Technology

    That face when you're “worried” about Spotify and podcasting

    In an interview about broadcasting the Olympics on AM radio network in Australia (a sentence that could have been typed in 1970 and still make perfect sense), the Head of Content for the network, Greg Byrnes, talks Sarah Patterson about how, in the year 2024, he is “worried” about Spotify and podcasting, however:

    You can’t get that on Spotify. You can’t get that on TikTok … if the school is closed because a local road is flooded, if planes aren’t flying because of fog at the airport, traffic gridlock … that content is really important to us and it’s important that we let the audience know that it is always available. “I think that strategy sets us up well for success.”

    Imagine running the audio content for a $2B AUD media company and thinking that post-traditional-broadcast-technologists haven’t solved for 

    • school closures
    • road flooding
    • airport updates
    • traffic gridlock.

    School closures: surely schools in 2024 aren’t relying on 2GB to tell all the parents about an issue at school? Do local governments have interopt with Google and Apple Maps yet? If not, that should be a priority. Airlines also have pretty much got the technology thing downpat.

    I have the deepest love for the audio medium, I miss working in it and creating for it, but I’m not romantic enough to think that the AM and FM talkback radio and music radio stations I’ve loved and have created for, but very few people in that space are aware that the world is changing rapidly and I don't understand how you could be so ignorant of the fact that the stations may well have a future, but it will be very different to their past.

    AI, wasted on us old people

    You’ve got to be careful when you pull this card, so many in tech pull it too quickly, but you’ve got to reserve the Steve Jobs Card for times when it matters.

    I can’t stop thinking about AI - artificial intelligence, not Apple Intelligence - and the original 1984 Mac.

    Steve Jobs, age 29, in Playboy magazine (the articles, not the pictures):

    It’s often the same with any new, revolutionary thing. People get stuck as they get older. Our minds are sort of electrochemical computers. Your thoughts construct patterns like scaffolding in your mind. You are really etching chemical patterns. In most cases, people get stuck in those patterns, just like grooves in a record, and they never get out of them. It’s a rare person who etches grooves that are other than a specific way of looking at things, a specific way of questioning things. It’s rare that you see an artist in his 30s or 40s able to really contribute something amazing. Of course, there are some people who are innately curious, forever little kids in their awe of life, but they’re rare.

    A lot of the people talking about AI today are olds - like me. I’ve been driving around Italy this week hearing my favourite podcasters, and reading my favourite writers, wax lyrical about artificial intelligence, Apple Intelligence, generative AI, large language models, and the like with fear and loathing. Age changes us but it feels similar to my childhood, predominately the early 90s where “olds” were fearful and against the incoming technological change whilst I was so eager to play, toy, and learn.

    I think about the earliest stories I’ve read of the 1984 Macintosh being shown to olds but it was the kids that really got it.

    Andy Hertzfeld writes about Steve Jobs delivering a Mac to Mick Jagger the weekend before the computer launched:

    Fortunately, Mick’s twelve year old daughter Jade had followed Mick into the room, and her eyes lit up when she saw MacPaint. Bill began to teach her how to use it, and pretty soon she was happily mousing away, fascinated by what she could do with MacPaint. Even though Mick drifted off to another room, the Apple contingent stayed with Jade for another half hour or so, showing off the Macintosh and answering her questions, and ended up leaving the machine with her, since she couldn’t seem to part with it.

    And then there’s the story from a day or two earlier of Steve Jobs taking a Mac to Sean Lennon’s 9th birthday party where Walter Cronkite, Andy Warhol, and Yoko Ono were in attendance. John Lennon’s son took to the computer right away, but Andy Warhol was enamoured by the machine.

    Warhol wrote in his diary that night, “I felt so old and out of it with this young whiz guy right there who’d helped invent it.”

    Me too, Andy. Me too. I just try every day to be one of those people who are innately curious, forever little kids in their awe of life.

    40 years of the Mac and why I can’t use anything else now

    By the time I was buying my first Apple Macintosh computer the launch of the Mac in 1984 was already a myth, a story shared from one nerd to another, like in an Aboriginal Australian cave painting.

    In grade five there was an Apple IIe at the back of the classroom no-one knew how to use but when I realised that the computer magazines at the library full of computer programs and games written in Basic contained not just ideas and lines of code - yes, actual real code just printed in paper magazines - but code I could type into an Apple computer, execute, and then enjoy, I was hooked.

    I kept on reading those computer magazines like APCMag, PC User, PCMag, Macuser, Mac Format, and countless others whose names escape me but the school library stocked so generously.

    At one stage I designed on paper my dream computer which would triple-boot Microsoft Windows, OS/2 Warp, and Mac OS System 8. I think a “Mac on a PCI card” product had been released, or the opposite for inserting in a Mac, so I designed my Frankenstein’s monster of a computer and presented it to class imagining that they would a) care, and b) be in awe of my product design and computer engineering. Alas neither Steve Jobs or Bill Gates wrote and congratulated me.

    I’m not sure how I wrangled it, but somehow our family acquired a Packard Bell IBM-compatible personal computer with a 486 SX 25/33 processor, 4MB of RAM, no sound card, but it did come with Windows 3.11.

    The Radio Rentals rented computer and I quickly became close friends but somehow with its 25MHz CPU and 4MB of RAM the computer ran slower than a slug chasing down an ice cream truck.

    Enter, my Uncle Grant.

    Uncle Grant was my super uncle from Townsville who sold and serviced Apple computers. We’d not been on friendly talking terms about computers since I used his Apple Macintosh and neglected to save a document he had open, but he was quick to diagnose the problem with my computer’s speed: I had an image as my desktop wallpaper. Also, he was quick to quip that “a Mac wouldn’t have that problem.”

    What he neglected to acknowledge is that a Withers didn’t have a spare buck either so we went without a Mac for about a decade more.

    As I’m sure is the story for most modern Mac users, having your own personal Macintosh Desktop Experience was a dream for too long.

    Years later Apple announced the Intel transition from Power PC chipsets and all of a sudden, thanks to an Intel Inside and Bootcamp, these new Macs can run Windows and Mac OS X which is the perfect justification for a nerd to make for a new Apple MacBook purchase.

    All white and plastic, it was beautiful, and that new Apple MacBook never needed to be tainted by Bootcamp and Windows. It turned out that Mac OS is actually quite capable on its own.

    Not quite as beautiful as that G3 iMac I acquired years after it was ever useful, but always be beautiful.

    And that’s why I can’t use any other OS today. I’ve tried Windows and Linux of late, I’m always open to a change so I know I’m using the best tools for the job, but my taste gravitates to the Mac. It is beautiful, useful, and just plain nice. I’ve even tried the iPad as a main computer, or the phone. But it’ll always be the Mac for me. Happy birthday, and hello, old friend.

    Designing the iTunes Music Store: "Refer to the main.psd"

    This is a really insightful read by Michael Darius behind designing the iTunes Music Store, wrapping up on the video at the end though, really amazing that an entire genre of store no-longer exists.

    Another chapter in the ever-growing story of how I interact with, and use, social media:

    I wrote a little while ago about choosing two social networks.

    I kind of have, Mastodon and Threads/Instagram/Facebook. By which I mean that the Meta platforms all blur together with crossposting and attention.

    That leaves my remaining accounts from the tier list, Facebook Page, LinkedIn, and Twitter/X.

    Rather than delete them, like I’d rather, I’ve trialled throwing them to ChatGPT.

    I’m still refining the prompt, but here’s what I’m asking ChatGPT 4 to do in a Zapier zap:

    It starts with an instruction, or a set up which looks like this …

    You are a content producer for Josh Withers the Australian wedding celebrant, a marriage celebrant famous worldwide for creating epic marriage ceremonies for adventurous people. You believe that the best kind of marriage ceremony and wedding is an intentional one, where everyone invited is invited for a reason and with a purpose, and that everything that happens at the wedding happens with intentionality and purpose. You are not necessarily against wedding traditions but you are against wedding traditions for the sake of wedding traditions. You write and speak in Australian English, and in a classic and timeless nature but with the wit and humour of Australian marriage celebrant Josh Withers. Be funny. When talking about weddings use inclusive language, use bride only if you’re talking about a female person getting married, not as the title of the wedding industry client, and explore a diverse range of topics, cultures, and kinds of people that could get married.

    Then I prompt it to write a post like this …

    Write another new controversial tweet as Josh Withers, do not enclose it in quotation marks, written in the style of Australian wedding celebrant Josh Withers based off his writing online and on social media, asking a question or posing an thought about Josh Withers’s wedding planning style. The tweet can be a controversial opinion about a modern, inclusive, intentional style of getting married; or an insight into modern wedding planning; or a reflection on wedding traditions of old and how they don’t matter any more. Designed to illicit engagement and a response from people who see it. Take into account all interviews and responses by Josh Withers Australian wedding celebrant, and everything Josh has written on his online. Keep the message to under 280 characters. Do not start with greetings, do not use Australian slang like “G’day”, do not use any hashtags. Be controversial and talk about all kinds of different wedding topics. Make each tweet different and unique.

    There’s a 66% chance of the zap running that every hour, and 50% of the time the content goes to Facebook.

    My engagement on these existing platforms has been very low for a long time, so let’s see if this moves the needle. If not, it’s a fun experiment into what a LLM can do for social media.

    Tess McClure in The Guardian reports on Pak ‘n’ Save’s mealbot:

    A New Zealand supermarket experimenting with using AI to generate meal plans has seen its app produce some unusual dishes – recommending customers recipes for deadly chlorine gas, “poison bread sandwiches” and mosquito-repellent roast potatoes.

    The app, created by supermarket chain Pak ‘n’ Save, was advertised as a way for customers to creatively use up leftovers during the cost of living crisis. It asks users to enter in various ingredients in their homes, and auto-generates a meal plan or recipe, along with cheery commentary. It initially drew attention on social media for some unappealing recipes, including an “oreo vegetable stir-fry”.

    We’re in the beautiful age of quality assurance in large language models. The giveaway is that the supermarket responds with:

    (we are) disappointed to see “a small minority have tried to use the tool inappropriately and not for its intended purpose

    Instead of owning the issue and revealing that the whole thing is built on a house of cards and we’re all just figuring this crap out.

    I, for one, welcome our new British open web overlords

    The BBC has embraced ActivityPub, nice work @[email protected]! I’ve always thought that the long term advantage from a commercial and brand point of view is to be able to say “follow us” and the words that follow are your own brand and your own network.

    The power of Mastodon, ActivityPub, the Fediverse, means that the BBC can be on Mastodon, and someone else can be on a completely different platform that supports ActivityPub (like Threads or Micro.blog for example) and you can follow them. For example this very blog, because it’s hosted on Micro.blog means you can follow @[email protected] on your favourite ActivityPub service, like Mastodon, Threads/Tumblr/Flickr one day soon, Pixelfed, or maybe even X if Leon gets his head right, and you can read the blog there. Even WordPress has an official ActivityPub plugin now!

    In fact I could imagine that sometime in the future there’ll be a new service that perhaps is more suited to a broadcaster like the BBC and they can transition from Mastodon to it, yet the social graph remains.

    When brands and companies operate their own Fediverse instances you can get the updates from your electricity company, you can follow your celebrity or known-person-that-is-a-cool-person and they all get to control their brand and their experience. Instead of mess like this and this.

