January 20, 2020

Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have A Dream” speech

It’s hard to find the full audio or video of the speech (it’s been locked up in litigation for years) but here is a PDF of the text. Most people don’t realize that the title of the speech wasn’t in the original prepared text. It wasn’t until the famed Gospel singer Mahalia Jackson yelled out, “Tell ’em about the dream, Martin!” that the Reverend went off script and adlibbed much of the rest of the speech.

King speechwriter Clarence Jones realized what was happening when he saw King “push the text of his prepared remarks to one side,” he wrote in the Washington Post in 2011. “I leaned over and said to the person next to me, ‘These people out there today don’t know it yet, but they’re about ready to go to church.”

Variety:

Apple TV Plus is on the board. The new streaming service won its first major Hollywood honor on Sunday, as “The Morning Show” star Jennifer Aniston picked up a SAG Award for best female actor in a drama.

“The Morning Show” had previously been nominated for three awards at the Golden Globes (for Aniston and co-star Reese Witherspoon, as well as best drama), while Billy Crudup won a Critics’ Choice Award for best supporting actor. But the SAG Award gives “Morning Show,” Aniston and Apple TV Plus major momentum as it enters what should be the most crowded Emmy race in history.

Interesting first-time individual win for Aniston. She was up against a strong field in Helena Bonham Carter and Olivia Colman for The Crown, Jodie Comer in Killing Eve, and Elisabeth Moss in The Handmaid’s Tale.

Yahoo:

Everyone knows that the global corporate tax system needs to be overhauled, Apple Chief Executive Tim Cook said on Monday, backing changes to global rules that are currently under consideration.

“I think logically everybody knows it needs to be rehauled, I would certainly be the last person to say that the current system or the past system was the perfect system. I’m hopeful and optimistic that they (the OECD) will find something,” Cook said.

“It’s very complex to know how to tax a multinational… We desperately want it to be fair,” the Apple CEO added after receiving an inaugural award from the Irish state agency responsible for attracting foreign companies recognising the contribution of multinationals in the country.

Cook’s not wrong but trying to overhaul the entire global system may be a task worth of Sisyphus.

January 19, 2020

Watching The Princess Bride the very first time

Twitter user @uzbadyubi has never seen the classic film, The Princess Bride. So they took to Twitter to livestream their reaction to it and it is comedy gold. Check out the thread via Threadreader here or on Twitter.

New Apple TV+ content announced

Apple is attending the Television Critics Association Winter Press Tour and has announced several new programs.

Amazing Stories is coming to Apple TV+ on March 6. A reimagining of Steven Spielberg’s 1980s anthology series, this new version is being developed by Universal TV and Amblin Television.

Visible: Out on Television. The five-part television event, which is executive produced by Ryan White, Jessica Hargrave, Wanda Sykes and Wilson Cruz, investigates the importance of TV as an intimate medium that has shaped the American conscience, and how the LGBTQ movement has shaped television, according to Apple’s description.

Home Before Dark debuts on April 3. The new series is inspired by the reporting of young investigative journalist Hilde Lysiak, and follows a young girl who moves from Brooklyn to a small lakeside town. Hilde, portrayed by child actor Brooklynn Prince, will pursue a cold case that everyone, including her father, tried to bury.

Defending Jacob debuts April 24. The show tells the story of a father who is dealing with the aftermath of his teenage son being accused of murder. It is based off a novel of the same name.

Lots more shows to check out can be found here. The worries about the quantity of content for the Apple TV+ service may be overblown. Quality is another matter and largely remains to be seen.

January 17, 2020

The Dalrymple Report: Neil Peart, Peacock, and AirPods

Dave and I talk about Neil Peart, Rush’s drummer who died last week, as well as NBC adding a new streaming service and a bad AirPods Pro update.

Brought to you by:

Linode: Instantly deploy and manage an SSD server in the Linode Cloud. Get a server running in seconds with your choice of Linux distro, resources, and choice of 10 node locations. Get a $20 credit when you use promocode dalrymple2019 at https://linode.com/dalrymple/.

