November 20, 2015

The New York Times:

For those who own Japanese toilets, there is a cultish devotion. They boast heated seats, a bidet function for a rear cleanse and an air-purifying system that deodorizes during use. The need for toilet paper is virtually eliminated (there is an air dryer) and “you left the lid up” squabbles need never take place (the seat lifts and closes automatically in many models).

When I was in Tokyo and had to use one of these, I was completely embarrassed by my inability to figure out how to use it. I literally had to ask my host how to operate the toilet.

I laughed and nearly spit out my coffee when I read Gruber’s comment about Jimmy Iovine.

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Jimmy Iovine. Stop putting him out there.

A lot has been written about Jimmy Iovine’s comments on CBS This Morning. The video of his interview is embedded below. Jimmy starts to speak about 1:37 in. Go watch, then come back.

First off, I am a fan of Jimmy’s work in music. He’s a smart person, has a fantastic sense of what works musically and really knows the music business.

But for whatever reason, he falls apart when put in front of an audience and asked to discuss technology. Back in June, Iovine went on stage as one of the WWDC presenters, and he was a nervous, stumbling wreck. He was a fish out of water, out of touch with the technology between him and the music.

This appearance on CBS This Morning added a sexist [Dave: I incorrectly used the word misogynistic, certainly a mistake on my part. Sexist is closer, I think] turn. Apple can’t keep putting him out there. Bad for Apple Music, bad for Jimmy Iovine.


“The data would suggest prudence about Swatch,” wrote Luca Solca, an analyst at Exane BNP Paribas in a note to investors. The watchmaker will find it harder to fight inventory build-up due to the difficult wholesale watch market and a significant number of new models the watchmaker is introducing, Solca said.

More importantly:

Competition from Apple Inc.’s smartwatch has also weighed on low-end brands of timepieces. Fossil Group Inc., a U.S. watchmaker, saw its stock slump 37 percent Nov. 13 after saying fourth-quarter sales may decline as much as 16 percent amid competition with wearable technology.

My 2 cents: It’s only going to get worse. The watch industry is making a long, slow, left turn. There’s no putting this particular toothpaste back in the tube.

[Via Daring Fireball]

Serenity Caldwell on third party iPad styli:

Throughout five years of iPad stylus testing, I’ve never been able to find a stylus that perfectly and comfortably replicates the feeling of drawing in a sketchbook. Precision and lag are the top two triggers: If a stylus can’t repeatedly trace a small line—or does so slowly enough that I can’t figure out how to continue my drawing—it breaks the illusion. And the illusion is a very precarious one.

Enter Apple Pencil:

The Pencil is just as good a sketching tool as any Wacom pen. I don’t care that we don’t know its official pressure rating. It’s right. Apple got it right. The pressure, the accuracy, the lag, the palm rejection. My brain is fully and thoroughly tricked into believing it’s drawing on paper, and even the pen on glass sensation can’t convince me otherwise.

Great review. Apple Pencil is the iPad Pro’s killer app.

Note that the Apple Pencil is still a 4-5 week wait if you order it online. Some people have reported finding them in Apple Stores when new shipments come in, though they disappear pretty quickly. If you are willing to pay the premium, there are some on eBay as low as $138.

This is worth reading (it’s not too long and there are a few key steps worth understanding, especially when it comes to wiping your Mac) and bookmarking.

Here’s a link to Apple’s official support page for this issue.

Currently, it tells you to force restart to address this. Good that Apple is acknowledging the problem, good that there’s an official support page. Clearly, a force restart is just a stopgap solution.

If your iPad Pro has this issue, bookmark this link and check back in to see if there’s been an update.

Normally, when your mute switch is on, Siri will still speak responses to requests. For example, if you make a reminder, the mute switch will not prevent Siri from saying, “OK, I’ll remind you” out loud.

Follow the link to see how to disable this. Easy to do. Great tip.