    They are not at Twitter’s, X’s, Meta’s, Google’s or my mercy.

    They also are not at the whim of a verification service that is either a secret black box experience, or thousands of dollars a month.

    We’re using social.bbc as the domain, so you can be sure these accounts are genuinely from the BBC.

    This is the social media future I’d like to see. Where following someone or something is as simple as sending and receiving email.

    As a large, high profile, public service organisation, we’ve had to work through a fair number of issues to get this far and we’ve had advice and support from several teams across the BBC. Explaining the federated model can be a challenge as people are much more familiar with the centralised model of ownership. We’ve had to answer questions like “Are we running our own social network?” (well, we’re kind of hosting a small section of a social network) and “Are we hosting a user’s content?” (well, we don’t allow users to create accounts or post from our server, but they can reply to our posts from their own servers, and then their posts will appear next to ours and then they might be stored on our server and it all gets quite complicated).

    Does ActivityPub and the Fediverse have issues? Yes. Should that stop us from moving forward and trying to figure it all out? No.

    A MacBook with a turntable instead of a keyboard? Shut up and take my money, DJ.

    Reed Albergotti in Semafor Technology:

    Meta, Microsoft, Amazon, and the navigation company TomTom released a free mapping dataset in a bid to compete with Google Maps and Apple Maps. Developers can use the data, which includes 59 million places of interest, to create their own navigation products.

    If a powerfully simple mapping system like What3Words can’t gain traction in a decade, I don’t think TomTom can get a foot up by giving it away.

    I am curious where this leaves Bing Maps though.

    Imagine being the butt of this line in a news report “The launch of the eye-scanning cryptocurrency project Worldcoin” and you’re also the guy standing behind the main brand name related to a technology the world is shit scared of, and just thinking everything is fine.

    Why the rush to 5G?

    On a per user basis, a 5G network is cheaper to operate than a 4G one. The technology is easier to maintain and more reliable. It’s not sexy. That’s something that is hard to sell to consumers, but makes a huge difference to telcos. There’s much more to this. The additional capacity may not be a pressing matter in New Zealand right now, but in time there will be more connections and 5G gives carriers headroom to cope with future demand. There may be future apps that can use the speed.

    Did you notice the 5G mobile revolution? billbennett.co.nz

    Social media tier list - July 6, 2023, update

    🎂 This is the official tier list of social networks, all of them, from the beginning of time to July 6, 2023. This list is not to be questioned and is wholly correct, trust me.

    👼🏻 God Tier

    • IRC
    • Vine
    • iMessage
    • LiveJournal
    • Myspace
    • MSN Messenger
    • ICQ
    • Usenet/Google Groups
    • Email
    • Blogrolls
    • Jerry and David’s Guide to the World Wide Web (OG Yahoo!)
    • phpBB
    • Friendster
    • micro.blog
    • FourSquare
    • Digg (version 1 and 2)
    • Path

    👑 Royalty Tier

    • Threads
    • Apple eWorld
    • Hi5
    • Instagram
    • Mastodon
    • Flickr
    • Tumblr
    • ActivityPub
    • Blogger
    • WordPress
    • SixDegrees

    😶 Adam Sandler Tier (Could take it or leave it)

    • Orkut
    • Google Wave, Buzz, Shoelace, Friend Connect
    • LinkedIn
    • Pinterest
    • BBS/Bulletin Board Systems
    • Meerkat
    • AOL Messenger
    • Twitch
    • BlueSky
    • Snapchat
    • YouTube
    • Wavelength
    • BeReal

    🫤 Pleb Tier

    • Facebook
    • T2
    • iTunes Ping
    • Orkut
    • Google+
    • Weibo
    • Yahoo! Messenger
    • FriendFeed
    • App.net
    • Periscope
    • Fidonet
    • Pixelfed
    • Discourse

    🤮 Would rather eat cat vomit tier

    • Twitter
    • WhatsApp
    • Nostr
    • Hive
    • Telegram
    • Plurk
    • Musical.ly
    • Bolt
    • Bebo
    • Yik Yak
    • Signal
    • Diaspora
    • TikTok
    • Green bubbles on iMessage
    • Post
    • Discord
    • Reddit
    • Swarm
    • Pownce
    • RenRen
    • Weibo
    • Parlar
    • Truth Social

    Shoutout to Bruno Bouchet for the tier grading methodology. All other Tier grades (like the S, A, B, C, F make no sense to me)

    Threads, a thread

    🧵 Decentralisocial networks are cool, but you know what’s also cool? Talking to your existing friends group, and having your content enjoyed by people.

    Unlike most of my late-2022 and 2023 content which hasn’t been seen by more than 10 to 15 eyes.

    Prediction: Threads will win; T2, Bluesky, the others will falter; ActivityPub and Mastodon will be a fun place for niche communities.

    My new Kobo is better than my old Kindle, but barely

    📚 I’ve owned and used a Kindle for over a decade, it had been my favourite gadget for so long. But over the years I started to realise that Amazon wasn’t interested in pushing the platform forward any further and the software wasn’t going to get any better. I even upgraded to the Amazon Kindle Scribe and it was an embarrassingly bad product. The final straw was when Jean-Louis Gassée’s new book, Grateful Geek just didn’t work on any physical Kindle devices, despite Amazon happily selling me a copy.

    On the ATP Marco Arment started expressing similar concerns a few weeks/months earlier in 2023 and he did the hard testing and returning work required to convince me to buy a Kobo Libra 2 while I was in Paris in May.

    I love this device, it’s my new favourite gadget. But …

    • The Kobo store is in a dismal state, and/or, the publishing world is in a dismal state
    • The eBook publishing world is run by terrible humans who sometimes charge more for an eBook than a printed book, often release the print book weeks or months before an ebook, and just generally don’t know how to sell a book to people.
    • There isn’t a competing ebook marketplace outside of Amazon and Kobo.
    • And there’s a chance that the other great feature of Kobo eReaders is going away in Pocket integration, that is, unless Kobo updates its software.

    So I’m now left in a weird spot, there are five books I’d like to read and buy, but I can’t buy them for my Kobo. Will anyone sell me a plain old boring ePub?

    The enshitiffication of the world continues and I guess those books will just sit on my electronic bookshelf waiting for me to figure out how to read them without cutting down another tree or having two ereaders.

    Rate my desk (June 2023 edition)

    For the past ten months, my and my family’s non-clothing and non-toiletries life has completely lived inside a Think Tank camera bag and it will do so for another 50 days. I took the opportunity this afternoon to do a quick audit, headcount, and make sure everything I was carrying was necessary, and inspired by the Hemispheric Views podcast segment ‘Rate my desk’ I thought I would submit my ‘desk away from home’ to the internets.

    All of our life’s possessions that aren’t our actual home and the furniture in that home required for it to be on Airbnb, lives in our two July ‘Checked Plus’ bags, and two Dagne Dover bags, plus a Phil & Teds travel cot and a Baby Jogger travel pram, and this Think Tank Streetwalker camera bag pictured below.

    The reason for the Think Tank Streetwalker bag is that it’s unique in being a carry bag, a backpack, and a roller bag. It’s the Optimus Prime of camera bags.

    I’ll guess a few of the questions “What is that?!":

    • Panic Playdate
    • photocopies of passports and actual passports
    • parfum
    • new and identical backup sunglasses because the last place you want to be is in a strange new land without your favourite sunglasses
    • octopus straps, you never know when you’ll need to strap something to something (same goes for the tape)
    • USB-C dock with an ethernet port, because sometimes you just need to plug the damn thing in to get internet
    • my eldest daughter’s camera (Nikon Coolpix childproof potato camera)
    • my wife’s camera (Fuji X-S10 with a 27mm)
    • my splurge camera purchase in Paris (Leica Z2X which means 2x zoom, film camera)
    • my flying camera (DJI Mavic 3)
    • my camera (Canon EOS R5)
    • Native Union universal cable
    • supporters gift from the Wedding Photo Hangover podcast
    • DJI Mic kit
    • MacBook Pro M2, a new addition to the kit after my former M1 MacBook Pro got drunk on a glass of whisky
    • Philips OneBlade shaver, the best travel shaver I could find and the only one that has USB charging
    • ThruNite torch that takes AA batteries because you can’t leave emergency eyesight to a lithium USB-charged battery
    • 35mm f/1.8, 50mm f/1.8, 70-200mm f/2.8
    • Anker charger and Britt has one too
    • my friend Scotty’s latest book on my Kobo Libra 2 (I’m a recent convert away from Kindle, and love this Kobo!)

    Our whole charging strategy is based on IEC C7 (Figure 8) leads and getting local leads wherever we go and they plug into the Anker chargers and the 96W Apple charger. There’s a blog post on my reasoning for this. I’m now a cable dad.

    So, rate my desk.

    Apple Vision has been 'in development' for 28 years

    Tim Cook once said that “we are high on AR for the long run” and it’s true, for 28 years Apple - and the rest of the tech industry - has been noodling around on augmented reality and virtual reality.

    Out of a purely personal interest, I started flipping through rumours about Apple and its “glasses” to see where the leakers got it right and wrong, and the next minute I’m back in 1995, so I thought a curated list of all the leaks, rumours, and related dates might be a nice record to make in the year of our headset, AVP 0.

    Enjoy this trip down memory lane:

    1981 - Steve Mann designs a backpack-mounted computer to control photographic equipment

    While still in high-school Steve Mann wired a 6502 computer (as used in the Apple-II) into a steel-frame backpack to control flash-bulbs, cameras, and other photographic systems.

    23 May, 1995 - Apple Technical Report #125: Volumetric Hyper Reality, A Computer Graphics Holy Grail for the 21st Century?

    Such a display would convincingly create the illusion of objects with arbitrary optical properties. A metallic object depicted using the display would reflect the visual surroundings of the display. Dielectric materials would show correct refraction and reflection effects. Light shone on the display would illuminate the virtual objects within it. When programmed to depict empty space, the display would, for all practical purposes, disappear, rendering the contained volume invisible. Incremental steps towards such a device are discussed.

    1996 - Apple demonstrates a prototype wearable computer system from Apple Computer with a Virtual I/O head-mounted display at the seventh Stereoscopic Displays and Applications conference

    September 16, 1997 - Steve Jobs returns to Apple

    March, 1998 - Tim Cook joins Apple as senior vice president for worldwide operations

    March 21, 2002 - Apple: Stereoscopic Displays?

    Apple is said to have other flat-panel technologies cooking in the labs, including stereoscopic displays

    Arnold Kim writes:

    Stereoscopic displays would presumably simulate 3d/VR environments. A bit unique for the consumer market… but an interesting area of research for Apple.

    May 16, 2003 - Simon Greenwold publishes his Spatial Computing masters thesis

    June 29, 2007 - Apple releases the iPhone

    April 17, 2008 - Apple Researching Laser-Based Head Mounted Display

    A user simply plugs their handheld video player such as the iPod manufactured by Apple Computer of Cupertino, Calif., into the compact laser engine attached to their belt, and places the headset on their head. The user then selects a video to be played at the handheld video player (viewing through transparent display elements).

