Posted on November 2nd, 2023
As I mentioned in my post about the Apple "Scary Fast" event that dropped Monday, the entire thing was shot on an iPhone.
This week there has been a bizarre controversy over that statement. Almost immediately afterwards people were saying "No way was that shot on an iPhone." Or even "Sure it was shot on an iPhone... with special external lenses." Or whatever.
But soon after the event Apple released a video with a behind the scenes look at how it was shot. Which was, in fact, an iPhone with no special external lenses...
And then everybody was like "Okay it was shot on an iPhone, but no normal person could shoot a video like this because Apple used special camera rigs and lights and stuff." But Apple didn't claim otherwise, so I don't get the controversy. Yeah, that motion rig is so expensive that I couldn't afford one (and those panel lights they used on Tim Cook aren't cheap either), but the phone is capable enough to do it if you do have that stuff. And if you don't? You can still get creative and shoot footage that's high enough quality you can do incredible things.
I haven't had time to shoot video on my iPhone 15 Pro Max yet. But I will when my special external lens gets here.
Because, unlike Apple, I fully intend on cheating.
Posted on October 30th, 2023
It started with the plain vanilla cones. You know... the yellow ones that are not actually cone-shaped. And I say "plain vanilla" even though there may actually be no vanilla flavoring in them... I was using "vanilla" as another word for "plain." Or, "plain plain" as it were.
From there I graduated to "sugar cones"... which are, in fact, cone-shaped.
After that I landed on bigger and better "waffel cones" and never looked back. Sure they're more expensive, but they're the best and I'm rolling in waffle cone cash, so I splurge.
Then I was putting together a grocery order, took a look at how fucking expensive it was, and decided to go back through and see if I could shave some money off my bill. Turns out I no longer have waffle cone cash, decided that plain vanilla is probably good enough considering I am actually more interested in the taste of the ice cream, and made the swap.
Strange thing... I actually prefer the plain cones!
Specifically because the ice cream tastes better in them. Well, probably not vanilla ice cream... but definitely the chocolate ice cream that's my favorite.
Apple had their "Scary Fast" event tonight. Every industry insider in existence had been speculating that this would be the introduction of M3 MacBook Pros and M3 iMacs, so I was not the least bit surprised when that ended up being the case. Not much else to say besides "they're a bit faster," so I will be brief...
I'll tell you what did surprise me about the presentation... how it ended. Look at this...
Sooo... Apple wasn't kidding about being able to film motion picture feature quality footage on the iPhone 15 Pro Max. And to prove it, they're eating their own dog food here.
But anyway, that's all for tonight. There's an ice cream cone calling my name.
Posted on October 15th, 2023
Fall has come and the weather is dreary and cold, but it's warm in my heart... because an all new Bullet Sunday starts... now...
• The Price of Cinema is Too Damn High! I loved Mission: Impossible - Dead Reckoning, Part One. It is smart, exciting, and I can't wait for Part Two. What gets me is that the movie cost $291 MILLION to make. And while I'm not staying that it wasn't money well-spent (this movie is insane)... I am saying that it's $567 million box office means that the movie barely made any money after promotion. If it made any money at all...
They seriously need to stop making movies that cost these utterly bonkers amount of money. It is totally fucking up the industry, and failures like this (and so many other... The Flash, Fast X, Indiana Jones, to name some) are going to make it so that studio movies die a horrible death. That's no fun for any of us. Surely they can be more clever with less money? Because this just isn't sustainable any more.
• Fantasy Football! I remember when The League first debuted. It was amazing to me that it managed to make it on the air given how raunchy it was. But it endured for seven seasons, and I was a huge fan for the first four seasons. A fan for the fifth and sixth season. And was still watching for the final season, although it most definitely did not go out on a high note...
As I mentioned on Wednesday, I've been rewatching all the episodes on Hulu. Now that I have some distance from the end of the series, I cannot help but wonder if they came back for an 8th season what that would be like. I honestly don't know... but it seems like it would be a worthwhile thing to take a look at.
• On the Other Hand... The new Frasier is kinda... not great. It's nowhere near the level of Cheers and Frasier and I'm wondering why this was the direction they took. I mean, it's not as tragic as some of the reviews made it out to be. They tried to get some heart into it and there are funny moments despite itself. But all I feel while watching it is wanting to go re-watch the original Frasier and also rewatch Deception to see Jack Cutmore-Scott in something that was actually good and Sirens so I could see Kevin Daniels in something good. At least that way I won't have to see "David" be a horrific substitute for "Niles"... it's like he's there JUST to be unfunny and cringe.
Will & Grace managed to come back as good as it ever was... but too many of these revivals just aren't working. But because I loved the original Frasier I'm going to keep watching in the hopes that the show finds its footing. Because I'm watching the very first episode of the first Frasier and it was absolute gold from the jump.
