Elon Musk: All charged up in Berlin


Handelsblatt: Apple just hired some of Tesla’s most important engineers. Do you have to worry about a new competitor?

Musk: Important engineers? They have hired people we’ve fired. We always jokingly call Apple the “Tesla Graveyard.” If you don’t make it at Tesla, you go work at Apple. I’m not kidding.

Handelsblatt: Do you take Apple’s ambitions seriously?

Musk: Did you ever take a look at the Apple Watch? (laughs) No, seriously: It’s good that Apple is moving and investing in this direction. But cars are very complex compared to phones or smartwatches. You can’t just go to a supplier like Foxconn and say: Build me a car. But for Apple, the car is the next logical thing to finally offer a significant innovation. A new pencil or a bigger iPad alone were not relevant enough.

Yet another person who should know better being dismissive of Apple. Remember when cell phone manufacturers said it’s not easy to make a phone and that Apple couldn’t just walk in and take over? How’d that work out for them?

Silicon Valley will barely recognize the ‘Steve Jobs’ in new movie


Academy Award-winning screenwriter Aaron Sorkin uses actual events to take the audience on an imagined — as in, fictional — series of fast-paced exchanges in the minutes before the curtain would rise on the introduction of each product.

But the writer and director weren’t looking to create a biopic that rigidly adhered to the details of Jobs’s life — rather, they wanted to create an “impressionistic portrait” that drew from real-life events.

The story is populated by events that never happened — such as a dramatic reimagining of preparations for the Mac’s demo in which it blows up in rehearsal, instead of declaring, “Hello, I am Macintosh. It sure is great to get out of that bag” — and long, stinging exchanges that aren’t drawn from any of the six biographies written about Jobs.

I’ll still see the movie but will be disappointed if only because I would have preferred more “reality”. Steve Jobs was such a fascinating person that his life story, in my opinion, doesn’t need the kinds of embellishments described in this review.

Lightroom mobile app for iOS is now a standalone image editor free for everyone

The Next Web:

Lightroom for mobile on iOS can now be used locally on your phone or tablet without the desktop Lightroom app, without a Creative Cloud Photography Plan subscription and even without an Adobe ID. The same feature is coming soon to Android.

This move is part of an overall desire to broaden the audience. By letting people use Lightroom for mobile without Creative Cloud, Adobe is making the app competitive with other popular standalone photo editing apps like Snapseed or Pixelmator’s mobile version.

I use and love the desktop version of Lightroom and this will be another tool I can use when I’m out and about using my iPad.

Beats Pill speaker gets an Apple-flavored redesign


The first Pill has sold more than a million units since its debut in 2012. Though it’s a hit, it’s gotten long in the tooth and the audio quality is really poor. That makes the Pill the perfect thing to tear down and rebuild. (Also, Bluetooth speakers are way easier than headphones.)

The result, the Beats Pill+, sounds much better, looks much better, and is a far more enticing product than its predecessor. It’s more than just a new piece of mobile candy. It’s an opportunity for Apple to show the extent to which it can shape the design of hardware coming out of its subsidiary.

We won’t know for sure until reviewers get units in hand for testing but the early comments from the Beats demo sound promising. I don’t read anything that makes me want to give up my Libratone Zipp speaker though.

Steve Jobs: “Marketing is about Values”

ideaMachine Studio:

We stumbled upon the Steve Jobs “Think Different” marketing campaign speech in light of the new movie release this weekend. As animators, we were really struck when he paused for a good while before he said “… marketing… is about values.” We could see in his body that this thought weighed on him. And, in fact, that thought would determine the direction of Apple for the next two decades.

For Jobs, Apple was not about “making boxes for people to get their jobs done.” He and his executive team needed to be about something more. They needed to think beyond the equipment… beyond the dollars, toward something more. They needed to live in service to a higher calling. It’s hard to hear this speech without being moved. Not just because we are hearing a speech from a dead man, but because we know what Steve Jobs is saying is true. Our studio was challenged by this very real moment. Were we just clocking in and clocking out? Were we living from dollar to dollar? Or, were we working for something more?

I’ve seen this video before but the folks at ideaMachine Studio did some great work in cleaning it up. I may be a bit too cynical and jaded to attribute as much to the speech as they do but I certainly believe the sentiment is in Apple’s DNA. They don’t just want to make money. They really do want to change the world.

“Moments” is Twitter’s latest attempt to make its service less confusing


Twitter’s strength has always been hosting conversations around live events, but it’s not always easy to find them. Doing so often requires some savvy, juggling multiple tabs within Twitter’s app—not to mention knowing the right hashtags and accounts to follow.

