February 20, 2019


Apple launched the wallet-friendly iPhone XR last fall and now it’s got a rival.

The most affordable iPhone kept most of the features of the iPhone XS, but it was $250 cheaper. On Wednesday at its Unpacked event in San Francisco, Samsung launched the Galaxy S10E — its answer to the XR. The S10E has most of the features of the Galaxy S10 but costs $150 less.

Both the Galaxy S10E and iPhone XR are natural competitors: Both cost $750 and offer quite the flagship value. But there are many differences including screen size, processor power, number of rear cameras and headphone jack.

Compare these specs and more.

Would these specs convince you to switch phones?

How Benton’s turns 12,000 pounds of pork belly into bacon every week

Unlike sausage, it’s OK to know how bacon is made.

Business Insider:

In early February, Google announced that Assistant would work with its home security and alarm system, Nest Secure. The problem: Users didn’t know a microphone existed on their Nest security devices to begin with. On Tuesday, a Google representative told Business Insider the company had made an “error.”

“The on-device microphone was never intended to be a secret and should have been listed in the tech specs,” the person said. “That was an error on our part.”

What — did they “forget” they had put a microphone in these things?


Once super rare, supercars have multiplied since the global financial crisis, and today there are more crazy-fast crazy-expensive road rockets than ever. With their cutting-edge technology, race-inspired design, and high-end materials, the cars are equal parts engineering and artistry—and as such, frequently spend far more time in collectors’ garages than on roads or tracks. And because they’re often sold before the first metal is bent or screws are turned, prices for secondhand models can be almost twice what they cost new. Here are some currently being made.

Even if I had the money I don’t think I’d ever buy a car at this price. Except for that Pagani Huayra. I’d buy the hell out of that thing.


The moon may be a regular fixture of our night sky, but it’s definitely not every day that we get the chance to see it in such incredible detail like this.

The capturing of this image was no small feat for photographer Andrew McCarthy. In fact, it took 50,000 photos and two cameras.

What a spectacular image.


Have you ever watched a show like Mad Men and wondered where they found those early Xerox machines? Or where The Americans got their hands on all the Reagan-era IBMs that you thought would be piled in a landfill? Well, there’s a good chance these historically-accurate gadgets came from a massive warehouse in Brooklyn with a specific mission: to preserve some of the world’s oldest, most cherished electronics.

Since early 2012, the E-Waste Warehouse has been helping New Yorkers get rid of their unwanted electronics in an eco-friendly fashion. Some of the best finds however, make it into the warehouse’s very own prop library, where they are made available for film and television productions to rent and use.

I wish I had known about this place when I lived near New York City. I definitely would have paid it a visit.

What if English were phonetically consistent?

Funny as hell. The further in you go, the better it gets.

[Via Marcus Mendes]

Mark Gurman, Bloomberg:

The most direct benefit of the Marzipan project will be to make life easier for the millions of developers who write software for Apple’s devices. For example, later this year Netflix Inc. would be able to more easily offer a Mac app for watching video by converting its iPad app. By 2021, Twitter Inc., which has mostly abandoned the Mac, could publish a single app for all Apple customers.


Despite the app merger plan, Apple has said it won’t combine iOS and macOS into a single operating system.

This latest bit on Marzipan is all according to “people familiar with the plan”.

The ability to create a single code base, with interface adjustments for all the various screen sizes (which developers do now), does seem a boon for developers.

It’ll be interesting to see how Apple accommodates the variety of input devices and the difference in targeting sizes (difference between touch with a fat finger, and precise clicks via a mouse).


We’ve been bred to believe that only Geniuses and Geeks can fix our stuff, but it wasn’t always this way. During the Great Depression, when resources were scarce, repair was ingrained in our culture. During the second World War, ‘Make do and Mend’ was a rallying cry and point of pride. Every new device shipped with a repair manual. And when something broke, a replacement part could likely be purchased at your local store. Repair wasn’t seen as an inconvenience—it was an expectation.


Thanks to repair advocates and brave netizens around the world, the tide is starting to change. This year, Right to Repair legislation has been successfully introduced in 18 states. The movement continues to spread—and for the first time, European repair allies have introduced their own version of repair legislation.

