Twitter Retires Magic Recs When Bots Are On The Rise →

May 2, 2016 · 22:16

Ingrid Lunden:

At a time when Twitter is looking for catchy things to capture more audience, it’s ironic that Magic Recs bot would stop working just as bots were starting to become a thing.

Doubly ironic is the fact that Magic Recs was a bot that actually worked when some have flopped. Like many others who followed it, I praised Magic Recs for being uncannily accurate in predicting interesting accounts to follow and tweets to watch. Twitter could have turned it into something that people could even pull for more Recs.

While push notifications may work out, the people using third-party Twitter clients will miss out on them. And I refuse to use the native client when it’s as bad as it is. Why not leave Magic Recs for hardcore users? While I don’t think much of the bots which seem to be popping up in many places recently, this was one that I really enjoyed.

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My Photography (6) — Balloon Festival, Bielawa, Poland, 2016

May 2, 2016 · 22:09

We drove down to Bielawa today, which is more or less south of Wrocław in Poland, for the Balloon Festival. I did not expect to get the shots that I did, despite the weather not playing nice. The sunset, some two hours after the above photo was taken, was close to perfect.

Shot with: DJI Phantom 4 @ f/2.8, 1/640, ISO 100.

Phil Schiller Has Some Fun on Twitter

April 30, 2016 · 10:43

My attention was brought to a few of Phil’s tweets, while catching up on my timeline. At first I just stared incredulously, and then it clicked.

Phil Schiller: 1. Twitter: 0.

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Leica Launches M-D (Typ 262) Digital Rangefinder Without LCD →

April 29, 2016 · 15:15

Damien Demolder:

German camera manufacturer Leica has announced a new M digital rangefinder that has no LCD panel. The Leica M-D (Typ 262) will be almost exactly the same as the existing M (Typ 262) but without a rear screen for reviewing images and working the menu. The company says it has produced a camera with only the ‘essentials of photography’, or ‘Das Wescentliche’, and that it will help photographers concentrate on the important elements of image making rather than getting distracted with the camera functions.

Beautifully minimalist, for which you have to pay more than for the model with the LCD. Insane? Perhaps, but it doesn’t matter if it grabs people’s hearts. It did mine.

Introducing CareKit →

April 28, 2016 · 23:59

Apple:

Care doesn’t only happen at the doctor’s office. That’s why Apple created CareKit. An open source framework, CareKit allows developers to build beautiful apps that leverage a variety of customizable modules. CareKit apps will let users regularly track care plans, monitor their progress, and share their insights with care teams. Since CareKit is open source, developers can build upon existing modules and contribute new code to help users world wide create a bigger—and better—picture of their health.

You can find CareKit on GitHub here and the CareKit blog over here.

Aeroplanes & German Nuclear Plant Infected With Viruses →

April 28, 2016 · 10:11

Christoph Steitz & Eric Auchard:

A nuclear power plant in Germany has been found to be infected with computer viruses, but they appear not to have posed a threat to the facility’s operations because it is isolated from the Internet, the station’s operator said on Tuesday.

Lucky break. Otherwise we’d ‘just’ have a nuclear disaster on our hands.

Mikko Hypponen, chief research officer for Finland-based F-Secure, said that infections of critical infrastructure were surprisingly common, but that they were generally not dangerous unless the plant had been targeted specifically.

I guess we’d find out if a particular plant had been targeted or not after the fact, and after a potential disaster. Seems like a good way to go about security. Right?

As an example, Hypponen said he had recently spoken to a European aircraft maker that said it cleans the cockpits of its planes every week of malware designed for Android phones. The malware spread to the planes only because factory employees were charging their phones with the USB port in the cockpit.

Seriously? How the fuck is this even possible? Fortunately…

Because the plane runs a different operating system, nothing would befall it.

Unless the malware was written to target that OS.

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App Store Deals — 28/04/2016

April 28, 2016 · 09:46

You might want to take a closer look at Air Display, Boxy and Star Wars…

Air Display 3 – iOS – Utilities – €14.99 > €9.99
Awesome Calendar – iOS – Productivity – €6.99 > €0.99
Boxy: email client for “Inbox by Gmail” – Mac – Productivity – €6.99 > €4.99
Disk Drill Media Recovery – Mac – Utilities – €39.99 > €0.99
Money Pro – Mac – Finance – €29.99 > €2.99
Progress to 100 – iOS – Games – €2.99 > €1.99
Star Knight – iOS – Games – €2.99 > €0.99
Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic – iOS – Games – €9.99 > €2.99

Logitech’s Smart Connector-Equipped Charging Dock for iPad Pro →

April 27, 2016 · 08:15

Chance Miller:

On the surface, the Base looks similar to various other charging docks we’ve seen over the years, but look closer and you’ll see Smart Connector prongs and a Lightning port on the back. This means that you can dock your iPad Pro to the Smart Connector and charge it just like you would when you dock an iPhone. And it’s really well thought out.

