millions of dollars.

To begin with, for the most part, paying for something worth a pile of Ferraris is the same as paying for any other item, with the fancy auction houses and stores we researched all offering the same basic payment options as stores for us peons.

As jealous as this article made me, it was actually quite interesting to find out how the filthy rich actually pay for their toys.

MacRumors:

Apple is today sending out notifications to Apple Music subscribers that, when tapped, allows them to send a referral to friend to sign up for a free one-month subscription to Apple Music.

According to Apple, the referrals for a free month of service can only be sent to people who do not already subscribe to Apple Music.

While I don’t use Apple Music, I still really like this idea.

TechCrunch:

When does “delete” really mean delete? Not always, or even at all, if you’re Twitter.

Twitter retains direct messages for years, including messages you and others have deleted, but also data sent to and from accounts that have been deactivated and suspended, according to security researcher Karan Saini.

Brings to mind the old cliche of “Don’t write down anything you don’t want your mother to read.”

February 15, 2019

Apple shows off Depth Control with “Bokeh’d”

This is actually really funny.

9to5Mac:

Apple’s latest Conflict Minerals Report reveals that it removed five mineral smelters and refiners for failing to meet the company’s human rights standards.

Apple says, “In 2018, Apple directed its suppliers to remove from its supply chain five smelters and refiners not willing to participate in, or complete, a Third Party Audit or that did not otherwise meet Apple’s requirements on the responsible sourcing of minerals.”

These may seem like dry reports but it signals to suppliers and the world that Apple is keeping an eye on the issue and doing something about it.

AdWeek:

Lee Clow—the legendary creative behind such campaigns as “Think Different,” the Energizer bunny and the Taco Bell chihuahua—has retired after 50 years in the business, 30 of which he spent turning Apple into a case study on the effectiveness of creative marketing.

“During his long partnership with Steve [Jobs] and Apple, Lee told powerful visual stories that elevated new technologies with the passion, creativity and ingenuity that define our own humanity,” read a statement from Apple CEO Tim Cook. “He helped Apple carry itself through times of challenge, and his work inspired audiences to look beyond the horizon as an exciting future came into view. Lee’s body of work over five decades hums with cleverness, warmth and enthusiasm—and there is no doubt that it will inspire and motivate generations of ‘Crazy Ones’ still to come.”

Clow isn’t a household name but his influence is felt throughout the advertising world.

LA Times:

That’s right, my friends, I am pleased as punch to announce the authoritative, totally not subjective, incontrovertibly definitive and 100% correct L.A. Times Fast Food French Fry Rankings.

French fries, a.k.a. chips, aka freedom fries, aka 炸薯条, are a delightful treat enjoyed the world over, and they’re a staple of the fast-food meal. And what is fast food, exactly? For the purposes of this survey, I’ve selected chains where there’s an emphasis on speed of service, you’re not waited on at a table, and where there are at least a couple hundred locations, if not more. I ordered medium- or regular-sized fries (when available) and judged them based on the two metrics: (1) taste and (2) texture, which includes fry shape and mouthfeel.

We don’t have the #1 here in Vancouver so I can’t judge but I do agree with the writer that the memory of MacDonald’s fries is often better than the actual fries.

MacRumors:

Right around the time that Apple debuted new Smart Battery cases designed for the iPhone XS, XS Max, and XR, Mophie, a popular accessory maker, also introduced its Juice Pack Access battery cases for the new iPhones.

In our latest YouTube video, we went hands-on with the Juice Pack Access to compare it to Apple’s Smart Battery Case to see if it’s a better option for those looking to extend their iPhone batteries.

I’m biased because I’ve always been a fan of mophie (and their parent company provides prizes to my podcast) and I have and really like the mophie juice pack. But I’ve never used an Apple battery case.

9to5Mac:

A new study from OpenSignal published today looks into the cellular performance of the most popular iPhones going back to 2013. While there’s nothing too surprising in the findings, it does nail down exactly what average speeds each model sees, how much owners of older iPhones are missing out, how much iPhone cellular speeds have grown over the years, and a few other interesting details.

For those with an iPhone 5s, 6 or 6 Plus, the research shows that those models are capable of roughly half of the cellular speeds that the new iPhone XS and XS Max are.

I knew older iPhones were slower but half speed may be enough to convince my wife to upgrade her iPhone 6 Plus.

AppleInsider:

Looking to push beyond its modest retail efforts so far, Apple rival Samsung is planning to open three full-scale U.S. stores on Feb. 20, the same day it announces the Galaxy S10 and its first foldable phone.

The initial locations include The Americana at Brand in Los Angeles, Roosevelt Field on Long Island in Garden City (N.Y.), and The Galleria in Houston. Visitors will be able to try and buy products ranging from phones to VR glasses and TVs, and — much like Apple stores — get in-person customer support, with walk-in repairs available for mobile devices.

