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Apple, My Apple!

Posted on September 7th, 2022

Dave!Oh look! Today was yet another Apple Event!

Tim Cook started things off with Dear Apple... which is dramatic readings of people who have written to him saying how much Apple has improved their lives... and saved their lives! It's like, okay, we get it, and it's probably smart to focus on this (thanks for at least trying to be clever about it), but this is kinda a weird way to kick off excitement for new products, isn't it?

Let's get to it, shall we?
   

APPLE WATCH SERIES 8

Here's the thing. I love my Apple Watch. It helps me monitor my sleep and can do some handy things so I don't have to grab my iPhone as much.

  • Temperature Sensor! — This is actually pretty darn cool in helping people with ovaries track their menstrual cycle. Good on Apple for thinking of it. Not that this is useless for men... being able to know if you have a low-grade fever when you otherwise might know about it is important in the age of COVID. Nice.
  • Sleep Tracking! — I have complained... loudly about how bad Apple's sleep-tracking app is. It's so bad that I never use it... I use AutoSleep which is much more capable. Except now Apple has tried their best to mimic what I've been using, which is great that they finally got off their asses... but kinda sad for apps like AutoSleep that filled the gaps while Apple ignored them. I just hope that the new app won't be so damn stupid about requiring you to enter you sleep/wake times! AutoSleep doesn't require this, it just measures when I sleep. So if I manage to take a nap, it's recorded. I guess we'll find out.
  • Safety! — The fall detection on my watch didn't detect the one actual fall I took... but has falsely detected me "falling" in the shower at least a half-dozen times. So I'm not sure if I can trust the new "car crash" sensor. Though Apple sure makes it sound compelling, so maybe? Seems a smart feature to have... especially if you crash and end up incapacitated.
  • Low Power Mode! — I thought that "theater mode" already did this?
  • International Roaming! — Might have been nice when I was traveling internationally a lot. Except I've never felt the need to buy a cellular model. My phone is always with me.

Here's the promo...

One of my biggest complaints from Series 6 is still here! I just checked... Apple still doesn't allow me to "customize it your way" the way I want to customize it. This is so damn stupid. Maybe if I go to an actually Apple Store they could help me? I want a Project RED case with a Black Solo Loop. The only way to do this online? Buy a Project RED watch with a band I don't want and won't use... then pay another $50 to get the Black Solo Loop...

Red watch with a black loop band.

Pretty crappy, Apple.
   

APPLE WATCH LE

I don't know if saving $150 for a lighter feature set would be the best choice for me... but it's nice that Apple is at least trying to be a little sensitive to the fact that people don't have shitloads of money laying around. From what I can tell you lose always-on display, edge-to-edge display, Blood Oxygen and ECG reading, and "fast charge." So... not a lot, actually. A smart choice if you want a more basic watch that still have a lot to offer.
   

APPLE WATCH ULTRA

Apple's long-rumored "super watch" is actually pretty compelling. If it weren't so darn HUGE it might be something I'd consider (if I had $799 to spare).

  • Action Button! — Now, why can't the other watches have this? No, it wouldn't be as big and you couldn't poke it with gloves like the Ultra version, but it would still be handy to have that button customization feature! BOOOOO!
  • Display! — Yeah, yeah, it would be nice to have this super-bright display on my watch so I can read it in the sun, but it's understandable that you'd need to have a watch this huge to hold a battery to make it actually work.
  • Big Battery! And, yeah, having three days of battery life would be nice, but I can get almost two days with my watch in "theater mode" so I'm not crazy jealous about it.
  • New Bands! — The bands for this watch are something I'd love to take a look at. Alas, not one of them is available for the 41mm watches, which is kind of shitty.
  • Enhanced Precision GPS! — Not something I'd ever need... but I guess it's kind of cool if you need it for training and what-not. Not really sure why the other watched can't have the L5 hookup, but oh well.
  • New Compass! — Now, come on. Would it really be all that difficult to give the other watches a compass that works well? It's kinda a bummer that you have to pay $400 more to get a watch that handles this better than the (let's face it) poor compass in the other watches.
  • 86db Siren! — That doesn't seem all that loud... but it might be loud enough to make a difference in calling for help when you fall off a trail or something.
  • Underwater! — Yeah, this is all frickin' cool. Not that you'd want to get rid of your SCUBA dive computer, but it's pretty nice from the standpoint of being able to integrate with apps (like the Oceanic+ app that they demoed). If I were a diver, I'd probably ignore the huge size of the watch just to have that feature.

Ultimately, I really like this watch. I just could not deal with how astoundingly big it is (SERIOUSLY! JUST LOOK AT IT IN THE AD WHERE IT'S SHOWN ON PEOPLE'S WRISTS! HOLY CRAP!). Even for the features you get. I have to say... the advertisement that they came up with for the watch is unintentionally hilarious with its overly-dramatic overtones...

I mean, come on... adventure can be fun too! It's not always so dire!
   

AIRPODS

I used my Airpods to death when I was traveling constantly. And the "Pro" pods were my favorite travel pods I've ever used. Not only did they not fall out constantly like the old model version, but they had that spatial sound mode that was brilliant. But now that I'm not traveling? Rarely use them. I prefer my Beats. The new "Pro" AirPods that got released today are said to improve sound quality, but I sincerely doubt it's going to be groundbreaking compared to the ones I have now. The enhanced noise cancelation, better battery life, and adaptive transparency mode would be pretty sweet though. And how awesome is the swipe volume control?
   

iPHONE 14

Since I've bought the "Pro" version all the way back to the iPhone X, I'm not sure about what features are improved compared to the iPhone 13. But it sure can't be much.

