Defomicron

Soft, Hard, & Silver

By Austin Sweeney


Repeat Stuff

I’m an on-again off-again fan of Bo Burnham. His TV show on MTV was amazing, one of the highest quality, funniest single seasons of television I have ever seen. His latest special, “what.”, was terrible. This song, “Repeat Stuff”, was one of the only decent moments from the special. The video is out today and I think it is his best music video to date.

Ferguson, Missouri and Police Militarization

If you haven’t been paying attention, Ferguson, Missouri has been put through a lot of shit since one of their cops shot an unarmed black man six times, twice in the head. Peaceful protests have been turned violent by a militarized police force acting seemingly on their own authority, though so far no higher authorities have stepped in to really say so. As usual, the best commentator on the situation is British.

Samsung Finally Built a Metal Galaxy

Finally, Samsung has a metal phone in the Galaxy Alpha. The best part is you can get it in any of three finishes: blue (which looks kind of space gray to me), gold, or silver. It is of course ugly and since they aren’t releasing details on the price, I’d say expensive.

Apple Wins an Emmy

Remember ‘Misunderstood’, Apple’s great holiday ad from this past season? It won an Emmy1 for Most Outstanding Commercial.


  1. For those keeping track, Apple has and Emmy and a Grammy, and needs only the Oscar and Tony to complete the EGOT. 

Cormorant, MN Elects Seven Year Old Mayor

Amy Unrau from the local ABC station (how is this not national news?):

And now that he’s mayor, I wanted to see how he handles media. “Mr. Mayor, could I get a statement from you? Nothing?”

I guess he’s all bark, no sound bite. Even so, his constituents still say this Great Pyrenees makes a great leader.

David says, “It’s quite the country.”

Duke is going to be officially sworn in Saturday at 10AM during Cormorant Daze. As for the mayor’s salary, Tuffy’s Pet Food out of Perham is donating a year’s supply of kibble to reward him for his service.

Buzzfeed has all the GIF’s.

Carpe Diem

In light of events, I’ve been thinking a lot about this scene from my favorite Robin Williams film, Dead Poets Society.

Son Doong, the World’s Largest Cave

Man, Earth is beautiful. If you do nothing else on the internet today, scroll through these photos.

Supreme Court: Corporations Are People

Today the Supreme Court (in a 5-4 verdict) say that corporations can exercise similar religious freedoms as citizens, including the “freedom” to exclude contraception from healthcare benefits for women. It’s total bullshit, best detailed by Justice Ginsburg:

In a decision of startling breadth, the Court holds that commercial enterprises, including corporations, along with partnerships and sole proprietorships, can opt out of any law (saving only tax laws) they judge incompatible with their sincerely held religious beliefs.

It’s frightening, but really the issue is that healthcare is tied to employers at all. Why are they a part of the process at all?

Android Wear, From an Actual User

Russell Ivanovic:

I won’t lie to you, whenever my timeline fills up with negative articles about new technology from people who haven’t even touched it, I die a little inside. I get that the sports team you’ve chosen to support didn’t release it. I get that all other sports teams are not as good as yours. I get that you view everything your sports team does in a positive light, and everything the opposing teams do in a negative light…but you know these aren’t sports teams right? They are companies.

So I won’t lie to you: Android Wear is pretty close to what I want from Apple. I think Apple can and will do it better, more refined, etc., but I think people who want something that isn’t “just” a notification device and “just” a health tracker are going to be disappointed.

‘Parenthood’

New iPhone ad from Apple; the song is “Life of Dreams” by Julie Doiron.

A ‘New’ iPod touch

When I was about to buy my first iOS device, what would end up being a second generation iPod touch, the rumor was the new one would have a camera and 16GB of storage (up from 8) for $199. That didn’t happen, and I wound up with $189 8GB model. Today, 4.5 years later, that rumored model finally exists. And it ships with the bleeding-edge A5.

ABC News Now on Apple TV

Apple TV owners can now stream live ABC News, national and a some local stations. There are two types of content that’s been slow to move into the post-cable era: live news and live sports. I’m a big fan of watching the news in the morning before work, and Apple TV has had SkyNews for awhile, which is OK, but the addition of an American news channel is most welcome. Now I’ll keep crossing my fingers to be awoken by Siri giving me the weather, my schedule, and then turning on my TV for me and tuning to the news.

Angela Ahrendts: ‘Starting Anew’

Angela Ahrendts, Apple’s new retail chief, posted to LinkedIn:

First: “Stay in your lane.” You’ve been hired because you bring a certain expertise to the team and the company. Try to resist putting additional or undue pressure on yourself trying to learn it all from day one. It’s human nature to feel insecure about everything you “don’t know”. By staying focused on your core competencies you will be able to contribute much sooner, add greater value long term, and enjoy and have more peace especially in the early days.

It’s cool to see an Apple executive making a public blog post, and her advice is good (and short). It’s super weird it’s on LinkedIn though; doesn’t really help dispel the idea that Apple doesn’t get social media.

Microsoft Will Offer $650 for Your MacBook Air if You Buy a Surface Pro 3

That’s $650 AND the Surface for your MacBook Air, right? No? Oh. Oh no one’s going to do that, Mic.

Nitin Ganatra on Debug

A great episode of a great podcast. Nitin Ganatra, formerly of Apple, talks about his first days there, including the NeXT acquisition, Copland, Rhapsody, System 7, Mac OS 8, and Carbon.

Only Apple

Only John Gruber:

The turning point is clear. The headline of Apple’s October 2012 press release said it all: “Apple Announces Changes to Increase Collaboration Across Hardware, Software and Services”. It turns out that was not an empty bromide, meant to patch over run-of-the-mill corporate political conflict. Tim Cook wanted Apple to function internally in a way that was anathema to Scott Forstall’s leadership style. The old way involved fiefdoms, and Forstall’s fiefdom was iOS. The operational efficiency Cook wanted — and now seems to have achieved — wasn’t possible without large scale company-wide collaboration, and collaboration wasn’t possible with a fiefdom style of organization.