Subscribe to this podcast



The Verge:

Comcast and NBCUniversal announced today that Peacock will be available in three tiers: a free option (Peacock Free) that comes with limited programming; an ad-supported complete version that is free to existing Comcast customers and $5-a-month for everyone else; and a $10-a-month ad-free subscription option that is open to anyone. That one is known as Peacock Premium.

And:

This brings us to Comcast and NBCUniversal’s final ace in the hole: licensing. NBCUniversal and Comcast own some of the most important licenses in Hollywood. The entire Harry Potter collection, for example, belongs to NBCUniversal right now. WarnerMedia licensed the rights to the franchise a while back, and it will have to wait until those expire (or a new deal is struck) before the movies can migrate over to HBO Max. Since NBCUniversal owns a few important licenses and can license its own series to other streaming services like Netflix and Hulu, which rely on third-party content, Peacock becomes less of a risky bet on streaming. There’s always something for the customer, with NBCUniversal being able to rotate new and older series in and out on a constant basis.

If the streaming biz is of interest, read the whole article. From the marketing shots I’ve seen, NBC has an Apple TV app in the works. I suspect it’ll be available at rollout.

Here’s a link to the Peacock home page. Be sure to click play/sound on to play the weird egg-hatching video at the top of the page.

Apple made this

Apologies in advance. This is truly bad, a flawed, monstrous gem unearthed from the bowels of The Unofficial Apple Archive.

9to5Google:

Last year, Google announced that all Android 7+ devices can be used as two-factor authentication when signing into Gmail, Drive, and other first-party services. Most modern iPhones can now be used as a built-in phone security key for Google apps.

And:

A built-in phone security key differs from the Google Prompt, though both essentially share the same UI. The latter push-based approach is found in the Google Search app and Gmail, while today’s announcement is more akin to a physical USB-C/Lightning key in terms of being resistant to phishing attempts and verifying who you are. Your phone security key needs to be physically near (within Bluetooth range) the device that wants to log-in. The login prompt is not just being sent over an internet connection.

Feels like a step in the right direction, a tool to help stop SIM-swapping. Ultimately, I’d love all my log-in services to offer a setting that limited logins to Face ID only, with Face ID required to change that setting as well.

The op-ed is a long, logical walkthrough of the claims by Attorney General Barr and the counterclaim on the values of both privacy and encryption.

But at its heart:

Apple is no doubt looking out for its commercial interests, and privacy is one of its selling points. But its encryption and security protections also have significant social and public benefits. Encryption has become more important as individuals store and transmit more personal information on their phones — including bank accounts and health records — amid increasing cyber-espionage.

Criminals communicate over encrypted platforms, but encryption protects all users including business executives, journalists, politicians, and dissenters in non-democratic societies. Any special key that Apple created for the U.S. government to unlock iPhones would also be exploitable by bad actors.

If American tech companies offer backdoors for U.S. law enforcement, criminals would surely switch to foreign providers. This would make it harder to obtain data stored on cloud servers. Apple says it has responded to more than 127,000 requests from U.S. law enforcement agencies over the past seven years. We doubt Huawei would be as cooperative.

A worthy read.

FastCompany:

When I looked into the user interface of Mojo Vision’s augmented reality contact lenses, I didn’t see anything at first except the real world in front of me. Only when I peeked over toward the periphery did a small yellow weather icon appear. When I examined it more closely, I could see the local temperature, the current weather, and some forecast information. I looked over to the 9 o’clock position and saw a traffic icon that gave way to a frontal graphic showing potential driving routes on a simple map. At 12 o’clock, I found my calendar and to-do information. At the bottom of my view was a simple music controller.

This is a mock-up, not a shipping product, but still, an audacious concept.

In the coming decade, it’s likely that our computing devices will become more personal and reside closer to—or even inside—our bodies. Our eyes are the logical next stop on the journey. Tech giants such as Apple and Facebook are just now trying to build AR glasses that are svelte enough to wear for extended periods. But Mojo is skipping over the glasses idea entirely, opting for the much more daunting goal of fitting the necessary microcomponents into contact lenses.

