My Photography (54) — Peacock Backside, Royal Łazienki Park, Warsaw, 2018

September 30, 2018 · 21:58

I went out shooting with the iPhone XS today and was not only surprised by this here peacock sneaking up on me, but also at the result of Portrait Mode and its bokeh. It has a much more natural, analogue look to it, reminiscent of what SLR lenses are capable of producing. It’s not there yet but I like what I see.

Shot with iPhone X @ 52 mm: f/2.4 (simulated f/1.4 by Portrait Mode), 1/122 s, ISO 32.


My Photography (53) — Another Look at a Rainy Scilla, Italy, 2017

September 28, 2018 · 13:11

Scilla is a truly beautiful city. We spent two days there in 2017 and I still fondly recall the amazing views. I already posted a photo from our second day there — it was cold but sunny. The weather wasn’t as kind to us on our first visit however. It was raining heavily, the streets turned into small rivers, but the colour of the sea rewarded our perseverance. This panorama was stitched in Lightroom from a few (handheld) photos to get the field of view I wanted and was shot from Castello Ruffo (see photo below) — a small castle towering over both sides of the city.

Shot with Sony A7R II + FE 28 mm f/2: f/5.6, 1/60 s, ISO 160.

See a shot of Castello Ruffo below →


My Replaced MacBook Pro’s Keyboard Is Having Issues Again

September 28, 2018 · 12:24

I had my 2016 MacBook Pro Escape’s keyboard replaced in April 2018, because some of the keys were expanding under heat, making them “sticky”, e.g. when using it in the sun.

I’m extremely happy to report that today my Control key has gone on strike and will only work when it feels like it should, which translates to registering maybe one in ten presses.

This keyboard is great to type on, when it works, but it’s generally a disaster.


Export Your Messages and Texts to TXT Files With Image Attachments via Baskup

September 25, 2018 · 15:29

I have been having some issues with Messages in the Cloud on my Macs — both show less texts and iMessages than my iPhone and iPad. I guess I could go through Apple Support but their software solutions usually are to log out and log back in to iCloud or to start fresh (seriously). Instead, I spent a few hours pruning old conversations, which I didn’t need anymore. This still didn’t solve the issue of the multi-year threads that I have with my wife — I have three of those on my iOS devices and only one on my Macs. Since Messages only loads a page or two of messages at a time and requires the user to constantly scroll up to load older messages, its close to impossible to get to the beginning of the thread anyway (I don’t have the patience to scroll-wait-scroll for hours). This led me to the decision to just export our message history as a txt or PDF file and then clear Messages.

Continue reading →


Thee Shalt Not Mention iPhones XS & XR in Thy App’s Releaseth Notes →

September 24, 2018 · 15:34

Greg Knauss, on App Store Review rejecting release notes, mentioning the iPhones XS and XR by name:

You’ll note that I didn’t mention the names “iPhone XR” or “iPhone XS Max.” However, Apple again responded with a rejection […]

Apple apparently considers referencing the devices that an application is designed to run on not relevant to its functionality.

So on September 20, 2018, I squared my shoulders, modified the release notes again, and resubmitted the app:

A change was made. We can’t tell you what the change was, because that’s disallowed by Section 2.3 of the Program License Agreement. But we can’t not tell you what it was, because that’s disallowed by Section 2.3 of the App Store Review Guidelines. This leaves the app in a state of quantum indeterminacy, and the waveform can only collapse when someone doing App Store reviews stops observing it.

Apple — sensing that I might not be taking the process seriously — responded […]

We had the same situation and I was as baffled as Greg. Hats off to him for standing his ground and fighting absurdity.


An Oral History of Apple’s Infinite Loop →

September 17, 2018 · 14:52

Steven Levy published a whole trove of anecdotes from Apple’s execs, including Steve Jobs, on Wired:

Espinosa: When Steve returned, I drove down to the local Flag and Banner store, bought a pirate flag, stuck an Apple sticker on it and cable-tied it to the bridge across the atrium. It was there for about four hours before security took it down.

I’m halfway through. They’re a must-read.


‘AirPower Really Is Well and Truly Fucked’ →

September 17, 2018 · 11:52

John Gruber, on Daring Fireball:

What I’ve heard, third-hand but from multiple little birdies, is that AirPower really is well and truly fucked. Something about the multi-coil design getting too hot — way too hot. There are engineers who looked at AirPower’s design and said it could never work, thermally, and now those same engineers have that “told you so” smug look on their faces. Last year Apple was apparently swayed by arguments that they could figure out a way to make it not get hot. They were, clearly, wrong. I think they’ve either had to go completely back to the drawing board and start over with an entirely different design, or they’ve decided to give up and they just don’t want to say so.

Meanwhile we now have two generations of iPhone’s supporting inductive charging and one of the best chargers for them are from Samsung, though the new Logitech Powered seems like an interesting proposition.


The New Heart-Monitoring Capabilities on the Apple Watch Aren’t All That Impressive →

September 17, 2018 · 11:34

Katherine Ellen Foley:

The new Apple Watch, however, has the equivalent of one lead on your wrist, the company’s website says. “The tech that Apple is working with is very rudimentary compared to what we’d do for someone in a hospital or health care setting,” Moore said. Although the watch can detect changes in the patterns of a person’s heart rate, these changes really only show a user if she has a heart rate that is too fast, too slow, or beating irregularly—signifying AFib. The watch won’t necessarily give the full picture a doctor would need to diagnose a medical issue […]

Apple got two FDA clearances through a “de novo” pathway, meaning it had to use data to show that its device worked, and that it was safe. For the ECG clearance, the FDA reviewed a study conducted by Apple and Stanford University in California. This study, called the Apple Heart Study included 588 individuals, half of whom had AFib and the other half of whom were healthy. The app was able to identify over 98% of the patients who had AFib, and over 99% of patients that had healthy heart rates. Cardiologists were able to read 90% of the total readings, although about 10% of them were unreadable.