“Poised to challenge”? This is literally the dumbest take possible on this story. I have no problem with Samsung opening its own stores but given their past failures on so many fronts, including retail, how the writer could think that, with three US stores, Samsung could “challenge” Apple is beyond ridiculous.

Ars Technica:

Killing Eve topped the list of our favorite TV shows last year, and we’ve been eagerly awaiting news of a second season. So BBC America gave us a Valentine’s Day gift: the first trailer for season 2, picking up right where the first season left off.

If you haven’t seen this show, do yourself a favor and binge-watch it immediately.

BuzzFeed:

On Thursday, Amazon announced it was abandoning plans to build a headquarters in Queens. The deal had faced major backlash from some New York activists and lawmakers, who slammed the $3 billion in tax incentives offered by the city and contended that the massive tech company moving in could worsen gentrification and the city’s already struggling infrastructure.

BuzzFeed News went to Long Island City, the neighborhood where Amazon was supposed to move in, to ask its residents, as well as some anti-Amazon protesters, to share their messages to Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos.

Obviously, a self-selecting group but the general sentiment seems pretty common.

Task and Purpose:

The Army isn’t on the hunt for any old rifle for it’s Next Generation Squad Weapon program — it’s looking to spark a “revolution in small arms” on par with what the iPhone did to consumer electronics.

“Imagine that Steve Jobs and his engineers were trying to convert the iPod Touch to the first 3G iPhone,” said Army Col. Elliott Caggins, project manager for soldier weapons. “There were a thousand technologies they could have put in the first iPhone but they were looking to mature the platform before they could actually go onto the system.”

I get what they were going for but that’s a really weird way to describe it.

Motherboard:

The acquisition means that Allstate has become one of the most powerful proponents of right to repair legislation in the United States. According to Gay Gordon-Byrne, executive director of Repair.org, which is pushing for the legislation, the company has already loaned a lobbyist to the effort in New Hampshire.

This is potentially big news for the right to repair movement, which is trying to get laws passed in 15 states this year that would make it easier for independent repair professionals to get repair tools and parts for consumer electronics.

This will pit Allstate against Apple soon enough.

February 14, 2019

The Interactivist:

In 2007 I founded a small company called iRingPro. It was dedicated to providing the world’s most sophisticated ringtones, for adults and professionals. Along with musician and master audio designer Jeff Essex, we set out to create a library of tones that were more elegant, respectful and sophisticated than any other professional ringtones on the market.

But then something tragic happened, Jeff Essex my great friend and co-creator at iRingPro, passed away. Immediately we began donating a portion of the money iRingPro earned to a San Francisco music foundation in Jeff’s name.

But emotions and ideas have a way of taking time to gestate, and it finally occurred to me what Jeff would have wanted to do. Always more concerned with making the world a better place than with money, he’d want to see his work find it’s way into the world in as unfettered a way possible. He would want to inspire a love of music and audio. He would want to make a difference. He’d want the iRingPro ringtones to be free.

What a lovely gesture to make in honour of a friend.

The Dalrymple Report: Apple News, Amazon and stealing Dave’s notes

There are reports this week that Apple is getting close to launching a news service on its platform, allowing users an “all-you-can-eat” type of experience. Also, Amazon purchased Eero, which has all kinds of people upset. And I stole Dave’s notes on a topic which had us both laughing.

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Recode:

Apple says it wants to help save journalism.

All it wants in return is half of all the revenue journalists make when they sell their stuff through a forthcoming new Apple subscription service. So what is Apple thinking now?

Here’s the short answer, which I’ve cobbled together by talking to industry sources: Apple has already signed many publishers to deals where they’ll get 50 percent of the revenue Apple generates through subscriptions to its news service, which is currently called Texture and will be relaunched as a premium version of Apple News this spring.

It’s going to be really interesting to see how this all shakes out.

Everything wrong with wireless chargers

Tech Insider:

Even though most newer phones have wireless charging, one research report from IHS showed that only 29% of people use it. Why hasn’t it taken off?

The future of “wireless” chargers isn’t here yet but the good news is it’s not far off.

In addition to a massive library of raw sound material, Superior Drummer 3 introduces a unique design*, a streamlined workflow and countless features for powerful drum production in your computer. With Superior Drummer 3, you have control and creative power beyond the imaginable. Welcome to the future.

I’ve been a Toontrack user for many years and love their drum software, but this new version is unreal. Check out the many videos on the product page detailing what you can do in Superior Drummer 3—amazing!

New York Times:

Amazon on Thursday canceled its plans to build an expansive corporate campus in New York City after facing an unexpectedly fierce backlash from some lawmakers and unions, who contended that a tech giant did not deserve nearly $3 billion in government incentives.

…The agreement to lure Amazon stirred an intense debate about the use of government incentives to entice wealthy companies, the rising cost of living in rapidly gentrifying neighborhoods, and the city’s very identity.

