August 14, 2018

As part of version 9.6 of Universal Audio’s software, the company released the Century Tube Channel Strip, Suhr PT100 Amplifier, and the Brainworx bx_masterdesk. The part of the release that I’m most looking forward to is the Bill Putnam Microphone Collection.

For use with the Townsend Labs Sphere L22 microphone system, the Bill Putnam Collection plug-in features the “best-of-the-best” from iconic engineer and recording pioneer Bill Putnam Sr.’s personal mic locker, including hand-picked mics that recorded Ray Charles, Frank Sinatra, Elvis, and more.

Yes, please!

A camera that shoots out a macro lens, capturing remarkable hi-res, slow motion video

Hard to explain. Just watch the video. Pretty cool.

Good read, all the way through. Useful stuff, pass it along.

Denmark’s augmented reality coverage of the Tour De France wins everything

This is a brilliant use of augmented reality. Watch the video embedded in the tweet.

Wonderful stuff.

First things first, can we all agree that Loop Disease is a terrible name? 😉

But I digress.

Motherboard:

For the past six months, Cerva has been receiving large numbers of iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus devices—often 10 to 15 per week—with a similar issue: one of the pads that connects the audio chip, which is located on the motherboard near the SIM card tray, has come loose.

And:

The early symptoms are a grayed-out Voice Memos icon, a grayed-out “speaker” button during phone calls, or intermittent freezing. Eventually, the phone can get stuck on the Apple logo instead of powering on. Cerva calls the issue “loop disease,” in reference to “touch disease,” a similar issue that affected thousands of iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus units starting around 2016.

And:

The fix, Jones and Cerva agreed, is straightforward: they remove the audio chip, then solder a small segment of wire underneath it to repair the connection. Cerva can complete the repair in just 15 minutes, he said; Jones said that a qualified shop should be able to carry out the repair for between $100 and $150.

If you have, or know someone with an iPhone 7 or iPhone 7 Plus, read the article and check out the image (with the greyed out Speaker icon) towards the bottom of the article.

The iPhones 7 were released in September 2016.

John Gruber, commenting on the new wave of big, clunky, Galaxy watches from Samsung:

Samsung is sticking with round faces — you certainly can’t call these ripoffs of Apple Watch. But I think that’s a mistake for a digital watch. At 42 and 46mm, both sizes are much larger (and heavier) than Apple Watches. Because Apple measures its watches vertically, they sound closer in size than they actually are. A 42mm Apple Watch is 36mm wide, and a 38mm Apple Watch is just 33mm wide. Apple remains the only company making smartwatches for women and men with small wrists.

I do wish my Apple Watch was thinner. The weight is not an issue for me, but I can imagine a thinner future Apple Watch, still rectangular, but with a gently curved body that matches the curved wrist surface on which it sits.

What I can’t imagine is ever moving to a bigger, clunkier smartwatch.

Wired:

Security meltdowns on your smartphone are often self-inflicted: You clicked the wrong link, or installed the wrong app. But for millions of Android devices, the vulnerabilities have been baked in ahead of time, deep in the firmware, just waiting to be exploited. Who put them there? Some combination of the manufacturer that made it, and the carrier that sold it to you.

And:

“The problem is not going to go away, because a lot of the people in the supply chain want to be able to add their own applications, customize, add their own code. That increases the attack surface, and increases the probability of software error,” Stavrou says. “They’re exposing the end user to exploits that the end user is not able to respond to.”

This problem is an end result of Android allowing third party companies the ability to modify the source code. An example:

Take the Asus ZenFone V Live, which Kryptowire found to leave its owners exposed to an entire system takeover, including taking screenshots and video recordings of a user’s screen, making phone calls, reading and modifying text messages, and more.

This is a fascinating read. This loss of centralized security control is yet another thing that keeps me in the Apple ecosystem. I do recognize that macOS, iOS, et al have flaws, but the centralized security model (All the system software comes from Apple, not a third party) and the commitment to privacy do make me feel safer.

