The New York Times is buying The Wirecutter, a five-year-old online consumer guide.
The Times will pay more than $30 million, including retention bonuses and other payouts, for the startup, according to people familiar with the transaction.
Brian Lam, a former editor at Gawker Media’s Gizmodo, founded The Wirecutter in 2011, and has self-funded the company’s growth.
Congratulations Brian. Well deserved.
And even though it may be about to be replaced with something bigger and better, 1 Infinite Loop does have something fairly new of its own: a dedicated Apple Store that reopened last fall. Apple’s campus store has always sold exclusive collectables like T-shirts and pens, and the Jony Ive-designed retail store adds Apple products just like traditional Apple Stores.
The shirt styles and souvenirs offered change regularly, but head below to see what you can expect to find at the 1 Infinite Loop Apple Store that’s not sold anywhere else if you visit.
I know I’d buy way too much stuff there.
Rhett Jones quoting James’ email about his Note 7 experiences:
I have been in Asia for a few weeks and head back to the US early tomorrow. I called AT&T and Samsung (on several occasions) inquiring about what to do with my phone now that there is a ban.
Yesterday [10/16/16] when I called, AT&T sent me over to Samsung (and after a long hold time) I was told by a rep that I could smuggle the phone back in a sock!
When I suggested that wasn’t a good idea and that I wouldn’t do that, he said someone from management would contact me. It’s been more than 24 hours and I haven’t heard from them.
I just spent another exasperating hour on the phone with Samsung and was told someone would get in touch—but he didn’t even get my phone number correct.
I would be more than happy to have Samsung dispatch a courier to pick up my phone from my hotel in Bangkok—but that idea has fallen on deaf ears.
I am at my wit’s end. I have considered asking if the hotel would keep it, but I am not sure if they would be willing to suggest a request. It’s extremely frustrating. I just moved from iPhone to Samsung and this has been a horrible experience.
You can find more stories on Gizmodo.
All of this circles us back to that little booklet that shipped with the ceramic Watch Edition. I think it is a safe bet to say that if Apple was about to leverage a whole new process for the efficient manufacturing of precision ceramics for next year’s iPhone, this new Watch model would be a test balloon for at least some of those techniques. Now, it is important to note that Apple has always skillfully knife edged their marketing discussion about manufacturing by being both hyper honest in their descriptions, while being quite vague about the nitty gritty details. So if we can all agree their materials are honest, let me be very plain – there is nothing revolutionary or new about how Apple is making the ceramic Edition watch.
The process they describe is meticulously executed, and because of the nature of the design – wherein ceramics are mimicking the engineering layout of far more easily produced materials – probably the most laboriously produced ceramic watch on the market. In fact, if we scale the numbers used in the booklet up to iPhone size devices and cycle times, Apple would need 2 football field’s worth of kiln space for each ceramic iPhone to sinter for the requisite 36 hours. For the 2 hours of hard ceramic machining to finish the case details, Apple would need to go from 20,000 CNC machines, to 250,000. They would need another 200,000 employees to perform the 2 hours of hand polishing to “bring out the strength and luster.”
I personally want a highly polished, ‘Stormtrooper’ white iPhone. Greg basically says that’s not possible at the moment or for the foreseeable future, unless Apple built a huge factory nobody knows about. There is still hope though, using an alternate solution.
Tesla shocked the industry earlier this year when it confirmed having delivered 25,202 Model S sedans in the U.S. in 2015, which gave the company a 25% market share in the premium sedan market. For the first time, Tesla had surpassed market leaders like BMW and Mercedes. Furthermore, every single other large luxury sedan has seen its sales decrease during the same period.
Now the electric automaker is increasing its lead on the US luxury sedan market to such a point that the Model S is now twice as popular as the Mercedes S-Class or the BMW 7-Series. Tesla is literally selling more all-electric sedans in the US than Mercedes and BMW are selling S-Class and 7-Series combined.
The Model S Tesla is not an Audi A8, BMW 7-series, nor Mercedes S-class competitor. It’s on par with the A6, 5-series, and E-class. I still don’t understand why it’s being compared to the luxury segment, especially since it’s nowhere near any of the cars listed above in terms of build quality.
I’ve followed the Dash vs. Apple kerfuffle for the past few days and have a slightly different take on the subject than anyone else I’ve seen — think ‘lost in translation’ with a dash of pride, and a pinch of exasperation. Anyway, while writing about the whole thing I made a transcript of the phone call published by Bogdan, which you can listen to on his blog.
