initialcharge.net Initial Charge

initialcharge.net
Title: Initial Charge
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Description: A daily weblog written by Michael Rockwell which focuses on Apple products, mobile software, the internet, and other geek-related topics.
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Initial Charge About Archive Projects Feed Ming-Chi Kuo: Apple Planning 10.5-Inch iPad Pro ? Eric Slivka, writing for MacRumors: According to Kuo, Apple is aiming to introduce a new 10.5-inch iPad Pro model next year to go along with a 12.9-inch iPad Pro 2 and a “low-cost” 9.7-inch iPad model. Kuo makes no mention about the fate of the current 7.9-inch iPad mini, although many have assumed that model may be phased out as the recent 5.5-inch iPhone “Plus” models have helped lessen demand for Apple’s smallest tablet. John Gruber thinks we’ll see a new aspect ratio for the iPad — because of how close the 9.7-inch size is to this rumored 10.5-inch device. But I’m not so sure. Apple currently sells the 11.6-inch MacBook Air alongside the 12-inch MacBook. Both of them feature the same aspect ratio — why would the iPad be any different? —August 17, 2016 Apple’s New TV Plan Is a TV Guide ? Peter Kafka, reporting for Recode: Apple has started talking to TV programmers and other video companies about creating a digital TV guide that would work on both Apple TV boxes and other Apple devices, like iPhones. The idea is to let users see what kind of programming is available in video apps made by the likes of HBO, Netflix and ESPN, without having to open up each app individually, and to play shows and movies with a single click. I would love an interface like this. —August 15, 2016 Adblock Plus Has Already Defeated Facebook’s Ad Blocking Restrictions ? Jacob Kastrenakes, writing for The Verge: Facebook’s plan to stop ad blockers has already been foiled. Adblock Plus has found a way to strip ads from Facebook, even when they’re served up in Facebook’s new ad blocker-proof format. Anyone with a fully updated version of Adblock Plus should once again be able to avoid ads in Facebook’s sidebar and News Feed. Let the game of cat and mouse begin. —August 15, 2016 Splatoon for Wii U ? I bought Splatoon last week in search of something fresh to play on the Wii U. It’s been on my wishlist since we got the console last winter and I regret waiting this long to buy. I’m only about four or five hours in, but I’m having a blast. It’s essentially a cartoony paintball game in which you and your three teammates try to cover as much of the level in your color paint as possible. Along the way you can disrupt the other team by “splatting” their players and forcing them to respawn at their starting point. There’s new weapons and clothing accessories that feature special abilities and increased power that you can unlock by leveling up. There’s other game modes to play as well, but I’ve been having too much fun with the normal “Turf Mode” to explore the other options. If you own a Wii U and have been looking for a new game to play, I highly suggest Splatoon. —August 14, 2016 On the Possibility of Apple Buying Netflix ? John Gruber: I’m not saying it could never happen or would certainly be a bad idea, but Apple’s services are built to take advantage of its hardware. Netflix is the opposite — it’s a service designed to be available on any device with a screen. With iTunes, Apple already has a library of movies and TV shows. If Apple wants to produce original content, they could start their own production company for a tiny fraction of Netflix’s $42 billion market cap. A fraction. I don’t think it would be a good idea for Apple to buy Netflix, and not just because of the bad cultural fit. Apple doesn’t typically acquire the biggest player in the market. They usually go after smaller companies with strong, lean teams and good technology. Companies that could benefit from the exposure of Apple’s marketing. Netflix is already too large to acquire and retains the baggage of their legacy DVD-by-mail service. As Gruber points out, it would become a huge distraction for Apple — pulling executives attention away from existing product lines. But they’re one of the few options in the market — Hulu, YouTube, and Amazon Instant Video being the other three. I think, if Apple was to buy their way into this business, they’d go after a smaller company that most of us haven’t even heard of. Some startup with great technology, but very few content deals. But if nothing like this exists, they’re far more likely to roll their