4K 144 Hz Monitors Don’t Really Display 4K at 144 Hz →

June 18, 2018 · 10:39

Reddit user Glennwing posted a great explanation of how the current breed of 4K 144 Hz displays actually work:

I’m seeing a lot of user reviews for the new 4K 144 Hz monitors, and it seems like everyone mentions that it looks noticeably worse at 144 Hz. I keep expecting these posts to say “due to the 4:2:2 chroma subsamping”, but instead they say “I’m not sure why” or something like that, both on here and on various forums. It seems monitor companies have done their usual good job of “forgetting” to inform people of this limitation, as most of the early adopters are apparently unaware that it is not actually capable of full 4K 144 Hz even though the subsampling was mentioned in the Anandtech article a month or two ago. In any case, I want to make people aware of what chroma subsampling is, and that these first-gen 4K 144 Hz monitors use it.

Basically, if you value image quality and want to use 144 Hz, then skip this generation of screens.

8 Banks To Launch Apple Pay on 19/06/2018 in Poland →

June 16, 2018 · 01:01

Jacek Uryniuk, for Cashless:

[…] this Tuesday will be the day Apple Pay becomes available for the customers of Alior, BGŻ BNP Paribas, BZ WBK, Getin, mBank, Nest Bank, Pekao and Raiffeisen Polbank. More banks will follow in the fall, probably in September. They will supposedly include Poland’s biggest retail bank, PKO BP.

The list of banks is more or less what I’ve heard myself, from another source, but the date should be solid, if there are no technical difficulties.

Siri Shortcuts in iOS 12

Everything You Need to Know About iOS 12 Shortcuts →

June 14, 2018 · 11:34

Federico Viticci, on MacStories:

On the surface, Shortcuts the app looks like the full-blown Workflow replacement heavy users of the app have been wishfully imagining for the past year. But there is more going on with Shortcuts than the app alone. Shortcuts the feature, in fact, reveals a fascinating twofold strategy: on one hand, Apple hopes to accelerate third-party Siri integrations by leveraging existing APIs as well as enabling the creation of custom SiriKit Intents; on the other, the company is advancing a new vision of automation through the lens of Siri and proactive assistance from which everyone – not just power users – can reap the benefits.

I was afraid magic variables would go away, but I’m surprised and happy to see that they have been retained. I like to imagine Ari Weinstein fought a battle there because this is not something I expected Apple to keep.

I hope they keep Ari and his team happy, so he can continue to build on the foundations of the most excellent Workflow (now Shortcuts) app. I don’t want even think about going back to using iOS without automation.

There Is No Justification for What Mark Zuckerberg Did to WhatsApp →

June 13, 2018 · 15:01

Felix Salmon, writing for Slate:

Today, it seems inevitable not only that advertising will make it onto WhatsApp, but also that the advertising in question will be targeted—which is to say that when you use the app, Facebook will know exactly who you are, where you live, and what kind of products you might be interested in buying. It’s a complete repudiation of WhatsApp’s founding principles, and makes a mockery of its end-to-end encryption.

I strongly believe that Mark just doesn’t give a fuck and will continue to do whatever he wants, just because he can, until someone stops him. He has no moral backbone and is in it for the money. Facebook in its current form is built to not only make its users addicts, but the whole platform can be likened to cancer, growing on the backbone of the internet.

The Touch Bar Should Be Optional →

June 12, 2018 · 20:47

Ben Lovejoy, for 9to5Mac:

Offer people the option of paying say $250 less for an otherwise-identical non-Touch Bar model, and I think a lot of people would go for it.

I refuse to buy another Touch Bar MacBook. I had two and returned them both. At this point, I’d pay just to not have it, even though I would treat that as daylight robbery.