Continue reading →
Count 3: Preparation for terrorism. Between 31 December 2015 and 22 September 2016 Samata Ullah, with the intention of assisting another or others to commit acts of terrorism, engaged in conduct in preparation for giving effect to his intention namely, by researching an encryption programme, developing an encrypted version of his blog site and publishing the instructions around the use of programme on his blog site. Contrary to section 5 Terrorism Act 2006.
I can understand the other charges, but how is using HTTPS a criminal offence?
Rick Falkvinge has a few interesting comments on the subject:
(…) four years ago, I predicted that the UK won’t just jail you for encryption, but for carrying astronomical noise, too. It’s already a crime to not give up keys to an encrypted document in the UK (effectively making encryption illegal), but it’s worse than that – it’s a five-years-in-prison offense to not give up the keys to something that appears encrypted to law enforcement, but may not actually be. In other words, carrying astronomical noise is a jailable offense, because it is indistinguishable from something encrypted, unless you can pull the documents the police claim are hidden in the radio noise from a magic hat. This case takes the UK significantly closer to such a reality, with charging a person for terrorism (!) merely for following privacy best practices.
Samsung is likely in full-fledged crisis mode at this point, as a replacement phone catching fire would be truly disastrous for the company’s image and finances. The Verge has been in contact with Samsung, which issued a statement that is questionable at best given our findings:
Until we are able to retrieve the device, we cannot confirm that this incident involves the new Note7. We are working with the authorities and Southwest now to recover the device and confirm the cause. Once we have examined the device we will have more information to share.
Green’s Note 7 is in the hands of the Louisville Fire Department’s arson unit for investigation. He has already replaced it with an iPhone 7.
Samsung should have recall all Note 7s and removed them from the market as soon as possible. It’s a miracle no one has died yet. Now imagine if that aeroplane was in the air and the fire it started spread. What if it brought down a whole plane full of people?
If you own a Note 7 then get rid of it. Replace it with something else — Green went for an iPhone, which in this case is a much safer choice. If you don’t care for your own safety, then don’t put others in danger unnecessarily.
Charlie Savage and Nicole Perlroth:
A system intended to scan emails for child pornography and spam helped Yahoo satisfy a secret court order requiring it to search for messages containing a computer “signature” tied to the communications of a state-sponsored terrorist organization, several people familiar with the matter said on Wednesday.
Two government officials who spoke on the condition of anonymity said the Justice Department obtained an individualized order from a judge of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court last year. Yahoo was barred from disclosing the matter.
To comply, Yahoo customized an existing scanning system for all incoming email traffic, which also looks for malware, according to one of the officials and to a third person familiar with Yahoo’s response, who also spoke on the condition of anonymity.
With some modifications, the system stored and made available to the Federal Bureau of Investigation a copy of any messages it found that contained the digital signature. The collection is no longer taking place, those two people said.
So Yahoo seems to be the first to willingly give in to the government. I’d delete my email account there immediately, if I had one.
Samsung has agreed to acquire Viv, an AI and assistant system co-founded by Dag Kittlaus, Adam Cheyer and Chris Brigham — who created Siri, which was acquired by Apple in 2010. The three left Apple in the years after the acquisition and founded Viv in 2012. Pricing information was not available, but we’ll check around.
Viv has been billed as a more extensible, powerful version of Siri.
Viv will continue to operate as an independent company that will provide services to Samsung and its platforms.
I don’t think Apple should have let them go, but then again, acquiring the same team for the second time seems ethically wrong.
Jo Becker, Adam Goldman, Michael S. Schmidt and Matt Apuzzo:
The F.B.I. secretly arrested a National Security Agency contractor in recent weeks and is investigating whether he stole and disclosed highly classified computer code developed to hack into the networks of foreign governments, according to several senior law enforcement and intelligence officials.
The theft raises the embarrassing prospect that for the second time in three years, an insider has managed to steal highly damaging secret information from the N.S.A. In 2013, Edward J. Snowden, who was also a contractor for the agency, took a vast trove of documents that were later passed to journalists, exposing N.S.A. surveillance programs in the United States and abroad.
What if Harold T. Martin III had also stolen the ‘golden keys’ to backdoors of various tech companies infrastructures? How long would it take for anyone and everyone in the world to get a peek into the lives of people using those services?
