February 23, 2017

For a while now there have been reports of some older iPhone models, namely iPhone 6 and iPhone 6s, shutting down unexpectedly. Apple introduced some diagnostics into iOS 10.2 back in December to try and determine what was happening and, with iOS 10.2.1, they’ve rolled out a fix.

Glad to see they figured out what was going on.

In the busy week in the run up to the awards, the director of Timecode, Juanjo Giménez, very kindly answered our questions about the post production process.

What’s amazing to me is that this was his first project using Final Cut Pro.

Alphabet’s Waymo self-driving car unit sued Uber Technologies and its autonomous trucking subsidiary Otto in federal court on Thursday over allegations of theft of its confidential sensor technology.

Oh boy.

NPR:

The space capsule that took the first moonwalkers on their historic adventure is getting ready to take off on another trip — its first tour of the United States in more than 40 years.

The Apollo 11 command module is the spacecraft that Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins rode in to the moon and back in 1969. To celebrate the upcoming 50th anniversary of that achievement, the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum is sending the space capsule to four different museums around the country.

It’s the first time the space capsule, called Columbia, will have left the museum since it opened to the public in 1976.

One of the great museum exhibits in the world is going on tour and you owe it to yourself to go see it if it comes to your area. It will be in Houston, St. Louis, Pittsburgh, and Seattle. I was lucky enough to see it in DC at the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum but when it comes to Seattle, I’ll definitely make the trip down there to see it again.

New Top Gear trailer

I’ll always have a soft spot for Top Gear but its first season after the Clarkson implosion was not good by any measure. But I also don’t think “The Grand Tour” was a whole lot better. I’m looking forward to seeing this version of Top Gear with the two-thirds new cast.

This morning, Dave posted, “With your iPhone locked, ask Siri, “What’s my name?”. It’s a good reminder people can sometimes find out information about you that you may not want them to know.

But what if you do want them to know?

As a motorcyclist, I’m constantly reminded of the dangers of what I do. Because of the violence of even a minor motorcycle accident, you may not be able to respond to Emergency Medical personnel if you’re ever in an accident. Apple has set up a procedure you can use on your iPhone to assist EMTs with information about you and who to contact in case of an emergency.

By using the Health app on your phone, you can choose what information is available when the Emergency ID procedure is implemented. Unfortunately, as Dave warned in his post, this information is available to anyone who has physical access to your phone. So be aware of what information you are making accessible using this method.

As an aside, I was (unfortunately) able to use this when I had a fairly serious accident four years ago. I wasn’t unconscious but, because of the type of accident, I wasn’t allowed to move for quite some time at the scene. I told the first responders to get my phone out of my pocket and they were able to access various pieces of information about me.

The Washington Post:

A newfound solar system just 39 light-years away contains seven warm, rocky planets, scientists say.

The newly discovered solar system resembles a scaled-down version of our own. The star at its center, an ultra-cool dwarf called TRAPPIST-1, is less than a tenth the size of our sun and about a quarter as warm. Its planets circle tightly around it; the closest takes just a day and a half to complete an orbit and the most distant takes about 20 days.

This is an amazing discovery and really cool science but when you hear the media describe it as a “nearby” star, note that’s in astronomical terms. Even though it’s “only” 39 light-years away, it will likely be at least a century before humans can even think about traveling to them.

Jake Underwood, MacStories, reviewing Moment, an iOS app that takes video, but only keeps either the last 5 or 10 seconds and never runs out of space:

I set my phone up, pressed record, and after a couple of minutes ended the recording. When I opened Photos, the video was there immediately as a clip of the last 5 seconds I recorded.

First, this is a clever idea. It solves a real problem, that of capturing 5 to 10 seconds of video when space on your iPhone is low.

But to me, this raises another issue. Why is this app necessary? Surely Apple understands how frustrating this is. After all, Google built an entire ad campaign around never running out of space when that critical moment comes.

At the very least, why doesn’t the camera app warn you that space is low when it launches? Even better, why not reserve some emergency space and warn the user when they first dip into that reserve. They can still take that critical picture or video, but then they’ll know enough to delete or offload pictures or videos to make more space.

In the short term, we have solutions like Moment.

Here’s a link to Moment in the App Store.

Wendy Lee, San Francisco Chronicle:

Cupertino is so populated by Apple employees that some people have jokingly called it “Appletino.” Later this year, Apple will open a visitor center, cafe and store to the public at Apple Park, which the city estimates could could draw hundreds of thousands of visitors a year.

In addition to the campus, Apple will continue to have engineers at its buildings on Infinite Loop. Chief executive Tim Cook will move his office to Apple Park.