  • Colors! — once again you can get the Product RED color for the lower-end iPhone, but I'll bet every dollar I have that you won't be able to get a Product RED color for the Pro model. Infuriating.
  • Max! — The iPhone mini is gone, replaced by an iPhone Max. I can't go back to the "regular" size after living with the Max, so I'm happy this is an option for people who don't need Pro features.
  • Camera! — I am more interested in how well the camera works than any other feature. I don't even care so much about making calls if my camera is dope. Fortunately, the iPhone 14 looks to have a pretty good duo-lens camera that will be more than acceptable to most people. While other phone manufacturers have features which exceed what Apple has done... I honestly think that the photos you get off iPhone are better due to Apple's advanced processing on their Photonic Engine. It's nice to know that iPhone 14 isn't lagging too far behind in this regard. Especially in low-light conditions.
  • Crash Detection! — Makes sense that if the Watch is getting this, the iPhone is as well.
  • SOS Satellite Connectivity! — Very, very nice. Especially if you are often in areas where there's no cellular signal. And Apple looks like they have made it as easy to use as possible, which is incredibly smart. I feel I should get an iPhone 14 for the emergency satellite connection alone. Give how horrendously shitty T-Mobile coverage is... even when I'm in a city which is supposed to have great coverage... it might be the only way to call for help if I'm in desperate need while walking down a city street! =sigh= I really need to see if Verizon has an old people plan like T-Mobile so I can actually make calls and use cellular data again. I dropped to 2 bars on LTE while driving through a city of 35,000 people today! But, hey, the price for T-Mobile's crap service cannot be beat if you're age 55+! — I just hope to heaven that people don't tie up emergency services with this unless it's an actual dire emergency.
  • Sustainable! — Say what you like about Apple, but the fact that they are so good about trying to keep e-waste out of landfills is terribly important and admirable.

All-in-all... this is a pretty good bargain when it comes to iPhones.
   

iPHONE 14 PRO

And here we go (boy is Tim Cook excited! Must be great!)...

  • Purple! — Yeah, I really want that purple iPhone, even though I
  • I'm An Island! — The pill cut-out on the screen is kinda dumb. But here's Apple putting lipstick on a pig in a way that's actually pretty cool. The way the "Dynamic Island" works is darn clever and conceals the fact that you've got a cut-out for cameras on the front of your iPhone. So... not so dumb, actually. Pretty impressive, in fact. I love it, even though I'm not entirely sure what's going to get covered up when your "island" has junk in it?
  • Screen! The display on Apple's iPhones has always been great, and it's amazing to me that they can keep getting better, brighter, with more dynamic range. Yes please.
  • Always On! The always-on display is a long, long time coming... and it's a bit embarrassing that Apple has taken so long to get here. Though the way that they've given the display an ability to drop to such a low refresh rate to save battery is probably a big reason why it's taken them a while. They wanted to do it right. The funky lock-screens are fun, but I don't know that this is anything I've been dying for.
  • Chips! — The new A16 Bionic is faster, of course, but I really don't do much on my phone that will take advantage of this. Maybe I should start intense gaming or something? Nice that the battery life just keeps getting you more bang for your buck. The efficiencies built-in are very important to Apple because conserving battery life is important to their customers.
  • Camera! — And... here's why I'll be upgrading my 13 Pro to the 14 Pro (thanks to my belonging to the Apple iPhone Upgrade Program, I can actually afford to do that!). The new lenses, 48 Mp "quad sensor," and camera functionality are more than worth it. A DSLR just isn't necessary to me anymore, and this makes that even more true. The light-gathering ability of the larger sensor makes my mouth water. Just look at how gorgeous the shots you can get are! All in ProRAW at 48MP resolution. So great.
  • ProRes DolbyVision! — While the quality of iPhone photos vs. other phones can be debatable, I don't feel the same about video. The iPhone is leagues above what I can get out of the Samsung, and the way Apple keeps pushing it to be better means it's more true than ever.
  • Price! — How in the heck are they keeping the price the same? Everybody... including me... thought for sure that Apple would be jacking up the price!

The promo video is pretty good at hitting all the sweet spots...

Like I said... the camera makes it all worthwhile to me, so I'll be using my option in the Apple iPhone Upgrade Program to upgrade. Probably in Purple. Maybe in Black. BUT DEFINITELY NOT IN PRODUCT RED, HUH APPLE?!???
   

THE END!

So... no real surprises, I guess. Just incremental improvements with no revolutionary innovations. Again. One day there is going to be some paradigm-altering new feature at one of these things. The question being... will it have come from Apple first?