Muppets Apple TV commercial

This is another short Apple TV spot, here and gone in 15 seconds. I wish this one was a bit longer. Muppets. Enjoy.

This is a great tip. In a nutshell, if you accidentally scrub to a new location on your Apple TV remote, tap the remote’s menu button and, bammo, you’re back where you were. Cool.

November 19, 2015

I’ve mentioned how much I love their products before—now you can get quality cases for the iPad Pro.

I don’t want an iPad to replace my Mac

There’s been a lot of talk about whether or not the iPad Pro can replace your Mac as a primary device. I think the simply answer to that question is, yes, it can. However, for me, the bigger question is do I want the iPad to replace my Mac? The answer to that question is, no.

I always see stories about people forcing themselves to use an iPad to see if it can replace their laptop or desktop computer. If you have to force yourself to substitute one device for another, then you’re not ready to make that switch. Forcing yourself and then talking about the dismal results or deficiencies or a product doesn’t help anyone.

There are a tremendous number of people out there that can use an iPad as their main computer. Those that surf the web, check email and social networks, and other touch oriented tasks where the iPad excels. There are those that can do complex tasks on iPad and use it as an everyday computer. This number is growing all the time.

I’m not suggesting the iPad isn’t powerful, because it is. The iPad Pro is more powerful than most of the PCs on the market today. What I am saying is that if you truly want an iPad to replace your Mac, it can. However, I just don’t think we are there yet.

iPad Pro pushes the envelope even further by opening up an entirely new category of users for iPad. There has never been a more powerful tablet and by bringing in creatives and professional people, iPad will grow.

I don’t believe we are ready for a single device to be our only computer. This is where I think Microsoft has fundamentally misjudged the market. They are trying to push a single device on consumers, and they don’t want it—yet.

The separate operating systems for touch-enabled devices and Macs is definitely the way to go in today’s market.

I’m very happy to have my iPads be complementary devices to my Macs. Maybe someday soon, I’ll be saying I’m happy to have my Mac as a complementary device to my iPad, but I’m not there yet. I suspect I’m not alone.

That’s not a knock on iPad, but more a simple truth of where we are with technology in 2015.

If you want an iPad to be your only computing device, then do it, it’s certainly capable. If you don’t, there is no reason to force yourself into it. Be happy with a Mac and an iPad—I am.

I own a lot of Toontrack products and they are all fantastic. This company gets music creation for all genres, but especially Metal.


Some of these are really great.

My favorite is Sugru, the putty that turns into rubber when it hardens. There’s an animated GIF about 2/3 of the way down the post that shows someone making cable tidies with it. Just perfect. I will be buying this.

Brian X Chen, writing for the New York Times:

It didn’t take much for Florian Seroussi, a technology investor in Manhattan, to become suspicious of his email.

His misgivings were sparked late one night last year when he opened a message from an entrepreneur who was asking him to invest in a start-up. Minutes later, Mr. Seroussi’s cellphone rang with a call from the same start-up executive.

Coincidence? Not to Mr. Seroussi. “What are the odds that at 10:30 at night, a guy suddenly has a vision that I’m reading his email?” he said. “They must know something that I don’t.”

It turned out that the start-up executive had planted a tracking mechanism into his message to Mr. Seroussi, a trend that is increasingly afflicting all of our email. Trackers, which come in many forms including a single invisible pixel inserted into an email or the hyperlinks embedded inside a message, are frequently being used to detect when someone opens a message and even where that person is when the email is opened. By some estimates, trackers are now used in as much as 60 percent of all sent emails.

This is why we can’t have nice things.

Comparing drawing capabilities of the iPad Pro and the Microsoft Surface Book

In the embedded video, Serenity Caldwell used the iPad Pro and the Surface Book (same screen as the Surface Pro 4) to do some similar sketching tasks using built in tools, all with informative running commentary.

