My Mom passed away exactly three years ago. Hope she’s in a better place.
Stephen Hawking – who died aged 76 – battled motor neurone disease to become one of the most respected and best-known scientists of his age.
Today, we all lost a truly great person.
When I learned about Stephen Hawking’s passing on the radio today, I asked Siri how old he was. She answered:
Stephen Hawking died today at age 76.
I was of course saddened by the news of his death, but I was also surprised that Siri got the answer.
President Trump met with video game industry representatives Thursday, after saying last month violent video games may play a role in mass shootings. The president met with parents like Melissa Henson.
“The kind of messages and images that they are putting in their minds, I think they’re nightly dress rehearsals for huge acts of violence,” she said.
But psychologist Patrick Markey’s research shows 80 percent of mass shooters did not show an interest in violent video games.
Personally, I have never been inclined to go kill someone because of a game, despite playing Wolfenstein, Doom, Quake, CS:GO, PUBG, and various other FPS shoot-em-ups since I was a kid, but I’m sure this potentially could be dangerous for a handful of people. Then again, people who have trouble understanding right from wrong probably don’t need a computer game to get triggered into doing something bad.
Dan Goodin, for Ars Technica:
The app is Calendar 2, a scheduling app that aims to include more features than the Calendar app that Apple bundles with macOS. In recent days, Calendar 2 developer Qbix endowed it with code that mines the digital coin known as Monero. The xmr-stack miner isn’t supposed to run unless users specifically approve it in a dialog that says the mining will be in exchange for turning on a set of premium features. If users approve the arrangement, the miner will then run. Users can bypass this default action by selecting an option to keep the premium features turned off or to pay a fee to turn on the premium features.
I believe Apple is currently not commenting on the issue until they establish a policy — they jumped the gun often enough in the past few years. Ultimately, these will probably get banned, since they degrade the iOS and Mac experience, which is what Apple cares about — I’d be surprised if they didn’t. There will be a handful of users who knowingly accept this sort of “subscription”, but most will think the app is running their battery and complain. Oh, and then there’s the matter of Apple’s 30% cut…
Adrian Kingsley-Hughes, on ZDNet:
The issue is that when the iPhone is being charged using a cable, the phone is being powered by the cord (there is some load on the battery, but it’s minimal), but when using wireless charging, the battery is what’s powering the iPhone, with the wireless charger only being used to top up the battery. This means that by switching from a cable to a wireless charger, my battery isn’t getting a break, and in turn, this is making me go through recharge cycles at an even faster rate.
This is an interesting fact, but I’m pretty sure the impact is minimal, especially considering that most of the new iPhone X users use their phones more often now, because of all the new stuff, which could account for the increased battery cycles. I know I use mine more often — I was so bored with the iPhone 6-7 form factor than I just reached for my iPad whenever possible.
The truth is that wireless charging is more convenient at times and I just don’t want to sacrifice that for a few more charge cycles. A replacement battery is cheap enough, that I’ll just get that when I need to.
Nick Heer, on Pixel Envy:
What’s clear to me is that the Siri of eight years ago was, in some circumstances, more capable than the Siri of today. That could simply be because the demo video was created in Silicon Valley, and things tend to perform better there than almost anywhere else. But it’s been eight years since that was created, and over seven since Siri was integrated into the iPhone. One would think that it should be at least as capable as it was when Apple bought it.
I’m currently playing around with Siri a lot more than I used to and I find it baffling that after so many years, she still can’t do so many things which seem natural and obvious. Examples attached: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6. Basically, I expect so much more of her today, that she feels stupider than back in 2011, when she launched on the iPhone 4S.
I said I wouldn’t get the iPhone X, but I did. That was an exception since the deal I got on it was too good to pass up and I ended up paying less than for a new iPhone 8. I did not expect to get as good a deal on the HomePod. To be quite frank, it wasn’t even close percentage-wise to the aforementioned one, but I still went for it, figuring I could sell it on if didn’t satisfy my needs.
It hasn’t blown me away so far, but it’s only been an hour or so, so here’s keeping my fingers crossed.
Markus Rudel, on his blog, got inspired by my Raspberry Pi and Homebridge article, and decided to set up his Xiaomi Robot Vacuum to work with HomeKit:
I own a Xiaomi Robot Vacuum. This robot can be controlled by the Xiaomi app, however, I don’t like it very much. The idea is to control this robot over HomeKit. To use HomeKit, I use an old Raspberry Pi 1B. The software will be HomeBridge.