• Hot Sauce! I love hot sauce. I started with the mild green sauce that my mom loved (something I still eat on tacos when I make them at home, because it's the flavor I'm used to. Later I moved on to Tabasco, which has more heat and a vinegar tang that makes it a delicious addition to everything from sauces to potato salad. Now I split my time between Tabasco, Cholula, and Sriracha. They are similar enough that I can use them interchangeably, but different enough that I prefer them for specific foods (occasionally I pick up a bottle of Frank's RedHot, which is not so hot, and Tapatío as well). Last year I was trying to save money, so I started keeping track of which brand I use most. I thought it would be Tabasco, but it ended up being Cholula because it has a bit more heat. So now I buy just that one sauce to save money so I'm not buying three and four. AND THEN... I decided to try something hotter. So now I'm addicted to El Yucateco Red...
It's more than just "hot" because it still adds nice flavor (unlike the hotter sauces I've tried where I can't even taste anything but fire). And now I'm wondering if I've reached my hot sauce limit? Or eventually will this not be hot enough either? Because it's only 5,790 on the Scoville scale, and that's barely hitting the second of ten sauces if I ever end up on an episode of Hot Ones (which tops out at 2,000,000 on the Scoville scale). Which is a great excuse to post the SNL parody, which is one of my favorites...
That never gets old.
• Shoresy Deux! One of the biggest surprises last year was the Letterkenny spin-off, Shoresy. It was rediculously entertaining, and ended up being my fifth favorite show of 2022. And now it's coming back...
Reeeeally looking forward to it.
• J-Boy! So there I was watching the movie Robots
The best part of the movie for me was the end-credits song called J-Boy by the band Phoenix. From six years ago...
I liked the song enough that I decided to add it to my Sonos music queue.
• Whither Sonos! Except I couldn't add the song to my fucking Sonos music queue because on top of having shitty fucking products that they don't want to fix... their apps are fucking shitty too. First of all my MacOS app decided it wouldn't do shit until my Apple Music account was reauthorized...
EXCEPT I COULDN'T BECAUSE ALL OF A SUDDEN THE APP CAN'T SEE MY FUCKING SPEAKERS...
But of course the "Let's fix it" link was full of shit. After trying that three times, Sonos finally wanted me to turn EVERY FUCKING SPEAKER OFF AND BACK ON...
That didn't work, so I ended up being told that I had to turn the router off and back on...
That didn't fucking work either, so I was told to turn all my shit off and on again. I ignored that and decided to uninstall Sonos and reinstall it again. That finally worked. EXCEPT... then I got an ad for Sonos's "Live Gift Guide Event" that I could not dismiss. There's no cancel button. There's no close button. You can't tap around it to get out of it. I couldn't even reboot the app and get rid of it. I was forced to "add it to my calendar" (which I didn't actually do)...
Fuck Sonos. Fuck them up their piece of shit useless asses. I regret EVER getting involved with them and their shitty products. Maybe I'd feel different if they'd AT THE VERY LEAST make it so that I could use the fucking Dolby Atmos that I paid to get without having my Arc soundbar fail. But nope. It's been a problem for two years and Sonos is still "working on it." Except they're fucking not because I've heard of nobody being asked to send in their system parts so Sonos could watch it fucking happen. Jesus what an asshole company.
And on that happy note... I'm back to dreary weather for a dreary Sunday.
Posted on September 28th, 2023
MacOS Sonoma has released. The bad news is that it hasn't done jack-shit to solve my biggest problems (like fixing fucking AirDrop, which never works at work and is unreliable everywhere else). But anyway... let's get on with it...
Caps Lock indicator. I have no idea why this hasn't been done before, because it's frickin' fantastic. A little indicator pops up under your cursor where you'll actually see it. Nice.
Screen Sharing. Apple's screen sharing "solution" has always been pretty basic and unworthy. It's clutzy and janky and feels very much like an afterthought. So much so that I have been using a third party app for years. Well... Sonoma changes that. Their high-speed connect mode is very, very good (and available only on Macs with Apple Silicon). You can literally watch high-res video at full speed with only an occasional rare stutter. I love it. I haven't tried using it over the internet yet... but the "standard mode" is probably capable. I'm just not sure if I want to risk it.
Screensavers & Desktops. There's some beautiful new screensavers that have cool motion to them... much in the vein of the AppleTV screensavers... then when you pop into your computer, the screensaver freezes and becomes your desktop photo. There's this new feature where when you click on your desktop to send all your windows flying and you can see whatever's on your desktop, but I don't know if I'm keeping it or turning it off yet. It's both handy and annoying in equal measure. UPDATE: Yeah, I turned it off. It's far more annoying than helpful.
Widgets. There was a time that Apple gifted us widgets... then took them away. And now they're back. For a while, I'm guessing. You can post widgets to your desktop... whether they be from your Mac apps or your iPhone/iPad apps (if supported). I've got my Fantastical widget with my upcoming events, my Autosleep widget to remind me of how little sleep I'm getting, my Ecobee thermostat app so I can see what the settings/status is, my Tempest widget to let me know what my weather station is reading, my Weather forecast widget, and my Parcel widget with any deliveries I've got coming up. All handy.
Spotlight Search. When it works, I'm a huge fan of Apple's internal search tool that works for finding just about anything on your Mac... or even across the web. The problem is that every once in a while my various Macs cannot search through my files. No idea why. It seems to happen at random and come back at random. And sometimes it will return results... but when you click on the file to open it, some other entirely different file will open! Hopefully this has been cleared up, but who knows? In any event, it's apparently supposed to be better now.