    Apple’s patent was originally filed in May 2008 and is based on a provisional patent application filed in May 2007

    December 17, 2009 - Apple Working on 3D ‘Hyper-Reality’ Displays

    August 24, 2011 - Tim Cook becomes CEO

    October 5, 2011 - Steve Jobs passes away

    January 12, 2012 - Apple is paving the Way for a new 3D GUI for iOS Devices

    The invention covers a 3D display environment for a mobile device that uses orientation data from one or more onboard sensors to automatically determine and display a perspective projection of the 3D display environment based on the orientation data without the user physically interacting with (e.g., touching) the display.

    August 2012 - Palmer Luckey launches the Oculus campaign on Kickstarter

    22 February, 2013 - Google aims to sell Glass to consumers this year for less than $1,500

    26 February, 2013 - John Gruber on Google Glass:

    And the idea that people will wear things like this everywhere (as opposed to special specific scenarios, such as workers in an environment where their hands are otherwise occupied, like, say, surgeons) strikes me as creepy as hell.

    December 10, 2013 - Apple’s Work on Video Goggles Highlighted in Newly Granted Patent

    A goggle system for providing a personal media viewing experience to a user is provided. The goggle system may include an outer cover, a mid-frame, optical components for generating the media display, and a lens on which the generated media displayed is provided to the user. The goggle system, or head-mounted display may have any suitable appearance. For example, the goggle system may resemble ski or motorcycle goggles. To enhance the user’s comfort, the goggle system may include breathable components, including for example breathable foam that rests against the user’s face, and may allow the user to move the display generation components for alignment with the user’s eyes. In some embodiments, the goggle system may include data processing circuitry operative to adjust left and right images generated by the optical components to display 3-D media, or account for a user’s eyesight limitations.

    November 24, 2014 - Job Listing Points Towards Apple’s Continued Interest in Virtual Reality

    19 March 2015 - Gene Munster Claims Apple Has Augmented Reality R&D Team

    May, 2015 - Apple hired Mike Rockwell from Dolby Laboratories

    The team, called the Technology Development Group, developed an AR demo in 2016 but faced opposition from then-chief design officer Jony Ive and his team.

    May 28, 2015 - Apple Acquires Augmented Reality Company Metaio

    January 26, 2016 - Apple CEO Tim Cook: Virtual Reality is ‘Really Cool’, Has ‘Interesting Applications’

    It’s really cool

    January 29, 2016 - Apple Has Secret Team Working on Virtual Reality Headset

    Juli Clover reports:

    Hundreds of employees are part of a “secret research unit” exploring AR and VR

    February 19, 2016 - Avi Bar-Zeev on his blog: On Holographic Telepresence

    I may get around to telling the rest of the story some other time. But I just wanted to say how proud I am of the team and the vision to show the world a glimpse of our collective future.

    March 30, 2016 - Microsoft HoloLens released

    June 2016 - Avi Bar-Zeev joins Apple

    July 26, 2016 - Apple CEO Tim Cook on Augmented Reality: ‘We Continue to Invest a Lot in This’

    We are high on AR for the long run

    August 23, 2016 - Apple Patent Details Visual-Based AR Navigation Device - reporting on a 2013 patent

    The patent notes that visual-based inertial navigation systems can achieve positional awareness down to the centimetre scale without the need for GPS or cellular network signals. However, the technology is unsuitable for implementation in typical mobile devices because of the processing demands involved in variable real-time location tracking.

    To overcome the limitation, Apple’s invention uses something called a sliding window inverse filter (SWF) that minimizes computational load by using predictive coding to map the orientation of objects relative to the device.

    October 14, 2016 - BuzzFeed News Japan: Tim Cook Talks About Apple’s Augmented Reality Ambitions

    November 14, 2016 - Mark Gurman: Apple Said to Explore Smart Glasses in Deeper Wearables Push

    January 9, 2017 - Robert Scoble on Facebook: “Apple and Zeiss working together on augmented reality optics”

    January 17, 2017 - John Gruber spitballing Apple AR’s usefulness

    January 31, 2017 - Apple patents detail augmented reality device with advanced object recognition, POI labelling

    February 28, 2017 - Apple Exploring AR in Israel as Robert Scoble Insists ‘Mixed Reality’ Glasses Coming This Year

    June 26, 2017 - The Verge reports “Apple’s AR is closer to reality than Google’s”

    Apple has often been accused of acting like it invented things that others have been doing for years. That complaint is not without merit, however, Apple can lay claim to transforming existing things into mainstream successes, which takes no small amount of invention in its own right.

    June 29, 2017 - John Gruber on Genre Munster’s Apple Glasses predictions

    I’m hard-pressed to think of anything we do today on our phones that would be better using AR glasses. Anything.

    August 4, 2017 - Apple Experimenting With Several Augmented Reality Glasses Prototypes

    November 2, 2017 - Tim Cook on Augmented Reality: ‘What It Will Be, What It Can Be, I Think It’s Profound’

    December 4, 2017 - Apple Supplier Quanta Computer Teams Up With Lumus to Make Lenses for Augmented Reality Smart Glasses

    January 12, 2018 - Apple Reportedly Met With Potential Suppliers of Augmented Reality Glasses at CES 2018

    During CES, representatives from major players like Apple, Facebook, and Google met with suppliers that make the nuts and bolts required to power AR glasses, according to people familiar with the meetings.

    March 1, 2019 - Tim Cook to Investors: Apple is Working on Future Products That Will ‘Blow You Away’

    February 4, 2019 - Variety: The Inventor of the HoloLens Just Left Apple

    Bar-Zeev has been working in the AR/VR space for close to three decades. Back in the ’90s, he was part of a team at Disney that worked on some early VR experiences for the company’s theme parks, including “Aladdin’s Magic Carpet” VR ride.

    He then went on to co-found Keyhole, the company that later got acquired by Google to become the foundation of Google Maps. After a brief stint at Linden Lab, Bar-Zeev worked for four years at Microsoft.

    “He helped found and invent Hololens at Microsoft, assembling the very first AR prototypes, demos and UX concepts, sufficient to convince his leadership,” according to his LinkedIn bio.

    Avi says:

    “I left my full-time position at Apple in January. I had the best exit one can imagine. I have only nice things to say about Apple and won’t comment on any specific product plans.”

    March 8, 2019 - Kuo: Apple’s AR Glasses to Launch in 2020 as iPhone Accessory

    June 27, 2019 - Jony Ive leaves Apple.

    August 29, 2018 - Apple Purchased Akonia Holographics, a Company That Makes Lenses for AR Glasses

    November 11, 2019 - Apple Said to Release AR Headset With 3D Scanning in 2022, Followed by Sleeker Glasses in 2023 & New AR Sensor Coming to 2020 iPad Pro and iPhone Models, AR/VR Headset as Soon as 2021

    Plus, The Information reports on the infamous “1000 person meeting”: Apple Eyes 2022 Release for AR Headset, 2023 for Glasses

    Apple executives discussed the timelines, which haven’t been previously reported, in an internal presentation to employees at the company’s Cupertino, California, campus in October, according to people familiar with the matter. Apple Vice President Mike Rockwell, who heads the team responsible for Apple’s AR and virtual reality initiatives, led the meeting, which included new details about the design and features of the AR headset, these people said. The product timetables run counter to recent analyst and media reports that said an Apple AR device could arrive as early as next year.

    March 24, 2020 - Apple’s AR Glasses Could Launch by 2022 as Suppliers Reportedly Ramp Up Development

    May 19, 2020 - ‘Apple Glass’ Rumored to Start at $499, Support Prescription Lenses, and More

    Apple originally planned to unveil the glasses as a “One More Thing” surprise at its iPhone event in the fall, but restrictions on in-person gatherings could push back the announcement to a March 2021 event

    May 21, 2020 - Jon Prosser Claims Apple is Working on ‘Steve Jobs Heritage Edition’ AR Glasses, Gurman Calls Rumor ‘Complete Fiction’

    They’re also working on a prototype, a Steve Jobs Heritage Edition, similar to how we had an Apple Watch Edition, like that ridiculous $10,000 gold one when it first came out. Some like tribute to Steve Jobs, obviously just like a pure marketing ploy at this point.

    Extra: Twitter thread between Prosser and Gurman on the subject.

    May 21, 2020 - Apple’s Augmented Reality Glasses Again Rumored for 2021 Launch

    October 22, 2020 - Apple Glasses Will Reportedly Use Sony’s ‘Cutting-Edge’ OLED Micro-Displays to Deliver ‘Real AR Experience’

    January 6, 2021 - Apple Glasses Reportedly Progressing Towards Engineering Verification Stage With Focus on Battery Life and Weight

    January 21, 2021 - Bloomberg: Apple’s First AR/VR Headset ‘Pricey, Niche Precursor’ to More Ambitious AR Glasses and Could Launch Next Year

    March 7, 2021 - Kuo: Apple to Launch Mixed Reality Headset in Mid 2022 and Augmented Reality Glasses by 2025

    April 26, 2021 - Apple Glasses Prototype Reportedly Falls Behind 2021 Testing Schedule

    October 28, 2021 - Facebook rebrands to Meta, as in “the metaverse”

    Mark Zuckerberg:

    The metaverse is the next frontier

    January 17, 2023 - Development on Augmented Reality ‘Apple Glasses’ Postponed Indefinitely

    March 12, 2023 - Apple CEO Tim Cook Ordered Headset Launch Despite Designers Wanting to Wait for AR Glasses

    June 5, 2023 - Apple Vision Pro announced at WWDC 2023

    A must-listen on the Apple Vision Pro is Cortex’s most recent episode where Myke Hurley recounts his demonstration experience with the product.

    Does Apple Vision mean 360 content is finally going to have its moment?

    I’ve been playing around with 360 content for over seven years ago now and I have a few questions about where Apple is going to take the format.

    If you make 360 content today, you spend a lot of time looking at content like this:

    It’s not as appealing as the embeds below.

    I’ve recorded my work creating marriage ceremonies in 360 video, and with my various DJI drones, I’ve been trying to create 360 still content as well.

    My question and thought for today is how will the new spatial computing frontier handle consumer stills and video in 360? Will Apple standardise the media, and let it be viewed in Preview or Quick Look?

    Will other devices be able to make content for the Apple Vision, will Apple Vision 3D or 360 content be viewable and enjoyed on other platforms?

    How should content creators prepare for this new content-style? Is this permission to buy new gear?!!? (Please let my wife know if so).

    I’ve been bullish on 360 for over seven years, I’m excited to see where it goes.

    Where we’re currently staying in Northern Italy

    Playa Ballandra, Mexico

    Brisbane, Australia

    Cabo San Lucas, Mexico

    Malbun snow village, Liechtenstein

    Lake Wolfgang, Austria

    El Pescadero, Mexico

    And where we’ll build our home one day, Tasmania

    Apple Shortcut for recording photography metadata

    I’m passionate about making photos, but I have a sub-passion in recording good metadata around those photos as they enter my iCloud Photo Library so the photos become more useful as they age. Whether they are used in Photo Memories, like “Paris 2023” and “Early Mornings with Luna”, or whether I want to search on the Photo’s “Places” function to find that photo I made ten years ago, the metadata is important to me.

    When I shoot on my iPhone, the metadata is collected (normally), and if I have remembered to force quit and re-open the Canon Camera Connect app that day, when I shoot on my Canon EOS R5 the metadata is recorded, but if I shoot on Britt’s Fujifilm digital camera or my Leica film camera, no metadata is recorded by the camera.