August 13, 2018

Missouri Education Watchdog:

While many have questioned Google’s invasion of the classroom and how Google Apps for Education, (now called G-Suite), collects and uses student or teacher information, few have really gotten much in the way of answers. What is reportedly happening with Springfield Missouri Public School’s use of Google Drive offers a rare glimpse into Google’s potential to collect data. School-issued student Google accounts connect to Google Drive which can allow for the ability to Auto-Sync devices to Auto-Save passwords, browsing history and other digital data points from numerous devices used by a single user. For students in SPS this could include digital data from non-school related accounts. This July 17, 2018 Fox 5 KRBK news story explains how one family discovered this practice and reported it to the school district.

Google being Google.

Apple today removed Group FaceTime from the latest iOS 12 and macOS Mojave betas, which were released this morning, and has instead decided to release the feature at a later date.

This is an interesting twist in the upcoming release of both operating systems. There must be a technical reason why Group FaceTime isn’t going to make the cut, and it has to be something they don’t think they can fix in time for the Fall release.

Storing your minute-by-minute travels carries privacy risks and has been used by police to determine the location of suspects — such as a warrant that police in Raleigh, North Carolina, served on Google last year to find devices near a murder scene. So the company will let you “pause” a setting called Location History.

Google says that will prevent the company from remembering where you’ve been. Google’s support page on the subject states: “You can turn off Location History at any time. With Location History off, the places you go are no longer stored.”

That isn’t true. Even with Location History paused, some Google apps automatically store time-stamped location data without asking. (It’s possible, although laborious, to delete it .)

The most alarming part of this whole story is that Google says it’s being very clear about what it’s doing—clearly they are not.

My thanks to Bare Bones Software for sponsoring The Loop this week. I’ve been using BBEdit since 1995, so I know first hand that it can handle any job I throw at it.

BBEdit is crafted and continuously refined in response to meet the needs of writers, web authors, and software developers, providing an abundance of high-performance features for editing, searching, and manipulation of text. All in all, BBEdit is a powerful editor with an interface that stays out of your way, and well worth checking out.

BBEdit 12 is 64-bit ready. Download and try it today!

August 12, 2018

Ozy:

Historic celebration or collective madness? That is the question. Twice a year in Siena, Italy, families and friendships are consumed by love, hate and rivalries. Pranks and fights divide the historic city quarters. The sacred coexists with the profane, the comedic with the tragic. The town is abuzz with fervency and trickery. All over a horse race. But the Palio di Siena isn’t just any horse race; it’s an all-consuming passion for Siena and its citizens.

It’s a script that William Shakespeare would have loved, but he died 16 years before the first edition in 1632.

Siena town center is divided into 17 historic contrade (districts), each with distinctive crests and colors. This becomes very important on July 2 and August 16 every year when the two races pit citizen against citizen in fierce competition. “People born and raised here consider their contrada a second home — a family — to defend unambiguously,” explains Jacopo Rossi, who was born in Siena and raised in Contrada dell’Onda. How can 54,000 residents suddenly despise each other? “You grow up learning to have fun with your neighbors, your rivals in the race,” he says. “But twice a year that camaraderie could become hate.”

I’ll be in Siena next year but the timing is wrong and I’ll sadly miss this incredible spectacle. Check out some of these Youtube videos of the races.

August 11, 2018

Andromeda Yelton: “I cannot believe this place even exists”

So I’m doing my usual morning scroll through Twitter (scroll…stroll…scroll….stroll…get it? Oh, never mind….) and I see a tweet from our very own Dave Mark:

So of course, I follow the thread. As I read through and saw the pictures, my first thought was, “This place must be fake.” I’ve been to Bozeman, Montana and, no offense to anyone who lives there, you’d have no reason to expect a museum with this level of AMAZING stuff in it. Turns out, it’s very real and absolutely incredible.