Predictive Text. Mac now suggests words as you type. It's a feature which is most welcome on a phone screen, but it's kinda bonkers on a machine with a physical keyboard. Maybe if you're a really slow typist it would be helpful... but most times I can out-type the suggestions, which is to say that by the time it's registered that I could have just hit return to finish typing a word, I've already finished typing it. So, yeah. Not a great feature for me.
Web Apps. When the iPhone first debuted, there were no apps. Everything was done with "web apps" that were pretty much shit. Well, now you can bring those shitty web apps of yesteryear to your Mac! And put them into your dock! Except they actually are kinda useful in that you can have frequently-used websites that are essentially their own apps anyway within easy reach. I've got a few I'm trying... like YouTube... which I'm kinda digging.
Lockdown Mode. If you're browsing the dark web (or whatever) and need added protections, you can slap all your Apple devices into Lockdown Mode and be far more secure. It offers a host of safeguards that are pretty strong and severely limit your normal operations, but if you need it... you need it.
No idea what's going on... but today I lost over three hours work when all of a sudden the files just evaporated. They were still showing in my "recent files" but any attempt to load them would give "File Not Found." Fortunately my computer is constantly backing itself up, so I was able to recover most everything and only spent 10 minutes making updates that were lost. No clue what went wrong. But this is a scary-ass thing to have happen. It's like the system just trashed them or lost them for no reason. One minute they were there... the next they didn't exist! I hope this isn't a regular occurrance, because yikes.
Email Search That's Worth a Shit. Ever search for a word within a long, long email chain, then get disgusted because, unlike Safari, you can't jump between those highlighted words or phrases but instead have to scroll endlessly and pore over everything until you find what you're looking for... AND THEN DO IT OVER AND OVER BECAUSE YOU KEEP MISSING IT? This is just next-level idiotic and I cannot believe that Apple hasn't done shit to fix it.
AirDrop. As I said... nothing has been fixed. Still a fucking pile of shit. This is enraging because Apple keeps promoting it. Meanwhile I can't send a photo from my iPhone to my work Mac unless I text it to myself.
Photos. Lord. It's like... give us a fucking manual sync already. It's maddening because you know that the files have been uploaded to iCloud for an hour, but you still can't sync them because there's no way to force it.
Printing. I know that Apple is embracing the digital future now, but there are times we still need to fucking print shit. It would be nice if ANY EFFORT AT ALL would be put into making this happen. But instead I am still clicking on an ignore button because every fucking time I print to 12×18-inch paper I am told that sorting is not supported. No way to permanently dismiss because Apple don't give a fuck.
Preferences Mayhem. Last time around, Apple did a radical reimagining of the System Preferences pane. And it's absolute and total shit. Alas, they're clinging to it like a boat anchor, and we're still stuck with this idiotic shit that makes it difficult to find absolutely anything. Despite it having a search box.
Icon Arrangement. You can never fucking get your icons to sit where you want them to when "Snap to Grid" is enabled. Well, you can, but that one time you can't drives me so fucking crazy that I fantasize about burning my fucking Mac to the ground. If a grid square is open, THEN FUCKING LET THE ICON SIT THERE AND DON'T FLOAT IT ACROSS THE SCREEN FOR NO FUCKING REASON.
Hard Drive Alive. Since the wide adoption of Solid State Drives throughout Apple's offerings, they've removed the ability to keep older hard drives spinning. Instead they power up and down and up and down and up and down. Which is terrible. I thought that turning off the power-down in Energy Saver settings would work, but nope. So I use a third party app called "Amphetamine" but it doesn't automatically start at login even when I add it to login items. I wish Apple would just let you go back to how it used to work.
Posted on September 22nd, 2023
Today I was much like a kid at Christmas given that my new Apple Watch Series 9 and iPhone 15 Pro Max arrived. It happened the morning I was hanging out with my friends, so I was anticipating the transfer from my old phone to be shit-butt city as we went bar-hopping and I was climbing on and off Wi-Fi all afternoon.
Turns out I had nothing to worry about. Unlike last year when I upgraded to the iPhone 14 Pro Max, everything went off without a hitch. Well, almost. There's one teeny tiny problem that's giving me fits, but I'll get to that.
As I mentioned during the keynote, I had zero intention of upgrading my Apple Watch Series 6. There just doesn't seem to be anything worth upgrading for. Well, except having a new battery, since the one in my old watch would no longer last the day if I had the always-on display set to "on." Still. With the display off except for tap-to-wake, I easily made it through the day and it did everything I needed it to do.
What tipped the scales for me was the fact that Series 9 does most all Siri processing locally. Which means that simple requests aren't passing through the cellular radio on my iPhone for a round trip that causes a noticeable delay. And, sure enough, the Apple Watch is really quick with Siri requests, which makes the price of admission worth it for me (once you factor in the $115 that Apple will give me to trade in my old one).
But it turns out this isn't the best part of upgrading.
The display is not just brighter... it's bigger!
It's five o'clock somewhere...
I have to get the little watch since, as you can see, my arms are so thin. The Series 6 is 40mm. The Series 9 (in red) is 41mm. But there's also the fact that the display goes out further to the edges. Everything looks bigger. Very nice.
