Japan Keeps Remote Train Station Running for Just One Passenger →

January 11, 2016 · 00:57

Linda Poon:

At that time, ridership at the Kami-Shirataki station had dramatically fallen because of its remote location, and freight service had ended there as well. Japan Railways was getting ready to shut the station down for good—until they noticed that it was still being used every day by the high-schooler. So they decided to keep the station open for her until she graduates. The company’s even adjusted the train’s timetable according to the girl’s schedule. The unnamed girl is expected to graduate this March, which is when the station will finally be closed.

My faith in people is restored from time to time — this is one of them.

Cable-Less Beats Headphones Rumoured for iPhone 7 →

January 8, 2016 · 23:00

Mark Gurman:

Apple is prototyping a completely new set of Bluetooth earphones with the potential of launching the accessory alongside the iPhone 7 this fall. The new earphones are said to be completely wireless, which is to say that they do not even have a cable connecting the left and right ear pieces. Sources say that the headphones are similar in concept to the Motorola Hint headset (pictured above) and Bragi’s new Dash headphones that were shown at CES this week.

It’s expected that the in-development accessory will include a noise-cancelling microphone system, enabling phone calls and communication with Siri even without Apple’s prior in-line microphone and remote. In order to fit inside of the user’s ear, Apple will likely develop different sized ear sleeves for the hardware, similar to the approach used by Motorola and Bragi. Bragi’s headphones include a built-in button to answer calls, so Apple’s could have a control for managing calls and activating Siri.

Should Apple make these, I’m pretty sure that they are going to cost a pretty penny — I’ll be surprised if they’re cheaper than $300. Oh, and I don’t care for the ANC — would make them unnecessarily heavy.

How sad is it that the moment we see a groundbreaking app in the App Store, the first response is to speculate how long it will take for Apple to pull it from the store?

Jason Snell

Apple: ‘Record-Breaking Holiday Season for the App Store’ →

January 6, 2016 · 18:07


Apple® today announced that customers around the world made this holiday season the biggest ever for the App Store®, setting new records during the weeks of Christmas and New Year’s.

In the two weeks ending January 3, customers spent over $1.1 billion on apps and in-app purchases, setting back-to-back weekly records for traffic and purchases. January 1, 2016 marked the biggest day in App Store history with customers spending over $144 million. It broke the previous single-day record set just a week earlier on Christmas Day.

Apple is doomed. It can’t get any worse than this…

Oh, wait…

Gold Nexus 6P Coming to the US →

January 6, 2016 · 18:06

Brandon Chester:

One of the smaller announcements from Huawei at CES was the arrival of the gold colored Nexus 6P in the United States. The gold Nexus 6P, also known as the Nexus 6P Special Edition, was shown off at Google’s original San Francisco launch event for the phone.

Still waiting…

LG’s 15″ MacBook in Gold →

January 6, 2016 · 18:05

Dan Seifert:

If you’re one of those people looking for a larger screen, but still want a slim and light computer, LG may have just what you’re looking for. Its new Gram 15 laptop has a 15-inch display, is only 0.6 inches thick, and weighs a scant 2.16 lbs. That’s light enough for LG to make the claim that the Gram 15 is the lightest laptop in its size class. Oh and it comes in a strikingly familiar gold finish.

I’ll hold out for the rose gold model.

Amazon Suggested Their Customer Was Being a Dick →

January 5, 2016 · 18:55

Sebastian Anthony:

On a fateful day in October 2015, Pedro—an IT contractor living in Ireland—was surfing Amazon.de for a specialised textbook he needed for a new extracurricular art class. He found the book, ordered it, but was disappointed when it arrived. The listing had said that the book was the current edition, but Amazon sent Pedro the previous edition.

Pedro got in touch with Amazon customer service to see about getting the proper version. A few days later, Amazon told Pedro that they had ultimately failed to find the right version of the textbook and that he should instead return the book for a full refund.