It’s called the American Computer & Robotics Museum and now I want to go to Bozeman, Montana.

August 10, 2018

Getty Images:

Ford Motor Company reached a major milestone on August 8 as the 10 millionth Mustang rolled off the assembly line at their Detroit plant. Revered as the ultimate symbol of cool since it was first introduced in March 1964, the Mustang has managed to evolve with the times and, today, remains just as relevant as it was in the ’60s. Here, a look back at the iconic American car through the years.

While I liked the 60’s Mustangs, I was never a huge fan of the car in general. That being said, my first car was the 1994 redesign and I loved that car.

BuzzFeed:

Apple will continue to allow the Infowars Official mobile application in its App Store, the company confirmed to BuzzFeed News on Wednesday, just days after banning several podcasts associated with the conspiracy site.

On Sunday, as first reported by BuzzFeed News, Apple took down the entire library of five of the six Infowars podcasts from its iTunes and Podcasts apps. The action was decisive, with Apple laying out a clear reason for removal: The podcast content violated the company’s hate speech guidelines.

Less clear, though, is why Apple has chosen to keep the Infowars app up — which allows users to livestream in high definition the very same programs that it deemed hateful in podcast form. In its response to questions from BuzzFeed News, the iPhone maker suggested that the Infowars Official app had not violated the company’s guidelines.

Apple is caught between a rock and a hard place on this but it’s a situation of their own making.

The Dalrymple Report: A Rome street musician and Apple Music with Dave Mark

Dave and I kicked off the show talking about a street musician playing Pink Floyd in Rome and then went right into Apple Music and the service’s new Friend’s Mix playlist, which is rolling out to customers.

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Sultans of Swing, performed on a street corner in São Paulo

Got a lot of joy posting that Pantheon Pink Floyd cover yesterday (check the Dalrymple Report, coming later today, for some of the discussion). One of the comments I got was a link to the video embedded below. [H/T Marcus Mendes]

Come on. What could be so secret? But yup, Sharon Zardetto, writing for TidBITS, reveals some stuff that, at the very least, is not well known. For example:

If an item has a dedicated function key—as do volume control and screen brightness, for instance—press Option and the function key to go to its preference pane. This trick also works with the Touch Bar.

Lots of detail here, terrific work.

This from an article about Samsung’s latest and greatest:

We tested the 6GB model of the Note 9 with 128GB of storage, and we’ve run a handful of benchmarks so far with more to come. Spoiler alert: the iPhone X is still faster.

And:

The cream of the crop remains the iPhone X, which scored 10,357 with its A11 Bionic processor. And with an A12-powered iPhone X and iPhone X Plus on the horizon, Apple will likely widen its lead.

Doomed.

Inc:

McDonald’s is giving away one McGold Cards away as part of a campaign to get people to download and use their McDonald’s mobile app. To enter you either download the app–or else just send the company an email, using the format we’ll show you below.

And:

A number of celebrities have claimed to have them, but it appears there may be only one true Gold Card that entitles the bearer to eat for free at McDonald’s anywhere in the world.

It’s owner: Bill Gates, who is the second-wealthiest person in the world, and who clearly can afford a Big Mac. Others apparently have gold cards issued by McDonald’s franchisees, which allow them to get free food but only at the restaurants owned by that franchisee.

The Gold Card giveaway is an odd marketing gimmick, but I suspect it will be effective. But what really pulled me in was the idea that Bill Gates has one.

I can’t help but wonder if Bill actually eats at McDonalds. I’ve heard that two more super-rich people do so: Warren Buffett and Larry Ellison both have a fondness for the Golden Arches. In fact, Warren Buffett is said to do a McDonalds drive through for breakfast every morning.

The mind reels.

