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No Sex Please, We’re Apple: iPhone Giant Seeks TV Success on Its Own Terms - WSJ
Tripp Mickle and Joe Flint, reporting for the WSJ:

Tim Cook sat down more than a year ago to watch Apple Inc.’s first scripted drama, “Vital Signs,” and was troubled by what he saw. The show, a dark, semi-biographical tale of hip hop artist Dr. Dre, featured characters doing lines of cocaine, an extended orgy in a mansion and drawn guns.

It’s too violent, Mr. Cook told Apple Music executive Jimmy Iovine, said people familiar with Apple’s entertainment plans. Apple can’t show this. […]

Apple’s entertainment team must walk a line few in Hollywood would consider. Since Mr. Cook spiked “Vital Signs,” Apple has made clear, say producers and agents, that it wants high-quality shows with stars and broad appeal, but it doesn’t want gratuitous sex, profanity or violence.

I’ve been curious about exactly this point ever since Apple began this. What’s the difference, though, between R-rated original content produced by Apple and R-rated content produced by others that Apple sells in the iTunes Store? Mickle and Flint point out that even Disney is producing raunchy movies like the Deadpool series.

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3 hours ago by rufous
iPhone XS / iPhone X Comparison | Flickr
As promised, here’s a selection of photos and videos taken with iPhone XS and iPhone X side-by-side. The low-light video clips are just amazing.

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yesterday by rufous
James Bond 25: Cary Joji Fukunaga to Direct New 007 Film – Variety
Henry Chu, reporting for Variety:

Cary Joji Fukunaga will direct the new James Bond film, the producers announced Thursday. The 25th Bond installment will begin filming in London, at Pinewood Studios, on March 4, 2019, with a worldwide release on Feb. 14, 2020, a few months after its original target date.

Fukunaga, who won acclaim for 2015 war film “Beasts of No Nation,” replaces Danny Boyle, who exited the project last month over creative differences with producers Barbara Broccoli and Michael G. Wilson and returning star Daniel Craig. Fukunaga will be the Bond franchise’s first American director. […]

Fukunaga won an Emmy in 2014 for helming the entire first season (eight episodes) of “True Detective” and giving the crime series a cinematic look. More recently, he directed multiple episodes of Netflix’s “Maniac,” a new half-hour comedy show starring Emma Stone and Jonah Hill.

I’m usually not an OMG guy but I just used “OMG” when I texted this news to a friend. I’m just floored by this. Season 1 of True Detective is one of my very favorite cinematic achievements of the decade, right up there with Mad Men, The Tree of Life, and Django Unchained. I’ll add Inception to make it a top 5 list.

Without spoiling anything from True Detective, can you imagine a Bond scene as intense and gritty as the six-minute-long tracking shot scene from episode 4? Fukunaga is exactly what the Bond franchise needs after the all-style/no-sense Skyfall/Spectre duology from Sam Mendes.

(And I’m glad to see EON break their heretofore unwritten rule that Americans couldn’t direct Bond movies. Steven Spielberg wanted to — and because EON turned him down, he and George Lucas turned the opening scene of Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom into a Bond movie opening.)

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2 days ago by rufous
Jon M. Chu Shot This Short Film Entirely on an iPhone XS Max | WIRED
Wired:

To test the new hardware, we gave an iPhone XS Max to the film director Jon M. Chu. The Crazy Rich Asians director shot a short film for Wired, and the results are truly special.

“I had literally zero equipment,” says Chu. “I see a lot of samples of iPhone videos, and sometimes they use different lenses or professional lights. I didn’t have any of that.”

Chu shot the film — a view into dancer Luigi Rosado’s rehearsal space, titled Somewhere — in 4K using the iPhone’s native camera app. It was all shot handheld using the phone’s default stabilizing system. And while he edited the video on a computer, Chu didn’t apply any color correction or any post-production tricks. What you’re seeing is the default output of the iPhone’s camera.

Chu is, of course, a masterful filmmaker. He could make a great movie with an iPhone 3GS. But it’s fascinating to see the potential of the XS camera. This is just a gorgeous fucking film. And it doesn’t just show off the image quality and slow motion capabilities — it really shows off the stabilization. When you watch the tracking shot at the end keep in mind he wasn’t using a gimbal — it was truly handheld.