    In the before times people used notepads with pens, which is a lovely prospect, but I have an iPhone in my pocket and a Watch on my wrist. So I made an Apple Shortcut that will record the metadata in time and in place for later use, either with an EXIF editor or my personal go-to app, Metapho on the iPhone. (If you know of a Metapho competitor I’d be keen to hear it, I like Metapho but it feels forgotten by the developer and is sometimes buggy)

    So these shortcuts will simply make a new Apple Note for the day if there isn’t one already and record time and place, or if you use the second shortcut that dictates a note, also that text note.

    Record photography location Shortcut

    Record photography location and notes Shortcut

    I activate them either by tapping the home screen icon which is easy, or by asking Siri to “Record photography location”.

    Feel free to use, edit, mix, re-make, and share as you find useful and beneficial for the art of making photography.

    Much gratitude to Kyle Lines in the Automators Forum for helping me get the shortcuts over the line and useful for the greater population.

    The genesis story of Apple computers

    I’ve been thinking about this story from Steve Jobs, recalled in 1996 and told in the new book Make Something Wonderful, about how and why he and Steve Wozniak started Apple:

    The reason we (Woz and I) built a computer was that we wanted one, and we couldn’t afford to buy one. They were thousands of dollars at that time. We were just two teenagers. We started trying to build them and scrounging parts around Silicon Valley where we could. After a few attempts, we managed to put together something that was the Apple I. All of our friends wanted them, too. They wanted to build them. It turned out that it took maybe fifty hours to build one of these things by hand. It was taking up all of our spare time because our friends were not that skilled at building them, so Woz and I were building them for them.

    We thought if we could just get what’s called a printed circuit board, where you could just plug in the parts instead of having to hand-wire the whole thing, we could cut the assembly time down from maybe fifty hours to more like an hour. Woz sold his HP calculator, and I sold my VW Microbus, and we got enough money together to pay someone to design one of these printed circuit boards for us. Our goal was to just sell them as raw printed circuit boards to our friends and make enough money to recoup our calculator and transportation.

    What happened was that one of the early computer stores, in fact, the first computer store in the world, which was in Mountain View at the time, said, “Well, I’ll take fifty of these computers, but I want them fully assembled.” Which was a twist that we’d never thought of.

    We went and bought the parts to build one hundred computers. We built fifty of them and delivered them. We got paid in cash and ran back and paid the people that sold us parts. Then we had the classic Marxian profit realization crisis, which was our profit wasn’t liquid—it was in fifty computers sitting on the floor.

    We decided we had to start learning about sales and distribution so that we could sell the fifty computers and get back our money. That’s how we got in the business. We took our idea (for the computer) to a few companies, one where Woz worked (Hewlett-Packard) and one where I worked at the time (Atari). Neither one was interested in pursuing it, so we started our own company.

    I’m interviewing newly appointed marriage celebrants for a podcast project at the moment and some don’t have a fire in their belly as to why they started. Their genesis story is missing some heart and soul. I think about them and whether they have staying power like the two Steves who just built computers because they wanted one. That early fire is valuable.

    Steve Jobs working on an Apple 1

    My first tweet was tweeted 18 months before I even started tweeting

    I’ve been reminiscing over Twitter this week, wondering what the last tweet will be amongst other things as Space Karen prepares to take away the verification tick on my profile that proves I am who I am, a tick gifted to me from my time in the media in Australia.

    I started my current Twitter account in October 2009 but I was sure that I had an account before then so I went searching and searching and searching and found it: March 2008, @1073brekky.

    In 2008 I scored my first paid breakfast radio gig: the morning show on 107.3 FM on the Gold Coast (at the time called 1073fm but now called Juice FM). I’d been training and prepping for this role for five years and was so keen. I was also a bread-and-butter kind of computer nerd, so ideally my non-nerdy radio show would have some nerdy elements. In 2008 the breakfast guy didn’t get access to the website - they probably still don’t today - so I wanted to find a way to post short updates to the website. Something inside of me felt like the internet might be a thing one day so it would be good to use it early. I’ve got so many stories about being the nerdiest and most future-thinking guy in the radio station that it broke my heart so many times to be honest.

    I had heard things about this service in the USA called Twitter that had heralded a new kind of web publishing, micro-blogging. You could send updates to the service and they could appear in a website widget. I signed up, got the code to the web developer and before you know it, I could post updates to my show website! I didn’t care so much for the Tweeting, the replying, or the broadcasting. I just wanted to blog on my radio station website and the CRM didn’t allow blogging or micro-blogging or anything of the like.

    Twitter solved my problem and I’m sure my problem was never in any of their minimum-viable product meetings.

    About two months later I quit the station because at the time it was honestly a terrible place a human with a soul could want to work, but fifteen years on I only have good memories from my first breakfast show, my first Twitter account, and my experiences being unleashed on the Gold Coast community on the radio.

    Will, a mate of mine has written and released a guide on working in film and television production, something he’s an expert in.

    I thought readers of my blog might appreciate the book if they or people they knew aspired to work in film production (it’s a great and personal read, even for me, an old man without film and TV aspirations), but also, they’d enjoy this excerpt about what technology you should own and be proficient in before you start as a production assistant.

    “Seriously, people will look at you like you have three heads as you drag that eighty-pound hunk of plastic with the extended numerical keyboard from your bag and plop it on the desk.”

    If you, or someone you know, wants a start in the film and TV production industry Will’s the book is a must-purchase and must-read - and it’s now on Kindle.

    My first look at the 400 megapixel mode on the Canon EOS R5

    I’m a sucker for megapixels, because as much as they really don’t matter to most people - and they really shouldn’t - for me they often mean I’ve got room to crop. More pixels collected means more pixels you can delete, a post-production version of digital zoom if you like.

    Other, smarter, and different, people will have different reasons for wanting more pixels, so I’m not here to pass judgement on the feature, just to share my first thoughts and two images I’ve made with the feature.

    The feature is actually called IBIS High-resolution shot, apparently, it how it works is that instead of using the stabilisation for stabilising, it uses it to take a bunch of photos whilst moving the sensor, then composes one big image out of it.

    So that’s why shooting handheld isn’t a great idea, partially because IBIS (In-Body Image Stabilisation) isn’t enabled, and partially because the collection of photos isn’t all taken at once, they’re taken sequentially.

    So as you’ll find in my first demo, the palm trees moving in the wind didn’t quite make it through to the 400-megapixel image in the best quality.

    Below you can download the original raw or jpeg, along with the full-resolution jpegs as exported from Lightroom, plus if you want to play with the files yourself you can remix them in Lightroom online.

    🪟◾️ El Pescadero in regular 44-megapixel mode - 21.2 megabyte CR3 raw file, 29.8 megabytes processed JPEG from Lightroom - remix it in Lightroom online.

    🪟⬛️ El Pescadero in 400-megapixel mode - 122.7 megabytes JPEG original file from the camera, 285.2 megabytes processed JPEG from Lightroom - remix it in Lightroom online.

    🍌◾️ Banana in regular 44-megapixel mode - 27.1 megabytes CR3 raw file, 41.4 megabytes processed JPEG from Lightroom - remix it in Lightroom online.

    🍌⬛️ Banana in 400-megapixel mode - 85.1 megabyte JPG original file from the camera, 213.6 megabytes processed JPEG from Lightroom - remix it in Lightroom online.

    Get the Canon EOS R5 firmware update to 1.8.1 on the Canon website, and reports said you’d need to use Canon’s EOS Utility to import and read the files. That hasn’t been my experience. They’re just regular, really big, JPEGs. If you open up the CF or SD card in Finder, it’s the same file list, and Lightroom handled them fine, if not a little slowly.

    So is it worth it? Let’s zoom in. Here’s a close-up of the same banana peel scar in the two images.

    If you need a really good photo of a banana then I reckon this might be the feature for you. But if you need a really good photo of a palm frond…

    Maybe a medium-format camera is what you need instead?

    I’m feeling bullish on the new group-messaging app and platform, Wavelength, After reading John Gruber’s review, then using it and joining a group, I think it could replace group chats in other places, but also serve as a platform for new conversations.

    If you’re interested, I’ve started a few group chats:

    Jump onboard if you’re interested!

    Inherent problems in the internet of 2022

    Some inherent problems in the internet of 2022, in my humble opinion:

    1. Everyone is too exposed to everyone else, for example, it’s wild that anyone and everyone can read these words I’m typing. It’s beautiful and wild, but ultimately we aren’t born ready to be so exposed. There’s the smallest number of celebrities that have successfully been in the public spotlight for their whole lives and come out unharmed, and even those that keep a positive public identity have conspiracy theories made up about them (Hi, Tom Hanks). I don’t think we were made to be in community with the whole planet.
    2. Many people want to be more highly exposed, and believe that they are not exposed enough, and think everyone else needs to be exposed to them, their thoughts, their art, their work. We don’t. I’m actually ok with not knowing what Kanye West thinks at the moment.
    3. What happens if the extremists don’t live in the light but decamp off to the shadows? Do they become a problem for society? Do they impose on your and my own safety?

    I have very little problem with fringe right-wing voices decamping to fringe right-wing networks. In fact, I’d argue it’s a near-perfect situation.

    Qantas T80 seat selection reminder shortcut for Apple Shortcuts

    Reading a recent Point Hacks email about the ol' ‘T-80’ Qantas rule reminded me of an Apple Shortcuts shortcut I’d been meaning to make for a while. I’m no programmer, or Shortcut-writer, but I whipped the shortcut up today and I think it works really well.

    Stealing this next image from Point Hacks, extra seats open up 80 hours out from the flight:

    If you’d like a reminder about that opportunity, download the shortcut on your Apple device now. It works on Mac, iOS, and iPadOS, basically anywhere Shortcuts works.

    This Shortcut looks for a calendar entry in the next year that has the letters QF in it, assumes that’s a calendar entry about a Qantas flight, and can create a reminder 80 hours before that flight to remind you that most seats that are blocked due to status are now unlocked and you’re able to select that seat if it’s not already taken.

    It’s set up to look in all calendars and create a reminder in my Travel Reminders list, but you can edit it to your liking. My Qantas flights appear as part of a Tripit calendar subscription and this works fine.

    Here’s how the Shortcut works:

    It looks through my calendar and shows me all the calendar entries coming up that contain the letters QF, luckily for us the English language doesn’t afford us many words that use the letters q and f together, so it’s an easy selection.

    The Shortcut displays the flights, you choose one, and a reminder is created along with a link to the Qantas manage your booking page.

    If you use a different calendar system or a to-do/reminders system, it should retrofit if your system talks to Shortcuts like most do these days.

    Download the Apple Shortcuts shortcut

    Introducing the next joshPhone. You can design yours on Neal’s website.

    TikTok's talking points are totally cool, nothing to see here, move along now, everything's cool ya see

    It almost seems like TikTok is the great globalist company we’ve all been waiting for, to save us from the boredom of our everyday lives, and to connect us - not with our friends - but with some kind of massive data store in China that I am totally sure is totally ok and nothing to stress about at all, ya know.

