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WWDC Me 2024… now with more AI.

Posted on June 10th, 2024

Dave!Happy WWDC to all who celebrate!

And lo did Apple descend from the heavens to bestow upon all of us the glory that is World Wide Developer Conference 2024! As usual, I will be jotting down my thoughts as the keynote progresses.

UPDATE: Somebody compiled Craig being Craig and it's perfect. Except they didn't show the part with his Daily Hair Journal...


Vision OS

  • Cool story, bro. If $3,500 drops in my lap so I can buy one, I'll get excited. I do like that camera manufacturers are bringing 3D lenses to their cameras though.

iOS

  • Craig is my favorite Apple spokesperson at these things.
  • Control Center has always been useful... it's nice to see that they're adding some important functionality. Being able to get to Home controls so easily is going to save time and frustration.
  • Being able to manually arrange my home screen is a plus. But the last thing I want to spend time on is customizing icons and whatnot. Nice it's there for people who want it, and Apple does make it look quick and easy, so maybe?
  • App protection is cool beans. Less likely to worry about handing my phone over to somebody if I know that the sensitive information on it is better protected. Not that I hand my phone over to people on the regular, but it does happen. I suspect that people cheating on their spouses will be particularly happy about being able to hide specific apps so they are not immediately visible!
  • More formatting options in Messages is nice. Most people I know don't use formatting at all, but I definitely do all the time, so happy birthday to me, I guess. And did Craig just verify that RCS is happening so that Android owners will stop being Big Mad? But it's likely more important to them that they don't get green-bubbled. Though I seriously doubt Apple will go that far. They know what an exclusivity boost blue bubbles are for iPhone users.
  • Messages via Satellite is interesting. But do you have to pay to use it? Or is it like SOS which is free for two years after you buy an iPhone? Given that my new carrier, Verizon, is absolute shit for signal, I'd actually have use for this if it were free. Interesting to note that I know somebody personally who has used the SOS feature to get rescued. That's a game-changer right there.
  • Trail Maps is cool, but seems as though it's an unnecessary add-on given how the people needing things like this are already using something like All Trails which has additional features beyond maps.
  • Tap to Cash is a great idea... assuming that the person you want to pay uses Apple Cash. So few people I know have it because Venmo is easier to set up and use. If Apple wants to make Apple Cash be more pervasive, they really need to take a look at getting it set up with people.
  • Photos is such an important app, and yet it's kinda bad if you have a lot of images. Fortunately Apple has shown the app some love so searching is much easier. I love how she said Amazing Intelligence... AI... so it's AI without saying AI. LOL. The app looks great, but until I use it I honestly won't know if it's going to be that big of a help compared to where we were.
  • LARGER ICONS ON THE HOME SCREEN?!? It's like they knew I need this after my eye surgery! Thanks, Craig!

iPods

  • Okay... the head shakes to answer Siri in your headphones is glorious. That's smart thinking! But the noise isolation is going to be the real party trick. I hope it's as good as they make it out to be.

TV OS

  • InSight... very handy and clever. I am definitely one of those people who is constantly wondering "Where have I seen this actor before?" so I feel seen.
  • Audio improvements are always welcome.
  • FUCK!! ABSOLUTELY NO FUCKING IMPROVEMENT FOR THE HORRENDOUSLY SHITTY APPLE TV USER INTERFACE?!? WHAT THE FUCKING FUCK, APPLE?!?

Watch OS

  • The Vitals app goes beyond the sleep app I am currently using, so I am fully onboard for this. I have to say, it's so nice to see that Apple is really invested to helping people being more proactive about staying healthy like this.

iPad OS

  • Look, all these new bells and whistles are nice and all (the handwriting Smart Script feature is incredible), but it is categorically absurd that they have done absolutely nothing to address the stupid shortcoming when it comes to file-handling, lack of background tasks, and multitasking. My God. Again, if Apple is going to intentionally nerf the iPad because they don't want it cutting into MacBook sales, they should just shut down iPad and move on. This is fucking ridiculous. Fully configured iPads cost more than a MacBook!

MacOS Sequoia

  • Craig going all PARKOUR! PARKOUR! is why everybody loves Craig.
  • The new iPhone Mirroring control of your iPhone on MacOS X is fantastic. So incredibly handy. Not having to constantly grab my iPhone for stuff when working on my Mac is going to be so nice.
  • No need for a 3rd party app to control screen positioning is handy. But not for the developers of those apps.
  • Safari is such a mixed blessing. When it works as intended, it's my favorite browser. But constantly running across incompatibilities is really fucking annoying. I really wish that Apple would pause the "improvements" and focus on compatibility for a minute!
  • I, for one, welcome our new Safari Password overlords. That's something that should be built into Safari. Ever since 1Password went the subscription model, I don't care whether it lives or dies, and this is pretty much signing off on its death warrant.
  • Gaming is such a hard sell for the Mac, so it's understandable that Apple would want to keep improving tools to port new games to their platforms. But until there's a cheap television console available for advanced gaming, I think that many developers are going to continue to skip out. You'd think it's a no-brainer for Apple to do this. A Mac mini retool would be so easy. Not sure why this hasn't been a priority.

