May 20, 2020

Universal Audio released an update that fixed an issue preventing UAD authorization on some Catalina systems. Obviously, this is a big issue if you encountered it, but they fixed it very quickly.

The update also includes the Neve 1084 Preamp & EQ with Unison technology. Neve makes some of my favorite EQs, so having the new Neve 1084 is really exciting for me. I already put it in the Unison slot of Luna template for my projects.

Axios:

The bad news is “The Last Dance” is officially over. The good news is there are hundreds of other sports documentaries waiting to be watched, and this morning, we’re hooking you up with our “Top 50 of all time.”

While some of us are waiting for sports to come back, we can argue about this list. I just saw #45 a few weeks ago and it was much better than I expected, #10 was as riveting as any movie I’d ever seen even though I knew how it ended, and there’s no argument about #1. That it didn’t win an Academy Award is a tragedy.

Vox:

Zack Snyder fans have been clamoring for the release of the director’s fabled, perhaps nonexistent cut of the much-maligned DC superhero team-up movie Justice League since the film’s original release in November 2017. Now, the unthinkable has happened: The mystical “Snyder Cut” is real.

On Wednesday, May 20, Warner Bros. Pictures announced it would premiere Snyder’s director’s cut of Justice League in 2021 on the upcoming HBO Max streaming platform. It will be titled Zack Snyder’s Justice League, but no further information, including a release date, has been given at this point.

“I want to thank HBO Max and Warner Brothers for this brave gesture of supporting artists and allowing their true visions to be realized. Also a special thank you to all of those involved in the SnyderCut movement for making this a reality,” Snyder said in a statement.

I guess this is how hard up we are for content. An extra-long version of a pretty bad movie.

iJustine upgrading her Mac Pro with RAM, SSD, wheels

I found this fascinating to watch from beginning to end. I love fixing stuff, digging inside any sort of machine. This scratched an itch with an experience I can only dream about.

Don’t miss that shot, about 2 minutes in, of the sushi tray-like packaging filled with 1.5 terabytes of RAM. Amazing.

Mike Fleming Jr, Deadline:

In a real shocker, the WWII naval drama Greyhound that Tom Hanks wrote and stars in has abruptly changed course and will berth at Apple. Originally on the Sony Pictures theatrical calendar for Father’s Day weekend, the film instead will become the biggest feature film commitment made by Apple to premiere on Apple TV+. It is the latest in a growing indication that Apple is making its move, and becoming as aggressive as any streamer or studio in auctions for the acquisition of films and TV projects.

This is no small thing. This is right in Tom Hanks’ sweet spot, historical drama (think Apollo 13, From the Earth to the Moon, Saving Private Ryan). And circumstances plopped this right in Apple’s lap. A big win for Apple.

As to the movie:

He’ll play George Krause, a career officer finally given command of a Navy destroyer, Greyhound, during the Battle of the Atlantic, which took place in the earliest months of America’s alliance with England and the Free Forces. Along with the enemy, Krause fights his self-doubts and personal demons to prove he belongs.

Here’s the trailer. Enjoy.

Abner Li, 9to5Google:

Similar to the experience offered on Pixel devices, existing Fi subscribers with iPhones can replace their physical nano-SIM card with a downloadable eSIM. This capability is tied to version 2.5 of the Google Fi companion app, which rolled out yesterday. The release notes mention how “You can now activate Fi via eSIM on select iPhone devices.”

I’ve been curious about Google Fi as an alternative to my current provider. To get a sense of Google Fi coverage in your neck of the woods, pop over to this coverage map and enter an address.

The pricing is not dirt cheap, but it is definitely cheaper than my existing service.

Having a knee-jerk privacy reaction, have to read up on that. Wonder if Apple will ever rollout their own MVNO service. I suspect if that was ever going to happen, it would have happened already.

The Guardian:

Le Bonniec, 25, worked as a subcontractor for Apple in its Cork offices, transcribing user requests in English and French, until he quit in the summer of 2019 due to ethical concerns with the work. “They do operate on a moral and legal grey area,” he told the Guardian at the time, “and they have been doing this for years on a massive scale. They should be called out in every possible way.”

This news came out last summer, Apple apologized and changed their process:

Following the revelations of Le Bonniec and his colleagues, Apple promised sweeping changes to its “grading” program, which involved thousands of contractors listening to recordings made, both accidentally and deliberately, using Siri. The company apologised, brought the work in-house, and promised that it would only grade recordings from users who had explicitly opted-in to the practice.