Big, surprising news that will have repercussions throughout the company.

AppleInsider:

The California Department of Motor Vehicles has released a letter it received from Apple concerning the “Project Titan” self-driving vehicle project’s disengagement rates, with the letter advising how Apple is collecting data on incidents where a driver takes over for the automated driving system, and why the number is so high.

“Apple’s approach to disengagements is conservative, because our system is not yet designed to operate in all conditions and situations,” writes Apple’s senior director of Autonomous Systems Engineering Jamie Waydo. “To support this approach, our public road testing policies require drivers to proactively take manual control of the vehicle any time the system encounters a scenario beyond our currently proven abilities.”

When I first read this story on Tuesday, I thought there might be something more to it. Turns out, Apple’s high number of “disengagements” is because of an overabundance of caution. Not a bad thing.

Reuters:

Software pirates have hijacked technology designed by Apple Inc to distribute hacked versions of Spotify, Angry Birds, Pokemon Go, Minecraft and other popular apps on iPhones, Reuters has found.

Using so-called enterprise developer certificates, these pirate operations are providing modified versions of popular apps to consumers, enabling them to stream music without ads and to circumvent fees and rules in games, depriving Apple and legitimate app makers of revenue.

This is very bad news for Apple. They have long touted the safety and security of the App Store as a plus for consumers.

February 13, 2019

Bloomberg:

It’s all-electric like a Tesla. It’s priced like a Ford Fiesta. It’s one of the oddest-looking vehicles you’ve ever seen — and it may just redefine the commuter car.

Meet the Solo — a one-seater vehicle made by Electra Meccanica Vehicles Corp. that costs $15,500. By December, 5,000 will be zipping around the streets of Los Angeles, with an additional 70,000 to be delivered over the next two years across the West Coast. Electra Meccanica may have a market value of just $140 million, yet it has $2.4 billion in pre-orders. The stock more than tripled in New York Wednesday.

Ignoring the hyperbolic “Canada’s answer…” part of the headline, watch the video and tell me – are you in the target audience for this little car and would you buy it? I certainly wouldn’t but the two-seater roadster looks kinda cool.

CNBC:

Ten years ago this week, Continental Flight 3407 crashed into a house, killing all 49 people aboard and one person on the ground as the plane was arriving in Buffalo, New York. Since then, U.S. airlines have transported about 8 billion passengers without a single fatal crash.

“There’s one dangerous part of the airplane trip, and that’s the drive to the airport,” said John Cox, a retired airline captain and an aviation accident investigator.

I didn’t realize it had been so long ago since the last fatalities. As much as I hate flying, it’s comforting to know that, at least in the US, flying has never been safer.

CBC:

Dave Assman is sticking it to the man by sticking it to the back of his truck.

When Assman (pronounced “Oss-men”) applied for a personalized licence plate, his request was denied. SGI called the name an “unacceptable slogan.”

The Melville, Sask., man has now immortalized his last name on the back of his truck with a large decal that looks like a licence plate.

I could not be prouder to be a Canadian.

Fast Company:

The movies are getting a little more inclusive thanks to a mobile app that syncs them up with sign language interpretation. Actiview is a startup that hopes to make going to the movies as easy as opening up an app for people living with hearing impairment. The service was first introduced with the animated feature Cars 3, as well as for the home release of the criminally underrated Ice Age: Continental Drift.

Now, TheWrap reports that Lionsgate has teamed up with Actiview and deaf advocate Nyle DiMarco (a former Dancing with the Stars contestant and America’s Next Top Model winner) to make the live-action film Wonder compatible with the company’s app.

This is a great example of technology being used to help people do something they can’t do for themselves.

Kottke:

Ard Gelinck photoshops celebrities posing with their younger selves and posts the results on Instagram.

Some of these are really well done. I hate that Tom Selleck is still so handsome.

Swimming with the whale sharks of Isla Mujeres

The Yucatan peninsula is one of the busiest tourist destinations in the world and every year just offshore from Cancun, the largest fish in the ocean aggregates in vast numbers to feed.

This very special aggregation is one of only a handful of such known sites where whale sharks aggregate and it has turned into a valuable ecotourism contribution to the local economy.

I couldn’t put this on my bucket list fast enough after watching this video.

CNBC:

The SEC Wednesday charged a former Apple executive with insider trading.

Gene Levoff, senior director of corporate law and corporate secretary until September, “traded on material nonpublic information about Apple’s earnings three times during 2015 and 2016,” according to the lawsuit filed Wednesday in the U.S. District Court of New Jersey.

Of all the people at Apple who should know better, you’d think the guy who sent out emails that said, “Remember, trading is not permitted, whether or not in an open trading window, if you possess or have access to material information that has not been disclosed publicly.” At least, you’d hope he’d be smarter about it.