Read the whole thing.

Six-Hour Workday Experiment

Ben Brooks, commenting on this Fast Company article on six hour workdays:

It will be interesting to see what they learn. A lot of people love working “Four Tens” where you work four ten hour days instead of five eight hour days. However research seems to point to that being a poor choice overall for workers. I’d be a big fan of six hour work days overall, as I am pretty sure that is about the total amount of productive hours I get out of people.

In my experience, corporate America gets maybe 4 hours of work out of employees, if they’re lucky. If we cut our working hours in half to 20 hours a week I don’t think we’d see a dramatic downturn in productivity.

Continuity Is the Future of Apple

Serenity Caldwell:

We write emails on our iPhone because it’s convenient to not have to pull out a laptop, even when we get to a place where that laptop is easily accessible. We drag computers on airplanes because we need their data, even if we don’t need them. We concede the best experience in lieu of trying to make one device do everything—whether or not they’re the right tool for the job.

I do this constantly. I’ll spend 15 minutes fighting with autocorrect on my iPhone to chat with a friend, all the while sitting in front of my MacBook Air. I’ll drag the computer across the house to read an article rather than pick up an iPad and load the same tab there. Currently, there are a few tools that enable cross-device usage, but at our cores, we’re stubborn creatures: If it’s not easy, we’re not doing it. We’d rather compromise.

Brent Simmons on WWDC

Brent Simmons:

I’ve heard other developers say they want to wait about a year, and I totally understand that attitude. It’s reasonable to assume that Swift code written today may not compile in a few months — it’s a work in progress.

But my thinking is this: if I start using it now, I can provide feedback, and that feedback will help shape the programming language that I’m likely to use for the rest of my career. Maybe I’ll have a ton of feedback, and maybe I’ll have none — but I’d sure hate to have missed my chance to help.

I’m no language purist — quite the opposite. I’m a pragmatist with many years of experience who wants to write better software more quickly.

I did not expect Swift. I expected it in five years, maybe. But this is — far and away — the thing I’m excited about. (I’m about a third of the way into the book.)

Pointer Pointer

This is useless. This took forever. This is awesome.

Notifications Are About to Rule the Smartphone Interface

Mat Honan for Wired:

Interactive notifications will spur all sorts of new behaviors. (And yes, Android already has interactive notifications, but the ones in iOS 8 look to go beyond what KitKat can do.) Some of these will be simple, like the ability to reply to an email or text message. But they’re powerful in that you can do this without quitting whatever you’re already doing. And this interactivity is not just limited to system apps. Third-party developers can take advantage of this new capability as well, so you could comment on something on Facebook, respond to a tweet, or even check in on Foursquare. But others are going to be radical, stuff we haven’t imagined yet. Once developers begin to really harness what interactive notifications can do in iOS 8—and they will—it’s going to cause one of the most radical changes since third-party apps. With the advent of iOS 8, notifications are the new interface frontier.

New Territory

Marco Arment:

But existing apps were all written by people like me who have been solidifying the assumption in our minds over our entire iOS careers that these features simply aren’t and never will be possible on iOS. We never thought we’d get these. It’s going to take a while before we internalize these new abilities and forget the old restrictions.

The first amazing, forehead-smacking innovations with iOS 8 won’t come from us: they’ll come from people who are coming to iOS development from this point forward, never having known a world with the old restrictions.

WWDC 2014 Liveblog

Tune in for live commentary on the WWDC 2014 keynote. 10 AM pacific, 1 PM eastern. No need to refresh the page!

WWDC 2014

That’s it, folks. Solid WWDC. Can’t wait to try this stuff.

No hardware; no Apple TV update. I guess we’ll keep waiting.

And hell yeah I’m putting it on my only phone.

It’s time for the wrap-up. iOS 8 looks amazing. Beta today, can’t wait to try it.

Swift apps can be submitted on day one of Yosemite and iOS 8.

Now we know what all of those unnamed sessions are and those banners upstairs.

Was that a boom mic in the shot?

I wish I knew more about this.

I don’t know what this stuff means but developers are cheering!

“The language is called Swift. And it totally rules.”

Objective-C without the C.

John Siracusa is wetting himself right now.

New version of Xcode.

Updates to SpriteKit. Again I don’t care, seriously. SceneKit. Ok.

At this point the games developers can make are cool but restricted mostly by the device. Why aren’t these on Apple TV? Because Apple is dragging their heels.

Tim: “What are gaming.”

So tedium. Such boring. Wow.

(We’re not related.)

Nooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo.

Game demos. I hope we aren’t about to see game developers on stage. I hate that so more.

Metal: much improved access for games to the CPU and GPU. A lot of stuff I don’t understand ok.

CloudKit: free cloud assets for server side development. Way beyond iCloud. Going over these fast since press doesn’t really care.

Seems like there’ll need to be a common app for this.

HomeKit: common network protocol for home automation devices. Big “fuck you!” to Nest right now. Siri integration.

Photo library/camera APIs.

Works how you’d imagine.

Touch ID API.

Swype coming to iOS.

Third party keyboards… Was not expecting that.

How are users going to handle extensions?

Widgets look pretty cool, but definitely the possibility of uglifying the UI.

Weather information is now provided by The Weather Channel, according to Notification Center.

VSCO filters can be applied in Photos via their own UI. Really cool.

This is very cool.

Apps can appear on other’s share sheets. Bing can translate Safari pages. Third parties can put their widgets in Notification Center.

