Yesterday I started at my new position in Barnwell. There’s not a lot to say, other than things have been working out pretty well and I’m looking forward to the rest of the year. Grade five has a lot of interesting things to relearn before I teach it to my new students. For example, I learned today that Socrates was put to death by a jury of his peers for his anti-democratic opinions. He thought that the smartest people should lead in government, rather than the lottery system that was customary at the time. Smart guy, that Socrates.
I’m lucky enough to be married to an extremely observant woman. While we were touristing around downtown Lahaina, Maui, my wife saw a poster for David Sedaris doing a show at the Maui Arts Center in just a few days. She knows I’m a fan and asked if I wanted to go. I was hesitant to put up the money just to hear an author read — but who am I kidding, I love David Sedaris and have since the first time I heard him on This American Life so many years ago.
It turns out, it was money well spent, because Mr. Sedaris didn’t take long before he was sharing his list of money making ideas.
I was in my Sussex kitchen not long ago squinting at what was either a pheasant or an armless troll racing across the road in front of the house when I got the idea for prescription windows.
It would be perfect for people like me who don’t want to wear glasses indoors and so I mentioned it to my friend Ingrid who said, “Oh, that’s brilliant.” She’s one of those women who will support you in just about anything you do. Slap some cheese between two slices of bread and it’s “My God, you’re amazing!” Calm down I sometimes want to say. I didn’t invent the sandwich — I just did what other before me have. This time though, I felt the praise was justified. And so, I put prescription windows on my list of million dollar ideas, realizing hours later that what works for me would not work for Hugh, or any of our frequent house guests who have different prescription problems or none at all. Still they might be good for a near-sighted loner who never has any company so I left them on the list. Right below cigarette butts with seeds in them.
And after a brief segue from some other million dollar ideas into stories about how cheap some people can be, he finished with a short digression about how his husband doesn’t like to admit how much he appreciates their wealth but that when it comes to million dollar ideas maybe his husband could give it a try. It was a brilliant story.
After the applause began to wane he slyly added, “You never want to say this before you read something… I wrote that today!”
I’m closing out the year with my annual One Second Everyday video (see below). Lots of exciting things for us this year — especially wonderful was the arrival of our little baby girl, Nesslin. Astute viewers will see foreshadowing that 2019 is also looking to be a great year.
Venom: “Michelle Williams, near the very end, [says what] feels like the most sincere heartfelt thing anyone says in the entire movie: ‘I’m sorry about Venom.'” — Bob Chipman, Geek
The Grinch: “It accomplishes nothing more than what the 1966 adaptation accomplished, despite taking more than three times longer to do it. In short: You’re an unnecessary one, Mr. Grinch.” — Mike Scott, Times-Picayune
The Girl in the Spider’s Web: “Salander is still typing furiously and retains a taste for black clothes and vengeance, but her running and gunning now suggest a Goth cosplaying James Bond.” — Manohla Dargis, New York Times
Nutcracker and the Four Realms: “The only thing that younger and older audience members will be able to share here is a sense of boredom.” — Joey Magidson, Hollywood News
Nobody’s Fool: “I’m getting a headache from this movie.” — Korey Coleman, Double Toasted
With only about 10 minutes before it started, I casually mentioned to Andrea that I would like to watch to some technology event happening today. She reminded me that she was having friends over but if I helped her clean up a bit (after) that that would be fine. After changing the baby I raced downstairs to download the Apple Event app on my Apple TV… got all my passwords in, began the downloaded, and loaded it up… with 10 seconds to spare. I watched as the second hand on my watch hit 8:00am and the event started EXACTLY on time. Kind of neat when you know that all of the world’s apple Watches are in sync and that starting exactly on time is in a way an ad for the watches too.
I love technology and I particularly love Apple Events.
Here are my highlights of today’s event:
The new MacBook Air has been completely redesigned. Finally receiving that retina screen bringing (if I’m not mistaken) all Apple devices up to retina resolution. This was the upgrade that seemed like a no brainer for the past few years.