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2 days ago by rufous
Just Because: How Apple's Awesome Motion Watch Faces Are Made
Stephen Pulvirent, Hodinkee:

Apple isn’t exactly a company known for offering frequent peeks behind the proverbial curtain. Having just reviewed the new Apple Watch Series 4, getting to see how Apple made the incredible “motion faces” (the vapor, fire/water, etc.) feels like an extra treat. Getting this kind of perspective though shows just how dedicated the team over there is to nailing the details — Apple took something that seems relatively basic at first and pursued it to its logical conclusion, giving us something awesome in the process.

“We probably could have done this digitally, but we actually shot all of this practically in a studio” says Alan Dye, Apple Vice President of User Interface Design, of the motion faces. “What I love about the fact that we did this is that it’s just so indicative of how the design team works. It was really about bringing together some of our various talents to create these faces. There are of course art directors, and color experts, and graphic designers, but also model makers who helped build these structures that we would eventually, you know, set on fire.”

I saw some of this footage last week after the Apple event. So cool. I love that they built molds in the shape of the new Series 4 displays. I could watch an hour of this footage.

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2 days ago by rufous
Lawmaker: US Senate, staff targeted by state-backed hackers
Frank Bajak and Raphael Satter

Sen. Ron Wyden, an Oregon Democrat, said in a Wednesday letter to Senate leaders that his office discovered that “at least one major technology company” has warned an unspecified number of senators and aides that their personal email accounts were “targeted by foreign government hackers.” Similar methods were employed by Russian military agents who leaked the contents of private email inboxes to influence the 2016 elections.

Wyden did not specify the timing of the notifications, but a Senate staffer said they occurred “in the last few weeks or months.” The aide spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to discuss the issue publicly.

Wyden did not specify the timing of the notifications, but a Senate staffer said they occurred “in the last few weeks or months.” The aide spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to discuss the issue publicly.

But the senator said the Office of the Sergeant at Arms , which oversees Senate security, informed legislators and staffers that it has no authority to help secure personal, rather than official, accounts.

I’m going to guess the “major technology company” is Google, simply because Gmail is the leading email provider. If you ever wonder why Ron Wyden seems almost amazingly well-informed on very technical computer security matters, keep in mind that [Christopher Soghoian][cs] is on his staff as a senior advisor.

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2 days ago by rufous
Daring Fireball: The iPhones XS
In my iPhone XS review yesterday, I incorrectly stated that the “f-stop” editing for Portrait Mode shots could only be done on an iPhone XS. I was wrong, but it wasn’t too dumb of a mistake. Go read my update, and if you read my review early yesterday, make sure you saw footnote 5.

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3 days ago by rufous
Ex White House Photographer Pete Souza releases the first pictures taken using Apple's iPhone XS  | Daily Mail Online
The Daily Mail:

Former White House Photographer Pete Souza has released the first images taken using the new phone, showing off its new camera capabilities. He took these shots exclusively for Dailymail.com around Washington DC, and any editing was done on the phone using Apple’s tools.

“Smart phones have turned everyone into a photographer but they haven’t necessarily turned everyone into a ‘good’ photographer,” he told Dailymail.com. “At the same time, the smart phone has also turned everyone into a visual journalist giving us at times an eyewitness account from breaking news events.”

Inspiring images. (Via Shawn King at The Loop.)

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4 days ago by rufous
Twitter
My favorite new feature today, of course, is the ability to show website favicons in Safari tabs — a feature now available in Safari 12 and iOS 12. They’re off by default, but the way they work on Mac, iPad, and iPhone is just perfect.

I heard from a lot of DF readers earlier this year who said they use Chrome instead of Safari just for favicons in tabs — if you’re in that boat, I highly encourage you to give Safari a try. Your MacBook battery will thank you for it.

I probably should’ve used a finally in the headline for this item.

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5 days ago by rufous
Twitter
Ricky Mondello on Twitter:

Big day! iOS 12 is out! I hope y’all love it.

I’m going to highlight a few iCloud Keychain, Safari, and WebKit features and improvements that mean a lot to me.

This thread is a terrific collection of little things here and there. I’ve been running iOS 12 betas full-time since mid-July and I learned a bunch of things just from this thread.