As long time Loop readers know, I am a big fan of repairing my own gear. I do appreciate a vendor wanting to ensure that a tinkerer does no harm by improperly repairing something. But often, EULAs are created to limit right to repair to protect a repair revenue stream.

Take a minute to read the linked iFixit blog post. There’s a satisfaction in fixing your own stuff, whether it be a computer, a cracked iPhone screen, or even a household appliance. You’ll save money, learn something you can pass along, and it’s a push back against a throwaway culture.

Michael Steeber, 9to5Mac:

Upon updating to iOS 12.2, users with the Apple Store app installed will find a new toggle located in Settings > Siri & Search > Apple Store. Apple has added a feature called “Find Interests in Other Apps,” that when enabled will offer Siri suggestions for Today at Apple sessions based on your installed applications and Safari usage.

For instance, if you use Procreate on your iPad every day, Siri could suggest an Art Walk or a drawing session. If you use a lot of workout apps, Siri might suggest the Health & Fitness Walk.

Interesting. I like the concept, glad it’s something you enable. Hoping it works with the “Saved Stores” feature, so it sends notifications for the local Apple Stores that you visit.

If you’re not familiar with “Saved Stores”, launch the Apple Store app and turn on location. Search for stores in your area, the click the bookmark icon (to the right of the store name) to add the store to your list.

And if you’ve not visited the Siri & Search settings, head to Settings > Siri & Search and check out the Suggested Shortcuts at the top of the page. Those shortcuts will change frequently, and are a good way to dip your toes into Shortcuts.

Creative Review (via 9to5Mac):

The short film, titled Flight, will debut during this year’s Brit Awards, showcasing the Apple Watch Series 4’s cellular capabilities, which allow users to “stay connected in different environments”.

The film follows championship-winning air dancer and skydiver Inka Tiitto, a 29-year-old Finnish-American athlete known to American audiences for her involvement in Season 12 of America’s Got Talent. Here, Tiitto plays an athleisure-clad runner powering through bucolic woods and mountainsides before being flung into the sun-lit skies above.


Using a wind tunnel to create a sequence that might be termed ‘aerodynamic ballet’, Glazer audaciously captures the athlete as she takes a second to acclimatise herself to her new surroundings before swooping in curlicues through the clouds, with Glazer’s camera equally mobile as it soars around her.

This is an awesome effect. Check it out for yourself.


Apple has confirmed it will begin surveying Alaska, South Carolina, and Tennessee between March and July, according to an update to its recently revamped Apple Maps image collection website. Data collection is also set to continue in seven other states over that time.

This is part of the Apple Maps rebuild effort.

Note that the Apple Maps image collection page is not a collection of images. Instead it’s a heads up on where the LIDAR vehicles and backpack-toting pedestrians will be in the coming months.

February 19, 2019

Called “How to choose a Key Photo in Live Photos on iPhone”, “How to shoot with Depth Control on iPhone”, “How to shoot with Stage Light Mono on iPhone”, and “How to search for photos on iPhone”, you can view them now on Apple’s YouTube channel.

Bare Bones, makers of BBEdit, is one of my favorite software companies—in fact, I’ve been using their software for more than 20 years. Now, with the opening of their new online store, you can also own some Bare Bones clothing. T-shirts, hoodies, pins, fleece jackets, sweat pants and combinations of all of the products in a bundle are available from the store.

Visit the store to get your Bare Bones Official Merchandise!

Mel Magazine:

Whither the lost art of broiling?

Broiling is the same thing as grilling, just with the heat up top instead of underneath. Both use intense heat (about 550 degrees) for the pleasures of charring and caramelization. Ideally, you want that heat source to be about 4 to 6 inches away, and with broiling, and it’s far healthier if you catch the fat juice in a pan below, and far tastier if you let it cook right in it. It’s all over in under 10 minutes, too. The main drag of broiling is the fire hazard and high propensity for burning and flare-ups, or what you might call a kitchen fire.

Unlike my mentally unstable friend Vito who has grilled outside in minus 20 degree temps, I have no interest in freezing when I cook. So I’ll give this a try for “grilled” winter steaks.


