rufous + via:daringfireball   4069

Former Facebook exec says social media is ripping apart society - The Verge
James Vincent, writing for The Verge:

Another former Facebook executive has spoken out about the harm the social network is doing to civil society around the world. Chamath Palihapitiya, who joined Facebook in 2007 and became its vice president for user growth, said he feels “tremendous guilt” about the company he helped make. “I think we have created tools that are ripping apart the social fabric of how society works,” he told an audience at Stanford Graduate School of Business, before recommending people take a “hard break” from social media. […]

He went on to describe an incident in India where hoax messages about kidnappings shared on WhatsApp led to the lynching of seven innocent people. “That’s what we’re dealing with,” said Palihapitiya. “And imagine taking that to the extreme, where bad actors can now manipulate large swathes of people to do anything you want. It’s just a really, really bad state of affairs.” He says he tries to use Facebook as little as possible, and that his children “aren’t allowed to use that shit.” He later adds, though, that he believes the company “overwhelmingly does good in the world.”

These former Facebook executives coming out against Facebook remind me of former NFL players who won’t allow their own kids to play football.

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28 minutes ago by rufous
Apple's Ive Regains Management of Design Team After 2 Years - Bloomberg
Mark Gurman and Alex Webb, reporting for Bloomberg:

Apple Inc.’s Jony Ive, a key executive credited with the look of many of the company’s most popular products, has re-taken direct management of product design teams.

Ive, 50, was named Apple’s chief design officer in 2015 and subsequently handed off some day-to-day management responsibility while the iPhone maker was building its new Apple Park headquarters in Cupertino, California. “With the completion of Apple Park, Apple’s design leaders and teams are again reporting directly to Jony Ive, who remains focused purely on design,” Amy Bessette, a company spokeswoman, said Friday in a statement.

I can’t decide if this is actually news. It was public knowledge that Ive was spending a lot (most?) of time on Apple Park and other architectural projects (retail), but that obviously wasn’t going to last forever. I suppose it’s news, though, insofar as there was some speculation that he had one foot out the door. This should put an end to that.

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3 days ago by rufous
Sources: Apple is acquiring music recognition app Shazam | TechCrunch
Ingrid Lunden, reporting for TechCrunch:

As Spotify continues to inch towards a public listing, Apple is making a move of its own to step up its game in music services. Sources tell us that the company is close to acquiring Shazam, the popular app that lets people identify any song, TV show, film or advert in seconds, by listening to an audio clip or (in the case of, say, an ad) a visual fragment, and then takes you to content relevant to that search.

We have heard that the deal is being signed this week, and will be announced on Monday, although that could always change.

One source describes the deal as in the nine figures; another puts it at around £300 million ($401 million). We are still asking around. Notably, though, both of the numbers we’ve heard are lower than the $1.02 billion (according to PitchBook) post-money valuation the company had in its last funding round, in 2015.

I wonder if they’ll keep it as a standalone app (and will they keep the Android version?), or if they’ll just roll it into Siri.

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3 days ago by rufous
Trump admin scraps Obama-era proposal requiring airlines to disclose bag fees | TheHill
Melanie Zanona, reporting for The Hill:

The Trump administration has scrapped an Obama-era proposal requiring airlines and ticket agencies to disclose baggage fees as soon as passengers start the process of buying a ticket.

The Department of Transportation (DOT) posted a notice on the Federal Register this week that it is withdrawing the proposed rule, along with another plan to force air carriers to disclose how much revenue they make from charging other ancillary fees.

What is wrong with these people? Who, other than airline beancounters, thinks scrapping this regulation is a good idea?

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3 days ago by rufous
Zero-day iOS HomeKit vulnerability allowed remote access to smart accessories including locks, fix rolling out | 9to5Mac
Zac Hall, reporting for 9to5Mac:

A HomeKit vulnerability in the current version of iOS 11.2 has been demonstrated to 9to5Mac that allows unauthorized control of accessories including smart locks and garage door openers. Our understanding is Apple has rolled out a server-side fix that now prevent unauthorized access from occurring while limiting some functionality, and an update to iOS 11.2 coming next week will restore that full functionality.

The vulnerability, which we won’t describe in detail and was difficult to reproduce, allowed unauthorized control of HomeKit-connected accessories including smart lights, thermostats, and plugs.

The most serious ramification of this vulnerability prior to the fix is unauthorized remote control of smart locks and connected garage door openers, the former of which was demonstrated to 9to5Mac.

Fast response from Apple, and responsible reporting by Hall and 9to5Mac.

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3 days ago by rufous
iPhone models dominate Flickr’s list of most popular cameras in 2017 with 54% of top 100 devices | TechCrunch
Sarah Perez, writing for TechCrunch:

This year, iPhone has scored the majority (54%) of usage on Flickr’s site, up from 47 percent of the top 100 in 2016, and 42 percent the year prior. The iPhone also passed Nikon to score the spot as the second-most popular camera back in 2014.

Nikon was the third most popular brand with 18 percent in 2017, and Canon was number two, responsible for 23 percent of the top 100 devices.

The iPhone is so popular as a camera that its share on Flickr now exceeds all Canon and Nikon cameras combined.

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4 days ago by rufous
Google's AlphaZero Destroys Stockfish In 100-Game Match - Chess.com
Mike Klein, reporting for Chess.com:

A little more than a year after AlphaGo sensationally won against the top Go player, the artificial-intelligence program AlphaZero has obliterated the highest-rated chess engine.

Stockfish, which for most top players is their go-to preparation tool, and which won the 2016 TCEC Championship and the 2017 Chess.com Computer Chess Championship, didn’t stand a chance. AlphaZero won the closed-door, 100-game match with 28 wins, 72 draws, and zero losses.

Oh, and it took AlphaZero only four hours to “learn” chess. Sorry humans, you had a good run.

That’s right — the programmers of AlphaZero, housed within the DeepMind division of Google, had it use a type of “machine learning,” specifically reinforcement learning. Put more plainly, AlphaZero was not “taught” the game in the traditional sense. That means no opening book, no endgame tables, and apparently no complicated algorithms dissecting minute differences between center pawns and side pawns.

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4 days ago by rufous
Forecast: Podcast MP3 Chapter Encoder — Overcast
Marco Arment has released a public beta of Forecast, a Mac app for podcast producers. Among a slew of other great features, Forecast is hands-down the best MP3 chapter editor I’ve seen. If you’ve noticed the chapter support in The Talk Show that started earlier this year, that’s thanks to Forecast. Forecast is free of charge, too.

See also: Jason Snell’s review of Forecast at Six Colors:

There’s also a perceptual trick that Forecast uses to make encoding seem quick: When you add a file to be encoded, encoding begins immediately in the background. By the time you edit your file’s metadata, the encode may have already completed in the background. The first time I used Forecast, I thought something had gone wrong — because when I typed Command-S to save the file, it just saved. There was no wait. The file had already encoded — it was waiting for me, the slow human, to finish typing in episode titles and show descriptions.

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5 days ago by rufous
The case against building an iOS laptop—and why it might happen anyway | Macworld
Jason Snell, writing for Macworld:

Which is why, when someone tells me that it’s stupid for there to be an iOS laptop because it wouldn’t run Xcode and couldn’t be used by professional developers or pro video editors or power users who have spent a decade building up productivity-boosting workflows based on macOS, I don’t have much of a response for them. The iBook wouldn’t be for those people. It would be for people who don’t need all of the features and flexibility that macOS brings. It would be one in an array of products Apple makes — iPhones, iPads, desktop Macs, laptop Macs — that appeal to different users with different needs.

There are simply some use cases where a laptop is the best form factor. An iPad with a keyboard cover is laptop-ish, but not a laptop. If you prefer to use iOS in a scenario that calls for a laptop, you’re stuck between making a go of it with an iPad with a keyboard, or using a proper laptop and another OS.