Extensibility: apps can offer services to other apps.

Craig’s back up. 4,00 new APIs.

Biggest release of the SDK since the launch of the App Store.

TestFlight built into the store.

Video previews.

Bundle sales.

New features for the store: Nearby changed to explore. Curation for the store. Better search. Faster search with continuing scroll. Editor’s Choice logo on search results.

300,000,000 visitors to the store every week. 75,000,000,000 downloads.

1.2 million apps in the store.

Tim coming back for the developer portion of iOS 8.

Siri: Faster voice recognition, Shazam, and “Hey Siri” when it’s plugged in.

Not free, but much cheaper storage options. I’ll finally upgrade I suppose. Still, not really cool, Apple.

At this point they really have to give us more storage. On the web too. Full res, original format.

But it looks like Apple really is solving the photo problem… next year.

Hopefully a beta soon. I want.

“We’re working on a grounds up photo solution for the Mac, shipping early next year.” :/

He keeps saying “iCloud Photo Library”. Surely this is a Mac thing too and surely we’re getting more storage.

“It’s really awesome.”

Pretty advanced editing features. Whither iPhoto?

Totally called the new wallpaper business aren’t you impressed?

Search in photos for location, time, and albums. More editing options in Photos.

iCloud Photo Library. Is this coming to Mac? Was John Gruber right?

Photos + iCloud. Sounds like unlimited Photo Stream.

So that’s how that works.

Up to six family members who share the same credit card…

With Family Sharing you can get at your family member’s purchases.

Helping parents everywhere stalk their children.

Family units on iOS, so you can easily share things between your family members.

Integration with the Mayo Clinic for blood pressure and other perimeters to catch health issues. Pretty cool but probably going to start small.

HealthKit provides a single place for applications to contribute data about your health. Health is the corresponding application where you can monitor everything about you. Third parties can access (with your permission) data about your health.

Health. Here it comes.

Oooh per-message S/MIME!!! (I don’t know what that is.)

I really don’t care about these features so…

98% of Fortune 500 companies use iOS. “And we’re gonna get the last two.”

Enterprise. Blegh.

Edits are saved to the original files so you don’t end up with duplicates.

iCloud Drive. You can now open files from other apps via the iCloud document picker. Thank god.

Messages looks great. All needed improvements.

If you get an audio message on your lock screen, you can listen to it by just putting your phone to your ear. Reply the same way.

He mentioned a “self-destruct” feature for attachments. Hopefully that alleviates those storage problems.

Videos play back in-line. More hair jokes ha ha.

Ooh sassy response.

Middle aged white dudes, every body.

Joz with a classic duck face, folks.

I was hoping QuickType would be Swype-style input… Damn.

Good-bye Find My Friends? I don’t think we’ll miss it.

Send voice and video messages very quickly.

You can change the name of group threads, turn of notifications for a thread or leave it, and add or remove people from it. You can share location with people in the thread. You can view all of the attachments in a nice view.

Messages is the most frequently used app on iOS.

SMS and phone calls on your iPad.

Continuity between iOS devices.

All that learning is local to the device. Private private private.

QuickType adapts to the message you’re sending, depending on what the rest of the conversation is like.

“QuickType” offers suggestions for what it thinks you’re typing.

Same Spotlight suggestions in Safari on iOS.

The same things you can do in Yosemite. App Store search, points of interest in maps, wikipedia entries, news, songs on the store, movies. Again, basically a textual Siri.

Spotlight. Yes.

But finally the iPad is getting features the iPhone can’t do. Mail looks great.

Contacts in multitasking is weird…

Facebook has actionable notifications, so it’s open to third parties.

“Bad Blood” by Bastille again.

Mail is getting more Mailbox-y.

iPad Safari gets Yosemite’s tab view and sidebar.

Your most frequently interacted-with contacts are in the multitasking area?

Works for calendar events, emails (I’m assuming) and works on the lock screen.

You can now reply to message notifications !!!

No more Missed in Notification Center.

“I missed you guys.”

End user features first. Here comes Craig again.

The excitement is building…

Giant release. Two stories: great end-user features and incredible developer features.

iOS 8. “We are not standing still.”

“toxic hellstew”. Tim doesn’t like Android.

Over a third of Android customers are running a version of Android 4 years old.

Android: 9% on KitKat.

iOS 7 is on 89% of devices.

He said “customer sat” again.

“Customer sat”. There it is. That was on the bingo card, right?

“Nearly half of our customers in China in the past six months switched from Android to iPhone.”

Digs on Android right now. Ok.

130 million iOS buyers were new to Apple this past year.

800 million iOS devices. 100 million iPod touches. 200 million iPads. 500 million iPhones. That’s half a billion.

Next up: iOS. Tim Cook’s back up.

I think the X in the logo is thinner this year.

Public beta program, but not happening today.

Coming in the fall. Free. Duh.

Available to developers today.

I’m hoping iCloud drive means we’re getting more storage for free…

That’s Yosemite. Yosemite is amazing.

This is mad awkward.

“We all want to welcome you to Apple.”

“Hey how you doin’ this is Dre.”

Calling Dr. Dre…

Continuity is amazing. I hope it works.

You can make calls from your Mac too.

Phone calls on your Mac, through your phone. Caller ID on your Mac. Holy shit that’s great.

SMS: texting on your Mac via your phone. “Green bubble friends” with “inferior devices”. They “insist on sending us messages”.

Even if your phone is across the room!

If you’re away from a network and your phone is nearby, your Mac will prompt you to set up a hotspot.

“Handoff”. “If you want to pick up where you left off on your Mac…” an icon appears on your iPad of the app you were working in. Swipe up to immediately get to it. Works for emails you’re writing.

AirDrop between OS X and iOS. Finally.

