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).


iCloud Photo Library Image Count Problems

August 30, 2018 · 11:19

iCloud Photo Library has been stellar since I started using it shortly after it launched. I have suffered no data loss or corruption so far (I have other backups of course) and it’s been a joy to use. Once I upgraded both my Macs to macOS High Sierra, I finally flipped the switch on both my iPhone and iPad, turning on the new High Efficiency formats for both video and stills. Shortly after doing that, Photos for Mac and iOS started showing different counts of all the images in my library — they fluctuate every few days:

  • iMac (Download Originals to this Mac) — 33701 photos, 70 videos
  • MacBook Pro (Optimize Mac Storage) — 33701 photos, 70 videos
  • iPhone X (Optimize Storage) — 33703 photos, 70 videos
  • iPad Pro 10,5″ (Optimize Storage) — 33704 photos, 70 videos
  • iCloud.com — 33771 photos and videos (which I assume means 33701 photos and 70 videos)

This worries me. I still have 5 or 6 gigs of free space on my 200 GB plan so everything should work correctly. New content is added properly and syncing still functions as it should but what the hell are those additional photos on my iPhone and iPad?

I spoke with Apple Support and before they are willing to continue diagnosing the issue, they asked me to first log out and log back in to iCloud on every device. Since that would require at least 1-2 days of syncing (realistically 2-4), I’ll need to wait for a more opportune moment.


Adršpach-Teplice Rocks

My Photography (51) — Adršpach-Teplice Rocks, Czech Republic, 2018

August 30, 2018 · 10:58

Despite living quite close to this fantastic rock formation, I never bothered to visit — the details escape me — but we spent a lovely day over there with my wife a week or so ago. The whole hike can take anywhere from three to six hours, depending on a person’s stamina, and there are a few tougher spots for those less fit, but it’s well worth the effort. Just make sure to get there early in the morning (8:00-9:00) to avoid the crowds.

Shot with Sony A7R II + FE 28 mm f/2: f/8, 1/60 s, ISO 100.


Surface Go: The Future PC That the iPad Pro Failed to Deliver →

August 29, 2018 · 11:45

Owen Wilson, on Charged:

If you take an iPad-sized device, cram a whole computer into it, then blur the boundaries between PC and tablet completely, you get something interesting: the Surface Go. I’ve been testing Microsoft’s new tiny 10-inch tablet for a few weeks, and it’s totally changed my perception of what computers are going to look like in the future.

I like his take on Microsoft’s new Surface Go, but I have some comments I’d like to share.

The Surface Go is a curious device, because it sits somewhere in-between devices like the iPad and actual full-on laptops, like the Surface Book or a MacBook Pro. It’s small enough to be an iPad, but has enough processing power to run desktop apps if you need to.

I still use a 15-inch Surface Book 2 and while it can be used as a tablet, there are way too few apps that make it as easy or fun to use as an iPad. On the plus side, typical desktop-y tasks are often easier. This is a software problem on both platforms.

The first thing I noticed after booting it up is just how much better the Surface Go’s kickstand is. I’d never loved these things, because they always felt like they were awkward, or got in the way — but the Go’s hinge goes all the way back, meaning it’s able to prop itself up just a little for writing notes or drawing.

I really wish the iPad had an integrated kickstand — just this would make things so much easier.

There’s a track pad at the bottom of the keyboard, unlike the iPad Pro which omits it intentionally and forces you to use only touch as a fine-grained input. Apple has done a hell of a job trying to convince people that a mouse isn’t necessary, but little to actually prove it; I’d always missed a more precise input method when I used an iPad Pro at length.

Apple argues that Macs shouldn’t get touchscreens because it’s not comfortable to hold your hand out in the air to interact with them but that’s precisely what you do if you use an iPad Pro with a Smart Keyboard. A trackpad would go a long way to help solve this.

The final notable piece of hardware is the one you look at the most: the screen. It’s 10-inches, with a resolution of 1,800 x 1,200. That’s pretty good for the size, and doesn’t feel cramped for the most part. The display delivers great brightness and color accuracy, with an ambient light sensor that isn’t overly sensitive to light changes — but it’s all let down by a bezel that feels far too large around the edges.

The iPad Pros have calibrated displays which cover the Display P3 gamut. The MacBook Pros do too. The Surface line (apart from the Surface Studio) does not. Microsoft should remedy this immediately. I also consider the Surface Go’s resolution to be too small and the bezels too thick.