The double-finger-tap control works as advertised. Everything is very zippy. Fast and smooth. Overall, a good upgrade from where I was. I dunno if this is a worthy upgrade if you've got a Series 8, but for me it was a good choice.
I gave serious consideration to skipping an upgrade for a year so I could own my iPhone 14 Pro Max outright. But ultimately I figured one of the benefits of being in the Apple Upgrade Program is getting the latest and greatest, so I caved. Mostly because I use it more as a camera than a phone and the 5× optical zoom lens plus claims of better night photos swayed me. Along with the fact that iPhones hold their value well... but not so great that I'm leaving loads of money on the table from what I can tell looking at the 13 Pro Max used market.
Camera aside, I honestly don't notice a big difference with the 15. Sure it's a touch lighter, but all the things I like are mostly the same and the one thing I hate (Apple's silicone cases do not stay attached like they used to) is also the same. It's fast. It's capable. It runs all my apps very well. The end. Maybe I'll buy a game that has ray-tracing to see how that looks. Stunning, I'm sure.
Setup was far, far better than the past two years. Pairing my new Apple Watch was seamless. Everything copied over just fine. The only problem I have is that my phone app shows a red badge notification with a "1" in it... even though there's no fucking notifications when I look everywhere in the app. I've restarted three times and shut it down once. No joy. I finally just turned off badge notifications. Hopefully Apple will fix this shit one of these days. UPDATE: Turned off my iPhone for 20 full minutes then restarted. That did the trick.
Other than that, my complaints are A) They don't have a (Product)RED silicone case for it... B) The new Action Button is a cool thing, but it's WAY up on the side, so it's only hand if you're holding your phone horizontally... and you can't customize it for double-click or triple-click, and... C) The blue that I got is pretty much black with a blue cast... in the right light. And it's like... what's the fucking point? You've already got a black phone. So why not make a bright red (Product)RED phone or something that will truly look bold and different? Why do Pro users always get fucked with these boring-ass "premium" color choices? Of course, I'll take these over the fucking PASTELS that the regular iPhone 15's got. Because yikes. Those look like total shit. Maybe I should have gone with Raw Titanium color to have something different? Meh. It doesn't bother me that much. It's just disappointing.
Lastly there's USB-C 3.2 Gen 2 which will allow you to transfer much, much faster than Lightning (480 megabytes per second vs. 10 gigabytes per second). If you've got the right cable. And it's about fucking time. Jesus. Apple puts these massive sensors in their cameras and allow shooting RAW, but it takes an eternity to get them off of it because the resulting files are huge. I didn't even bother to shoot RAW, because it can take days to get them all in your computer to actually work on them. I've got USB-C 3.2 cables, so maybe now I will. Thank you to the EU for mandating USB-C on all phones... otherwise Apple would probably stick with obsolete Lightning ports for years longer. The one thing I don't understand it why they didn't just go with Thunderbolt4 (100Gps) compatibility to really make it worthwhile. Guess they're saving that to get you to upgrade in the future? In any event, you can record ProRes 4K 60Hz video directly to an external SSD now, which is pretty special.
First a caveat on that spiffy new 5× lens. It needs good light to function. If you don't got that, it switches back to you main camera. This did not happen with the 3× lens on my old camera. At least not that I recall. This is a pretty big downgrade, if you ask me. It may very well be a deal breaker for some people who would rather have a 3× lens with more flexibility. As for me? I'm greedy. I wish we would have gotten both. Add a fourth lens on the Pro Max to get the best of both worlds! Or, ideally, give us a 3× and a 10×. UPDATE: If you want to force the camera to use the 5× lens in low light, some third party camera apps (like Halide) will let you.
That being said, when you've got some light it's very nice. This was shot in a bar with not great lighting, but look how good it turned out at 5×! Very sharp and the color is beautiful, despite the fact that we're very clearly entering HDR "Deep Fusion" territory here...
That's pretty impressive... but the main lens really looks great...
Interesting that Apple now calls the "Main Camera" the "Wide Camera" and the "Wide Camera the Ultra Wide Camera. Note that the "Wide Camera" has a goodly number of pixels more than the previous generation (but with bigger files, natch)...
Now... I have only had the camera for a tiny amount of time. I will obviously be taking more photos and a closer look at the features and quality sometime soon (especially when it comes to being able to change the focal point after the fact... because in playing around with it, this is a very cool feature). And of course I'll want to look at how well it shoots ProRes video (especially its ability to shoot LOG video that can be color graded easily and pushed in directions you can't get easily otherwise).
But last thing I want to say before I go is how Apple's claim that the new camera has "seven lenses" is not quite the bullshit it seems given that there's only three lenses on the back. The main lens allows you to use "virtual lenses" that crop into the data with common focal lengths (24mm, 28mm, and 35mm). But you still end up with 5712×4284 images, which means that Apple is upscaling or doing some kind of magic to get there. And the result is very good. I did the same thing in Photoshop to compare, and Apple's method always comes out on top. Which means that they must have specialized computational photography routines to come much closer than a mere crop.
Ultimately I don't know that going for the upgrade was the best choice for me. I likely could have gotten along with the 14 Pro Max for another year without issue. But as somebody who likes any improvement Apple will give me on the cameras, the 15 Pro Max will likely make me happier overall.