You could throw this right back at me — and my firmly held belief that MacOS should not support touchscreens — and point out that there are other scenarios where a tablet is the best form factor, and if you prefer MacOS, there therefore ought to be a Mac tablet. I don’t think that argument holds, though. The difference is that I think iOS could work in a laptop form factor (especially if Apple added support for a trackpad, in ways like Snell suggests, but even if they don’t), whereas the Mac interface as it stands would not work well with touch, and changing the Mac interface to work well with touch would (I say) ruin it for use with a mouse pointer.

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5 days ago by rufous
HP, Asus announce first Windows 10 ARM PCs: 20 hour battery life, gigabit LTE | Ars Technica
Peter Bright, writing for Ars Technica:

This ability to upgrade is particularly important because the new Always Connected PCs are different from Microsoft’s previous Windows-on-ARM attempt, Windows RT. Windows RT was a version of Windows 8 for ARM processors, and it too could only run applications from what was then called the Windows Store. But Windows RT had two constraints not found on these new systems: there was no facility to unlock it, and run non-Store apps, and there was no facility to run existing x86 programs. On Windows RT, not only did software have to come from the Store, it also had to be compiled specifically for ARM processors.

That’s not so with Always Connected PCs. They contain an x86 emulator that will enable most 32-bit x86 applications to run unmodified. This includes x86 applications in the Store and, when upgraded to the full Windows 10 Pro, arbitrary desktop applications. Full details of the x86 emulator haven’t been disclosed yet, with the performance in particular currently unknown, but we do know some broad elements of its design.

The emulator runs in a just-in-time basis, converting blocks of x86 code to equivalent blocks of ARM code. This conversion is cached both in memory (so each given part of a program only has to be translated once per run) and on disk (so subsequent uses of the program should be faster, as they can skip the translation). Moreover, system libraries — the various DLLs that applications load to make use of operating system features — are all native ARM code, including the libraries loaded by x86 programs. Calling them “Compiled Hybrid Portable Executables” (or “chippie” for short), these libraries are ARM native code, compiled in such a way as to let them respond to x86 function calls.

A few years ago I would have wagered a small sum on Apple shipping ARM-based Macs before ARM-based Windows PCs arrived. (It could still happen, I suppose, given that these PCs aren’t set to arrive until spring.) What’s interesting to me is that these ARM CPUs are fast enough to emulate x86 software. If that’s true for a Snapdragon CPU, then Apple’s even-faster ARM chips are certainly more than capable of doing the same.

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5 days ago by rufous
Oath and Mozilla are in a legal battle over a Yahoo search deal - Recode
Kara Swisher:

As I reported at the time, under terms of a contract, whoever acquired Yahoo was required to pay Mozilla annual payments of $375 million through 2019, even if it does not think the buyer was one it wanted to work with and walked away. It was Mayer who struck the deal in late 2014 to become the default search engine on the well-known Firefox browser in the U.S.

Mozilla switched to Yahoo from Google after Mayer offered a much more lucrative deal that included an unprecedented term to protect Mozilla in a change-of-control scenario. It was a scenario that Mayer never thought would happen, which is why she apparently pushed through the problematic deal point.

According to the change-of-control term, 9.1 in the agreement, Mozilla had the right to leave the partnership if — under its sole discretion and in a certain time period — it did not deem the new partner acceptable. And if it did that, even if it struck another search deal, Yahoo was still obligated to pay out annual revenue guarantees of $375 million.

That was… not a good deal for Yahoo.

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5 days ago by rufous
Amazon Prime Video arrives on Apple TV in over 100 countries - Apple
Apple Newsroom:

Starting today, customers around the world can access the Amazon Prime Video app on Apple TV to stream award-winning and critically acclaimed titles including Prime Original Series and Movies. Also starting this week, the Apple TV app — a unified place for iPhone, iPad and Apple TV users to discover and start watching the best shows and movies — supports live sports, giving fans in the US a simple and seamless way to keep track of their favorite teams and games in real time. Participating sports apps in the Apple TV app include ESPN and the NBA, developed in partnership between the NBA and Turner Sports, with more to be added soon. Starting tomorrow, Prime members in the US can enjoy Thursday Night Football on the Apple TV app for iPhone, iPad and Apple TV.

I’ve heard there is indeed a good story behind this delay.

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5 days ago by rufous
swissmiss | A Microsoft Excel Artist
Great find from Tina Roth Eisenberg:

For over 15 years, Japanese artist Tatsuo Horiuchi has rendered the subtle details of mountains, cherry blossoms, and dense forests with the most unlikely tool: Microsoft Excel.

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5 days ago by rufous
How brands secretly buy their way into Forbes, Fast Company, and HuffPost stories | The Outline
Jon Christian, reporting for The Outline:

People involved with the payoffs are extremely reluctant to discuss them, but four contributing writers to prominent publications including Mashable, Inc, Business Insider, and Entrepreneur told me they have personally accepted payments in exchange for weaving promotional references to brands into their work on those sites. Two of the writers acknowledged they have taken part in the scheme for years, on behalf of many brands. Mario Ruiz, a spokesperson for Business Insider, said in an email that “Business Insider has a strict policy that prohibits any of our writers, whether full-time staffers or contributors, from accepting payment of any kind in exchange for coverage.”

One of them, a contributor to Fast Company and other outlets who asked not to be identified by name, described how he had inserted references to a well-known startup that offers email marketing software into multiple online articles, in Fast Company and elsewhere, on behalf of a marketing agency he declined to name. To make the references seem natural, he said, he often links to case studies and how-to guides published by the startup on its own site. Other times, he’ll just praise a certain aspect of the company’s business to support a point in an otherwise unrelated story. […]

The Fast Company writer also defended the practice by arguing that it’s enabled by editors who are hungry for cheap or unpaid blog content. Many high-volume sites, including the Huffington Post, Entrepreneur, and Forbes, maintain networks of unpaid contributors who publish large amounts of material.

That’s a pathetic defense. Everyone is guilty in this racket — the “sponsors” who pay for this bullshit, the writers who accept the payola, and publications that blindly run these stories. There’s a complete and shameless lack of integrity from all three sides.

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5 days ago by rufous
YouTube to Disappear From Fire TV As Google and Amazon Duke It Out – Variety
Janko Roettgers, reporting for Variety:

In an unusually frank statement, a Google spokesperson squarely blamed Amazon’s unwillingness to strike a business deal with Google for the step:

​“We’ve been trying to reach agreement with Amazon to give consumers access to each other’s products and services. But Amazon doesn’t carry Google products like Chromecast and Google Home, doesn’t make Prime Video available for Google Cast users, and last month stopped selling some of Nest’s latest products. Given this lack of reciprocity, we are no longer supporting YouTube on Echo Show and FireTV. We hope we can reach an agreement to resolve these issues soon.”

Amazon shot back Tuesday afternoon, sending Variety the following statement:

“Echo Show and Fire TV now display a standard web view of YouTube.com and point customers directly to YouTube’s existing website. Google is setting a disappointing precedent by selectively blocking customer access to an open website. We hope to resolve this with Google as soon as possible.”

So Amazon Prime is (supposedly) coming to Apple TV any day now, just as Amazon’s spat with Google is escalating. Google seems to be in a strong position here — it seems hard to me to sell a TV box that doesn’t support YouTube. Is a web view of youtube.com really a good experience on a TV? But this also goes to show how powerful Amazon’s retail store is — Google obviously cares that Amazon isn’t selling these Google hardware products.