I debated even mentioning this, because I’m frustrated by the constant ludicrous push for thinner bezels that lead to the notch becoming universal in smartphones. Bezels really don’t matter, in practice and the Surface Go’s are not really a problem at all when it comes to functionality, but they are sticking point on a year that the iPad is rumored to lose even more of its already-thin bezel.

Thinner bezels allow for the fitting of a larger screen in the same footprint. That’s a good thing. Imagine if the Surface Go had 12” instead but retained the same external dimensions. That would make it so much more compelling.

My first experience with Surface Go was actually a mind-boggling accident that reaffirmed why I wanted this device in the first place. I received it while at the office, where I use my Surface Book with my screen, through Microsoft’s single-port magsafe connector that charges the device at the same time.

I opened the Surface Go box, but the battery was low from being in transit, so I figured I’d top it up while setting it up and slammed in the magsafe dock cable. It booted immediately, and surprisingly worked with the very same dock, so was on my 4K display at 60hz, with the keyboard and mouse already set up.

This is what I really like about the Surface Pro and Go — one device for different situations.

I’m a huge convert to using the Surface Pen for note-taking and annotation with the Surface Book 2, but the Go is a game-changer because it’s so tiny. It’s just a little bit shy of an A4 piece of paper, and around the size of my existing physical notebook, so it’s a good candidate for full-time notes usage.

OneNote is perhaps Microsoft’s best-kept secret. It’s a solid application with stellar support for inking features, like OCR from your writing, or interpreting what shapes you’re drawing. It’s become my go-to inking app, and is great for keeping a larger notebook of things that are written with the pen. The Surface Go is the killer device for ink, and it makes the Surface Pen an absolute necessity. Because I’m using the Go, and it’s always with me, I now write everything down.

The iPad Pro and Pencil combo are really great for taking notes but I my Pencil is usually too far away from me to bother going looking for it. It’s also usually discharged. Apple really should figure out a magnetic way to attach it to the iPad.


If the Surface Go was available with a higher resolution screen (calibrated for sRGB or Display P3) and smaller bezels, with a 256 GB fast SSD and 16 gigs of RAM, I’d probably go for it. It would make a perfect travel computer for developing my photos in Lightroom.


New 8th Gen Intel Core CPUs for MacBooks, the Rumoured MacBook Air and Perhaps Even an Updated MacBook Pro Escape →

August 29, 2018 · 09:34

Intel today announced additions to the 8th Gen Intel Core processor family: The U-series (formerly code-named Whiskey Lake) and Y-series (formerly code-named Amber Lake) are optimized for connectivity in thin, light laptops and 2 in 1s for the first time, while also providing ultimate mobile performance and long battery life.

Intel showed these parts, which are newer versions of what the 12-inch MacBook uses — this should suggest an update soon:

  • m3-8100Y | 1.1 GHz | 3.4 GHz Turbo Boost | 2 cores
  • i5-8200Y | 1.3 GHz | 3.9 GHz Turbo Boost | 2 cores
  • i7-8500Y | 1.5 GHz | 4.2 GHz Turbo Boost | 2 cores

There are also two possible candidates for the rumoured upcoming MacBook Air if it continues to use 15-watt CPUs:

  • i7-8565U | 1.8 GHz | 4.6 GHz Turbo Boost | 4 cores
  • i5-8265U | 1.6 GHz | 3.9 GHz Turbo Boost | 4 cores

The MacBook Pros with Touch Bar use 28-watt CPUs and they were updated in July 2018. The MacBook Pro Escape (the model without the Touch Bar) wasn’t — it uses 15-watt CPUs. The i5 and i7 listed above could easily make it into the Escape if Apple chooses to upgrade them.

If the MacBook Pro Escape gets an update, then I think the rumoured Retina MacBook Air will not get Thunderbolt ports at all, to differentiate it further (and keep the price down). If the Escape is left to die off (Apple really should stop this practice and just remove a model from sale as soon as possible), then there’s a chance that the new Air will get Thunderbolt, but my gut feeling says Apple is going to want to keep the price down and not include it either way. The 12-inch MacBook has not filled the gap left by the 13-inch MacBook Air and they’ll have a hard time keeping the 899-999 USD price-point with all these new fancy technologies. While the ”Air” moniker is well known, logically Apple should just release it as a 13-inch MacBook, but that would be troublesome if it were to be cheaper than the 12-inch model.