Pedro, who by this point had spent a long time looking for the correct version of the book and then more time waiting while Amazon looked for the book in its warehouse, wasn’t very happy with the overall shopping experience. Pedro made his displeasure known by providing negative feedback on a customer satisfaction survey, and he figured that was the end of it.

But it wasn’t. According to Pedro, when he next opened up Amazon.de, a giant dildo—specifically, “The Hulk 10.25-inch Huge Dong Black”—had been added to his shopping basket.

I don’t think Pedro was being anal about his order, but someone at Amazon was obviously frustrated enough to cock-up his day — I wonder if the reported working conditions have anything to do with it.

While it certainly looks like an associate at Amazon placed a giant dildo in a customer’s shopping basket, we cannot prove it. With that said, the €100 “gesture of apology,” the hints from Mühlbauer that the associate had been fired or changed role, and Amazon not denying the incident, all point towards an uncomfortable truth: the giant dildo really was thrust into Pedro’s shopping basket without his permission.

Thanks for that paragraph Sebastian — I laughed out loud.

Facebook Tested Users’ Patience by Introducing Intentional Crashes in App →

January 5, 2016 · 18:47

Jon Fingas:

Facebook may have even gone so far as to test Android users’ dependence on its app. Reportedly, it knowingly introduced crashing glitches to see whether or not people would abandon Facebook if they couldn’t use its native app on Google’s platform. It doesn’t have anything to worry about, according to the findings — users would rather stick to the mobile website than lose contact with their online friends.

I’d survive the crashes, but Facebook lost me the day they decided to mess with my timeline:

  1. If I set it to display my timeline in a chronological order, I want that setting remembered — it wasn’t.
  2. Even if I specifically stated that I want to see ‘everything’ a certain person posts, Facebook’s algorithm would choose to omit certain information — this drew the line for me and I stopped using it almost entirely.

Bottom line: don’t mess with a man’s carefully curated timeline. This applies to Twitter too.

OS X – Choose Between the Character Accents Popup
and Key Repeat When Holding Down a Key

January 4, 2016 · 22:18

Apple introduced an iOS feature to OS X some years back changing the behaviour of the keyboard. Traditionally, if a key was held down, the letter would start repeating itself on screeeeeeeeeen. This was changed to a popup which displayed various non-standard characters. I was never a fan of this, even though it does indeed simplify finding accented letters. This cannot be changed through System Preferences, but a quick visit to the Terminal can sort things out.

Continue reading →

Unhand Me! Will Let You Know When Someone Messes With Your iDevice →

January 4, 2016 · 10:58

Jake Underwood:

Unhand Me! aims to deter thieves by using voice and sound to draw attention to your iPhone or iPad once picked up. In addition to the very obvious audio, the app also pushes a notification to a specified device. From here, you can turn off the alarm or take the necessary action.

Seems like a unique and good implementation of a simple idea. Will have to try this out.

Randi Harper and FreeBSD — a Lesson in How Not to Treat Another Person →

January 4, 2016 · 10:56

Randi Harper:

I had talked to someone from the FreeBSD Foundation earlier on the phone about what was happening. During this same conversation, they actually said “maybe you should be nicer.” Literally. Said. That. To. Me. After this person had witnessed my talk and seen all the shit that had happened in the past year, I was tone policed by the FreeBSD Foundation…

A week later, I received an email from this person threatening to involve the FreeBSD Foundation lawyers…

I cannot even begin to imagine what went through the heads of the people at FreeBSD. Their (and many others) behaviour is completely unacceptable. I see these types of stories every few weeks and I just cannot understand why people would choose to act in this manner. I feel for Randi and anyone else ever placed in similar situations.

‘This Is Not the Plot Twist You Are Looking for’ →

January 2, 2016 · 10:14

Ben Ostrower:

I left the theater after my first (and even second) viewing entirely convinced that Rey is Luke Skywalker’s daughter. Duh. All signs point to this (the inheritance of the lightsaber, Maz Kanata’s cryptic insights, the final scene with Luke, etc). After all, the whole story is about the sins and redemptions of the Skywalker family, right?