I do believe the future will see more and more augmentation, tech that brings the human body across the chasm, towards robots that are themselves trying to become more human. Will we meet in the middle? Become one giant AI, discarding flesh and bone entirely?

Fascinating read. And worth noting that one of the principals in this project is Steve Sinclair, formerly of Apple.

Bloomberg:

Apple Inc. has engaged a specialist in drone and aviation law as a Washington lobbyist, suggesting the company is pushing further into the growing field.

The Cupertino, California-based tech giant retained Lisa Ellman, a parter at Hogan Lovells, to conduct the lobbying. Ellman leads the law firm’s Unmanned Aircraft Systems practice. She also co-founded the Commercial Drone Alliance and is working to expand the commercial drone industry, according to her biography online.

And:

The company used drones a few years ago to help it collect mapping data. In December, it met with regulators about a proposed law that would require drones to sport virtual license plates. The company also sells several drones from DJI through the Apple website and Apple retail stores.

And:

Apple has a team exploring satellites, a type of unmanned aircraft, and Ellman could assist in regulatory efforts that would need to be conducted to launch such an effort. Apple rivals, including Amazon.com Inc. and Alphabet Inc., have developed drones in recent years.

Drones are certainly a massive business, especially on the military side. Does this connect to Apple’s reported autonomous vehicle efforts? Does this simply fall under miscellaneous?

January 16, 2020

Variety:

Following an extensive review period, Apple will release one of its first-ever original films, “The Banker,” in theaters this March.

“We wanted to take the time to understand the situation at hand — and after reviewing the information available to us, including documentation of the filmmakers’ research, we’ve decided to make this important and enlightening film available to viewers,” a spokesperson for the tech company’s content arm Apple TV Plus told Variety.

The film was delayed from a planned January release after family members of one of the men represented in the film came forth with accusations of abuse at the hands of one of the film’s executive producers, who was also a family member.

This is great news. I’m really looking forward to this movie.

Bloomberg:

I am reminded of an article I wrote four years ago cautioning America’s leaders against making technology and security policy decisions for short-term gains without considering the second- and third-order implications down the road.

Unfortunately, the encryption debate has changed little since then. Law-enforcement agencies advocate for “extraordinary access” to encrypted data to aid investigations – claiming that Americans should accept the security risks inherent in providing this backdoor to protected communications. Meanwhile, technology companies defend the use of end-to-end and device encryption as a key protection against cyberthreats. Then, as now, encryption’s advocates have the stronger argument.

This is a piece from late last year but it has resurfaced in light of recent events. It’s also by a man I like, admire, and greatly respect (even if I disagree with him on occasion) and a man who knows more about the topic than any of us ever will – General Michael Hayden, former director of both the National Security Agency and the Central Intelligence Agency.

My 5yo asked, “How big is a wolf?”

This is pretty cool. My son and I just spent the last 30 minutes taking pictures of him with various animals (panda, lion, leopard) in our living room. I had no idea how big a wolf was. Thanks to Peter Lee for the link.

Old-fashioned rice cookers are extremely clever

Technology Connections:

Bet you didn’t think a rice cooker was so interesting, did ya?

I love this guy’s channel and his wonderful explanations of things.

Why everyone is copying AirPods

MKBHD is answering an obvious question here. It’s all about the money.

But watch it anyway. I found this a fascinating dive into the AirPods business, starting with Phil Schiller’s “courage” announcement, then branching into Apple’s success and everyone else revving up their copiers.

Nick Heer, on the FBI asking Apple for a backdoor version of iOS:

At no point — then or now — has Cook or anyone at Apple publicly confirmed how such a backdoor may be installed, or if it’s even possible. Presumably, it would use the iOS update mechanism, but how could permission be granted if the passcode to the iPhone isn’t known?

Nick then takes a Mac with a clean Catalina install, and an iPhone that has never been connected to that Mac, creating a simulation of a stolen, locked iPhone. He then installs an iOS update on that iPhone, all done without entering a passcode.

