July 18, 2014

Gizmodo:

Netflix, as experienced by our neighbors to the north, is an anemic imitation that besmirches the brand. It shouldn’t even be called Netflix. Netflix Lite, maybe. Netflix Canada Trashcan, probably, although that might negatively impact subscription sales. It’s the same price as the U.S. version, too, which makes it even more insulting.

This is one of the reasons why I tried and quickly canceled Netflix here in Canada. The selection is bad enough in the US. It’s much worse in Canada.

Apple’s official release:

Sue Wagner Joins Apple’s Board of Directors Bill Campbell Retiring After 17 Years of Service

CUPERTINO, California—July 17, 2014—Apple® today announced that Susan L. Wagner, founding partner and director of BlackRock, has been elected to Apple’s board of directors. Bill Campbell, the board’s longest-serving member, is retiring after 17 years of service.

Wagner co-founded BlackRock in 1988 and helped it become one of the world’s most successful asset-management companies, holding a range of leadership positions including vice chairman until mid-2012. She continues to serve on the boards of BlackRock and DSP BlackRock (India), as well as Swiss Re, Wellesley College and Hackley School.

“Sue is a pioneer in the financial industry and we are excited to welcome her to Apple’s board of directors,” said Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO. “We believe her strong experience, especially in M&A and building a global business across both developed and emerging markets, will be extremely valuable as Apple continues to grow around the world.”

“We conducted an exhaustive search for someone who would further strengthen our board’s breadth of talent and background, and we are delighted to have identified such an outstanding individual,” said Art Levinson, Apple’s chairman. “I’m confident that Sue is going to make an important and positive impact on our company.”

“I have always admired Apple for its innovative products and dynamic leadership team, and I’m honored to be joining their board,” said Wagner. “I have tremendous respect for Tim, Art and the other board members, and I look forward to working with them.”

Wagner graduated with honors from Wellesley College with a BA in English and Economics, and earned an MBA in Finance from the University of Chicago. She has been recognized as one of Fortune Magazine’s 50 Most Powerful Women in Business and honored by the National Council for Research on Women. At BlackRock, she championed and continues to support the Women’s Initiative Network, designed to foster the full potential of women within the company.

Bill Campbell’s relationship with Apple dates back to 1983, when he joined the company as vice president of Marketing. Next to Apple co-founders Steve Jobs and Mike Markkula, Campbell is the longest-serving board member in the company’s history.

“Bill’s contributions to Apple are immeasurable and we owe him a huge debt of gratitude. On behalf of the board and the entire company, I want to thank him for being a leader, a mentor and a friend,” said Cook. “When Bill joined Apple’s board, the company was on the brink of collapse. He not only helped Apple survive, but he’s led us to a level of success that was simply unimaginable back in 1997.”

“Over the past 17 years, it’s been exciting to watch history unfold as Apple emerged as the premier technology company in the world. Working with Steve and Tim has been a joy,” said Campbell. “The company today is in the best shape that I have seen it, and Tim’s leadership of his strong team will allow Apple to continue to be great going forward.”

Apple designs Macs, along with OS X, iLife, iWork and professional software. Apple leads the digital music revolution with its iPods and iTunes online store. Apple has reinvented the mobile phone with its revolutionary iPhone and App Store, and is defining the future of mobile media and computing devices with iPad.

This is a generous scoop of genius:

No matter where you are in the world, nothing captures the sweetness of a sunny afternoon better than ice cream. Friday, July 18th, we’re serving up cold treats on demand in 144 cities, in 38 countries, on 6 continents.

Use your Uber app to send a request your nearest Uber driver, asking them to bring you some ice cream. No cash required, it’s billed to your Uber account.

This is smart marketing on Uber’s part. They are leveraging their existing business model to raise brand awareness and to make money as well. They are also crossing from one business model into another, that of home delivery. Hey, Amazon/Google: If you buy Uber, you also get an instant, stealth, world-wide home delivery fleet.

First person footage of one car, mid-race, flying over another

This is short, but very cool. Footage is from an Ohio race, July 4th, 2014. Be sure to watch out for the part immediately after the crash when the red car driver calmly readjusts their side view mirror and drives on. Brilliant!

July 17, 2014

CNET:

After 17 years on Apple’s board, Bill Campbell is saying goodbye.

Apple on Thursday said the executive, who also serves as chairman of business software developer Intuit, is retiring from his role on the board. Campbell was one of the board members appointed by Steve Jobs in 1997 after he returned to run the company.

Susan Wagner, founding partner and director of asset-management company BlackRock, will join Apple’s board in Campbell’s place.

Great to see Apple taking this opportunity to put another woman on the board of directors.

Factually:

Amazingly, there are still some people who don’t think we landed on the moon. These people are complete idiots, to put it kindly. Back in 2002, Buzz Aldrin punched one of those idiots after being followed and harassed at a hotel in Beverly Hills.

