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A 4-Year-Old Boy Saved His Mum's Life Using Her Thumbprint To Unlock Her iPhone - BuzzFeed News
from Daring Fireball

From the 999 transcript:

Operator: Hello, this is the police. What is your emergency?

Roman: Hello, I’m Roman.

O: Where’s your mummy?

R: She’s at home.

O: Where are you?

R: At home as well.

O: Can you do me a favour? Can you go and get mummy?

R: We can’t, she’s dead.

O: You said mummy was there – what do you mean she’s dead?

R: It means that she’s closing her eyes and she’s not breathing.

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ifttt  daringfireball 
2 days ago by josephschmitt
Samsung's New iPad Pro Is Just Fantastic
from Daring Fireball

Alex Cranz, Gizmodo:

Coming a year after the launch of Apple’s first 9.7-inch iPad Pro, the new iteration from Samsung feels daring. While it has the same sleek lines, is just as light, and possesses the magnetic connection on one side for easy keyboard cover attachment, Samsung’s iPad Pro for 2017 is, inexplicably called the Galaxy Tab S3, and unlike previous iPads this one runs on Android.

Samsung is so stupid with their insistence on printing their ugly logo on the front face of any device where it’ll fit. You’re obviously supposed to use this tablet in landscape orientation any time it’s connected to the keyboard case, or any time you watch a video. For many users, that might be the majority of their time using the device. And when the device is in landscape, the logo is oriented wrong. That’s just plain stupid.

And look at their asymmetrical copy of the iPad’s Smart Connector. Says everything you need to know about Samsung’s care for the little details.

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ifttt  daringfireball 
3 days ago by josephschmitt
The Talk Show ✪: Ep. 184, With Special Guest Merlin Mann
from Daring Fireball

New episode. Special guest Merlin Mann. Enjoy.

Brought to you buy:

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Warby Parker: Boutique-quality, vintage-inspired glasses at a revolutionary price. Try up to five pairs at home for free.

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3 days ago by josephschmitt
Apple has acquired Workflow, a powerful automation tool for iPad and iPhone | TechCrunch
from Daring Fireball

Whoa, huge news for iOS nerds. Matthew Panzarino has the scoop:

Workflow has been around for a couple of years and we’ve covered it and its updates. It shares some similarity with the service IFTTT, in that it allows people to group together a bunch of actions that can allow them to perform complicated tasks with one tap. It had built up a sizeable number of users and downloads over the past few years.

Workflow the app is being acquired, along with the team of Weinstein, Conrad Kramer and Nick Frey. In a somewhat uncommon move for Apple, the app will continue to be made available on the App Store and will be made free later today.

Workflow never really clicked for me, but I’ve been meaning to give it another try. This certainly provides ammunition against the argument that Apple doesn’t care about power users any more.

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ifttt  daringfireball 
3 days ago by josephschmitt
HealthFace on the App Store
from Daring Fireball

My thanks to Quentin Zervaas — remember Streaks? — for sponsoring this week’s DF RSS feed to promote HealthFace. HealthFace goes deep on exposing health information as a complication on any Apple Watch face. Any data from HealthKit can be shown, and it’s easy to configure it to show different data on different watch faces — you can, say, show your sleep data on the Utility face and your blood pressure on Utility. The interface for configuring the complications is better than Apple’s.

If you have any interest in displaying your HealthKit data on your Apple Watch, HealthFace is the app for you. And it’s a great deal — a one-time purchase of just $1.99.

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ifttt  daringfireball 
3 days ago by josephschmitt
Disability in the Age of Trump - by Amanda Scurti
from Daring Fireball

Beautiful, moving comic by Amanda Scurti.

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ifttt  daringfireball 
4 days ago by josephschmitt
Newsroom - Apple
from Daring Fireball

Product Red Special Edition iPhone 7 and 7 Plus: Looks cool.

New 9.7-inch just-plain “iPad”: Looks like the supply chain rumor mill was almost entirely wrong about new iPads. No new iPad Pro hardware at all. Just a no-adjective 9.7-inch “iPad” to replace the iPad Air 2. It’s a nice update for the budget-conscious: the new iPad has a brighter screen and an A9 instead of an A8 chip, and costs $70 less.