If you’re watching newsreel footage of an eruption, and don’t live near a volcano yourself, you may find yourself wondering, “Why would anyone choose to live there?”

There is an assumption that living on volcanoes is wildly dangerous, and that people live there because they don’t have a choice. But while it certainly comes with risks, there are many reasons folks choose to live on volcanoes, from cultural to economic. The simplest reason is one most of us can relate to.

I actually had this conversation with my 13-year old a few days ago. It was a nice little teaching moment I could use to explain to him that people want different things from what he might want and that’s OK.

Watch “Kitbull”, another of Pixar’s SparkShorts


Kitbull, directed by Rosana Sullivan and produced by Kathryn Hendrickson, reveals an unlikely connection that sparks between two creatures: a fiercely independent stray kitten and a pit bull. Together, they experience friendship for the first time.

Also check out the “meet the filmmakers behind Kitbull” and see how the film was made.

Kermit praising the Mac

For some reason, this video surfaced on Reddit. Maybe someone reminiscing about Macworld Expo?

No matter, this was fun. See if you recognize the voice.

Searching your iOS Safari tabs, fast closing just the ones you find

This is a combination of two tips, both good to know, especially if you keep a lot of pages open in iOS Safari.

First, there’s this from MacRumors:

In a nutshell:

  • Tap the “show all pages icon” at the bottom right. This will show all your open tabs.
  • Pull down to reveal a “Search Tabs” field.
  • Type in the field to reduce the open pages to just those that match the search. The non-matching tabs are still open, they are just not shown in this view.

This is cool enough. But then add this tip:

Press and hold the cancel button and you’ll be prompted to close all the search-reduced tabs. This is handy.

Stephen Hackett, MacStories:

In January 2009, Apple took to the stage at Macworld Expo one final time. The company announced the change a few weeks before the show. Phil Schiller would deliver the keynote. News of Steve Jobs’ medical leave would break just weeks later, one day before the keynote.


Apple leaving Macworld Expo was the beginning of the end. The show struggled for a couple of years after this, and 2014 would be the last year of the trade show.

I loved the Apple-centric Macworld Expo. The January 2009 expo definitely marked the end of an era.

At the same time, Apple pulled the plug on another relationship. Sad.

Click the headline link. A neural network will create a face from scratch. Reload the page for a completely new one.

This is fascinating and terrifying at the same time. The power of AI is remarkable, but no doubt there are some great difficulties ahead. More realistic and effective fake news, counterfeit people, and AI that takes jobs away, perhaps creating new jobs along the way, but with a gap that forces many people to retool their skillsets.

Keep refreshing those faces, keep an eye out for anomalies. The ears seem especially susceptible to flaws. All very interesting.

February 18, 2019


Last month, the United States Justice Department announced a series of criminal charges against Chinese smartphone maker Huawei for stealing trade secrets, bank fraud, wire fraud, and obstructing justice. Today, The Information has shed light on Huawei’s tactics of stealing trade secrets, some of which were aimed at Apple.

According to today’s report, a Huawei engineer in charge of the company’s smartwatch project tracked down a supplier that makes the heart rate sensor for the Apple Watch. The Huawei engineer arranged a meeting, suggesting he was offering the supplier a lucrative manufacturing contract, but during the meeting his main intent was questioning the supplier about the Apple Watch.

There’s a reason why governments around the world view Huawei with suspicion.


If you’re an Apple Music subscriber who’s feeling pretty generous right now, check out your notifications for a new referral promo. You can send your non-Apple-Music-using friends an invite that’ll give them a month’s worth of subscription for free on top of the service’s standard three-month trial period. Simply tap on that notification to open a page, which gives you a way to send the free access as a gift via text message.

Nice little treat you can gift to a friend who is not an Apple Music subscriber.

Free first episode of Weird City’s “The One”

In the not-too-distant future of Weird City, Stu (Dylan O’Brien) and Burt (Ed O’Neill) discover that dating is not what it used to be, and love can be found in the most unexpected places.

My wife and I watched this over the weekend. Like a lot of comedies, it will take time to find its footing but this first free episode was surprisingly sweet.

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.


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.


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.


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.