A.I. Apple Intelligence

And here we go. The thing that everybody has been waiting for...

  • LOL. Leave it to Apple to address the things that the Humane AI Pin and Rabbit R1 promised but didn't deliver, i.e. integrating AI with a personal context that's already defined within the Apple ecosystem. No having to add a bunch of data to get useful AI is why platforms like Apple and Google will succeed where others will struggle. Plus... no need to carry around a second device? Sign me up!
  • Privacy is a big Apple flex, and the fact that they have been working on hardware which allows localized AI processing (AKA "Neural Engine") for years just proves that they have been working on AI for quite a while. For external AI needs, the anonymized "Private Cloud Compute" seems like an ideal situation. That Apple allows the code to be inspected by 3rd parties to verify privacy is how it should work.
  • Siri has been a pile of stupid almost since its inception. And Apple hasn't done a damn thing to improve it, favoring instead to add features that don't address the base problem while Google Assistant eats their lunch. And now? Finally... finally... Apple has actually added smarts to actually have a smart assistant.
  • BWAH HA HA HAAAA! Type to Siri is shots fired to Humane's AI Pin. But, seriously, I still don't understand how people could rationally believe that voice instructions should be the only way to interact with a device. If you're in a meeting, that's almost impossible. Humane AI Pin was doomed from the start, and the fact that there are people surprised at this (mostly at Humane, I'm betting) just blows my mind.
  • Apple's demos of the new Siri is exactly what everybody has been wanting since Star Trek debuted. True voice control and interaction with a smart device has been a pipe dream until recently, when it's becoming reality.
  • Apple kept reiterating the privacy controls, because it can be genuinely scary to think about Siri having such intimate knowledge of who you are and everything you do. I still don't know if I should be excited or worried. But I have to say I'm less worried with Apple's assurances of on-device processing, privacy, and 3rd party inspection of the code which makes it all work.
  • I never, ever use Siri on Mac. It's just so fucking useless. But apparently that's a thing of the past, which actually is exciting.
  • More demos. Rewrite being able to adjust the tone of your emails is something that will be very interesting to see. I always think that things like this will present people not as who they are, but who they want to be. Is this a good thing? I really don't think so. I'd rather interact with people exactly for who they are... warts and all... rather than have everybody I know sound like a machine.
  • Smart Reply in email is lovely. Being able to write out replies to inane emails without having to actually write anything is something I will very much be happy to have.
  • Apple Intelligence just making all the little everyday things easier and less work is where AI is really going to be felt. That's the promise of AI fulfilled. Until AI takes over the earth and eradicates all humans, of course.
  • Genmoji is hysterical. But looks oddly useful. But will things like this make us more effective at communicating ourselves... or less? Is our future not words but strings of emojis? Maybe. And I, for one, will not be decrying the death of language if accommodations can be made for cultural differences which could result in a serious, serious problem. Different peoples of the world attach different meaning to visual cues. I imagine this will be an ever-evolving transition of expression. The way that the "high-five" emoji has evolved to be "praying hands" emoji which is often used to express gratitude in many places on earth.
  • Image Playground is cute. Being able to create an AI image to convey a feeling or situation is nice. Especially if you can't draw well. Though I hope that Apple's implementation is compensating those artists whose work has been used to train it. We may never know.
  • Image Wand interprets rough drawings and photos to allow redrawing and touchup with zero effort. This is a mixed blessing. Bringing tools once only used by professionals to everybody... but at the cost of jobs by those professionals? If I were still in that line of work, I know I'd be worried. Will companies even bother with artists now that Generative AI can steal their art to reimagine it as whatever they want? God I hope not. But here we are.
  • Then Craig says and that's not all! and promises that these few examples are just the beginning of "AI for The Rest of Us." And I believe it. By allowing integration with OpenAI's ChatGPT services, which are at the forefront of AI development, Apple doesn't have to worry about falling behind. It's genius, I suppose. Though I'd imagine it's going to cost Apple a metric fuckton of money to make it happen. Good thing that money is the one thing Apple doesn't have to worry about.

So... out of my Top Five Most Needed Things to Come Out of WWDC 2024, Apple managed to check one of them. My #2 ask. Oh well. That's so very Apple that I wouldn't imagine it having gone any other way.

Overall I'm excited to see how AI being integrated to seamlessly into our lives is going to change the world. For better? For worse? Time will tell. At which point it will be too late to do anything about it one way or the other.

UPDATE: There's buzz out of WWDC that we will finally be able to specify which device we want to use as a "Home Hub." Color me fucking shocked. Of course I'm going to specify my hardwired via Ethernet AppleTV that's connected to my main television. Since Apple's shitty fucking software can't figure out that's the best bet on its own. So damn embarrassing. So, yeah, I guess I'm giving Apple a half-point for that (doesn't seem like there's any other much-needed improvements happening, but maybe?).