The Earth Is Flat Because YouTube Videos Say It Is →

June 12, 2018 · 11:10

Alan Burdick, for The New York Times:

If you are only just waking up to the twenty-first century, you should know that, according to a growing number of people, much of what you’ve been taught about our planet is a lie: Earth really is flat. We know this because dozens, if not hundreds, of YouTube videos describe the coverup […]

The modern case for a flat Earth derives largely from “Zetetic Astronomy: Earth Not a Globe,” a book published, in 1865, by a smooth-talking English inventor and religious fundamentalist named Samuel Rowbotham. I found a copy at a bookseller’s table in the corridor just outside the conference ballroom, alongside books about the Revelations and New Testament apocrypha. The vender, a friendly woman who looked to be in her late sixties, offered her thoughts on Earth’s flatness and the enshrouding secrecy; I moved on when she got to “the Jews.”

John Gruber comments:

[…] before the internet, kooks were forced to exist on the fringe. There’ve always been flat-earther-types denying science and John Birch Society political fringers, but they had no means to amplify their message or bond into large movements.

Thom Holwerda had a few words to say too:

The internet is one of the greatest inventions of mankind, but it’s also having dark, unsettling effects on our society that we need to address. I don’t have any solutions, but we better start doing a better job of arming ourselves against the constant barrage of attacks on science, or we risk our society descending into chaos.

I have been thinking about this issue over the past few days and have begun to imagine how quickly we could wake up in a world where these sort of ideas are the new norm and round-Earthers become the group of people who are considered “kooks”, to use Gruber’s words. Politics are a great example of how quickly a certain point of view can take over the minds of a country or continent and we don’t have to look far — these are all things that are happening today in multiple countries around the world. I love the internet but I can’t help but wonder if humans, as a species growing up in many contrasting environments, won’t be able to handle our cultural and psychological differences.

AirPods to Get Live Listen Feature in iOS 12 →

June 8, 2018 · 14:30

Steven Aquino, for TechCrunch:

In iOS 12, users will be able to use Live Listen, a special feature previously reserved for hearing aids certified through Apple’s Made for iPhone hearing aid program, with their AirPods.

After enabling the feature in the iPhone’s settings, users will be able to use their phones effectively as a directional mic. This means you can have AirPods in at a noisy restaurant with your iPhone on the table, for example, and the voice of whomever is speaking will be routed to your AirPods.

Live Listen is a feature Apple developed and eventually launched in 2014 that allows iPhone users with hearing aids to hear people in noisy environments or from across a room, such as a crowded restaurant or lecture hall. If a compatible hearing aid is paired to a user’s phone, there are options to turn Live Listen on and off, adjust volume and even set it as their preferred Accessibility Shortcut.

This could be a fascinating feature, especially for people with hearing problems, but also “for the rest of us”, when we’re placed in extremely loud environments.

Removed in macOS 10.14 Mojave →

June 8, 2018 · 14:15

Michael Tsai listed everything that’ll be disappearing with the release of macOS 10.14 Mojave (that we know of) and there are a few surprises in there. Firstly, I’m disappointed that subpixel antialiasing will not be around anymore, since a lot of people still don’t use Retina screens (especially when using external displays connected to their Macs). I’m also quite concerned about Safari Extensions getting deprecated, especially in regard to content blockers — I wonder if they have some soft of replacement planned. Oh — unsigned Safari Extensions are already completely axed.

Update on Safari Extensions

Support for .safariextz-style Safari Extensions installed from the Safari Extensions Gallery is deprecated with Safari 12 on macOS. Submissions to the Safari Extensions Gallery will no longer be accepted after December 2018. Developers are encouraged to transition to Safari App Extensions.

Apple’s Craig Federighi Talks About iOS Apps Running on macOS and Touchscreens on Macs →

June 5, 2018 · 23:34

Lauren Goode, interviewing Craig Federighi for Wired:

When addressing my question about whether iOS apps moving to macOS is a natural precursor to touchscreen Macs, Federighi told me he’s “not into touchscreens” on PCs and doesn’t anticipate he ever will be. “We really feel that the ergonomics of using a Mac are that your hands are rested on a surface, and that lifting your arm up to poke a screen is a pretty fatiguing thing to do,” he said.