That said:

To be clear, my iPhone still prompted for its passcode when the update had finished its installation process. This did not magically unlock my iPhone. It also doesn’t prove that passcode preferences could be changed without first entering the existing valid passcode.

But it did prove the existence of one channel where an iPhone could be forced to update to a compromised version of iOS. One that would be catastrophic in its implications for iPhones today, into the future, and for encrypted data in its entirety. It is possible; it is terrible.

Does Nick’s experiment show a weakness in the process? Could a compromised iOS update be added which disables the passcode?

Certainly interesting. Taking this with a grain of salt, at least until someone follows this all the way through and unlocks an iPhone using this approach. Which I hope never happens.

Headline says it all. Gonna post an MKBHD video in a bit that asks the question, why all the clones and AirPods wannabes?

Follow the money. Amazing business.

Hollywood Reporter:

The Apple streamer has picked up the documentary about the legendary hip-hop group directed by Spike Jonze and featuring Grammy Award-winning bandmembers Mike Diamond and Adam Horovitz talking about their music career and 40-year friendship.

And:

A special cut of the feature documentary will open exclusively in select Imax theaters for a limited run from April 3, before the film debuts globally on Apple TV+ on April 24.

Looking forward to this one. Hoping there’s a good amount of focus on Def Jam and Rick Rubin. From the Beastie Boys Wikipedia page:

Following the success of “Cooky Puss”, the Beastie Boys began to incorporate rap into their sets. They hired a DJ for their live shows, New York University student Rick Rubin, who began producing records soon thereafter. He formed Def Jam Recordings with fellow NYU student Russell Simmons, and approached the band about producing them for his new label.

As important a subject as the Beasties are, I think Rick Rubin is an even more important figure in the tree of musical history. Would love to see Apple produce a Rick Rubin doc as a follow-on.

Using an iPad Pro to create posters for Apple TV+ shows

These two videos, released yesterday by Apple, act as ads for both Apple TV+ and the iPad Pro. They also serve to highlight artists and their specific techniques.

Some great artwork. Watching these two, it struck me how incredibly complex these posters are, how many layers they each had.

I’m told that that “layers rendering slowly” effect is a feature of Procreate, gives the artist a chance to see all the elements fall into place, something the iPad Pro renders too quickly to see without help.

January 15, 2020

Engadget:

As promised, Microsoft is officially releasing its Chromium-based Edge browser today, which is powered by the same engine that’s behind Google Chrome. Windows and Mac users can download and install the update manually, and automatic updates will start rolling out for Windows users next week.

I’ve been using the new Edge browser since last April, and while I’m also disappointed to see Microsoft cede more control of the web to Google, I can’t deny that it’s a far better experience than before. The revamped browser is fast and easy to use; I rarely run into compatibility issues with websites (since everyone tends to build for Chrome); and I found its privacy settings to be a big step forward for average consumers.

I’m going to try using it for the next week and see if I like it. How about you?

Scottish reporter tricked into wearing protective gear for ‘drop bears’

This is priceless but I have no sympathy for the reporter. A simple Google search would have told her all about “drop bears”.

The Verge:

Twitter users have been asking for the option to edit tweets ever since the service launched in 2006, but the company has always prevaricated, saying it’s looking into the problem, or considering it deeply, or a hundred other ways of saying “please stop bothering us about this, please.”

Now, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey has given perhaps the most definitive answer on the question to date. During a video Q&A with Wired, Dorsey was asked if there’ll be an edit button for Twitter in 2020. He replies, with a faint smile: “The answer is no.”

Good. Now stop asking about it. It’s a spectacularly bad idea for exactly the reasons mentioned in the story. If you need edits, use a full-featured Twitter client like Twitterrific or Tweetbot which allow you to “delete and edit” a tweet.

Macworld:

Tech companies are still investing huge amounts of time and energy in smart-home products, as the recent Consumer Electronics Show displayed. A year ago, Apple hired a new head of home products—but it hasn’t yet resulted in a lot of visible changes to Apple’s strategy.