own service than acquire a big name like Netflix. —August 14, 2016 Is Apple Getting Rid of Star Ratings for Music in iTunes? ? Kirk McElhearn: Ratings are totally absent from the iOS 10 Music app, with no option to turn them on. Currently, on iOS 9, you can view a rating or rate a track by tapping its album artwork while it’s playing, but only for tracks in your library; you can’t apply star ratings to Apple Music tracks. Nothing happens in iOS 10 when you tap the artwork. When you tap the … for a playing track, you see a menu which offers Love and Dislike options, but no star ratings. I hope to see star ratings return to iOS. I make extensive use of them in a few smart playlists and the new heart-based rating system doesn’t offer enough granularity for my needs. —August 13, 2016 ‘You’re Only as Good as the Last Thing You Did’ ? Joe Rossignol, writing for MacRumors: In a new Fast Company interview alongside CEO Tim Cook, Apple services chief Eddy Cue acknowledged that technology companies are “only as good as the last thing” they did. Meanwhile, for the Mac lineup, the average number of days since the last update is about 505. —August 13, 2016 On the NBC Olympics Streaming App ? Jason Snell, writing on Six Colors: However, there are some rough spots, too. As Todd Vaziri noted, the top-level heading on the NBC Apple TV app for almost every item is “Olympic Sports.” This makes it nearly impossible to tell if you’re going to see tennis, or handball, or table tennis, or rugby, until you click and then sit through a 15- or 30-second preroll ad. So close… and yet so far. It’s not as if the app doesn’t understand what all those sports are—there’s a Filter feature that will show you just the video for the sport you select—but it makes it impossible to browse through a menu of live streams and see which event strikes your fancy. Snell doesn’t even mention the atrocious playback controls, which is the most infuriating part of the app. For whatever reason, NBC decided to roll their own media playback system and its a pain in the ass to use. Want to skip back a few seconds to rewatch a tumbling pass? Good luck. Before you know it, you’ve rewound 30 minutes and have no idea how to get back where you started. —August 12, 2016 ‘Why I’m Finally Leaving Cable TV’ ? Chris Plante, writing for The Verge: For years I figured that when I scrapped my cable plan, it would be because an even easier option appeared. But this week, I’ve considered finally cutting the cord for a different reason: subscriptions services better respect my time. In fact, now I recognize all the ways cable is designed to waste my time. The key point for me is the lack of advertising. I pay less for a Netflix and Hulu subscription than anyone I know pays for cable and I never have to sit through a single commercial. With cable, unless I take the time to setup DVR recordings before a show airs, I’m stuck watching it live. And even if I remember to record it, I still have to fast-forward through ads and hope that I hit play at just the right moment. That’s less “entertaining” and more “nerve-racking.” —August 12, 2016 Microsoft Leaks Its Golden Key ? This is a perfect example of why companies shouldn’t build backdoors into their software. Even if it’s only known by the developer, there’s always a risk that it could be made public — leaving everyone who uses that software vulnerable to attack. —August 11, 2016 Apple Planning to Update MacBook Pro Soon ? Mark Gurman, reporting for Bloomberg: The updated notebooks will be thinner, include a touch screen strip for function keys, and will be offered with more powerful and efficient graphics processors for expert users such as video gamers, said the people, who asked not to be named. Gurman’s sources also tell him that the new MacBook Pros are due later this year, but they will not be announced at the September event where Apple typically announces new iPhones. Mac updates have been few and far between over the past couple of years and it’ll be nice to see a refresh in the lineup. And, although I don’t use OS X very often anymore, I hope this is just the tip of the iceberg. —August 11, 2016 My Tech Travel Bag Early last week, my wife and I flew to Jamaica for our honeymoon. We had a wonderful time relaxing on the beach, snorkeling, and eating some of the best food we’ve ever had. This trip was also an opportunity for me to evaluate the tech we bring with us on trips and whether we could pare it down to a more simple kit. This is what we brought with us: Tom Bihn Ristretto: This isn’t the current