June 25, 2015

Alright boys and girls, get ready to be schooled. A new study conducted by the University of Queensland’s School of Psychology has found that listening to extreme music like heavy metal can help people process anger and even increase their positive emotions, like inspiration.

Clearly this is me.

Jim and Dan speculate on what really happened with the Apple Music policy change, and talk about the changing music industry, Eddie Van Halen, The Terminator, and more.

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I must have this. Much respect to this guy.

Arnold Schwarzenegger goes undercover as the Terminator

Schwarzenegger may be a real life jerk but he is a publicity machine and will do whatever it takes to promote his projects. This is a great stunt. I can’t wait to see the movie. The theme music alone gives me chills.

The new York Times:

For the last 12 years, Mr. Lowe has been a top tastemaker on the BBC’s Radio 1 by championing brand-new music, landing interviews with stars like Kanye West and running his show with a frenetic production style inspired by hip-hop itself. Now he is preparing for a much broader role as the guiding voice of Beats 1, a free Internet radio station from Apple that on Tuesday will begin broadcasting to smartphones and laptops around the world — an experiment, of sorts, to reinvent live radio.

I hope we see profiles of the other two featured DJs for Beats 1. This is an aspect of Apple Music I find especially interesting and, I think, will make or break the service.

Jason Snell, writing for MacWorld:

I’m not feeling a lot of love for OS X El Capitan out there. That might not be surprising, given that it’s firmly in the tradition of Mountain Lion and Snow Leopard–new-feature-light, speed-and-stability-focused OS X updates.

But as someone who reviewed Snow Leopard and Mountain Lion, I can tell you that not only did these cat modifier cat releases contain a bunch of bug fixes and other internal tweaks, they also managed to add a bunch of new features, too. Apple can’t help itself.

So let me present to you six reasons to be excited about what’s coming in El Capitan.

This is a solid take on some of what’s coming with OS X El Capitan. My hope is that, as with any stability-focused release, Apple has taken the time to get under the hood and do a bit of tune-up.

PIAS Entertainment Group And Play It Again Sam recordings, reached an agreement with Apple Music for their large roster of independent artists.

Thiese quotes are from TheQuietus.com:

On Monday, Apple Music agreed to pay royalties to rights holders during the three-month free trial period offered to users of their service. This came after days of uncertainty and disagreements that came to a head with Taylor Swift penning an open letter criticising Apple’s initial decision not to pay. Now label group PIAS have issued a statement that concludes “despite what one might read, this was not entirely down to Taylor Swift.”

And:

Adrian Pope, Managing Director of PIAS, says: “ Over the last three weeks or so we and others have worked hard to secured a range of significant benefits, protections and improvements on the originally proposed terms.

And:

“A key point of improvement is that we will now receive a per stream payment from day 1 of any free trial period. Other controls and protections have been added such that we feel this is a genuinely good deal for the labels and artists we represent. It should be noted that [PIAS] made it contingent that in us approving this agreement the same terms would be made available to all 4000+ independent labels, thus providing a fair playing field for all.”

Interesting.

Ben Sisario, writing for the New York Times:

For each song that is streamed free, Apple will pay 0.2 cent for the use of recordings, a rate that music executives said was roughly comparable to the free tiers from services like Spotify. This rate does not include a smaller payment for songwriting rights that goes to music publishers; Apple is still negotiating with many publishers over those terms, several publishing companies confirmed on Wednesday.

First things first, the money Apple will pay out during each free trial period is still under negotiation. It will be more than .2 cents a song. How much more is not yet known.

But at .2 cents a song, if you listen to 5,000 songs, Apple will shell out $10 for usage rights. Spread over 30 days, that’s 167 songs a day.

At an average song length of 3.5 minutes (your mileage may vary, but here’s one take at that math), that’s almost 10 hours a day of wall-to-wall music.

Very few people will hit that threshold. According to a survey by Edison Research, Americans listen to an average of just over 4 hours of music a day. That’s about 70 songs a day.

At that rate, Apple will pay out about 70 x 30 x .2 cents = $4.20 per month for each trial period user. Add in publishing costs, as well as other costs associated with running a business, and there’s enough cash going out to make it clear why Apple hesitated before agreeing (rightly so) to pay artists for that free trial period.