Federighi added that he doesn’t think the touchscreen laptops out there today—which he referred to as “experiments”—have been compelling. “I don’t think we’ve looked at any of the other guys to date and said, how fast can we get there?” (It’s worth noting that Microsoft’s Surface laptop, which has a touchscreen and is considered a top MacBook rival, has received largely positive reviews.)

The Surface Pro’s and Surface Book’s weakest link is that they are poor tablets for users like me, but I can easily imagine a scenario where iOS (iPad) apps on a detached MacBook Pro screen would allow me to replace my iPad, while simultaneously allowing me to run full desktop software, such as Lightroom, should I need it.

Tim Cook Says Apple Requested “Zero” Personal Data From Facebook →

June 5, 2018 · 08:58

Laura Sydell, for NPR:

“We’ve never been in the data business,” Apple CEO Tim Cook told NPR on Monday, responding to a report that Facebook struck agreements giving Apple and other device makers access to Facebook users’ personal information […]

“The things mentioned in the Times article about relationship statuses and all these kinds of stuff, this is so foreign to us, and not data that we have ever received at all or requested — zero,” Cook told NPR’s Steve Inskeep and Laura Sydell during the company’s annual conference for developers in San Jose, Calif.

Glad Tim cleared that up.

Facebook Had Data Deal With Apple, Amazon, Microsoft, and Others →

June 5, 2018 · 08:53

Gabriel Dance, Nicholas Confessore, and Michael Laforgia, for The New York Times:

Facebook has reached data-sharing partnerships with at least 60 device makers — including Apple, Amazon, BlackBerry, Microsoft and Samsung — over the last decade, starting before Facebook apps were widely available on smartphones, company officials said. The deals allowed Facebook to expand its reach and let device makers offer customers popular features of the social network, such as messaging, “like” buttons and address books […]

An Apple spokesman said the company relied on private access to Facebook data for features that enabled users to post photos to the social network without opening the Facebook app, among other things. Apple said its phones no longer had such access to Facebook as of last September.

The article makes it sound as if Apple pulled or had access to private user data from Facebook.

macOS Has a Future →

June 5, 2018 · 01:04

Steven Troughton-Smith:

Apple ticked a whole lot of my macOS boxes this WWDC; now, finally, it’s clear that macOS has a future — not as a dead platform, but as a pro-focused extension of iOS. The two OSes can grow together, as one, without iOS sucking all the oxygen out of the room.

I’m more hopeful about macOS’ future than I was for the last two years or so. Apple still has a long way to go but the signs we saw today are positive.

watchOS 5 Compatibility →

June 5, 2018 · 00:50

From Apple’s watchOS 5 preview:

watchOS 5 requires iPhone 5s or later with iOS 12 or later, and one of the following Apple Watch models:

  • Apple Watch Series 1
  • Apple Watch Series 2
  • Apple Watch Series 3

watchOS 5 is not compatible with the first-generation Apple Watch.

I hope the Series 4 will be a worthy upgrade over my Space Black steel Series 0.

“I’m Sal Soghoian, and you’re wrong. My technology is better than Windows.” →

June 3, 2018 · 10:20

Jordan McMahon, for Wired:

When Jobs took over, he went on a campaign to salvage Apple’s remaining resources by hacking and slashing under-performing departments. The problem, Jobs said, was that Apple had lost its focus. The company was making too many products that people didn’t want to buy. After years of leading innovation in the PC industry, the Macintosh’s operating system had fallen behind its biggest competitor. “It used to be easy when we were 100 times better than Windows. But now that we’re not, you don’t know what to do,” Jobs told the room. This was a big slap in the face—just two years earlier, Jobs had quipped that Microsoft “had no taste.”

Soghoian didn’t like that. As Apple’s product manager of automation, he was tasked with finding new and clever ways to for users take tedious and repetitive tasks on the Mac—like organizing a bunch of files at once or resizing massive groups of photos—and write small bits of code to complete those tasks quickly.

“No, you’re wrong,” Soghoian told the notoriously brutal CEO. Jobs fired back: “And you are?”

“I’m Sal Soghoian, and you’re wrong. My technology is better than Windows.”