version of the Ristretto, it’s an earlier iteration that’s designed to fit the 11-inch MacBook Air. I like it because of its sturdy construction and numerous pockets for all our gear. The newer Ristretto features a zippered front that helps prevent your stuff from spilling out. The one thing keeping me from upgrading is that Tom Bihn no longer offers it in the smaller size. Which is unfortunate, because this size makes a great iPad bag. Canon PowerShot G9 X: We bought this a few months ago, upon the recommendation of The Wirecutter. It’s a compact, lightweight camera with more features than we know what to do with. We were looking for something that was easy to use at the start, with more advanced features we could learn down the road. We wanted something that gave us photos that were better than those taken with our iPhones and the G9 X fit the bill perfectly without costing us an arm and a leg. 32GB SanDisk Extreme SDHC Card: This SD card was available for free alongside the G9 X when we ordered it earlier this year. Unfortunately, that deal is no longer available, but it’s still a great product. I’m sure there are better SD cards available, but I’ve been more than happy with this one. Tom Bihn Medium Clear Organizer Pouch: I like to keep my gear as organized as possible when I’m traveling and these zipper pouches from Tom Bihn are perfect. Their best feature is the little clip on the corner that can be used to secure the pouch to the inside of your bag. I left it attached the entire trip and only pulled it out of the Ristretto just enough to get the cables or adapters I needed without having to separate the two. Two Apple EarPods: While most of our friends have upgraded to fancier in-ear headphones, my wife and I have stuck with Apple’s white earbuds. I’m sure we’d be happier if we bought something else, but these work just fine. We find them comfortable to wear and the audio quality is perfectly acceptable given that we spend most of our time listening to podcasts with varying degrees of audio quality. Case Logic Ultra Compact Camera Case: I needed something to protect our camera from drops and prevent damage if it was jostled inside our bag. This was an inexpensive case that claimed to fit the G9 X and that’s exactly why I bought it. Lightning to SD Card Reader: While the 32GB SD card was more than enough storage for all the photos we took during our trip, I still wanted to offload images onto the iPad before we got home. That way we could view the images on a larger screen, edit, and share them throughout our trip. We could have used the Lightning to USB Camera Adapter, but this is a much cleaner solution. Canon Battery Charger: In hindsight, I don’t think I would have packed this item. We used our camera quite a bit and never ended up needing to charge it. But even if we did, the cameras in our iPhones would have sufficed. If we were going on a longer trip, maybe, but at just five days, it wasn’t necessary. Original TwelveSouth Compass and Sleeve: I bought this for my first-generation iPad several years ago and I continue to use it today. If I was in the market for one now, I’d probably purchase the Compass 2. Although, saving about $20 by buying the older model is also appealing. There isn’t that much difference between the two models and, in my experience, they last forever. iPad Air 2: Since I purchased this device 18 months ago, it has slowly taken over as my primary machine for nearly every task. I still have a Mac mini which serves as our backup target for iOS devices and hosts our iTunes and Photos libraries. But for all of my day-to-day work, this is what I use to get it done. I own the 64GB, Wi-Fi-only model in space gray. Although, I do have my eye on the iPad Pro lineup. I expect, when I eventually upgrade, I’ll purchase the newest 9.7-inch Pro with at least 128GB of storage. Tom Bihn Small Halcyon Organizer Pouch: All the features of the clear pouch, but with a punch of color rather than a translucent side. I use this one to house small adapters and cables. Anker PowerPort 4: I’ve written about this already, but the PowerPort 4 has just enough USB ports to charge all of my devices when I travel. Since I didn’t bring my Apple Watch, I could charge my iPhone, iPad, portable battery, and my wife’s iPhone from a single wall outlet. Anker Micro USB Cable: The one I have came with the PowerCore 13000 and is about two feet long. It doesn’t seem to be available separately, so I decided to link to a one-foot cable instead. The Anker battery is the only item in my bag that uses it and