Moments is designed to untangle some of these complexities by relying on curation to surface such conversations. Both Twitter’s staff and its partners—including NASA, Major League Baseball, the Washington Post, the New York Times, and BuzzFeed—will package tweets into collections, which will show up under a new tab called Moments.

I don’t know if I’d describe “Twitter’s strength” in that way but anything Twitter can do to make the service “less confusing” to new users is good for the company and will help keep the investor wolves from their door. Personally, I don’t find Twitter all that confusing but then again, I’ve been using it from the beginning. Am I wrong? Is Twitter confusing for new users?

Apple co-founder’s allies take aim at Hollywood over “Steve Jobs”

The Wall Street Journal:

Four years after Steve Jobs’s death, a new movie is reopening a debate over the Apple Inc. co-founder’s legacy.

Mr. Jobs’s allies, led by his widow, Laurene Powell Jobs, say the film “Steve Jobs,” and other recent depictions, play down his accomplishments and paint Mr. Jobs as cruel and inhumane. Ms. Jobs repeatedly tried to kill the film, according to people familiar with the conversations. She lobbied, among others, Sony Pictures Entertainment, which developed the script but passed on the movie for financial reasons, and Comcast Corp.’s Universal Pictures, which is releasing the $33.5 million production on Friday.

“A whole generation is going to think of him in a different way if they see a movie that depicts him in a negative way,” said Bill Campbell, a longtime Apple board member and friend of Mr. Jobs. Mr. Campbell hasn’t seen the film.

I don’t know that I agree with Campbell on his assessment of Jobs’ legacy and whether or not this movie will taint it. I doubt it. The debate will continue for generations with each making their own evaluations.

The most interesting tidbit in this story, and a piece of information that hadn’t been disclosed up until now, is the fact that Wozniak was paid $200,000 to consult on the film.

6 fantastic (and free) video editing apps for iOS


Personal videos have long been an integral part of our lives, allowing us to share and cherish memories with our friends and family. Apple’s recent release of the iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s+ have introduced ultra high-definition 4K video recording to a massive new audience. With such a powerful device, you may want to tweak your footage before you share it. Today, we are taking a quick look at five different editing solutions for your iOS device.

As a photographer, I don’t mess around with video on my iPhone very much but when I do, I use a couple of these free apps to quickly bang out something I can post online.

All 8,400 Apollo Moon Mission photos just went online

Mother Jones:

Every photo ever taken by Apollo astronauts on moon missions is now available online, on the Project Apollo Archive’s Flickr account. That’s about 8,400 images, grouped by the roll of film they were shot on. You can finally see all the blurry images, mistakes, and unrecognized gems for yourself. The unprocessed Hasseblad photos (basically raw scans of the negatives) uploaded by the Project Apollo Archive offer a fascinating behind-the-scenes peek at the various moon missions as well as lots and lots (and lots) of photos detailing the surface of the moon.

This is one of those Flickr pages you don’t want to go to unless you have a lot of free time this afternoon.

Apple CEO Tim Cook: ‘Privacy is a fundamental human right’


Apple has long touted the power and design of its devices, but recently the world’s most valuable company has been emphasizing another feature: privacy. That’s no small matter when many users store important private data on those devices: account numbers, personal messages, photos.

Apple CEO Tim Cook talks to NPR’s Robert Siegel about how the company protects its customers’ data, and how it uses — or doesn’t use — that information.

Yet another fascinating interview with Cook. He is really hammering home the security and privacy angle of Apple’s corporate position.

Amazon to ban sale of Apple, Google video-streaming devices


Amazon.com Inc. will stop selling media-streaming devices from Google Inc. and Apple Inc. that aren’t easily compatible with its video service, the latest example of the company using its clout to promote products that fit with its own retailing strategy.

The Seattle-based Web retailer sent an e-mail to its marketplace sellers that it will stop selling the Apple TV and Google’s Chromecast since those devices don’t “interact well” with Prime Video. No new listings for the products will be allowed and posting of existing inventory will be removed Oct. 29, Amazon said.

Interesting, if foolhardy, move by Amazon. They want to push sales of their own product so much, they are willing to give up the revenue generated by the more popular competitors products. I bet this means we won’t be seeing Amazon’s Prime Video on the Apple TV anytime soon.

How Steve Jobs fleeced Carly Fiorina


Ms. Fiorina’s trainwreck stint at HP has been well documented. But I want to address one tiny but telling aspect of her misbegotten reign: an episode that involved her good friend Steve Jobs. It is the story of the HP iPod.