Continuity. “We believe you should be able to use the right device for the moment.” Yesssssss.

End of Demo. Craig’s back. “How about that parallel programming joke.” No just stop.

“I hope the rope is multithreaded.” ha ha

Markup isn’t very different from Preview annotations, just in the Mail app. meh.

Playing it smooth though…

Safari just crashed.

Spotlight suggestions in Safari look great. Spotlight is the killer feature of Yosemite.

We still have dots under running applications in the dock.

Safari remains way ahead of competition. Demo time.

HTML5 premium video, works with Netflix without need for Silverlight. 2 hours + more battery life than with Silverlight.

Separate private windows like Chrome.

Tab view that gives you grid of tabs, grouped by website.

RSS reading is back in Safari under Shared Links.

Safari: favorite bar under smart search field like iOS 7. Spotlight suggestions in Safari.

Annotations called “Markup” on emails.

Large email attachments via MailDrop. Basically uploads attachments to iCloud and emails a link instead of emailing the attachment.

For iOS.

iCloud document picker…

Technically this already worked but it was a hack. Just making that public.

You can now access your iCloud documents from apps (iOS and Mac) in Finder. And you can store all of your own files there.

!!!

Next: iCloud Drive.

Craig is going really fast. Seems like they have a lot to get through.

Basically a textual Siri. Would be great if this is on iOS too.

Spotlight looks really amazing. Going to change how you use your Mac every day.

Conversions in Spotlight.

“You haven’t had chili by the campfire until you’ve tried it with one of Jony’s custom made aluminium forks. It’s the diamond cut chamfered edges.”

No more black textured shit in Reminders.

Sports scores widget.

Notification Center goes over the desktop now, like iOS.

Nice default widgets. World clocks. Whither Dashboard?

Mentions of seeing wallpaper behind title bars reminiscent of… Vista. Heh.

My laptop looks like shit right now.

Third party apps are going to look like shit until they’re updated.

Demo time.

Internet searches. News feeds, maps, movies. Very Siri-like.

Inline preview for document search.

Spotlight: in the middle, like other launchers…

There’s a calculator widget, for example.

Updates to Notification Center: dark translucent like iOS. Today view from iOS. No Missed (hmm!). You can extend today view with widgets from third party apps.

Messages finally looks good.

Dark mode is sexy!

Dark mode!

Helvetica!!!

All new icons. Very pretty. “Check out that trash can. That is a gorgeous trash can.”

Translucency.

Everything has been refined.

Very iOS 7.

This is pretty.

Helvetica. Not all circles for icons.

Video time.

Showing original Aqua.

New interface. Big enhancement to our most popular apps. And “Continuity”.

Check one off the predictions list, folks.

Using Futura in the presentation. Making jokes about OS X names. Oxnard? Rancho Cucamongga? Weed? No no no no. Yosemite.

Craig Federighi coming up to talk about the next version of OS X.

“Need I say more?”

“You may wonder how that compares to Windows.” Windows 8, a year older than Mavericks, is on 14% of Windows PCs.

Over 50% of installed base on Mavericks. Fastest adoption of any PC operating system ever.

40 million copies of Mavericks installed. Most of a single release ever.

80 million Macs.

“Let’s start with the Mac.”

“It’s so huge we’ve dedicated an entire section of the presentation to this.”

“You’re going to see the mother of all releases for developers.”

9 million registered developers. Up 50% over last year.

I’m 19 and I’ve done nothing!

“A special shout out to the student scholarship winners. They worked really hard to get here. Our youngest developer in the audience here today is 13.”

“This is a milestone year for this conference. It is the 25th year for this conference. It started in 1990 when a bunch of developers gathered together to talk about System 7.”

“From all of Apple: thank you very much.”

And here comes Tim Cook, to much applause.

A little girl to developers: “You inspire me so much.”

“What you really have is an intersection of technology and art.” There it is, folks.

“You open up an app and you open up a possibility.”

Now a kid with an artificial hand. Uses an app to do more and better things with it. That’s pretty cool. “I’m a fan of being different.”

These are choice quotes, folks.

“I gravitate toward very melancholy and painful songs.”

New Yorker: “I play solitaire, and of course I always win.”

“The best app of all time… has to be… Tinder.”

“I think these apps are essential to bring change to what’s going on in the ocean.”

Duckface.

Now average people are talking about the apps they can’t live without.

“That magic is a part of the app world.”

“I really don’t know what a developer looks like, but the apps they make let’s us do amazing things.”

Starting with a video, average people describing developers.

We’ve got a rights notice on screen.

“A Sky Full of Stars” by Coldplay.

“The Wire” by Haim.

“Pompeii” by Bastille.

“Lazaretto” by Jack White.

The Apple TV channel is live!

Just under an hour away from getting started!

‘Star Wars Episode 7’ Set Photos

TMZ got their hands on photos from the set of Star Wars: Episode VII:

Earlier this month in a galaxy far far away, known as Abu Dhabi, JJ Abrams began filming ”Star Wars: Episode VII” … and TMZ has obtained pics from the ultra-secretive set — including one GIANT creature.

Jedi sources tell us the new alien was manned by 5 men inside it’s belly … and was used in two scenes taking place in what looks like a Tatooine marketplace (Star Wars nerds get it)

According to reports, producers intend to use less CG in the new movies — instead, relying heavily on practical effects like the original trilogy … which is evident in these photos.

I’m trying not to, but I’m getting excited for this.

‘Designed by Apple in California’

A good time to revisit this, the opening video from last year’s Dub Dub.

The Apple TV ‘Events’ Channel Is Live

Check your Apple TV, tune in at 10 AM pacific/1 PM eastern. Don’t miss it.

Whither App.net

I think Ben Brooks was the last to leave. Hope he got the lights.