   

Art Al Fresco

Posted on May 24th, 2024

Dave!Apple's release of their new iPads got me to wondering about how much the Adobe apps have approved over the past three years. I had bought a 2020 iPad Pro because I heard that useable versions of Illustrator and Photoshop were out for iPad (or coming soon to iPad... I can't remember). But then found out that they weren't really in a state that I could use them to do actual work. They were but a shadow of the full program. It was a bummer, but I had something fun to play with during pandemic lockdowns, so it was all good.

Turns out that the apps have improved dramatically. Not only can I open and edit full-on Illustrator and Photoshop files, the feature set is rich enough that I can do real work on it. So that's nice. But it's not the most impressive thing I've discovered after ignoring my iPad for years.

That would be an app called "Adobe Fresco" which is around 4 years old now.

Meant to compete head-to-head with "Procreate," it's a drawing and painting program that's darn good. It has a different approach in some areas, and is a vast improvement in others (particularly with their animation tools and "live brushes"). It's matured a lot in the past few years...

And so... looks like I'll be taking a closer look at that this holiday weekend.

Though, call me old fashioned, but I will always prefer physical media over digital drawing tools. There's just something about getting your hands dirty that makes art seem more "real" to me.

   

Bullet Sunday 855

Posted on May 12th, 2024

Dave!I'm building build building this weekend, but I haven't forgot about you, dear reader... because an all new Bullet Sunday starts... now...

   
• DestructiPad! Apple introduced their amazing new iPads in the worst way possible. To illustrate how this miracle device is capable of a huge number of creative endeavors, from music to art to research, they released a commercial where a massive hydraulic press squishes musical instruments, art supplies, and other physical tools into nothingness. And they let you see the destruction in excruciating, closeup detail...

Apple Destroying Tradtional Tools

Now, I get what they were trying to do... but holy shit. Who thought this ad which celebrates the death of physical creativity would be a good idea? The first thing I thought was "Do they not speak with foreign culture consultants before releasing their ads?" Because the first thing I thought of was... there are cultures where creative tools are revered, and destroying them like this is an unforgivable act. And, sure enough, the outrage was immediate. Particularly from Japan, where something like this is unforgivable. But it should anger anybody who thinks this kind of waste is senseless. Apple ultimately apologized, but it is crazy to me that they were so stupid as to do this in the first place. They could have animated it... or used cardboard cut-out representations... or anything where the actual objects weren't destroyed.

   
• MaxiPad! Tone-deaf commercial aside, the new iPads are incredble. The display, the power, the larger size, the new stylus... it's a digital creator's dram come true. I don't use my iPad enough to justify buying a new one (I have a 2020 iPad Pro), but was curious to know how much my ideal iPad configuration with accessories would cost. It's $2000... not including AppleCare. But no worries... Apple will give me $65 to trade in my old iPad Pro! Yikes. I'll just wait for the MacBook Pro M4, thanks.

   
• Exit! Okay. Dang. Sometimes short films have more impact per second than a multi-million dollar flick...

This brilliantly illustrates how a film doesn't necessarily have to take its time and build up characters into fully-realized people in order to be entertaining. Sure traditional long-form movies are my preferred way to experience a story, but running into something like this shows that it's not the only way to tell a story. If you haven't seen it yet, be sure to check out my last short film pick, Two Strangers Meet Five Times.

   
• THERE IT IS! And... scene...

Here's the thing: I have never had a desire to wear nail polish. It's never been my thing, even when I was into cultures where it was a part. But seeing all these snowflakes getting so triggered by FUCKING NAIL POLISH makes me actually want to start wearing it. The idea that guys can't accessorize their appearance without being trashed by the toxic masculinity brigade is absurd. Why the fuck are people so invested in what other people are doing with their appearance? Let them do them and you do you. It's not that hard to ignore shit that makes others happy that you wouldn't do for yourself.

   
• EXIT SLOW! Ah yes. The Union Street exit in Seattle. I have taken it many times. And have seen people nearly lose control many times. Never seen a crash... but I believe they happen often because of how it's designed. Some guy set up a camera to catch accidents of cars taking the exit too fast, and they do indeed happen often...

You'd think that people driving in an area that they are unfmiliar with would be following all suggested speed signs rather than ignoring them. Odds are, there's a reason that they tell you to slow way down.

   
• More Runner! One of my most favorite films of all time is Blade Runner 2049. It shocks me to this day that it wasn't a massive blockbuster success. This is the film that genius-director Denis Villeneuve made before his celebrated Dune films, and it's equally phenomenal. This week it was annonced that Amazon Prime Video is making a sequel series... WITH MICHELLE FUCKING YEOH!!! I gotta tell you, I have no idea when Blade Runner 2099 is going to happen, but I am already looking forward to seeing it. If it's even half as good as 2049, it will be well worth the wait.