I’d rather have a shorter cable anyway. Apple USB Power Adapter: Like every person in the world, my wife prefers to charge her iPhone on her side of the bed. We have — what seems like — dozens of these laying around the house and they’re incredibly compact and perfect for traveling. Anker PowerCore 13000: Anker seems to have the market cornered on portable batteries. They’re inexpensive, well-built, and reliable. I bought this one specifically because it hit the sweet spot between size and capacity while also featuring two USB ports. In an ideal world, we’d never have to use this. But if anything happened to go wrong on our trip, this would be a godsend. Anker Battery Pouch: I could have listed this alongside the Anker battery — as I did with the Compass — because it comes in the box and isn’t available separately. But I don’t think I’ll be packing this again. It’s not made out of particularly good materials and it’s just unnecessary. It only holds the Anker battery and I already keep that in its own pocket inside the Ristretto. Three Apple Lightning to USB Cables: We brought two iPhones and an iPad, they have to get charged somehow. Like the Apple USB charger, we have dozens of these laying around the house and haven’t had any reason to buy new ones. I have my eye on the Night Cable by Native Union for use at home, but I’ll probably continue using Apple’s Lightning cables for travel until they don’t work any more. Herschel Supply Co. Anchor Sleeve: A very simple sleeve built out of quality materials. I’ve only had it a couple weeks and I’m already impressed by it. I don’t keep my iPad in a case, but if it took a tumble inside this sleeve, I have confidence that it would make it through unscathed. The Anchor sleeve comes in several colors — I considered getting it in black, to match most of my kit, but thought it would be wise to add a little color to my life. Tom Bihn Key Strap: This is usually just for keeping my keys from falling out of the bag, but we occasionally use it to keep oddball items that we pick up in the airport from getting lost. 3-Foot RadioShack HDMI Cable: We got this for free as part of a special deal when we ordered our fourth-generation Apple TV. There’s nothing special about it, but it works just fine for our needs. Lightning Digital AV Adapter: We hate cable television. And although we don’t spend too much time watching TV when we travel, we like to have it on for an hour or so before we fall asleep. This lets us connect our iPhones or iPad to the hotel TV and watch Hulu, Netflix, or YouTube, just as we do at home. Tom Bihn Mini Halcyon Organizer Pouch: This was a last minute addition to our travel kit. I wanted a small zippered pouch that we could keep our headphones and a single Lightning cable in for quick access. I was more than happy with the small Halcyon Pouch we had bought previously and decided to buy another one in the “mini” size. It was just big enough to fit the items that we would need during travel while still being small enough to fit inside one of the pockets in the Ristretto’s front compartment. This setup worked well and there isn’t much I would change about it. I’ll probably drop the Anker battery pouch and, unless I’m going on a longer trip, I don’t think I’ll be packing the camera charger again. I would like to add a headphone splitter, though. On the plane, my wife and I ended up sharing a single pair of headphones because we wanted to listen to a podcast episode together. A headphone splitter would let us listen from a single device without accidentally pulling the earbud out of the other person’s ear. One last thing that’s worth pointing out: I didn’t bring my Apple Watch. My original packing list included my Watch charging cable and a couple extra bands, but I decided against bring it on this trip. Don’t get me wrong, I still wear my Watch everyday while at home, but I didn’t want yet another device to keep track of and worry about charging during our travels. —August 10, 2016 Ulysses 2.6 ? Mike Bates, on Ulysses 2.6: I’ve been part of the TestFlight group that’s been using the beta throughout it’s development cycle, and it’s a terrific update to what I’d call my favorite app. […] The app is what I consider to be the best writing environment for the most people. It’s well-designed, well-equipped with features, is customizable to fit your liking, is developed by an attentive & small(er) team, and all gets out of the way when you need to get down to writing. I’ve been in the Ulysses beta group for several months, as well, and couldn’t have been