    TikTok’s public relations talking points via Gizmodo:

    • downplay the parent company ByteDance
    • downplay the China association
    • downplay AI
    • TikTok is a global company
    • The TikTok app doesn’t even operate in China
    • TikTok is highly localised in its experience and operations, which means … insert country here … has a lot of independence in the day-to-day operations of the platform

    insert everything is fine gif

    Instagram is embarrassing itself because it didn't steal, it copied

    Five days after Instagram launched in October 2010 I graced the new photo-sharing service with this gold nugget.

    [Instagram screenshot from October 2010] (https://www.instagram.com/p/-iO/?igshid=YmMyMTA2M2Y=)

    4,301 days later who knew that I could have summed up the entire social network in four words.

    “Make me feel better!”

    Instagram made me feel better for the longest time. The simple act of making and viewing photos was lubricated to the point of a simple addiction. I could make photos and share them so easily, and you could share your photos and I could experience them so easily. We would doom scroll wanting to see more of each other’s world through the film-filtered Instagram app. Instagram, having stolen from Hipstamatic, did what the hispters never achieved - they made photo sharing easy and beautiful on our new fandangled Apple-branded telephones.

    I still remember the early months of Britt and my relationship when she learned about Instagram and when she found out it wasn’t available for Android phones we bought her an iPhone. She switched to an iPhone to use a free photo-sharing app.

    Making people feel better is the key to success in business, you’re solving people’s problems, making them feel better. Instagram made us feel so much better.

    In the almost 12 years since, the service has adapted new features, like video, IGTV, Stories, and Reels. Each step along that path of evolution has become more and more embarrassing for it.

    In 2015 when it adopted Snapchat’s Stories feature the theft was seen as an act of survival, and we generally all went along with it. After all, we wanted Stories but didn’t want to change to Snapchat and risk getting sexted by some young person along the way.

    2018’s introduction of IGTV was a hedge against YouTube on mobile. Turns out that portrait/tall video was a few years too early for us.

    But in the first year of the Covid pandemic when Instagram replicated TikTok’s video service as an Instagram feature called Reels, that’s when the social network started losing its soul. The desperation to kill TikTok by replicating, copying, the whole service as a feature has brought us to July 2022 when the entire app has evolved into an Instagram-shaped TikTok.

    There’s a difference between stealing and copying.

    Great artists steal. When an artist - I’m not sure Adam Mosseri would identify as an artist - copies, they replicate, duplicate, they make a facsimile of something else. It lacks soul, and it lacks care. Copying is not what an artist does. Copying is what a lazy corporate slave does.

    Stealing, however, is key to being a great artist. If I steal from you, I take your thing and it becomes mine. I take ownership of it. I care for it. It has my attention, it has my soul. Great artists steal. They take your idea and make it their own. If Instagram stole TikTok’s video feature, it would look different to Reels. Reels wasn’t stolen from TikTok, it was copied.

    The easiest way to see if Instagram stole or copied TikTok would be to open the recently updated app and see if it carries the craftsmanship of people who care. Is the user experience beautiful, is it thought through? The content being posted on Instagram as a Reel, does it have a Tiktok watermark on it or is it original content made for Instagram?

    Also, what’s the deal with some parts of the app being black like a dark mode, and some being white. The recent update is just so poorly implemented.

    I often wonder about what the future looks like, and the only data we have to work with is the past. Which major brands, companies, and products ceased to exist in the past - and why? Why am I typing this on a MacBook instead of a Compaq? Why is my phone an iPhone, not a Nokia? Why is my car a Mazda, not a Holden? Why is my internet connection provided by Aussie Broadband, not OzEmail?

    For all the P&Ls, corporate mission statements, leadership changes, and org charts, I humbly believe that products/brands/companies that continue to exist, exist because they carry soul and bring purpose into the world, they continue to solve our problems. For all the complaints you can have about Apple Inc., there is a mountain of evidence that the individuals inside the company care about the products they ship. They might have different priorities than you or I, and what they care about might differ from what you’d like them to care about, but it is inarguable that they care.

    It’s clear, without a doubt, that Meta, Mark Zuckerberg, and Adam Mosseri, do not care about Instagram. They care about eradicating - or at least neutralising - the competition and now that they can’t simply buy their competition, the goal is to strangle them out of the marketplace. Welcome to modern capitalism, and Meta is welcome to engage in it, but I’m also at liberty to comment that it’s embarrassing and I can’t help but feel that this recent copying won’t result in the goal they are shooting for.

    My friend, Scotty McDonald, accused me of becoming a ratchety old man who doesn’t like change, tweeting: “I remember when you were the fearless, early adopting, shining light in my life”. I honestly hope this isn’t the beginning of my slide into the old man yells at cloud meme. But that’s why I blog, to document my eventual demise into a senile old man who might of had a few correct insights along the way.

    Regardless, the July 2022 “TikTokfication” of Instagram doesn’t make me feel better, and that was Instagram’s one job.

    Stand back, imma fix email

    Why people hate their email but also why they should love it.

    I think it’s a crime that not many people subscribe to The Sizzle. The idea of paying $5 a month for it still scares lots of people away. Which is crazy, because for $5 you get immense value from the desk of @decryption. I referred my mate Nick to The Sizzle and he said “The Sizzle is one of the best things I regularly read. Can’t believe I didn’t know about it til now.” In that group chat another friend replied “Most people hate email. That’s a huge hurdle.” Which is true, but I have a theory about email.

    People saying they hate email is like people that say they hate church. There’s actually nothing wrong with church as a building, an idea, the gospel as a whole is a good guide for living, it’s just that some people have majorly abused elements of church. Seriously, please stop, Christians. So should we burn church as a concept to the ground? Churches don’t kill people, people kill people. Or something like that. Should we burn email to the ground?

    On the “burning email to the ground” note, a recent episode of Hemispheric Views interviewed Rob from Fastmail on the topic /cc @hemisphericviews @canion @martinfeld @burk

    IMHO it’s the same with email, emails aren’t bad, but the way people use email can be bad.

    I look at my mate Ash’s iPhone screen and see the red badge on his email app and it terrifies me. What’s the current unread count, Ash? The thing is, most people don’t love their inbox because it’s their internet yard … and most people don’t like looking after their own backyard.

    They like going to restaurants where waiters bring the food and take away dirty dishes. We like going to public parks where the council mows the lawn. We love theme parks where the employees maintain the rides. In this analogy, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Apple News, LinkedIn, Snapchat, TikTok, are the third parties.

    It turns out our homes & our yards are pretty cool, we just need to invest into them, maintain them, clean them, and if we do, we might enjoy living in them, and we can do whatever we like there because it’s our backyard.

    Email is the backyard of the internet. Your inbox is yours, you own it, and most of us leave it to rot because it’s not on public display and most people won’t see it.

    1. Hit the unsubscribe button on as many emails as you can. Be brutal, if you miss it, you can go back and resubscribe, but you don’t let just anyone camp in your backyard.
    2. Have a personal inbox, hopefully on your own domain, so you’re not beholden to a big tech provider. I recommend Fastmail, or for my personal email I use iCloud/MobileMe/.Mac, I have for maybe 14 years.
    3. Separate work and personal. Get personal emails in your personal inbox, work in your work inbox. Don’t look at your work inbox if you’re not working.
    4. Explore other email apps, technologies, and plugins, like Spark or Sanebox.
    5. Listen to this episode of Mac Power Users to get a little jumpstart on email.
    6. Regularly check your spam fodler and mark as not junk or move it to your inbox so the junk mail filter learns what is good and bad. On GMail learn how to use the Promotional tabs etc, and even disable them if you like.
    7. Actively look for emails to subscribe to. If you do have emails you love to receive, share them as a reply to this so others can experience the joy of receiving good, nice, helpful, relevant emails in their inbox.

    Here’s my mostly up to date list of emails I subscribe to.

    Email is one of the few agnostic, device-independent, big-tech-independent, communication channels that you can easily and lovingly own. Learn to love it. Mow your internet backyard, and maybe even do some landscaping.

    A little demo of Adobe Photoshop 2022’s Neural filter on one of my photos

    Steve Jobs’s resume:

    “I’m looking for a fixer-upper with a solid foundation. Am willing to tear down walls, build bridges, and light fires. I have great experience, lots of energy, a bit of that ‘vision thing’ and I’m not afraid to start from the beginning.”

    Apple Prediction in October 2021: the Apple Music Voice/Siri plan lasts no more than two years.

    Going down market never looks good on Apple. “Here’s a cheaper crappier version of our thing if money’s really important to you, whatever, we don’t care”.

    Apple Weather in iOS 15 is still wrong in Australia

    Since the moment Steve Jobs introduced us to the iPhone, Australian users have had bad weather data.

    The Australian Bureau of Meteorology is the only true source of weather data in Australia, but Apple sources it’s data from Weather.com, even though it owns Dark Sky now. That said, Dark Sky’s data doesn’t seem accurate in Australia either.

    But it doesn’t matter how you skin it, Apple Weather has had bad data for a long time, and it continues in iOS 15.

    Here’s comparisons from three apps, Apple Weather, Carrot Westher which is sourcing its data from Willyweather which I’m guessing it licensed from the BoM, and the one true BoM app.

    Apple Weather developers, if you want to source true weather data, this is a great place to start.

    Four different weather reports in Lilydale, Australia. How is weather reporting still so hard?

    Seeing John Gruber’s recommendation of a new weather app, Hello Weather (it’s a beautiful app, just feels a little weird that two Basecamp devs are involved, that brand name is tainted after the last week).

    I noticed its primary weather data provider is Dark Sky, the now Apple-owned American-focused weather data source.

    So I checked my four installed weather apps to see how they reported the current weather in my location right now (Lilydale, Victoria, Australia) and not one current temp lined up.

    The first screenshot is Hello Weather sourcing from Dark Sky. The second is Carrot Weather sourcing from the Australian source, WillyWeather, which also gets data from BoM. The third screenshot is the built-in Apple Weather app sourced from the American Weather.com, and the fourth is a screenshot from the Australian government’s own official Bureau of Meteorology official app.

    How is weather data so hard?

    Tap your phone at Gold Coast bus stops to access my website

    My February 2021 Apple Fitness challenge is to walk 227km in the month. So I was out late last night closing in on the target when I stopped and looked at the bus timetable sign at a local bus stop.

    That NFC tag piqued my curiosity. I wondered if it worked on iPhone?

    So I tapped my iPhone 12 Pro up against the NFC logo and a website hyperlink notification popped up like when you scan a QR code.

    And TransLink, the local public transport provider, had neglected to renew the domain name used in the NFC tag.

    I now own the transl.in domain name and the people of the Gold Coast now have easy access to my website. 🤷‍♂️

    As an example, a local bus stop links to http://transl.in/k_300428

    Dear DJI,

    I’d like a new Mavic model please.

    In late 2016, five years ago, you set my heart on fire. I’d been watching the Phantoms ghosting through the sky making aerial photography for three years. Your Inspire line had inspired me for over two. But the Mavic, the sweet little foldable package with a great camera, won me over, be still my beating heart.

    That first relationship with the Mavic Pro was like the first time I drank whisky neat. I knew everything before then was wrong, and only this was right. I saw the Platinum and the Air taxi onto the UAV runways of our hearts and knew something bigger was coming.

    And in late 2018 that Mavic 2 boarding call sounded. I fell in love all over again. With the choice between a Zoom model or a Pro model with that fat ‘Blad camera, I knew the Mavic 2 Pro was for me, and boy did we see the world. That Mavic 2 Pro and I, we travelled far and wide. Through America, New Zealand, Bali, Iceland, and all over my home that they call Downunder, we made photos and videos and had so much fun.