Until next year.
Posted on September 17th, 2023
It may be getting cold enough that I'm contemplating turning on the heat, but it's always warm on my blog... because an all new Very Special Video Edition of Bullet Sunday starts... now...
• Kookaburra! Now, granted, I would not want this outside my window (and I remember them very well from my trip to Australia), but it's sure nice to admire them from afar...
So cute. Are there any baby creatures that are not adorable?
• Andor! Diego Luna is precious and life-affirming. This entire video is fantastic...
On top of that? He's a remarkably gifted actor. I am dying for the second season of Andor to arrive.
• ¡Yo Quiero! "It's the same thing in a different thing." — HE'S FIGURED IT OUT! HE'S DISCOVERED THE TACO BELL FORMULA!
LOL. These foreign takes on quintessentially American things never gets old!
• Does Whatever a Spider Can! Video games have reached the point where you're basically playing a feature film. This looks incredible...
This was a Spider-Man game when I first started playing...
Insanity. And soon we'll have much, much better VR experiences, which could take it to an even more immersive level.
• Unreal! If you want a look into the absolutely fascinating world of 3D computer graphics, this is an amazing behind-the-scenes look at how photogrammetry works...
Now, I've written about the Unity gaming engine a couple times before. The stuff people are doing with it is breathtaking (including companies like Lucasfilm and Marvel using it for producing their projects). It is an amazing, amazing tool. Unfortunately, they've just unveiled a hugely controversial licensing model, which is gouging game developers in a terrible way. It's easy to say "Just switch to a different gaming engine if you don't like the cost!" Except video games take years to develop. Even for large studios with hundreds of employees. So if you've been working on a game for two or three years... how can you afford to switch to a different engine? This is a major deal. So major that some game projects are being canceled... and some developers are going to switch engines despite the additional time needed...
Of course the people behind Unity deserve to get paid for their hard work. But to kill developers to get there seems like a horrifically bad business model. Hopefully they will re-evaluate what they're doing and come up with something more reasonable.
• SCIENCE! Despite an inexplicable (and highly selective) anti-science movement by fucking idiots, science marches on. And this is fascinating...
Fascinating and scary. Plants screaming? But in brighter news... research into Alzheimer's just keeps advancing. Very promising that one day we might have a cure.
• HomeShit! For anybody saying that I am exaggerating about just how fucking shitty Apple's HomeKit is, this guy is a total expert and even he can't solve the problems he's been having. He finally ended up resetting and rebuilding his entire HomeKit setup...
If I get this desperate, I'm just going to bail on HomeShit altogether and go with Matter and some kind of smarter home hub (like Homey Pro). In the meanwhile, I am just applying Band-Aids to try to solve the massive fucking problems I'm having. As an example, I just installed a light and motion sensor in my garage as a backup to automatically turn the light on when the doors open since HomeShit automations keep dying on my door sensor for some reason (even though the light switch and sensor itself is operating perfectly).
And on that happy note... enjoy the rest of your Sunday.
Posted on September 12th, 2023
Today was Apple Event Day... titled Wonderlust. No idea how what they presented is a combination of "Wonder" and "Wanderlust," but that's marketing for you.
If you want to watch it, the full video is on Youtube here. If you want it condensed down to 17 minutes, then The Verge has got you covered...
My comments (since I know you're dying to hear them) are below...
Transition has been complete to Apple Silicon. Though I still think that the Mac Pro is a bit nonsensical which, if not really Apple's fault... it's due to Apple Silicon not really being conducive to external upgrades for memory and such.
Really nice that Marques Brownlee (MKNHD) got a shout-out as an important voice to quote. He definitely deserves that.
They don't give us any new AppleVision Pro news, except to say that what's being developed for it is incredible. I don't doubt it. I truly don't.
I have an Apple Watch Series 6. There was zero incentive for me to upgrade to Series 7 or 8. Sure my battery dies too soon and I have to keep the always-on display off, but it's otherwise still perfect for my needs. And now here's Series 9.
The chip that runs the latest and greatest is truly impressive... now featuring Machine Learning Neural Cores so that many of your Siri requests run on-device and are more accurate. I would hope that even those commands which have to go out over cellular data on my iPhone will be speeded up as well. Specifically, telling my garage door to open. I think that this will be the case, because the command will just be issued while (hopefully) instead of a round-trip to have the command processed?
I use my watch to find my iPhones more often than I'd ever admit. Apple Watch now has the ability to find it with a directional beacon. This is a bit nicer than triggering an alert noise and having to try and listen for it. I leave my iPhone in all kinds of places... in the garage... outside... whatever... so this is good news for me (and my cats, who scamper when they hear that alarm going off).
2000 nits brightness on the screen. So good. That's double the Series 6 I have, which is more than adequate in all but the brightest of sunny days.
One-handed gesture for double-tap. This is straight out of the AppleVision Pro handbook. Watching it in action on Apple's demo video makes it look like a very cool thing to have. I know I would start using it from Day One, because I'm always reaching for the button.
Available in Pink! But I want that (Product)RED watch with a black band... it's actually what I wanted last time, but you can't get a different color band when you go with Product(RED).
Apple's first carbon-neutral product. Good on them.
