Linkin' Log Politics Society Technology

Tim Cook: “I’m Proud to Be Gay”

From Bloomberg Technology:

If hearing that the CEO of Apple is gay can help someone struggling to come to terms with who he or she is, or bring comfort to anyone who feels alone, or inspire people to insist on their equality, then it’s worth the trade-off with my own privacy.

I look forward to the day that someone being gay is about as newsworthy as announcing if you have an innie or outie belly-button. But, until we get to that point, stuff like this well-written bit o’ business are important.

Linkin' Log Technology

Minimally Minimal Reviews aëdle VK-1 Headphones

From Minimally Minimal:

I’ve been very selective about what products I end up showcasing on the blog. If I suspect that I won’t like a product, I don’t bother reviewing it and harming its reputation. When aëdle emailed me a few weeks ago, I was immediately intrigued. The VK-1 looked attractive in photos and I remembered reading a few positive reviews of them in the past. It’s unfortunate that I have to say this but for the sake of public service I’ll be completely honest: VK-1 is a complete disappointment. Honestly, this is one of the worst products I’ve ever been sent.

I always enjoy a well-written product review, and I appreciate Andrew Kim’s focus on product design. That said, what I appreciate most of all is a review that includes the following passage:

The VK-1 includes a useful carrying case but the branded tag is poorly stitched with the stitching going straight over the graphics. Seriously, what the hell is happening at the aëdle factory? Is everyone drunk?

Linkin' Log Politics Technology

FBI Director Comey Calls on Congress to Stop Unlockable Encryption

From The Washington Post:

In remarks at the Brookings Institution on Thursday, Comey used the phrase “going dark” to describe the decisions by companies like Apple and Google to encrypt by default more and more of their services… The problem, Comey argued, is that the process locks away for good some data that could be useful to law enforcement as it fights crime.

It’s a complicated dynamic, and Comey appeared eager to punt the confusion over to Congress. He called for the House and Senate to begin rethinking the Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act, better known as CALEA, which empowers the FBI to access electronic communications. The 20-year old law, Comey argued, should require companies big and small to build into their systems “lawful intercept capabilities” that aren’t stymied by encryption.

Wait, this ass-clown thinks that Congress is going to actually go up against the interests of companies like Google or Apple?

Linkin' Log Technology

John Siracusa’s OS X Yosemite Review

Ars Technica has published John Siracusa’s 25-page OS X 10.10 review. The man isn’t playing around here, folks. 1

  1. He’s done equally-lengthly reviews of each version of OS X since its first release, too. It’s a level of dedication that I’m not entirely sure I have for anything in life, so he has my respect for it. 
Politics Science Society Technology

FOX News: The Voice of Reason

FOX News’ Shepard Smith on Ebola. It’s reasonable, non-sensationalist, clear and coherent.

No, I don’t know when we fell into a portal that landed us on the Bizarro world, either.

Entertainment Technology

HBO: Soon To Be Available Without A Stupid Premium Cable Package

From Re/Code:

Speaking at the Time Warner Inc. Investor Meeting today, Richard Plepler, chairman and CEO, HBO, announced that the company will offer a stand-alone HBO streaming service in 2015.  Following a portion of his presentation focused on HBO’s domestic business, during which he cited significant growth opportunities inside the pay-TV universe, Plepler then turned to the current ten million broadband-only homes, which is projected to grow.

While I’m almost certain that HBO will find a way to screw this up completely — they are owned by Time Warner, after all — I’m cautiously optimistic about it. 1

  1. My wallet isn’t too crazy about the idea, of course, but since when do I listen to the whining of that stupid thing? 
Linkin' Log Technology

My Favorite Review of the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus

From TechCrunch:

Last week I decided to test the most secretive, hotly anticipated smartphones on earth in a place where there was no danger of them being recognized or damaged or both: Disneyland.

This review, by Matthew Panzarino, is full of stuff that non-nerds and nerds alike will find interesting — mainly, how the damn thing works in a real-life, not-going-to-sit-here-and-run-Geekbench-scores-or-some-such-garbage way. That also leads to my favorite passage of any review ever:

While we’re talking specs for a second, I have a confession to make: I don’t love technology.

I think that the ‘pure’ love of technology is somewhat pathological in the culture that TechCrunch often covers. Just because you can do something doesn’t mean you should.

But what I do love is what technology, when it works in concert and for our benefit, can accomplish. Sometimes that’s curing diseases or enabling the impaired. And sometimes it’s as simple as capturing that perfect ‘daddy’s shodurs’ selfie.

Captures my feelings exactly.

Linkin' Log Politics Technology

Net Neutrality

I’m assuming you’ve gone to or Free Press’ Save The Internet, but, if you haven’t, you should get on it.


I’ll buy you a cookie!1

  1. That’s a blatant lie. Sorry. 

The Keynote We Needed: WWDC 2014

As you’re likely aware, Apple held their annual keynote at their World-Wide Developer Conference, 1 during which they announced updates to OS X and iOS, all of which look rad and I’m super-excited for. 2 The most important part of the keynote, however, wasn’t any of the announcements that they made, but in the way they made them.

If you’ve followed Apple like I have, 3 you’d have likely noticed that the post-Jobs Apple hasn’t been exactly lighting barns on fire with their keynotes. That is not to say that Apple hasn’t announced awesome new products, of course… It’s more that the presentations have come off as uneasy, hesitant, and just generally awkward, not unlike a kid at an 8th grade dance who is trying desperately to figure out how dancing with someone else is supposed to work. 4 It wasn’t particularly pretty, and it certainly didn’t help put the narrative that Apple was a sinking ship 5 and had “lost its cool”, whatever the hell that means.