As well as improving the resolution and nearly removing edge bezels, Apple has also added Touch ID. This particularly point is interesting because they’ve added the same secure enclave as the MacBook pros have but choose not to include a touch bar.
The other big change is that the new MacBook Air’s are made from a new kind of metal alloy that uses 100% recycled aluminum and still has the look of the high grade aluminum that Apple customers love.
Long speculated that Apple would be sunsetting this product, the Mac Mini gets a much needed update. The new Mac Mini has 4 cores (upgradeable to 6) and will preform up to 5x faster than before. A first glance, an incredible performance boost but maybe not, considering how long the Mac mini has been ignored. It’s been upgraded with Apple’s new T2 security chip and built in HEVC video encoding will make apple’s new high efficiency formats perform 30x faster than on previous mac minis.
Today at Apple
Angela Ahrendts, senior vice president of retail, donned the stage to talk a little bit about the Today at Apple session happening at Apple Stores all over the world. It felt a bit like a filler segment but I was interested to hear the numbers: 18,000 sessions a week with 60 newly designed sessions.
In the last year Apple sold more iPads than all of the notebooks of the competitors combined. I think it’s worth taking a moment to just think about what that means? All competitors combined?! Despite iPhones dwarfing all of Apple’s other products, iPad is still a huge part of Apple’s bottom line. This morning, as rumoured, Apple continued to build on that bottom line as they announced an all-new iPad Pro.
The first thing you’ll notice with the new iPad is that there is no home button. It’s still sports a LCD (Apple refers to it as a Liquid Retina Display) but that display now fills a full 11″ for the smaller iPad Pro and the larger fills the same 12.9″ but they’ve reduced the size to about the size of an 8.5″ by 11″ rectangle. Other key points include:
- 5.9 mm thick (25% less volume)
- A12x Bionic Chip 8-core CPU
- up 35% faster for single core
- up to 90% faster overall
- faster than 92% of all portable PCs
- 7 core GPU
- 1TB storage capacity
- charging out on USB-C
- Second Generation Apple Pencil connects magnetically, automatically pairs, and starts charging!< (Dare I say, finally?)/li>
The keynote then transitioned into talking about apps traditionally thought too memory and processor intensive for the iPad that are now available:
- DJ pro
- NBA 2K
- Adobe Photoshop
They ran through the prices and then special musical guest Lana Del Rey sang a couple of her new songs and that was it. I still had time to help Andrea get ready for the day.
Yesterday was day one of Adobe’s annual event Adobe Max in which they announce all of the neat things they’ve been up to. Here are a few of the highlights I’m most excited about in the new Adobe CC applications:
- select text with click and commit text by clicking
- multiple undo function (just keep hitting Command Z to undo)
- content aware fill
- frame tool (much like indesign’s frame tool)
- symmetry mode
- automatically adjust layout when changing page sizes, margins, and bleeds
- activate fonts within indesign
- import and export comments into pdf format
- add voice interactions
- responsive resize tool
- developer plugins
- edit repeating objects across art boards with global edit
- complex colour gradients
- custom toolbar
And what’s very exciting (though not coming until next year) is the full version of Photoshop on iOS! But what’s the most exciting of all is that Typekit is now called Adobe Fonts and is part of all Creative Cloud plans. That means all 1500 fonts from Adobe are free to use with any Creative Cloud plan and there is no sync limit. They’ve also streamlined the way fonts are activated. Awesome!
Here’s the highlight reel from the keynote:
Night School: “Night School is a lesson that often feels more like punishment.” — Wenlei Ma, news.com.au
The Nun: “At one point a character rips a burial crucifix right out of the ground hoping it will ward off these malevolent forces; I’m beginning to think I need one of those for lacklustre horror films such as The Nun.” — Robert Kojder, Flickering Myth
Peppermint: “Peppermint is not some model of equality, it’s just violent escapism that happens to have a woman in the lead role.” — Lindsey Bahr, Associated Press
The Predator: “Watching this movie is as close to what I imagine going insane is like.” — Dan Murrell, Screen Junkies
Hell Fest: “You’ve seen it all before, and better: A blade to the chest, an axe to the leg, a syringe to the eye.” — Keith Uhlich, Hollywood Reporter
As if you needed more reason to despise Facebook, Kashmir Hill reports on Facebook’s truly garbage practise of violating your contacts information without disclosing that’s what they’re doing.