And:

“I listened to hundreds of recordings every day, from various Apple devices (eg. iPhones, Apple Watches, or iPads). These recordings were often taken outside of any activation of Siri, eg in the context of an actual intention from the user to activate it for a request. These processings were made without users being aware of it, and were gathered into datasets to correct the transcription of the recording made by the device,” he said.

Le Bonniec’s argument seems not to take issue with Apple’s changed process, but rather that the company has not faced what he deems appropriate investigation and consequences.

Nice roll-up of all the leaks and rumors about Apple’s over-ear headphones. Product-specific leaks aside, the manufacturing aspect of this is notable. If recent reporting is to be believed, Apple is courting alternatives to Foxconn, as well as additional alternatives to China for product manufacture and assembly.

May 19, 2020

Did you notice the Google doodle on Google’s home page today? Today is the birthday of the late Nicholas Winton who rescued 669 children during World War II.

Check out this video but be warned, tissues will be necessary.

And here is Winton’s New York Times obituary from 2015. It’s a remarkable story.

Apple:

To our customers: As of today, nearly 100 of our stores globally have been able to open their doors to our customers again. We wanted to share a bit about how we’re carrying forward our commitment to care: how it’s informing our decision‑making, the significant steps we’re taking to keep everyone who visits one of our stores safe, and the ways in which our stores will look a little different.

Our commitment is to only move forward with a reopening once we’re confident we can safely return to serving customers from our stores. We look at every available piece of data — including local cases, near and long‑term trends, and guidance from national and local health officials. These are not decisions we rush into — and a store opening in no way means that we won’t take the preventative step of closing it again should local conditions warrant.

We’re also taking some additional steps in most places. Face coverings will be required for all of our teams and customers, and we will provide them to customers who don’t bring their own. Temperature checks will be conducted at the door, and posted health questions will screen for those with symptoms — like cough or fever — or who have had recent exposure to someone infected with COVID‑19. Throughout the day, we’re conducting enhanced deep cleanings that place special emphasis on all surfaces, display products, and highly trafficked areas.

I have no compelling reason to go to an Apple Store at the best of times but I certainly wouldn’t go to one now. But it would be interesting to see how Apple pulls this off and I have every expectation they will do so.

I can’t get next to you

If you read the title and instantly thought of The Temptations, then this is definitely for you, a lip-sync tour de force.

And if the title means nothing more to you than social distancing in the time of coronavirus, that’s just fine, dig in anyway.

Great song, great performance.

OSXDaily:

This article is going to demonstrate how to use and connect external storage drives to iPhone or iPad, including external hard disks, USB flash drives, SD cards, and other common storage formats. You’ll then have direct access to the files on those storage mediums, right from iOS or iPadOS.

Good writeup. Worth bookmarking and passing along.

Start by reading this New York Times piece, F.B.I. Finds Links Between Pensacola Gunman and Al Qaeda:

The F.B.I. recently bypassed the security features on at least one of Mr. Alshamrani’s two iPhones to discover his Qaeda links. Christopher A. Wray, the director of the F.B.I., said the bureau had “effectively no help from Apple,” but he would not say how investigators obtained access to the phone.

Gruber then proceeds to take down the Times’ narrative, piece-by-piece, with a quote Apple shared with the media in response to the FBI’s “no help” claim, ending his take with this:

Apple cooperated in every way they technically could. The DOJ is not asking for Apple’s cooperation unlocking existing iPhones — they’re asking Apple to make future iPhones insecure.

Gruber’s take is worth reading, soup to nuts. He does a solid job responding to the “make a backdoor that only white hats can get through” argument, an impossible ask.

I’d only add this little nugget, from NBCNews, that might explain how the FBI got in:

Software called Hide UI, created by Grayshift, a company that makes iPhone-cracking devices for law enforcement, can track a suspect’s passcode when it’s entered into a phone, according to two people in law enforcement, who asked not to be named out of fear of violating non-disclosure agreements.

The spyware, a term for software that surreptitiously tracks users, has been available for about a year but this is the first time details of its existence have been reported, in part because of the non-disclosure agreements police departments sign when they buy a device from Grayshift known as GrayKey.

It’s a cat and mouse game. IMO, a very important one.

Bloomberg:

Apple Inc. is acquiring older movies and shows for its TV+ streaming service, aiming to build a back catalog of content that can better stack up against the huge libraries available on Netflix, Hulu and Disney+.

And:

The company’s video-programming executives have taken pitches from Hollywood studios about licensing older content for TV+ and have bought some shows and movies, according to people familiar with the matter.

