Jason Snell Reviews the iPad Pro →

November 24, 2015 · 23:22

Jason Snell:

You get used to the size fast. After a week using the iPad Pro, I dropped my iPad Air 2 down on my trusty old Origami Workstation and just started to laugh. It’s like a tiny baby iPad! On a tabletop or other workspace, the size of the iPad Pro’s screen really shines.

Unfortunately, in other contexts it’s the size of the device itself that comes to the fore. When I wake up in the morning I like to grab my iPad and check in on the Internet before I get up and face the rest of my day. In this scenario, the iPad Pro feels like overkill. Sitting in a chair or on a couch, it felt big but not overwhelming, but in a context where I’m leaning back and really just reading stuff, not doing a lot of typing, I was a lot less comfortable.

I have close to the exact same experience as Jason. The problem is that going back to my Air 2 seems as if I’m returning to using a toy…


Using Workflow for iOS to Publish to WordPress →

November 24, 2015 · 22:57

Federico Viticci:

As I’ve teased in some articles over the past weeks, I’ve been using the new WordPress action to publish content to MacStories in a semi-automated fashion that doesn’t involve manual interaction with the WordPress admin interface or Python.

This post was published via a quick workflow that I made in… Workflow for iOS [App Store]. Took me about half an hour to perfect, complete with quoting text selected in Safari.

Thanks for the tips Federico!


Amazon Kindle Voyage 2 Unlikely in 2015 →

November 24, 2015 · 18:12

David Rothman:

A Kindle Voyage 2 is unlikely in 2015, but the game isn’t over. If you were putting off buying a new Voyage, you’re probably safe purchasing the original model now—even though Good E-Reader said last summer and several weeks ago that the 2 would show up this month.

I’m still extremely satisfied with my first generation Voyage1 and I encourage anyone who does any substantial amount of reading to get one. It’s far from perfect, but it’s the best there is.

  1. Typography on it needs work.

Spectre Sets Guinness World Record for Largest Film Stunt Explosion →

November 24, 2015 · 12:26

Rachel Swatman:

Producers Michael G. Wilson and Barbara Broccoli commented: “It is absolutely tremendous that the Guinness World Records have recognised Chris Corbould’s incredible work in ‘Sprectre’ in which he created the largest explosion ever in film history.”

Taking place in Erfoud, Morocco, the blast had a total yield of 68.47 tonnes of TNT equivalent and was the result of detonating 8,418 litres of kerosene with 33 kg of powder explosives – and it lasted for over 7.5 seconds.

I remember that scene distinctly—I’ve already seen the movie twice—and while it was extremely impressive, the thought that this was the biggest explosion in cinema never crossed my mind.


Fitbit Automatically Detects Exercise; Still No HealthKit Integration →

November 24, 2015 · 09:54

Lauren Goode:

A new feature called “SmartTrack” will now automatically detect when you’ve started a workout session or new activity, rather than requiring you to press a button or swipe through an activity menu to start a workout. According to Fitbit, the software is able to detect running, outdoor cycling, walking, elliptical workouts, basketball, tennis, soccer, and even high-impact cardio workouts like kickboxing and dance classes.

Still waiting for HealthKit support. Get it done please, Fitbit.


The Apple Pencil as a Writing Tool →

November 23, 2015 · 15:48

Myke Hurley:

To really see what the Pencil is capable of, the best place to try it is in iOS’ built-in Notes app. The drawing mode that you can activate only features a modest selection of tools and options, but is by far the most responsive experience. Using the Apple Pencil in Notes is the closest I have ever come to getting a true handwriting experience from a digital device.

To say there is no lag would be incorrect, but it is close enough to feel that it works. When you move the Pencil across the screen, most lines will travel ever so slightly behind it. But compared to previous experiences of using a stylus on a iPad, the difference is like night and day.

My Pencil delivery date can’t come soon enough—4 weeks to go.

I also tried out a selection of drawing apps, just to see what the Pencil was capable of. I spent most of my time in Paper by FiftyThree, Adobe Photoshop Sketch, Procreate, Tayasui Sketches, and Zen Brush 2. The responsiveness of the Pencil really differed in each of these apps, with Paper by FiftyThree being the worst.

Am I the only who is curious which one was the best?

Update

And Myke responded to my question while recording Upgrade in their IRC channel:

[18:14] <imyke> Morid1n: the notes app is good. I also like Notability and GoodNotes.

Seems that Notes is the way to go.


Dell Ships Laptops with Root CA →

November 23, 2015 · 14:22

Rotorcowboy on Reddit:

I got a shiny new XPS 15 laptop from Dell, and while attempting to troubleshoot a problem, I discovered that it came pre-loaded with a self-signed root CA by the name of eDellRoot. With it came its private key, marked as non-exportable. However, it is still possible to obtain a raw copy of the private key by using several tools available (I used NCC Group’s Jailbreak tool). After briefly discussing this with someone else who had discovered this too, we determined that they are shipping every laptop they distribute with the exact same root certificate and private key, very similar to what Superfish did on Lenovo computers. For those that aren’t familiar, this is a major security vulnerability that endangers all recent Dell customers.