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5 days ago by rufous
Apple Says iOS 11 is Now Installed on 59% of Devices - Mac Rumors
Juli Clover, MacRumors:

iOS 11 is now installed on 59 percent of iOS devices, according to new statistics Apple shared this week on its App Store support page for developers. That’s up from 52 percent on November 6, indicating iOS 11 adoption has grown just 7 percentage points over the course of the last month.

iOS 11 adoption has been slower than iOS 10 adoption. Based on Apple’s official App Store numbers, for example, iOS 10 was installed on 54 percent of devices in October, a month after the operating system had been released. Comparatively, iOS 11 was only at 52 percent in November, a month and a half after launch.

I don’t think a difference between 54 and 52 percent is meaningful, especially this year, when many people were waiting for the iPhone X. The iPhone X alone could account for that 2 percent. I think it’s fair to say iOS 11’s adoption rate is the about the same as iOS 10’s last year.

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5 days ago by rufous
iPhone X Charging Speeds Compared: The Fastest and Easiest Ways to Charge Your iPhone - Mac Rumors
Comprehensive testing from Juli Clover for MacRumors. Looks like the 7.5-watt contact charging (enabled by iOS 11.2) using the Belkin and Mophie charging pads is a nice improvement over 5-watt charging.

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5 days ago by rufous
Safari Tab Search on the Mac
Gabe Weatherhead, writing at Macdrifter:

Here’s a little Safari trick that is just gold. Hit Shift-⌘-\ to enter the Safari “Show all tabs” mode. From there it’s just a simple ⌘-F to search the open tabs.

Notice that the search also covers tabs open on other devices too?

Whoa, this is cool. Had no idea you could search in this mode.

But there’s a huge shortcoming: it only searches the tabs in the current window. It seems crazy to me that you can use this to find tabs open on other devices, but not tabs open in other windows on the Mac you’re currently using.

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6 days ago by rufous
ATPM 11.01 - Review: MarsEdit 1.0
Wes Felter, in his MarsEdit 1.0 review back in January 2005:

A brief historical diversion, if you will: going all the way back to LiveJournal clients, weblog editing clients have tended to be non-document-based, until quite recently. I used the original Windows LiveJournal client, which was modal way back when, and there weren’t a lot of alternatives. Sure, if you had a Radio blog, you had a document-based application — but the huge proliferation of blogs, as Maciej Ceglowski demonstrated in the NITLE Weblog Census, means that most people use Movable Type (about 44,000) or the big hosted services, BlogSpot and LiveJournal (707,690), all of which now support some form of remote posting. Between Ecto and MarsEdit, though, the future is clearly in document-based weblog editing.

Movable Type, Blogspot, and LiveJournal are all still around, but today they’re dwarfed in usage by WordPress and Tumblr. It’s a testimony to the strength of MarsEdit’s engine-neutral design that it remains relevant today, despite a nearly complete change in the publishing systems people use to blog.

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6 days ago by rufous
Russia Banned From Winter Olympics by I.O.C. - The New York Times
Rebecca R. Ruiz and Tariq Panja, reporting for The New York Times:

Russia’s Olympic team has been barred from the 2018 Winter Games in Pyeongchang, South Korea. The country’s government officials are forbidden to attend, its flag will not be displayed at the opening ceremony and its anthem will not sound.

Any athletes from Russia who receive special dispensation to compete will do so as individuals wearing a neutral uniform, and the official record books will forever show that Russia won zero medals.

That was the punishment issued Tuesday to the proud sports juggernaut that has long used the Olympics as a show of global force but was exposed for systematic doping in previously unfathomable ways. The International Olympic Committee, after completing its own prolonged investigations that reiterated what had been known for more than a year, handed Russia penalties for doping so severe they were without precedent in Olympics history.

I’m curious if Old Happy Thumbs will fire up his iPhone to comment on this one.

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6 days ago by rufous
Red Sweater Blog – MarsEdit 4 Is Here
Daniel Jalkut:

MarsEdit 4 also brings a new sales approach that aims to unify the trial, purchase, and upgrade experience between the Mac App Store and direct-licensed versions of the app. The app is free to download and can be used full-featured for a 14 day trial period.

After the trial expires, all features of the app continue to work except for actions that update published content on the web. This ensures that all of MarsEdit’s powerful offline features, including download/archiving of posts, can be used in perpetuity for free.

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6 days ago by rufous
MarsEdit 4 - Powerful web publishing from your Mac.
Major update to one of my very favorite and most-used apps. I’ve been using MarsEdit ever since it was first spun off from the built-in blog editor in NetNewsWire back in 2004. MarsEdit 4 is a terrific update — it both works and looks better than ever. The basic premise — a native Mac blog editor that follows the basic layout and structure of an email client, remains as sound today as it did 13 years ago. MarsEdit is both great in terms of its integration with various blogging platforms and its integration with MacOS as a native app.

I’ve said for years that almost everything I write for Daring Fireball goes through MarsEdit. The only posts that don’t are the ones I write on my iPhone (or, very rarely, iPad). But now that I think about it, it’s not just that almost everything I post now goes through MarsEdit — given that I’ve been using it since mid-2004, almost everything I have every posted to Daring Fireball has gone through MarsEdit.

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6 days ago by rufous
Doxie Mobile Scanners - Smart Scanners for Going Paperless
My thanks to Doxie for sponsoring this week’s DF RSS feed. Doxie’s mobile scanners produce reliable and high-quality scans of all your paper. Whether you’re trying to go (or stay) paperless, Doxie connects your physical paper to your digital world.

Going paperless is a lot easier than you might think. With Doxie’s included memory and rechargeable battery, Doxie lets you scan anywhere — no computer required — and then save, share, and send your paper to the cloud with Doxie’s intuitive Mac and iOS apps. It’s great hardware and great software, and it doesn’t tie you in to any sort of proprietary platform. You can do whatever you want with your scans.

This week only, Doxie is giving all Daring Fireball readers a super secret 30% discount off any new Doxie on Amazon. Enter promo code “FIREBALL” at checkout.

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6 days ago by rufous
Ben Thompson Is Wrong About the Deregulation of ISPs — Pixel Envy
Nick Heer wrote a terrific response to Ben Thompson on the FCC’s move to overturn Obama era net neutrality regulations:

Even if you believe that the American broadband market is sufficiently competitive — it isn’t — that ISPs can be trusted to not discriminate against some forms of traffic once given the freedom to — doubtful — and that existing regulatory structures will allow any problems to be fixed on a case-by-case basis, it still seems far more efficient to prevent it in the first place. There’s an opportunity to treat internet service as a fundamental utility; let’s keep it that way, whether that’s through Title II classification or an equivalent replacement.

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6 days ago by rufous
Where is Amazon’s Prime Video app for Apple TV? - The Verge
Chris Welch, writing for The Verge:0

“Amazon is coming to the TV app and all Apple TVs later this year with Amazon Prime Video,” Cook said at Apple’s WWDC keynote, before rattling off a string of original Amazon shows including Mozart in the Jungle, Man in the High Castle, and Transparent.

Tomorrow will mark six months since that news.

There has to be a good story here, but no one seems to know it.

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6 days ago by rufous
Science confirmed: Text replacements do not sync - MacStadium - MacStadium Community Discussion
Remember back in September, when Brian Stucki dove deep into an investigation of why text replacements didn’t sync reliably between iOS devices and Macs? I was told the next day by an Apple spokesperson that an update that moves text replacement syncing to CloudKit should be rolling out to iOS 11 and MacOS 10.13 High Sierra users in the “next month or so”.

In an update to his original report, Stucki reports that as of last week, this is now the case. So far so good for me personally. I think this deserves a non-sarcastic finally.

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6 days ago by rufous
The full story on how the Viking uniforms came to Minnesota
Paul Lukas, writing for ESPN:

Here’s the backstory: The Vikings’ first general manager was former Los Angeles Rams public relations director Bert Rose, and their first coach was former Rams quarterback Norm Van Brocklin. When it came time to create the new team’s look in 1961, they turned to a prominent Los Angeles sports cartoonist named Karl Hubenthal, whom they knew from their days in L.A.