While adding your vacuum to your HomeKit setup might not seem as if it makes any sense, since there are little to no benefits from being able to just turn it on or off, it most probably could be automated, e.g. setup to clean the house when everyone leaves it. My cousin has one of these and since he doesn’t have a strict schedule for when he’s at home or away, he’s constantly frustrated by the fact that the vacuum turns on when he doesn’t want it to. Automating this would make most of his problems go away.
Ian Cutress, for AnandTech:
Today ASUS is launching a smartphone that is designed, according to the speaker at our prebriefing, to make it look like the user is holding an iPhone X. The new ASUS ZenFone 5, part of the ZenFone 5 family, comes with a notch. Apparently this is what the company says that its customers want: the ability to look as if you have an iPhone X, but have something else.
Am I in a dream? I really need to take the blue pill.
P.S. Yes, I’m behind on my RSS.
I recently purchased a Xiaomi Air Purifier 2, to avoid having dirty air in my apartment. Unfortunately, this product does not integrate with HomeKit. I am generally averse to having my “connected” home accessible from the internet, but I did want to use the HomeKit automation features. Setting this whole thing up just for one air purifier did seem like a lot of hassle, until I found out (from Steven Troughton-Smith) that you can get a Raspberry Pi Zero W with a camera module, which also works under HomeKit. Two-in-one? No need to ask me twice.
Continue reading →
This is the first time in many years that I still consider my iPhone X — I’m now into over three months using it daily — still a novelty. It still excites me whenever I take it out of my pocket. I continuously stare at the gorgeous screen, not quite believing that this tech is possible today. And no, the notch doesn’t bother me. At all.
This happened twice so far (I owned every single iPhone model, apart from the 3G, 5C and SE) — with the first iPhone and then with the iPhone 4, when it went Retina.
The iPhone X is a milestone and I can’t help but wonder, when the next one comes along, will it be an iPhone? Or a smartphone at all?
I hate shaving. It’s just not a pleasant experience, despite me being extremely fussy about it — I use a MÜHLE R89 Grande with various accessories. It not only requires a shower beforehand, to properly moisten my skin and facial hair, but I just simply consider the next 15 minutes a complete waste of time. This is precisely why I simply love that Kelly Guimont and Don Melton have released their second episode of the Westworld Rewind podcast, in which they rewatch and dissect each character and event. Listening to them makes any chore bearable.
I have been using the new Apple TV YouTube app for these past few days and, to be frank… I absolutely hate it. YouTube, with one fell swoop, broke:
- the ability to touch the edges of remote’s trackpad to skip 15 seconds in either direction;
- the sounds which accompany navigating the UI via the trackpad;
- the possibility to scroll the timeline in a very precise fashion, with visible thumbnails;
- the ability to touch the trackpad to bring up the timeline.
This app is so badly designed and breaks the tvOS UX paradigm to such an extent, that I will not use it until it is fixed. Everything about it is so tragically bad — it’s basically a copy of their web player — that I’m utterly surprised Apple review let it through. At this point, I would prefer to not have the app at all than to imagine people using (and getting used to) this garbage.
John Gruber, on Daring Fireball:
I wish that Apple would provide a definitive list of all types of data that goes through iCloud, showing what is end-to-end encrypted (iMessage and FaceTime?) and what is not. This whole situations reeks to high hell, but I don’t know what Apple could do other than pull out of the Chinese market entirely.
That’s exactly what they should do — pull out of China entirely. End-to-end encryption doesn’t guarantee complete security, since a lot can be obtained from analysing just the metadata.
Mike Bombich, creator of Carbon Copy Cloner:
This week we reported to Apple a serious flaw in macOS that can lead to data loss when using an APFS-formatted disk image. Until Apple issues a macOS update that resolves this problem, we’re dropping support for APFS-formatted disk images.
Note: What I describe below applies to APFS disk images only — ordinary APFS volumes (e.g. your SSD startup disk) are not affected by this problem. While the underlying problem here is very serious, this is not likely to be a widespread problem, and will be most applicable to a small subset of backups. Disk images are not used for most backup task activity, they are generally only applicable when making backups to network volumes. If you make backups to network volumes, read on to learn more.
Another day, another serious High Sierra bug.
Nokia today announces that it has initiated a review of strategic options for its Digital Health business, which is part of Nokia Technologies. Digital Health’s business portfolio includes consumer and enterprise products, and it manufactures and sells an ecosystem of hybrid smart watches, scales and digital health devices to consumers and enterprise partners.
This was the photo I posted in reaction to the news that Nokia was buying Withings in April 2016:
If they now kill Nokia Health (formerly Withings), I will have nothing but contempt for the company and all the people behind this decision. That’s my delicate way of putting it. If I wasn’t trying to restrain myself, I’d just call them fucking assholes outright, but I won’t, since that could be interpreted as vulgar.
