January 21, 2017

I love Jackson guitars—especially the Dinky models. I have six Jacksons and they all play so well and feel really good in my hands.

20 years, the world’s greatest artists have used Blue in the studio. Now we’ve built a wireless headphone that delivers every detail of their music, everywhere you go. Satellite combines legendary Blue sound quality with proprietary active noise cancelling (ANC) to ensure your music is never compromised. Together with premium wireless technology and a built-in audiophile amp, Satellite is a new benchmark for the modern listening experience.

These headphones are light-weight, have noise-cancelling, and a built-in amp. I didn’t get a chance to listen to them, but I’m really interested to hear how they sound. I’ll be keeping an eye on these.

Nowadays, you probably listen to more music on your laptop than anywhere else. That’s why we designed Sadie—a headphone that liberates digital music from overhyped playback so you can enjoy true high fidelity on your laptop and mobile devices. It’s the headphone for a new generation of music lovers.

These are nice sounding headphones for the money. I had a chance to listen to them at NAMM at was impressed.

After roughly eight years of using Adobe Premiere Pro as our preferred NLE system, a few months ago we made the transition to Final Cut Pro X. This was not an easy decision, we debated amongst ourselves and as a result came up with many pros and cons for staying with or leaving Adobe Creative Cloud. We found that there were really two debates taking place when we discussed leaving Creative Cloud: firstly, the hardware debate of making the switch from PCs to Macs, and secondly the software debate of making the switch from Premiere Pro to Final Cut X.

There are two parts to the story, so be sure to read both. This is a professional business and they explain why they made the switch from PC to Mac, and from Premiere to Final Cut Pro.

January 20, 2017

Ars Technica:

In its complaint, Apple says that Qualcomm actually withheld $1 billion in payments it owes to Apple because Apple cooperated with the Korea Fair Trade Commission, or KFTC. Apple lawyers go on to make an extraordinary claim: that Qualcomm “attempted to extort Apple into changing its responses and providing false information to the KFTC in exchange for Qualcomm’s release of those payments to Apple,” but Apple refused.

Apple’s lawsuit seeks unspecified damages while stating it has been “overcharged billions” by Qualcomm. The lawsuit notes that law enforcement agencies around the world are investigating Qualcomm, which “has been declared a monopolist by three separate governments” in the past two years. Last month, Korean regulators slapped Qualcomm with a $850 million fine over its patent-licensing practices. The US Federal Trade Commission sued Qualcomm earlier this week, again over patent issues.

This feels like it might go beyond just the usual corporate lawsuits.


Air Force One is easily the most well-known plane in the world. But the term “Air Force One” doesn’t apply to one specific plane: It’s the official military call sign for any US Air Force plane carrying the president.

Since 1990, two nearly identical (and heavily modified) Boeing 747-200B airliners have transported US presidents and served as airborne command centers during times of crisis. Here’s everything you need to know about the president’s personal airplane — and its future.

I’ve always been fascinated by Air Force One, not only as a symbol of America but for its incredible (and mostly secret) technology and amenities.

The Power Mac G4 Cube

Stephen Hackett gives a bit of a guided tour through the Mac affectionately known as “The Cube”. I had one of these. Interesting design, innovative use of materials, a sign of the times at Apple.

Neil Cybart, Above Avalon:

During the last few years of the Steve Jobs era, it was Cook (and Apple SVP Marketing Phil Schiller) who were tasked with coming up with Apple’s corporate strategy. This allowed Steve Jobs to spend time with Jony Ive and focus on the product. Said another way, Tim Cook was the one that allowed Steve to be Steve.

When it came time to relinquish his CEO title, Steve selected Cook as his successor. While the move was met with controversy outside Apple, the selection signaled that Steve didn’t look at the CEO position as something that needed to be held by a product person. Much of that belief likely resulted from the fact that Cook had been handling many of the traditional CEO duties himself as COO for years.


Tim Cook is leading a different type of Apple than that which existed under Steve. Things are done differently, down to how decisions are made and then communicated throughout Apple. This leads to a theory that may seem controversial today but is becoming increasingly clear as time goes on. It is impossible to grade Tim Cook as CEO without grading Cook’s inner circle.

While Cook has at least seventeen VPs and SVPs reporting directly to him, a very high number, there is evidence that many of the key decisions regarding Apple’s strategy are determined by a much smaller group of SVPs. This team likely includes Eddy Cue, Phil Schiller, and Jeff Williams. The three have been at Apple since the 1990s, experiencing Apple at its best and also worst. Eddy Cue joined Apple in 1989.