The biggest move so far is Apple’s joining forces with its competitors to form an alliance to encourage smart-home interoperability. That’s a good start, and I’m hopeful that Apple can begin to push HomeKit forward in 2020.

No, Apple doesn’t need to build a security camera, or smart lock, or video doorbell, or thermostat. Those ancillary products are exactly the sort of thing that third-party hardware companies are great at. What Apple provides is intelligence at the very center of the experience—and that means the home and the home network.

I and others been saying this for years. It should have been the natural extension of Jobs’ vision for the home he put forward long ago at a Macworld Expo keynote. I think it’s a huge blind spot the company is bizarrely ignoring. Something as “simple” as the Apple TV combined with a HomePod that works as a TV soundbar has been talked about and lusted over. Why won’t/hasn’t Apple developed this idea further? I agree with Snell when he says, “The elimination of AirPort wasn’t a mistake. The real mistake was not replacing it with a next-generation product that could be the hub of a home network.”

Meet the “Michael Jordan of dogs”

ESPN:

There are certain icons of sport that are so transcendent, they change their respective sports forever—Jordan, Tiger, Serena. But there is one athlete you’ve probably never heard of who also belongs in that rarified air, one who can run faster and jump higher than all of them: His name is Spitfire, and he’s a 7-year-old Whippet. But what makes Spitfire so special is more than the fact that he has four legs, it’s the powerful bond he has with his trainer, a 15-year-old girl named Sydney. Together, they are rewriting the record books of the canine sports world. Mina Kimes brings you their unforgettable story.

What a great story and an amazing dog.

Sleeping Beauty proposal

Find a few minutes to watch this with sound on, uninterrupted. And watch all the way through that second bit of video. Great.

Before you dive into Sam Henri Gold’s fantastic Unofficial Apple Archive (it’s a rabbit hole), take a minute to read Michael Steeber’s 9to5Mac introductory post.

Been watching this archive take shape over the years, have posted to it a few times as it’s evolved, glad to see the front door open.

Not useful for me, personally, but definitely interesting. More Terminal “defaults” magic.

Inflammatory headline aside, this New York Times piece is chock full of interesting quotes:

Executives at Apple have been surprised by the case’s quick escalation, said people familiar with the company who were not authorized to speak publicly. And there is frustration and skepticism among some on the Apple team working on the issue that the Justice Department hasn’t spent enough time trying to get into the iPhones with third-party tools, said one person with knowledge of the matter.

And:

The stakes are high for Mr. Cook, who has built an unusual alliance with President Trump that has helped Apple largely avoid damaging tariffs in the trade war with China. That relationship will now be tested as Mr. Cook confronts Mr. Barr, one of the president’s closest allies.

And:

At the heart of the tussle is a debate between Apple and the government over whether security or privacy trumps the other. Apple has said it chooses not to build a “backdoor” way for governments to get into iPhones and to bypass encryption because that would create a slippery slope that could damage people’s privacy.

And:

Bruce Sewell, Apple’s former general counsel who helped lead the company’s response in the San Bernardino case, said in an interview last year that Mr. Cook had staked his reputation on the stance. Had Apple’s board not agreed with the position, Mr. Cook was prepared to resign, Mr. Sewell said.

And:

Mr. Cook has made privacy one of Apple’s core values. That has set Apple apart from tech giants like Facebook and Google, which have faced scrutiny for vacuuming up people’s data to sell ads.

“It’s brilliant marketing,” Scott Galloway, a New York University marketing professor who has written a book on the tech giants, said of Apple. “They’re so concerned with your privacy that they’re willing to wave the finger at the F.B.I.”

And:

A Justice Department spokeswoman said in an email: “Apple designed these phones and implemented their encryption. It’s a simple, ‘front-door’ request: Will Apple help us get into the shooter’s phones or not?”

This is a giant issue. I don’t think there’s any way for a master encryption key to be created that won’t eventually get leaked or stolen.

If such a key was created, is there a case so important that would make putting that key in the hands of the world at large worth the risk? To me, that’s the heart of the dilemma.