Date Archives January 2016

Duet Display for iOS/Mac Review

I’ve often wondered while sitting at my desk how I can implement my iPhone/iPad into my Mac workflow. I’ve tried using several apps which promise additional utility via a paired application, such as Quadro and Mac ID (more on those in an upcoming review).

A few years ago, shortly after the iPad 2 was released, I downloaded Air Display. It allowed my iPhone/iPad to act as a second display over Wi-Fi. I didn’t use it for a long period of time though, as I found it was laggy and drained my Mac resources.

Due to this experience, I was understandably hesitant when reading about Duet Display, an app that promises to do the exact same thing as Air Display, only better.

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Google Paid Apple $1 Billion to Keep Search Bar on IPhone

Bloomberg reporting on a deal between Apple and Google:

Google Inc. is paying Apple Inc. a hefty fee to keep its search bar on the iPhone.

Apple received $1 billion from its rival in 2014, according to a transcript of court proceedings from Oracle Corp.’s copyright lawsuit against Google. The search engine giant has an agreement with Apple that gives the iPhone maker a percentage of the revenue Google generates through the Apple device, an attorney for Oracle said at a Jan. 14 hearing in federal court.

It’s alarming to see deals like this become public. Understandably, Apple and Google aren’t happy about it:

“The specific financial terms of Google’s agreement with Apple are highly sensitive to both Google and Apple,” Google said in its Jan. 20 filing. “Both Apple and Google have always treated this information as extremely confidential.”

The transcript vanished without a trace from electronic court records at about 3 p.m. Pacific standard time with no indication that the court ruled on Google’s request to seal it.

While it’s not surprising a deal like this exists, it doesn’t sit right with me. Apple often claims to defend the best interest of their customers and not profit off of their web browsing like this deal suggests.

Anywhere but Medium

Great post by Dave Winer on why you shouldn’t post on Medium:

Medium is on its way to becoming the consensus platform for writing on the web. if you’re not sure you’re going to be blogging regularly, the default place to put your writing is Medium, rather than starting a blog on Tumblr or WordPress.com, for example. I guess the thought is that it’s wasteful to start a blog if you’re not sure you’re going to post that often. It’s something of a paradox, because blogs are not large things on the storage devices of the hosting companies. If they’re doing it right, a blog is smaller than the PNG image in the right margin of this post. They’re tiny little things in a world filled with videos and podcasts and even humble images. Text is very very very small in comparison.

The strange life of Q-tips, the most bizarre thing people buy

Q-tips are one of the most perplexing things for sale in America. Plenty of consumer products are widely used in ways other than their core function — books for leveling tables, newspapers for keeping fires aflame, seltzer for removing stains, coffee tables for resting legs — but these cotton swabs are distinct. Q-tips are one of the only, if not the only, major consumer products whose main purpose is precisely the one the manufacturer explicitly warns against.

Strange, but completely true.

Where’s Rey? Insider Says Lucasfilm Vendors Removed Star Wars Character to ‘Improve Sales’

If this is true, it’s absolutely ridiculous and shameful:

In January 2015, a number of toy and merchandise vendors descended on Lucasfilm’s Letterman Center in San Francisco. In a series of confidential meetings, the vendors presented their product ideas to tie in with the highly-anticipated new Star Wars film. Representatives presented, pitched, discussed, and agreed upon prototype products. The seeds of the controversies Lucasfilm is facing regarding the marketing and merchandising of The Force Awakens were sown in those meetings, according to the industry insider.

The insider, who was at those meetings, described how initial versions of many of the products presented to Lucasfilm featured Rey prominently. At first, discussions were positive, but as the meetings wore on, one or more individuals raised concerns about the presence of female characters in the Star Wars products. Eventually, the product vendors were specifically directed to exclude the Rey character from all Star Wars-related merchandise, said the insider.

“We know what sells,” the industry insider was told. “No boy wants to be given a product with a female character on it.”

I want to stress that this isn’t necessarily the truth – but if it is – it completely works against the point of developing strong female leads in movies.

Antwaan Randle El On Playing Football: "If I Could Go Back, I Wouldn't"

A very interesting look into the life of Antwaan Randle El, a former Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver who says he regrets playing football because of the affect it has had on his body:

“I ask my wife things over and over again, and she’s like, ‘I just told you that,’ ” Randle El said. “I’ll ask her three times the night before and get up in the morning and forget. Stuff like that. I try to chalk it up as I’m busy, I’m doing a lot, but I have to be on my knees praying about it, asking God to allow me to not have these issues and live a long life. I want to see my kids raised up. I want to see my grandkids.”

If you’re a fan of the game (or even sports in general), give it a read.

T-Pain Shows The Verge How To Use The New GarageBand

Apple released a major update to GarageBand today and The Verge had a chance to speak with T-Pain about some of the changes:

T-Pain is bent over an iPad, dancing and tapping the screen to send glimmering electronic beats through huge speakers and out into the hallway of his home. We’re down in T-Pain’s basement studio, in a room filled with giant control boards, cases of equipment, and everything you’d need to put together a radio hit. But the only studio equipment T-Pain is using is his speakers — all the better to blast out the music he’s putting together in GarageBand.

If I had a musical bone in my body, I’m sure I’d love using GarageBand (but alas, I do not).

Apple also released a new app today called Music Memos. As said by Apple:

Sometimes the best ideas come when you least expect them. When those moments happen, open Music Memos to record high-quality, uncompressed audio through the built-in mic in your iPhone, or connect an external microphone. Music Memos is optimized for acoustic guitar and piano, and it works with other musical instruments, too.

I’m sure there are a dozen apps available on the App Store that do the same thing, but this one is made by Apple and it’s free. 

Star Wars: Episode VIII delayed until December 2017

It was supposed to come out in May of 2017, but now the next main installment in the Star Wars franchise has been delayed to December 2017:

Disney’s going to make you wait even longer for Episode VIII. It’s pushing back the release date of Star Wars’ next core installment to December 15th, 2017, around seven months later than its initially scheduled release in May of that year. While that’s not exciting news for fans, it’s a sensible decision. The Force Awakens received the very same delay in order to give J.J. Abrams more time to work on the film, and its December debut went incredibly well for Disney, smashing nearly every box office record around.Episode VIII’s delay does the very same thing, giving director Rian Johnson more time to work and placing his movie in The Force Awakens’ successful holiday slot.

Bummer.

The State Of Privacy In America: What We Learned

Interesting study (and a very relevant one). This stat is particular is very telling of the privacy issue many countries are facing:

Fully 91% of adults agree or strongly agree that consumers have lost control of how personal information is collected and used by companies. Half of internet users said they worry about the amount of information available about them online, and most said they knew about key pieces of their personal information that could be found on the internet. Only 9% say they feel they have “a lot” of control over how much information is collected about them and how it is used. Indeed, experts we canvassed about the future of privacy argued that privacy was no longer a “condition” of American life. Rather, they asserted that it was becoming a commodity to be purchased.