Gruber’s ‘WWDC 2014 Prelude’

Every once in awhile, John Gruber disguises something he knows as a prediction or musing. This, from tonight’s “WWDC Prelude”, sounds like one:

Speaking of typography, I expect the system font to change for the first time since Mac OS X 10.0 back in 2001. (If you want to be pedantic, Lucida Grande has been the system font since the public beta release in 2000.) Helvetica Neue is the obvious choice, since that’s what iOS uses. The wildcard would be Apple Sans (perhaps with a new name), a new typeface Apple has been designing in-house for years. (And if OS X switches to Apple Sans, maybe iOS 8 will too.) Bottom line, though, I think we’ve seen the last of Lucida Grande.

A quick Google search turns up nothing for “Apple Sans”. Doesn’t appear anyone else knows about it. Hm. Then there’s this:

…here’s what I’d like to see: a ground up rewrite of iPhoto, designed as a client for an iCloud-centric photo library. You can keep all your photos on your Mac, but they can all be on iCloud too, and thus accessible from your iOS devices anywhere with a network connection.

Oh man I hope that’s coming.


WWDC 2014 Predictions/Wishlist

WWDC starts tomorrow. Like last year, there’s an overall sense of mystery going in. We expect OS X to get redesigned, but we don’t know how far Apple will go. Last year no one guessed iOS 7 would diverge so fully from the past. Likewise, this year the argument goes that because OS X has windowed, overlapping applications, a complete change will be ugly until every app is updated to the new look. Surely, a change as drastic as iOS 7 won’t fly. Thing is, I don’t think Jony cares. And don’t call me Shirley. Are Mr. Ive and Mr. Cook going to let third party developer resentment hold them back from their “ideal” Mac OS? Nope.

Yosemite National Park
Yosemite National Park. Image courtesy of the National Park Service.

Let’s get down to predictions. Here’s what I expect to be announced tomororow:

Here are three things you might have heard rumored but I don’t expect to hear about tomorrow:

Finally, here are the things I’m crossing my fingers for (but aren’t likely):

That’s all I got. I think there will be more, maybe something new about the Beats acquisition, and hopefully new hardware, but I really don’t know. I don’t think anybody does, and that’s great. Last year’s WWDC was the most exciting Apple keynote since January 2010. I love not knowing.

For fun, I’ll be liveblogging the keynote this year. No, I won’t be in San Francisco but I’ll be on my couch in front of my Apple TV pretending I’m in San Francisco, and really that’s almost as good. That’ll go up tomorrow a few hours before the keynote starts, so if you’re around you can tune in.


  1. I kid, I kid. 

  2. How much of this is me wanting to avoid upgrade fever all summer? 50% at least. 


iWork Collaboration in iCloud

David Spark on iWork for iCloud:

While the experiment ultimately worked and he could see what I was typing, it was hardly simultaneous. Basically, we discussed and I wrote and he waited for the changes to show up, which happened about 30 seconds after I typed. If he typed anything on his side (even just a space bar), I got a conflict message on my end and had to pick a version to become gospel. While I think Apple is nailing the “productivity app in a web browser” part, they still have work their work cut out for them on the collaboration part.

I’ve had a different experience. I use iCloud Pages to collaborate with a writing team and iCloud’s performs marvelously for us with three simultaneous editors.

File a Bug

Daniel Jalkut:

My friend Marco Arment laments that of the 15 bugs he’s filed since 2009, eight have been marked as duplicates, and seven have received no significant response.

Since 2009, I’ve reported 161 bugs. It’s much harder for me to do a stone-cold analysis of the results of my efforts. Yes, I’ve “wasted some time,” but often in the process of doing so I have also gained a deeper understanding of the problems I was reporting.

Having filed 161 bugs over six years, I can guarantee you that I’ve had far more bugs ignored or filed as duplicate than Marco has. I’ve had my share of bugs for which I’ve had to send back a sternly worded note to the bug screeners, implying in as polite a language as I could muster that they were not doing their jobs well.

The real question is, why don’t either of these guys know you don’t capitalize ‘a’ in a title?

The Internet with a Human Face

Maciej Cegłowski:

Our lives have become split between two worlds with two very different norms around memory.

The offline world works like it always has. I saw many of you talking yesterday between sessions; I bet none of you has a verbatim transcript of those conversations. If you do, then I bet the people you were talking to would find that extremely creepy.

I saw people taking pictures, but there’s a nice set of gestures and conventions in place for that. You lift your camera or phone when you want to record, and people around you can see that. All in all, it works pretty smoothly.

The online world is very different. Online, everything is recorded by default, and you may not know where or by whom. If you’ve ever wondered why Facebook is such a joyless place, even though we’ve theoretically surrounded ourselves with friends and loved ones, it’s because of this need to constantly be wearing our public face. Facebook is about as much fun as a zoning board hearing.

Definitely worth reading the whole thing.

WWDC Banners Go Up

MacStories has photos of the banners going up for WWDC. Looks like we’ll be playing with OS X Yosemite in a few days.

Eddy Cue: ‘We’ve Got the Best Product Pipeline in 25 Years’

Ina Fried reporting on Eddy Cue and Jimmy Iovine’s interview at the Code Conference:

With Apple’s practice of playing coy over what’s coming next, executives are limited to employing an ever-changing collection of superlatives to not describe the product roadmap.

Apple SVP Eddy Cue, who leads the company’s media efforts, took that practice to a new level on Wednesday, insisting Apple’s current products roadmap was the best he has ever seen since joining.

“We’ve got the best product pipeline that I’ve seen in my 25 years at Apple,” Cue told Kara Swisher and Walt Mossberg at the inaugural Code Conference.

How much of that pipeline will we see on Monday?