   

Increasing Fondness with Each Passing Day

Posted on August 9th, 2022

Dave!Yesterday I had a disaster of a morning attempting to sign a frickin' PDF. Adobe continues to treat PAYING CUSTOMERS like criminals, which made activating Acrobat on my home iMac incredibly time-consuming and difficult. First it wouldn't authenticate. Then it wouldn't download. Then after restarting twice I managed to get it installed, but the installer wouldn't acknowledge that it was installed. Except I still managed to run it. But then the current version of Acrobat didn't work right with the current version of MS Word. So I had to create the PDFs manually, then load them. But then Adobe wouldn't allow me to sign the documents because I couldn't load my signature. So I had to go to the online version of Acrobat to load my signatures. Then I finally got to where I could sign the damn documents... only to find that Acrobat wouldn't allow me to save anything. Turns out I had to turn off online services for some reason in order to be able to save locally. A process that should have taken at most five minutes clocked in at just over an hour.

Remember the good ol' days when you could just buy a program and then use the program you paid for?

And, as bad as that was, today was even more frustrating.

But this time it was Apple instead of Adobe that I was battling.

My Apple Studio Display hasn't been able to play sound for more than 10 seconds since I got the thing. It starts to play and then almost immediately cuts out. Then you have to switch to a different audio, then switch back, at which time it plays again for another ten seconds and then cuts out. Yet again.

Well, today I finally got the software update which fixes the bizarre audio issues that have been plaguing Studio Display users for months... only to then have my computer get stuck in an endless update loop.

There's two hours of my life that I'm never getting back.

I totally appreciate that computers are getting faster and more capable all the time. The stuff they can do now is close to magic. But what good is all that when they go to shit so often that you actually lose hours of your life?

I tell you what... graphic design in the 80's is being remembered with increasing fondness with each passing day.

   

Bullet Sunday 772

Posted on August 7th, 2022

Dave!World War III is back on the table thanks to politician idiocy, but don't let that harsh your mellow... because an all new Bullet Sunday starts... now...

   
• Wedding! To my fellow Hallmark movie nerds... Wedding Season on Netflix. The concept has been done to death, but this one is way too cute to miss...

I love how Netflix gives a good budget to their movies like this. It makes all the difference in diferentiating them from Hallmark.

   
• Star Wars Summer! The LEGO Star Wars Summer Vacation Special has a gem of a Weird Al song attached to it, and the video is right here...

Whether you're a Star Wars fan or a LEGO Star Wars fan or both... the special is worth a look! Find it on Disney+.

   
• Eternally Again! Patton Oswalt leaked that they are working on another Eternals movie. Good. Now leave powerless, annoying Sprite the fuck out of it (or kill her to start off the film). Leave Ajak dead. Leave Ikarus dead. And as much as I loved Gilgamesh, leave him dead. Then kill off Druig (or turn him into the full-on villain he is). Focus on Sersi, Thena, Kingo, Phastos, and Starfox. FIVE characters instead of however the fuck too many were in the first film. Marvel needs to get over themselves that Eternals was an epic masterpiece and come to terms with the fact that they created a bloated, scattered, mess of a film. Avengers Endgame had DOZENS of characters and felt more focused. Don't get me wrong... I enjoyed Eternals and didn't think it was as awful as many people did... but it could have been SO much better. I do hope that Chloé Zhao comes back to direct because her work is so beautiful... but don't force her to cram so much shit in her film that it gets so very sloppy.

   
• Vacation! This is so accurate as to sting a bit (here's a link in case TikTok is being a dick)...

@shane.duffy

Just make sure you reply to your emails 👍

♬ original sound - Shane Duffy 😮‍💨

I haven't had a vacation in three years. Sure I have the hours... but I'm always too busy to actually use them.

   
• Trash! I will keep saying it... Nancy Pelosi is garbage. Everything wrong with government is right here (And here's a link in case TikTok is being a dick)...

@progressivetradesman #greenscreen #insidertrading #corrupt #parforthecourse #dividendsaretheft ♬ original sound - user4501857206945

Like most of our politicians, she doesn't give a FUCK how many people she hurts so long as she keeps grabbing that money and power! And she doesn't care if she starts World War III or tanks our stock market to get it.

   
• PAID! I'd like to leave this Bullet Sunday on a good note... I paid off my blue iMac, Lemon, this week!

iMac PAID!

And in two months my MacBook Pro will also be paid off. Which will be very nice. The money not used for making payment can go towards groceries, gas, and everything else that's insanely expensive now-a-days.

   
TTFN, Bullet fans...

   

Dub Dub Twenty-Two

Posted on June 8th, 2022

Dave!

Monday was the annual World Wide Developer Conference, and here's my thoughts on what came from that.

PASSKEYS
I'm putting this first because it's something that took me completely by surprise in the best possible way. Having to keep track of dipshit passwords in the year 2022 is absurdly stupid, and it's been more than a little shocking that nobody has thought to do anything about it. Sure Apple has made things better by having TouchID and FaceID auto-fill your passwords for you, but it's still stupid. For one thing, there's still a password floating around out there that can be compromised by a company with lax security. Apple wants to ditch passwords in favor of biometric handshaking. Finally. And because they want to get this up-and-running quickly, they're working with Google and Microsoft to make it happen. Can't happen soon enough.

CARPLAY
Up until now, CarPlay has been a curious diversion to me. It doesn't really do anything beyond what my iPhone can do when slapped on my car vent holder. Certainly nothing that makes me want to run out and buy a CarPlay stereo or a CarPlay-enabled car. But now? Apple has gone and made CarPlay take over the entire dash, and it's just phenomenally cool...

The CarPlay Dashboard Coolness.