John Gruber, Daring Fireball:

Here’s some interesting hiring news I’ve heard through the little birdie grapevine: Doug Field — who left Tesla in May after overseeing Model 3 production — has returned to Apple, working in Bob Mansfield’s project Titan group. Apple spokesperson Tom Neumayr confirmed with me only that Field has returned to Apple, but no one should find it surprising that he’s working on Titan.

Read Gruber’s post. Some fascinating and reasonable conjecture about Apple and a self-driving car of their own.

August 9, 2018

Jalopnik:

“It’s not my first day in New York. It’s not my first day in an aircraft. I did what I had to do. GOOD DAY.” So concluded a tiff between an Aer Lingus pilot caught in a jam and the New York City air traffic controller scolding him for said jam. It’s pretty hilarious.

There’s a lot of pilot-speak in this one, so if you haven’t watched it yet, I’ll help set it up a bit.

I don’t know if I’d call it an argument or hilarious but it is an at times testy exchange between the two and a little insight as to what all involved have to deal with in order to get us safely through the air.

Digital Camera World:

Peaking between 10-12 August this year, the Perseids occur when the nights are reliably warm and the skies are more likely to be clear. In 2018, there’s another bonus, and that’s moonlight – or, specifically, a lack of it. Photographing shooting stars this August, therefore, will be relatively straightforward.

So, are you ready to catch a falling star… or 50?

I’m really hoping the weather holds for us this weekend because I want to teach my son how to capture “shooting stars”. If you have the gear, it’s fairly easy to set up. Then you need a bit of luck to get good shots.

Street musician does masterful Pink Floyd cover in front of Pantheon in Rome

Wonderful performance. Amazing sound from such a small setup. Such a historic setting.

Watch for the cop to enter the picture.

This is a great new Apple Music feature, a weekly mix of 25 songs, culled from the folks you follow on Apple Music.

To find the Friends Mix:

  • On your iPhone, launch the Music app
  • Tap the For You tab
  • In the top row of playlists, tap and drag to the left. The Friends Mix is usually the second Mix.

If you don’t see the Friends Mix on your device, just wait a day or two. On my iPhone, it has come and gone a few times. I expect there is some tweaking going on on the server side and that it will settle in place after a bit.

On a related note, feel free to follow me, happy to follow you back. My Apple Music handle is zzdave. Here’s a link to my profile. To make your own profile link, substitute your Apple Music name for mine.

Searching for a friend? Try tapping the search tab in the Music app and either typing their name (for me, David Mark and not Dave Mark) or their Apple Music handle. Works well.

Rene Ritchie digs into the details of iPhone battery life

I love this video. Rene Ritchie digs into all aspects of iPhone battery life, taking on various myths and habits, laying out the details and truths behind each. Worth your time.

Imagine writing out some personalized instructions on how to use a piece of tech, say, for your mom or dad, instructions that strip away the complexity. Now take a look at the video in the embedded tweet:

This is a terrific use case.

This is a great intro from Benjamin Mayo, laying out the context of this excerpt from the upcoming book Inside Apple’s Design Process During the Golden Age of Steve Jobs, by Ken Kocienda.

This is Ken demoing one of the early iPhone keyboard candidates for Phil Schiller and then Tony Fadell. I found it a compelling read, a first person account from someone who was in the room, at least part of the time, as the new iPhone came into being.

On my must read list. The book ships September 4th. You can pre-order it on Amazon and iBooks.

Good for Verizon customers, but a solid promotional win for Apple Music.

I’m assuming Apple is counting these signups as paid memberships. Question is, how many of these folks will start paying once their 6 free months are up? I think more than a few. Good move on both sides here.

August 8, 2018

Marques Brownlee: The 2019 iPhone X Models

First things first, the appearance here is that someone leaked actual production cases of the soon-to-be-announced new iPhone models. If they are fakes, as opposed to leaks, they are damned good fakes.

Either way, take this video with a big grain of salt.

Fake? Real? History as our guide, we’ll know more in about a month.