April 15, 2017

Typeform:

How do you become the most popular voice of the most successful tech company in the world–without your knowledge?

I interviewed Susan about her stumble into fame, then plotted her life against the rise of more human-like virtual assistants. It turns out that her voice appeared at two pivotal moments in the development of talking tech.

It makes you wonder, was Susan destined to become the world’s most recognizable digital voice?

I’m not sure where the “Siri is dying” part of the story comes from and the web site’s layout is annoying as hell but it’s an interesting article nonetheless.

April 14, 2017

Thanks to djay Pro for sponsoring The Loop this week.

djay Pro, Algoriddim’s award-winning DJ application, is available for macOS, iOS, and Android. Now it’s also on Windows 10, bridging a native desktop and touch experience across every platform and fulfilling our mission of making everyone a DJ. Anywhere. Any time. Any platform.

Apple Inc is considering teaming up with its supplier Foxconn to bid for Toshiba Corp’s semiconductor business, Japanese public broadcaster NHK reported on Friday – the latest twist in the sale of the world’s second-biggest flash memory chipmaker.

Makes perfect sense. Guess who the largest chipmaker is? Samsung.

Macworld:

The error messages you see when something goes wrong with your software or hardware often offer you no help, nor give you any clue as to what is causing the problem.

Error messages on the Mac often appear as Zen kōans; they suggest that you ponder the deeper meaning of the universe in order to understand what they mean.

This has been an eternal frustration for Mac users, more so for those of us who used the OS before OS X when these error messages seemed even more frequent. They’ve always been frustratingly opaque.

Business Insider:

Apple has received a permit from the California DMV to test autonomous cars.

The California DMV updated its website on Friday, adding Apple to over 30 other companies testing self-driving vehicles in the state, including Tesla and Google.

This is confirmation that Apple continues to work on a self-driving car, which the company has not previously discussed in public or confirmed beyond an advisory letter to the NHTSA in December.

As usual, the media jumps to conclusions. Apple might be testing autonomous cars but I believe it’s more likely testing autonomous car systems for inclusion into other manufacturer’s vehicles.

9to5Mac:

Apple has posted three new Shot on iPhone ads to its Apple Turkey YouTube channel. The fifteen-second spots are special in that all three videos have been taken by 11-year old children using an iPhone 7. The clips include quirky uses of perspective and slow-mo to create some clever sequences.

Apple is posting the videos to celebrate a national holiday in Turkey that takes place on April 23, called National Sovereignty and Children’s Day.

I love seeing these ads Apple creates for other countries. I can’t wait to see the ones they produce for my native Canadian language.

AP:

NHL coaches have been given more technology on the bench in time for the Stanley Cup playoffs.

The league is making three iPad Pros available for coaches on every bench and officials will also have them to review coach’s challenges, The Associated Press has learned. All 16 playoff arenas were outfitted with the iPads and also Macs for video coaches as part of a collaboration with Apple.

GO HABS!

“Cassini’s Grand Finale”

Erik Wernquist:

Cassini’s Grand Finale is a short film I had the great honor to produce for NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) about the spectacular ending of the Cassini/Huygens mission to Saturn. It is meant as an inspirational and informative piece about what happens in the last months of the mission, and as a celebration of all that this historic spacecraft has achieved.

I bet you’ve never felt this wistful about a space probe before.

Petapixel:

Nubrella is an innovative new umbrella that could come in handy for photographers shooting in the rain. It’s a hands-free, wind-resistant design that can keep you and your camera dry while you’re snapping away.

After putting on the 3-pound Nubrella like a backpack, the canopy flips over your head and locks in place. Built using waterproof nylon, aluminum rods, and glass-filled plastic, the canopy is designed to withstand 40mph winds without flipping inside out.

As a much of a gadget geek as anyone but this is utterly ridiculous. It may not flip inside out until 41mph but, among other things, you just put a sail over your head, jerking you around like a rag doll. Not conducive to steady shooting.

April 13, 2017

“NES Classic Edition wasn’t intended to be an ongoing, long-term product. However, due to high demand, we did add extra shipments to our original plans.” The company has no plans to produce more NES Classic systems for North America. This announcement includes the discontinuation of the NES Classic Controller. As for third party accessories, Nintendo said the decision whether or not to continue production of accessories will be up to each individual manufacturer.

Helix: Heavy Metal Love

I was listening to Apple Music’s Heavy Metal Radio the other day and this song came on. It had been years since I heard it, so I thought I’d share.

Franc is founded by Brandy Mercredi, a veteran apparel designer, lifestyle blogger and mini basics designer at mini mioche. Brandy always felt style trumped fashion and found inspiration in the unique ways people were able to style a single item.

Brandy is a friend of mine, and while I know nothing about fashion, I know she took a big step starting this company and designing these clothes. Good luck Brandy!

View your Apple Watch display through a blast from the past. The display lines up perfectly to seem as though it is the display of an old Apple monitor.

If you buy only one Apple Watch charging stand, make it this one.

Fender Collection 2 for iPhone or iPad comes with classic tweed amp models from the current ’57 Custom Series including the ’57 Custom Twin-Amp, the ’57 Custom Pro-Amp, the ’57 Custom Deluxe and the ’57 Custom Champ, plus a ’57 Bandmaster, a ’53 Bassman and ’65 Super Reverb.