   
• NEWSFLASH: Ted Cruz Called Automatic Airline Refunds a ‘Dumb Idea.’ Senators Disagreed. Do you think that if Ted Cruz blows enough airline executives he can take his next Cancún vacation for free? The refund is not immediate-immediate. It's only if your flight has been significantly delayed and you don't rebook another flight to replace it. The only thing this changes is that you don't have to fill out a bunch of paperwork and let the airline string your along forever... or issue you some stupid credit that you'll never use before it expires. Where the fuck does this boot-licker asshole come up with this outrageous shit? Do people even believe his ridiculous crap anymore? Ted Cruz is a fucking embarrassment, and the fact that he still has a job shocks the shit out of me. Republicans don't think that they deserve to get their money back with a minimum of inconvenience when they get fucked over by over-bookings or maintenance failures or whatever? Get real.

   
And now back to hammering...

   

Apple is a Shithole Company. Still.

Posted on April 29th, 2024

Dave!The absolute, overwhelming, infinite rage I have for Apple right now is all-consuming.

After they fucked up and forced myself (along with scores of others) to reset my AppleID password, I have had nothing but trouble. And while I could rant for pages about all the shitty fucking things I've endured over the past two days... I'm going to focus on one.

App-Specific Passwords.

There are numerous apps that have to access your data from within the Apple ecosystem to function properly. For example my calendar app, Fantastical, needs to sync with my calendar data that's stored in Apple's iCloud. To do this, you have to generate an App-Specific Password from the AppleID site. And I'm like... no problem. This is a good security practice since it prevents unscrupulous app developers to force their way into your data by using your main AppleID password.

Except after this latest fuck-up by Apple, all of my app-specific passwords were deleted. And trying to get the system to issue new ones has been a fucking nightmare. You login with TouchID. You ask to generate a new App-Specific Password. The system says it can't do that until it logs you out and has you login with your actual password instead of TouchID. Which already has me fuming because Apple is the company that's ELIMINATING THE PASSWORD BY USING BIOMETRIC DATA! But anyway... I get logged out, taken to the login page, only to find that Apple won't ask me for my password but instead wants to log me in via TouchID. Again.

Lather. Rinse. Repeat.

The only way I could figure out how to break the cycle and login with a fucking password is to reset my fucking password.

Which is something I'm guessing I'm going to have to do over and over and over and over again until all my missing App-Specific Passwords have been reset. I'd do them all at the same time, but since all my App-Specific Passwords were deleted, I have no way of fucking knowing which apps are the ones that need them.

It has me seriously fucking wondering if anybody at Apple uses their own fucking products. I mean, seriously, does Tim Cook put up with this bullshit? I fucking guarantee you that Steve Jobs wouldn't have.

This is the kind of shit which would be frustrating no matter what company was putting me through it. But the fact that Apple has the hubris to put themselves above other companies with their fucking bullshit has me absolutely fucking HATING this stupid-ass piece-of-shit company.

And it's just the beginning.

Safari will eventually ask you if you want to save your new Apple password. But it will only save it for apple.com... it will not save it for Apple's other shithole sites, like iCloud.com. Which means you'd better remember the last password you used when you had to reset your password for the tenth time in order to get another App-Specific Password.

Holy shit do I hate this fucking company.

   

Bullet Sunday 853

Posted on April 28th, 2024

Dave!I woke up mostly pain-free, so my ambition was to clean my frickin' home. But I can't let cleaning get in the way of my Sunday obligations... because an all new Bullet Sunday starts... now...

   
• Dead! I enjoyed Netflix and Neil Gaiman's Dead Boy Detectives. Though it really makes me want a Death: the High Cost of Living series even more. But anyway... the one thing that disappoints me is that in the original comic books, they were dead BOY detectives. Young boys. 12-year olds I think. These "boys" are in their twenties. Not really boys at all. This changes the dynamic of the story in a kinda weird way. But they did keep the random weirdness that makes the comics so good, so there's that...

I really wish that they had cast young kids, but I guess that wouldn't work if we get a second season because they would age out when they're not supposed to age at all? But odds are we won't get a second season because Netflix gives all their money to Zack Snyder for his shitty fucking movies (Rebel Moon Part 2: The Scargiver was BEYOND shitty). Oh well. Netflix keeps this up and I won't have a need for their service. One more streamer in the toilet.

   
• Street! My favorite YouTube rabbit hole this week was courtesy of Printographer. He takes street photos of people... then prints out a photo to give to them. The results are sometimes pretty great...

 

Public employees like police officers and public workers seem like the best candidates for this. I'm not sure how I feel about snapping random women... and especially kids? Seems like an invitation to trouble? I'm too cynical, I guess. I hope that all these people (public or not) give their permission to be posted to YouTube.

   
• NEWSFLASH: Many people say their Apple IDs were inexplicably reset last night. — I was one of the people affected, and it fucking sucked. All my app-specific passwords now have to be reset. Does Apple know how much time that takes? DO THEY GIVE A SHIT?!? And of course Apple's promise to kill having to enter passwords is fucking bullshit, because NOT ONCE was FaceID or TouchID used for anything. It was just an endless loop of entering fucking passwords. Assholes. Jesus Christ and I sick and fucking tired of Apple's hypocrisy cycle.