My favorite, of course, is the ability to show website favicons in Safari tabs — a feature now available on the Mac, too, with today’s release of Safari 12. They’re off by default, but the way they work on Mac, iPad, and iPhone is just perfect.

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5 days ago by rufous
Co-founder Of Salesforce Buys Time Magazine For $190 Million – Talking Points Memo
Martin Crutsinger, reporting for the AP:

Time Magazine is being sold by Meredith Corp. to Marc Benioff, a co-founder of Salesforce, and his wife, it was announced Sunday. […]

The Benioffs are purchasing Time personally, and the transaction is unrelated to Salesforce.com, where Benioff is chairman and co-CEO and co-founder. The announcement by Meredith said that the Benioffs would not be involved in the day-to-day operations or journalistic decisions at Time. Those decisions will continue to be made by Time’s current executive leadership team, the announcement said.

Sounds like a great landing spot for a great magazine. Hopefully it works as well for Time as Jeff Bezos’s acquisition has for The Washington Post.

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5 days ago by rufous
An Oral History of Apple's Infinite Loop | WIRED
Absolutely fantastic piece assembled by Steven Levy for Wired:

Twenty-five years ago, the computer revolution’s marquee company was in decline. Back then, it was just settling into shiny new headquarters, a campus of six buildings that formed a different kind of ring. Called Infinite Loop, the name is a reference to a well-known programming error — code that gets stuck in an endless repetition — though no one seems to know who applied it. Infinite Loop was the place where Apple’s leaders and engineers pulled off a historic turnaround, and it will always be the source of stories and legends — many of them untold. Until now.

There’s so much quotable stuff in here. Here’s just one, which I’ve heard before but which still made me laugh out out reading it again:

Forstall: Whenever I ate with Steve, he insisted on paying for me, which I thought was a little odd. Even if we went in together and he selected something quick like pre-made sushi, and I ordered a pizza in the wood-burning pizza oven, he would wait for me at the cash register for 10, 15 minutes. I felt so awkward. Finally, I told him. “Seriously, I can pay for myself, so please don’t stand there and wait for me.” He said, “Scott, you don’t understand. You know how we pay by swiping your badge and then it’s deducted from your salary? I only get paid a dollar year! Every time I swipe we get a free meal!” Here was this multibillionaire putting one over on the company he founded, a few dollars at a time.

As my friend John Siracusa quipped in a Slack group, “This is the most Steve Jobs quote ever.” Jobs enjoyed pulling one over on The Man even after he became The Man. That free lunch scam delighted him the way free long distance phone calls did with Woz and their blue boxes.

This whole history is simply terrific. Do not miss it.

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5 days ago by rufous
What Really Happened to Apple's AirPower (Exclusive Details)
Sonny Dickson:

We have managed to obtain several pieces of exclusive information that shed some light on what challenges Apple is currently facing with the project. According to our sources, the broad feeling of many working the project at Apple is that the device may be doomed to failure, and may not be viable at all unless significant advancements can be made.

More details than what I’ve heard, but very much along the same lines. Todd Haselton at CNBC picked this up following Dickson’s report, and now it’s a bit of a news firestorm.

I’ll just emphasize that what I’ve written about AirPower’s problems is all filed under “this is what I’ve heard from people I trust but none of whom are directly involved”. My report is not filed under “this is what I can state as fact happened or is happening”. I literally wrote “what I’ve heard, third-hand but from multiple little birdies”.

I’ll add one new thing. After I published what I’ve heard, a wise and knowledgeable little birdie told me that it’s not at all uncommon for a project at Apple to have massive resets multiple times. [Cough, Titan.] What is unusual regarding AirPower is that it’s happened in the open, for the world to see. That is to say, the real mistake may not be a flawed coil design or whatever, but rather the decision to announce it when they did, before those problems were solved.

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5 days ago by rufous
LKML: Linus Torvalds: Linux 4.19-rc4 released, an apology, and a maintainership note
Linus Torvalds, announcing that he’s taking a break from Linux kernel development:

This is my reality. I am not an emotionally empathetic kind of person and that probably doesn’t come as a big surprise to anybody. Least of all me. The fact that I then misread people and don’t realize (for years) how badly I’ve judged a situation and contributed to an unprofessional environment is not good.

This week people in our community confronted me about my lifetime of not understanding emotions. My flippant attacks in emails have been both unprofessional and uncalled for. Especially at times when I made it personal. In my quest for a better patch, this made sense to me. I know now this was not OK and I am truly sorry.