IK Multimedia did a great job with the Fender Collection.

Apple has hired a small team of biomedical engineers to work at a nondescript office in Palo Alto, California, miles from corporate headquarters.

They are part of a super secret initiative, initially envisioned by the late Apple co-founder Steve Jobs, to develop sensors that can noninvasively and continuously monitor blood sugar levels to better treat diabetes, according to three people familiar with the matter.

With Apple’s move into medical research over the last few years, this wouldn’t surprise me. They are more than just a technology, but this one is a tough nut to crack.

Yahoo:

From time immemorial, people have gathered around campfires to regale one another with songs and stories. The human yearning for poetry and community has not subsided throughout the ages, but the location certainly has. Shakespeare’s Globe in London, England, and the Teatro La Fenice in Venice, Italy, are not merely places to see a show — they are gateways to another world that are works of art unto themselves.

There’s something about these kinds of theaters that make the event you are watching so much better. Definitely take the time to scroll through these images.

Rage Against The Machine’s “Killing In The Name” on toy instruments

Rage Against The Machine is one of my all time favorite bands and this bonkers renditon is so good.

Engadget:

If you’re itching to return to the days where you watched Saturday morning cartoons in your pajamas while eating cold cereal straight from the box (I can’t be the only one, right?), Boomerang is now live. Turner has turned the digital TV channel into a standalone streaming service where subscribers can watch over 1,000 episodes — and over a dozen movies — of classics like Tom and Jerry, Scooby-Doo, Looney Tunes and more.

This is the first time these franchises are being offered on a streaming platform.

I bet this will be a no-brainer if you have kids.

Apple:

Become your own self-flying personal photographer with the Hover Camera Passport drone—and watch the live feed on your iPhone or iPad. This flying camera follows you mid-air, always keeping you in the shot, while capturing breathtaking perspectives in 4K video and 13MP photos. Hover Camera Passport is easy to fly, safe, and truly portable. Simply open the box, unfold it, and start flying. And when you’re done, quickly fold up the drone and tuck it away in your bag as you head for your next adventure.

Tempted. Luckily, I’m poor.

April 12, 2017

Just under three hours after Burger King unveiled a new advertisement designed to hijack your Google Home to read a long-winded description of its Whopper burger, Google has disabled the functionality. It was fun / horrifying while it lasted!

Just seems like a way to piss people off.

Version 9 introduces over 100 enhancements covering document annotations, Tables of Contents, and export options.

That’s a big update for an already great app.

One of the key signature features of Samsung’s Galaxy S8, its Bixby voice assistant, won’t work out of the box, when the device goes on sale later this month. Other parts of Bixby, including its visual search and reminder abilities, will ship at launch, a Samsung representative told Axios in a statement.

Oops.

The Jackson X Series Rhoads models continue the metal legacy pioneered by the immortal Randy Rhoads. Regal and proud, the RRX24 offers fantastic tone, ultra-fast playability and unbelievable value for 21st century guitarists.

Randy was so great.

For some, it’s a staple of the American morning: a comforting routine, a good deal. Anything that costs more than $1 is needlessly expensive, a waste of money — the coffee from a deli, diner or doughnut cart is all you need to start the day. For others, the $1 cup is suspiciously cheap. Maybe it tastes bad, or its production does harm to the land and is unfair to laborers. If you have to pay more, then that is probably a reflection of a drink’s true cost.

I just want a plain cup of black coffee.

Although a launch date is still unclear, when it debuts the new Spotify Apple Watch companion app will finally give Spotify listeners a comparable experience on Apple Watch as Apple Music subscribers have had over the past few years.

This is huge for Spotify users.

To celebrate the Golden State Warriors’ NBA-best regular season record—and star Kevin Durant’s return to the team just in time for the 2017 NBA Playoffs—artist, teacher and sports fan Robert Generette III shares an exclusive illustration of Durant coming to life on iPad Pro.

Wow, this is so impressive.

CNET:

The company has unveiled a new web-based drawing tool called AutoDraw, which will turn your terrible Microsoft Paint skills into actual pictures.

Just scrawl something on your phone screen with your finger (or on your desktop with a mouse) and Google’s machine learning will detect what you’re trying to draw, and fix it up for you.

Ignoring the headline, AutoDraw can be very helpful for people like me who can’t draw a straight line with a ruler.

Business Insider:

Imagine going to work at 7:30 every night and spending the next 12 hours, including meals and breaks, inside a factory where your only job is to insert a single screw into the back of a smartphone, repeating the task over and over and over again.

During the day, you sleep in a shared dorm room, and in the evening, you wake up and start all over again.

That’s the routine that Dejian Zeng experienced when he spent six weeks working at an iPhone factory near Shanghai, China, last summer.

Factory work is never easy. It’s often mindless, tedious work.

How to do 12 different accents

She doesn’t actually “teach” you how to do it but it’s interesting to hear and see the differences in the accents.

John Warren Geils Jr., better known as J. Geils, the guitarist of the the J. Geils Band, was found dead in his home in Groton, Massachusetts Tuesday. He was 71. Rolling Stone has confirmed Geils’ death. According to Groton Police, “a preliminary investigation indicates that Geils died of natural causes.”

R.I.P.