Sergey Brin Says He’s ‘Kind of a Weirdo’

Rich McCormick for The Verge:

Google co-founder Sergey Brin said today that it was “probably a mistake” for him to have worked on Google+ because he’s “not a very social person.” Speaking at Recode’s Code Conference, Brin — who also called himself “kind of a weirdo” — acknowledged that he used Google+ to post pictures of his kids to his family, but suggested that any previous professional focus on the social network was misguided. “It was probably a mistake,” he said, “for me to be working on anything tangentially related to social to begin with.”

My favorite part is that he refers to Google+ as “tangentially” related to social.

Reeder for Mac Is Back

Reeder for Mac, the best RSS reader on OS X, is finally back with version 2. It now supports Feedbin and all the other popular RSS services that have popped up since Google Reader said adios. I’ve been using it for a few weeks, and it’s really great.

Can we now all say that ReadKit was a piece of shit?

Apple Buys Beats

The Beats deal is real:

“Music is such an important part of Apple’s DNA and always will be,” said Eddy Cue, Apple’s senior vice president of Internet Software and Services. “The addition of Beats will make our music lineup even better, from free streaming with iTunes Radio to a world-class subscription service in Beats, and of course buying music from the iTunes Store as customers have loved to do for years.”

Katie Cotton

John Gruber, remembering a moment with Katie Cotton, who announced her retirement this week:

As I took my seat, Katie Cotton, sitting in the second row, smiled and greeted me. “Hi John, glad you could make it. How’s the cold?”

I was feeling fine, the cold not much more than a memory at that point, and told her so. But I had to ask, laughing, “How did you even know I had a cold?”

Before she could answer, Greg Joswiak, sitting directly in front of me, turned around. “John, Katie knows everything.”

Hypercritical

John Siracusa, five years ago:

Even at the extreme end of the spectrum, I have a few kindred spirits. In fact, most geeks have this inclination to some degree, even if it’s just nitpicking logical or scientific flaws in a favorite TV show or movie. This is actually a skill worth developing. Have you ever met someone who holds strong opinions but is completely incapable of explaining them? “I really hated that book.” “Why?” “I don’t know, I just didn’t like it.” Who wants to be that guy? That’s no way to live.

Programming Sucks

Peter Welch:

Remember that stuff about crazy people and bad code? The internet is that except it’s literally a billion times worse. Websites that are glorified shopping carts with maybe three dynamic pages are maintained by teams of people around the clock, because the truth is everything is breaking all the time, everywhere, for everyone. Right now someone who works for Facebook is getting tens of thousands of error messages and frantically trying to find the problem before the whole charade collapses. There’s a team at a Google office that hasn’t slept in three days. Somewhere there’s a database programmer surrounded by empty Mountain Dew bottles whose husband thinks she’s dead. And if these people stop, the world burns. Most people don’t even know what sysadmins do, but trust me, if they all took a lunch break at the same time they wouldn’t make it to the deli before you ran out of bullets protecting your canned goods from roving bands of mutants.

You can’t restart the internet. Trillions of dollars depend on a rickety cobweb of unofficial agreements and “good enough for now” code with comments like “TODO: FIX THIS IT’S A REALLY DANGEROUS HACK BUT I DON’T KNOW WHAT’S WRONG” that were written ten years ago. I haven’t even mentioned the legions of people attacking various parts of the internet for espionage and profit or because they’re bored. Ever heard of 4chan? 4chan might destroy your life and business because they decided they didn’t like you for an afternoon, and we don’t even worry about 4chan because another nuke doesn’t make that much difference in a nuclear winter.

An iPhone Engineer Reminisces on Mobile Safari

Brian X. Chen for The New York Times:

Mr. Jobs was notorious for throwing his weight around however he could. One person on the iPhone design team was also named Steve, which caused some confusion in meetings. Mr. Jobs sought to change this.

“At some point Steve Jobs got really frustrated with this and said ‘Guess what, you’re Margaret from now on,’” Mr. Tolmasky said. From there on, members of the team would always address the designer Steve as Margaret.

The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies

Peter Jackson:

Our journey to make The Hobbit Trilogy has been in some ways like Bilbo’s own, with hidden paths revealing their secrets to us as we’ve gone along. “There and Back Again” felt like the right name for the second of a two film telling of the quest to reclaim Erebor, when Bilbo’s arrival there, and departure, were both contained within the second film. But with three movies, it suddenly felt misplaced—after all, Bilbo has already arrived “there” in the “Desolation of Smaug”.

When we did the premiere trip late last year, I had a quiet conversation with the studio about the idea of revisiting the title. We decided to keep an open mind until a cut of the film was ready to look at. We reached that point last week, and after viewing the movie, we all agreed there is now one title that feels completely appropriate.

And so: “The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies” it is.

Five bucks says after this one comes out, “The Hobbit: There and Back Again” is announced for December 2015. It’s three hours of Bilbo in Bag-End making tea and sleeping, some of it recorded on a GoPro strapped to Martin Freeman’s forehead.

Apple Opens OS X Beta Testing to All

Darrell Etherington for TechCrunch:

Before today, you needed a developer account to help test Apple’s upcoming software releases before they hit the general user population. You didn’t need to actually develop anything, but it would still cost you $99 per year to partake, and technically it was still sort of against the rules. Today, Apple introduced its OS X Beta Seed Program to make pre-release Mac operating system software available to all who want to help try it out.

My wild-ass guess: OS X 10.10 (11?) is a radical change and Apple can’t wait to show it off, but they’re not going to be ready to ship a stable version this summer or this fall.

Watch a 40-year-old Deaf Woman Hear for the First Time

Jay Hathaway at Gawker:

Milne is also able to listen to music for the first time. Her friend Tremayne Crossley, who posted this video to YouTube, put together an “Introduction to Music” playlist—including Prince, Bruce Springsteen, The Smiths, and Nirvana—which was played out for Milne on BBC6 Music earlier this week.