HOMEKIT HOMESHIT
My complete and total loathing of Apple's Smart Home standard, HomeKit, has not abated since it debuted in 2014 and was actually viable in 2016. It's the most absurdly stupid thing which works with nothing and what it does work with... works badly. I tried to get started with it twice and ended up hating it more after each go. Apple has now started over from scratch, which is about the best thing they could do. The new HomeKit will be built upon the new Matter standard, which is backed by everybody who's anybody in tech, which means that even if Apple shits the bed AGAIN, there will be other options so you're not trapped. I am 1000% looking forward to Matter, which means that I will be a part of HomeKit and not care.

MACBOOK AIR M2
This thing is sexy as hell with its four color options and beautiful design. But that's not even the best part... it's got Apple's shiny new M2 chip inside! If you don't need the power and ports of a MacBook Pro, this is a no-brainer ($1,000 for an M1 chip model, $1,200 for an M2 chip model).

MACBOOK PRO 13 M2
I am beyond confused by this machine. It's $100 more than the Air, has the same chip, a slightly smaller screen... and the only difference I can see is that the screen is OLED on the Pro. Not that it makes any difference to me... I need a 16" model, which this is not.

iOS 16
This update feels mostly cosmetic, allowing you to create custom lock-screens and switch between them like faces on an Apple Watch. The only part of this upgrade which excites me is that you can have "Live Activities" which update on your lock screen in real time, so you don't have to unlock your phone and navigate to the app to track progress on something. Also in this update is improvements to the Photos app (mostly to do with sharing) and the Messages app (you can edit and delete messages, which seems nice on the surface, but could be a nightmare for those being bullied or stalked via text who need evidence) and the Mail app (better search and the ability to undo a send, when supported by the recipient). There's also better dictation abilities (you can use the keyboard while dictating something by voice!) and some intriguing tech which allows hearing-impaired persons to have voices transcribed for them in real-time, which is all kinds of cool (the fact that iOS 16 is finally compatible with Nintendo Switch controllers after waiting for this for years is just icing on the cake).

macOS VENTURE
A lot of what the desktop is getting is the same stuff as what's happening in iOS. But there are a few perks that are unique here. First of all, you can now use handoff with FaceTime calls. So if I've started a FaceTime on my iPhone I can sit down at my Mac and transfer the call there with a click. That's very slick and useful. Likewise, you can use the superior camera on your iPhone as the webcam for your Mac and be able to use it as a Center Stage camera if your monitor doesn't have that ability (see above). And there are MagSafe adapters on the way to affix your iPhone to your Mac, which is a nice touch. Even nicer? An attempt has been made to make managing large numbers of Finder windows easier and for task switching not suck. Something called "Desk View" which allows you to use your iPhone camera to look down at your desk while still having a separate view on your face. This will be incredibly useful to me... it looks like Zoom will adopt the ability, which I truly hope happens since that's where most of my video calls happen. In addition to this stuff... games are faster... there's a lot of minor improvements all over the place, and there's now a shareable online whiteboard for collaboration called Freeform which is cool... but I don't know if it is cross-platform with Windows users? I missed it if this is possible.

iPad OS 16
Ever since iPad broke away from iOS, I keep waiting for this quantum leap change that's going to make it all worthwhile. A pretty big change was multi-tasking for using multiple apps at the same time... but then things kinda just... stalled. Of course iPads are getting all the new stuff from iOS (and the nice app-switcher from macOS Ventura), but all the coolest new stuff is only available for iPads with an M1 chip, which leaves me out. Of course, the thing that I most want from an iPad is a model with a much larger screen for drawing, which hasn't materialized yet.

   
And that was it. Since none of the OS stuff will be officially released until September (unless you like the idea of playing with the public betas which drop next month).

Until then... I guess I'm good.

   

Apple Studio Display First Look

Posted on June 7th, 2022

Dave!When the order was placed for my new Studio Mac and Studio Display for work, the lead time was two weeks for the display, then two months for the computer. But the display never came. Instead it got extended out to the same date as the computer since Apple (wisely) wanted to ship displays for other customers whose computers were available. Which would have been great, except that my computer shipped early, leaving me with two weeks having to use a terrible old monitor that was kicking around the office.

But now the display is finally here, so I'm able to add my thoughts (my comments on the Mac Studio are here).

Studio Display from Apple.

If I were to summarize it all, I'd probably say something like "A high quality display which comes at a (relatively) good price." And I should probably start off talking about the pricing, because that's the most controversial topic in front of me. The thing is $1,600. Which is darn pricey for a 27-inch display... but a frickin' bargain for the 5K 27-inch display that Apple is selling. Which is to say that if you need 5K resolution, this thing is cheap. If you can get by with 4K, this thing is expensive for your needs. I mostly use my machine for graphic design, so the 5K is a nice thing to have... but not critical. But there are other features you get for the money that makes it a (relatively) good price for my needs.