It was Hubenthal — not a Vikings employee, not a Minnesota design firm, not the NFL Properties office — who designed the Norseman logo and the team’s original uniform set, including the distinctive horned helmet. Per Rose’s instruction, Hubenthal executed the designs in purple and gold. Why those colors? Because those are the colors of the University of Washington, where Rose had attended college. So with the L.A. and Washington connections, the look of this quintessentially midwestern team had strong West Coast roots.

The Vikings have stayed true to Hubenthal’s original design to this day. Classic.

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6 days ago by rufous
Hello, I Am the Mythical Middle-Class Person Who Republicans Say Will Benefit from Their New Tax Bill - McSweeney’s Internet Tendency
Bob Vulfov, writing for McSweeney’s: “Hello, I Am the Mythical Middle-Class Person Who Republicans Say Will Benefit From Their New Tax Bill”.

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6 days ago by rufous
Apple Admits Video Platform Defeat to YouTube - The Mac Observer
Charlotte Henry:

In terms of getting content in front of as many eyeballs as
possible, Apple’s decision then makes perfect sense. However, it
is significant in terms of Silicon Valley power politics.

Combine this with Apple’s official channel, which is now home to
Apple Music Carpool Karaoke content, and you can see a pattern.
Apple has accepted that it has, for the moment at least,
completely lost the video platform battle. If it wants to get its
video message out, it has to play nicely with Alphabet/Google.

I’d argue that it’s not so much that Apple has lost the video platform battle to YouTube, but that the open web has lost the battle. Apple has never attempted to create a rival service to YouTube. Prior to its embrace of YouTube, what Apple used to do was publish video content on its website, using the HTML5 tag.

There are silos for text content — Facebook, Medium, AMP, Apple News, and more. But none dominate the web. Apple’s own relatively new Newsroom section at apple.com is updated frequently and is just a good old-fashioned blog (although its RSS feed is effectively useless). Still images can still go anywhere on the web. Technically that’s true for video as well, but the discoverability and network effects of YouTube are so strong that practically speaking, it’s the only place anyone puts shareable video content.

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6 days ago by rufous
Facebook “Messenger Kids” lets under-13s chat with whom parents approve | TechCrunch
Josh Constine, writing for TechCrunch:

For the first time, Facebook is opening up to children under age 13 with a privacy-focused app designed to neutralize child predator threats that plague youth-focused competitors like Snapchat. Rolling out today on iOS in the US, “Messenger Kids” lets parents download the app on their child’s phone or tablet, create a profile for them, and approve friends and family who they can text and video chat with from the main Messenger app.

Tweens don’t sign up for a Facebook account and don’t need a phone number, but can communicate with other Messenger and Messenger Kids users parents sign-off on, so younger siblings don’t get left out of the family group chat. “We’ve been working closely with the FTC so we’re lockstep with them. ‘This works’, they said” Facebook product management director Loren Cheng tells me. “In other apps, they can contact anyone they want or be contacted by anyone” Facebook’s head of Messenger David Marcus notes.

This is like Philip Morris introducing officially licensed candy cigarettes. You’re nuts if you sign your kids up for this.

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7 days ago by rufous
Performance Calendar » Evolution of <img>: Gif without the GIF
Colin Bendell on a new feature in Safari Technology Preview:

Now you can in Safari Technology Preview

Early results show mp4s in tags display 20x faster and decode 7x faster than the GIF equivalent — in addition to being 1/14th the file size!

Background CSS video & Responsive Video can now be a “thing”.

Finally cinemagraphs without the downsides of GIFs!

Now we wait for the other browsers to catch-up: This post is 46 MB on Chrome but 2 MB in Safari TP

It’ll take a few years for this to catch on web-wide, but the benefits are massive. It’s really rather ridiculous how popular the GIF format is in 2017.

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7 days ago by rufous
Apple Support on Twitter: "@SupposeNot That's correct. This feature will begin rolling out early next week."
The official Apple Support Twitter account confirms that Apple Pay Cash, a feature of iOS 11.2, won’t roll out in the U.S. until “early next week”. After upgrading this morning and not seeing it, I thought Apple had postponed it again.

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9 days ago by rufous
News | Voyager 1 Fires Up Thrusters After 37 Years
NASA Jet Propulsion Labrotory:

Since 2014, engineers have noticed that the thrusters Voyager 1 has been using to orient the spacecraft, called “attitude control thrusters,” have been degrading. Over time, the thrusters require more puffs to give off the same amount of energy. At 13 billion miles from Earth, there’s no mechanic shop nearby to get a tune-up.

The Voyager team assembled a group of propulsion experts at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California, to study the problem. Chris Jones, Robert Shotwell, Carl Guernsey and Todd Barber analyzed options and predicted how the spacecraft would respond in different scenarios. They agreed on an unusual solution: Try giving the job of orientation to a set of thrusters that had been asleep for 37 years. […]

On Tuesday, Nov. 28, 2017, Voyager engineers fired up the four TCM thrusters for the first time in 37 years and tested their ability to orient the spacecraft using 10-millisecond pulses. The team waited eagerly as the test results traveled through space, taking 19 hours and 35 minutes to reach an antenna in Goldstone, California, that is part of NASA’s Deep Space Network.

Lo and behold, on Wednesday, Nov. 29, they learned the TCM thrusters worked perfectly — and just as well as the attitude control thrusters.

This gives me a lump in my throat.

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9 days ago by rufous
iPhone crashing on Dec. 2? Here's the fix! | iMore
iOS 11.2, which was released overnight, apparently fixes this. This has been a banner week for the folks on the “Apple software quality is going to hell in a hand basket” side of the debate. Jiminy.

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9 days ago by rufous
The Mystery of the Phantom App Updates
Jeff Johnson:

Starting on November 17, many iOS and tvOS apps that had not been updated for a year or two years suddenly received phantom updates in the App Store, without any action by the developers of those apps. The version numbers of the apps did not change. For some of the updates, the release notes were the same as the previous update. For others, the release notes said, “This update is signed with Apple’s latest signing certificate. No new features are included.” Some people speculated that Bitcode recompilation was performed on the apps. So far, Apple has not published any press release or documentation explaining why it updated all of these apps.

Vesper is one of the apps affected by this. If you’re seeing a Vesper update, it’s not because it’s actually updated. Sorry for any confusion, but we had nothing to do with this.

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10 days ago by rufous
The Talk Show ✪: Ep. 208, With Special Guest John Moltz
John “With an H” Moltz returns to the show. Topics include the ongoing deluge of sexual harassment scandals, our beloved SodaStreams, the Mac OS 10.13 High Sierra root login fiasco, App: The Human Story, and more.

Brought to you by these fine sponsors:

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10 days ago by rufous
Exclusive: Apple to design power chips in-house as early as 2018: Sources- Nikkei Asian Review
Cheng Ting-Fang, reporting from Taipei for for Nikkei Asian Review

Apple is designing its own main power management chips for use in iPhones as early as in 2018, cutting dependence on Dialog Semiconductor, according to industry sources, as shares in the U.K. developer plunged as much as 19% in afternoon trade in Frankfurt.

Anything Apple doesn’t design itself is likely something it would prefer to design itself. The iPhone is getting more customized — using more Apple-designed components — with each year.

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10 days ago by rufous
Why Twitter didn't delete Britain First videos Trump retweeted - Nov. 30, 2017
Ivana Kottasová, reporting for CNN:

The anti-Muslim videos were first posted by Jayda Fransen, deputy leader of the far-right party Britain First. They depict violent assaults and the destruction of a statue of the Virgin Mary.