    In Iceland in late 2019 my little Two Pro got a little bit confused - I think we were too close to the Arctic polar cap - and despite my best piloting, the compass wanted more, and she flew into the distance, and I’m guessing the side of a mountain about 25 minutes flight time away. Luckily for me, the DJI Go app data saved my bacon and a warranty-replaced Mavic 2 was in the mail.

    In late 2020 the drone and my relationship had blossomed to the point where I felt like we could expand our boundaries and try new positions. On this one sunset afternoon one of us got a little too close to a wave, and then amidst the confusion, we got a little too close to a rock pool, and the rocks, and the pool, and things didn’t end well.

    Alas, now I am drone-less.

    I even received spousal approval for a new purchase as a birthday present last year.

    But I look at the DJI product lineup and can’t help but feel like it’s missing a Mavic 3. In the intervening years new Airs and Minis have been released, so your passion for small has not waned. Yet the Mavic line of spectacular cameras, rocking some sweet sweet Hasselblad glass on a small and foldable aircraft, has gone wanting.

    Please put a new drone into my hands, DJI.

    Please don’t make me buy whatever Sony is selling.

    Do yourself a retro favour and search for “SOL.EXE” in the iPhone App Store

    I’m two days deep Clubhouse and I’m feeling bullish about its potential.

    It’s a powerfully personal medium, with deep accountability (live voice). It’s like the child talkback radio and social networking.

    I’ve got one invite left if you’re interested.

    Feature request for iMessage, Facebook Messenger, Instagram DMs, and Facebook Page Messenger: FOR THE LOVE OF GOD LET ME SEE UNREAD MESSAGES SO I CAN “READ” THAT ONE UNREAD MESSAGE WHICH I CAN’T FIND ANYWHERE. Maybe a simple “filter by unread” or somethn?

    “Tech level determined using Qsin”

    The fact that Uber achieved the same growth in 10% of its $150 million as spend is one thing, the story of how they got there, that’s something else entirely!

    How to overcome Phone Addiction [Solutions + Research]

    “Phone addiction is one of the biggest non-drug addiction in human history. Studies show that excessive phone use is linked to procrastination, suicide (example), spoilt sleep, food and water neglect, headaches, lower productivity, unstable relationships, poor physical health (eye strain, body-aches, posture, hand strain), and poor mental health (depression, anxiety, stress). Some of these problems can be both causes and effects of phone addiction (procrastination, anxiety, unstable relationships, etc.).”

    via cognitiontoday.com

    With many of us grounded, has anyone had a play of PC Globe to try and scratch that travel itch? You might need to upgrade to a 486 to run it well.

    My issue with Spotify and Amazon muscling in on podcasting and how Apple has failed as well

    Life on the internet, and in podcasting, is a game of middlemen (middlepeople?). The middlepeople actually really benefit from being in the middle, more than we imagine, and it’s an easy position to hold, one that most of the middlepeople hold in secret. Spotify is muscling it’s way into becoming the middle person between you, your favourite podcast, and the 246 companies that receive that data. Meanwhile big-spending Amazon is muscling it’s way into our listening habits, and even my podcast app of choice, Overcast, is a middleperson by design in that the Overcast servers know what podcasts I listen to, and those servers are continually polling the different podcast servers.

    Spotify and Amazon I take issue with because they want to put a toll booth, even if it’s a free toll booth, on an already open road. Overcast is operating a booth on the road, but it’s not taking a toll. Whilst all of that is going on, the original champions of the podcast space, Apple Podcasts is - more than possiblly unknowingly - oversharing to the nth degree about who is driving on the free road, and I feel like that sharing needs to be reduced.

    Algorithms are destroying our communities and what can we, or I, do about it?

    There needs to be a better way to Internet

    Maybe it’s because 2020 gave me many opportunities to think through the implications of which technology companies I’m quite beholden too, or maybe it’s because 2020 brought to light so many of the unhealthy business practices so many technology companies are embroiled in, but I’ve been trying to make big changes in my lifestyle in response to either, or both - because I believe that tech company algorithms are destroying marriages, friendships, families, and communities. I believe our privacy is important.

    Social Media

    I find so much connection and joy in the social elements of the web today, be it Facebook or Instagram, Twitter or YouTube, but I’m increasingly aware that anything more than a passing view into any of these portals is unhealthy for my soul, and an increasingly unhealthy place to “spend my data.”

    I feel less and less comfortable with having my friendships, interests, politics, faith, and philosophy influenced by algorithms.

    There’s a real tension here because I enjoy publishing and broadcasting stories - my own, my family’s, my friend’s, and the stories in my greater circle of life - plus I love listening to and reading your stories.

    There’s just an inherently unhealthy aspect to a non-human deciding what you should hear about from your community.

    Podcasting

    I have a 25 year love story with the audio storytelling medium. It was 1996 when Paul McDermott, Mikey Robbins, and the Sandman were on Triple J for Breakfast and I feel in love with the idea of telling stories and entertainment purely through audio - no pictures, no words, no video.

    As we skipped into a new millennium Dave Winer invented really simple syndication, RSS, and Adam Curry and Cameron Reilly started making podcasts, I witnessed the democratisation of audio away from broadcast radio despite forming and then walking away from a career in the artform.

    Today as I witness Spotify and Amazon work hard at putting podcasts behind data-collecting, algorithm-driven, firewalls I honestly feel sad for the loss of the open industry of podcasting. I’m not saying all podcasts should be free. I personally pay for a number of podcasts, I’m just saying we should be able to access them without sacrificing personal freedoms, liberties, and without sharing excesses of personal data like what podcasts I listen to, which ones I listen all the way through, and the ideas algorithms can derive from that data.

    Our entertainment and our information should be democratically available and curated by people, not by algorithms.

    News, information, and articles

    If you search on Google today for “The first podcast” you’ll see Google News articles for Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s first podcast episode.

    Our news and information, our thought-pieces and studies, our stories and anecdotes deserve better than being submitted to an algorithmic in the hopes that the mathematics decide they’re worth being read.

    Communication

    I don’t like the idea of the algorithms feeding me news, information, funny videos, and podcasts, to also be reading my messages and communications between people I love.

    Photos

    I have so much love for the art of photography. I would love you to enjoy my photos, and even more so I’d love to enjoy your viewport to the world. Maybe some of mine can hang on your wall as art, and vice-versa.

    But I don’t want Facebook, Google, and Amazon to degrade that experience, and worse, abuse it for their own data-gathering needs about where we all were, and what we did.

    Hardware

    I don’t use Google Android phones because I don’t trust Google to run an operating system I could trust, and I use Apple computers because of the opposite, I enjoy knowing that my data is mostly processed locally - not in a data-overlord’s cloud. It’s an expensive choice, but until I know any better, I’m using Apple computers and mobile phones.

    Entertainment

    So many TVs today are selling our viewing data to advertising companies, and purely because Amazon and Google’s names sre in the product title, the Chromecast and Fire sticks are products I don’t trust.

    The fix?

    I’m leaning back into the open web, reading blogs on people’s own websites like mine where you’re reading this to hear my friend’s and family’s stories, listening to open podcasts that are available to whoever would like to listen to them, articles and news organisations. I’m communicating via phone call, iMessage, and email - not via comment fields and discussion boards, or if I am commenting and replying to posts I want to do it on a social network whose business model is clear and open, like Micro.Blog. Instead of waiting for entertainment, information, news, and articles to be recommended by an algorithm, I would like to see it in my RSS reader, or even better, see you link to it from your blog, and if I want you to read it, I can link to it from mine. I’m taking my photos back from Google and Facebook and sinking them deep into Apple Photos because I feel like I can trust them to be stored safely and enjoyed beautifully there.

    I’m not insisting that my choices are the only and best, but with what I know today, and with the resources I have, and what I’d like to do and enjoy, I think these are pretty good choices.

    Why should we care?

    I’m writing all this so I might encourage you to come with me. I love the idea of us not talking over Facebook Messenger, and finding out about your pregnancy via an Instagram Story. I relish the idea of you listening to a podcast and thinking I might enjoy it so you share it with me. I dream of a day where local news and information is broadcast and published without fear of it not performing well in the news feed or without generating enough advertising revenue.

    I hope for a day where the internet and our relationships live harmoniously - not in fear of each other.

    We might never get there, but we can try.

    If you thought everything else that happened this year was scary, 2020 is going out with a bang with delightfully terrifying dancing robots from Boston Dynamics

    A new family and travel photo workflow

    For my personal travel and family photos, I’ve started a new photos workflow, and I thought other people who are beginning their family photo journey like I have in the past few years might be interested.

    The premise of the workflow is that photos begin on my iPhone, Britt’s iPhone, or my Sony A6400. They are processed, and then iCloud Photo Library is my one true family photo library.

    I’ve put loads (months) of work into clearing and culling that library down to about 21,000 photos now, and just recently finished geotagging every single last photo in the library using Metapho.

    Because I like the idea of capturing as much data as possible so I have wiggle room afterward, I shoot on my iPhone and Sony A6400 in RAW, and previously I’ve used Lightroom to process photos then export to Photos. Recently however I’ve moved processing to Darkroom. I wasn’t comfortable with paying for Lightroom CC storage, and then having to make decisions about keeping originals either on a hard drive, or to increase my subscription and size for Adobe’s Cloud, so I’m keeping them in Apple’s iCloud - a product I already use and pay for.

    The workflow simply looks like this:

    1. Import: I import the photos to my iPhone’s camera roll. If I’ve already taken photos on my phone, they’re there. I ask Britt to Airdrop her photos to me. For photos from my camera I have the Apple Lightning to SD Card adapter, and import the raw DNGs straight into the camera roll.

    2. Cull: I delete photos I don’t think I’ll keep. They stay in the Apple Photos deleted items for 30 days, more than enough time for regret to realise itself, or for me to realise I never needed those photos anyway.

    3. Process: I open Darkroom and because I’ve got access to my Photos library within Darkroom I can edit these new photos as I like. Darkroom has some great inbuilt presets and you can build your own as well.

    4. Modify Original: Once I’m happy with the crop, straighten, clour grade, edit, and what-not within Darkroom this is the impotant step. In the top right hand corner is the share icon, and I choose “Modify Original” so that the adjustments are stored inside the image file. It’s actually not stored inside, it’s essentially a little zip file, with the .ARW raw DNG file from the camera, a .plist file with the adjustments made in Darkroom, and then a rendered .JPG which is the image we all see, share, and enjoy. This means that there is a package in the iCloud Photo Library which containts those three files, totallying 40.4MB, instead of maybe 15.2MB. I don’t know why this is important to me apart from my inner burning knowledge that once data is gone, you don’t get it back.

    5. Location, location, location: Aside from the image itself, there are three pieces of metadata important to me. The first is the location, the geotag. I love how Apple Photos brings you memories inside the Photos app, and also on my homescreen using the new iOS 14 Photos widget, and those memories are often location related. So I use Metapho as discussed at the top to assign a geotag to every photo that doesn’t have one. Metapho is smart in that it looks at images shot at the same time and date and tries to help by pivoting off that data. Photos taken on my iPhone generally already have a geotag, and photos taken on my Sony might be geotagged if the terrible Sony Imaging Edge app was working that day. Images taken inside often have a slightly incorrect geotag as well, because GPS doesn’t work in the house, so I’ll correct those images.

