Categories
Miscellaneous

Vision Pro

On Monday Apple released its long rumored VR headset, Vision Pro. I’ve been busy with work and haven’t had a chance to watch the whole demo video yet but I did quite enjoy this review by John Gruber on Daring Fireball:

It was a very fast 30 minutes, and the experience was, in a word, immersive. I’d pay good money just to run through the exact same 30 minutes again.

It was nowhere near enough time, nor was I able to wander far off the rails of the prepared demos. It’s very clear that the OS and apps are far from finished. But even given the brevity of the demo and constraints of the current state of the software, there are a few things I feel confident about describing.

First: the overall technology is extraordinary, and far better than I expected. And like my friend and Dithering co-host Ben Thompson, my expectations were high. Apple exceeded them. Vision Pro and VisionOS feel like they’ve been pulled forward in time from the future. I haven’t had that feeling about a new product since the original iPhone in 2007. There are several aspects of the experience that felt impossible.

It’s obviously out of my price range but if nothing else, I’m going to be looking for an opportunity to try one out when they are released next year.

Categories
Art artificial intelligence Photography

Adobe Releases Photoshop’s AI Generative Fill

Adobe has announced a new Beta version of Photoshop that comes with generative AI technology.

Pam Clark, writing for the Adobe Blog:

We are thrilled to announce that the Photoshop (beta) app has released Generative Fill, the world’s first co-pilot in creative and design workflows, giving users a magical new way to work. Generative Fill is powered by Adobe Firefly, Adobe’s family of creative generative AI models. Starting today, Photoshop subscribers can create extraordinary imagery from a simple text prompt.

This brings two imaging powerhouses together — Photoshop and generative AI, enabling you to generate content from inside Photoshop with a text prompt and edit it with Photoshop’s comprehensive range of tools to create extraordinary results.

I’ve been having a lot of fun playing around with DiffusionBee running Stable Diffusion and yet this one from Adobe blows me away by how fast and awesome it is. Even if working on Photoshop itself is not your thing, don’t miss the examples.

Categories
news

Heather Armstrong Dead at 47

Tonight I saw the news that Heather Armstrong died yesterday. I read her website pretty regularly for about a decade since the early 2000s.

Alex Williams, The New York Times:

Heather Armstrong, the breakout star behind the website Dooce, who was hailed as the queen of the so-called mommy bloggers for giving millions of readers intimate daily glimpses of her odyssey through parenthood and marriage, as well as her harrowing struggles with depression, died on Tuesday at her home in Salt Lake City. She was 47.

Pete Ashdown, her longtime partner, who found her body in the home, said the cause was suicide.

Terribly sad news. I have a nephew the same age as her oldest daughter and the thought is just so upsetting. Nothing but warm thoughts for her family and friends.

Categories
Apple

The Playgrounds from Develop in Swift Data Collections

Developing iOS apps is an exciting but challenging process, and I’ve been working on improving my skills by reading the Develop in Swift Fundamentals and Develop in Swift Data Collections books. While going through the practice assignments, I encountered some roadblocks and couldn’t find answers to some of the questions in the Data Collections book. Although I was able to find answers from other students for the Fundamentals book, I still needed some help with the Data Collections exercises.

After searching for a while, I was relieved to discover that the teacher’s guide to both books had answers to the playground questions. I was able to download the guide and find the answers I needed, which allowed me to continue making progress on my iOS app development journey.

I wanted to write this in case anyone else is looking for the direct link: http://education-static.apple.com/data-collections/xcode13/teacher.zip

If you’re also working on improving your iOS app development skills, I highly recommend checking out the Develop in Swift series. It’s been a lot of fun and I’m beginning to feel like I will finally be making my first iOS app soon.

Categories
bad review revue

The Bad Review Revue

Under the Tuscan Sun: “Who thought combining Under the Tuscan Sun with The Godfather was a good idea?” — Dustin Chase, Galveston Daily News

The Super Mario Bros. Movie: “It is the laziest possible version of a Mario movie, and for most viewers, young and old, that’ll be totally acceptable.” — Dylan Roth, Observer

Renfield: “To watch Renfield is to get the impression that someone made a successful elevator pitch, then panicked.” — Alan Zilberman, Spectrum Culture

Love Again: “Your heart will go on, and your eyes will look away in embarrassment.” — A.A. Dowd Chron

Big George Foreman: The Miraculous Story of the Once and Future Champion of the World: “This corny and awkward biopic of boxing champ George Foreman makes his unusual life look dreadfully formulaic. The entire movie is like a limp punching bag filled with nothing but hot air.” — Carla Hay, Culture Mix

Categories
Apple finance

Apple Earnings Report Q2 2023

In its first calendar quarter of the year, Apple revealed its financial performance for the second fiscal quarter of 2023.

During the quarter, Apple generated $94.8 billion in revenue and $24.1 billion in net quarterly profit, or $1.52 per diluted share. This compares to the year-ago quarter when the company recorded revenue of $97.3 billion and net quarterly profit of $25.0 billion, also at $1.52 per diluted share.

While Apple achieved a new all-time high in Services revenue, generating $20.9 billion, and also established a new March quarter record for iPhone revenue at $51.3 billion, the Mac product line experienced a substantial year-over-year decrease in quarterly revenue. The Mac revenue dropped from $10.4 billion to $7.2 billion.