They also appear to violate the terms of use published by Twitter. It warns users: “You may not promote violence against, threaten, or harass other people on the basis of race, ethnicity, national origin, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, religious affiliation, age, disability, or serious disease.”

Asked why the original tweets have not been deleted, a Twitter spokesperson said:

“To help ensure people have an opportunity to see every side of an issue, there may be the rare occasion when we allow controversial content or behavior which may otherwise violate our rules to remain on our service because we believe there is a legitimate public interest in its availability.”

Translation from PR Weasel-ese to English: Twitter is afraid of pissing off Trump.

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11 days ago by rufous
App: The Human Story - A documentary coming soon.
The final cut of App: The Human Story is out, and it’s terrific. I’m happy to have played a small part in it. My blurb:

There’s a segment of the Apple developer community that approaches their work as craft, not mere work. They make apps that aren’t just used, but that are loved. App: The Human Story perfectly captures the ethos of this community in the explosive early years of the App Store. The film tracks many threads but tells one story: how apps became a fundamental part of our daily lives and culture.

Kickstarter backers already have access to the movie. It’s a $15 purchase from Vimeo’s On Demand service otherwise, and so very worth it.

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11 days ago by rufous
Meet the man who deactivated Trump’s Twitter account | TechCrunch
Ingrid Lunden and Khaled “Tito” Hamze, writing for TechCrunch:

His last day at Twitter was mostly uneventful, he says. There were many goodbyes, and he worked up until the last hour before his computer access was to be shut off. Near the end of his shift, the fateful alert came in.

This is where Trump’s behavior intersects with Duysak’s work life. Someone reported Trump’s account on Duysak’s last day; as a final, throwaway gesture, he put the wheels in motion to deactivate it. Then he closed his computer and left the building.

Several hours later, the panic began. Duysak tells us that it started when he was approached by a woman whom he didn’t know very well. According to Duysak, the woman said that she had been contacted by someone asking about Duysak in connection with Trump’s Twitter account. After a moment of disbelief, he said he then looked at the news and realized what had happened.

There are an awful lot of people who like to buy this guy a beer.

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11 days ago by rufous
Security Update 2017-001 BREAKS File Sharing | MacRumors Forums
Better to close this security hole and inadvertently break file sharing than to leave the hole open, but this is why bug fixes aren’t usually released in under a day.

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11 days ago by rufous
Android’s Andy Rubin Left Google After Inquiry Found Inappropriate Relationship — The Information
Reed Albergotti, reporting for The Information:

Andy Rubin, the creator of Android and a key executive at Google Inc. for nine years, left the company in 2014 shortly after an internal investigation determined that he had carried on an inappropriate relationship with a subordinate, The Information has learned.

Mr. Rubin has taken a leave of absence from his new smartphone startup, Essential, for personal reasons, the firm’s employees were told on Monday. The Information had earlier contacted Mr. Rubin’s spokesman for this story.

That doesn’t sound suspicious at all.

Like many companies, Google has a policy that prohibits supervisors from having a relationship with a subordinate. Any manager entering into such a relationship has to report it to the company, which will move one of the two to a different department. The woman who made the complaint worked in Google’s Android division while Mr. Rubin ran it, The Information has confirmed.

Mike Sitrick, a spokesman for Mr. Rubin, denied that Mr. Rubin had done anything wrong or that his departure from Google was related to the complaint and investigation.

“Any relationship that Mr. Rubin had while at Google was consensual,” Mr. Sitrick said, and did not involve any person who reported directly to him. “Mr. Rubin was never told by Google that he engaged in any misconduct while at Google and he did not, either while at Google or since.”

Here’s a report from The Verge, for those who aren’t Information subscribers.

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12 days ago by rufous
Matt Lauer Accused of Sexual Harassment by Multiple Women (EXCLUSIVE) – Variety
Ramin Setoodeh and Elizabeth Wagmeister, reporting for Variety:

Lauer, who was paranoid about being followed by tabloid reporters, grew more emboldened at 30 Rockefeller Center as his profile rose following Katie Couric’s departure from “Today” in 2006. His office was in a secluded space, and he had a button under his desk that allowed him to lock his door from the inside without getting up. This afforded him the assurance of privacy. It allowed him to welcome female employees and initiate inappropriate contact while knowing nobody could walk in on him, according to two women who were sexually harassed by Lauer.

Sounds like that button was only locking others out of his office, not locking women in, but still, that’s some fucked up shit. As Andy Richter observed, someone at NBC had to approve the installation of that button.

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12 days ago by rufous
About the security content of Security Update 2017-001 - Apple Support
Statement I received from an Apple spokesperson, just a few minutes ago:

Security is a top priority for every Apple product, and regrettably we stumbled with this release of macOS.

When our security engineers became aware of the issue Tuesday afternoon, we immediately began working on an update that closes the security hole. This morning, as of 8:00 a.m., the update is available for download, and starting later today it will be automatically installed on all systems running the latest version (10.13.1) of macOS High Sierra.

We greatly regret this error and we apologize to all Mac users, both for releasing with this vulnerability and for the concern it has caused. Our customers deserve better. We are auditing our development processes to help prevent this from happening again.

Quick turnaround, and a strong apology. The bug never should have happened, but given that it did, you couldn’t ask for a better, faster response. To my memory, this is only the second time Apple has used MacOS’s automatic — that is to say, non-optional — update mechanism. The other was the NTP Security Update in 2014, that affected Mac OS X 10.8 through 10.10.

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12 days ago by rufous
Apple Support - YouTube
Slew of good tips and tricks here already.

It also occurs to me that this is a sign of just how dominant YouTube is. Everyone publishes video on YouTube, even Google’s biggest rivals — Apple, Microsoft, and Amazon. YouTube effectively is the internet for video content.

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12 days ago by rufous
Sets in Windows 10 - YouTube
Interesting idea, particularly the way that the tabs in a window can be from any application. I don’t think this idea would translate at all to the Mac, but it seems like it could work on Windows.

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12 days ago by rufous
A Night at the Garden
Marshall Curry:

In 1939, New York’s Madison Square Garden was host to an enormous — and shocking — gathering of 22,000 Americans that has largely been forgotten from our history.

Chilling footage. About 4 minutes in, a protestor tries to storm the stage and he takes a serious beating from the Nazis and then some rough handling by the police. There are children on stage — American Nazi Youth? — and they seem gleeful watching this guy take a beating.

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13 days ago by rufous
Major macOS High Sierra Bug Allows Full Admin Access Without Password - How to Fix - Mac Rumors
Juli Clover, reporting for MacRumors:

There appears to be a serious bug in macOS High Sierra that enables the root superuser on a Mac with with a blank password and no security check.

The bug, discovered by developer Lemi Ergin, lets anyone log into an admin account using the username “root” with no password. This works when attempting to access an administrator’s account on an unlocked Mac, and it also provides access at the login screen of a locked Mac.

There’s no “appears to be” about this — this is a serious bug. Allowing root access without a password is just inexplicably bad. Until Apple issues a fix, there is a workaround: manually enable the root user account and give it a strong unique password.

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13 days ago by rufous
Pro-Neutrality, Anti-Title II – Stratechery by Ben Thompson
Ben Thompson:

That, though, is the magic of the term “net neutrality”, the name — coined by the same Tim Wu whose tweet I embedded above — for those FCC rules that justified the original 2015 reclassification of ISPs to utility-like common carriers. Of course ISPs should be neutral — again, who could be against such a thing? What is missing in the ongoing debate, though, is the recognition that, ever since the demise of AOL, they have been. The FCC’s 2015 approach to net neutrality is solving problems as fake as the image in Wu’s tweet; unfortunately the costs are just as real as those in Congressman Khanna’s tweet, but massively more expensive.