Clips: Looks cool, especially the part about dictating the titles verbally. But it doesn’t ship until April.

New Apple Watch Bands: None of these colors speak to me, personally, but I will say that comfort-wise, Apple’s nylon bands are my favorite.

(A thought about the missing updates to the iPad Pro lineup: it seems like the supply chain leaks are mostly related to displays. A 10.5-inch display would necessarily require a new hardware design, because that’s a new display size for iPads. But what if the next update to the 12.9-inch iPad Pro also sports a new smaller-bezel design? Same display size as the current big iPad Pro, but a smaller footprint? When Apple makes multiple sizes of the same device family, they generally look as similar as possible other than the difference in size. It would be weird if, later this year, Apple released two new iPad Pros, but only one of them sported a new edge-to-edge display.)

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4 days ago by josephschmitt
Research Blog: Announcing Guetzli: A New Open Source JPEG Encoder
from Daring Fireball

Robert Obryk and Jyrki Alakuijala, of Google Research Europe:

At Google, we care about giving users the best possible online experience, both through our own services and products and by contributing new tools and industry standards for use by the online community. That’s why we’re excited to announce Guetzli, a new open source algorithm that creates high quality JPEG images with file sizes 35% smaller than currently available methods, enabling webmasters to create webpages that can load faster and use even less data.

Guetzli [guɛtsli] — cookie in Swiss German — is a JPEG encoder for digital images and web graphics that can enable faster online experiences by producing smaller JPEG files while still maintaining compatibility with existing browsers, image processing applications and the JPEG standard. […]

And while Guetzli produces smaller image file sizes without sacrificing quality, we additionally found that in experiments where compressed image file sizes are kept constant that human raters consistently preferred the images Guetzli produced over libjpeg images, even when the libjpeg files were the same size or even slightly larger. We think this makes the slower compression a worthy tradeoff.

They’re not exaggerating. I installed Guetzli (via Homebrew) and it produces JPEGs that are about one-third smaller and yet look the same to my eyes. It’s a significant breakthrough for such a venerable image format.

There is, of course, a catch. Image processing is really slow. It takes about 8 minutes for Guetzli to process a single iPhone camera image on my 5K iMac. That doesn’t mean Guetzli isn’t useful — it just isn’t useful in a user-facing context. If I ran a site that published photos, I’d hook it up in the background on the server hosting my images.

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ifttt  daringfireball 
5 days ago by josephschmitt
Meet The Man Whose Site Mark Zuckerberg Reads Every Day - BuzzFeed News
from Daring Fireball

Charlie Warzel, writing for BuzzFeed:

Techmeme, then, wields tremendous power over a tremendously powerful group of people. And as its founder, Rivera has been quietly defining Silicon Valley’s narrative for the industry’s power brokers for more than a decade. But Rivera is uncomfortable — or unwilling — to reckon with how his influence has affected one of the most important and powerful industries in the world. The result is that Rivera can cast himself both as a gimlet-eyed insider with a powerful readership and as a mostly anonymous entrepreneur running a niche link blog from the comfort of his home. It’s a convenient cognitive dissonance.

I visit Techmeme once or twice on typical workdays. But where I find it essential is when I’m on vacation — it’s a great way to quickly check whether anything happened I need to know about. Nothing else like it.

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ifttt  daringfireball 
5 days ago by josephschmitt
Pixure – Professional Pixel Art Studio on the App Store
from Daring Fireball

Pixure is Louis D’hauwe’s excellent pixel art app for iPad and iPhone. It’s a terrific app. You might want to check out the latest version even if you aren’t interested in creating pixel art, though — it’s the first version using D’hauwe’s own open source PanelKit framework. PanelKit allows apps to turn popovers into draggable panels, and allows for them to be pinned into place as stay-open sidebars. It caught my eye a few weeks ago on Twitter, and now that I can play with it in an actual app, I’m even more impressed with the ingenuity.