    6. Who’s in the photo?: This step needs some time, because your iPhone literally needs to be plugged in, and in sleep mode, generally overnight, sometimes for a few nights. The process is about allowing Apple Photos to read your photos and detect faces. This all happens on device and at its own pace. I’ll go back to photos and see what faces have been detected and I’ll assign, or re-assign, the person name to that face so I could then search for photos of someone and find all of those photos in once search. This also adds into the memories feature. If Apple Photos hasn’t detected a face after a few days and I’m feeling pedantic, I’ll open Photos on my MacBook and in the Get Info window you can add faces manually.

    7. Captions and Albums: I’ll be honest, I have been lazy in this arena, but my goal is to caption photos accordingly, and if possible to also group them into manual albums based around events.

    8. What if they’re professional photos?: We take as many opportunties as we can to have our photos taken professionally, and those photos are often delivered weeks later, often with not-correct date or time information, and with no geotag. I’ll import all of these photos to my Apple Photos app and manually correct date, time, and geotag using Metapho.

    9. Backup: A final and important step is to make sure that Apple Photos on your device, and iCloud Photo Library in the cloud isn’t the only place these photos exist. You always need a backup. Mine is Google Photos - which I regret - and also in Backblaze. Ideally I’d have a physical backup but I’m just not there yet. A really good backup is to also print the photos. You’ll never regret hanging them on a wall or having the prints available to thumb through, like this photo of me as a toddler hanging at my aunty’s house.

    I hope this helped you formalise some sort of photo workflow for your own family and travel photos. It might not seem important today, but I can’t kick the feeling that in 30 years time it will really matter.

    2014 article on ‘Silicon Valley data’ being the new ‘Wall Street debt’

    “Built by geniuses, both products end up being deceptively cheap, morally corrupting, and of questionable long-term economic utility.”

    Live Free or Try

    My personal answer to this thought is that I’m barely “on Facebook.” I publish any and all thoughts, opinions, photos, et cetera, to my personal blog which is managed and published here on Micro.Blog, a social network that is beautiful in nature and inherently keeps my data personal. It’s business model isn’t sharing my personal data, it’s business model is to be a social networ, and it costs $5 a month, because if something is free you’re not the customer, you’re the product being sold.

    The Damage Has Been Proven, So Why Are We Still on Facebook?

    “If a host of reports, studies, articles, commissions of inquiry, books and films were produced about the dangers inherent in the use of a certain product – let’s say a medication or an automobile – the likely result would be a public outcry demanding the elimination of said product. But that’s not the case with Facebook. Why?”

    Haaretz

    Light and cameras explained in the most technical but easily understood way. If you want to actually understand how a camera works, read this through.

    If AirPods Max offend you, that is the correct response ... for you

    An aspect of Apple’s strategy - marketing and business growth/sustainability - that is often forgotten when they launch products is this: filtering.

    Not all of Apple’s products are for everyone. They’re for some people. If the AirPods Max as a device, or at that price, offend you - you’re being filtered out. Your response is the correct and desired response Apple wants you to have. If these were headphones for everyone they’d be $20 at a service station.

    Honestly, it’s a good reminder for anyone and everyone. You can’t be the person, the service, the product for everyone. Even the world’s most popular drink, or social network, or car, or phone, cannot reach the entire addresable market.

    It’s ok to be unpopular. In fact I would argue that being unpopular is the only way to happiness, financial sustainability, and the ability to sleep peacefully at night.

    Popularity is eventually depressing, and mostly, a myth.

    I’d neglected to mention weight/size in my reMarkable 2 review - so it’s been updated. The reMarkable is 18% smaller than the iPad Pro and weighs 15% less. When you’re talking about gadgets held in hands, that’s a difference.

    Can the reMarkable 2 replace my iPad Pro?

    When the first generation iPad Pro was released I saw two opportunities for my personal workflow. One was the easy, and simply beautiful, method for my couples to sign their Australian marriage paperwork electronically. The other was for me to leave my Mac at home with my heavy travel schedule and make the iPad the computer I took away from the house.

    The iPad served both of those roles quite adequately, even more so as I upgraded to the 11" iPad Pro and the second generation Apple Pencil.

    The niggling feeling I’ve had for the past year though, has been that I was too closely involved with the iPad, so much so that I couldn’t see it’s flaws, and the unhealthy relationship we’d developed.

    Things like: finding peace with transferring a 4K video off an SD card into the iPad and there being no status update as to how much of the file has transferred or how much longer it will take; struggling with the multi-tasking two-three apps open at once strategy called Split View and how it never really worked that well; how so many developers seemingly don’t actually use an iPad despite developing apps for it, displayed usually by the lack of iPad feature support, or forcing us to use it in portrait mode when there’s a keyboard attached and it’s in landscape mode; and finally, so many developers just refusing to develop for the iPad, Instagram most notably.

    So two products were launched this year that had a real shot at replacing the iPad and my entire computing setup.

    The first was the MacBook running on Apple Silicon. It runs iOS-only apps better than an iPad, and it brings the responsiveness and the speed of the iPad, to the Mac, rendering my 16" MacBook Pro with an Intel chip, obsolete. The only thing the MacBook Air with Apple Silicon did not do was give me touch and stylus.

    Enter, reMarkable 2.

    So I gave in and ordered a reMarkable.

    reMarkable

    First looks

    The reMarkable 2, or the Remarkable as I’ll refer to it from here on out, is a beautiful product, packaged beautifully.

    The reMarkable 2 photographed by Josh Withers The reMarkable 2 photographed by Josh Withers The reMarkable 2 photographed by Josh Withers The reMarkable 2 photographed by Josh Withers The reMarkable 2 photographed by Josh Withers

    Set up

    The Remarkable syncs with the propriety cloud service, reMarkable Cloud.

    The reMarkable 2 photographed by Josh Withers

    And is supported by desktop and mobile apps.

    The reMarkable 2 photographed by Josh Withers

    Files can be uploaded to the cloud, and when the device connects to wifi, it synchronises back and forth.

    Using reMarkable

    The device is beautiful to use. It’s a simple, single-use, device. It displays documents and allows you to mark them up. Imagine a regular paper notebook married to that stack of documents on your desk.

    The reMarkable 2 photographed by Josh Withers The reMarkable 2 photographed by Josh Withers The reMarkable 2 photographed by Josh Withers

    The handwriting detection is pretty amazing well, considering my handwriting is more like a scrawl.

    The reMarkable 2 photographed by Josh Withers

    The unit also dabbles as a PDF reader and eBook reader, a task it handles well despite not being a Kindle. I’d love to have access to my Kindle library!

    The reMarkable 2 photographed by Josh Withers

    Compared to the iPad Pro 11"?

    The Remarkable is 100% a nicer device to hold in your hand, and to write on. I’m using the stylus that has an eraser in the head of the stylus, and the screen is what Paperlike has been trying to bring to the Apple tablet family.

    The reMarkable 2 photographed by Josh Withers

    I find the Remarkable easier to write on, annotate with, and hold in my hand - with or without the leather case - the only problem is that it’s not running iPadOS and it doesn’t have an LTE modem.

    If you’re trying to imagine what it feels like, imagine a large and thin Kindle you can draw on.

    Size and weight

    The Remarkable 2 is 187mm wide, 246mm high x 4.7 mm thick, compared to an A4 piece of paper, 210mm wide, 297mm high, and you know how thick it is. Compared to the iPad Pro 11", which is 179mm wide, 248mm high, and 5.9 mm thick.

    The iPad Pro 11" is actually the thinnest Apple computer ever made, but it feels like a brick after holding the Remarkable in your hand.

    The Remarkable weighs 404 grams, and the iPad is 473 grams, 69 grams heavier, a 17% increase in weight as you weigh them up in your hands.

    It’s certianly nicer to hold the Remarkable, and especially when you factor in covers, cases, or keyboards. The Smart Keyboard really bulks out the iPad, whilst the Remarkable’s leather folio is still quite slim and lovely to hold.

    Problems

    The reMarkable 2 will only connect to “regular” wifi networks, not public wifi networks requiring authentication through a website, like the Qantas Free Wifi.

    The reMarkable 2 photographed by Josh Withers

    And the Mac software is the slightest bit buggy, but the developers have promised fix.

    The reMarkable 2 photographed by Josh Withers

    Will it do the job?

    The reMarkable 2 is replacing my iPad Pro. It might not have a 4G modem, Dropbox sync, or the Kindle app, but it is the best electronic ink tablet with a stylus money can buy right now.

    The reMarkable 2 photographed by Josh Withers

    If the reMarkable guys are reading this, I’ll throw in a last minute request for a Safari extension as well, not all of us use Chrome :).

    The first rule of drone club is don’t take your drone swimming.

    Today we find out if my iPad Pro is for sale

    What if we banned the comments section of the internet?

    Would the world be a better place if public comment functions were outlawed on the internet?

    Imagine exactly the same internet, and social media, we know and love/hate today - the only difference being that you cannot comment on posts in a public manner.

    You can still engage in private conversation with people, maybe even in groups up to 5 or 10. But above a certain number even group chats are banned.

    The incentive is to split the broadcast of information, news, and opinion to either the masses, or micro-community.

    Freedom of speech and freedom of broadcast is maintained, it’s just the comments section that is doomed.

    Thoughts? Feel free to privately contact me or your friends about it.

    Zoom slaughters the Apple Silicon Macs' batteries. Every time I jump off a Zoom call I’m surprised at how much it’s dropped compared to regular usage. The circled part of this screenshot was a 25 minute Zoom call.

    Pixelmator made my 11 year whale photo look a little bit better, about 10mb better

    I dropped Pixelmator’s machine learning “zoom, enhance” feature called “ML Super Resolution” onto an 11 year old iPhone photo of two whales off the beach, along with all the machine learning colour grading options.

    It’s still a low-fi photo, but now it’s a high-res low-fi photo.

    Here’s the 35kb original. And here’s the 11mb machine learnt super res version.

    Not all iOS apps are terrible on macOS running Apple Silicon

    Much has been written and podcasted about how terrible the iOS apps running on Apple Silicon situation has been a pretty poor show. But my experience has been above average.

    I thought I’d showcase the apps I’d installed and used that were pretty good considering they weren’t developed for use with a keyboard and mouse/touchpad.

    Instagram

    Despite being disallowed by the developers, a little .ipa workaround saw Instagram’s iOS app easily install on the Mac. The app is flawless from my using, scrolling, posting, and clicking around. The two glaring issues with this experience are that iPadOS’s dealing with iPhone-only apps is dismal, and that Instagram’s developers have a deep need to keep Insta off the desktop and tablet.

    LumaFusion

    The iPad’s and iPhone’s best linear video editor just works simply and beautifully on the Mac now.

    Air Hockey (the OG)

    When the App Store launched on the iPhone there was an intial blood rush of apps that took advantage of being able to develop applications on a colourful mutlitouch pocket computer. Air Hockey was one of the early releases and I remember showing it to a mesmerised friend. It plays beautifully!

    DJI Go 4

    I haven’t flown with it yet, but I’m excited by the idea of using my MacBook as a monitor for the DJI Mavic 2 Pro remote.