The removal of Scott Forstall as SVP of iOS back in 2012 takes on a new level of importance when discussing the topic of Tim Cook and his inner circle. It has been reported that Forstall did not get along with other Apple executives. While we have never officially heard Forstall’s side of the story, which is odd, Cook’s desire for a powerful inner circle does support the theory that Forstall was removed in order to position this tight-knit group of Apple SVPs as a type of brain trust. Forstall was clear in his ambitions to one day be CEO. Cue, Schiller, and Williams don’t hold similar ambitions. Instead, ideas are bounced off each other and disagreements are hashed out within this group before being funneled to the rest of the company. Forstall threatened to throw off this dynamic and risk having Cook’s leadership structure collapse.

There’s a lot of insight here. Neil Cybart does an excellent job breaking down the big picture, explaining the complex model that is the Apple executive team.

Whether you agree with the grades at the bottom or not, the post itself is definitely worth making your way through.

Steffen Reich, iDownloadBlog:

The tutorial below is going to highlight the difference between the two main subsets of dictionaries (thesaurus vs. actual language to language translation) and scrutinize if your language of choice is one of the few lucky ones Apple decided to support beyond the thesaurus. Following that is a quick demonstration on how to translate the words in question to English. Read on to find out why some dictionaries are simply better than others.

As an example, if you install the French-English dictionary (in addition to your regular dictionaries), you’ll now have a powerful, built-in translation tool.

Well worth the time to read through the tutorial and, if you have the space on your device, install an extra dictionary or two.

Josh Centers, TidBITS:

AppleInsider caused a bit of a stir when it reported that the TV app for iOS and tvOS now supports playing Netflix content. As you may recall, Netflix hasn’t yet agreed to integrate with the TV app (see “tvOS 10.1 Unifies the Apple TV Experience with “TV” App,” 12 December 2016). However, the AppleInsider report is correct in that you can indeed find and stream Netflix content from the TV app. But TechCrunch’s Matthew Panzarino correctly pointed out that such functionality has been there from the launch of the TV app.

So what’s the deal? Netflix doesn’t work with TV, but it also does work? It’s a bit like the famous Schrödinger’s cat thought experiment, in which a cat in a box is simultaneously alive and dead. But unlike quantum mechanics, there’s a simple answer to this conundrum.

We wrote about this yesterday. Glad Josh was able to clarify. Read his post for the details.

Clever. Though to me, floss is for teeth. No matter, the design is spot on. Note the company name on the sticker itself.

[Via iHeartApple2]

Just a taste:

The Touch Bar’s accessibility support is bountiful. There is a lot of functionality built into that little strip, all of which makes using the Touch Bar easier. The one feature that stands out the most is Zoom. Zoom is where the magic happens, and it’s my favorite Touch Bar accessibility feature.

What Touch Bar Zoom (System Prefs → Accessibility → Zoom → Enable Touch Bar Zoom) does is bring up a virtual Touch Bar on the bottom of the screen when you touch anything on the Touch Bar. Slide your finger back and forth, and the Touch Bar (real and virtual) moves accordingly. A circle icon follows your movement that fills in (think: iOS app updates in App Store) when you select an option, but Apple tells me you don’t need to wait for it to fill completely to select an item. In practice, I find Touch Bar Zoom to work great; animation is smooth and there’s no no lag between moving through and selecting options.

Nice job, as always, by Steve Aquino. No one does detail like Apple.

[H/T John Kordyback]

Great essay on business and luck. Two highlights:

If you have a choice between listening to the best cellist perform the piece or the second best, why would you want to listen to the second best? You might be willing to pay a few cents more only to hear the best, because they’re all good. But, even if you’d be willing to pay a few cents more, the fact that there are millions of copies of these things sold means that the fact that the company that bids successfully for Yo-Yo Ma or whoever is regarded as the best cellist is going to get that market all to himself.

And so the price that you have to pay to get the best recording artist is set accordingly. One earns eight or nine figures a year while the cellist who is almost as good is teaching music lessons to third graders in New Jersey somewhere. It’s a dogfight now to see who gets to be regarded as that best performer. The person who is eventually successful got there by defeating thousands, maybe tens of thousands, of rivals in competitions that started at an early age.

And this, on Bryan Cranston and Breaking Bad:

Vince Gilligan wanted to cast him as Walter White right from the beginning. The studio bosses didn’t want that. It was going to be an expensive production. They were experimenting to see if AMC could carve out a new role for itself in the cable firmament. And so they were going to put a lot of money behind this series and they wanted an A-list dramatic actor. I think at the time Cranston was best known for playing the dad in Malcolm in the Middle, which is a sitcom I never even saw. Apparently he was pretty good in that role, but it wasn’t a leading dramatic role to be sure.