DESIGN BUILD
The thing that you rarely have to worry about when it comes to Apple is how their stuff looks. There are exceptions, of course (the "sunflower" iMac looked stupid and the "trash can" Mac Pro had embarrassingly bad functionality), but most of the time anything you buy is guaranteed to be stunning, functional, and well-engineered. The Studio Display all all of that. It's tooled from aluminum which is both durable and beautiful. The stand design looks simple and elegant (this is where most manufacturers screw things up). The glass is not anti-glare (unless you want to pay $300 to get "nano-textured" glass) but isn't so thick that you're getting weird double-reflections. The base model allows you to tilt the panel towards you or away from you at a fairly large angle of motion (if you want a height-adjustable stand, that's an additional $400). There's no headphone jack to be found, which makes sense considering there's one on the Mac Studio computer (albeit IN THE BACK!). Overall, I'm quite pleased... though I am puzzled by how thick this thing is. It's about double the thickness of my iMac at home, and that has a whole computer inside of it! This is likely what was required for the awesome speaker setup, but it is odd. Though it's also kinda nice because it adds some heft to it so it's less likely to be bouncing around.

PICTURE QUALITY
There is no denying it. This thing is gorgeous to look at. With its 5K resolution, there are no "jaggies" happening anywhere on anything ever. Then you add it's vivid, flawless color fidelity, and it's just like looking at a hi-res back-lit photograph. As with other Apple Devices, it has the ability to monitor the light in your surroundings an adapt to it using Apple's "TrueTone" color correction. And then there's the brightness, which can be turned up so high that it feels like you're getting a suntan. There's absolutely nothing about the picture quality for me to be critical of. It's perfect as I knew it would be.

AND REGARDING 5K...
Because the pixels are so frickin' dense, you can fit a lot more stuff on the screen and still have it be perfectly crisp and legible. I love this quite a lot... EXCEPT... it can really suck when you have apps which don't allow you to enlarge the GUI elements. All the Adobe apps make this easy. As do a lot of my apps. But Apple's very own Mail app, for example? I can only find a place to make composing emails with a larger font. There's no way to apply a "universal zoom" to all your inbound emails. So most every time I receive something, I have to manually bump up the type so I can read it. It's just a tap or two on the "Command" key plus the "+" key, so it's not a huge deal... but even Apple's Safari browser allows you to set a default zoom for every site you visit. It's cumbersome, but at least you only have to do it once! It would be great if there was an option to set a minimum font size on these apps so it would be handled for me with zero need to do anything.

SOUND QUALITY
For whatever reason, Apple decked this thing out with six high-quality speakers that sound frickin' amazing, considering how the small amount of space that they're occupying. Even more impressive is that Apple is up to their "spatial audio" tricks to make you feel as though the sound has enveloped you. It's a pretty nifty trick, though some sound sources work better for this than others. Blade Runner 2049 (my benchmark for checking surround sound quality) sounds glorious. Not that I'll get to hear it much. Obviously I can't blast the sound while at work, so the audio experience will be lost on me because I have to use headphones so as not to disturb my co-workers.

CAMERA
When the Studio Display was first released, it was savaged by people saying that the webcam was horrific. This turned out to be software-related instead of anything to do with the hardware, and it was fixed before my display ever arrived. I find the camera quality to be outstanding (assuming you have a good internet connection). One of the newer features from Apple is "Center Stage" which allows you to walk around the room and have the camera follow you and automatically zoom in on where you're at. This is darn cool, and accomplished by using the wide-angle lens of the camera to soak in a large area... then zoom in to where the focus point is. What's particularly nifty is how it can recognize if there are multiple faces so it can shift the lens to make sure everybody is in-frame. I'm just happy that it's 12 mega-pixel, because apple has historically had awful resolution web-cams that have been embarrassing for far too long.

PORT ARRAY
There may be no headphone jack, but you do get three downstream USB-C ports in addition to the lone upstream thunderbolt port that plugs into your computer. A high-quality Thunderbolt cable is included. Interesting to note that this upstream port also acts like a 96W charger if you're plugging it into a MacBook or something (nice!).

IN CONCLUSION...
Overall I'm thrilled with the Studio Display. I'm even more thrilled that my work coughed up the $1,600 instead of me. Because if I were buying this for myself I'd have been a little upset that wanted a non-glare screen and a height-adjustable stand weren't included (that monitor is a whopping $2,300!). Even so, $1,600 for a 5K display is still getting you a lot of bang for your buck assuming 5K resolution useful to you (if 4K is good enough, you'd likely be better served by a less-expensive option). I've read that inside this thing is essentially a full A13 Bionic Chip inside which runs a full version of iOS. This is likely so that it can do the Center Stage shenanigans. Which is fine, except it sure seems like dramatic overkill. I would have been just as happy if they would have dropped this and took $100 off the price.

   

Bullet Sunday 764

Posted on June 5th, 2022

Dave!Don't let the pouring rain, thunder, and lightning stop you from today's bullets, since it's not stopping me... because an all new Bullet Sunday starts... now...

   
• Best Trek! I cannot process the fact that there's a Star Trek show that I like better than the original series. It's inconceivable. But holy shit! Star Trek: Strange New Worlds on Paramount+ is blowing my mind episode after episode. And Episode 05 is just next-level good. Funny as hell, and incredibly satisfying to watch. How in the heck did they come up with this? And Spock... it's just... Ethan Peck is killing it. He's wonderful.

Spock and T'Pring on Star Trek.

Now I worry that they're going to take a great show in its first season and flush it down the fucking toilet like they did with whiny, boring Star Trek: Discovery. Hopefully the show-runners think better than that, because I would sure miss Strange New Worlds.

   
• Marmalade! Okay... this is really great...

Wishing a happy Platinum Jubilee to Her Majesty.

   
• More Death! HBO has (finally) renewed Our Flag Means Death for a second season...