Later in the video, Serenity switches the Surface Book to desktop mode and uses the tablet to draw with the Photoshop. Next, she moves to the iPad Pro, using Photoshop’s iOS tools (pieces of the full Photoshop, all designed to create content, which you then share using Creative Cloud).

To my untrained eye, the iPad Pro seems much more responsive, the Apple Pencil more precise. As you watch the video, watch as Serenity pinches to shrink her drawings. The iPad Pro seems to respond immediately, while the Surface Book seems to do a bit of thinking first. This could be the video, but it does seem consistent throughout the video. And, of course, Serenity’s comments about the precision of the Surface stylus support this notion.

On the other hand, consider that the Surface Book has access to the full version of Photoshop, while the iPad Pro uses lighter weight apps specifically designed for iOS, all designed to share back to the cloud and/or your Mac.

Be sure to take a look at this video as well, where Serenity uses Astropad to connect her iPad Pro to her computer, emulating a Wacom Cintiq tablet.

Australia, American Express, and Apple Pay: The ads

These ads are like music to my ears. If you like the one below, here’s another. And another.

Last night, I saw this tweet from Federico Viticci:

Two months after the launch of iOS 9, there are no Content Blockers in the Top 150 Paid charts for iPhone (US App Store).

I dug into the paid and free lists on the app store and, sure enough, I couldn’t find an ad blocker in the top paid or top free list. So I dug a bit further.

Searching the top Utilities list, the first paid ad blocker I encountered was Crystal at #36 and, remarkably, no ad blockers breaking the top 100 on the free list.

Searching the Productivity category, the only paid ad blocker I could find was Purify (#10) and, again, no free ad blockers in the top 100.

Why is this? What happened here?

One possible factor is that ad blockers are reasonably easy to create. It’s possible that so many were created, they diluted the market, making it difficult for one to grab enough market share to crack the top 100 overall.

Another (perhaps obvious) factor could be the drop in attention, fewer bloggers writing about ad blockers. While iPhones are still selling like hotcakes, it could be that new buyers are not aware of ad blockers and the difference they make to the browsing experience.

It’d be interesting to see a survey showing the percentage of iOS 9 users with ad blockers installed. I suspect it’s a relatively small percentage. Just like two factor authentication, something that has obvious value does not always guarantee wide adoption.

Sagar Malviya & Writankar Mukherjee, writing for The Economic Times:

Apple crossed the $1-billion sales mark in Indian operations for the first time in the year ended March, according to results filed with the Registrar of Companies (RoC) on Wednesday.

That’s a 43.8% growth in sales and a 203% growth in net profit.

Analysts attributed this to the surge in demand for iPhones with sales growing upwards of 35 per cent quarter-on-quarter in the last two years.

Huge growth.

Neil Hughes, writing for Apple Insider:

IBM Watson Trend is a free download from the iOS App Store, designed for both iPhone and iPad. It uses IBM’s supercomputer technology to read and interpret millions of reviews, expert blogs and social media conversations to determine what gifts people are talking about.

By far the most popular device on the list is the Apple Watch, which has maintained a “trend score” above 90 (out of 100) since mid-August. With a perfect score of 100 as of Wednesday, the Apple Watch has a score nearly double that of the next closest product: Samsung TVs.

Of course, the Watson algorithm simply says that users are talking about the Apple Watch, not necessarily buying it. Apple’s actual hottest selling product is the iPhone lineup, which observers expect to sell nearly 80 million units in this quarter alone.

It’ll be interesting to see if talking about buying an Apple Watch actually translates into sales.

November 18, 2015


Amazon’s Two-Step Verification adds an additional layer of security to your account. Instead of simply entering your password, Two-Step Verification requires you to enter a unique security code in addition to your password during sign in.

You’ll enter your sign in information like you normally would, but then you’ll be prompted to enter a security code. You can receive this security code in a variety of ways depending on the option you select during sign up, including text message, voice call, or authenticator app.

