April 17, 2014

AltConf is a free, community driven and supported event, held in downtown San Francisco alongside Apple’s WWDC, 2nd – 6th June 2014. Hosted at a fantastic venue right across the street from Moscone West and featuring a host of amazing speakers from across the industry, AltConf 2014 is shaping up to be a fantastic event.

Love this event.

This is a really good article from Macworld’s Serenity Caldwell and Dan Moren. I especially like the tip about having Siri learn to pronounce someone’s name.

A number of Yahoo insiders I have talked to said her plan to pitch Apple on the idea as its marquee mobile search partner is far along. The company has prepared detailed decks, including images of what such a search product would look like, and hopes to present them to Apple execs.

I’m not sure that Apple will go for this, yet. Apple will strive to give its customers the best products possible and when it comes to search Google is perceived as being the best. I don’t think Apple will let its lawsuits interfere with doing what’s best for its customers.

I agree with what Rob says, until he gets to this part:

Yes, Apple shelters taxes. Yes, it’s very good at it. Yes, it sucks that they aren’t paying their fair share.

The fact is, Apple does pay its fair share. In fact, they paid billions of dollars in taxes in the US last year, more than anyone else. The fact that governments offer companies a tax break to have factories or offices in their jurisdiction is not the companies fault—they create jobs, which has great economic benefits for those regions. If you then tell a company that those tax breaks are gone, they will pick up and move somewhere else—it’s business.

This isn’t about Apple, every company works exactly the same way. This is about the way the world works.

A Tumblr blog dedicated “original designs by Samsung.” As Gruber said, you can’t make this stuff up.

A very detailed article on the design decisions Aleksandar Vacić made and remade to get his app where he wanted it. There are a lot of great gems in here and the level of detail that you have to go through to get everything just right.

I thought for sure they were just going to link to Apple. What the hell does this company know about design?

Good news! A major Pixelmator 3.2 Sandstone update is on its way. Some awesomely delicious goodies are coming with this update, but the sweetest of them all is the all-new Repair Tool.

I use Pixelmator every day and have for years. It’s lightweight, very powerful and the team keeps making it better. The video of the new repair tool is cool.

Washington Post:

$58 million for 15 months of work.

That’s what Yahoo’s chief operating officer Henrique De Castro got in severance pay when he was sent packing on Jan. 16, according to a Securities and Exchange Commission filing made public on Wednesday.

Ouch.

De Castro’s severance package, which included $1 million in cash plus equity, was valued at $17 million on Oct. 15, 2012, when he signed his offer letter.

That figure more than tripled during Castro’s brief time at the company when Yahoo’s share prices rose, thanks to its 24 percent stake in Chinese Internet giant Alibaba.

That is some good timing.

April 16, 2014

Google Inc’s first-quarter revenue fell short of Wall Street targets and margins narrowed as the price of its ads continued to decline, pushing its shares sharply lower.

As much as I’d love to take the opportunity to make a smartass comment like “expect more ads,” I really can’t. Like I say about Apple, it’s hard to say it’s a bad quarter when the company is making billions.

Having said that, expect more ads soon.

AC/DC: Highway to Hell

Seriously, one of the best songs ever.

The Verge:

Anki Drive, the real-world racing game that uses your iPhone as the controller, is expanding its lineup today to include new cars, tracks, and Anki Drive is finally getting an old-school racing mode to go along with its existing battle mode.

In an unusual twist, players who buy Corax will not be able to play as him until they defeat the car in battle with the artificial intelligence set to “medium.” “You have to earn that right by first beating him in battle mode,” says Mark Palatucci, Anki’s co-founder and chief product officer.

I bought (and returned) the original Anki Drive precisely because it didn’t have a Race Mode. These will be welcome updates to many.

Wired:

Thursday is the Mustang’s 50th anniversary. To mark the occasion, Ford plopped a 2015 Mustang GT convertible onto the observation deck of the Empire State Building.

Ford pulled the same stunt with the original Mustang, but five decades of technological advancements haven’t made it any easier to pull off. The deck is 1,000 feet up, so using a crane is out of the question. And the building’s tall spire rules out lowering the car from a helicopter.

That leaves the freight elevator.

The Observation Deck of the Empire State Building is one of those places you have to go to when you visit New York City. While this is a marketing stunt, it sure as heck isn’t a cheap one.

We all know that we should be better with passwords, but we don’t always do it. I use 1Password.

Every day I see iPads, a lot of iPads, out in public. What I rarely ever see are Android tablets.