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13 days ago by rufous
Uber-Waymo testimony: Trial delayed amid new evidence
Anita Balakrishnan, reporting for CNBC:

A U.S. judge on Tuesday said Uber “withheld evidence from me” and granted a request from Alphabet’s Waymo self-driving car unit to delay a trade secrets trial that had been scheduled to begin next week.

The delay centers around a letter from a former Uber security analyst’s attorney to an Uber lawyer. The former employee reportedly made bombshell allegations, including that employees at Uber were trained to “impede” ongoing investigations, multiple media outlets reported.

It never stops with these guys.

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13 days ago by rufous
Two Major Cydia Hosts Shut Down as Jailbreaking Fades in Popularity - Mac Rumors
Joe Rossignol, reporting for MacRumors:

The closure of two major Cydia repositories is arguably the result of a declining interest in jailbreaking, which provides root filesystem access and allows users to modify iOS and install unapproved apps on an iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch.

I can’t see why anyone would want to jailbreak an iOS device today, other than a spare device for goofing around on. The security implications are severe and the advantages negligible.

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15 days ago by rufous
Sorry! Something went wrong!
My thanks to Doxie for sponsoring this week’s DF RSS feed. Now through Monday, you can save up to $90 on one of Doxie’s reliable, intuitive, high-quality mobile scanners that connect your physical paper to your digital world. Gone are the days of crummy, complex, computer-driven scanners. Thanks to a small footprint, rechargeable battery, and expansive memory, Doxie fits your life — take Doxie with you and scan anywhere, no computer required. Amazing apps included for Mac and iOS make going paperless easy and fun.

Now through Monday, save up to $90 off retail:

Best selling: Doxie Q features its collapsible flip-open automatic document feeder, rechargeable battery, and computer-free wireless design to scan all your paper.

Just launched: Doxie Go SE and Doxie Go SE Wi-Fi feature smart, simple scanning, rechargeable battery, and expandable memory so you can scan anywhere — no computer required.

(Any product that puts “SE” in the product name is good by me.)

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17 days ago by rufous
Dual Lens Switching on iPhone X – Studio Neat
Dan Provost:

I also used the manual camera app Halide to get an ISO and shutter speed reading at the various light levels, and came to the conclusion that the iPhone X requires roughly 2 fewer stops of light before switching to the telephoto lens, as compared to the iPhone 7 Plus. This is obviously great news, and speaks to how improved the second lens is after just one year. In my own use of the phone for the past couple weeks, it does indeed seem to be the case that I am very rarely presented with a 2X cropped image.

Impressive.

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18 days ago by rufous
FCC unveils plan to repeal net neutrality rules - The Washington Post
Brian Fung, reporting for The Washington Post:

The Federal Communications Commission took aim at a signature Obama-era regulation Tuesday, unveiling a plan that would give Internet providers broad powers to determine what websites and online services their customers see and use.

Under the agency’s proposal, providers of high-speed Internet services, such as Comcast, Verizon and AT&T, would be able to block websites they do not like and charge Web companies for speedier delivery of their content.

This is literally bad for everyone but these mega-ISPs. Horrendously bad — and unpopular — policy.

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19 days ago by rufous
Google collects Android users' locations even when location services are disabled — Quartz
Keith Collins, reporting for Quartz:

Many people realize that smartphones track their locations. But what if you actively turn off location services, haven’t used any apps, and haven’t even inserted a carrier SIM card?

Even if you take all of those precautions, phones running Android software gather data about your location and send it back to Google when they’re connected to the internet, a Quartz investigation has revealed.

Since the beginning of 2017, Android phones have been collecting the addresses of nearby cellular towers — even when location services are disabled — and sending that data back to Google. The result is that Google, the unit of Alphabet behind Android, has access to data about individuals’ locations and their movements that go far beyond a reasonable consumer expectation of privacy.

Quartz observed the data collection occur and contacted Google, which confirmed the practice

The cell tower addresses have been included in information sent to the system Google uses to manage push notifications and messages on Android phones for the past 11 months, according to a Google spokesperson. They were never used or stored, the spokesperson said, and the company is now taking steps to end the practice after being contacted by Quartz. By the end of November, the company said, Android phones will no longer send cell-tower location data to Google, at least as part of this particular service, which consumers cannot disable.

If they were “never used or stored”, why did they start collecting them in the first place? This is like a kid caught with their hand in the cookie jar saying they weren’t going to eat any cookies. Sure.

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20 days ago by rufous
Google Pixel Buds review
Todd Haselton, writing for CNBC:

There’s nothing I recommend about the Pixel Buds. They’re cheap-feeling and uncomfortable, and you’re better off using the Google Translate app on a phone instead of trying to fumble with the headphones while trying to translate a conversation. The idea is neat, but it just doesn’t work well enough to recommend to anyone on any level.

Hardware is hard.

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20 days ago by rufous
Twitter
Steven Troughton-Smith discovered that portrait mode lighting effects can be edited on an iPhone 7 Plus after using a hex editor on an exported photo to enable the feature:

Just to add insult to injury, if you AirDrop that photo back to the iPhone 7 Plus now it shows the Portrait Lighting UI, and lets you change mode. So Portrait Lighting is 100% an artificial software limitation. 7 Plus photos can have it, 7 Plus can do it.

My understanding is that these effects aren’t enabled on iPhone 7 Plus because performance was really slow at capture time. It really does require the A11 Bionic chip for adequate performance live in the camera. And Apple decided against shipping it as a feature for 7 Plus that could only be applied in post, because that felt like half a feature. So I’ve heard.

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21 days ago by rufous
The Best iPhone Fast Chargers and Wireless Chargers - WSJ
Joanna Stern, writing for The Wall Street Journal:

Wireless charging means you can toss your phone on a pad (sold separately!) on your desk and it will charge throughout the day. With a fast charger (sold separately!), you can plug your phone in and go from zero to 50% in 30 minutes.

Both can make a real difference in how you combat battery anxiety disorder. But figuring out which gear you need is complicated.

I went in search of the best options for both speed and wireless convenience, charging and draining iPhones nearly 30 times. My finding: Getting the best chargers doesn’t mean running up your charge card.

I second her recommendation of this 3-in-1 cable from Monoprice — Lightning, USB-C, and micro USB all on a single cable.

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21 days ago by rufous
Sources: McMaster Mocked Trump’s Intelligence In a Private Dinner
Joseph Bernstein, reporting for BuzzFeed:

Over a July dinner with Oracle CEO Safra Catz — who has been mentioned as a candidate for several potential administration jobs — McMaster bluntly trashed his boss, said the sources, four of whom told BuzzFeed News they heard about the exchange directly from Catz. The top national security official dismissed the president variously as an “idiot” and a “dope” with the intelligence of a “kindergartner,” the sources said.

A sixth source who was not familiar with the details of the dinner told BuzzFeed News that McMaster had made similarly derogatory comments about Trump’s intelligence to him in private, including that the president lacked the necessary brainpower to understand the matters before the National Security Council.

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21 days ago by rufous
Visual Studio App Center | iOS, Xamarin & React Native
My thanks to Microsoft for sponsoring this week’s DF RSS feed to promote App Center, their recently-launched service for Apple developers that connects to your GitHub repo to automatically build, test, distribute, and monitor iOS and Mac apps. App Center is the next generation of HockeyApp, which was acquired by Microsoft a few years ago.

The basic HockeyApp features like beta distribution and crash reporting got a revamped user interface, and Microsoft added new features for building, testing, analytics, and push notifications. Simply connect your repo, build the app on App Center’s Mac cloud, and run automated UI tests on thousands of real iOS devices in their hosted device lab. You can not only distribute your builds to testers, but also deploy directly to the App Store.

You can use all of these features together, or just the pieces that complement your current workflow. Spend less time on drudgery, and more time on your app. Sign up now.