Andrea Peterson for The Washington Post reporting on Stamos’ (Yahoo’s Chief Information Security Officer) and Rogers’ (director of the National Security Agency) debate:
“If we’re going to build defects/backdoors or golden master keys for the U.S. government, do you believe we should do so — we have about 1.3 billion users around the world — should we do for the Chinese government, the Russian government, the Saudi Arabian government, the Israeli government, the French government?” Stamos asked.
“So, I’m not gonna… I mean, the way you framed the question isn’t designed to elicit a response,” Rogers replied.
“Well, do you believe we should build backdoors for other countries?” Stamos asked again.
“My position is — hey look, I think that we’re lying that this isn’t technically feasible. Now, it needs to be done within a framework. I’m the first to acknowledge that. You don’t want the FBI and you don’t want the NSA unilaterally deciding, so, what are we going to access and what are we not going to access? That shouldn’t be for us. I just believe that this is achievable. We’ll have to work our way through it. And I’m the first to acknowledge there are international implications. I think we can work our way through this,” Rogers answered.
“So you do believe then, that we should build those for other countries if they pass laws?” Stamos asked a third time.
“I think we can work our way through this,” Rogers replied.
“I’m sure the Chinese and Russians are going to have the same opinion,” Stamos said.
I truly wonder what Rogers would think if he wasn’t the director of the NSA. Would he agree to all the snooping, reduced security, and compromised privacy, if he were just a civilian?
Yahoo Inc last year secretly built a custom software program to search all of its customers’ incoming emails for specific information provided by U.S. intelligence officials, according to people familiar with the matter.
The company complied with a classified U.S. government demand, scanning hundreds of millions of Yahoo Mail accounts at the behest of the National Security Agency or FBI, said three former employees and a fourth person apprised of the events.
Some surveillance experts said this represents the first case to surface of a U.S. Internet company agreeing to an intelligence agency’s request by searching all arriving messages, as opposed to examining stored messages or scanning a small number of accounts in real time.
While Apple, Google, and others want to fight these types of government demands, Yahoo rolls over and helps them out. Completely unacceptable.
When I first started testing Portrait Mode, I was alone in my backyard, with only inanimate props. I took some shots where the Depth Effect shined, and some where it flopped…
This stands to reason. The depth map is very likely computed at a reduced resolution, and I bet it’s noisy. Any smoothing is going to also eliminate certain edge details, and Apple’s engineers have, I’m surmising, estimated that eating into the edges a bit overall is better than seeing a halo of crisp background between the foreground subject and the blurred background.
The next night, my family came over for a cookout. As we ate and drank into the evening, reveling in global warming, I remembered that I had a new toy to play with. I pulled out my phone, toggled over to Portrait Mode, and snapped a few shots of my brother-in-law and his adorable son.
This is the photo that convinced me that Portrait Mode is a real thing. Here it captured a fast-moving, uncooperative subject, at ISO 500 lighting, and produced results that are not just good, but actually a photo I cherish.
I already have a few shots of my wife which I will love for years to come — I didn’t have my ‘big’ camera with me at the time. They would not have worked without Portrait Mode, which isolated her from the background.
Chris Hall for SalonQP:
But forgetting personal objections, it’s staggering – even by Apple’s standards – how quickly Apple Watch has moved the smartwatch story on. Since Apple Watch’s launch, the real watch industry (sorry Apple, no matter where or how Vontobel ranks you, you aren’t a watch brand) has started falling apart. Global exports of Swiss watches have dropped off a cliff. The numbers are horrible – we’re looking at annual decline of around 10 per cent this year. Oof.
I treat my mechanical watches and my Apple Watch differently — the latter is a small computer, while the former are small, precise works of art. But since I only use one wrist, they do compete for the same space.
Now, if you’re like me and you get a kick out of looking at why this is, you’ll recognise the slowdown of the Chinese economy, Xi Jingping’s anti-corruption campaign, falling oil prices, wild currency fluctuations, a super-strong franc, terrorism, sanctions on Russia and even Brexit as factors for this. And you’d be right to think that way.
But I can’t help thinking that smartwatches, still largely dismissed by the Swiss watch industry, are a big part of the story, too. And perhaps a bigger part than anyone’s yet cared to admit. Yes, of course, comparing an Apple Watch with a Patek is like comparing oranges with apples. And yes, no one seems to be buying a Samsung Gear instead of a Rolex.
I’m curious as to how smartwatches will evolve in the following years, and if they’ll truly take off.