Apparently they sell pretty well. Where the hell are they? Doorstops? Cutting boards?

Fat Men From Space

Ever hear of Daniel Manus Pinkwater? If you have kids, or ever were one yourself, you owe it to yourself to check out Pinkwater’s books. Books like Lizard Music, The Snarkout Boys and the Avocado of Death and, my favorite, Fat Men from Space.

The good news is, these books, long out of print, are now finally available as eBooks. Huzzah! Thank you for this wonderful news, BoingBoing.

FireEye recently spotted an malicious Android application that could modify the icons of other applications so that when they’re launched, they send victims to a phishing website.

Here’s the best way to avoid Android security flaws.

Brian Johnson, AC/DC singer:

“We are definitely getting together in May in Vancouver,” he told the Telegraph. “We’re going to pick up some guitars, have a plonk, and see if anybody has got any tunes or ideas. If anything happens, we’ll record it.”

However, the band did release a statement:

“After forty years of life dedicated to AC/DC, guitarist and founding member Malcolm Young is taking a break from the band due to ill health. Malcolm would like to thank the group’s diehard legions of fans worldwide for their never-ending love and support.

“In light of this news, AC/DC asks that Malcolm and his family’s privacy be respected during this time. The band will continue to make music.”

The rumor is that Malcolm had a stroke and is having trouble playing guitar. He is the best rhythm guitarist in rock.

Jim Dalrymple and Dan Benjamin are joined once again by Zak Holder. They talk about the just-leaked Amazon phone, the purported iPhone 6 screen and case leaks, and Windows Phone 8.1′s appropriation of Passbook. Jim also talks about The Loop’s upcoming 5th year anniversary, and recounts his journey covering Apple for 20 years.

Messenger is an app based on existing behavior that they are forcing people to shift to a separate app — not such a bad thing. In other words, Facebook has failed to invent any new behaviors or even innovate on the behaviors that were commonplace on the service.

Interesting thoughts.

I agree with Marko that WordPress has a remarkable community, but I would add one more thing that WordPress should do—a simplified version for blogging. Do something like Medium or Svbtle that doesn’t have the complicated backend and code. That’s what I want.

Some great techniques from two pros.

April 15, 2014

For Chrys Bader, the co-founder and lead designer of the two-month-old Secret mobile app, his “allergy to complexity” all started when he spent about a year working on Google+. It was during that time, working on one of the most complex social products out there, that he realized that utter simplicity and a singular focus were the keys to building powerful social mobile products.

I love articles like this because you get to see what’s behind the app. Sometimes you can even see where the product doesn’t match the philosophy.

James Taylor: Fire and Rain live in 1970

James had some great songs, but this my favorite.

Bobby Solomon freaked me out with these shots, so I thought I’d share.

Siri celebrates Jackie Robinson Day

Ask Siri:

  • “Show me [INSERT TEAM NAME]” and Siri will pull up the appropriate baseball team’s roster, displaying all players as number 42.

  • “What is Jackie Robinson day?” and Siri will share the history of the day via Wikipedia.

IMG_2156

Overthought.org:

This morning, Adobe kindly alerted me of an update available for Flash to take it to version 13.0.0.182.

The update breaks Flash.

DO NOT run this update, at least until Adobe solves whatever is causing the plugin to fail.

Several readers of Overthought.org have reported that this update completely breaks Flash for Safari on OS X 10.9 Mavericks. I have also personally experienced this issue.

If you run into a problem with your newly updated Flash install, read the rest of the post. Hopefully, it will help. [Via @stumark and @jordanmerrick]

We have some sponsorship weeks available coming up in May and June. If you want to get your product or service in front of the fine readers of The Loop with an exclusive sponsorship, let me know.

Available exclusively for UAD-2 DSP Accelerators and Apollo-equipped workstations, the Chandler Limited GAV19T Amplifier Plug-In is an exacting emulation of the dual EL84-powered boutique guitar amp. Inspired by British classics such as Vox and Marshall — and lesser-known gems from Watkins and Selmer — the Chandler Limited GAV19T Amplifier plug-in offers features not found on the original hardware, such as an FX Rack with an onboard noise gate, host-syncable lo-fi delay, Power Soak, and pre/post switchable EQ filter controls.

Can’t wait to try this out.

heineken has teamed up with over 40 legendary individuals from the worlds of sport, entertainment and art to create a series of bespoke posters in support of reporters without borders, a global non-profit which which protects journalists and ensures freedom of information.

I need a drink.