November 18, 2015


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.


Jessica Jones is a terrible superhero by superhero industry standards. Her name is forgettable; she sounds like a girl from your third-grade class. She’s just another brick — a term assigned to the plethora of superhumans with super strength as their primary power. It’s easy to see why she isn’t popular or why many people, even some comic book fans, were puzzled by Marvel and Netflix’s decision to give the character her own TV show.

But even though Jessica Jones is a terrible superhero — something she would be the first to admit — that doesn’t mean she’s unworthy of her own show or that her story stinks.

Jones’s origin story is actually one of the more daring arcs Marvel has published in the past decade.

I know nothing about this Marvel character so I don’t know if Vox’s description is accurate but I assume it is. Regardless, the trailers I’ve seen make me really interesting in this series. All episodes are set to premiere November 20, 2015, on Netflix


Perception is a fickle thing. As good as our senses are at keeping us alive, they can often mislead and deceive us. Here’s a great example of that which you can try at home, featured in the new BBC Four series, Colour: The Spectrum of Science.

Check out the video below, follow the instructions and see a black and white image turn into a full-color image of a landscape.

This is really cool. It illustrates an idea I teach in my photography classes about perception and being able to “force” the viewer into seeing what you want them to see.


The Oxford Dictionary’s 2015 word of the year was awarded to something that isn’t necessarily a word, though it definitely paints a picture worth, perhaps, a thousand or so of them. The “tears of joy” emoji face — featured, among other places, in a keyboard on Apple’s iOS platform — is just one of the many cartoon facial reactions used since the late 1990′s being honored with this year’s distinction.

The emoji beat out several words and phrases, including “refugee,” “lumbersexual,” “on fleek,” “Dark Web” and “sharing economy.”

But it’s not a word.

About a week ago, the Mac App Store came a bit off its rails, at least for some apps.

Yesterday, Apple sent out a letter of explanation and apology to developers whose apps were affected. Bottom line, this was a caching issue:

Unfortunately, a caching issue with the Mac App Store meant that some users had to restart their systems and re-authenticate with the Mac App Store to clear a system cache of some outdated certificate information. We are addressing this caching issue in an upcoming OS X update.

Also, some apps are running receipt validation code using very old versions of OpenSSL that don’t support SHA-2. We addressed this by replacing the new SHA-2 certificate with a new SHA-1 certificate last Thursday night.

Presumably, by now, the new caches are propagated, everyone has their apps back. Good to know that Apple knows the cause and that steps are in place to prevent this from happening again, at least in the same way.

Christian Zibreg, writing for iDownloadBlog, talks you through the process of clearing caches and other methods of eliminating cruft from your iOS device. Scan through it, take what’s useful, pass it along.

Jason Cipriani, writing for CNET, talks you through the process of enabling iOS 9′s battery widget:

When enabled, the battery widget will display the current battery percentage of your iPad Pro, plus any Bluetooth devices connected to it. With the Apple Pencil using Bluetooth to communicate with the tablet, it naturally shows up in the widget.

This is worth looking at, even on your iPhone. Swipe down to bring up the Notification Center, make sure the Today tab is selected, then scroll all the way to the bottom to see the Edit button. My guess is, this interface will be new to a lot of people.

Tony Chamber, Editor-in-Chief of Wallpaper Magazine, had the chance to speak with Sir Jony Ive about the Apple Pencil.

Some highlights:

It was fundamentally important originally not to develop a user interface that required another instrument. It was important that we develop the UI based upon multi-touch, based on our fingers. The reasons are obvious. I think it is equally obvious that you’re just not as dexterous as you are with a pen or a pencil for certain things.


You saw just how low the latency was, how quickly we can draw and how quickly we can render video. There was some substantial, deep technology to develop to make the pencil work as intuitively and naturally as hopefully you saw.


I like the name Pencil much more than stylus because stylus seems a product that’s about technology. Pencil, to me, seems very analogue in its association. But what is challenging is that it will become many things. There’s an incredible painting app and very powerful drawing apps. For some people it will be a graphic instrument and to others it will be a fountain pen. One of the technologies within the Pencil means that as well as detecting pressure, we are also detecting the angle of the pencil. All of which is particularly relevant for being able to create a very natural experience. As an object it needed to be relatively neutral as it can take on the identity of a pencil or ink pen or paint brush or charcoal.


I think there’s a potential to confuse the role of the Pencil with the role of your finger in iOS, and I actually think it’s very clear the Pencil is for making marks, and the finger is a fundamental point of interface for everything within the operating system. And those are two very different activities with two very different goals.

Stephen Hackett, writing for 512 Pixels, takes us on a trip through iOS 5.1.1. WARNING: Skeumorphism alert.

Five awesome new Apple TV commercials

These are just fantastic. The Crossy Road commercial is probably my favorite. Perfect comic timing. Poor chicken.