While Ben’s theory is plausible, I don’t believe the writers were clever enough to come up with it. Oh, it’s full of spoilers, so don’t bother reading it until you’ve seen ‘The Force Awakens’.

David Silverman Interviews Don Melton →

January 2, 2016 · 10:12

David Silverman:

…nobody my age ever gets trapped on a desert island. They either crash into one and die, or they have “people” to take care of that and other little annoyances. I’m far too boring and cautious to ever go anywhere near a desert island anyway. And I’m fine with that.

George R. R. Martin Writes Using WordStar 4.0 for DOS →

January 2, 2016 · 09:55

George R. R. Martin in a comment below his post:

Never. And you know why? Because I write my fiction with WordStar 4.0 on a DOS machine. Stable as a rock, with none of the glitches of Windows-based systems.

I’d probably use my favourite Ulysses [iOS | Mac], but I have to admire the geek in him — just setting it up today is not exactly easy. I wonder what kind of hardware he’s running too…

via @antichrista

Rumoured iPhone 6C With Larger Battery Than 5S and 2 GB of RAM →

December 30, 2015 · 07:26

Joe Rossignol:

Apple’s so-called “iPhone 6c” will have a 1,642 mAh battery, slightly larger than the iPhone 5s battery’s 1,570 mAh capacity, according to Chinese website MyDrivers…

The report, citing “insider Foxconn employees,” also corroborates multiple rumors claiming the 4-inch iPhone will feature an A9 processor, 2GB of RAM, 16GB base storage, Touch ID and the same 2.5d curved glass used on the iPhone 6 and later.

While the 6C makes sense — it will most probably slot in at the bottom of the pack, while at the same time being more affordable and faster than the current 5S — I still can’t believe there will be a new(ish) 4″ iPhone. I’d love for it to have a camera and SoC on par with the 6S Plus however, even though I know this won’t happen.

Microsoft Uploads Windows 10 Encryption Keys to Their Servers →

December 30, 2015 · 07:23

Micah Lee:

ONE OF THE EXCELLENT FEATURES of new Windows devices is that disk encryption is built-in and turned on by default, protecting your data in case your device is lost or stolen. But what is less well-known is that, if you are like most users and login to Windows 10 using your Microsoft account, your computer automatically uploaded a copy of your recovery key — which can be used to unlock your encrypted disk — to Microsoft’s servers, probably without your knowledge and without an option to opt out.

It’s as if they want you to go and get a Mac.

Leaked Photos of the Fujifilm X-Pro2 →

December 30, 2015 · 07:21

Michael Zhang:

Fujifilm helped kick off the mirrorless camera revolution back in 2012 by announcing the powerful retro-styled X-Pro1 camera. Now it appears that a follow-up will soon be upon us: the first official photos of the new Fujifilm X-Pro2 have leaked.

This might be ‘my next’. Or rather a companion to my Fuji X100T.

Apple Exhibition in Prague →

December 28, 2015 · 16:56

Andrii Degeler:

Although the official Apple Store is yet to come to the capital of the Czech Republic, the city has recently seen the launch of the Apple Museum, which claims to host the largest private exhibition of its kind.

Housed in three buildings in Prague’s old town, the museum has an extensive list of 472 exhibits on display—from nearly every Apple product ever built to Steve Jobs’ business cards from his times at NeXT and Pixar.

The iPad Pro Smart Keyboard vs. The Microsoft Surface Pro 4 Type Cover

December 25, 2015 · 17:16

I’ve wanted to write about so many things during these past few weeks, but I never could find the time to get into them. One of those on hold have been my thoughts and first impressions of the Surface Pro 4, which I had on loan for a few weeks. It coincided with the time when I bought my iPad Pro. A few of the more interesting aspects of the two are the keyboards, hardware design and ergonomics of Apple’s and Microsoft’s products.

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