No specifics. And I’ve not yet seen outside content appearing on Apple TV+.

But I did notice an ad for a new, non-Apple, Scooby Doo movie on Apple’s front page the other day. I can’t ever remember Apple placing an ad on their front page that wasn’t specifically tied to an Apple product.

Wonder if this was simply a push to get folks to buy/rent the movie on Apple TV. Or if this is a bit of a sign of Apple TV+ loosening the “only original content” restriction.

May 18, 2020

The mashup continues, with 50 songs from 1986

I believe we’re now all caught up with this series. Love every one of them, from 1979 to 1986. I believe 1987 is in the works.

Got 10 minutes? Want to learn Markdown?

Follow the link. Markdown is worth knowing, it’s easy to learn, and this tutorial is focused and efficient. Easy peasy.

Apple:

Apple today announced that its critically hailed workplace comedy series, “Mythic Quest: Raven’s Banquet,” will return Friday, May 22, with the debut of “Mythic Quest: Quarantine,” a special new episode written, filmed and edited in quarantine.

Big fan of this show. The quarantine episode was filmed (as you’d expect) entirely on iPhones.

Here’s the trailer:

The Statesider:

Before 1984, I had never encountered the word “font.” Then a Macintosh computer showed up in my house.

A beige block with a too-small black and white screen and a thingy called a “mouse,” the first thing I saw when I turned it on was “Welcome to Macintosh” in what I would soon learn was a font called Chicago.

The linked map is interesting. Had no idea there were so many US-city-named fonts. Obviously, a world map would have a ton more.

But the mention of the original Macintosh fonts brought me down a bit of a rabbit hole. Can you name the original Mac fonts? Here’s a link to a Wikipedia page that has the answer.

Apple:

Like most high school seniors, Elle Smith hasn’t had the year they imagined. Prom was cancelled. A graduation ceremony is up in the air. But one thing Elle hasn’t compromised on is weekly virtual meetings of their Austin, Texas, high school’s Genders and Sexualities Alliance, a club for LGBTQ students and allies to come together and find community. Elle restarted the club their freshman year and has led it ever since.

And:

It’s this commitment to community and advocacy that led to Elle’s being named Student Advocate of the Year by GLSEN, a US-based LGBTQ organization that has inspired and helps lead a global movement to end discrimination, harassment, and bullying in schools. GLSEN supports student advocates like Elle and provides the resources that help them change their communities, one conversation at a time.

And:

GLSEN is just one of the organizations whose work on behalf of LGBTQ people Apple directly supports with its annual Apple Watch Pride Edition band and face collection.

Here’s a link to the Pride Edition Sport Band, and to the Pride Edition Nike Sport Band.

May 17, 2020

Public Media Art #1 WAVE with anamorphic illusion

Public Media Art #1_WAVE with Anamorphic illusion from d'strict on Vimeo.

This is just ten different kinds of freaky.

May 16, 2020

“The Last Dance” on Netflix

As a former player and rabid fan, Michael Jordan was a basketball god to me. We would drive down to Seatle once a year to see his Bulls play the Supersonics. When Vancouver got their ill-fated basketball team, I made sure I went to every Bulls game. I watched every game of his in college and the pros that I could. I was sad when he retired (both times) and elated when he came back.

So when Netflix announced “The Last Dance” would be a behind the scenes look at that final championship Bulls team, I knew I’d watch it. What I didn’t know or expect was how good it would be.

My wife, who is not a basketball fan, is as riveted as I am by the series, if in a different way. I knew about Jordan’s drive and immense will to win but this is the first time we’ve seen many of his peers talk about it as well. And they are remarkably honest about how Jordan treated them (often badly). But it’s obvious that it was that incredible desire to win, maybe even at all costs, that drove him.

You may have seen the clip from the show where Jordan gets quite emotional talking about it.

And M.G. Siegler has a very interesting post titled “The Great Asshole Fallacy” you should read. It will never be answered to everyone’s satisfaction but it asks the question that has been asked of many others, including Steve Jobs, “Do you have to be a jerk to be successful at the highest level?”

This is a series I would tell people to subscribe to Netflix for. It’s that good.

May 15, 2020

The Dalrymple Report: Logic Pro and reckless Dave

Dave and I talk about the new update to Logic Pro X that dropped this week, battery issues with the Magic Keyboard and iPad, as well as Dave becoming a bit reckless with his iPhone security.