This keynote, as you may have guessed, was different: Tim Cook, Craig Federighi and everyone else from Apple that took the stage seemed confident. One could categorize the jokes that were being made as “playful”, even though I wouldn’t because that word creeps me out when not associated with puppies or kittens. It felt lighter, more self-assured, and would be best recapped by a GIF of Cook and Federighi walking away from an exploding helicopter while sunglasses fall from the sky, landing smoothly on their heads, while dropping microphones. 6

So what changed? Did the announcement of the acquisition of Beats Electronics, and associated hiring of Dr. Dre and Jimmy Iovine, add enough charisma to Cupertino that Apple couldn’t help but be more self-confident? Did they get drunk before coming on stage? Was it that they were surrounded by over 6000 Apple developers, which means they were clearly in a space filled with people who have livelihoods that are dependent on Apple’s survival?

It could be just about any of those things — I mean, except for the drunk one (probably) — but I have another theory. One that, much like the best theories, can never be disproved and, since I’m about as qualified as any financial analyst to comment on Apple’s mind state, I’m going to go for it: This was actually the first post-Jobs keynote.

“But wait,” you may be thinking, “didn’t Jobs leave Apple (and, subsequently, the entire planet) in 2011?” And you’d be right; this is not the first keynote where Apple was without Jobs physically being there. However, it was always said that Jobs and company had the product pipeline and updates planned out for anywhere from three to five years — which, if you do the math, would mean that Jobs had a hand in everything coming up to 2014 at the earliest.

I think the first sign that we were really in a post-Jobs Apple was the release of iOS 7 at WWDC 2013 — it was a huge departure from what iOS had been up to that point and the first release since Jony Ive, who had only been the hardware designer at Apple to that point, had taken control of software design. The other product announced there, though, was OS X Mavericks which, while an improvement, wasn’t much of a change (design-wise, anyway) from what we have had for the past few years.

But look at OS X Yosemite’s design versus OS X Maverick’s design — the following picture, which I found on Reddit, shows the docks of the two operating systems, and you can’t possibly mistake one for the other.

OS X Mavericks vs OS X Yosemite Dock
The docks from OS X Mavericks (top) and OS X Yosemite (bottom). By the_Ex_Lurker on Reddit.

It goes far beyond simple design, however — take, for instance, iCloud Drive. Jobs was pretty fixated on eliminating the file system that users had (for the most part) become accustomed to in iOS, and it was pretty clear that he wanted to bring that to OS X eventually as well. This was why programs could only access the folders they created when using iCloud and not access any file the program could possibly open 7: it streamlined the file system, albeit to the detriment of being able to move out of a program or edit things in multiple programs or any one of a number of use-cases, all of which drove me nuts.

On Monday, though, Apple announced iCloud Drive, which will allow you to not only see the files that a program saves in iCloud, but to open them on your computer or in additional programs. Furthermore, you can save other files to iCloud Drive as well, making it more comparable to Dropbox in functionality. Even crazier? iCloud Drive will be accessible on OS X and Windows, which I honestly didn’t see coming. There’s a list of additional changes that are coming that I could bore you to death with to support my thesis, but I’m not going to because I don’t want to cause the tens of people who read this site to fall asleep spontaneously.

This, to me, leads to what could be the largest, if not explicitly spoken, thing that was announced at WWDC: the new Apple. A confident, charming, playful 8 company that knows it’s got some great products coming, and more awesomeness that we don’t even know about yet in the pipeline. And that excites me to no end.

  1. Known as “WWDC” from here on out, since that’s what it’s known as already, anyway. 
  2. My only disappointment was their lack of any time machine announcements… Not the OS X backup system, mind you, but an actual time machine that could bring me directly to the fall so that I could get all the new shiny stuff right freakin’ now
  3. Although I certainly hope you have not and, instead, actually lived your life in a manner you feel is personally fulfilling. 
  4. Or me at any wedding I happen to go to. Either/or. 
  5. Despite having the majority of profits in both PCs and mobile devices, releasing products that every other tech company is trying to copy, blah-blah-blah. 
  6. I do not have such GIF-making abilities, however, so that’s not going to happen here. 
  7. Okay, yes, there were security issues and other things related to iOS sandboxing as well, but let’s ignore that for sake of this argument, huh? 
  8. If you’ll excuse me, I have to go vomit all over the place now. 
Entertainment Linkin' Log Technology

A Review of “Haunted Empire: Apple After Steve Jobs” by Yukari I. Kane

From The New York Times:

You could be forgiven, after reading “Haunted Empire: Apple After Steve Jobs”, for concluding that Apple is on the verge of going belly up. In the new book by Yukari I. Kane, a former reporter for The Wall Street Journal, the company is depicted as having radically declined after the death of its former impresario.

Under Timothy D. Cook, who took over as chief executive shortly before Steve Jobs died in October 2011, Apple “teeters at the edge of a reckoning,” Ms. Kane writes. Its executives, she adds, “cannot find their own way forward. They are tired. They are uncertain. The well of ingenuity has run dry.”

After the book’s release earlier this week, Mr. Cook said in a statement that it was “nonsense.”

He’s right.

Well, that’s about as damning a review as someone could possibly hope to get, huh?