That last bit has been making the rounds. Seems obvious to me. Where else would Tim Cook keep his office?

More from Wendy:

Apple hasn’t revealed the total cost for the project, but Bloomberg estimated in 2013 that it could be near $5 billion. The design will help the company recruit, and also reflects how Apple is always pushing the envelope on technology, said Mina Chow, a senior lecturer at University of Southern California School of Architecture.

“Corporate headquarters are all about making a statement,” she said. “Even when you had the period of emperors and kings, it’s all about making a statement. Architecture is the identity of a culture. We build what we believe we are.”

And that last bit is the most fascinating to me. We build what we believe we are. And this particular “we” is really Steve Jobs, no?

This is a bit of a public service announcement. I came across this tweet yesterday:

The poster tells the story of finding someone’s iPhone and discovering that she could see all her information, including her home address, on the lock screen. To read through this yourself, tap the embedded tweet (the link just after “please read”).

Without judging the danger of having your phone number exposed on your lock screen, at the very least, it’s worth knowing if this info is exposed.

So take a moment and use an unregistered finger (so you don’t unlock the phone), press and hold your iPhone’s home button, and ask Siri, “What’s my name?”

If Siri says, “You’ll need to unlock your iPhone first”, cool, you’re all set. Now rinse and repeat for your kids iPhones, see what info is exposed on their locked devices.

To customize what Siri reveals on your iPhone, go to Settings > Touch ID & Passcode, enter your passcode, then scroll to the section labeled ALLOW ACCESS WHEN LOCKED:. To learn what each of the setting do in this section, jump to this Apple support page, then scroll about halfway down the page. You’ll find links for each of these settings that go into more detail.

And realize that someone who has your phone number can pretty easily find your home address. Know your settings, know what info is exposed on your lock screen.

Have a favorite year for music? One year that you know better than all others? Perhaps the year when you first really connected with music, the first year that gives you true nostalgia?

With that year in mind, go to rateyourmusic.com and step through that year’s chart of top albums. No matter how well you know the music of your year, I think you’ll be surprised. And I’d wager you’ll find some highly rated albums you’ve never even heard of.

This is an excellent way to discover new music, especially if you are signed up for a service like Apple Music so you can start listening to these new albums immediately.

To get you started, here’s a link to the top albums of the year 2000. To switch to your year, just edit the URL.

What the hell was the New York Times thinking with this headline:

How to Decide Which Headphones to Buy (Hint: Not Apple’s AirPods)

If you only saw the headline, which is the case for many people, there’s an obvious conclusion: Apple AirPods are not worth considering, not worth even a look.

From the article itself, here’s Wirecutter’s headphone editor (Wirecutter is owned by the NYT) Lauren Dragan:

Ah, the AirPods. The current working term for those kinds of headphones is “true wireless.” Aside from not having a cord to tangle and being decent at taking phone calls, the AirPods didn’t improve much over the corded EarPods. The sound quality is the same (which is to say, meh, with no bass). Plus the battery life is less than a full day at work, so you had better remember to charge them at lunch time. And this for $130 more than a replacement pair of EarPods? I don’t think they’re fully cooked yet.

Ai-yi-yi.

This whole thing smacks of click-bait journalism. The New York Times ran that headline based on an interview with an owned site, without vetting those details. The opinion of the piece is one thing (I disagree with the battery conclusion, and it misses things like range, ease of pairing, and inserts bass bias, which is subjective) but the headline seems handcrafted to create controversy, pull in eyeballs.

February 22, 2017

I usually don’t go for these types of colored Apple products, but damn I’d love to have a set of purple AirPods.

The price tag was just $23 million, according to figures disclosed Wednesday as part of Fitbit’s quarterly earnings report. Fitbit also spent $15 million on the assets of Vector Watch, another smartwatch company.

I’m not sure that Fitbit can do any more with Pebble than what Pebble did.

81 year old’s amazing guitar playing

Damn, I hope to still be walking at 81. Much respect.

Celebrating its 86.27 score in the Harris Corporate Reputation Poll, Amazon is giving everyone a discount of $8.62 on orders of $50 or more today only. Hey, celebrate whatever you want if I can save money.

“Utility” features your choice of two often-requested but rarely-available body pages: Engineer Graph or Ledger. Engineer Graph features an 1/8-inch grid with bolder lines each half-inch. It awaits your schematics, assembly drawings, geometry homework, or dungeon maps. The Ledger version, of course, is ultra-handy for mileage logs, parts lists, to-do lists, or any sort of handwritten accounting.