The above is basically a long-winded way to get to the somewhat painful personal admission that hey, I need to change some of my behavior, and I want to apologize to the people that my personal behavior hurt and possibly drove away from kernel development entirely.

I find this both encouraging and inspiring — a counter to the notion that people can’t change. Here’s just one example Torvalds’s infamous style, which until now he was unapologetic about.

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5 days ago by rufous
‎Ingage Instants: Social Posts on the App Store
My thanks to Ingage for sponsoring this week’s DF RSS feed. Instants is a new iPhone app to help anyone (especially businesses) make social media content with stylish motion graphics. It was just featured in the App Store in “New Apps We Love” and was made by a team with some ex-Apple folks and die-hard Mac and iOS nerds. You can really feel the care and attention that went into the experience design. Instants has a terrific user interface. They’re featured on Product Hunt today, and I’m sure they’d appreciate some upvotes from DF readers.

Download Instants from the App Store, and be sure to check out the “Moore” theme, inspired by the opening credits of a spy movie series near and dear to my heart.

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5 days ago by rufous
FEMA to test 'Presidential Alert' system next week
NBC News:

“The EAS [Emergency Alert System] is a national public warning system that provides the President with the communications capability to address the nation during a national emergency,” FEMA said.

The test message will have a header that reads “Presidential Alert,” according to the agency. Users whose phones are on will twice hear a tone and vibration and then see an English-only (for now) message: “THIS IS A TEST of the National Wireless Emergency Alert System. No action is needed.” […]

FEMA stated that the government cannot track end users’ location through this alert system. The test is supposed to take place at 2:18 p.m. EDT on Sept. 20.

Under the Warning, Alert, and Response Network (WARN) Act of 2006, cellphone users cannot opt out of the presidential alerts.

I’m sure Trump would never abuse this.

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6 days ago by rufous
Twitter
Not compared to a MacBook Pro. Interesting comparison.

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7 days ago by rufous
Mary Meeker, the legendary internet analyst, is leaving Kleiner Perkins - Recode
Theodore Schleifer, reporting for Recode:

Mary Meeker of Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, one of the premier Silicon Valley investors at one of its premier venture capital firms, is leaving her position in an abrupt, high-profile splitting of the firm she helped lead.

Meeker is leading an exodus of late-stage investors from Kleiner Perkins in its most dramatic shake-up since legendary investor John Doerr stepped back from his role more than two years ago. Meeker’s exit — she, along with three of her partners, will form a new firm — will undoubtedly deal a hard blow to Kleiner Perkins, given her high profile in the business community and her stature as by far the most senior woman in venture capital.

Here’s how you know this is a huge deal:

“I don’t think it’s a huge deal,” Ted Schlein, who succeeded Doerr as the de facto head of the firm, said in an interview.

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7 days ago by rufous
AliveCor CEO Vic Gundotra on competing with Apple Watch Series 4 - Business Insider
Kif Leswing, writing for Business Insider:

Over at the headquarters of AliveCor, a startup based in Google’s hometown of Mountain View, they, too, were surprised by the announcement, CEO Vic Gundotra said in a phone interview on Thursday. Gundotra is a former Googler, widely known as the executive behind the Google+ social network. […]

The fact that a huge tech giant is entering their corner of health-tech validates AliveCor’s approach, Gundotra said. […]

“Ours is $99, theirs is $399, our sales popped yesterday, big time,” he said.

“Their entry into our market validates us” and “Our sales are popping” translate into English as “They’re going to crush us.” Couldn’t happen to a nicer guy.

And this price comparison is prima facie nutso. $99 gets you a single-purpose no-fun ECG device. $399 gets you a watch you can wear all day every day and use for dozens of purposes other than ECG.

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8 days ago by rufous
How the Weather Channel Made That Insane Hurricane Florence Storm Surge Animation | WIRED
Brian Barrett, writing for Wired:

On one level, yes, the visualization literally just shows what three, six, and nine feet of water looks like. But it’s showing that in a context most people have never experienced. It fills in the gaps of your imagination, and hopefully underscores for anyone in a flood zone all the reasons they should not be.

Perfect example of how showing something can be tremendously more effective than merely saying something.

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8 days ago by rufous

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