   
• FUCKING ARREST HER! I don't give a shit if if this psychotic asshole is the D.A., why the fuck wasn't she treated like ANY OTHER PERSON would have been if they acted this way during a valid traffic stop? Why wasn't she dragged the fuck out of her garage, slammed up against the back of her fucking vehicle, fucking handcuffed, THEN FUCKING ARRESTED?

"Let me call my supervisor." Good Lord. She's a D.A., so she gets to drive 55 in a 35mph zone? Fuck that. Fuck her. She's absolute garbage, and the fact that she thinks people like her are above the law means she has NO FUCKING BUSINESS BEING A D.A. OR EVEN NEAR THE D.A.'S OFFICE. I hope she gets fucking fired from her job and thrown IN FUCKING JAIL. You know... LIKE I WOULD BE IF I WERE TO ACT LIKE THIS DURING A FUCKING TRAFFIC STOP. And can you imagine if this was a Black woman pulling this attitude? D.A. or no D.A., she would be lucky to survive it. "I had a bad day." Yeah, that's a valid excuse to get out of speeding. Seriously, public officials who exploit their office for personal gain need to be in jail.

   
• On the Tip! TLC Forever is on Netflix. I've seen TLC documentaries before, but this one seems different? Not sure if I saw it when it was released last year. They just got to the part where they are shooting the making of the video for Waterfalls where they are out in the middle of a giant water tank. I was there at Universal Studios California while they were shooting it...

I even took a photo, but I have no idea where it is because I'm pretty sure it was taken on film. Regardless, they have a heck of a story.

   
• NEWSFLASH: Vaccine breakthrough means no more chasing strains. This... this right here... is a miracle. The ultimate goal of RNA vaccines since the very beginning. And yet there will be people who would rather suffer and die (or, tragically, rather their child suffer and die) than accept this gift from science... or gift from God, if you're so inclined. I will never understand where this world went off the rails. We used to embrace science. It used to not be all absurd religious drama and conspiracy theories. Maybe Satan does exist, and this is his handiwork?

   
• Full-On Drag! Glorious. Everybody already knows my thoughts on Jamie Oliver, so you'll understand why I loved this video...

It's always nice when I'm not alone in my loathing of public personalities!

   
And now back to cleaning up. Can't somebody buy me housekeeping services? Is that really too much to ask?

   

Bullet Sunday 844

Posted on February 25th, 2024

Dave!I'm too tired to blog. It's been a very tiring day. But there truly is no rest for the wicked... because an all new Bullet Sunday starts... now...

   
• A Mystery! Given the fact that you can find just about anything knowable on the internet, it always fascinates me when the internet gets stumped. Because, though rare, it does happen. This video is about one of those times. It's a song. And, I'm just going to put this out there, it's a song I really like. Fair warning though, this is not a video you can start and walk away from because it just gets stranger and more compelling the longer it goes on...

Awesome. I mean... frustrating for everybody involved, of course... but still awesome.

   
• PIVOT! It's so rare that I get to use my name being similar to the Friends actor, David Schwimmer, as a joke, but here we are...

Now, honestly, I have been trying speak from a place of kindness more and more because there's enough hostility in the world... but Kirk Cameron kinda crosses a line for me. His whole "Way of The Master" idiocy where he "proved" the existence of God with a fucking banana... WRONGLY (the modern banana was cultivated by man, and bears very little relationship to the natural "banana" that God gave us)... was just proof that he'll exploit peoples' faith for money, which is pretty shitty. The fact that he's a raging homophobic bigot is just the icing on the fucking cake. Kirk Cameron can fuck ALL the way off with his bullshit, and I'll save my kindness for times when it will actually do some good.

   
• Rory! I did not know that Rory Scovel had a new special out! Guess what I'll be watching when I get home tomorrow after work tomorrow?

Yeah. This. I'll be watching this.

   
• QUIET! Ever since Apple got rid of the physical mute switch, I get calls ringing through EVEN IF I AM IN SILENT MODE. And of course searching through loads of antiquated Apple documentation does nothing to help resolve this. It sucks how something as simple as DO NOT DISTURB doesn't fucking work...

Silent mode is on! NOT!

Every damn day it's something new.

   
• Prē! This video is pretty great. I hated the Palm phones but really loved WebOS. Fortunately, a lot of what I like transitioned over to iPhone (even if it took a while to get there)...

I find it remarkable that a whole lot of people have no idea these phones existed.

   
• White! Betty is one of the funniest people who ever lived. Nobody dropped a line like she did. This zinger is everything...

And it's the way she delivers it that makes it so hilarious.

   
• Grandma! To end this on a positive... this is genuinely sweet, no matter how you feel about Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter...

Grandmas are grandmas the world 'round.

   
And off I go to take a nap. Cannot tell you how happy I am that I actually have that option right now.