The iPod, of course, was Apple’s creation, a groundbreaking digital music player that let you have “a music library in your pocket.” Introduced in 2001, it gained steam over the next few years and by the end of 2003, the device was a genuine phenomenon. So it was news that in January 2004, Steve Jobs and Carly Fiorina made a deal where HP could slap its name on Apple’s wildly successful product. Nonetheless, HP still managed to botch things. It could not have been otherwise, really, because Steve Jobs totally outsmarted the woman who now claims she can run the United States of America.

I can talk about this with some authority. Not only have I written a book about the iPod, but I interviewed Fiorina face to face when she introduced the HP iPod at the 2004 Consumer Electronics Show, and then got Steve Jobs’s side of the story.

Hindsight is 20/20 but many of us saw this deal as a “Huh? WHY!?” kind of move by HP. Many more of us predicted it would be a disaster, but not for Apple.

Is the new iPhone waterproof?


Over the weekend some brave Apple fans introduced their new iPhones to a life aquatic. The phones didn’t always emerge unscathed, but the overall trend is clear: the 6s and 6s Plus are dramatically less prone to liquid damage than their predecessors.

So, what changed? After disassembling a couple of new iPhones in the name of science, here’s what we found.

Remember, “dramatically less prone to liquid damage” does not mean “waterproof”. You still need to be very careful about getting your expensive electronics wet but it’s good to see Apple is taking baby steps towards helping the clumsy among us not damage our phones.

Apple blows up the concept of a privacy policy


Privacy is something everyone should care about. But studies continue to indicate that people either aren’t aware of what they’re giving up, or they don’t understand the implications.

Apple is blowing that up a bit today by expanding on its privacy page and presenting its policies in clear language, with extensive supporting data. Whether it’s government information requests (94% of that is trying to find stolen iPhones, and only 6% is law enforcement seeking personal information) or how consumer-facing features like iMessage, Apple Pay, Health and HomeKit are set up to protect user information; the sense is one of confidence in its stance.

This has been a long time coming and no surprise that it’s coming from Apple. I expect Samsung (and other companies) to copy this new stance shortly.

L.A. Unified to get $6.4 million in settlement over iPad software

LA Times:

The Los Angeles Unified School District has reached a tentative $6.4-million settlement over curriculum from education software giant Pearson that the school system said its teachers barely used.

The pact is the latest fallout from an aborted $1.3-billion plan to provide an iPad to every student, teacher and campus administrator in the nation’s second-largest school district.

The Board of Education is expected to vote on the settlement in October. The bidding process that led to the original contract is the subject of an FBI investigation.

This has been a long, drawn out embarrassment for Apple, a company that prides itself on its work with schools. While the case isn’t entirely over, this settlement at least paves the way for all parties to move on.

Chipworks: Both Samsung and TSMC are making the A9 chip for Apple

Ars Technica:

The only thing that most people will need to know about Apple’s A9 is that it’s a whole lot faster than last year’s A8. But for those of you who are more interested in chip design, Chipworks has unearthed an interesting tidbit: there are two different versions of the A9 chip, one manufactured by Samsung and another by Taiwan Semiconductor (TSMC). Most interestingly, Samsung’s version (the APL0898) has a slightly smaller footprint than the TSMC version (APL1022).

There have long been rumors that Apple was dual-sourcing the A8 from Samsung and TSMC, but this is the first visual proof that we’ve seen of the practice. iPhone and iPad processors up to and including the A7 were all made by Samsung.

This is really “inside baseball” for a lot of folks but it does beg the question of why is Apple doing this? To keep Samsung “honest”? Or are they prepping TSMC to take over chip design?

Spectral evidence for hydrated salts in recurring slope lineae on Mars

Nature Geoscience:

Determining whether liquid water exists on the Martian surface is central to understanding the hydrologic cycle and potential for extant life on Mars. Recurring slope lineae, narrow streaks of low reflectance compared to the surrounding terrain, appear and grow incrementally in the downslope direction during warm seasons.

Our findings strongly support the hypothesis that recurring slope lineae form as a result of contemporary water activity on Mars.

I link directly to the research study because I love the language they use. Bottom line? There is not only water on Mars (we knew that already. It’s in the form of ice) but that it actually flows – “liquid water” – in Mars’ summer months.

These pictures of you

M.G. Siegler:

Anyone who thinks Apple’s new ‘Live Photos’ element of the iPhone 6s (and 6s Plus) is a gimmick is a fool that doesn’t understand Apple — and may not understand human nature and emotions. I actually think this is one of the more brilliant features Apple has released in a while.