Some folks will think this kind of security is inconvenient. But any time I give a company my credit card info and I want that info stored on their site, I feel more comfortable if the site offers this additional level of security.


Apple Inc. and Google Inc. face renewed calls to create a workaround for smartphone encryption in the wake of the Paris attacks as Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. proposed a compromise that seeks to mollify privacy advocates.

Vance and FBI Director James Comey echoed recent comments by CIA and Justice Department officials who cite the need for access to stay a step ahead of terrorists who may use encryption to hide planned attacks. Underlining their point, French authorities said predawn raids in a Paris suburb were triggered by information gleaned from a discarded mobile phone.

“The line to protect the public should not be drawn by two companies who make smartphones,” Vance said Wednesday at a cybersecurity conference in New York where he unveiled a 42-page white paper on the issue. His plan would require companies to download data for investigators with a warrant, rather than providing the government with a “backdoor.”

Let’s hope these companies continue to push back against the government’s desire to use our devices against us.

You know how when you turn your face up into the bright sunlight, even on the coldest winter day, it can totally lift your mood? Well, that’s what our latest limited-edition, seasonal release is all about.

I love Field Notes. I’ve had them with me for years for jotting notes and doing interviews.

Dan and Jim talk about the Australian Apple Store incident, a converged iPad/Mac, the iPad Pro, setting up an iMac for guitar jams, and more.

Brought to you by:

lynda (Visit to get free 10-day trial access to their 3,000+ videos)

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The job of pilots like Royal is to fly directly at monstrous thunderstorms—something most pilots diligently avoid, given that the turbulent airflow in these storms occasionally brings down commercial jetliners—and discharge chemicals into a particular part of the cloud, a technique called “cloud seeding” intended to suppress the storm’s ability to produce hail.

But on this late June day, the storm racing across the prairie is outmaneuvering the 22-year-old Texan pilot. “I started approaching from the east, which is the front of the storm and should have been kind of calm,” says Royal, “but it was so turbulent that my seatbelt wouldn’t even stay fastened.”

I’m not a good flyer at the best of times. There’s not enough money in the world to get me to get into one of those little planes on a good day, let alone to fly deliberately into a thunderstorm.


A recent report by the non-profit group MediaSmarts says nearly a quarter of Canadian children in Grade 4 — some as young as eight years old — own their own cellphone.

That number jumps to more than 50 per cent for students in Grade 7.

Interestingly (or frighteningly for some parents), of those Grade 4s with phones, the report says about one-fifth are on social networks, even though Facebook and Twitter and Snapchat (and others) all have policies that require users to be at least 13 years old.

Not having kids of my own, I’m always interested in how parents with young ones deal with this. At what age did/will you give your kid a cell phone? Do iOS and Android have “enough” parental controls to make you comfortable that your child can use the phone the way you want them to?

The Verge:

On the surface (and even under the hood), these top living room contenders share a lot of the same features, with the exception of 4K video support. Which means the best experience really comes down to the interface, the app ecosystem, and available content.

It was a tough call this year, but one new streaming-video device nudged its way past the others.

The answer will likely not surprise you but, what was interesting to me was how close the three runner-ups came in the scoring.


Ian McIntosh was maybe five turns into a first descent of a jagged Alaskan peak when things went wrong. The 34-year-old Canadian pro skier was filming a segment for Teton Gravity Research and carving down a face the film crew dubbed “Daybreak Spines.” The light was playing tricks on him, and early-morning shadows made a long spine look easy to cross over. It wasn’t. McIntosh hit it hard and dropped five feet into a trough he didn’t know existed. Then he started rolling.

McIntosh says he was immediately certain of one thing: “I knew I was going to the bottom,” he says. “I knew I was going for a ride.” Then all he could think was, Am I going to get traumatically injured by tomahawking down this mountain? and Please be over.

The video of this is almost painful to watch. The audio makes it even more so.