   

Reflections on Reflection on Vision Pro

Posted on February 2nd, 2024

Dave!This week Apple's spiffy new VR/AR headset, The Vision Pro, was unleashed upon the world. And now the videos and reviews of the unit are being released. There were reviews before, but they were all taking place in Apple's tightly-controlled environment. Now they are out in the real world.

And of course my go-to tech guy, Marques Brownlee, is all over it.

First he posted an unboxing video.

Then he posted an experience and introduction video. If you only want to watch one video to get an idea of what Vision Pro is all about, this is it...

Both videos were excellent, as expected, but the one that compelled me to write about reacting to his reactions was when he wore the headset for the entire 90 minutes of his Waveform Podcast. It is fascinating. Mostly because it has conversation about where the technology is now and what it could mean for the future. If you are at all interested in Vision Pro, it's time well-spent to watch it...

At the one hour mark, Marques responds to viewers and makes a point of talking about being excited to taking a his first flight with Vision Pro. He wants to be able to watch videos on a plane. And I relate to this completely. The thing I want to do most when being stuck on a plane is to not being stuck on a plane, even if it's just virtually.

But this touches on the main reason that I want a Vision Pro.

I want to be able to turn the world off and not be stuck in reality.

I want to be able to strap on Vision Pro in my living room so I can watch movies on a massive screen... while sitting in a movie theater... ALL BY MYSELF. I love love love going to a movie theater. I love the experience. But I hate having to endure other people while I'm there. People talking. People using their phones. People eating. People kicking your seat. Which is to say that I loathe going to a movie theater because there's always going to be other people fucking up the experience. Vision Pro will allow me to go to a "theater" and have only a good experience. And that is what makes a Vision Pro worth it. Not for $3,500... but eventually when they drop the "Pro" features I don't care about and release a version that's affordable.

And everything I wrote about watching movies goes double for attending a concert. I have paid a ton of money for tickets to a concert... only to have to listen to people screaming their fucking heads off and talking the whole time. Not to mention having people standing in front of me blocking my view (and I'm tall!). If bands were to start releasing their live shows on Vision Pro... giving you a private concert from the best seat in the house... I would not only buy a Vision Pro, but I would happily pay the full ticket price to the artist to experience it. There are people who love live shows. I used to be one of those people. Maybe it's because I'm old now, but I definitely do not. Being able to virtually attend a concert is a dream scenario for me. I cannot wait for this to become a reality.

Everything else that a Vision Pro can do beyond that is gravy, but I'm going to focus on one aspect: travel.

Being able to explore the world from your living room is compelling, although it's never going to replace of being out in the world and seeing things in Real Life. Mostly because so much of the experience of travel is tied to actual immersion. Sights, smells, sounds, and interacting with all of them. And, unlike with movies or concerts, I find interacting with people to be one of the best parts of travel. So your "experience" with virtual travel is going to be severely limited with current technology. Even tech as advanced as Vision Pro. But let's break down why I still think there's a place for it, even with such severe limitations...

  • Travel is getting more expensive every day. And while $3,500 for the Vision Pro is a huge chunk of change by itself, when that price comes down, virtual travel may be the only option for people who want to travel the world but can't afford to go in person. A limited experience is better than nothing, and a VR experience is better than watching a video.
  • A lot of people don't have the option for travel experiences because of physical limitations or mental barriers that prevent it. Maybe they are confined to a bed for health reasons. Maybe they don't have physical mobility. Maybe they're just old. Whatever the reason, travel is off the table. So, yeah, it would be nice if they could partially experience seeing the world in a way that's better than looking at a photo or watching a video.
  • A lot of top destinations for travel are overwhelmed. The huge number of people visiting are straining resources, driving up costs for locals, and destroying environments. Anything which can reduce this strain is a good thing. No, visiting a Maui beach virtually is not the same as laying on that same beach and experiencing the environment in Real Life, but if the virtual experience is excellent, we might get to the point where you can visit a local beach, lay in the sand, and be in Maui virtually. And, as the technology improves, this will just get better and better.
  • Travel consumes huge amounts of resources and causes a lot of pollution. If virtual travel can reduce the need we feel to travel in Real Life even a little bit, it's going to be a game-changer.
  • And of course there's the time element. Travel takes time away from your life, and a lot of time is wasted just getting to where you're going. Being able to toss on your Vision Pro and go somewhere in minutes is a compelling reason to explore more of the world... especially places you would never think to go to in Real Life.

I am not going to buy a Vision Pro. At $3,500 plus tax and money for accessories, you're easily talking $4,000 and I can't justify that cost in any way. That money could be spent fixing my home, buying necessities, completing my landscaping project, and a ton of other things.

But that $3,500 price won't be there forever.

I don't give a shit about the front-facing screen which shows people your eyes when you're talking to them. Not even a little bit. If I'm talking to somebody, I'll just take the thing off. A version without that has got to chop at least $500 off the price. And I don't need metal and glass quality. I'll take a plastic headset and be happy to save at least another $500. Then there's the mass production savings which will come as they ramp up production of the cheaper version. All of a sudden... the Vision Not-Pro costs $1,500 to $1,800. And I would buy that in a heartbeat. Even if all I did was watch video on a massive virtual screen, that's worth it.