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23 days ago by rufous
The Talk Show ✪: Ep. 207, With Special Guest Merlin Mann
Merlin Mann returns to the show for a Thanksgiving-week holiday spectacular. Topics include the history of Markdown, nerding out with Keyboard Maestro, kids today and the computers they want to use, caring about idiomatic native UI design, a look back at last year’s election, and more.

Brought to you by these fine sponsors:

Away: Travel smarter with the suitcase that charges your phone. Get $20 off with code TALKSHOW.

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Fracture: Your photos, printed directly on glass. Great gift idea. Save 15% off your first order with code TALK15.

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23 days ago by rufous
HomePod - Apple
I just got this statement from an Apple spokesperson:

“We can’t wait for people to experience HomePod, Apple’s breakthrough wireless speaker for the home, but we need a little more time before it’s ready for our customers. We’ll start shipping in the US, UK and Australia in early 2018.”

I had a feeling this would happen when the iPhone X press briefings came and went without a word about HomePod. It’s a tough miss for Apple — there are surely going to be a lot of Amazon Echo devices under Christmas trees this year.

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24 days ago by rufous
An On-device Deep Neural Network for Face Detection - Apple
Apple Machine Learning Journal:

We faced several challenges. The deep-learning models need to be shipped as part of the operating system, taking up valuable NAND storage space. They also need to be loaded into RAM and require significant computational time on the GPU and/or CPU. Unlike cloud-based services, whose resources can be dedicated solely to a vision problem, on-device computation must take place while sharing these system resources with other running applications. Finally, the computation must be efficient enough to process a large Photos library in a reasonably short amount of time, but without significant power usage or thermal increase.

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25 days ago by rufous
Face ID’s Innovation: Continuous Authentication - TidBITS
Rich Mogull, writing at TidBITS:

Every year, as I travel around the security conference circuit, the hallway conversations always turn to the interesting things attendees have seen lately. To be honest, I can’t remember the last time I was excited about a legitimately cool security technology. I see plenty of security evolution, but not much revolution.

That is, until my iPhone X arrived on launch day, and I got to try Face ID in real-world usage. Put simply, Face ID is the most compelling advancement in security I have seen in a very long time. It’s game-changing not merely due to the raw technology, but also because of Apple’s design and implementation.

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25 days ago by rufous
Vector
Rene Ritchie has re-launched Vector as a daily — yes, daily — podcast. I’m halfway through yesterday’s “Designing for iPhone X Roundtable” episode, with guests Sebastiaan de With, Linda Dong, Marc Edwards, and Brad Ellis, and it’s terrific.

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25 days ago by rufous
The 50 Best Superhero Movies of All Time
I largely agree with these rankings — far more so than I usually do with such lists. But the whole thing is worth it just for the sub-list of the best superhero villians of all time — they nailed that one.

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26 days ago by rufous
Jimmy Iovine and most bomb record in the solar system
Jason Kottke on the golden record NASA sent into deep space with Voyager:

Carl Sagan was project director, Ann Druyan the creative director, and Ferris produced the Record. And the sound engineer for the Golden Record? I was surprised to learn: none other than Jimmy Iovine, who was recommended to Ferris by John Lennon.

As Kottke asks, how was this not in The Defiant Ones?

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26 days ago by rufous
KGI: Apple to Launch 6.5-Inch 'iPhone X Plus' and Lower-Priced 6.1-Inch Full-Screen LCD Model Next Year - Mac Rumors
MacRumors on the latest from Ming-Chi Kuo:

Kuo expects the 5.8-inch model to have 458 pixels per inch, suggesting the second-generation iPhone X’s display will likely continue to have a resolution of 1,125×2,436. He said the 6.5-inch model will have roughly 480 to 500 PPI, while the 6.1-inch model is estimated to have between 320 and 330 PPI.

In his latest research note, obtained by MacRumors, Kuo said the 6.1-inch model will have a lower-resolution LCD display and target the low-end and mid-range markets with an estimated $649 to $749 starting price in the United States.

If accurate, next year’s new iPhone lineup would consist of the second-gen iPhone X with the same size screen, a larger 6.5-inch version that we’re tentatively calling the iPhone X Plus, and a mid-range 6.1-inch LCD model that adopts an iPhone X form factor and features but with a cheaper price point.

A “Plus” sized version of the iPhone X makes perfect sense. Even without these rumors from the supply chain, I’d have been surprised if Apple didn’t create such a phone next. The iPhone X may well draw some current Plus-sized iPhone users, but in use it feels like a “regular” sized iPhone with an edge-to-edge display. Given the popularity of Plus-sized phones, I can’t see why Apple wouldn’t do that with the X design.

But this 6.1-inch model with an LCD display makes no sense to me. First, I’d be surprised to see the X design trickle down to the $750 price range after just one year. Second, the size makes no sense to me. There’s a clear difference between the 4.7-inch and 5.5-inch regular and Plus classic-style iPhones. There would be a clear difference between 5.8-inch and 6.5-inch X-style phones. An additional 6.1-inch lower-priced X-style phone would just confuse things terribly. I don’t think Kuo has the story right on this phone.

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28 days ago by rufous
Axios Review: Pixel Buds are powerful, but lack Apple's simplicity - Axios
Ina Fried, writing for Axios:

Apple’s AirPods are more elegant as well as smaller and more comfortable. However, Pixel Buds have some other appeals, most notably the ability to aid in real-time language translation.

The real-time translation feature is cool, but how often would you need it? I’ve been using AirPods for about a year and I don’t think I would have used this feature even once. And it seems like it’s more of a feature of the Google Translate app, not the Pixel Buds themselves.

Given that they both cost $159, Apple comes out way ahead here.

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28 days ago by rufous
Long-Term Coffee Consumption and Risk of Cardiovascular Disease: A Systematic Review and a Dose-Response Meta-Analysis of Prospective Cohort Studies | Circulation
New paper published in Circulation:

Background — Considerable controversy exists regarding the association between coffee consumption and cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk. A meta-analysis was performed to assess the dose-response relationship of long-term coffee consumption with CVD risk. […]

Conclusions — A non-linear association between coffee consumption with CVD risk was observed in this meta-analysis. Moderate coffee consumption was inversely significantly associated with CVD risk, with the lowest CVD risk at 3 to 5 cups/d, and heavy coffee consumption was not associated with elevated CVD risk.

I like that 5 cups of coffee per day qualified as “moderate”. That’s right around what I consume.

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28 days ago by rufous
The Talk Show ✪: Ep. 206, With Special Guest Ben Thompson
Ben Thompson returns to the show to talk about the iPhone X.

Brought to you by these fine sponsors:

Casper: You can be sure of your purchase with Casper’s 100 night risk-free, sleep-on-it trial.

Squarespace: Make your next move. Use code talkshow for 10% off your first order.

Fracture: Photos printed in vivid color directly on glass. Get 10% off your first order.

 ★ 
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4 weeks ago by rufous
Update: We Will Replace Your Logitech Harmony Links - Blog PRODBlog PROD
Logitech, on their company blog:

We heard you and we want to make it right.

If you are a Harmony Link user, we will reach out to you between now and March 2018 to make arrangements to replace your Link with a free Harmony Hub, a product with similar app-based remote control features to Link, with the added benefit of controlling many popular connected home devices plus, it works with popular voice assistants.

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4 weeks ago by rufous
Equifax faces hundreds of class-action lawsuits and an SEC subpoena over the way it handled its data breach - The Washington Post
Hayley Tsukayama, reporting for The Washington Post:

Equifax also said in its filings that it had received subpoenas from the Securities and Exchange Commission, as well as the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Georgia “regarding trading activities by certain of our employees in relation to the cybersecurity incident.” Shortly after news of the breach broke, reports circulated that top officials had sold Equifax stock after the company found out about the breach, but before disclosing it to the public. Equifax said this week that it had cleared its executives of wrongdoing after an internal investigation found that the executives did not personally know about the breach before their stock sales.