Was it Lenovo that started shipping malware with Superfish? This is just another reason to always go Mac—it runs Windows too if needed, but without all that crap to worry about.

via @wojtaszek


CSSGram—Reacrete Instagram Filters with CSS →

November 23, 2015 · 10:50

Una Kravets:

Simply put, CSSgram is a library for editing your images with Instagram-like filters directly in CSS. What we’re doing here is adding filters to the images as well as applying color and/or gradient overlays via various blending techniques to mimic these effects. This means less manual image processing and more fun filter effects on the web!

This is really well done. Una also includes the ability to choose a sample image—that’s my shot of the Eiffel Tower above.


Siri on CarPlay is Far from Brilliant →

November 23, 2015 · 09:30

Matthew DeBord:

Siri on CarPlay, however, is brilliant. It’s like having K.I.T.T. or J.A.R.V.I.S. or the computer from “Star Trek: The Next Generation” installed in your dashboard. You speak simple voice commands, like “Send a text” or “Find me a Starbucks” and Siri responds. It reads your texts and reads them mellifluously. Its machine brain understands your human diction — better, it seems, in a car.

I had the pleasure of driving a Golf R recently and the whole CarPlay experience is simply terrible. I don’t remember anything as bad—ever—since I started driving cars over twenty years ago. Siri is fine if you only use English, but until she can simultaneously read and listen in at least two languages, I’ll do anything and everything to avoid CarPlay in any future cars I might have.


Twitter Button Changes—No More Tweet Count →

November 21, 2015 · 17:58

Twitter:

The Tweet button counts the number of Tweets that have been Tweeted with the exact URL specified in the button. This count does not reflect the impact on Twitter of conversation about your content — it doesn’t count replies, quote Tweets, variants of your URLs, nor does it reflect the fact that some people Tweeting these URLs might have many more followers than others.

The count was built in a time where the only button on the web was from Twitter. Today, it’s most commonly placed among a number of other share buttons, few of which have counts.

For some odd reason, this change has caused many people to have their panties in a bunch.


My iPad Pro Stops Responding and the Screen is Black →

November 21, 2015 · 05:37

Apple Support:

To get back to using your iPad Pro, force restart it by pressing and holding both the Sleep/Wake and Home buttons for at least ten seconds, until you see the Apple logo.

Apple is aware of this issue and is investigating.

Connected my iPad for its first charge when I went to sleep. Got a black screen. Had to force a restart. Not cool.


The Panerai Steals the Show →

November 20, 2015 · 23:04

TimeCaptain:

Believe me, I know how you feel. You have built up a respectable timepiece collection. Your collection includes a few fairly expensive pieces — possibly a Rolex Submariner or an Omega Planet Ocean, but something is missing. You realize it when you’re at a cocktail and some guy shows up wearing a Panerai Luminor. Sure, there are many more expensive pieces at this cocktail- plenty of Rolex Daytona and a couple of Patek Philippe Aquanaut pieces. But that Panerai steals the show. It looks…awesome. You don’t know exactly which model it was, but you know you cannot rest until you have your own Panerai.

His words express my thoughts perfectly.


Swiss Watch Sales—Biggest Decline in Six Years →

November 20, 2015 · 18:22

Corinne Gretler for Bloomberg:

Swiss watch exports had their biggest decline in six years in October, led by a 39 percent slump in shipments to Hong Kong, the industry’s largest market.

I have an Apple Watch. My wife has an Apple Watch. So does her sister and many of my friends. But I also have a nice mechanical watch at home, hidden from sight while I work on my fitness and health, trying to close the circles each day.

I was at London Heathrow yesterday and I happened to come across a shop which had Panerai’s1 among many other fine brands. Now I desperately want one. I don’t know why, but I simply love these precise mechanical pieces of art.

  1. Technically, they’re not Swiss.

iFixit tears down the Apple Pencil →

November 20, 2015 · 18:01

iFixit:

What is this—a logic board for ants? Not quite, but weighing in at a whopping 1.0 gram it’s definitely the smallest we’ve ever seen.

Waiting for mine to arrive which should take only 4-5 weeks, which means that I have to make do with iFixit’s excellent teardowns.


Instagram Kills Off API; Still Doesn’t Have an iPad App →

November 19, 2015 · 15:32

Josh Constine:

Instagram is shutting down its feed API to make feature development nimbler and create a more consistent user experience.

Apple has introduced the iPad, iPad 2, iPad 3, iPad 4, iPad Air, iPad Air 2, iPad mini, iPad mini 2, iPad mini 3, iPad mini 4, and iPad Pro since 2010. Instagram still hasn’t gotten around to publishing a universal app for both iPhone and iPad, and they debuted on the App Store in October, 2010.