And then there's the future of Vision Pro.

The "persona avatars" are pretty crappy right now. But eventually? When they get better? Virtual meet-ups with my friends would be so cool. I'd love to sit and watch television shows with my friends so we can chat and enjoy the experience together. Or play games. Or just have a chat. That... that... would be insanely great.

I can't wait.

UPDATE: Marques has another video out. A lot of info packed into around 20 minutes...

   

Banana Bread and Seething Hatred

Posted on January 26th, 2024

Dave!Yesterday I was all ready to have Apple unleash the "nuclear option" to see if the data of mine that they destroyed could be restored. This morning I called. The guy I talked to had no clue what this "magical restore" could be. He'd never heard of it. He didn't know why I was told it existed. It doesn't. Apple makes no backup of their customer's data on iCloud Drive in the event they have a catastrophic failure. There's nothing. There's no data saved anywhere that they can restore from. So first Apple doesn't tell you that Time Machine won't backup iCloud Drive files. And then they don't take any precautions to save your data if they fuck it up.

Sooo... what's gone is permanently gone.

Not because of anything I did. I used the service as it was designed. I dutifully bought an iMac with a pricey external drive to back up my stuff via Time Machine. But because Apple doesn't give a FUCK... and doesn't give a single shit about their customers... I'm screwed.

I fucking hate Apple with the passion of a thousand suns. THEY misrepresent. THEY lie. THEY screw up. But not a penny of their BILLIONS OF DOLLARS is used to safeguard their customers over THEIR mistakes.

After fuming all day, I arrived home to make banana bread.

I'm one of those people who buys bananas and "forgets" to eat them so they over-ripen, then the only thing I can do about it is make banana bread...

My perfect banana bread.

But I make banana bread MY way.

No lumps in my banana mash. I purée that shit. No spices. I want all the banana flavor and don't want it covered up. Extra walnuts. AND ABSOLUTELY, POSITIVELY NO RAISINS! I only eat raisins in oatmeal cookies or on their own. Never in cinnamon rolls or breads or pastries or anything else. Oatmeal cookies have that oatmeal texture to take the edge off the raisin texture so I don't get skeeved out.

A sweet end to a shitty fucking day.

   

The Mac at 40

Posted on January 25th, 2024

Dave!This is the post I was planning to write yesterday on the occasion of the Macintosh's 40th anniversary. But after hat happened, I'm having to write it today.

The first compputer not programmed with punchcards that I ever used was an Apple ][ at school. But the first computer I owned at home was an Atari 800. My parents went for the big ticket version instead off the cheaper Atari 400, which meant I had glorious full-sized physical keys instead of an impossible-to-type-on membrane keyboard. From there I migrated to the Atari 1040 ST, and later the Atari TT.

It was at this point that I got a scanner, which I wanted so I could scan my drawings into my computer. It was huge and very, very expensive. And it didn't work directly with an Atari, but required kludgy drivers to operate. Badly.

Included with the scanner was a copy of Photoshop.

Which ran on Macintosh only.

Frustrated with the limitations and lack of software for the Atari, I saved up for a Mac, at last. It was the cheapest model I could get, a Mac Performa 600 (a poor man's Mac Quadra, which was the model I coveted). I bought it at Sears on credit. The very next month, it was discontinued, and I could have gotten a more powerful machine for the same money (or saved a chunk on my now-outdated model), but thems the breaks...

The Apple Macintosh Performa 600

My memory of what came after is hazy. I believe my next Mac was actually a Mac clone by Power computing. Then there was a Mac G3 tower of some kind that I bought and ended up selling... a Power Mac G4 Cube (which remains my favorite Mac design ever, even though it wasn't all that powerful)... a number of MacBook laptops (culminating with my MacBook Pro M2 Max I'm using now)... a few iMacs (culminating with my iMac M1 desktop that I have now)... not to mention the legion of Macs that I've had at work (culminating in the Mac Studio M1 Ultra).

And eventually, just to satisfy the completist in me, I ended up buying one of the original models from the early years of the Mac, a Macintosh 512K. Not sure if it still works, as it's been over a decade since I turned it on, but it's still collecting dust in my garage.

We won't mention the various other Apple products that have accompanied my Macs over the years. QuickTake cameras, a Newton Message Pad, all kinds of iPods, iPhones, iPads, Apple Watches, and such. I'm a certified Apple Whore through and through who bleeds in six colors.

So, yeah, that's a brief history of the Mac and Me. A computer that, despite my growing hatred of Apple, is still my favorite kind of computer to use.

At least for now.

I'm still waiting for computer implants to come along.

Maybe in another 4o years.

   

Re-Backup Now, or Risk Eternal Torment

Posted on January 24th, 2024

Dave!TL;DR... if you have any data at all on Apple's servers, particularly iCloud Drive, you need to get it off of there or perform a backup immediately. Not tomorrow. Not next week. Immediately.