Lory Gil, writing for iDownloadBlog:

FirstLetter is a game that was specifically designed for Apple Watch. It is playable on the iPhone, but its minimalist design and simple game mechanics make it perfect for the wrist worn device.

As things currently stand, the interface options for an Apple Watch app are quite limited. And that fact puts a real crimp in the design efforts for any sort of Apple Watch game. But FirstLetter is pretty simple and provides a good template for Apple Watch game design.

Another point worth noting is the price. It’s free, with an ad-canceling version, available via in-app purchase, for $1.99.

To be clear, FirstLetter is not necessarily my cup of tea, but it does show off a particular gaming mechanism that works well on the Apple Watch.

June 24, 2015

I don’t think Beats sound particularly good, but it’s an interesting article.

The Dalrymple Report with Merlin Mann: It Started With a Walk

Essential apps, what makes a great app, and some stuff about KISS.

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Dropbox made itself a household name by giving away cloud storage. The eight-year-old company, valued at $10 billion, had 300 million registered users a year ago; now it’s got 400 million. Its two-year-old effort to make money from business users has been less impressive. While Dropbox led the $904 million global market for business file-sharing last year with about a 24 percent share, No. 2 Box and No. 3 Microsoft each took about 21 percent and doubled their slice of the pie, growing almost twice as fast, according to researcher IDC.

Dropbox is hugely popular, but it seems clear they need to figure out this sales strategy quickly.

The Washington Post:

Lisa Jackson, former head of the Environmental Protection Agency and Apple’s top executive on environmental issues, will become the company’s lead on all policy initiatives, including the environment, education and accessibility. Her new title will be the vice president of environment, policy and social initiatives.

In a memo to employees, Apple chief executive Tim Cook said that Jackson’s new role is in line with the company’s dedication to “leaving the world better than we found it.”

Another good sign that Apple’s commitment to environment issues isn’t just lip service. Even better, they wisely see this as part of making the company better and more successful.

Rene Ritchie put together an FAQ of Apple’s new iOS.

An evergreen blog post:

Adobe has released an emergency software patch for Flash after it found a serious vulnerability being exploited by hackers.

Here’s the current Flash Player version numbers.

[H/T CM Harrington]

Fast Company:

Apple’s “World Gallery” campaign, by agency TBWA\Media Arts Lab, that showcased iPhone photos taken by amateur and professional photographers around the world, has snapped the top prize in the Outdoor Lions at Cannes this year.

According to the jury president Juan Carlos Ortiz, creative chairman at DDB Americas, the judges didn’t so much choose “World Gallery,” it chose them. Praising the Grand Prix winner, Ortiz said: “It’s not just a great idea, it’s a game changer. It’s really opening a new way of doing things and changing behavior.”

Congratulations not just to Apple for the win but to all the photographers who had their work showcased. It really brought to the fore how a creative person with an iPhone can create amazing images.

Billboard:

Apple Music, the hardware giant’s soon-to-launch streaming service, has landed an eleventh-hour coup, striking deals with the independents’ digital rights organization Merlin and with Martin Mills’ indie powerhouse Beggars Group, sources tell Billboard. Label group PIAS has also announced it has signed on.

In a letter sent to Merlin members, CEO Charles Caldas writes, “I am pleased to say that Apple has made a decision to pay for all usage of Apple Music under the free trials on a per-play basis, as well as to modify a number of other terms that members had been communicating directly with Apple about. With these changes, we are happy to support the deal.”

I think independent music will be a big deal for Apple Music and, like many, am getting more and more excited to see what Apple Music will offer in terms of real world use.

James Dempsey is an iOS developer, a rock star, and the unofficial Apple home page tabs historian.

New in this installment? Some slight tab shuffling, the disappearance of the iPod, and the change from iTunes to Music.

Brian McCullough, writing for InternetHistoryPodcast.com:

Aside from the naming similarities, though, InfoGear’s iPhone would have plenty of other eerie similarities to Apple’s later device, both philosophically and technically.