I post this in honour of yesterday’s 45th anniversary of the launch of Apollo 11. And because Buzz Aldrin is a bad ass.

Esquire:

Reviled, pit bulls have become representative. There is no other dog that figures as often in the national narrative—no other dog as vilified on the evening news, no other dog as defended on television programs, no other dog as mythologized by both its enemies and its advocates, no other dog as discriminated against, no other dog as wantonly bred, no other dog as frequently abused, no other dog as promiscuously abandoned, no other dog as likely to end up in an animal shelter, no other dog as likely to be rescued, no other dog as likely to be killed.

In a way, the pit bull has become the only American dog, because it is the only American dog that has become an American metaphor—and the only American dog that people bother to name.

I love all dogs (except poodles) and hate seeing them treated poorly. And no dog has been treated as poorly, both in real life and in the media as the pit bull. I’ve met some wonderful pit bulls in my life with wonderful owners. Sadly, I’ve also met some really bad owners which predictably reflects in their dogs.

We have some sponsorships available in July and August, so if you would like to get your product or service in front of 1.5 million monthly readers and about 100,000 Twitter and RSS subscribers, Email Jim Dalrymple.

Texas blues legend Johnny Winter, known for his lightning-fast blues guitar riffs, his striking long white hair and his collaborations with the likes of Jimi Hendrix and childhood hero Muddy Waters, has died. He was 70.

Huge loss for music.

Samsung on Wednesday announced the imminent release of its “Level” headphone and portable speaker lineup, which features four premium devices seemingly aimed directly at Apple’s Beats hardware.

I’m shocked that just weeks after Apple buys Beats, Samsung has plans for high-end headphones. Shocked!

9to5mac:

Apple this week has greatly expanded the availability of its Apple ID two-step verification, bringing the feature from 11 countries to 59 countries. Two-step verification for Apple IDs uses either iOS’s Find my iPhone application or SMS to provide login verification in addition to a password. The feature first rolled out for both Apple ID and iCloud IDs in early 2013 and it expanded to a few more countries later that year.

When two-step verification rolled out in March, 2013, it was only available in the US, the UK, Australia, Ireland, and New Zealand.

Here’s Apple’s official two step verification FAQ.

Mashable:

While Tesla Motors has charging stations throughout the United States and Europe, there are none in China outside of Beijing and Shanghai. Zong’s charging road, which includes 20 charging stations in 16 cities across the 5,750-kilometer (about 3,570-mile) stretch between the two cities, attempts to fix that problem.

The inspiration for Zong’s idea resulted from a simple problem he faced after picking up his Model S in Beijing. A Model S can travel a total of 500 kilometers (311 miles) on one charge, which would make the journey from Beijing to Guangzhou impossible without charging stations along the way.

This is the kind of customer Tesla needs more of. Here’s how he did it:

Using Sina Weibo, China’s version of Twitter, as well as popular messaging app WeChat, Zong found property owners willing to forego one parking space in their lot to house a donated Tesla charging station.

Love this.

What to get for the beer drinker who has everything. Hey, they’re only US$49.95. Such a deal.

You might want to throw in a shirt with French cuffs, while you’re at it.

For perspective, Microsoft has 125,000 employees and just brought 25,000 new employees on from Nokia.

The largest layoff in Microsoft history previous to this? 5,800 people were laid off in 2009.

Though this is tough to see, you knew this day was coming the minute the Nokia deal was signed.

InformationWeek:

But the potential windfall from the partnership will be constrained by Apple’s already considerable success. The company holds a commanding position in the enterprise mobile device market and might not be able to climb much higher. According to CEO Tim Cook, “over 98% of the Fortune 500 and over 92% of the Global 500 [are using] iOS devices in their business today.”

Recent figures from mobile device management firm Good Technology suggest slightly more potential for growth. In May, the company reported that among its customers activating mobile devices on its mobile security platform during the first quarter of 2014, 72% ran iOS, 27% ran Android, and 1% ran Windows Phone.

Compared to the previous quarter, Android activations increased one percentage point while iOS and Windows Phone activations remained flat. In other words, Apple’s leadership position in the enterprise mobile market looks fairly secure; neither Google nor Microsoft appear to be gaining market share very rapidly.

And (my favorite):

Google knows it has to push Android harder in the enterprise market, but Apple’s alliance with IBM has made the mountain it must climb that much more steep. Microsoft, after years wandering in the wilderness, has just arrived at the base of the mountain, only to realize it’s carrying too much baggage.

July 16, 2014

Apple:

Now you can add money directly to your iTunes or App Store account with iTunes Pass. To get iTunes Pass, go to the iTunes Store on your iOS device, scroll down, and tap the Redeem button. Then go in to any Apple Retail Store and let a Specialist know you want to add credit to your account. Open iTunes Pass in Passbook, and have the Specialist scan it and accept your payment. Your balance will be updated and can be used immediately.