The first song she heard? John Lennon’s “Imagine.”

What to Do If You’re Falling Out of Love With New York

Mary Phillips-Sandy:

Go to Chinatown, alone, preferably in the late afternoon. Walk around. Go into one of the shops that sells mysterious (to me) herbs and dried things. Buy some condiments or beef jerky or sweet buns for, what, $2. Listen to the grandmas hollering at their children and grandchildren, and the vegetable sellers. Listen to the teens swapping unknowable secrets, huddled around their phones. Wander over to the park and see if someone’s playing chess or mah-jongg. […]

Avoid the following: gourmet cupcake shoppes, Times Square unless you’re on a side street and there’s a light summer rain falling, Pilates classes, H&M, any place with bottle service, Port Authority, any place where you are likely to feel self-conscious about your outfit, high-end boutiques, people whose default mode of conversation is complaints about New York, people whose default mode of conversation is industry gossip or negativity about other people’s career paths or start-ups or book deals or record deals.

The Father of the Sandy Hook Killer Searches for Answers

Andrew Solomon of The New Yorker spoke to Peter Lanza, father of Adam Lanza. The whole article is powerful and worth reading, but I pulled two quotes I found especially powerful:

When Adam was fourteen, shortly after Ryan had left for college, Peter and Nancy took him to Yale’s Child Study Center for further diagnosis. The psychiatrist who assessed Adam, Robert King, recorded that he was a “pale, gaunt, awkward young adolescent standing rigidly with downcast gaze and declining to shake hands.” He also noted that Adam “had relatively little spontaneous speech but responded in a flat tone with little inflection and almost mechanical prosody.” Many people with autism speak in a flat tone, and avoiding eye contact is common, too, because trying to interpret sounds and faces at the same time is overwhelming. Open-ended questions can also be intolerable to people with autism, and, when King asked Adam to make three wishes, he wished “that whatever was granting the wishes would not exist.”

And:

When I visited Peter, he produced four binders of printouts of his e-mails with Nancy and Adam since 2007. By 2008, when Adam turned sixteen and was going to school only for occasional events, Nancy’s e-mails describe his escalating misery. “He had a horrible night… He cried in the bathroom for 45 minutes and missed his first class.” Two weeks later, she wrote, “I am hoping that he pulls together in time for school this afternoon, but it is doubtful. He has been sitting with his head to one side for over an hour doing nothing.” Later that year: “Adam had a rough night. He moved everything out of his room last night. He only kept his bed and wardrobe cabinet.”

Putt-Putt Perfection

David Jacoby:

On April 9, 2011, at a tournament in Richmond, Virginia, an IT manager named Rick Baird notched 18 straight hole-in-one shots to record a perfect putt-putt score. In more than 50 years of sanctioned competition, it was just the third time that anyone had achieved the feat.

Putt-putt is different from miniature golf. It’s played only on official courses; there are no pirate ships, no windmills, and no holes that cannot be conquered with one stroke — if you execute the perfect shot. On that day in 2011, Baird executed the perfect shot 18 times in a row.

The Magical Chain Fountain

Jason Kottke:

When you pick up one end of a rod, he said, two things happen. One end goes up, and the other end goes down, or tries to. But if the downward force is stopped by the pile of chain beneath it, there is a kind of kickback, and the rod, or link, is pushed upward. That is what makes the chain rise.

God Speed, Columbia

Lee Hutchinson with the untold hypothetical rescue mission that could have saved Columbia:

During the writing of its report, the CAIB had the same question, so it asked NASA to develop a theoretical repair and rescue plan for Columbia “based on the premise that the wing damage events during launch were recognized early during the mission.” The result was an absolutely remarkable set of documents, which appear at the end of the report as Appendix D.13. They carry the low-key title “STS-107 In-Flight Options Assessment,” but the scenario they outline would have pushed NASA to its absolute limits as it mounted the most dramatic space mission of all time.

Alec Baldwin Leaving Public Life, Manhattan

Alec Baldwin:

Broadway has changed, by my lights. The TV networks, too. New York has changed. Even the U.S., which is so preposterously judgmental now. The heart, the arteries of the country are now clogged with hate. The fuel of American political life is hatred. Who would ever dream that Obama would deserve to be treated the way he has been? The birth-certificate bullshit, which is just Obama’s version of Swiftboating. And all for the electoral nullification that seems like a cancer on the American system. But this is Roger Ailes. And Fox. And Breitbart. And this is all about hate. It’s Hate Incorporated. But the liberals have taken the bait and run in the same direction—and it’s just as corrosive. MSNBC, in its own way, is as full of shit, as redundant and as superfluous, as Fox.

CVS Plans to End Sales of Tobacco Products by Oct. 1

Stephanie Strom for The New York Times:

CVS/Caremark, the country’s largest drugstore chain in overall sales, announced on Wednesday that it planned to stop selling cigarettes and other tobacco products by October.

The company’s move was yet another sign of its metamorphosis into becoming more of a health care provider than a largely retail business, with its stores offering more miniclinics and health advice to aid customers visiting its pharmacies.

The company estimated that its decision would cost an estimated $2 billion in sales from tobacco buyers, which includes incidental items like gum that those customers might also purchase.

Footage from the 1932 Winter Olympics

Ski jumping was more interesting when it looked like they might die.

Is That a Luge in Times Square?

If New York City hosted the winter Olympics.

Special

John Gruber:

Amidst all the well-deserved accolades celebrating the 30th anniversary of the original Macintosh, what has struck me is how very Apple that product — and the team that made it — was.