Yeah, I’m sure the SEC will just take their word for it.

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4 weeks ago by rufous
Clips - Apple
Major new release of Apple’s app “for making and sharing fun videos with text, effects, graphics, and more.” Headline feature for iPhone X:

Selfie Scenes on iPhone X make Clips even more fun by using the TrueDepth camera to place you in beautifully animated landscapes, abstract art, and even onboard the Millennium Falcon from Star Wars: The Last Jedi. Each scene is a full 360‑degree experience, so however you move iPhone X, the scene surrounds you on all sides.

Here’s a perfect example from Rian Johnson.

For an app that only debuted six months ago, Clips 2.0 is an incredibly ambitious 2.0. The entire user interface has been redone, and I think it makes everything more clear and obvious. I think Clips is the single best example of a productivity app designed for iOS in terms of design.

Ryan Christoffel, writing for MacStories, has a really good rundown of what’s new and what’s changed in 2.0:

When Clips first debuted earlier this year, it was unknown what kind of support the app would receive from Apple going forward. Would it be another Music Memos, released to the public then largely left alone? While Clips 1.1 was an encouraging sign of life, today’s 2.0 clearly demonstrates Apple’s commitment to this app. And I’m glad for that.

I think Clips has flown under the radar since its release, but Apple seems very serious about it. It’s a big hit, apparently, in schools, where kids are using it to create presentations for classwork using iPads.

And one for the road: Rene Ritchie has a good look at it for iMore.

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4 weeks ago by rufous
Shirt Pocket Watch
Dave Nanian, Shirt Pocket Software:

With that last bit of explanation, I’m happy to say that we’ve reached the end of this particular voyage. SuperDuper! 3.0 (release 100!) is done, and you’ll find the download in the normal places, as well as in the built-in updater, for both Beta and Regular users.

SuperDuper! 3.0 has, literally, many hundreds of changes under the hood to support APFS, High Sierra and all version of macOS from 10.9 to the the present.

SuperDuper! 3.0 is the first bootable backup application to support snapshot copying on APFS, which provides an incredible extra level of safety, security and accuracy when backing up. It’s super cool, entirely supported (after all, it’s what Time Machine uses… and it was first overall), and totally transparent to the user.

Fantastic update to one of my very favorite Mac utilities. I bought SuperDuper 1.5 in 2005, and I believe every single update since then has been free. I wish they’d charge me, I love SuperDuper so much.

If you’re not familiar with it, SuperDuper lets you clone any volume to another drive or disk image. It’s really configurable, but with a very easy to understand UI. It’s also really smart, and incredibly trustworthy. I recommend it wholeheartedly.

 ★ 
via:daringfireball 
4 weeks ago by rufous
Jony Ive on Apple Park and his unique, minimalist W* cover
Nick Compton, writing for Wallpaper:

The building, though, is not a metaphor for open systems, or creative flow made concrete. It is a made object. Apple’s success has been built on higher-order industrialisation; not just designing beautiful objects that do all manner of new things but producing them in incredible numbers and at consistent quality. Its new building is, in some ways, the ultimate Apple product, in places using the same materials the company uses in its laptops and phones.

Ive, above all else, is a maker, thrilled to have his CNC milling machines close at hand. This culture of making was at the heart of what Behling calls the ‘hybrid studio’ forged by the Apple and Foster + Partners teams. ‘One of the connections that we made very quickly was that their approach to problem solving was uncannily similar to ours,’ Ive says. ‘We both make lots and lots of models and prototypes. We made full-size prototypes of parts of the building, we made prototypes to examine and explore a material. The prototyping took many forms.’

Gorgeous architectural photography throughout this piece — save it to read on the biggest display you have.

 ★ 
via:daringfireball 
4 weeks ago by rufous
Buying USB-C earbuds for my Pixel 2 was incredibly annoying and expensive - The Verge
Helen Havlak, writing for The Verge:

Two weeks after starting my cheap Pixel 2 earbud search, I finally have a working pair — but they cost almost twice the amount I wanted to spend, and don’t feel very premium. If I lose or break them, it’ll cost me almost $50 and another 10-day wait. The next time I upgrade my phone, they may not be compatible. Even the Apple Store sells $29 Lightning EarPods. Google needs to do a lot better by its Pixel owners than a single $149 USB-C option. Even better, just give us back the damn headphone jack.

Apple does better than selling $29 Lightning earbuds — they include a pair in the box with every iPhone. It’s embarrassing that Google doesn’t include a pair of USB-C earbuds with the Pixels.

 ★ 
via:daringfireball 
4 weeks ago by rufous
Super Mario Odyssey Proves Nintendo Knows How to Soothe Anxiety :: Games :: Features :: Super Mario Odyssey :: Paste
Chris Compendio, reviewing Super Mario Odyssey for Paste:

I found that this videogame was persistent in its mission to bring me joy. Super Mario Odyssey is extra — in that same area in the Wooded Kingdom, I stood next to a boom box, and Mario, without any button prompt, automatically began dancing to the music. When I left Mario alone for more than a few seconds, he would lay down for a nap, and a bird would eventually land on his nose, with each kingdom having a different kind of bird. There are many moments like this that serve little to no purpose other than smiles, laughs and entertainment. Nintendo has a classic charm in all of their products. They do not simply go for the extra mile, but for at least fifty miles beyond that.

I bought it last week, but haven’t had time to play yet. Looking forward to it.

 ★ 
via:daringfireball 
4 weeks ago by rufous
302 Found
Jean-Louis Gassée:

What we see is Apple is doing what they do best: Taking chances. They made a risky bet with the iPhone X and covered it with the iPhone 8. The new and improved perception of Apple might come from the realization that both bets are winning, and that the iPhone X is a radically new, as opposed to a merely improved, breed of smartphone — and probably is the start of a new succession of carefully incremented future models.

A fork is exactly right: the iterative, familiar iPhone 8 and 8 Plus on one side of the fork, and the novel, back-to-the-drawing board iPhone X on the other.

 ★ 
via:daringfireball 
4 weeks ago by rufous
Mexico resort blackouts: TripAdvisor blocked warnings, tourists say
Raquel Rutledge and Andrew Mollica, reporting for The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel:

Seven years ago, TripAdvisor repeatedly removed a post written by Kristie Love, a 35-year-old mother of two from Dallas. Love told how she had been raped by a security guard at a highly rated all-inclusive Mexican resort owned by the global chain, Iberostar, based in Spain.

She wrote how, after an evening with friends, she had returned to her room to find the electronic key card no longer opened her door at the Iberostar Paraiso near Playa del Carmen. She headed to the lobby of the sprawling resort to get her card reactivated and stopped to ask a uniformed guard whether she was walking in the right direction.

He motioned her to follow him, then overpowered her, dragged her into some bushes and raped her. When she reached the lobby in tears, hotel staff refused to call police.

A TripAdvisor moderator spotted the post soon after it had published and deemed it in violation of the company’s “family friendly” guidelines.

The following year, another young woman, 19 and on vacation with her family, reported to hotel officials in the same resort complex that a security guard had raped her in the bathroom.

And in 2015, still another woman, Jamie Valeri, 34, a mother of six from Wisconsin, was sexually assaulted at the same resort after she and her husband simultaneously blacked out in the middle of the day, barely into their third drink.

It’s positively sickening that as a matter TripAdvisor policy, actual rapes, sexual assaults, and druggings are OK, but reports about these crimes on their forums are not. TripAdvisor should get sued out of existence.

 ★ 
via:daringfireball 
4 weeks ago by rufous
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