I’ve used these notebooks for years for all of my interviews and notes while on the road. I’d highly recommend them.

New 5G networks are expected to provide speeds at least 10 times and up to maybe 100 times faster than today’s 4G networks, with the potential to connect at least 100 billion devices with download speeds that can reach 10 gigabits per second.

Those are impressive speeds.

Lifehacker:

Let’s say you’re in the mood for a drink but you have no idea what to concoct out of all the half-empty bottles of booze you have lying around. Recipe site Make a Cocktail has a fun tool that shows you what you can make based on the ingredients you already have.

You load the ingredients you have—vodka, bourbon, orange juice, whatever—and the tool will populate a list of cocktail recipes based on those ingredients. You can filter by hot drinks and classic drinks, and you can even save favorites. Each recipe comes with a bit of relevant info, including ratings and what kind of glass you should use.

When I was younger, the only alcohol I ever had in my fridge was beer. But I’ve amassed a little bit of a liquor cabinet at home so a tool like this is handy when I’m want something different but aren’t sure what to make or how to make it.

Mashable:

Will the real conclusive study on the health effects of sedentary behavior PLEASE stand up??? Or sit down … who even knows anymore.

See, it’s like this — every so often a new study comes out declaring that sitting for hours on end is essentially your ticket to an early grave. So then you read it, become increasingly terrified and make a conscious decision to stand more often.

But just when you finally get your standing desk approved by your office manager, another study declares that standing for prolonged periods is equally as threatening to your health.

So where does that leave us, scientists?

As usual, the truth stands (see what I did there?) somewhere between. I’ve tried several kinds of standing desks and I prefer the ones that are adjustable. With bad knees, I can’t stand for an entire work day so being able to sit and stand when I feel like it works best for me.

Inside the Magic:

Disney Research has recently revealed research into tech that could power a mobile phone as soon as it enters a room.

They call it “Quasistatic Cavity Resonance for Ubiquitous Wireless Power Transfer,” which is a long way of saying we are on our way to cutting our need for power cords.

With a properly designed room containing “purpose-built structures” made of aluminum along with a copper pipe in the center of the room circled by capacitors, around 1900 watts of free-flowing power can be disseminated into the air without risk of harming people within – as long as you keep a distance of at least 46cm away from that center pole.

This might be part of our future but, even though I’m not usually paranoid about the “invisible forces” that surround us 24/7, this one gives me pause.

Tedium:

The audio commentary track, a staple of films on optical media, may not last into the age of streaming. Is it a victim of indifference by Netflix?

In an age of Gmail, Dropbox, and Netflix, people rarely worry about losing their favorite entertainment. One artform, inextricably tied to a dying format, is endangered—damn near extinction, even. Today’s Tedium looks at the lost art of DVD commentary.

The only DVDs I’ve ever bought have been because of the commentary track. Not having them available anymore is a shame and a real loss to moviephiles.

Disney Pixar international movies side by side

I had no idea so much effort went into “customizing” movies for specific markets like this.

From Apple’s developer site:

Interesting to compare that pie chart to the official Android adoption pie chart:

That little bitty sliver on the right? That’s Nougat, the most recent version of Android. To get to more than half of that pie chart, you have to include Nougat, Marshmallow and Lollipop. Lollipop was released in 2014.

It’s tough when you don’t control all the hardware.

[H/T Robert Davey]

Every New York Times front page since 1852

Best viewed on a large screen. Wish there was a timeline on the screen so you could see the year. But that nit aside, fascinating to watch the paper’s design evolve, very subtly. Amazing how late in the game color made its appearance.

Another list, this one all Apple TV tips. As usual, you may know most of these, but give a scan. It’s those few you don’t know that make the read worthwhile. Bookmark and pass along.

The Verge:

The world’s first self-driving robot racing series took a big step toward reality this weekend. For the first time ever, both of Roborace’s prototype autonomous racecars ran against each other on a track.

And:

The two Roborace prototypes — which the company refers to as DevBots — “battled” each other around the same Puerto Madero street circuit in Buenos Aires that hosted the third race of Formula E’s third season. The cars’ Nvidia-powered brains handled 20 autonomous laps across the race weekend, according to Roborace, and topped out at about 115 miles per hour.

115 mph (185 km/h) is pretty slow for race cars, but fast enough to enjoy. At Monza last year (the Italian Grand Prix), the top speed was 225 mph (360 km/h). Once the bugs are all worked out, I expect we’ll see autonomous cars hit those speeds and, since the AI drivers will not have those pesky human flaws, even pass those speeds.