It’s no accident that people with children immediately realize the value in this feature.

I haven’t seen Live Photos in action but it’s been interesting talking to people who have. No one has dismissed it as “just a gimmick” and those with young children echo Siegler – they think it is a brilliant idea.

GoPro HERO+: a wallet-friendly $200 action camera with 1080p and wi-fi


GoPro just further expanded its action camera lineup after announcing the HERO+ LCD back in June. The new HERO+ is an even more affordable camera that drops the LCD screen while retaining 1080p60 recording and Wi-Fi connectivity.

The HERO+ can also capture 720p60 video, 8-megapixel photos, time-lapses, and burst mode photos. Other features and specs of the camera include an durable (integrated) housing that’s waterproof down to 131 feet (40m), Bluetooth connectivity, GoPro’s new built-in trimming and sharing, QuikCapture (powering up and starting video recording with one button), and HiLight Tag for selecting key moments while filming.

If you’re looking for a very good and very inexpensive action camera, GoPro is your best bet. This would be a great Christmas gift for a kid who was into BMX or other high motion activities. I’ve been thinking of getting one for my motorcycle until I realized, the video wouldn’t really be all that exciting.

The ultimate iPhone camera comparison: How does the iPhone 6s camera compare to every other iPhone?

Lisa Bettany:

In the past eight years, each new advancement in iPhone camera technology has made dramatic improvements to image quality. The new 12-megapixel iPhone 6s iSight camera is no exception. With 50% more megapixels than the last four iPhone 8-megapixel models, the iPhone 6s boasts a number of key improvements including: improved auto-focus, local tone-mapping, noise reduction, and colour separation, with that fancy “deep trench isolation” technology Apple is raving about.

In this follow-up post to my previous iPhone comparisons, I present a 9 iPhone comparison from all iPhone versions taken with Camera+ including: the original iPhone, iPhone 3G, iPhone 3Gs, iPhone 4, iPhone 4s, iPhone 5, iPhone 5s, iPhone 6, and the new iPhone 6s, in a variety of real-life situations to test each iPhone camera’s capabilities.

The results are predictable (after all, it’s expected the camera would get better with each generation) but seeing them on the page is very interesting especially considering how “great” many of us thought the original iPhone was at taking pictures.

How to watch the ‘blood moon’ total lunar eclipse live online tonight


Tonight — Sunday, Sept. 27 — you can see the first “supermoon” total lunar eclipse in 30 years. The moon will turn red, which is normal for a lunar eclipse, but this rare event will be bigger and brighter than those of the past few decades. That’s because the eclipse will coincide with a supermoon — a “very rare” alignment that won’t happen again until 2033.

Check this map to see if you live where the eclipse will be visible. If you don’t live in a visible region, or a big city with too many tall obstructions or a lot of light pollution, bookmark this page.

We won’t see the full effect here on the West Coast but if you’re lucky enough to be able to get outside and see it clearly, don’t miss it. Otherwise, like so many other things nowadays, you can watch online.

Luna Solaria: a moon phases app

Moon Connection:

Now you can have accurate, attractive Moon and Sun details at your fingertips. View a beautiful real-time image of the current Moon phase, complete with technical data. Quickly see if the Moon is above the horizon on the Lunar Position screen, along with Moon rise and set times and precise Moon position in the sky. If you also want to know Sun rise and set times, look at the Solar Position screen.

Tonight’s total eclipse of the Super Harvest Moon could be spectacular, depending on the weather in your area. Use this free app to figure its position in your night sky.

Ryot in Haiti: Shot in 4K entirely on the iPhone 6s Plus


The film tells the story of one citizen from Jalouzi, one of the largest slums in Haiti, who is determined to bring color to the impoverished area by helping paint the entire town, literally.

Believing that color has the power to transform his community, he’s helping to paint everywhere – on houses, on buses, and the entire hillside. Armed with brushes of bright blues, pastel pinks, and sunshine yellows, he’s helping to mobilize citizens of all ages, determined to turn the grey town into a rainbow full of color to lead the way to a brighter Haiti.

I don’t care much that it was shot on any particular device. But it is a wonderful film full of hope for the future of one of the most impoverished places in the world.

Apple propels an ad-blocking cottage industry

The Wall Street Journal:

Eyeo GmbH, the company behind popular desktop ad-blocking tool Adblock Plus, now accepts payment from around 70 companies in exchange for letting their ads through its filter. Eyeo stipulates that they must comply with its “acceptable ads” policy, meaning their ads aren’t too disruptive or intrusive to users. In total, ads from some 700 companies meet the acceptable ads policy, an Eyeo spokesman said.