Octavia Spencer as Mother Nature? Well, I guess if you gotta go with some stunt casting on a stupid promo video, Octavia Spencer will make it look 100% less stupid, so there's that.
Apple is reeeeally pushing sustainability in all aspects of their operation. It's great and all, but I'm wondering if anything is being done about taking care of their workers better. Because putting nets on their buildings to keep employees from killing themselves by jumping off is not exactly a solution.
Despite the fact that much of what Apple is doing to "save the planet" is highly beneficial to them (whether by act, deed, shipping costs, or tax write-offs) it's still a cool thing to be doing. If most companies acted like this, it actually would benefit the planet. Though "carbon offsets" are dubious at best, and there's loads written about how they're kinda a scam. Maybe Apple is different, but yeah... this is benefitting them too. Don't assume otherwise.
Apple abandoning leather is nice for me, who wants to kill as few creatures as possible. The only things I bought made out of leather is some of my shoes and the Apple Wallet on my iPhone. This will give me one less thing, because when my wallet wears out, I'll switch to a non-leather one.
Still too big for me and my pencil-arms.
3000 nits display. Insanity. That's fully-readable in full sunlight.
Better, faster, yada yada. This is not a watch for me, but it's very capable with many cool features for outdoorsy type people.
Oh gawd. Pastels?? Why? Are they popular again? I'm not seeing it. I'm mad enough that Apple used pastels on their iMacs. And no purple? WTF? At least they have black as an option for people who don't want a pastel.
Dynamic Island for everyone! I have to admit this is a pretty cool idea I use often (and a great way to conceal the cameras).
The glass tech on the back will never be not cool.
Camera improvements are always a given and, as usual, some of the tech is filtering down from the Pro models. I mostly prefer Apple's take on photography over their competitors, and knowing Apple wants their lesser model to keep pace is nice.
The ability to switch focus after the fact is the real power of computerized phone cameras over DSLRs. There have been attempts to do this for years, but Apple's take is the first way to do so without penalty.
A16 Bionic is inherited from the iPhone 14 Pro. A very good chip indeed.
Ultra-wide-band chip has been improved to have more precision finding. That's great news for people who rely on FindMy like I do!
Voice Isolation is a cool feature, but I'll be interested to hear how Apple's implementation is. In the past, the technology has been hit-or-miss.
Find My over satellite? Was this already a feature that I didn't know about?
Roadside Assistance over satellite is handy. I dropped AAA, but if I were driving in isolated places, I would re-up my membership.
Satellite services free for two years. What happens after two years? Time to get a new phone? $1000 a month? What?
USB-C. About FUCKING time. Jesus. Lightning was great TWENTY YEARS AGO! Though the fact that large files will STILL take forever to transfer because they are using
Here we go... the whole reason I tuned in. Will I be trading in with my iPhone Trade-In Program... or waiting a year to own the phone I have outright?
Titanium frame. Well that looks expensive. Though the lighter weight might be worth it. And it sure is pretty with that brushed texture.
The display has the same specs as before... just with a smaller bezel. This results in a slightly (probably unnoticeably) smaller size phone. Considering I buy the Max model, even a tiny bit is appreciated, though this is clearly nothing to be excited about.
Blergh. Once again, the Pro models don't get fun, bright colors. Always the more "refined" look... which is a bit of a bummer. FOR CRYING OUT LOUD... GIVE ME MY FUCKING (PRODUCT)RED PRO MAX, APPLE! The Blue Titanium is so dark as to be fairly black (like the purple I have now), so I might go with the Natural Titanium color if I upgrade, just to have something different. I'd have to see them in person. The option of White Titanium is puzzling. It's like... why bother? It's close enough to Natural as to be moot.
The Action Button is a smarter use of control real estate, that's for sure. And being able to customize it is pretty great. I'd probably use it for camera, but who knows?
"Standby Mode" only works if you have a charging stand that supports having the phone display sideways. Since I've got a Google Hub as a clock (to instantly view my Nest Cams), I'm probably taking a pass and not buying a new stand if I upgrade.
Welp. We knew it was coming... 3 nanometer chips. It seems more like a concept that's more science fiction than reality. At some point, I wonder just how much speed and power a phone actually needs. Regardless, the power-savings and heat reduction will always make the smaller chips worth having. But I'm puzzled that battery life is still clocking in at the same as before: up to 29 hours video playback? Shouldn't it be better than before? Or did they shrink the battery?
It will be interesting to see the speed benchmarks of the A16 Bionic vs. the A17 Pro. I am expecting it to not be a serious increase for normal use, but will obviously be better for gaming and such.
The GPU capabilities are impressive as hell already. Now we're getting an additional GPU core for added capabilities. Realtime ray-tracing is cool for gaming... and 3D applications across the board, if that's your thing.
A video just to focus on gaming. Amazing that CONSOLE GAMES can now be ported to play on a frickin' phone without dumbing down the visuals or play mechanics. That'll sell a few iPhone 15 Pro Max handsets!
The base model starts at 256GB, double the minimum as before. That's what I got last year because I wanted to shoot the ProRes video at maximum (which won't work on 128GB models). So the cost, for me, is the same as last year. The rumor mill was saying that there would be a hefty price increase, so this is a pleasant surprise.