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ifttt  daringfireball 
5 days ago by josephschmitt
Anthony Bourdain Does Not Want to Owe Anybody Even a Single Dollar | Wealthsimple
from Daring Fireball

Anthony Bourdain, on his approach to personal finance after having not filed taxes for 10 years and running up credit card debt that he ignored until he was 44:

That was really the first time I started thinking about saving money. About not finding myself in that terrifying space, that uncertainty that goes back to childhood. Will the car get fixed? Will we be able to pay for tuition? In very short order, I contacted the IRS and I paid what I owed. I paid American Express. Since that time, I am fanatical about not owing anybody any money. I hate it. I don’t want to carry a balance, ever. I have a mortgage, but I despise the idea. That was my biggest objection to buying property, though I wasn’t in the position to pay cash.

The reports of my net worth are about ten times overstated. I think the people who calculate these things assume that I live a lot more sensibly than I do. I mean, I don’t live recklessly — I have one car. But I don’t deprive myself simple pleasures. I’m not a haggler. There’s not enough time in the world. I tend to go for the quickest, easiest, what’s comfortable. I want it now. Time’s running out.

(Via Kottke.)

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ifttt  daringfireball 
5 days ago by josephschmitt
President Trump faces his hardest truth: He was wrong - The Washington Post
from Daring Fireball

Philip Rucker and Ashley Parker, reporting for The Washington Post:

But in Monday’s remarkable, marathon hearing of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, Comey said there was no such evidence. Trump’s claim, first made in a series of tweets on March 4 at a moment when associates said he was feeling under siege and stewing over the struggles of his young presidency, remains unfounded.

Comey did not stop there. He confirmed publicly that the FBI was investigating possible collusion between Trump campaign officials and associates with Russia, part of an extraordinary effort by an adversary to influence the outcome of the 2016 U.S. election in Trump’s favor.

Questions about Russia have hung over Trump for months, but the president always has dismissed them as “fake news.” That became much harder Monday after the FBI director proclaimed the Russia probe to be anything but fake.

“There’s a smell of treason in the air,” presidential historian Douglas Brinkley said. “Imagine if J. Edgar Hoover or any other FBI director would have testified against a sitting president? It would have been a mind-boggling event.”

As is our current predicament.

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ifttt  daringfireball 
5 days ago by josephschmitt
Evan Blass on Twitter: "Samsung Galaxy S8 and S8 Plus (top to bottom) in black sky, orchid grey and arctic silver (left to right) https://t.co/ISo7W10sYV"
from Daring Fireball

Looks like Samsung is beating Apple to the “hardly any chin or forehead” punch. The top and bottom have bezels, but they’re so small Samsung couldn’t print their ugly logo on the front, finally moving past one of the worst aspects of every other Samsung phone to date.

Are they really going to call the bigger model the “Plus”? They’re really going to rip off Apple’s naming?

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ifttt  daringfireball 
5 days ago by josephschmitt
Google to Revamp Ad Policies After U.K., Big Brands Boycott - Bloomberg
from Daring Fireball

Joe Mayes and Jeremy Kahn, reporting for Bloomberg:

The U.S. company said in a blog post Friday it would give clients more control over where their ads appear on both YouTube, the video-sharing service it owns, and the Google Display Network, which posts advertising to third-party websites.

The announcement came after the U.K. government and the Guardian newspaper pulled ads from the video site, stepping up pressure on YouTube to police content on its platform.

France’s Havas SA, the world’s sixth-largest advertising and marketing company, pulled its U.K. clients’ ads from Google and YouTube on Friday after failing to get assurances from Google that the ads wouldn’t appear next to offensive material. Those clients include wireless carrier O2, Royal Mail Plc, government-owned British Broadcasting Corp., Domino’s Pizza and Hyundai Kia, Havas said in a statement.

The flip side of the theory that we, as users, are Google’s product, not their customers, is that advertisers are Google’s actual customers. And so here they are, responding promptly to their customers’ complaints.