This might be slightly more convenient than buying physical gift cards for yourself but is it a service you’ll actually use?

Much respect hacker people.

This story was originally posted on Forbes, but when I went there, popups were all over the place, so I’ll link to PandoDaily instead.

I used this mic on my Amplified podcast this morning and it sounded great. I love this mic.

I agree with Tim Bajarin.

A new iOS podcast app from Marco Arment.

Really great read.

The memo is worth reading.

But the picture posted above the memo (and, to be clear, not part of the memo) really made me laugh. It’s a Photoshop mod of a classic photo posted by original Mac team member Andy Hertzfeld, seen here. So very funny. Rock on, Darth.

Ginni Rometty might not be a household name in the same way as Tim Cook has become. She is the Chairman and CEO of IBM and, because of yesterday’s huge joint Apple/IBM announcement, is about to become a player in the Appleverse, at least where enterprise is concerned.

From the linked article:

Google, Samsung and team Android may have to form the equivalent of the enterprise Justice League to counter the Apple-IBM alliance as well as Microsoft’s foothold in corporations.

The biggest challenge for team Android is that Google and Samsung, two partners with enterprise ambitions, will have to herd cats to reach corporations. Android will need channel, integration and services support and there are few players that can match IBM’s reach.

The herding cats metaphor is apropos. There just isn’t another company with IBM’s enterprise pedigree. The next tier down is fragmented. There’s no easy solution for Team Android as far as enterprise partnerships go. The Apple IBM alliance is a strategic stroke of genius.

Read the article for more details on the players involved. Enterprise just got very interesting.

Here’s a lesson in how easy it is to fool people, in just how much people want to believe in conspiracies.

Start by going to the FIFA Corruption Twitter account. Each of the five tweets was tweeted before the final match between Germany and Argentina. And each of the last four tweets came true (the jury is still out on the first tweet).

How did they do it? Read on.

July 15, 2014

How they made the exploding head in “Scanners”

I still remember this scene in the theatre as a little kid and thinking it was the greatest thing I had ever seen.

Wired:

We have the phrase “scenic route” for a reason, and as Google’s driving directions increasingly become the only directions any of us ever think about checking, we risk losing sight of these alternate paths. That’s a shame.

Anyone who knows me knows I’ve been dreaming and talking about this kind of functionality for years. As a motorcycle rider, we often don’t want to take the direct route. Show us the fun, twisty, windy, pretty roads instead.

The Verge:

Weird Al has a new album of parodies coming out, but you’ll probably want to look for them on the web rather than over the radio: eight songs off of the album are getting music videos, and they’ll be premiering over eight days. The first video came out and has Al singing “Tacky,” a parody of Pharrell’s unbearably catchy hit “Happy.”

Nirvana for all you Weird Al fans.

Apple and IBM partner for Enterprise mobility

From Apple’s press release:

Apple and IBM (NYSE: IBM) today announced an exclusive partnership that teams the market-leading strengths of each company to transform enterprise mobility through a new class of business apps—bringing IBM’s big data and analytics capabilities to iPhone® and iPad®.

The landmark partnership aims to redefine the way work will get done, address key industry mobility challenges and spark true mobile-led business change—grounded in four core capabilities:

  • a new class of more than 100 industry-specific enterprise solutions including native apps, developed exclusively from the ground up, for iPhone and iPad;
  • unique IBM cloud services optimized for iOS, including device management, security, analytics and mobile integration;
  • new AppleCare® service and support offering tailored to the needs of the enterprise; and
  • new packaged offerings from IBM for device activation, supply and management.

Tim Cook speaking to Re/code:

“If you were building a puzzle they would fit nicely together with no overlap,” Cook said of the relationship. “We do not compete on anything. And when you do that you end up with something better than either of you could produce yourself.”

That sums up why this deal is so good for both companies. Since there is no overlap, both will benefit equally in making this work.

Salon:

Among the countless points discussed about this year’s World Cup…perhaps the most important looming question is whether this particular quadrennial tournament finally converted America into a nation of soccer fans.

Every four years, the World Cup masterfully demonstrates the fundamental differences between how America and the world respectively treat their athletes.

I don’t like to say “never” but there’s a fundamental difference between the way the American fan sees sports in general and “football” in particular and the way the rest of the world does. We go through this discussion every four years and nothing really changes.

New York Magazine:

Swisher’s power derives from her reporting — driven, in turn, by her deep sourcing — and from the sense, unnerving to executives, that she has a red phone with a direct connection to the perma-class of venture capitalists on Sand Hill Road who fund their companies and fill their boards and decide their fates.

People like talking to Swisher.

Interesting profile. I’ve talked to Swisher on several occasions and she is, in the simplest terms, “intense”. In a good way.