From AppleScript, through Automator, to Workflow for iOS, and Sal’s future in The Omni Group — the path of automation over the years is definitely interesting, but I still cannot fathom why Apple let Sal go.

Anyway, I rely on automating my tasks on Mac and iOS every single day, so I can’t help but wonder what its future will be. Keeping my fingers crossed.

Tesla Model 3 Gets CR Recommendation After Braking Update →

June 1, 2018 · 11:31

Patrick Olsen, for Consumer Reports:

The software update came a week after Consumer Reports published test results that showed stopping distances for the Model 3 that were significantly longer than any other contemporary car. That braking performance, along with issues with the Model 3’s controls and ride comfort, initially prevented the car from getting a CR recommendation.

Last week, after CR’s road test was published, Tesla CEO Elon Musk vowed that the automaker would get a fix out within days.

Until now, that type of remote improvement to a car’s basic functionality had been unheard of. “I’ve been at CR for 19 years and tested more than 1,000 cars,” says Jake Fisher, director of auto testing at Consumer Reports, “and I’ve never seen a car that could improve its track performance with an over-the-air update.”

Remote firmware updates for a car, which can directly impact key features such as braking systems is one thing which Tesla excels at. Other automakers rely on software updates when a car comes in for service, which is roughly once a year, or when you buy a new one.

I test drove a Tesla Model S P90D (my article in Polish) in Poland in 2016. There are a few Teslas in Poland but since we don’t have a dealership, service centres, or a wide Supercharger network, their Autopilot barely knew any of the roads here. The guys from Tesla Berlin came down a day or two early and rode up and down the country roads, we would be using for the day. Since this was their second trip, I assume the Teslas had already previously gathered a lot of data along the way. When it was my turn, I turned on Autopilot and it acted as if it knew these its surroundings perfectly, even on 2nd tier twisty side streets with barely any markings on them. This “learning” capability is amazing in theory and practice — just imagine what we could accomplish if every single car in the world, whatever their manufacturer, had access to a database of this sort.

Most Important Meal 36 With James Thomson — This Was Not a Podcast I Was Expecting to Hear →

June 1, 2018 · 10:55

James Thomson, the creator of PCalc, joins Truj and Brian to talk about the Full Scottish Breakfast! Of course, they are immediately sidetracked by sobering facts about the death of the banana, #TeamCrunchy versus #TeamSoggy, cannibalism thought experiments, and black pudding. Brian read all the Twilight books. Truj interrupts Overwatch. James couldn’t leave the table.

A surprisingly excellent episode with some blasphemy regarding food, which I’ll let slide because I was immensely entertained!

Regarding black pudding… We have something similar in Poland — it’s called kaszanka. Tried it once, hated it, consider it disgusting.

And in response to the banana thread — try the ones which can be found in the Caribbean, India, and many other places in the world, where they are grown. Since our trip to Martinique, I consider the bananas that we get here in Europe to be close to inedible.

Hello, Stereo Paired HomePods →

May 31, 2018 · 09:16

Jason Snell, for Six Colours:

Once that was done, I was free to play music in stereo from two HomePods. The volume is impressive—one HomePod did an okay job of filling my living room, but two HomePods can do it with no trouble. Stereo separation was clear, as I ran through a bunch of aggressive stereo mixes (The Beatles!), live albums (“Peter Gabriel Plays Live”—take that, “Hell Freezes Over”), and a collection of other tracks I’m familiar with. It all sounded good.

At the current price the HomePod is awfully pricey to be deployed in a stereo pair—for half price you can pair two Sonos One speakers—but it does sound very good. And in proper stereo, something that one HomePod—for all Apple’s talk of creating a “3-D sound field”—could not achieve alone.

I’m actually tempted to get one more HomePod myself, despite Siri being next to useless for anything but controlling music playback. I’d also happily welcome a 5.1 wireless home theatre system for Apple TV or perhaps a soundbar — they could show off their computational audio advances in the latter.

The Gay Mayor Shaking Up Politics in Catholic Poland →

May 29, 2018 · 13:11

Adam Easton, for the BBC, quoting Renata Kim, a journalist for the Polish edition of Newsweek:

“I think it’s too early for an openly gay politician to become an important figure in politics,” she argues. 