This is really all I care about, so it's getting its own section.
All lenses seems to have an improved anti-reflective coating, which is great.
As expected, all the Photonic Engine routines are getting improvements. Making it easy for anybody to get amazing shots. There's nothing that Apple didn't demonstrate that wasn't incredible.
The telephoto lends upgrade is pretty sweet. 5X Optical Zoom on a 25% larger sensor (although the aperture is the same across the board). That's on the Max. The regular-sized phone is sticking with 3X. The "periscope prism" design of the lens allows a lot of focal length in a small space... which is superior to janky digital zooming (which is not exactly janky on an iPhone since their neural engine rendering helps out quite a bit).
The shake-reduction should be better given that the 15 Pro has double the speed of micro-adjustments than the 14 Pro. This is very cool, because as good as my current phone is, there's definitely room for improvement. And on the Pro Max you've got 5X telephoto, which will make good stability a must-have feature.
The wide-angle lens macro mode is looking pretty great. Though the macro shots I am getting out of my camera now are also pretty great.
And here it is... direct recording Pro Res video to an external device via
Case in point...
Spatial video recording is now an option... of course. This allows shooting 3D photos and movies for the AppleVision Pro. This alone might make it worth upgrading if that's you, though if you're going to drop the money for an AppleVision Pro, you certainly don't need to worry about the cost of upgrading your iPhone.
Interesting to note that Apple is adding 6TB and 12TB storage options to iCloud. Their storage is already so expensive that I can't imagine how much this will cost.
The iPhone mini is officially dead. If you want a tiny phone, you're out of luck with Apple. The small phones never got the features I wanted, so they were never an option for me... but some people will rightfully be upset. But not enough people to keep Apple making them.
Apple didn't mention it in the presentation, but MacOS Sonoma will be releasing on the 26th (iOS 17 releases on the 18th). This is not a feature-heavy, revolutionary release, though there are a few low-key features I'm looking forward to.
Another nugget not mentioned... the iPhone Pro and Pro Max are Thread-enabled for Matter (the new smart home standard) which is interesting and cool. I haven't switched to Matter yet because HomeKit it bad enough without inviting more trauma. Eventually I will be switching because HomeShit is SO FUCKING BAD that I can't stand using it (the latest... telling Siri to turn off my table light turns off my kitchen lights).
Dunno if I'll be upgrading my Apple Watch. Again, there just doesn't seem to be much there to justify the cash outlay. Where's the new sensors they're working on? I keep waiting for some massive feature to debut that I can't live without... and it never comes. What I have is plenty (especially HomeKey, which I love for unlocking my doors).
While the Apple Watch Ultra is not for me... I cannot wrap my head around a display with 3000 nits brightness!
The new iPhone, however, is definitely appealing. Slightly, slightly smaller size... albeit with a tiny bit more thickness... plus a drop in weight (240g to 221g) is welcome but not critical to me. The extra GPU core and better speed are also not critical, as I am not running hardcore games on my iPhone (unless you consider Hello Kitty Island Adventure to be hardcore). I love the idea of
Apple will give me a $115 credit on my Apple Watch Series 6. Honestly, that's double what I was expecting. I seriously thought it would be a token $50 for something that's three generations old. And so... that, along with the Apple Card 3% discount, drops the price of upgrading to something I can stomach (in monthly payments with 0% APR, of course). Since the only way to get the Apple (Product)RED watch I covet is to get it with the (Product)RED band, I just did it. I can alway buy the black band later. Because holy crap does that look amazing...
So I guess I actually will end up with only a $65 credit since that black band will cost me $50. Dangit.
Posted on September 7th, 2023
One of the things that keeps me so firmly embedded in the Apple ecosystem is that everything works together. You don't have to do anything special, they just work.
Except when they don't. Like
HomeKit HomeShit, which is so fucking flakey as to be useless based on unreliability. Sometimes things work. Sometimes they don't. Sometimes things which worked forever randomly stop working (Currently the automation which turns the garage light on when the pass-door is opened has stopped working. The door sensor is fine. The switch is fine. They are both connected to HomeShit. But the automation fails even when deleted and re-added).
But the thing which really fucking enrages me is iCloud.
It's not that your computer will stop working with iCloud and you can just log out and log back in to get things working again... it's that individual services will randomly stop working and then never fucking work again no matter how many fucking times you log in and out.
All everybody ever says is "Make sure Bluetooth is on, make sure WiFi is on the same network, make sure syncing is enabled, then log out of iCloud and log back in." Except that has NEVER worked for me. Not once.
Just look at this idiotic shit...
|iMac M1||MacBook Pro M2||Mac Studio M1 Ultra|
Syncing iPhoto libraries doesn't work on my iMac. But everywhere else is fine (including on my iPhone and iPad) even though syncing is slow as shit. And since there's no manual SYNC NOW command, there's no way of telling iPhoto to sync things you know are there. Even quitting the app and restarting doesn't force a sync. It just sits there like a stupid pile of shit until you either reboot your machine or it randomly decides to sync things.
Syncing iMessage doesn't work on my MacBook. Well, it will sync if the message was sent/received from Apple devices... but if you send to a non-Apple device via SMS, then tough crap... absolutely NOTHING will get those to sync. Ever. Logging out and logging back in. Quitting and restarting. Rebooting. Turning off sync and turning it back on. NOTHING!!!