Apple CEO Tim Cook:

“We are pleased to report an all-time record in Services and a March quarter record for iPhone despite the challenging macroeconomic environment, and to have our installed base of active devices reach an all-time high. We continue to invest for the long term and lead with our values, including making major progress toward building carbon neutral products and supply chains by 2030.”

Even on what might be considered a “bad” earnings call, Apple still dominates the space.

Here are some pretty charts.

Categories
games

XKCD’s Escape Speed

XKCD, presumably to celebrate the milestone achievement of the launch of SpaceX’s Starship, has created a charming space exploration game, Escape Speed, that’s much deeper than it appears.

Explain XKCD has some hints to help solve it (such as a link to the subway map, and a map of the entire playing area.)

(Via Waxy)

Categories
Music technology

Why Music Festivals Sound Better than Ever

As this video explains, line array speakers in sound system design have revolutionized audio quality in live music events. Dave Rat, a sound engineer and sound system designer who has provided audio for Coachella since 2001, explains the differences between point source and line array speakers and how the latter has helped improve the even distribution of sound across large festival areas. Additionally, advancements in technology, such as laser range finders and 3D mapping, have helped sound designers create precise and targeted sound systems, minimizing sound bleeding and creating a better experience for festival-goers. Next time I’m at a concert, I’m going to notice the speaker arrangement and appreciate how far we’ve come in sound design.

Categories
design

Redesigns and Revamps: Utah’s New State Flag and My ATA Local’s Logo

I’m not a graphic designer but I that’s basically what the New Media program at the U of L taught me to be so I’m interested in good design and want to share some examples of recent logo and flag redesigns:

Back at the end of the 90s I spent a year living in Utah, the flag they had then is basically just the state seal on a blue background. Some 24 states still sport this style of seal on a blue “bedsheet”.

They’ve recently redesigned it and, in my opinion did a pretty good job. Modern design dictates that good logos should be simple enough that one could draw them from a basic description. The new flag meets that criteria. It’s got a great use of the beehive (a symbol of Deseret), the red rocks below, and the white peaks of the mountains. Good job.

Speaking of redesigns, my ATA local recently updated their logo. When they were talking about doing the new logo I thought about volunteering to do it myself but I was worried that I wouldn’t create something in the same ballpark that a full time professional designer could come up with.

The new logo incorporates some symbolism of hoodoos (in the south) to the willow trees that exist in the northern part of our local. It doesn’t meet modern design’s trend of being easily drawn — it’s much too detailed.

I decided to make my own attempt and this is what I came up with:
I suppose my design doesn’t pop in this black and white format, but I’m confident that adding a little colour would give it the same life as the one they chose. C’est la vie. Anyway, I’m disappointed that they’re not going to use my logo, I should have volunteered when the time was right.

(via One Foot Tsunami)

Categories
life

Pickleball Wars: The Bouncing Menace

Yesterday at pickleball a women told me about one of the other players calling out a teenager who was kicking his soccer ball into one of the pickleball nets. The player asked the kid to stop but he refused and continued booting his ball into the net. She said things didn’t escalate but couldn’t believe how rude the kid was while being confronted about damaging the nets. The woman asked me what I would have done and in the moment I said, I would have told the kid off. I’m not sure why the story hit me the way it did or why exactly I felt the need to establish the fact that I would have taken such a hard line about someone damaging the facility’s equipment but I’m sure it was part of what set me up for what happened next.

So today at pickleball, I got into a row with a different teenager. Two teenagers, actually, but one more than the other. The kid rubbed me the wrong way with our first interaction. He strolled listlessly through our court and in front of me as I was about to serve. We all shared a “what’s up with this guy” look. The teenager went on to meet with a buddy beside our court and each commenced bouncing a tennis ball off the wall. After a missed bounce came near our court my partner politely asked if they would take the bouncing balls someplace else. They pretended to agree but then immediately continued bouncing balls off the walls next to our court. After a short spell my partner once again asked them if they would mind going someplace else because their bouncing balls were distracting and coming into our play area. They said that they were waiting for their turn to play volleyball on this court. My partner asked if they would mind going to an empty court in the meantime? One of the boys acquiesced to go, but I guess the other one talked him into staying because in that very moment they resumed bouncing their tennis balls. I clenched my teeth.

More time passed and the fact that they agreed to leave but then just stayed was hitting a nerve. I went over and explained to him why we wanted them to move and asked him to please go. He told me no. I started to repeat the word please a few times, each time adding more emphasis and feeling a little more agitated and then quite loudly asked him to go to the empty court. He wouldn’t have any of it. At this point I was feeling heated and I told him to take a hike. I guess the point got through because they finally moved on. They still didn’t head over to the empty court but at least they were no longer throwing balls against the wall next to our court.

When I finished my match Andrea asked me if I told somebody to, “take a hike”? She seemed amused and later commented how she thought it was so out of character for me to have an interaction like that even when she agreed, the kid deserved it.

A worker at the facility came over and asked us if we had told someone to leave our court. Even knowing that those kids had no right to be bothering us I wondered if I was somehow going to be in trouble. The other player said yes we did and the employee said no problem but next time just come get him and he’ll get them to move.