“We are a very conservative society. People are not ready to accept such a person as their president or prime minister,” she adds.

I try to avoid following politics because most politicians in Poland are in it for the money and their own interests. Robert Biedroń is the only politician that I know of, who seems to be a genuinely good person. I don’t care if he’s an atheist, satanist, gay, uses an Android device, or doesn’t like Star Wars — he appears to be actually trying to bring good to the people that elected him. And that’s enough for me — he’ll get my vote.

What It’s Like When Elon Musk’s Twitter Mob Comes After You →

May 29, 2018 · 13:03

Erin Biba, for The Daily Beast:

But in my wildest dreams, I’m writing this because I want Elon to see and understand the aftermath of his tweets, because I honestly don’t know if he realizes the true extent of the wrath he brings down on people by inadvertently pointing his fanbase at them. And if he really is the good person fighting to better humanity that all of his fans say he is, then I’d hope he would want to know.

Google and HTTP →

May 29, 2018 · 13:00

Dave Winer:

I’ve been writing about Google’s efforts to deprecate HTTP, the protocol of the web. This is a summary of why I am opposed to it.

This isn’t their first attempt and it won’t be their last foray into trying to influence the internet, but hopefully it won’t affect us as much as it could, especially since we do have alternatives to Google Search and Chrome.

Surface Book 2: Six Months Later →

May 28, 2018 · 12:47

Brad Sams, for Petri IT Knowledgebase:

When the Surface Book 2 was announced late last year, I had high hopes that this was going to be among my favorite laptops, ever. All Microsoft had to do was take the original Book and address the few issues with the hardware and voila, a hero device for the category.

It’s a bit hard to believe but the device was released six months ago and since that time, I have taken the high-end 15in Surface Book 2 on the road to Vegas, NYC, Seattle, Chicago and a few other locations and after all that time with the hardware, here is my long term update.

This is one of the notebooks currently on the market which pose an interesting alternative to the MacBook Pro. I am especially interested in using it for retouching photos in Lightroom, using just the 15” screen in detached mode.

It’s hard to come by extended reviews such as Brad’s, but he conveys his pros and cons succinctly. The Surface Book’s biggest issue is the power button, which sometimes fails to turn the machine on. While this seems serious, the workaround (which shouldn’t be necessary) is extremely simple.

Just the simple fact that I am looking at alternatives to MacBooks, which I have been using for over 10 years now, should be worrying for Apple. While the Surface Book 2 could potentially be an excellent Lightroom hardware platform, I would miss macOS for everything else. Oh — the keyboard supposedly doesn’t die from dust specks. Ultimately the Surface Book 2 would be a compromise, like everything in life, but Microsoft is really trying to tempt users, and is probably succeeding in some cases.

Not-so-Essential →

May 25, 2018 · 10:41

Mark Gurman and Alex Barinka, for Bloomberg:

Essential Products Inc., a startup co-founded by Android creator Andy Rubin that launched last year to great fanfare, is considering selling itself and has canceled development of a new smartphone, according to people familiar with the matter.

Too bad. I am still looking forward to an Android manufacturer gaining ground in the market, who is at least as privacy-focused as Apple.

A Collection of All the Stupid MacBook Pro Problems That Still Aren’t Fixed →

May 24, 2018 · 11:59

Owen Williams, on Charged:

I’ve spent a year explaining to people that while the current MacBook Pro is a design triumph, it’s a disaster of a product that you shouldn’t spend money you’re afraid to lose on — but it’s been difficult to articulate why, particularly when the sample set is small.

Instead, I’ve decided to maintain this post, which is an ever-growing collection of public complaints about the 2016 and 2017 MacBook Pro so I can just send it back in response to anyone who says they’re considering buying it.

almost tripped on my MacBook Pro’s power cord a few weeks ago and my first thought was that I really miss MagSafe, which saved my previous MacBooks a number of times. As it turns out from looking at Owen’s list, no MagSafe is one of the least important issues people are having.