All of them are good, each one touching on a different show or game. There are ads for Crossy Road, Asphalt 8, Disney Infinity 3.0 Edition (Star Wars), Game of Thrones (HBO NOW), and Orange is the New Black (Netflix).

Each one starts with a still frame reminiscent of the old, six color Apple logo, with a different dissolve, depending on the game or show being highlighted.

It’s all very creative. Enjoy.

November 17, 2015

The Dalrymple Report with Merlin Mann: Old Man Uncle Grandpa Merlin

A sleepy Jim talks to Merlin talk all about the iPad Pro: Jim’s review and Merlin’s impulse purchase of it.

Subscribe to this podcast


Austin Mann:

We’ve gotten a ton of questions about gear and the trip behind this project so we cut together this BTS piece for you — it’s 17 minutes so grab a coffee/snack and enjoy!

In early October, Mann posted his review of the iPhone 6s. Now he’s giving us a behind the scenes look. These BTS videos always fascinate me.

Christian Zibreg, writing for iDownloadBlog:

Flexibits’ calendar app, Fantastical for iPhone, was updated yesterday in the App Store with expanded support for pressure-sensing 3D Touch technology on the new iPhones, going beyond Home screen shortcuts that developers added last month.

Now iPhone 6s or iPhone 6s Plus owners can use Peek and Pop commands in Fantastical to preview upcoming events and reminders without leaving the main view, or jump straight into them from the preview by pressing the screen a little harder.

Fantastical is a great calendaring solution. Loved it when they added their Apple Watch complication, love the peek and pop additions.

Rene Ritchie, writing for iMore:

That it’s American Express bringing Apple Pay to Canada rather than any of our national banks is interesting for me as a customer (and kind of embarrassing for our banks as businesses.) American Express, like Apple, is an integrated vendor and that lets them not only be nimble, it lets them be bold. And the future, like fortune, favors the bold.

With American Express, you can add your card to Apple Pay in exactly the same way Americans and the Brits have been adding theirs for a while now. iTunes cards can be added automagically and other cards, scanned and authorized.

Apple Pay continues to grow, slow and steady.

A solid list from MacSparky.

Dan Counsell:

The Mac App Store has been around for 6 years, but is still lacking some of the best software the Mac has to offer. You might be wondering why this is. Sandboxing certainly has a lot to answer for, but it’s not the only reason. There’s also paid upgrades, sustainability, quality of life, and the Mac App Store just generally being half-assed.

Oh, and then there’s that minor certificate issue that happened last week and cost developers and users millions of dollars in lost time and productivity. Not surprisingly, Apple didn’t even acknowledge the issue.

Don’t let all that get you down though, there’s plenty of benefits to selling software outside of the Mac App Store. I’ve compiled a list of over 60 apps that are all world-class and seem to be doing just fine without it.

Follow this link for the list. Be sure to let Dan know if you think there’s an app that should be on the list.

Pass these two short keyboard shortcut articles along to anyone you know who is relatively new to the Mac.

Both are easy to read through, worth scanning before you pass them along, just in case there’s something in there you didn’t know.

At the very least, be sure to check out CheatSheet, the free app that shows you a list of all keyboard shortcuts for the current app. Super useful.

From Apple Insider:

Apple’s share of total smartphone industry profits grew to 94 percent during the September quarter, up from 85 percent one year ago.

The iPhone maker’s overwhelming share of all smartphone income comes despite Apple being second in smartphone volume shipments to all vendors collectively selling devices running some form of Android software.

According to Canaccord Genuity research, Samsung, the largest Android licensee by far, took a distant 11 percent share of total operating income. Those numbers exceed 100 percent because most other phone makers reported negative operating income.

These are breathtaking numbers.

Real world, iPad Pro vs. traditional tablet

This video from Color Cartel shows the traditional Wacom Cintiq tablet setup and use vs that of the iPad Pro.

At about 3:48 into the video, you get a sense of all the setup work you need to do to get started with the Wacom Cintiq. The idea that you have to hold the stylus in one hand and the mouse in the other seems incredibly clunky and inconvenient.

Watch the video, see for yourself.

This is an awesome infographic. Amazing growth, terrific presentation.

November 16, 2015


The streaming music industry is about to lose a player and gain a platform. On Monday, Pandora announced plans to acquire “key assets” from on-demand streaming service Rdio, which is seeking bankruptcy protection and will wind down its current business.

The deal, for $75 million in cash, covers Rdio’s technology and intellecutal property, and Pandora says it will be offering jobs to many members of Rdio’s team. Pandora isn’t buying Rdio’s entire business for a couple of reasons.

First, to launch an on-demand streaming service like Spotify or Apple Music, Pandora will have to make its own licensing deals with the record labels, because Rdio’s deals aren’t transferable. Second, Pandora executives explained in a Monday conference call that Rdio is financially “challenged,” and would have been a drain on Pandora.

I wouldn’t take bets on Rdio relaunching. It’s also likely the first of a few more consolidations in the next 12 months.