Blackbeard finds a friend.

Probably the best show you haven't watched. Yet.

   
• TAPS! Pretty much this, yeah (Here's a link in case TikTok is being a dick)...

@maxtheverygoodboy Is it working yet?? No?!? #satire #nyc #news #rip #texas #trending ♬ original sound - maxtheverygoodboy

So many of our politicians are useless pieces of crap. It's amazing that people have been conned into accepting it... even defending it.

   
• Helpless! Used to be that you just held down the sleep/wake button until your iPhone force-restarts. Now if you do that, you end up calling 911. I can never remember the new combo (you up, vol down, THEN hold sleep/wake) so I asked my iPhone. BUT OF COURSE THE FUCKING PIECE OF SHIT IS ZERO HELP...

Jesus Christ, Apple... just fucking give up on Siri already. She can't do shit.

   
• False Prophets! All these people reaching to find Biblical meaning in shit that is easily Googleable just to fit their idiotic narrative is mind boggling...

@maklelan Responding to @FedUpGear #maklelan836 ♬ original sound - Dan McClellan

Just fuck off with your stupid bullshit already.

   
And now back to our regularly-scheduled thunderstorm.

   

Apple Event 03.08.22

Posted on March 8th, 2022

Dave!AND LO DID TIM COOK DESCEND FROM THE HEAVENS TO BESTOW UPON THE WORLD NEW APPLE PRODUCTS, AND IT WAS GOOD!

Or not. I haven't quite decided. But there was indeed an Apple Event™ today, and Tim Cook did indeed drop a bunch of stuff on an undeserving world. As usual, I just can't seem to shut my mouth about it, so here we go. If you want to watch the actual Apple Event™ before reading my commentary (or watch as you read) then here you go...

AppleTV+
Some of the forthcoming movies and shows look interesting to me. The addition of Friday Night Baseball is an intriguing idea, but the only way I would want to watch it would be if they're showing a Red Sox game, so who knows how useful this will be to me. I'm not quite understanding where Apple is going with all this. Television series (like my beloved Ted Lasso) and movies (like the wonderful CODA) make sense. But baseball? I don't get it. This is not a big missing piece that is filling a hole in Apple's lineup to attract subscribers.

iPhone 13
Whoop-dee-doo. A new green shade for iPhone 13 and iPhone 13 Pro. It kinda makes me upset that A) Apple adds colors after you've already bought the latest model... and B) the Pro models always get "sophisticated" (i.e. boring) colors. Let me know what I can have when a product is released. And, for the love of God, give the Pro users cool bright colors like the non-Pro models get. I want my (PRODUCT)RED iPhone Pro, dammit.

iPhones in green and greener.

iPhone 13 SE
This is the "budget" model iPhone that's not exactly "budget." But it is a more affordable option for people wanting a newer, faster iPhone with a better camera and 5G. What's surprising is that the SE is actually more bang for your buck than what you get with a standard model iPhone 13. Because with the exception of FaceID (which I love) this is a pretty sweet feature-packed mobile phone for $430.

iPad Air 2022
Yada yada yada... better, faster, stronger than the last model. This means nothing to me, because what I want is a 17-inch iPad Pro. That's all I want. Until they offer one that's sized for graphic artists, there's no need for me to upgrade from my iPad Pro 12.9-inch model. But for somebody wanting an iPad that slays? This is for you. This is the model I would have bought for my mom. In purple. At $600 it ain't cheap, but there's a lot of bang for your buck in that price tag. Inexplicably, by adding the M1 chip, Apple pushes this into "Pro" territory, which makes me wonder why they have "Pro" models at all. Unless there's new "Pro" models around the corner which will leapfrog this new Air? M2 perhaps?

iPads in pretty colors.

Mac Studio
Studio Display
And here we go. Pro users want to upgrade their machines faster than the average iMac user. But it's always a waste because the 27-inch display on the iMac Pro is integrated with computer, so getting rid of one means you're getting rid of both. And the trade-in value ain't that great. So separating the computer from the display makes a lot of sense. Unfortunately, doing so means that you have to pay more to get what you need (even though upgrading will be cheaper because you can hang on to the monitor (and this monitor is really sweet, featuring 5K, great sound, and a very good camera)...

The Mac Studio computer and Studio Display display.

My MacBook Pro with M1 Max is the ideal laptop because it redefines power computing on the go... all while getting sublime battery life. I couldn't be happier with it. Finally an actual Pro laptop! The new Mac Studio allows you to choose between this very capable chip... or the shiny new M1 Ultra. This beast of a processor is essentially "ultra-fusing" two M1 Max chips together into a single processing unit that's more powerful and efficient than using two separate chips that are soldered to the motherboard. Plus the system sees it as a single chip, so developers don't have to do anything special to take advantage of its power. Naturally, I covet a computer using one of these chips... but, even with the intensive work I do, it's likely overkill. Hopefully my office will spring for one of the cheaper models for me, because my 8 year old iMac is dying and takes forever to do simple tasks.

The $2,000 and $4,000 price tag is a lot of cash. But when compared to equivalent high-end PCs it's actually a pretty fair price. And compared to the iMac Pro it's replacing (at $5000) it's a hot bargain. Then there's the Mac Pro, which is still for sale on Apple's website and still using Intel chips. They start at $6000. I'd rather max out a Mac Studio for that kind of money. At least until Apple upgrades the Mac Studio to whatever ungodly powerful chips they're developing.