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ifttt  daringfireball 
5 days ago by josephschmitt
Uber president Jeff Jones is quitting, citing differences over ‘beliefs and approach to leadership’ - Recode
from Daring Fireball

Kara Swisher and Johana Bhuiyan, reporting for Recode:

Jeff Jones, the president of Uber, is quitting the car-hailing company after less than a year. The move by the No. 2 exec, said sources, is directly related to the multiple controversies there, including explosive charges of sexism and sexual harassment.

So was Uber’s toxic culture a surprise to Jones? Or was it even worse than what he was braced for?

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ifttt  daringfireball 
6 days ago by josephschmitt
Chuck Berry Takes Keith Richards to School, Shows Him How to Rock (1987) Open Culture
from Daring Fireball

Great clip from 1987’s Hail! Hail! Rock ’n’ Roll, with Chuck Berry teaching Keith Richards how to properly play the opening licks of “Carol”. Perfect.

 ★ 
ifttt  daringfireball 
6 days ago by josephschmitt
Recreating Asteroids with Lasers - YouTube
from Daring Fireball

Seb Lee-Delisle recreated the vintage Asteroids coin-op game using lasers, and the result is glorious. Great video from Matt Parker.

 ★ 
ifttt  daringfireball 
7 days ago by josephschmitt
YouTube Comes To A 5-Star Realization: Its Ratings Are Useless | TechCrunch
from Daring Fireball

I got a lot of pushback from readers regarding my post yesterday supporting Netflix’s switch from a 5-star rating system to a simple thumbs up/down system. The gist of the complaints is that some people do carefully consider their star ratings, and do value the granularity of being able to say that you like/dislike something a little or a lot. But of course some people take that care. The problem is that most people don’t, and collectively, 5-star rating systems are garbage.

This post from YouTube back in 2009 shows it with data: when they had a 5-star rating system, the overwhelmingly most common rating was 5-stars. The next most common was the lowest, 1-star. 2-, 3-, and 4-star ratings were effectively never used.

For a personally curated collection, 5-star ratings can be meaningful. But for a recommendation service that averages ratings among all users, they are not. It’s the difference between designing for the ideal case of how people should behave versus designing for the practical case of how people actually behave.

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ifttt  daringfireball 
7 days ago by josephschmitt
Netflix is ditching five-star ratings in favor of a thumbs-up - The Verge
from Daring Fireball

Lauren Goode, reporting for The Verge:

Netflix will soon be changing changing its ratings system for the first time in several years, switching from a traditional five-star rating to a thumbs-up / thumbs-down system, Netflix vice president of product Todd Yellin said in a press briefing today.

“Five stars feels very yesterday now,” Yellin said. “We’re spending many billions of dollars on the titles we’re producing and licensing, and with these big catalogs, that just adds a challenge.” He added that “bubbling up the stuff people actually want to watch is super important.”

I give this change a thumbs-up. Everyone knows what “like” and “dislike” mean. People have very different opinions on 1-5 star ratings.

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ifttt  daringfireball 
8 days ago by josephschmitt
Above Avalon: The Curious State of Apple Product Pricing
from Daring Fireball

Another good column from Neil Cybart at Above Avalon:

It is very difficult to find a pair of wireless headphones priced lower than AirPods. In the run-up to Apple unveiling AirPods this past September, the wireless headphone market consisted of the following players:

Kanoa: $300

Bragi Dash: $299

Erato Apollo 7: $289

Skybuds: $279

Earin: $249

Motorola VerveOnes+: $249

Samsung Gear IconX: $199

Bragi Headphone: $149

Given the preceding list, a strong case could have been made for Apple to price its new wireless headphones at $249, or even $299. The fact that Samsung priced its Gear IconX at $199 seemed to suggest a sub-$200 retail price for AirPods was unlikely. Instead, Apple sent shockwaves pulsing through the market by pricing AirPods at only $159. The action instantly removed all available oxygen from the wireless headphone space. The idea of Apple coming out with a new product that would underprice nearly every other competitor was unimaginable ten years ago.

He makes a strong case that Apple Watch is underpriced compared to its competition, too.

 ★ 
ifttt  daringfireball 
8 days ago by josephschmitt

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