Some sites reported that the sound was completely normal, and that all devices make it. While coil whine — the probable cause of the noise I heard — is something I have come across before, I’ve never heard it on the many, many iOS devices I’ve handled over the years.
Others suggested I was exaggerating or fabricating the story entirely.
This writing didn’t line up with the experience I had when I called AppleCare after publishing my post. My call was quickly escalated to a supervisor, who sent me to my local Apple Store to replace the phone. They agreed that hearing a whine or hiss from an iPhone sitting on a desk was unusual and unacceptable.
While I’m glad that Apple got him sorted, I feel sorry for the feedback Stephen received and had to go through.
While working in their garage in 1977, Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak asked Rob Janoff, who had studied design, to create a logo for their first Apple products. When Janoff went to Jobs with final sketches, everything went very smoothly, and the bitten apple has been the symbol of the brand ever since.
The whole piece is worth a read — lots of great tidbits; much too many to quote here.
The iPhone 7 achieves an overall DxOMark Mobile Score of 86. That’s better than Apple’s previous best score of 84 for the iPhone 6s Plus and 82 for the iPhone 6s. Its improved Texture performance is likely related to the new lens design, while its lower noise score shows the effect of its faster lens and improved image processing chip (ISP). Artifacts are also greatly reduced, thanks no doubt to the upgraded ISP.
It still loses out to the HTC 10 and Samsung Galaxy S7 in DxOMark’s ranking, but it does have a smaller sensor behind the wide-angle lens. In real-world use the different is negligible however, especially if shooting RAW. If anything, from my own tests, the iPhone 7 has ever so slightly less shadow noise than the SGS7. JPGs are another matter entirely, with Apple’s ISP being subjectively superior in my tests — the Samsung images are much punchier and have a higher contrast, which results in detail loss, especially in the shadows, while the more natural iPhone shots allow for more post-processing, including going for that high-contrast look that so many people prefer.
Lightroom CC (2015.7) and Lightroom 6.7 are now available. The goal of this release is to provide additional camera raw support and lens profile support, and to address bugs that were introduced in previous releases of Lightroom.
Please note that this version of Lightroom contains compatibility fixes for macOS 10.12 (Sierra) and also requires macOS 10.10 and greater.
This update also adds full support for the new iPhones, including lens profiles.
Now, I may not be the perfect user for this feature, but I wanted to give it to try. And I definitely saw it in action, but I can’t call it a success. It was, in fact, the single most frustrating moment I spent with macOS Sierra.
Here’s what happened: I was editing a podcast in Apple’s Logic Pro X, and my project was stored on the Desktop. All of a sudden, the voice of one of my podcast panelists simply vanished from the mix. I quit and re-launched Logic, only to be told that the file in question was missing. Sure enough, a visit to Finder revealed that Sierra had “optimized” my storage and removed that file from my local drive. I’ll grant you, the file was a couple of weeks old, and very large as most audio files are. But I was also actively using it within a Logic project. Apparently that didn’t count for anything?
So that’s bad. That’s enough for me to turn off that feature and never use it again—or at the very least, never keep my project files on the Desktop or in the Documents folder.
To add insult to injury, at the time my files were deleted, my hard drive had approximately 80GB of free space. Why were the files deleted? I have no idea, but I suspect a bug in how Sierra was viewing the stock internal SSD of my iMac, because it’s also warned me that it didn’t have enough space to back up a 64GB iPhone with more than 100GB free, and gave me a “you’re about to run out of disk space” warning with 60GB free. So not only did Sierra remove files that I was using, it did so without any necessity.
At this point I downloaded all my files from iCloud, copied them to a file server just in case, and turned off both the Manage Storage feature and iCloud syncing of my Documents and Desktop folder. It’s a nice idea, but I’m not willing to have the place on my Mac where I keep key projects and documents to be a place I can’t count on. Think twice before enabling this feature.
I use BitTorrent Sync Pro to synchronise my Desktop and Downloads folders between my Macs. I can’t see myself moving away from this solution in the near future and switching to iCloud.
The new macOS Sierra 10.12 is ready to download and install from the Mac App Store. Before you do the latter, please remember to backup your drive — I suggest two backups at the least. Personally, I always make sure my Time Machine has a fresh backup and I also clone my system drive with Carbon Copy Cloner. Better safe than sorry.
★ macOS Sierra →
P.S. The Dev GM 2 and final build numbers are the same — both are
16A323. The public beta GM is an older build.