They wanted a more visible, dramatic actor. At the studio bosses insistence Gilligan offered the part of Walter White to John Cusack. Cusack turned it down. They offered it to Matthew Broderick. Broderick also turned it down. I don’t remember which one had the first crack at it. Both of them turned it down. Gilligan went back to the bosses and again pleaded his case. Finally they reluctantly allowed him to cast Cranston as Walter White. And, you know, White was the breakout part of that series. He got four Emmys in the show’s five seasons. He is today one of the very most sought after actors in his age group. But I still wouldn’t have heard of him except that Cusack and Broderick turned the role down first.

Terrific read.

January 19, 2017


Meitu is a viral sensation. Who wouldn’t want to instantly give themselves or their favorite politicians and celebs a Japanese-anime inspired makeover, and share the hilarious results with the world? That’s why the face-recognizing photo app is currently rocking the charts.

But before you zip on over to the App Store or Google Play to grab your free copy, there’s something you should probably know: Meitu is asking for an awful lot of your data in exchange for the lolz — and the app also seems to contain some rather suspicious code.

I wasn’t going to download it regardless because it creates some truly awful photos but the security implications mean you shouldn’t download/use it either.

City Data:

By collecting and analyzing data from a variety of government and private sources, we’re able to create detailed, informative profiles for every city in the United States. From crime rates to weather patterns, you’ll find the data you’re looking for on City-Data.com.

This is a very detailed data dump you can use to compare elements of two American cities. Everything from population to education to commuting income. I would have killed to have this kind of data easily available to me when I was in school.


The first Mac malware of 2017 was brought to my attention by an IT admin, who spotted some strange outgoing network traffic from a particular Mac. This led to the discovery of a piece of malware unlike anything I’ve seen before, which appears to have actually been in existence, undetected, for some time, and which seems to be targeting biomedical research centers.

While this probably isn’t much of a threat to most of us, the article is an interesting look into how Malwarebytes goes about investigating malware.

Samson’s Go Mic Mobile is the first professional wireless microphone system that connects directly to smartphones without the need for cumbersome adaptors or interfaces, turning your phone into a pro-level video camera capable of capturing high definition audio anywhere.

This looks very cool. It literally piggybacks on the iPhone so you have access to all of the controls on the Go Mic Mobile. I need to get one of these.

iRig Pro I/O is the next generation of the iRig Pro — the first mobile interface for connecting all of your studio gear to your iPhone, iPad, Mac, PC or Android device to play and record on the go.

iRig is a great little device. You can use it with your computer or iOS devices, so it’s very versatile for the money. I’ve had a number of iRigs throughout the years and used IK Multimedia’s AmpliTube software, which I also found to be very good. I’ll check this out today at the NAMM show.

It’s a compact acoustic microphone and advanced digital preamplifier and processing unit that recreates a studio microphone set-up providing you with all of the true character and tonal nuance of your acoustic in live playing situations. Simply clip the iRig Acoustic Stage’s microphone to the sound hole, attach it to the iRig Acoustic Stage pre-amplifier processor, then connect the preamp to your amplifier or mixer. iRig Acoustic Stage also features a “Cancel Feedback” button that gets rids of annoying frequency feedback during performance.

I got a demo of this yesterday and it was pretty impressive. If you play an acoustic live, you should take a look at this.

Samson’s AirLine 88 Wind Instrument system offers true wireless freedom without the hassle of a beltpack or cable. Featuring a clip-on transmitter with a shockmounted microphone and adjustable gooseneck, this frequency-agile UHF wireless system provides high definition sound and 300′ of reliable wireless operation for saxophones, trumpets, trombones and other wind instruments.

I’m going to have a look at this today at the Samson booth.

Samson’s Q7x and Q8x provide exceptional sound reproduction for live and studio vocal and instrument performances, as well as presentations and podcasting. And with updated body designs and improved capsule shockmount systems, these mics provide reliable performance in even the most demanding environments. The Q7x and Q8x will be available March 2017.

I haven’t tried these mics from Samson, but I like the company and do use other gear from them.

The Washington Post:

The most frenzied American ritual you’ve never seen is called the “transfer of families,” a five-hour tsunami of activity that transforms President Obama’s home into President Trump’s.

“I call it organized chaos,” said Gary Walters, who choreographed several transfers of families in his 21 years as the White House chief usher.

“It’s energizing,” said Ann Stock, who saw the transfer up close as the Clintons’ social secretary, “but absolutely exhausting.”

Here’s what happens on Inauguration Day before and during those five hectic hours.

I’ve seen several stories about this over the years and it always fascinates me.

Ed Sheeran covers Fresh Prince theme, live on air

Either he knew this was coming, or he’s a huge fan, but no matter. Sheeran brings it.