This looks great. Since it uses the iPad’s charger, I wonder if it can utilise the additional power of the 29 W USB-C brick through the Smart Connector, to improve charge times on the big iPad Pro.

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Apple Financial Results — FY Q2 2016 →

April 26, 2016 · 22:48

Apple PR:

Apple® today announced financial results for its fiscal 2016 second quarter ended March 26, 2016. The Company posted quarterly revenue of $50.6 billion and quarterly net income of $10.5 billion, or $1.90 per diluted share. These results compare to revenue of $58 billion and net income of $13.6 billion, or $2.33 per diluted share, in the year-ago quarter. Gross margin was 39.4 percent compared to 40.8 percent in the year-ago quarter. International sales accounted for 67 percent of the quarter’s revenue.

Apple sold:

  • 51.2 million iPhones (61.17 million in FY Q2 2015)
  • 10.3 million iPads (12.62 million in FY Q2 2015)
  • 4 million Macs (4.56 million in FY Q2 2015)

How Colour Managment Works on iOS 9.3 →

April 22, 2016 · 12:59

Brandon Chester:

With 9.3 iOS essentially has full support for ColorSync in the same way that OS X does. ColorSync has been Apple’s system for color management for many years now, and it works very well in applications that are built on top of Apple’s frameworks like Quartz, Core Animation, and the entirety of AppKit. It just so happens that basically every iOS application is built on these frameworks, and so the task of building system-wide color management in to iOS was seemingly not a difficult one.

Color management appears to be working quite fine across the entire system and within all apps. The interesting thing is, the sign that color management works is the fact that for almost all content there is absolutely no difference between the new iPad Pro and the iPad Air 2. This is expected, as almost all content on the device will target the sRGB gamut, and so if color management is working it should be mapped into the larger DCI-P3 gamut without issue.

Apple’s own applications interpret untagged content as sRGB, and also properly understand tagged images and videos and display them correctly. Safari also renders CSS colors correctly, which is something that can’t be said for any other browser that I’m aware of. The same is true of all third party apps that I’ve tried, including Dropbox, Google Drive, AVPlayerHD, Animuplyr, among many others. While I had worried that iOS’s lack of color management prior to 9.3 would lead to many problems with accurate images on the 9.7″ iPad Pro, Apple has handled the situation better than I ever expected.

The problem with colour management and gamuts is that many computers, tablets, and smartphones can barely display sRGB properly, which means that putting out images which will fit in DCI-P3 is pointless – 99.9% of the people viewing them will not see the correct image. Unless you’re just using the 9.7″ iPad Pro to display photos to family, clients, etc. This could be solved in a number of ways, but none of them are easy at this point in time, nor do I see them being implemented in the near future. We still have a long way to go unfortunately.

Brandon also details how True Tone works and how it affects colour accuracy — I have Night Shift turned off and I would turn True Tone off too (if my 12.9″ iPad Pro had it), perhaps apart from reading sessions.

China Shuts Down iBooks and iTunes Movies →

April 22, 2016 · 12:43

Paul Mozur & Jane Perlez:

Last week, Apple’s iBooks Store and iTunes Movies were shut down in China, just six months after they were started there. Initially, Apple apparently had the government’s approval to introduce the services. But then a regulator, the State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television, asserted its authority and demanded the closings, according to two people who spoke on the condition of anonymity.

“We hope to make books and movies available again to our customers in China as soon as possible,” an Apple spokeswoman said in a statement.

I’m sensing, based on various tidbits of news, that Apple’s problems in China will get worse before they get better. Quite frankly, I’m surprised they allowed any ‘western’ content in the first place.

How iMessage Distributes Security to Block “Phantom Devices” →

April 22, 2016 · 12:39

Securosis:

Overall it’s a solid balance of convenience and security. Especially when you consider there are a billion Apple devices out there. iMessage doesn’t eliminate the need for true zero-knowledge messaging systems, but it is extremely secure, especially when you consider that it’s basically a transparent replacement for text messaging.