All the speculation on this subject just go to show how far Apple has strayed from the simplicity of their line-up.


Paweł Jońca Featured on RetroSupply as One of the Most Inspiring Retro Illustrators →

August 24, 2018 · 09:49

Dustin Lee, for RetroSupply:

We’ve come across some incredible retro and vintage illustrators in our time. Whether you’re into mid-century advertising, pop art, traditional hand-lettering or beyond, there are some insanely talented artists pushing the boundaries of design and illustration – so we thought we’d round together a few of our favorites into one inspiring list of visual eye candy.

Paweł’s work is exemplary and I’m proud to have it hanging on my wall. He also illustrates our monthly iMagazine editions since 2008 or so. You can view some of his favourite pieces here.


Danny Boyle Quit Bond in Dispute Over Casting Tomasz Kot as the Lead Villain →

August 23, 2018 · 13:34

Harry Farley, writing for The Telegraph:

Rumours that the film’s script was the source of the disagreement have been reported, with producers alleged to be unhappy with the decision to focus on contemporary political tensions with Russia and a “modern-day Cold War”.

However one industry source told the Telegraph the split was due to a fall out over whether to cast Tomasz Kot as the lead villain. The 41-year-old Polish actor stars in Cold War, a love story set in 1950s Europe, and was described as a “left-field” decision for a Bond enemy.

I have had the pleasure of meeting Tomasz Kot a few years ago and watched him perform in movies and theatres many times over the years. To see him star in a James Bond film would be completely surreal.


The Blockchain Bonanza Is Over for Graphics Card Makers →

August 23, 2018 · 09:39

Timothy B. Lee, for Ars Technica:

Nvidia’s GeForce 1080 could fetch more than $800 in January. Today, you should be able to find one for less than $600. All of this means that after a year of shortages, gamers should finally be able to buy graphics cards for reasonable prices.

I really hope this is true, since I’m waiting for prices to drop to get a new GPU for my Hackintosh. I was tempted to go for the Vega 64 but after testing a review unit, it doesn’t seem to want to work with my EIZO properly — it flickers. Not sure what to do now but I’m thinking of getting just a regular RX 580.


Back to My Mac Will Be Removed In macOS Mojave →

August 22, 2018 · 11:05

I use Back to My Mac a few times a year and so far it has worked flawlessly. The problem with it going away is that when I use it, I really need easy access to files my desktop Mac, which I’ve probably forgotten to take with me. Screen sharing is not really a replacement and iCloud Drive won’t help me store 4 TB of archived data.

I guess I’ll just have to figure out an alternative before it goes away.


Micro.blog Client Icro Open Sourced →

August 22, 2018 · 10:19

Icro does not serve the purpose of a showcase project. Many parts were hacked together as I wanted to ship this App as quickly as possible. From now on all development will happen in public on Github. A structure with issues, planned features will be added using the GitHub tools.

I use Icro for my Micro.blog interactions and I actually like it more than the official client — the secret is in the font.


Hackers Stole My Instagram Username and Facebook Doesn’t Care →

August 22, 2018 · 10:16

Maxim Lemeshenko, writing for PetaPixel:

On July 20th, my username got stolen from me on Instagram. Since then, I exchanged a number of emails with Facebook Advertiser Support, talking to a real person, but that has lead nowhere so far.

This is scandalous behaviour on Facebook’s part. Quite frankly, all these companies — Google, YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, etc. — have basically no sensible customer service and while I haven’t had any issues as serious as Maxim’s, getting through to a person who is willing to understand and help is close to miraculous.


August 17, 2018 · 05:45

When I wake up, I usually open Twitter to go with my coffee. Today is the first time I opened Mastodon first and the first interesting toot was about a barista. There are no coincidences.


August 16, 2018 · 21:37

Dear Twitter, you obviously don’t understand your own product or your users. Your infatuation with becoming something you are not will be the death of you, if you continue along this path. You lack apps on many OSes and the ones you do have aren’t very good. Stop this madness. Stop being delusional. Stop supporting evil. Do. The. Right. Thing. And bring back full API access to 3rd-party clients, whose creators actually understand our needs. #BreakingMyTwitter


Overcast — Info for Podcasters →

August 13, 2018 · 10:53

Marco Arment published a new page detailing what Overcast does and doesn’t do with your podcast. It also includes some technical information, which is worth reading, including a new upcoming feature:

In an update coming in fall 2018, Overcast will display a currency-symbol button that opens a payment, membership, donation, Patreon, etc. URL when present in the currently playing episode’s HTML body (“show notes”).