For one thing, just as in Steve Job’s famous mantra, the InfoGear iPhone was designed to do three core things (phone calls, email and light web browsing) but to do them well. And from the very beginning, there was an almost Apple-like obsession with simplicity and ease of use. Interested in presenting an approachable, consumer-friendly image, InfoGear hired Frog Design, famous for the previous industrial design of various Apple and Mac computers.

I remember this product. Interesting that it was called the iPhone and did the big three: email, web, and phone. Fun read.

Samuel Gibbs, writing for The Guardian:

Privacy campaigners and open source developers are up in arms over the secret installing of Google software which is capable of listening in on conversations held in front of a computer.

First spotted by open source developers, the Chromium browser – the open source basis for Google’s Chrome – began remotely installing audio-snooping code that was capable of listening to users.

It was designed to support Chrome’s new “OK, Google” hotword detection – which makes the computer respond when you talk to it – but was installed, and, some users have claimed, it is activated on computers without their permission.

Some folks are calling this evil. I don’t think there’s any evil intent here, at least not on Google’s part. But the use of this approach to do evil is obvious.

My two cents: I think every computer manufacturer should include a switch to disable the microphone and camera, a switch that is impossible to override remotely.

Juli Clover, writing for MacRumors:

When attempting to install iOS 9 on a device with insufficient space, there’s a popup that offers to temporarily delete some apps in order to make room for the update. Apps that are deleted are then reinstalled and replaced after the operating system update is completed.

This is a fantastic idea. A bit of a hack, made necessary by an OS update size that outgrew the smallest iOS device capacity. But a terrific idea, nonetheless.

Kirk McElhearn takes a quick tour through seven (six, really, with a seventh on the way) iOS browsers. Good to know the strengths and specialties of each. A short browse, worth your time.

Cody Lee, writing for iDownloadBlog:

Apple has added flyover support to more than 30 new locations in 2015, bringing the total number of 3D locations to 150. In April, the company added a number of new European cities to the list.

Here’s Apple’s official Flyover list.

And if you’ve never played with flyover, go to Apple Maps on your Mac or iOS device, then type one of the flyover locations in the search field. As an example, you might start with:

Colosseum, Rome

Once the map appears, tap the location pin, then tap the popup window that appears (on the Mac, click the info icon, the small circle with the letter “i”) and select “Flyover Tour”. Obviously, this option is only available in the locations that support it.

June 23, 2015

This is a YouTube playlist showing how this guitar was built. Just wow.

BOOM!

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This is just fascinating. I love EVH and what he’s done for guitar players over the years. This is definitely a must read.

Bluetooth Special Interest Group:

The Bluetooth Special Interest Group (SIG) announced today that Apple, Inc. has become a Promoter member of the Bluetooth SIG. Promoter members are the sole voting class on Bluetooth SIG corporate matters and hold a continual seat on the SIG Board of Directors.

Current Promoter members Ericsson, Intel, Lenovo, Microsoft, Nokia, and Toshiba unanimously welcomed Apple to the highest membership level of the organization.

As the press release states, Apple has been a member of the group for years. This new status obviously means they will have more of a say over the future of Bluetooth.

Petapixel:

While Adobe provides an excellent range of products, some photographers are looking to expand their horizon with more affordable alternatives.

Emulsion is described as a 3rd party photo cataloging software designed to replace Apple’s in-house Aperture photo editing and management program.

For $50 you can pick up Emulsion, which allows non-destructive editing, metadata manipulation, photo organization, and more. A free thirty-day trial is also available for those who would like to give the software a thorough run before purchasing. Current requirements for Emulsion include Mac OS X Yosemite and 4 GB of RAM.

As the review points out, if you’re already a Lightroom user, this app isn’t any better. But, if you don’t need all the features of Lightroom, Emulsion looks like a good alternative.

Samsung:

Have you ever found yourself driving behind a semi-trailer truck? If you’re on a single-lane highway or road, it can be a nightmare. Even though the truck is driving relatively slowly, you cannot overtake it due to its size, and because you cannot see what is happening in front of the truck.

However, Samsung has developed a solution that may make this problem a thing of the past.

This is a very clever idea but likely far too expensive for most trucking companies. There’s also likely a lot of regulations that would have to be changed as well as assurances companies won’t simply use the technology to show even more advertisements to motorists stuck behind semis.