And that was all she wrote.

And speaking of "she"... interesting to note that all the developers interviewed when talking about the M1 Ultra were women. Appropriate as we celebrate "International Women's Day," I guess. Hopefully all these women are getting equal pay for their work... because that would be something to really celebrate.

But anyway...

Here's the Apple product matrix as it currently stands...

  ENTRY MID-RANGE PRO
iPhone
iPhone SE
iPhone
iPhone Pro
 iPad
iPad Air/Mini
iPad
iPad Pro
iMac
 
iMac 24"
 
Mac
Mac mini
Mac Studio
Mac Pro
MacBook
MacBook Air
 
MacBook Pro
Watch
Series 3
Watch SE
Series 7

So... inconsistent and all over the map then. Steve Jobs must be turning over in his grave.

Though Steve was innovating in a different, simpler age. Tim Cook seems to be more interested in filling needs than filling boxes, which is probably how it should be. No, it's not simpler than having a neat matrix with clearly-defined labels... but it does make sure that people will get devices that are a good fit for what they are wanting to do with it and how much money they have to spend. And that's probably a better approach.

I dunno.

All I do know is that I wish money was not an option, because I would just buy the biggest, baddest, most expensive model of everything Apple makes every time they release it.

Fantasyland is so much nicer than Reality.

   

Bullet Sunday 752

Posted on February 20th, 2022

Dave!Do not go gentle into that good night... because an all new Bullet Sunday starts... now...

   
• LEGEND! To say that Roy Kent is my favorite television character of all time is kinda underselling it. And to them get him to do something like THIS?!?

Perfect.

   
• Well, Fuck! Doesn't it just figure? After decades of finally trying to find the perfect frozen pizza, I actually DO, only to have Red Baron fucking change it...

Old vs. New

The cheese, which used to be creamy and gooey has been cut bigger and now tastes chewy... like I have a mouth of pencil erasers. The crust looks the same, but it doesn't cook up light a airy like bread... it's more pasty and dense. This could be because the cheese and sauce has changed... but it really doesn't seem the same. And it's like... WHY?!? Why change something that's actually good? Oh well. I was eating way too much pizza anyway (I was buying six at a time)... so that problem is solved.

   
• Marple! Ever since not being able to go to the theater to see the remake of Agatha Christie's Death on the Nile, I've been obsessing over other Agatha Christie adaptations. And I think that I've found the book which has been adapted the most... A Caribbean Mystery. This evening I started with the 1983 Helen Hayes movie, which is my favorite. Then tomorrow I'll finish up with the BBC/ITV versions from 1989 and 2013...

The three different versions of A Caribbean Mystery

The BBC version with Joan Hickson is likely the most faithful version... but I'm just such a huge Helen Hayes fan that it's difficult for me to see past it.

   
• MIWANDA! Dead. Legit dead. If you've seen Sex and the City: And Just Like That... this is one of the funniest things you'll see (here's a link in case TikTok is being a dick)...

@zzzachariah Justice for silly Steve 🤪 #satc #sexandthecity #ajlt #andjustlikethat #mirandahobbes #stevebrady #carriebradshaw ♬ Sad Emotional Piano - DS Productions

Steve was thoroughly trashed by the sequel series, and this puts a cherry on it.

   
• Threat! For whatever reason, I have been getting a shocking number of viruses attempting to take over my computer these past few weeks. Four appeared just yesterday...

Threat messages from BitDefender.

There was a day that Mac users didn't have to worry so much about viruses, but now? Yeah. If you're a Mac user, I would install some kind of virus protection sooner rather than later. I went with BitDefender because I got a deal on it, but anything you find is bound to be better than nothing.

   
• EmmyEmm! I find it fucking hilarious when dipshit ass-clowns like Rudy Giuliani dare to talk shit about anybody. They just don't have the brains to do it without getting fucking roasted in the rebuttal...

Gotta hand it to the writers at The Late Show, this parody of Eminem is funny as hell. Not that it was very difficult for them to come up with something... Giuliani is basically a parody of himself.

   
• Peace, Mutherfucker! The season finale of Peacemaker was sublime. Absolutely perfect. Thanks to James Gunn for such a terrific show... but especially for Vigilante, who is easily one of my favorite characters now. Freddie Stroma was inspired casting! And then there's Adebayo. Holy crap did she get an amazing character arc in this series! "I was made for this shit!" is right! Cannot wait for Season 02.

   
Until next Sunday, true believers...

   

Bullet Sunday 746

Posted on January 9th, 2022

Dave!I'm still buried in snow, but Blogography will carry on... because an all new Bullet Sunday starts... now...

   
• Return! Okay... we already have a contender for Most Remarkable Story of 2022: Abducted son finds family by drawing map of village he last saw aged four. His hand-drawn map is remarkable considering is was made from memories of 30 years ago. And then there's another layer of remarkable coming from the fact that people were able to help him find his original village by looking at his map and remarkable because he was reunited with his mother...

Jenny waits for me to get off my Zoom call.

"Abducted in 1989, Li was sold to a family in Lankao, more than 1,100 miles away. Child abductions are common in China and Li was probably taken because the family wanted a boy."