Eyeo is now reaching out to developers of other ad-blocking tools to cut deals that allow certain ads to pass ads through their filters, too, in exchange for payment.

(Dean) Murphy (who created Crystal, an application to help users block ads on Apple Inc.’s mobile devices) said he has taken Eyeo up on its offer, and plans to implement an option within his app whereby “acceptable” ads will be displayed to users. The feature will be switched on by default, Mr. Murphy said, and he will receive a flat monthly fee from Eyeo in return.

This is a predictable situation and it will only get worse or better depending on your point of view.

How much do you know about science topics?

Pew Research:

Test your knowledge of science facts and applications of scientific principles by taking our short 12-question quiz. Then see how you did in comparison with a nationally representative group of 3,278 randomly selected U.S. adults surveyed online and by mail between Aug. 11 and Sept. 3, 2014 as members of the Pew Research Center’s American Trends Panel.When you finish, you will be able to compare your scores with the average American and compare responses across demographic groups.

I got 11 out of 12. I should have aced it if I had only thought a little longer about one of the questions. According to Mental Floss, only 6 percent of Americans aced this basic science survey. How did you do?

RCMP not kidding about bringing chips, salsa to party


Mounties from the southern Saskatchewan detachment became a viral hit when they got wind of a weekend party involving local youth and posted about it on Facebook.

They warned the students they could face hefty fines if there were any laws broken, such as underage drinking or littering.

They also said officers from the detachment would show up with chips and salsa.

It turns out they weren’t kidding.

Another in a long line of reasons why I love my country.

Ad blocking and the future of the Web

Jeffrey Zeldman:

Advertisers don’t want to be ignored, and they are drunk on our data, which is what Google and other large networks are really selling. The ads are almost a by-product; what companies really want to know is what antiperspirant a woman of 25–34 is most likely to purchase after watching House of Cards. Which gets us into issues of privacy and spying and government intrusion and don’t ask.

And in this environment of sites so cluttered with misleading ads they are almost unnavigable, Apple looks heroic, riding to the consumer’s rescue by providing all the content from newspapers without the ads, and by blocking ugly advertising on websites. But if they succeed, will media companies and independent sites survive?

This issue is far from over. We have no idea how this is going to shake out, who will adapt and survive and who will fold. I do believe it is an issue ad publishers have largely brought on themselves. But it’s a shame there is and will continue to be a lot of collateral damage in this so-called Apple vs Google War.

“Steve Jobs: The Man In the Machine” — An Apple Hater’s Manifesto

Huffington Post:

it really bums me out that The Man In the Machine makes little attempt to portray someone who was, by most accounts, a complex, iconic, but all-too-flawed man who, over the course of his career, could be both inventor and thief, monk and businessman, brat and sage, tyrant and beloved leader, and managed to use those conflicting traits to both change the world and create the most valuable, influential, and admired company on the planet.

Instead, The Man In the Machine is focused largely on the thesis that Jobs was always and only a jerk, that people who enjoy Apple products and admire Jobs are idiots and cult members, and that the computer revolution that was born of Jobs’ vision must inevitably contain the same ugly darkness Gibney feels is Jobs’ defining trait, despite any evidence to the contrary.

This review of the documentary tracks with how I felt about it. Not only was it simply inaccurate in places, it seemed to have its premise in place long before the facts were in evidence. It had Joe Nocera, a journalist who famously wrote “Apple hit pieces” for the New York Times, exclaim he didn’t understand the allure of the iPhone. “It’s just a phone!” That’s like not understanding the sex appeal of a Ferrari because it’s “just” a car. Overall, even though I had high hopes for the movie because of the director’s previous work,I was very disappointed in this documaentary.

50 of our best

The new York Times:

We’ve chosen some of our best works or collections of works that have appeared since we began offering digital subscriptions in 2011.

While certainly not exhaustive, the list demonstrates the breadth, creativity and impact of The Times.

One of the things the NYT does really well is these long-form, investigative articles. “Punched Out: The Life and Death of a Hockey Enforcer” was a heartbreaking look into the life of a hockey player I was a big fan of during his playing days.

Tim Cook to be on “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert”

Stephen Colbert:

“Siri, put Apple CEO Tim Cook on my calendar for Tuesday, Sept. 15. Oh, and come up with some questions to ask him.”

Looks like I’ll be watching Colbert on Tuesday. I wonder if the bar in the resort I’m staying at in Mexico will carry it?