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On the heels of the Spotify offer we posted earlier, Best Buy has a deal for new subscribers to get a free Apple Music subscription for four months.

While this is supposedly a “US Only” offer, a Reddit poster has a workaround. It didn’t work for me though.

Global Times:

China is ready to take a series of countermeasures against a US plan to block shipments of semiconductors to Chinese telecom firm Huawei, including putting US companies on an “unreliable entity list,” launching investigations and imposing restrictions on US companies such as Apple and suspending the purchase of Boeing airplanes, a source close to the Chinese government told the Global Times.

The measures include adding related US companies to China’s “unreliable entity list,” imposing restrictions on or launching investigations into US companies like Qualcomm, Cisco and Apple according to Chinese laws and regulations like Cybersecurity Review Measures and Anti-monopoly Law, and suspending airplane purchases from Boeing, said the source.

It’s only a rumour at this point but even the hint this could happen will certainly accelerate any plans Apple may have to move at least some of its manufacturing out of the reach of the Chinese government and its battles with the US government.

CNET:

It’s been over a year since Apple Arcade was first announced and more than eight months since the subscription video game service was released. One of its big pitches is the ability to play its library of games not only on your iPhone, iPad or MacBook, but also on your couch at home with the Apple TV. I last looked at Arcade for Apple TV in October, paying special attention to how it plays on the big screen. Now, with quarantine leaving everyone hungry for new home entertainment, I decided to give it another spin to see how the platform has grown.

I played a host of Arcade titles over the last few weeks on an Apple TV 4K and a 65-inch 4K TV, primarily using the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 controllers as well as the Apple TV remote. In short, Apple’s $5-per-month service has gotten a little better and is now at over 100 titles, but it still has a very long way to go to offer a real alternative to Xbox, PlayStation or Nintendo Switch.

I let my Arcade subscription lapse a couple of months ago. While there are plenty of games, very few are of interest to our family. I think the comparison to consoles may be a little unfair but I’m not a console player so I don’t/can’t compare the experiences. On their own merits, the Apple Arcade games just aren’t compelling enough for us.

The Verge:

Spotify is offering two new deals, starting today, to bring more people over to its premium subscription service. New users can get three free months if they sign up from today through June 30th, and the deal applies to any premium plans including family, student, and individual. Meanwhile, people who once were individual premium members, but canceled their plan before April 14th, can sign up again for $9.99 for three months, bringing the cost of a subscription to a little over $3.00 per month. People can access both deals from spotify.com/premium.

My wife is a big fan of Spotify, mostly because of the selection of specific kinds of yoga music. If you haven’t tried it yet, this is a good deal for three months.

The mashup continues, this time with more than 50 songs from 1985

I love this series. It started with 1979 and there’s one for every year between 1979 and 1985. Every one of them worth watching.

Enjoy.

Charlie Harrington:

Not one block away from our house did I spot something: a yellowed plastic box amid a pile of trash. No. It couldn’t be. I stopped, and went back to the trash.

It was an Apple IIe. With its CRT monitor. And a dual floppy drive.

Just. SITTING. THERE.

This is a pretty fun read. I have to say, if I came across an Apple II, just sitting in someone’s trash, I would definitely grab it, if only for nostalgia’s sake.

How about you?

Eater:

Owners of the Bay Area’s restaurants agree on one thing: It’ll be damn near impossible to stay in business if their dining room capacity is cut. While California’s guidelines for restaurant reopening don’t specify a specific slash in capacity, they do require social distancing measures between patrons and workers, which means that to make enough money to remain afloat, restaurants need way more space to serve diners.

In response, officials across the Bay Area have discussed taking over street space for restaurant use — and now, Berkeley has put that discussion into action, as today it introduced legislation to fully close many of the city’s streets, repurposing them as seating areas for the city’s vibrant restaurant scene.

See also: Lithuanian capital to be turned into vast open-air cafe.

Makes me wonder, is this a temporary adjustment, or more of a seismic shift in thinking that will stay for the long haul?

This is not a rumor. It’s a press release from TSMC itself.

TSMC today announced its intention to build and operate an advanced semiconductor fab in the United States with the mutual understanding and commitment to support from the U.S. federal government and the State of Arizona.

As a reminder, TSMC is a chip fabricator with a long relationship with Apple, starting with the the A5 SoC back in 2011, and is said to be the chip fabricator behind the rumored ARM-based Mac (that last bit is a rumor).

Construction is planned to start in 2021 with production targeted to begin in 2024.

Can’t help but think about the fabled Foxconn plant in Wisconsin.