   
• Aliens! A big surprise last television season was Alan Tudyk in Resident Alien. They really went for the jugular with the concept, which is based on a comic book series I liked. Now season two is imminent...

Looking forward to it, Dr. Vanderspeigle!

   
• Lara! I passed on the Tomb Raider reboot because it didn't get a terribly good reaction. But it was on sale a while back, so I bought it. Finally got around to watching it and I really liked the film! Some of the reviews I read said that the actor playing Lara was wooden and boring. And I'm like... did we watch the same movie? I thought she was excellent. Though... Angelina Jolie has this wry delivery with a hint of amusement that worked so well in her two Tomb Raider films. I just wish she had better stories to work with.

Tomb Raider Poster.

I hope that the sequel manages to get made! (UPDATE: Apparently it's in active development, COVID-willing, and will be titled Tomb Raider: Obsidian! Nice!

   
• Free Ride! Okay, this is pretty great...

My favorite part of visiting Costa Rica (after the natural beauty of the country) was the sloth sanctuary that we got to visit. They are such remarkable creatures.

   
• Hole of the Tiger! ZOMG! Lego made the Year of the Tiger piece anatomically correct! Kinda. Still a few things missing, but... nice! (here's a link in case TikTok is being a dick)...

@hollyonfilm This LEGO Tiger is the best thing that will happen in 2022 don’t @ me #lego #yearofthetiger #legotiktok #newyear ♬ original sound - holly

And, yes, Survivor's Eye of the Tiger is playing through my head right now.

   
• Paid! Yesterday I needed to make bread because my sourdough starter hadn't been used in almost two weeks. But I forgot that I had used the last of my yeast last time. And while I could make sourdough bread without it, I didn't want this to be an all-day affair. Then something weird happens. I didn't think "I better make sure that I grab my wallet so I can pay"... instead I think "I better make sure that I grab my iPhone so I can pay with Apple Watch." And since Washington State hasn't done a damn thing to start implementing digital driver's licenses, THEN I think "I better make sure that I grab my wallet in case I get pulled over." I truly long for the day that I don't have to carry a wallet at all. But I'll probably have to move to a more forward-thinking state than mine so that's actually possible. Because knowing how utterly incompetent Washington State legislators are at moving anything forward except higher taxes... digital driver's licenses ain't happening here any time soon.

   
• COVID? Last Friday I was going to take a third COVID test just to make sure I wasn't carrying 'rona to Christmas (my previous two were negative)... but then I woke up that morning and smelled the horrendous dump that Jake took and figured I'm probably good. Though the smell was so bad that I'm guessing it could break through even COVID loss of smell! If anybody else wants tests, I've been ordering directly from iHealth Labs... which has a CDC-recommended antigen test available. They are running behind on orders right now (not surprising) but they do eventually come. Omicron may be "less bad" than Delta (except for young kids, apparently), but it is still causing hospitals to fill up (even in my local hospital, they're recording a rise in admissions), so it's nice to know if you should isolate. Fortunately data suggests that the vaxed adult population has been able to avoid hospitalization (for the most part) even though the current vaccine wasn't designed for it. Really, really hope that they offer up an Omicron Booster soon. That will better prepare our bodily defenses against what gets mutated into next (Lord help us).

   
And that's all the bullets I can muster this fine Sunday.

   

Technological Timeline

Posted on December 17th, 2021

Dave!Being born in 1966 puts me in a unique position in time... technologically speaking.

I was there for the birth of computing. I was there for the birth of personal computing. And the internet. And MP3 players. And video games. And mobile phones. And smart phones. And so-on and so-on. In many ways, this is a very cool thing, because people born after me don't know of a world without the stuff we have today. It's also a bad thing because I'll be dead before the unimaginably cool stuff is ever invented.

Oh well.

Looking back I can remember outlandish pre-modern-technology shit that kids today would completely balk at. People existed without a mobile phone? Without internet ON your phone? That's crazy!

Recently I saw a video about the ol' PDA days and it all came rushing back to me. Personal Data Assistants were a huge deal when they debuted (computing in your pocket!) and I was an early adopter. I had the Apple Newton, the Palm Pilot, the Handspring Visor, the iPaq, the Treo, and even the Sony CLIE (my favorite of the bunch, which was PalmOS-based) and the Sony MagicLink. And the minute a new one would debut with even cooler features I would sell my old one and get it.

Eventually they didn't really go anywhere so I gave up on PDAs. I just wasn't using them.

Then the iPhone came along, and the rest is history. Bye bye PDA, hello smart phone.

Two companies that have been mostly lost in the tome of modern technology I remember fondly. And there's some cool videos on YouTube that will give you a taste why I feel that way.

The first is General Magic (the people behind the Sony MagicLink)... sorry the music trounces over the people speaking, it's annoying as fuck, but this documentary is awesome...

And the second is a new interview doc about Handspring (the people behind the Visor and Treo...

Now we're at that lull stage where technology is coasting. My iPhone gets faster and has a better camera every year, but nothing truly new is happening. But that next leap is coming soon. Maybe it will be Apple's wearable glasses? I dunno. But I hope I'm alive to see it!

Because I look forward to the generation who cannot comprehend a time before computer chip brain implants. YOU HAD TO TYPE STUFF ON A SCREEN TO ACCESS THE INTERNET?!? THAT'S CRAZY!

Indeed it was.

But I had a fun time watching all that technology happening in Real Time.

   

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