Facebook is not content to use the contact information you willingly put into your Facebook profile for advertising. It is also using contact information you handed over for security purposes and contact information you didn’t hand over at all, but that was collected from other people’s contact books, a hidden layer of details Facebook has about you that I’ve come to call “shadow contact information.” […]
Facebook is not upfront about this practice. In fact, when I asked its PR team last year whether it was using shadow contact information for ads, they denied it. Luckily for those of us obsessed with the uncannily accurate nature of ads on Facebook platforms, a group of academic researchers decided to do a deep dive into how Facebook custom audiences work to find out how users’ phone numbers and email addresses get sucked into the advertising ecosystem.
The researchers also found that if User A, whom we’ll call Anna, shares her contacts with Facebook, including a previously unknown phone number for User B, whom we’ll call Ben, advertisers will be able to target Ben with an ad using that phone number, which I call “shadow contact information,” about a month later. Ben can’t access his shadow contact information, because that would violate Anna’s privacy, according to Facebook, so he can’t see it or delete it, and he can’t keep advertisers from using it either.
The lead author on the paper, Giridhari Venkatadri, said this was the most surprising finding, that Facebook was targeted ads using information “that was not directly provided by the user, or even revealed to the user.”
I first discovered Aaron Swartz while watching Ze Frank’s The Show in 2006. Aaron had donated a $100 for a gold ducky sponsorship link and I clicked it— and I remember thinking at the time, who has a hundred bucks for a stupid gold ducky?! But the paid sponsorship took me to his site and pretty much I knew immediately I had discovered a genius. (I only learned later that Aaron had so much money from selling Reddit).
I read his blog religiously. At one point he started a serial short story, Bubble City, about a dystopic future in which Google’s powerful reach is able to help the government spy on the protagonist — Aaron updated not quite as often as I would have liked. Later he started writing about being investigated by the FBI himself — the actual FBI. It’s surreal thinking about all the things that Aaron is and was famous for, I just liked him because I thought he was an amazing writer. Who was this person?
I was shocked when I found out he worked for Wired Magazine and got fired for reasons that were never really clear but gave me the impression he might not be the easiest guy to get along with; not to mention was going through some pretty tough depression. The comments about the Wired/Fired shirt were prescient.
Well, I don’t know the fashion in ‘cisco, I’ll admit. Also, my comment about hoping all is going to be well, on second thought, is very silly; as Aaron is brilliant and well-connected, I’m certain he’ll be just fine :)
Provided he doesn’t kill himself.
I remember thinking that one day I was going to go out of my way to meet Aaron, but at the same time, I didn’t have a clue how I was going to make that happen. I did email him once, and he replied promptly, but that was about it and I’ll always regret never getting a real conversation going with him.
I was devastated when I heard the news about him in 2013 and I still think about him every once in a while.
Here’s a documentary about his life:
The Meg: “It’s not fun, it’s not serious, it’s not scary. It is stupid.” — Johnny Oleksinski, The New York Post
The Happytime Murders: “A few critics are calling it the worst movie of the year. Unfair! This R-rated look at a serial killer running wild in a puppet-populated L.A., has what it takes to be a contender for worst of the decade.” — Peter Traverse, Rolling Stone
Mile 22: “If the nonstop reign of skull crushing, eye gouging ultra violence isn’t enough to exhaust you entirely, trying to keep track of what’s important and why definitely will.” — Meg Downey, CBR
Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom: “Is there any future in the Jurassic Park franchise? They were so preoccupied with whether or not they could, that they didn’t stop to think if they should.” — Clarisse Loughrey, That Darn Movie Show
Slender Man: “This tawdry, shoddy stinker is a movie of rare and total incompetence, literally unwatchable thanks to some of the worst cinematography in film history.” — Jim Lane, Sacramento News & Review