For one thing, they sweated the details. The greatest testimony to their genius is just how much of that original design is recognizable in today’s Mac OS X 10.9. A Mac user from 1984 could sit down in front of an iMac or MacBook today and recognize it as a successor to that original machine. That’s simply amazing.

Even more amazing is that some things haven’t changed at all. File, Edit, and View menus to start the Finder menu bar — the same today as in System 1 in 1984.

Turkish Prime Minister Gives Speech as a 10-foot Hologram

Rich McCormick for The Verge:

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan delivered a speech in the city of Izmir last Sunday by way of a giant hologram. Erdoğan, unable to make the trip to a party meeting in the western Turkish city, recorded his message against a green screen. In Izmir, a full-body hologram of the Prime Minister roughly 10 feet tall appeared from a coil of blue light, waving to the cheering crowd.

Where’s our holograms? #nobama

Pebble Steel: Business Class

Nilay Patel for The Verge:

The new Pebble Steel changes that. For $249 you get virtually the same internals as the original Pebble inside a tighter, smaller metal case that comes with metal and leather bands. There’s also an all-new app for iOS and Android, and a new Pebble app store that makes customizing your watch easier than ever. The little company at the front of the wearable market is pushing forward with design and software while it still has the lead — but the big question is whether it can move fast enough to keep ahead.

Unfortunately, and Nilay neglects to mention this, it seems the answer to that question is no, Pebble can’t move fast enough to keep ahead. The Pebble Steel is a prettier-more-expensive version of last year’s Pebble; the internals are the same. That’s not moving forward.

John Siracusa on Macintosh

John Siracusa:

Memories are short in the tech industry. For most people, Apple and Steve Jobs will always be synonymous with the iPhone, an uncontested inflection point in our computing culture. For me, the introduction of the Macintosh will always be more important. Though people who didn’t live through it might not feel it as keenly as I do, the distance between pre-2007 smartphones and the iPhone is much smaller than the distance between MS-DOS and the Mac.


Six Years a Mac

My older sister imprinted two important philosophies on me growing up: liberalism and Appleism. I grew up in a fiercely Republican, lower-middle class home and Apple products were few in far between. My wealthy grandfather favored the Windows world and so all of the hand-me-down laptops I received through grade school were shitty Compaq and Toshiba XP machines. Remember when external slide-in wireless cards were a thing? If you’ve been an Apple user all your life, you probably don’t, you lucky sons-of-bitches. Still I loved them and spent every afternoon on them, getting involved pretty seriously with some early 2000’s internet communities I’m too embarrassed now to call out by name.

In 2005 my sister asked for and received a white iPod video for Christmas. A very casual listener of music myself, I asked for some no-name multimedia viewer that vaguely resembled a PSP; it held about fifteen songs and could theoretically play video and games, though I never figured out either. I remember many car rides and plane rides to and from my dad’s over the next year or so listening to my sister’s iPod through rubber-necked Belkin headphone splitter, and when she would demo for me how the software worked I remember being impressed yet having no desire to own one.

Fast forward another Christmas and I was begging for an iPod. It came used off eBay, the exact model my sister got a year early: 30GB white. I loaded it with mostly my sister’s music collection and spent hours listening to it and playing Parachute and watching whatever free videos were available on iTunes. I even got in to podcasts for the first time, the venerable Mugglecast and Pottercast to stay up on all the movie five news.

The May after that Christmas my sister graduated high school and was given as a present a plastic white MacBook. I watched her unbox it and set it up, and listened to her tout the benefits of the Mac over Windows as my grandfather grumbled and suggested she load bootcamp and XP. An impressionable sixth grader, I accepted everything my sister said as absolute fact and if anyone asked which I preferred I would proudly say that Macs were better and I would have one if I could afford it.

The summer after she graduated my family moved to Massachusetts and my last Windows laptop stopped working. Its replacement came in a 6 year old Dual-USB G3 iBook from my grandma, running OS X Jaguar. Out of date in every regard, and yet it was the best computer I had ever owned. At the time, I did not think it very remarkable. I was often frustrated by the lack of software available for it and I could not store much of my music collection on its tiny 10 GB hard drive. Still, it worked just as it had when it was new, cranking away at 450 MHz and rendering the web just as well as any Windows PC I ever owned. Only after I moved on to a newer Windows 7 machine (out of necessity for something newer) did I appreciate just how good that machine was. It was the only computer I’ve ever owned that was not replaced because it broke. It still works fine, actually, now on Tiger and spending most of its days at the bottom of a trunk at my mom’s house, but it does boot and work perfectly. The iBook, more than the iPod I owned before it, truly introduced me to Apple and spurned my love for their products.

Thirty years ago Steve Jobs introduced the first Macintosh and completely changed the computer industry; six years ago I got my first Macintosh and I was started onto the journey toward total Apple immersion. I’ve now owned four iPods, two iPads, I’m on my second iPhone and my second and third Macs, and I run a blog dedicated heavily to coverage of Apple.


‘My First Mac’

Federico Viticci, on this thirteenth anniversary of Macintosh, describes how he fell in love with Apple and got his first Mac:

The iPod had, unsurprisingly, got me interested in Apple: I was browsing Mac forums to understand what OS X was all about and what Apple, as a company, wanted for its customers; I had bought a first-gen iPod touch to have a portable modern Internet machine without having to buy an iPhone; I was so curious about OS X, I installed things like RocketDock on Linux to make it look more like a Mac. The halo effect was in full force and I couldn’t stop it: I wanted a Mac and I wanted it badly.

I relate to this so hard.

The Motion Picture Organization

My side project with Jesse DeWeerth relaunched a couple days ago with an awesome new name and an awesome new URL and an awesome new WordPress-powered backend. I present to thee, The Motion Picture Organization (née Bad Movie Reviewers).