I’m no doctor but those results look pretty impressive.


How Apple Watch Saved Jason Perlow’s Life →

September 12, 2018 · 12:08

Jason Perlow:

Ultimately, though, I owe my life to my Apple Watch. Because it started this whole machine rolling. And I was very lucky to have my Afib caught during the last three months of public enrollment in the Heart Study, which ended in early August.

I’ve decided that I will be an Apple Watch customer as long as that product exists. That means I’m also going to be an iPhone customer for life as well. So heck yeah, I’m getting a new iPhone XS when the upgrade program kicks in. And a new iPad Pro.

But most importantly, I’m also upgrading to an Apple Watch Series 4 as soon as it becomes available.

I guess you can say I am now an Apple fanboy of circumstance — and of necessity. But I am incredibly thankful this product exists and we now have the technology to detect and correct these kinds of conditions in people. Apple’s leadership in early diagnosis is commendable and is a shining example to the rest of the health wearables industry.

Thank you, Apple. I owe you my life. And I guess we are going to be friends for a very, very long time.

This is probably the only mainstream tech product which saves people’s lives on the side.


Geekbench Cracks Down on Boosted Benchmark Results →

September 12, 2018 · 11:59

John Poole:

Primate Labs is taking several steps to prevent our users from being misled by “boosted” Geekbench results, and to discourage device manufacturers from adding this behavior to future devices.

Primate Labs will exclude the following Huawei phones from the Android Benchmark Chart and the Mobile Benchmark Chart, and will add an alert to individual results for the following Huawei phones that the phones attempt to manipulate benchmark results:

  • Huawei P20
  • Huawei P20 Pro
  • Huawei Mate 10
  • Huawei Mate 10 Pro

Primate Labs also will conduct a review of handsets from other manufacturers to determine if they are also manipulating benchmark results. An initial review which included several handsets from Google, HTC, Samsung, LG, and OnePlus is already complete, and no other handsets were discovered to be boosting.

Finally, Primate Labs will make the “private” build of Geekbench available to trusted journalists to discover and hopefully discourage this behavior by device manufacturers.

Good call.


Tesla Model S Burns Down in Poland →

September 10, 2018 · 10:54

A Tesla Model S burned down in Poland, as reported by Boguszów Fire Brigade:

We were sent to an electric car fire a few minutes after 17:00 (on September 9, 2018), which was parked outside Dzikowiec Sports & Recreation Centre. We found the car completely engulfed in flames upon arrival at the scene. Three more fire engines arrived at the scene (one carrying GBA-Pr extinguishing powder, because of the specifics of the fire) […]

We (the general public) don’t yet have enough experience with electric cars to fully understand when and how they can burst into flames. This scares people and is one of the many reasons news about electric car problems is controversial and popular. ICE1 car fires? Boring.

You can find more photos of the wreck on the fire brigade’s Facebook profile.

  1. Internal combustion engine.

Adobe Charged My PayPal Without My Permission

September 7, 2018 · 09:58

I pay an annual Adobe Creative Cloud subscription and I had my PayPal details on file with them but since receiving an email a month ago, asking me to verify and/or change my payment details before the charge goes through today, I removed all the PayPal details (Adobe is not authorized for recurring charges in PayPal’s settings either) and added my credit card instead. Since the charge was in Euros and I no longer had any Euros in my PayPal, I would save money on the conversion rate (around €10).

Adobe went ahead and charged my PayPal today anyway.

How is this even possible?

I have since been in contact with their phone support. They have cancelled my subscription and I should the amount in question charged back straight to my credit card1, but I assume this will trigger another currency conversion, which will mean that I’ll be paying for their mistake through no fault of my own.

Oh, and since my account is cancelled, and I refuse to pay for it until the chargeback comes through, my Creative Cloud apps don’t work.

Cool.

  1. In 5-7 days. It never ceases to amaze me that it takes seconds to take my money but days to return it.

Tesla, Software and Disruption →

September 3, 2018 · 11:40

Benedict Evans:

When Nokia people looked at the first iPhone, they saw a not-great phone with some cool features that they were going to build too, being produced at a small fraction of the volumes they were selling. They shrugged. “No 3G, and just look at the camera!”

When many car company people look at a Tesla, they see a not-great car with some cool features that they’re going to build too, being produced at a small fraction of the volumes they’re selling. “Look at the fit and finish, and the panel gaps, and the tent!”

The Nokia people were terribly, terribly wrong. Are the car people wrong? We hear that a Tesla is ‘the new iPhone’ – what would that mean?

One of Tesla’s advantages is pushing data about roads that cars have travelled to the cars that didn’t, which allows Autopilot to know the specifics of that road. So when one takes his or her Tesla into new territories, the car will be already aware of its surroundings. Mercedes PR once mentioned clients would get new and updated data for their autonomous systems once every year (during maintenance) or when they buy a new car. This sounds ludicrous (pun intended).