This is a good read if you’re interested in the security of iMessage. It’s basically very secure, but I’m sure Apple will continue improving their standards.

Apple to Skip iPhone 7S, Jump Straight to iPhone 8 →

April 22, 2016 · 12:35

Luke Dormehl:

Apple will drop its incremental “s” iPhone release next year in favor of jumping straight to the iPhone 8, claims Barclays analyst Mark Moskowitz.
Moskowitz backs up previous suggestions that the iPhone 8, which will launch in 2017, will boast the biggest upgrade since 2014’s iPhone 6 and 6 Plus — with OLED displays, no home button, and wireless charging, leading to what he calls a “mega cycle” upgrade.

As for this year’s iPhone 7? He’s not quite so optimistic.

I’m pretty sure this has a lot to do with the previous rumours from Kuo, and quite frankly, I don’t believe either of them until we start seeing some solid leaks.

Apple Needs to Reorganise Its Services Division →

April 21, 2016 · 08:14

Ben Thompson:

Apple will not fix the services it already has, or deliver on the promise of the services its hardware might yet enable, unless a new kind of organization is built around these services that has a fundamentally different structure, different incentives, and different rhythms from Apple’s device teams. You don’t make great products because you want to make great products; you make great products by creating the conditions where great products can be produced.

While I use almost all of Apple’s services, and they work pretty well for me, there are areas, which Ben highlights, that need a lot of work. iMessage has huge potential, for example, but it’s currently SMS on steroids. Apple Pay still hasn’t rolled out to countries that actually have more than enough infrastructure to support it. Siri is so slow to get off the ground to new heights, that it’s no end. HomeKit seems to be basically dead. CarPlay is a terrible experience. And the App Stores need a lot of work, as does shaping the future of what they contain.

At this point in time, Apple still has time to make their services better, but will they do it before time runs out?

Serenity Caldwell Left Her iPad Pro at a Rest Stop →

April 20, 2016 · 13:29

Serenity Caldwell:

After a fun weekend down in DC with Providence Roller Derby playing two incredibly hard-fought games against the roller derby teams from Washington DC and Cleveland, OH, I spent most of the car ride home excited to get back to writing about the iPad Pro and its 9.7-inch sibling; I even pulled out the 12.9-inch model to do some note-taking during the drive.

And then, in a late-night haze during our last rest stop of the evening, I did the unthinkable: I left the Pro on a Subway counter. I didn’t realize I had done so until this morning, when I went to gather my things to go to a local coffee shop to write — only to realize that my iPad wasn’t among them.

I’ve never had this happen to me yet, but I can imagine the sinking feeling you get in your stomach. Lots of good tips and warnings in the article too.

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App Store Deals — 20/04/2016

April 20, 2016 · 13:28

Today’s list is dominated by a few free games and the great Polarr Photo Editor for OS X. The latter is hugely discounted and well worth getting.

Open Bar! – iOS – Games – €1.99 > €0.00
BADLAND 2 – iOS – Games – €4.99 > €1.99
Black Tower Enigma – iOS – Games – €0.99 > €0.00
Evo Explores – iOS – Games – €1.99 > €0.99
HazeOver: Distraction Dimmer – Mac – Productivity – €3.99 > €1.99
iLightningCam 2 Photography – iOS – Photography – €1.99 > €0.00
Onion Force – iOS – Games – €2.99 > €0.00
Paranormal Agency: Ghosts of… – iPhone – Games – €4.99 > €0.00
Paranormal Agency: Ghosts of… – iPad – Games – €6.99 > €0.00
Polarr Photo Editor – Mac – Photography – €19.99 > €0.99
Power Hover – iOS – Games – €2.99 > €0.99
Virtual City 2: Paradise Resort (Full) – iPhone – Games – €2.99 > €0.00
Virtual City 2: Paradise Resort HD (Full) – iPad – Games – €6.99 > €0.00
WifiMan from DataMan – iPhone – Finance – €3.99 > €0.00

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My Photography (5) — Sunset Shadows, Wrocław, Poland, 2016

April 19, 2016 · 21:56

I’ve been busy learning to fly and take better photos (and videos; see below) with the DJI Phantom 4 I recently acquired. This particular shot is of the motorway bypassing the city of Wrocław, close the Rędziński Bridge, bathed in the setting sun’s rays — nature really put on a fantastic display that evening.

Shot with: DJI Phantom 4 @ f/2.8, 1/200, ISO 100.