Dangerous Business:

Alexander Graham Bell once said, “I have travelled around the globe. I have seen the Canadian and American Rockies, the Andes, the Alps and the Highlands of Scotland, but for simple beauty, Cape Breton outrivals them all.”

I’ll admit that I was a bit skeptical of this quote upon first reading it. I mean, the Rockies, the Alps, the Scottish Highlands… those are all pretty impressive and beautiful things. Could a sparsely-populated island in the Canadian Maritimes really compare?

Well, the truth is that it kind of can.

If you’re looking for a vacation full of utterly lovely scenery, wonderful people and great seafood, you can’t go wrong visiting my home province of Nova Scotia. I promise it will surprise and delight you.

Pad & Quill is offering beautiful wood and leather accessories for iPhone, Apple Watch and more. I have one of their Backpacks and absolutely love it! They are offering Loop readers a 10% discount on any order including the new Minneapolis made Lowry Leather Cuff and Lowry Leather Band for Apple Watch. Code: LOOP15.

Lowry Leather Band Features

  • USA made leather strap for Apple Watch
  • Each craftsman personally signs your strap’s interior
  • Full-grain vegetable-tanned leather from Horween Tannery
  • Rugged Stitching that is hand tied off
  • Velvet soft suede interior finish
  • 3 beautiful color options
  • 25 Year Leather Warranty
  • 30 Day Money Back Promise

Adrian Weckler, technology editor for The Irish Independent, interviews Tim Cook about privacy, diversity, Chinese factories, the future of cars and why Tim is giving all his money away.

Some highlights:

Cook says that Apple is expecting “huge” sales this Christmas.

“I don’t even look at what the analysts say,” Cook says with a grin. “But I think it’s going to be a huge holiday season. We’re extremely optimistic. We shipped the Watch first in the June quarter and we sold a lot. We sold even more than that in the September quarter. And we’re looking for a big holiday season.”


“We’ve recognised that the user interface with a car is not up to the expectations of our customer. And so we wanted to help the automobile manufacturers remedy that and have our customers have a seamless experience between in the car and out of the car.”

On privacy:

He says that he feels more comfortable in Europe when it comes to privacy issues than in other parts of the world, including the US.

“I do,” he says. “I think Europe is leading the world on that topic and it’s great. I feel right at home when I come to Europe and talk about privacy.”

What is it he approves of in particular? Is it the recently introduced ‘right to be forgotten’, allowing individuals to have personal information removed from search engines?

“I wouldn’t want to comment on that specific one. But I think, on a macro basis, it’s the concept that all of us should have the right to our data, how it’s used and where it’s used. I think these concepts are powerful and have never been more important as the advancements in technology have enabled many things beyond what should occur.”


“I want to be absolutely clear that we have never worked with any government agency from any country to create a backdoor in any of our products or services,” he wrote. “We have also never allowed access to our servers. And we never will.”


“The UK government has been clear publicly that they are not seeking to weaken encryption,” says Cook. “And so I take them at their word that they would not do that. And at the moment as you know, we encrypt iMessage end-to-end and we have no backdoor. And we have no intention of changing that. Any change made would contradict the UK government’s view that they would not weaken encryption.

“And so I think that we’ll work closely with them. And I have every faith that through this process of the next year, give or take a year, that the bill will become very clear.”

Lots more to read. Solid interview.

The Independent:

Speaking to , Cook denied that the death of computers such as the Mac was imminent and said that there would be a market for such traditional personal computers for the foreseeable future.

“We feel strongly that customers are not really looking for a converged Mac and iPad,” said Cook. “Because what that would wind up doing, or what we’re worried would happen, is that neither experience would be as good as the customer wants. So we want to make the best tablet in the world and the best Mac in the world. And putting those two together would not achieve either. You’d begin to compromise in different ways.”


A ride in the city

Shot with an iPhone 6s, using 4K and time lapse mode, riding the train through Chicago. Beautiful.

This is clever. QPAU embedded a pair of buttons at the base of a tempered glass screen protector, one on either side of the iPhone home button. A tap on one of the buttons triggers a tap on the corresponding nav button towards the top of the screen.

This works on any app with a nav bar. As an example, if you fire up the Contacts app, you’ll see a nav bar at the top of the screen, with the word “All Contacts” in the middle of the nav bar, a “Groups” button to the left, and a “+” button to the right. With the screen protector installed, a tap on the button to the left of the home button taps “Groups” and a tap on the right button taps “+”. Sort of a remote control, making it easier to tap the top of the screen with one hand.

Here’s a YouTube video showing this in action.

The first half of the video is the installation process. Jump to about 4:10 in for the demo itself. In the demo, he launches Tweetbot, then taps to the right of the home button to create a new tweet (new tweet is the button on the right side of the Tweetbot nav bar). Pretty cool.

Before you plunk down your $9.99, be sure to read the comments on the Amazon page. I haven’t used this myself, so I’m not sure how well it works. But I do love the idea behind this product.