Use the rel=”payment” attribute on a standard HTML <a> link in an episode’s HTML body […]

If you publish your own podcast, make sure to read this.


Logitech Powered — Inductive Charging Dock for iPhone →

August 8, 2018 · 11:07

I currently use Samsung chargers but this actually looks nicer. I have been considering getting an AirPower from Apple, if they ever come out, especially since I have AirPods, an Apple Watch, and an iPhone, but I’m worried that I won’t be able to justify paying the price for it — somehow I doubt it’ll be inexpensive.

The Logitech Powered isn’t cheap and I don’t quite understand why it only supports 5W charging for Android phones, but it looks like a nice product. I might go for it but I’ll wait for AirPower first.


Instapaper Returns to Europe →

August 8, 2018 · 10:57

This year Instapaper celebrated its tenth birthday and, now that we are an independent company, we’ve been thinking a lot about the next ten years of Instapaper and beyond.

To ensure Instapaper can continue for the foreseeable future, it’s essential that the product generates enough revenue to cover its costs. In order to do so, we’re relaunching Instapaper Premium today.

As a reminder, Instapaper Premium is a subscription for $2.99/month or $29.99/year that offers the following features […]

Instapaper recently changed owners again — Pinterest sold it back to the people who bought it from Marco Arment.

Additionally, today we are bringing back Instapaper to European Union users. Over the past two months we have taken a number of actions to address the General Data Protection Regulation, and we are happy to announce our return to the European Union.

We are very sorry for the extended downtime and, as a token of our apology, we are giving six months of Instapaper Premium to all EU users affected by the outage.

I haven’t used Instapaper since Marco Arment sold it a few years ago but I’m considering a comeback.


124,000 Electric and PHEV Cars From VW, Audi and Porsche Could Be Recalled Due to Poisonous Cadmium →

August 8, 2018 · 10:51

Fred Lambert, for Electrek:

The Volkswagen group confirmed that it might have to recall as many as 124,000 electric and hybrid cars from its VW, Audi and Porsche brands due to poisonous cadmium finding its way into a charger component.

First #dieselgate and now this. I have been driving solely German cars for the past 21 years and I am seriously considering not supporting their industry anymore.


Computers Are Supposed to Help Us Solve Our Problems

August 7, 2018 · 10:08

Sameer Samat details the new Android Pie on Google’s blog:

The latest release of Android is here! And it comes with a heaping helping of artificial intelligence baked in to make your phone smarter, simpler and more tailored to you. Today we’re officially introducing Android 9 Pie […]

I wanted to comment on two of the new features…

That’s why Android 9 comes with features like […] Adaptive Brightness, which learns how you like to set the brightness in different settings, and does it for you.

I have been using iPhones and iPads since 2008, and always relied on Automatic Brightness. I don’t know what Apple did, but I never had an Android phone which handled this function, as well as iOS does — I’ve always had stuttering or sudden brightness shifts, including flickering while it’s been adjusted. All this on many flagship phones, including older Nexus devices and more recent ones like the Galaxy S8.

At-a-Glance on Always-on-Display: See things like calendar events and weather on your Lock Screen and Always-on Display.

I have always found it curious that Apple chose not to use the Lock Screen in a more productive fashion (widgets do not count). Just weather information could be easily included and it’s something I miss every day. And since we have a OLED screen on the iPhone X, that could be taken advantage of even further. Burn-in could present a problem and perhaps that is why Apple isn’t in on this, but I can imagine a scenario where one tap on a screen shows upcoming calendar events and the weather, while two taps wake the screen.


Computers are (partly) supposed to help us solve our problems. This isn’t being pursued as I had hoped it would be. We’re 11 years in and iOS still can’t do things that my simple Nokia could, such as setting it to Do Not Disturb mode for a precisely set amount of time. iOS 12 will introduce a few new features that help in this regard but there’s so much more that could be done. My iPhone know’s my daily schedule and how I use it — it should adapt automatically. When I walk into the gym, it should suggest launching Overcast and Workouts (on my Apple Watch). When I leave, it should suggest that I text my wife, informing her that I am on my way and share my ETA. When I get into my car in the parking lot beneath the gym, it should launch Waze and guide me to where she is. I do this every single day and I should not have to manually repeat these steps every time — the OS should have learned by now. It has my location, it knows my routine; it should help automate repetitive tasks automatically.