Happy New Year, Y'all. Start Today

2015 is gone.  2016 is here. 

There are a lot of posts about the new year floating around the internet this week.  I’ve never been a “resolution” kind of guy.  

Don’t wait until the “new” year.  January 1 is just another day in your life.  If you want to do something positive, DO IT IMMEDIATELY.  

Me, from 2011:

Perfectly Reasonable?

Don’t get me wrong. A Lightning nubbin on the Apple Pencil makes sense and is a great way to charge on the go. It requires no extra hardware, cables, chargers, etc.

But can we all agree that it just looks ridiculous?

While you’re wrapping and unpacking all those fancy holiday gifts, take a second to set aside all those annoying Silica Gel packets in an airtight container. When you drop your shiny new gadget in the toilet on New Year’s, you’ll have a better chance of drying it out with these than any amount of rice.

Open Always Wins, Vol. 32

Your pants are locked

From the We Live Security blog:

After clicking on the button, the user’s device is doomed: the Trojan app has obtained Administrator rights silently and now can lock device — and even worse, it set a new PIN for the lock screen.

Bottom line, Android friends - don’t get your software from sketchy sources. It will bite you in the ass, and then lock your pants.

Worlds. Largest. Explosion.

B O O M

Academy Award winning effects designer Chris Corbold just broke another Guinness record by blowing some stuff up for the new Bond movie, SPECTRE.

Taking place in Erfoud, Morocco, the blast had a total yield of 68.47 tonnes of TNT equivalent and was the result of detonating 8,418 litres of kerosene with 33 kg of powder explosives – and it lasted for over 7.5 seconds.

Boom.

iPad Pro First Impressions

Early thoughts on a new paradigm

I bought an iPad Pro. It’s ridiculously huge, and ridiculously gold. I’ve had it for a few days, and here are my current thoughts.

  • Notes in slide over and split view is awesome. I’m typing this in split view now.

  • The expanded keyboard is great, but takes some getting used to. I’m still unnecessarily switching to the number/symbol keyboard instead of reaching for the top row.

  • Trackpad mode is the best thing ever.

Productive Watch Faces

Using different faces for different situations.

Everyone knows the Apple Watch allows you to have several different watch faces, but a lot of people don’t use the faces effectively, and some people don’t customize them at all. Since watchOS 2 was released a couple months ago, I use the crap out of the Modular face. The custom complications make the watch much more useful, and they keep me off the terrible App Launcher screen.

I’m currently rocking six different watch faces for different activities. I know what you’re saying. “Hey, you should write a long blog post about that!” Well, partner, it’s your lucky day.

More Malware Fun

Dan Goodin, over at Ars Technica’s Risk Assessment, writes about a fun new way jerky hackers want to jank up your computer. An analytics company had their server hacked, presumably by a password-reset spear fishing scheme. This allowed the bad guys to insert code into an analytics package that loads in the background to collect information and track how ads are tracked when you click around the internet. Scary stuff.

On top of that, NanoCore runs only on Windows, so people visiting on machines running other operating systems were immune to the attack.

Phew. I’m safe.

I know that Macs aren’t totally immune to malware and viruses, but I sure do read a lot about issues that only affect Windows. This kind of crap, not the ads, is why the smart money is on selective content blockers, not ad blockers.


UPDATE: Over at Daring Fireball, John Gruber notes that this affected nocturnal readers of the Economist website.

Breaking News: Ads Are Now Annoying

Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) SVP Scott Cunningham has released a statement regarding the current state of online ads:

As technologist, tasked with delivering content and services to users, we lost track of the user experience

He goes on:

Looking back now, our scraping of dimes may have cost us dollars in consumer loyalty.

I have two reactions to this.

  1. No shit.

  2. It’s good that the ad industry is finally catching up to user expectation. Nerds have been using ad blockers on desktop browsers for a while, and with iOS9, we’re all adding content blockers to our mobile devices.

I don’t hate “ads”, I hate the junk that quadruples page loads, slows down the open web, and tracks me around the internet. These are not just ads. They are Facebook/Twitter buttons, pop-over “shade” ads that cover all of the content, cross-network trackers, and other nefarious junk eating up my valuable mobile data.

Hey Siri, Buy Sony

It makes sense to me!

What if Apple buys Sony? Like the WHOLE THING.

Apple has an event next week, and rumor has it that they will announce an AppleTV that will basically run iOS. As a long time AppleTV user (going all the way back to 2010 and the Original Mac mini sized box), I’m happy about this. I prefer my AppleTV because I have a lot of iTunes content, but I also have a Roku because AppleTV is currently limited to apps that Apple “blesses” and works with partners to get on the platform. This model will be busted wide open when AppleTV runs iOS.

Back to Sony…

I think Apple would benefit greatly from buying Sony outright. Sony’s current market cap is about $27 billion. That’s about how much Apple has in the bank right now. I’m not saying to bet the farm on Sony, but they could easily get the financing. Why should they do it? Here’s a list of things Apple will get if they buy Sony:

  • Sony Pictures, Sony Television, Sony Music. All just more content for the new AppleTV. Maybe Apple could start their own streaming service someday.
  • Sony Consumer Electronics. I know, there are iPods all over the place. Apple isn’t going to relaunch the MiniDisc, but having that sweet iOS stack running inside a Sony television would certainly make some people happy.
  • PlayStation and the PlayStation Network. Let’s face it. Game Center isn’t great. It looks like your grandma’s old Bridge table, and finding people to play against isn’t very intuitive. There’s no in-app chat or screen sharing, and real time games are few and far between. Apple can scoop up PS2/3 users and an entire gaming infrastructure and social network in one shot. Imagine if your Bluetooth PS3 controllers work with the fancy new AppleTV for iOS games. Win-Win.
  • Camera Technologies. Carl Zeiss lenses on a smartphone? Why not. Apple already uses Sony’s camera tech in the iPhone 4. Why not own that tech? Seems very Apple. I doubt Apple would sell point-and-shoot cameras, but I could see them using Sony camera tech in phones and high-end pro-level video and photo gear.
  • Medical Devices and Patents. Apple isn’t really into medical tech and health, but they could be. iPhones are very personal to each user. There’s no reason to believe we won’t all have more health sensors on our phones or other devices strapped to our bodies in a few years.
  • Patents, Patents, Patents. Sony has invented so many life changing technologies over the years. BetaMax, MiniDisc, the Walkman and Discman, Memory Stick, proprietary CD formats, and more. Not to mention all the audio and video codecs they own. Having unfettered access to all that IP could be super useful.

I don’t expect this to happen, mind you. I’m just a guy who likes tech and thinks this is a good idea. I haven’t really gotten into the real meat of it, and never will. It’s just fun to think these things through sometimes. From my perspective, Apple owning a content company AND a gaming company AND a stack of patents a mile high is a no-brainer.

New Tricks

What do you do when your dog goes deaf? Learn some new tricks.

They say you can’t teach an old dog new tricks. I’m betting that they is wrong.