Forty years ago today, Apple shipped the first Macintosh computer.

Today-today, Apple technology has resulted in my losing hundreds of files... some I've been able to recover on old computers and in ancient backups... some I found in local backups from a month-and-a-half ago (so they're partially recovered)... and some I've lost permanently, because they were ever only on iCloud.

Both of the Apple Support specialists I've talked to thought it important to tell me that "iCloud Drive is not intended to be a backup." And it's like, yeah, I know this. Which is why I have a desktop iMac with iCloud Drive synced, and Time Machine turned on. Except I found out the hard way that unless the files are actually downloaded to the iMac, they are not backed up. And, of course, despite having a shitload of free space on my iCloud Drive, Apple doesn't keep backups of older versions of files. Dropbox may be a pile of shit, but even they do that. So not only does Apple not do that, they don't tell you they don't do that.

Here's a serious of events that lead to now.

  • A month and a half ago, I decided to offload a bunch of files off of local drives because I was running out of space. Because I've grown to hate the pile of shitty bloat that is Dropbox, I upgraded my iCloud Drive space to the 2 terabyte option for $9.99 a month because there wasn't a 500 gigabyte plan. All my files were transferred. Given that they would always be in the cloud, I thought it was safest to work on them from there. And everything was working great.
  • Two days ago I had an iPad that's been powered off for six months. I decided to charge it and update it to the new iPad OS that just came out that day.
  • Yesterday I went to load a file I've been working on. I couldn't. I looked on iCloud Drive and saw it was 0 bytes. A bunch of files were 0 bytes. Files that had been many bytes... even gigabytes... just days ago.
  • I chatted with Apple Support in a panic as files were dropping to 0 bytes in Real Time as I watched. They couldn't help me. A call was arranged for 7:30am this morning. This is also when I found out that my iMac wasn't backing up iCloud Drive files as I thought it would be.
  • I turned off my iPad just in case that was the cause. It wasn't. Files continued to drop to zero. I disconnected all computers from the internet so that I wouldn't lose anything else overnight.
  • This morning I spoke to an Apple Support agent. Technically, my files weren't deleted, so recovering them on the iCloud website's "deleted files tool" wasn't possible. Not that it matters. Not even the files I didn't need could be recovered. Every time I try, I was told "There was a problem loading restorable files. Please try again later." I tried later seven times.
  • The Apple Support tech told me there was nothing they could do, and that I should download and manually back up all my iCloud Drive files.
  • I started downloading files, but some files were being zeroed out before I could complete the download.
  • So I called back, desperate for any ideas which might save my data. No ideas were to be had. I was told that the best option was to update to the latest OS all my computers and devices, then give Apple permission to try and recover files, even though it may end up doing even more damage and cause even more data loss. So I did the best I could to save what files I could as they continued to be destroyed. The good news is that I found out the more files I downloaded at the same time, the slower Apple was at ruining my data. Apparently iCloud Drive can only do one thing at a time. Lucky me.
  • I managed to get as much of my data copied off iCloud as possible. I then updated all of my devices. Tomorrow I'll ask Apple to go all nuclear option on my iCloud Drive in an attempt to recover some of my lost data. Which may mean that they end up destroying everything.
  • Tonight I took stock of what, exactly, I've lost. A bunch of photos I thought were gone forever (including my high school graduation, photos of my grandmother, and my trip to Egypt with my mom, among others) were actually backed up Plex, thank God. But a bunch of Hard Rock photos from my early days are gone (though some lo-res images were published on my blog, so there's that). But all the writing I've done for the past month-and-a-half is gone (though I have backups of these files from before that). Stuff I wrote years ago and haven't touched in years is gone though. Research I've been working on for decades is gone. Vector files for my later DaveToons are gone. Future tattoo ideas I drew up are gone. All the digital versions of my mortgage, banking, and the digital documents I saved for my mom's care are all gone. Every last note of the music I wrote for advertising in the 90's is gone. All the maps I drew for my old "DaveWorld" site are gone. It goes on and on.

So, yeah, not ideal.

But it could have been so much worse.

And for that I'm grateful, though I remain absolutely outraged at Apple. The company has BILLIONS of dollars. Yet they won't devote a fraction of that to safeguarding the data their customers entrusts to them. Instead they want me to know that it's my fault because I should have backed up... even though I thought that's exactly what I was doing by having a large, pricey Time Machine hard drive hooked up to a Mac that's synced to my iCloud Drive. If only Apple could be bothered to warn people that the obvious way you'd think things would work are not, in fact, how things actually do. I guess, in the end, they just don't give a fuck. Which is probably why they have billions of dollars in the first place.

I remain hopeful that a lot of stuff I've lost can ultimately be recovered. Whether because I find it on a drive or computer or a backup somewhere... or Apple is able to do something tomorrow.

Hopefully the REAL backups I'm making now (instead of the unreal backups I thought I was making) will prevent this in the future.

Because I sure don't even want to go through this again.

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