Airdrop is ridiculously finicky. None of my computers work perfectly every time. But my Mac Studio at the office will never successfully receive a fucking thing. You'll see an alert saying that the file is been received. The download folder in my dock will bounce like the file is there. BUT THE FILE IS NEVER, EVER FUCKING THERE! Th only way to receive a file from my laptop or iPhone is via iMessage, since that is mysteriously working.
Keychain Sync always seems to work. But sometimes it takes a fucking eternity to sync depending on which device made the change.
It's maddening how much time I have wasted trying to get this idiotic shit working. Scouring the internet. Leaving messages in forums. Reading every technical document I can find. And it's all for nothing.
And of course Apple doesn't give a fuck. Big companies never do if it's not threatening their profit margins.
Posted on July 27th, 2023
This morning I took an Über back to The Big City to pick up my car. I was expecting a $500+ bill, but it was only $85 because the whole muffler didn't have to be replaced, it was only a connector or flange or something. There is still a rattling when you first accelerate, so that will have to be looked at, I suppose. But... it's far better than it was.
Now I just need to have the roof stripped and repainted, and I guess I've got a car for the next couple years.
The iPhone "Always-On Display" allows me almost two days of battery life (normal usage) which is a big improvement from when I first got the phone and it was just over a day of use. I never thought that I would care about it, but between being able to customize the lock screen with widgets and having live tiles for background app updates (SHADES OF WINDOWS PHONE!), it's a darn handy thing to have...
No more waking up my phone a half-dozen times to check on when my Über is arriving.
Posted on June 11th, 2023
Recovering from being deathly sick has never been more fun... because an all new Bullet Sunday starts... now...
• Toast! Awww... my little Toast nightlight arrived!
It's a nightlight that I put in the dark corner of my kitchen next to my toaster. Get it?
• Buses? These captchas are getting frickin' stupid ridiculous...
So what? Now we're just supposed to be clicking on every fucking square on these idiotic things?
• Good Omens 2! This looks even better than the first one. The casting was note-perfect for these characters, and seeing more of them is something I am very much looking forward to...
It's weird how flawless the casting was for these.
• Schlage Rage! It went something like this...
ME: "I hate my Schlage Sense smart lock SO much. Flames... flames... on the side of my face... Which lock should I get to replace it? Preferably one with HomeKey."
HOMEKIT FORUM MEMBER: "Definitely the Schlage Encode Plus."
ME: "IS THIS SOME KIND OF JOKE?!? I hate hate HATE the Schlage I have now!"
HOMEKIT FORUM MEMBER: "I understand. I agree. But know that all the bad things on the Sense have been improved one thousand percent on the Encode Plus. And be sure to get the Plus if you want HomeKey."
OTHER HOMEKIT FORUM MEMBERS: "Hard agree!"
ME: "Just so you know, if I hate this lock I am coming back to haunt all of you."
• Hilarious! Zuckerberg on Apple Pro Vision: "Our vision for the metaverse and presence is fundamentally social. It’s about people interacting in new ways and feeling closer in new ways. Our device is also about being active and doing things. By contrast, every demo that they showed was a person sitting on a couch by themself. I mean, that could be the vision of the future of computing, but like, it’s not the one that I want." This is the stupidest fucking thing I've heard this week. How many times have a GROUP OF PEOPLE all put on their Facebook Quest VR goggles and sat around interacting in the same room? Nah, buddy. They're sitting alone on the couch! How is the Facebook headset more "social" when you're wandering around as a cartoon floating torso that's always gripping hand controllers? Apple at least went with uncanny valley avatars that attempt to look like you and leave your hands free...
Apple's take will cost HUGE MONEY... to start... but it will get cheaper over time. Facebook, who has lost millions (billions?) trying to do VR... and ultimately failing... shows Zuck's statement for what it is... fear. And bullshit. I'm not sure ANY of this is the "future I want." But I'd take Apple's vision over Facebook any day.
• Crossing the Street in Vietnam! Not a lie. Which would have been fine... except I had my mom with me, and most intersections are far busier than this one! I'll never forget the first time we went to cross a street. The intersection actually had a crosswalk signal (many don't). But it was totally ignored. We had the light but it made no difference at all... you're just expected to cross like this...
@travelwithpat Crossing the street in Vietnam is something you need to prepare to do #travel #vietnam #tiktoktravel ♬ Super Mario Bros Main Theme
But still... it's s country like no other and worth a visit. As is this guy's TikTok.
• Church & State? Okay, government funded Christian schools are a thing now... so are they going to also fund Muslim schools? Buddhist schools? Hindu schools? So much FOR FUCKING SEPARATION OF CHURCH AND STATE!! This is a big slap in the face to all Americans, even if they consider themselves "Christian." Absolutely outrageous. Can't wait until the government is forced to sponsor Church of Satan schools because they're so fucking stupid that they don't have the fist clue about the can of worms they are opening. Jesus. OR NOT. THAT'S *YOUR* FUCKING CHOICE IN THIS COUNTRY!!!
And now I guess I had better make my bed, take a shower, and try and get some sleep .