Header image: Instagram at 1x on iPad Pro.


Google Engineer Warns Not to Use OnePlus USB to USB Type C Cable →

November 19, 2015 · 12:49

Benson Leung:

It is not spec compliant (uses a 3A identifier resistor instead of the “Default USB Power” one), and may cause damage to your charger, hub, or PC USB port if you use it with Chromebook Pixel, Nexus 6P and Nexus 5X.

I have one of these and have been using it to connect my Apple TV 4 and MacBook Pro to record video. No damage so far, but I’m having second thoughts now…


Apple and Google Pressured for Encrypted Data Access →

November 19, 2015 · 12:39

Tiffany Kary and Chris Dolmetsch for Bloomberg:

“The line to protect the public should not be drawn by two companies who make smartphones,” Vance said Wednesday at a cybersecurity conference in New York where he unveiled a 42-page white paper on the issue. His plan would require companies to download data for investigators with a warrant, rather than providing the government with a “backdoor.”

I’m extremely proud of the companies who draw the aforementioned line in the sand. It will be a sad day when Apple, Google, and others, stop caring for their customer’s privacy—I truly hope it never comes to this.

Also, these requests seem especially absurd since the terrorists involved in the Paris attacks were using unencrypted methods of communication.


Polish Embassy: There were no Polish concentration camps in World War II →

November 19, 2015 · 12:28

Embassy of the Republic of Poland:

Although the article makes clear who the victims were and who the perpetrators were, the author uses the phrase “Polish” camps to describe Nazi-run institutions. It is simply not right to employ such a phrase…

“There were no Polish concentration camps in World War II. Auschwitz and other such camps in Polish territory were operated by German Nazis.”


Withings Releases Activite Steel →

November 18, 2015 · 23:52

This is probably the most interesting watch on the market for people who need fitness trackers, but don’t want to use a separate device nor buy something like an Apple Watch. I don’t like its design personally—it’s too thin and small for me—but I know people who absolutely adore them.

Withings released the Activite Steel today—it features a 316L stainless steel case and a silicone strap—and priced it at $169.95 / €169.95. It’s much cheaper than the high-end model, which also features a leather strap and sapphire glass, and just a touch more expensive than the Activite Pop with a PVD-coated case.


iPad Pro vs. iPad Air 2 vs. iPad mini 4 Display Shoot-Out →

November 18, 2015 · 17:05

Dr. Raymond M. Soneira:

The differences and similarities in performance between these 3 current iPad displays are really interesting and surprising… We’ll cover these issues and much more, with in-depth comprehensive display tests, measurements and analysis that you will find nowhere else.

Biggest doesn’t mean best, but it’s close, so I won’t spoil the surprise. Oh, there are lots of interesting tidbits of information that you won’t find in the comparison tables.


Lightroom 2015.3 / 6.3—Old Import Dialog is Back →

November 18, 2015 · 11:42

Adobe:

Lightroom CC 2015.3 and Lightroom 6.3 are now available on Adobe.com.  The goal of this release is to provide additional camera raw support, lens profile support and address bugs that were introduced in previous releases of Lightroom.  This release also restores the Import experience available prior to Lightroom 6.2.

I was waiting for this—the import module in 6.2 increased my import times by a factor of two. Hopefully everything will be back to normal.

My plea to Adobe: Please spend the next few months optimising Lightroom for speed.


Mac App Store: Single Point of Failure →

November 17, 2015 · 18:22

Michael Tsai:

The Mac App Store is supposed to make things easier, but it’s also a single point of failure. Not only is it neglected, but sometimes even the existing functionality stops working. Mac OS X 10.9 introduced a code signing bug that prevented me from submitting updates for several months. In June 2015, there was a month-long iTunes Connect bug that prevented my uploaded build from entering the review queue. And I currently have a bug fix update that Apple has been reviewing for 33 days (with 8 days of waiting before that). When I inquired about the status, Apple told me that everything was normal and that I should just keep waiting. In short, the system is broken on multiple levels, and there is no evidence to suggest that things will get better.

I’ve always been a big fan of the Mac App Store as a user—it just makes things so easy—but what Michael mentions is completely unacceptable. It has been getting worse and worse over the past two years or so, and today I will actually actively spend time looking if an app is also available straight from the developer. The purchase procedure is usually much more irritating, I have to store the license information in 1Password, but ultimately it’s been worth it thus far.

Make sure to read the comments below Michael’s post too.


Apple Watch 2 Rumoured in Q2 or Q3 2016 →

November 17, 2015 · 18:12

Zac Hall:

While it’s no surprise that Apple would be planning to introduce the Apple Watch 2 in 2016, a third quarter release would mean a launch two years after the first model was introduced and roughly a year and a half since it went on sale.

I personally expected the second generation Watch to show up at least two years after the first one went on sale, but this theoretically makes sense in terms of the holiday quarter.

Take this with a grain of salt, as usual.