Make sure to watch my video of Rędziński Bridge→

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New Early 2016 MacBooks Are Out, in Rose Gold No Less →

April 19, 2016 · 21:56

The new models have updated 14 nm Intel Core m3, m5 or m7 CPUs, with up to 25% fast graphics, faster PCIe storage, and longer battery life. Unfortunately, still no Thunderbolt 3 or 10 Gbps USB-C — these should arrive next year.

The new MacBooks appear to be about 15% faster overall in the synthetic Geekbench benchmark over last year’s model.

P.S. The 13″ MacBook Air now has 8 GB of RAM standard, instead of four.

Amirali Rajan Goes Into Detail How His iOS Game Went Viral →

April 19, 2016 · 21:32

Amirali Rajan’s TL;DR summary:

Made a little over $700k selling a premium mobile game with no IAP or Ads as a one man shop. It is possible to create sustainable income from apps (albeit very difficult). Made a little over $700k selling a premium mobile game with no IAP or Ads as a one man shop. It is possible to create sustainable income from apps (albeit very difficult).

A few things from his story surprised me, including the fact that Amirali doesn’t know why his game went viral.

WWDC 2016 Officially Announced by Apple →

April 19, 2016 · 01:28

Apple:

Apple® today announced that it will hold its 27th annual Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC), hosting the creative talent behind the world’s most innovative apps, from June 13 through 17 in San Francisco. At WWDC, Apple’s developer community comes together from all corners of the globe to learn about the future of Apple’s four software platforms — iOS, OS X®, watchOS® and tvOS™.

Monday’s kickoff events, including the keynote address, will be held at the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium. The rest of the week’s conference sessions will take place at Moscone West.

Siri was first, and she wasn’t wrong.

P.S. The keynote address will be live streamed.

2017 iPhone to Feature ‘All Glass’ Body and AMOLED →

April 18, 2016 · 08:33

Benjamin Mayo:

In a new report by KGI’s Ming-Chi Kuo, the reliable Apple analyst claims that the iPhone will be seeing a major redesign in 2017, dropping the iconic aluminum casing for an all-glass enclosure with AMOLED screen. This follows on from another of Kuo’s reports in late March, where he first suggested Apple will return to an iPhone design akin to the iPhone 4. It does not seem like the iPhone 7 for 2016 will be seeing such a major overhaul, breaking Apple’s tick-tock pattern of a significant chassis redesign every other generation.

How would this change the release cycles of iPhones if these changes are reported for 2017? What happens this year? Tick-tock-tweak, following Intel’s new strategy?

While Kuo has good supply chain sources, I’ll take this one with a grain of salt for now.

The Great Grand Theft Auto Lawsuit →

April 18, 2016 · 08:31

Colin Campbell:

If you’re looking to read a dark tale of deception, greed, betrayal and intimidation, then you should get stuck into Leslie Benzies’ lawsuit against former partners Dan Houser and Sam Houser, the bosses of Grand Theft Auto house Rockstar Games.

Add guns, cars, and helicopters, and you’ve got a good plot for GTA 6.

Apple Just Dropped a Huge Clue That OS X Will Be Renamed MacOS →

April 18, 2016 · 08:30

Nick Statt:

Apple today let slip another reference to its potential operating system rebranding from OS X to MacOS. As part of its new environmental webpage in honor of Earth Day 2016, the company lists off names when discussing how it evaluates product life spans. “Years of use, which are based on first owners, are assumed to be four years for MacOS and tvOS devices and three years for iOS and watchOS devices,” the company writes.

Why ‘MacOS’ and not ‘macOS’, which would fit the current iOS, watchOS and tvOS scheme?

Live Video Viewing Up 86% Over Last Year in MLB’s at Bat App, Thanks to Multitasking →

April 18, 2016 · 08:29

Sarah Perez:

To support these claims, the MLB gathered usage metrics from the first two weeks of the season — to clarify for non-baseball fans, the MLB season is not quite two weeks old at this point (Opening Day was April 3rd).

During these first two weeks, MLB fans spent 20 percent more minutes per day, on average, watching live video on iPad compared with the 2015 season, when multitasking was not available. (MLB says that any form of multitasking behavior was counted here, not just spilt-screen viewing.)

The only video I watch on my iPad is on YouTube, which doesn’t support any of these features. Their whole site and app completely sucks on mobile — I actually deleted the app it was so bad. Perhaps someone will get off their behind and finally do something about it.