I’m also using a Withings Body Cardio, which I bought partially due to the Pulse Wave Velocity feature, which was recently pulled. If Nokia kills Nokia Health, will this mean that my scale is now just an expensive paperweight?
I discovered AWOLNATION — Run today.
I know I’m late to the game.
Don’t judge me.
I wrote a short piece on why I loved Alto’s Adventure so much a few months ago:
These weeks were incredibly taxing, ultimately driving me into severe depression, which took me over two years to shake. I did find one way to keep sane at the time, during those long hours in the halls of the hospital my mom was in — by playing Alto’s Adventure [iOS / Android] when my stress levels were particularly high or there was just nothing else to do. I would completely lose myself in the wonderfully calming music, various sound effects, and flowing gameplay, while skiing down the slope of the endless in-game mountain. At one point Alto’s Adventure was the only experience that would calm my frayed nerves.
I don’t know what I would have done without this wonderful game, but I would like to deeply thank the team behind it — Snowman — for their efforts. They will always have a special place in my heart.
This was partly done in anticipation of Alto’s Oddysey — the sequel to that fantastic title. Well, it’s up for pre-order today, which I did, and I can’t wait until February 22, when it’s scheduled for release.
★ Alto’s Odyssey — $4.99 / €5.49 / 23.99 PLN →
I just finished listening to the first two episodes of Westworld Rewind, hosted by Kelly Guimont and Don Melton, and since Don asked for some feedback, here it is:
- Please don’t put a timer on the episodes. I can listen to you guys talk all day long.
- I might have welled up inside towards the end of the first episode by just realising there’ll be at least nine more episodes to listen to.
- Everyone who has watched Westworld needs to listen to this.
Thanks guys! ❤
It’s 2018 and Apple News is still available in only a handful of countries, despite the fact that many people can read and write in English, even if it isn’t their first language.
Lorenzo Franceschi-Bicchierai, writing for Motherboard:
Someone just posted what experts say is the source code for a core component of the iPhone’s operating system on GitHub, which could pave the way for hackers and security researchers to find vulnerabilities in iOS and make iPhone jailbreaks easier to achieve.
The GitHub code is labeled “iBoot,” which is the part of iOS that is responsible for ensuring a trusted boot of the operating system. In other words, it’s the program that loads iOS, the very first process that runs when you turn on your iPhone. It loads and verifies the kernel is properly signed by Apple and then executes it—it’s like the iPhone’s BIOS.
The code says it’s for iOS 9, an older version of the operating system, but portions of it are likely to still be used in iOS 11.
Apple has already filed a copyright takedown request with GitHub, which resulted in the code being removed, but that won’t help much — the code is out in the wild.
Matthew Panzarino, in probably the best edit I have ever seen:
I apparently completely invented a term — ‘FullRoom’ — for this feature that Apple says is not actually the name for this feature. I have no idea why FullRoom was in my notes, but it’s a figment of my imagination, not an actual thing. Apologies.
You might want to fast forward to 29:30 if you’re impatient.
I took the iPhone X to Finland and got a few good shots from it, despite the extreme cold (it did not turn off in temperatures below -20° C). The one above is from our trip back to the airport in Rovaniemi, taken an hour or so after sunrise, with the 56 mm lens. I didn’t shoot RAW — this is a JPG straight from the iPhone with the Photos’ Vivid filter applied.
Shot with iPhone X @ 56 mm: f/2.4, 1/883 s, ISO 16.
Dieter Bohn, for The Verge:
At its core, Vaunt is simply a system for displaying a small heads-up style display in your peripheral vision. It can show you simple messages like directions or notifications. It works over Bluetooth with either an Android phone or an iPhone much in the same way your smartwatch does, taking commands from an app that runs in the background to control it.
One might say that this amounts to little more than a Pebble smartwatch on your face, especially because Vonshak designed Pebble’s excellent timeline interface before the company was acquired and shut down. But Intel has grand plans for the Vaunt’s tiny display.
This is a big first step, but the wait for all the cool stuff will probably take more than I would like.
Movies have already shown us what we imagine is possible, and while I’m sure there’s a lot more usable information that we can use down the road, apart from displaying our most hated targets, things will get interesting once our own eyes will be either swapped out for augmented or computerised versions, or replaced completely with cameras.
Unfortunately, I probably won’t be around to see that happen, so please hurry up!
I spent a few days in Lapland, Finland towards the end of 2017 — I believe this was the third time I was there now — and I still can’t get used to the fact that the sun barely rises above the horizon in the winter. If there was less cloud cover, it would light up the sky like in the shot above all day long (a few hours in this case).
Shot with Sony A7R II + FE 28 mm f/2: f/8, 1/60 s, ISO 250.