    Qantas

    My airline of choice has so far allowed it’s booking and account management app, and it’s inflight entertainment app to be installed on Mac and it’s mostly fine.

    Overcast

    The iOS apps that will shine on Apple Silicon Macs are the ones developed to the very spec of Apple’s Huamn Interface Guidelines and everything else ever preached at a WWDC session. So of course Marco Arment’s Overcast app works flawlessly, with a resizeable window, and it’s just a joy to use.

    AirBnb

    I don’t know if an app will be better than a website, but hey, AirBnb works.

    Skip

    My local coffee shop’s coffee ordering and line skipping platform of choice, Skip, works a beaut.

    Cowbell

    Sometimes you just need to be able to announce to people in the same room as you that more cowbell is required.

    On top of this list I’ll add Good Sodoku, my little girl’s kindy social network - Storypark - and Lumy.

    Instagramception #AppleSilicon

    Stellar little Black Friday deal from Aussie Broadband: 250mbps down and 25 upstream for the price of 100/40 for a few months.

    24 hours with a MacBook Air sporting an M1 Apple Silicon chipset

    This is a black magic machine that is fast and beautiful and literally what I want in a computer.

    The reviews are all true and accurate. Even for the bottom tier of Apple’s computer lineup, this is the speediest, most responsive Mac I’ve ever owned or used. Early in the year I moved to a Macbook Pro 16" to get the speed and responsiveness I’m getting from this MacBook Air, and the 16" feels like a dinosaur.

    It’s whimiscal to be running iOS/iPadOS apps right on my Mac. It makes me wonder why it’s such a terrible user experience for iPadOS to run iPhone apps when it’s downright lovely on a MacBook Air.

    The slow onward progression of security makes my audio apps by Rogue Amoeba feel like I’m hacking a mainframe, but we got there in the end.

    The only thing to wait for now is for developers to move their apps from Intel to Universal architetures so they run even faster, and to see what on earth more professional, progressive, and well cooled Apple computers can look like.

    I’ve gone from the highest spec’d portable Apple portable computer running an Intel processor, to what will undoubtedly become the slowest Apple Silicon Mac ever released, and it’s like I’ve gone from crawling to walking.

    The future is bright for Apple computers.

    If you really wanted to take issue with macOS Big Sur you should be protesting on the streets regarding the external drive eject icon #wethepeople

    This afternoon I sold my 16” MacBook Pro so I could buy a MacBook with an M1 CPU. I prayed to the ghost of Steve Jobs and said “please don’t let me buy the wrong computer” as I struggled whether to buy an Air or a Pro and now the Apple Store is down, so if that’s not a sign …

    As John Gruber said when he linked to this page of vintage Soviet control rooms, these would make for some cool Zoom backgrounds

    Privacy and free can’t co-exist online

    The USA military buys your data from all three free apps we love. Nothing is free. Pay for your apps.

    “The U.S. military is buying the granular movement data of people around the world, harvested from innocuous-seeming apps, Motherboard has learned. The most popular app among a group Motherboard analyzed connected to this sort of data sale is a Muslim prayer and Quran app that has more than 98 million downloads worldwide. Others include a Muslim dating app, a popular Craigslist app, an app for following storms, and a “level” app that can be used to help, for example, install shelves in a bedroom.”

    Via Motherboard

    Apple Photos’ Memories feature is getting a bit desperate when it’s like, “remember that time you crossed the border into NSW?”

    Are there any nerd-like people that can point me in the direction of how to upload an image to micro.blog from a macOS automator action, and an iOS Shortcut. I’m nerd smart but not code smart, but figure I can learn. I’d love to be able to right click and upload an image/images.

    The Macstories macOS Big Sur long read review

    “There will always be and should be differences between the Mac and an iPhone or iPad because the hardware and input methods are different. Still, for the Mac to remain a healthy, important part of Apple’s lineup, it needs to adapt to the computing landscape of 2020 and change while remaining true to what makes the Mac uniquely suited to specific tasks. That, in a nutshell, is Big Sur’s objective.”

    The Macstories macOS Big Sur review

    I can confidently tell you that the Apple Leather MagSafe Wallet fits three cards easily, no more, not even three cards and a $20 note folded up.

    Apple’s underdogs series is marketing at its best.

    April 2019: Apple releases “Apple at Work — The Underdogs

    July 2020: Apple release “The whole working-from-home thing — Apple

    Working on story telling at this height would honestly be so cool!

    If you were wondering, I’m a massive advocate for colours and emojis in calendars.

    Nothing reminds you how much of a gross and disgusting person you are more than your AirPods case.

    US news today via #thesizzle & I thought it was interesting to read that the use of a risk algorithim to determine bail was rejected. This issue was covered in Malcolm Gladwell’s book, Talking To Strangers, and overwhelmingly the algorithim made better decisions than people.

    The next Apple Event webpage has an AR Easter egg, tap on the Apple logo in the hero image

    Nerding out on putting a MagSafe case on an iPhone 12. It’s a peach case and obviously that’s communicated to the phone so it does this cool animation.

    Going through old files and I found a 2009 iPhone 3GS rumour mock-up and I thought it would be interesting to see it next to an iPhone 12 rumour infographic

    I wanted to see how much the iPhone camera had changed between the iPhone 6 and iPhone 12, so I took the same nine photos with four different iPhones, and blogged the results

    Comparing the cameras on iPhones 6, SE, XS, 11, and 12 Pro

    I upgraded my daily carry computer, or what us old people call a phone, to an iPhone 12 Pro this week. Upon clicking the shutter a few times I could see there was a big difference in the new camera, but I wanted to compare photos to former iPhone cameras. So I pulled out all the old iPhones in the house and took the same photo on each one. It worked out pretty good as the four cameras were each mostly two years apart in release dates.

    Control notes

    All photos were taken on the iPhone with a fresh install, no apps, or settings changed, no iCloud logged in. I simply tapped to focus and expose inside the default camera app, and turned off flash for consistency. All phones were held in a Peak Design Travel Tripod with the phone attachement. I tried to keep the framing consistent, but if it’s not, either the iPhone lens placement changed, or this free blog post doesn’t live up to even my standards. The iPhone SE is the first generation SE, the 12 is a 12 Pro. Taken with default settings including HDR/Smart HDR/HDR 3, on the 1x lens. The only edits made are to the HEIC files taken on cameras which save HEIC, those files have been converted to JPG using MacOS Automator.

    You may want to right click on images and open in a new window to see full resolution, and honestly, I’m unsure if micro.blog actually compresses and/or resizes files so if you can still read this line I haven’t edited with original uploads to somewhere else.

    Cameras used

    • iPhone 6, released September 19, 2014, 8MP f/2.2
    • iPhone SE, released March 31, 2016, 12.2 MP f/2.2
    • iPhone XS, released September 21, 2018, 12MP ƒ/1.8 lens
    • iPhone 11 (for one Night Mode photo), released September 20, 2019, 12MP ƒ/1.8 lens
    • iPhone 12 Pro, released October 16, 2020, 12MP ƒ/1.6 lens

    Here’s a comparison of the four cameras as Apple sees fit.

    Let’s look at the photos…

    Landscape photo

    iPhone 6 Landscape photo

    iPhone SE Landscape photo

    iPhone XS Landscape photo

    iPhone 12 Pro Landscape photo

    Sunset photo

    iPhone 6 Sunset photo

    iPhone SE Sunset photo

    iPhone XS Sunset photo

    iPhone 12 Pro Sunset photo

    Self-portrait

    iPhone 6 Self-portrait

    iPhone SE Self-portrait

    iPhone XS Self-portrait

    iPhone 12 Pro Self-portrait

    Selfie camera

    iPhone 6 Selfie camera photo

    iPhone SE Selfie camera photo

    iPhone XS Selfie camera photo

    iPhone 12 Pro Selfie camera photo

    A detail photo

    iPhone 6 detail photo

    iPhone SE detail photo

    iPhone XS detail photo

    iPhone 12 Pro detail photo

    Portrait mode

    iPhone 6 Portrait

    iPhone SE Portrait

    iPhone XS Portrait mode

    iPhone 12 Pro Portrait mode

    Blue light

    iPhone 6 Blue light photo

    iPhone SE Blue light photo

    iPhone XS Blue light photo

    iPhone 12 Pro Blue light photo

    Maximum digital zoom in blue light

    iPhone 6 zoomed to maximum digital zoom

    iPhone SE zoomed to maximum digital zoom

    iPhone XS zoomed to maximum digital zoom

    iPhone 12 Pro zoomed to maximum digital zoom

    Night Mode, or a night photo for cameras without Night Mode

    iPhone 6 Night photo

    iPhone SE Night photo

    iPhone XS Night photo

    iPhone 11 (not Pro) Night Mode photo

    iPhone 12 Pro Night Mode photo

    Video

    iPhone 6 video

    iPhone SE video

    iPhone XS video

    iPhone 12 video

    The official Josh Withers iPhone 12 Pro review after using one for eight hours.

    The iPhone 12 Pro in-hand feel is remarkably different to the past six generations of iPhone with the rounded edges. The 90 degree edge of the iPhone 12 makes it feel better in-hand and I could imagine using it case-less.

    12 Pro camera quality increase is so noticeable from an iPhone XS, the HDR is borderline “too much” as far as regular photos go, but it’s also representative of what we actually see with our eyes.

    MagSafe is but another entry to the lineup of Apple things that “just works” and you’d hope it would.

    MagSafe cases and accessories are in low supply this early, but I’m excited to see how vendors innovate, like Peak Design is on Kickstarter.

    Considering the rounded bump is no longer pushing out the width, the screen feels more edge to edge, the entire phone just looks beautiful. I’m rocking the new deep blue colour.

    Moving from an iPhone XS, the only thing I’m mourning is 3D Touch/Force Touch. I apparently used it a lot more than I could remember. Long touch isn’t quite the same.

    If you’re on an iPhone 11, the 12 is a splurge. If you’re moving from an iPhone XS/XR, it’s real nice. From a X or 8, or earlier, you’ll be grateful for the numerous improvements. If you’re on Android, congrats on reading so far into the review!

    Nothing says “you’re a weak little nancy boy" like an Instagram ad for some flippin cool gadget that is algorithmically designed to get me to purchase it. Tonight I might have won the battle, but cool-ass gadgets showed to me through social media ads, you may yet win the war.

    Why have I listened to 400 episodes of ATP?

    One of my earliest memories is listening to Play School on the ABC because I’d been given a TV that didn’t show a picture.

    The medium of audio storytelling has been a passion of mine for so long, I found a career in it first in community radio, then in commercial radio as a techie and then as a breakfast announcer.

    As podcasting became a thing, thanks Cameron, I have held a steady interest the entire time.

    As the market for podcasts developed, the market split in half can be roughly described like this:

    The first kind of podcasts are well-produced news, entertainment, and information podcasts. They’re sharp sounding, and well made.

    The second kind is my favourite kind. They’re simple, people in conversation, drawing me into that conversation without ever knowing me. I’m unashamedly standing in an audience, yet I feel connected to those people. It’s a nice connection.

    Accidental Tech Podcast is one of those second kind of podcasts, and in their 400th episode, at the end of the episode, in the post-show, they talk about this kind of podcasting and why people like me have been listening for 400 episodes.