happier with this update. I still use my own workflow for publishing to WordPress, but I’m excited about trying Ulysses’ native solution soon. From the sounds of things, it’s incredibly well thought out and offers all of the features I need for my own unique setup. —August 8, 2016 The iPad’s Dark Days Are Over ? Neil Cybart: After a tumultuous multi-year stretch that included massive unit sales declines, declining average selling prices (ASPs), and deteriorating margin trends, the iPad business has turned a corner. The combination of improving upgrade fundamentals, less severe iPad mini sales declines, and a stronger iPad lineup with the iPad Pro and accompanying accessories have positioned the iPad category that much closer to stabilization. The worst is likely over. Great analysis from Cybart on the iPad sales decline. And I agree with him — the iPad’s dark days are likely over. —August 8, 2016 Dropbox Paper ? A neat new collaboration tool from Dropbox. It supports embedded files, task lists, automatic code formatting, and more. This looks like a great product. —August 7, 2016 Making a Case for Letter Case ? John Saito, writing on Medium: If you’re an Apple user, you’ll notice a lot of title case throughout their products. That’s because Apple’s design guidelines recommend title case for many UI elements, including alert titles, menu items, and buttons. If you’re a Google user, you’ll see a lot more sentence case throughout their products. And that’s because Google’s design guidelines recommend sentence case for almost everything. I prefer Apple’s approach. —August 7, 2016 Fully Functional Lightning EarPods Shown Off ? Mitchel Broussard, writing for MacRumors: Today, MobileFun posted a video of a working pair of Lightning EarPods, and the overall look of the accessory appears more in line with Apple’s design than any of the previous leaks. The housing around the lightning connector looks a bit longer than I would have expected from Apple. But I expect something that looks a lot like this to be in-box alongside the next iPhone in a month or two. —August 6, 2016 Why I Think Apple Watch 2 Will Be a Big Leap ? Abdel Ibrahim, writing for WatchAware: With watchOS 3, Apple rethought much of the user interface to make what is slow hardware feel much faster. That’s a huge step for those of us who currently own the Apple Watch. But when I think about the next-generation Watch, I think Apple will address a lot of the issues that make the Watch feel so first-generation. In fact, I think the Apple Watch 2 will be as big of a leap if not bigger than the iPad 2 was to the original iPad. In the next iteration of Apple Watch, I expect thinner hardware, new bands, and a new system-on-a-chip with more memory, a faster ARM processor, and more robust wireless features. I don’t think we’ll see any differences in battery life, though. Apple hit the nail on the head with the Watch’s battery life and I don’t expect an improvement on that front for at least two more years. —August 6, 2016 Homescreen.me Introduces Track, Follow, and Notifications ? Préshit Deorukhkar, writing on Medium: Ever wondered how your Homescreen has evolved over time? What if you could go back in time and see which apps you were using a month ago? Well, now you can. You can now browse all your Past Homescreens on the site. All the screenshots that you’ve uploaded since you signed up here are available for your perusal. So go ahead, take a trip down memory lane. This is the feature I’ve been most excited about since Homescreen.me relaunched in June. I expect the service will become my default upload location when I want to share my home screen. But the team didn’t stop there, you can now follow your favorite users (like me) and receive email notifications when someone you follow posts a new screenshot. —August 5, 2016 My Evolving Home Screen ? Stephen Hackett: In addition to how hilariously small old iPhones seem compared to my 6S Plus, the thing that jumped out at me the most is how little turnover there is over time in apps and their placement. I wrote about this last year and it continues to hold true — my iPhone home screen has seen infrequent changes and there are rarely new app categories added. And even today, my current layout’s roots are clearly planted in the iPhone’s original home screen from 2007. —August 5, 2016 Browse the Archive or read the Linked List. Copyright ? 2009–2016 Michael Rockwell

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  Domain Name: INITIALCHARGE.NET
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