Monty Python devotee? You’ll certainly recognize some of the artifacts up for auction.

Me, I’ve got my eye on that original album signed by all the Pythons, including Graham Chapman.

This might seem a mundane, niche product announcement, but take a minute to read this post from Jeff Benjamin:

The 2016 MacBook Pro has endured criticism for its lack of I/O ports, but what that it does have — two or four Thunderbolt 3 ports based on your configuration — have lots of potential. For example, it’s now possible to connect an external GPU (eGPU) box via Thunderbolt 3 and tap into the power offered by a full-sized graphics card.

Imagine a box that offered the power and expandability of a Mac Pro that plugged into a port (or two) on your MacBook Pro.

You’d have the lightness and portability of a laptop and, arriving at your desk, you’d have a large display and the growling power of large, desktop class expansion cards, limited only by the transfer speeds of Thunderbolt 3. And Thunderbolt 3 is no slouch.

Interesting possibilities there.

I tried this out this morning. Brought up the TV app on my iPhone, searched for a show I know is on Netflix. Sure enough, the search revealed two options: Rent the show via iTunes, or open it via Netflix.

This is a solid step forward for Apple, Apple TV, and searchability.

Now if only Amazon would deliver their promised Prime Video Apple TV app. I suspect that ship has sailed.

UPDATE: Check this tweet from Tech Crunch Editor-in-chief Matt Panzarino:

Checked this out – looks like false alarm, this stuff has been in there from launch. No new integrations afaik.

Not sure which is correct. I don’t recall this level of integration with the TV app.

Fire Emblem is huge in our house. First question asked was, “Is this a port for iOS, or a new game?”

Fire Emblem Heroes is a new game, from scratch.

Here’s Nintendo’s press release.

And a tweet announcing the date:

Fire Emblem Heroes will be released on iOS and Android on February 2. #FEHeroes

And, finally, here’s the official web site, with videos.

Joe Rossignol, MacRumors:

Earlier this month, Swift creator Chris Lattner announced he will be stepping down as director of Apple’s Development Tools department to lead Tesla’s Autopilot engineering team as VP of Autopilot Software.

Joe got these two quotes from Chris:

I’ve been writing code for more than 30 years, and 16 of those years have been in the developer tools space. I love it, but I am ready to move on to something else. Autopilot is clearly incredibly important to the world because of its ability to save people’s lives (and increase convenience). It is also a very, very hard technology problem and my experience building large scale software and team building is useful. Of course, I’ve also been a huge Tesla fan for some time.


This was a very difficult decision, because I care deeply about the technology and people at Apple and because I could see myself staying there for many more years. In the end though, the opportunity to dive into a completely new area and work with the amazing Tesla Autopilot team was irresistible.

Class statements, both. Tesla is lucky to have him.

I wouldn’t say nobody noticed, but clearly the wave of publicity centers on the AirPods, rather than on the W1 chip. That quibble aside, Matt Weinberger, Business Insider, writes:

The magic happens when you’re using a W1 headset with an iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch, or Mac.

First, you turn it on next to your unlocked iPhone or iPad. Second, you click “connect.” Now they’re automatically paired with any other Apple gadget that’s signed in to your iCloud account. Switching from iPhone to Mac and back takes a click.


Apple’s W1 confers other benefits, too. When you’re using it with an Apple gadget, the chip grants tremendous range — with the Beats Solo3, I was able to vacuum my entire small house with my phone charging in the bedroom without losing audio. Better yet, W1 uses some kind of magic optimization technique to greatly extend battery life.


It means Apple has something that no Android phone — or Windows laptop, for that matter — can match. It also opens the door for a world where people are always wearing their headphones, with Apple’s Siri only a tap away.

Apple’s competitor to the omnipresent Alexa is hiding in plain sight — in the iPhones and iPads that more than a billion people own and in the wireless headphones that Apple is so keen to push. In other words, the W1 brings together all the pieces of the Apple puzzle, from Siri to Beats to the iPhone, in a way that hasn’t been done before.

Interesting point. While Alexa is winning the early adopter battle, Apple is planting seeds with the W1 Bluetooth chip for a much longer play. If you buy a device with a W1 chip inside, you’ll see immediate and tangible benefits to switching over to a macOS or iOS device.

Stanford’s Center for Digital Health:

The Stanford Center for Digital Health (CDH) invites applications for its inaugural seed grant program focused on innovative uses of the Apple Watch in healthcare. This seed grant program is designed to stimulate and support creative uses of the Apple Watch to address important issues in healthcare. We are particularly interested in high impact projects that will positively influence the selected study population and/or clinical workflow.

They are giving away $10K in funding and 1,000 Apple Watches. Sadly, the RFP limits applications to faculty and instructors.