One of the two DevBots successfully dodged a dog who wandered onto the track, while the other eventually smacked the wall in one of the turns — a “racing incident” that was the result of a “pushing the boundaries of AI,” according to Roborace.

Wait. A dog got on the track? Is that real? Yup:

Reuters:

Facebook Inc is in talks with Major League Baseball to live stream one game per week during the upcoming season, which could be a key win as the social media platform works to offer more live sports, according to two people familiar with the situation.

Facebook has pushed to sign deals with owners of sports rights to live stream their games, going after an audience that competitor Twitter Inc is also trying to capture, according to sports media consultants.

For social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter, live streaming sports is key to attracting people since sports is one of the few types of content that people still watch live.

Streaming live sports is still an experiment searching for a business model. It’s not clear that Twitter made money on last year’s Thursday Night Football stream. No doubt, their engagement numbers went up, but did they sell enough ads at a high enough price to pay the NFL’s asking price?

If Reuter’s story proves true, Facebook will be competing with Major League Baseball’s various subscription services, already in place. Baseball already does streaming very, very well. Tough to see what Facebook adds to the equation.

And then there’s the question of Apple TV. Major League Baseball subscriptions are already on Apple TV. Will a Facebook deal impact game availability? Will there be new blackout dates?

Will Apple pursue live sports in a deeper way than hosting apps? Put another way, will Apple lock down games as exclusive streaming events? They certainly have the cash to make that happen. But as they do, Apple might be waiting for the business model to mature.

Tech Crunch:

It looks like Apple has finally picked up one of the last remaining pieces of internet property linked to one of its key service brands: the iPhone and Mac giant has quietly taken over ownership of iCloud.net, TechCrunch has learned. Subsequent to that, the small-time Asian social network that existed at the site has informed its users that it will be shutting down by the end of this month.

And:

The icloud.net domain — which is now controlled by Apple — was one of the last major iCloud-based web addresses that was not owned by the company. (Perhaps the last major one? not quite, there is also iCloud.co.uk, owned by Dennis Publishing.)

In 2011, just before officially unveiling its own iCloud storage service (but after there had been leaks about its imminent arrival), Apple acquired iCloud.com from Swedish software company Xcerion, which had launched its own cloud-based storage service under that name in 2007, and in 2011 rebranded it to CloudMe. It was later confirmed in Xcerion’s accounts that Apple paid about 47 million Kroner ($5.2 million) for the domain.

This is like buying houses to assemble a real estate parcel so you can build something large, like a 20 story building. The first purchases are done quietly, without raising awareness of the value of the individual properties. Once the cat is out of the bag, the price goes up. And that last holdout reaps the big reward, the largest price tag.

Though sometimes, the project falls apart and the value plummets, making it better to be second to last.

Apple’s news campus, “Apple Park” will open in April

Apple on Wednesday said its new 175-acre campus will open to employees in April. The campus, dubbed “Apple Park” by the company, will take six months to fully occupy with the 12,000 employees that will work there.

Apple is also doing something great to honor Steve Jobs on the new campus:

Steve would have turned 62 this Friday, February 24. To honor his memory and his enduring influence on Apple and the world, the theater at Apple Park will be named the Steve Jobs Theater. Opening later this year, the entrance to the 1,000-seat auditorium is a 20-foot-tall glass cylinder, 165 feet in diameter, supporting a metallic carbon-fiber roof. The Steve Jobs Theater is situated atop a hill — one of the highest points within Apple Park — overlooking meadows and the main building.

“Steve’s vision for Apple stretched far beyond his time with us. He intended Apple Park to be the home of innovation for generations to come,” said Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO. “The workspaces and parklands are designed to inspire our team as well as benefit the environment. We’ve achieved one of the most energy-efficient buildings in the world and the campus will run entirely on renewable energy.”

Apple Park replaces 5 million-square-feet of asphalt and concrete with grassy fields and over 9,000 native and drought-resistant trees, and is powered by 100 percent renewable energy, according to Apple.

“Steve invested so much of his energy creating and supporting vital, creative environments. We have approached the design, engineering and making of our new campus with the same enthusiasm and design principles that characterize our products,” said Jony Ive, Apple’s chief design officer. “Connecting extraordinarily advanced buildings with rolling parkland creates a wonderfully open environment for people to create, collaborate and work together.”

Apple Park seems like an incredible place—not just the main building, but the entire 175-acres.

“Steve was exhilarated, and inspired, by the California landscape, by its light and its expansiveness. It was his favorite setting for thought. Apple Park captures his spirit uncannily well,” said Laurene Powell Jobs. “He would have flourished, as the people of Apple surely will, on this luminously designed campus.”