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Permalink - Posted on 2018-01-19 23:12
• Tim Cook has been on a European tour to promote Apple’s coding courses in education. “Apple’s Tim Cook talks education, says he wouldn’t want his nephew using social media.” He had some interesting things to say about both education and social media that got me thinking.
It’s true that learning to code can be an essential career skill for many. But coding alone, and immersion in social media alone, seem to be missing some important elements in the formation of the maturing and educated mind. It could be why we’re seeing an unprecedented embrace of uncritical thinking, be it climate change or the purchase of raw water.
That’s a much bigger problem to tackle, and, as Tim Cook said, no amount of technology can provide that. I think Cook senses the basic problem.
Several stories this week seem relevant.
• Bloomberg has a related story in my view. “How a 22-Year-Old Discovered the Worst Chip Flaws in History.” It’s the story about Jann Horn…
… a 22-year-old Google cybersecurity researcher, he was first to report the biggest chip vulnerabilities ever discovered. The industry is still reeling from his findings, and processors will be designed differently from now on.
This is, of course, referring to the Meltdown and Spectre flaws. One has to ask how our modern education systems can, from the basics of computer science, create kids with this kind of mastery and insight. Or will this kind of human ability forever be the result of random chance and genetics? Will our experience with AIs teaching AIs extend to AIs teaching humans?
• In turn, one of the answers may be found in how people elect to spend their time. By that, I mean, the more time people spend engaging in certain technologies that make money for the developer, the less time the customer spends developing their own minds. Here’s once aspect of that puzzle. “Alexa, We’re Still Trying to Figure Out What to Do With You.”
Coming full circle, perhaps one element of eduction is not only reason and skill building but time allocation. Everything in technology nowadays seems intended to immerse the user in an activity that’s psychologically pleasing, but not fundamentally productive. Let alone service oriented. Building real skills is time consuming and painful. I see that in my wife’s students all the time.
Finally, with all that in mind, what should Apple’s approach be to foster better education? Apple has certainly played a role in giving us great development tools. And lots of cool activities to mess around with on iPhones, indeed, millions of apps. However, it remains up to the user to decide how to manage money and time.
That’s not taught in grade and high school. And its the reason so many college freshman students flounder and fail their first year. If any educators out there are working on this, I’d love to hear your thoughts.
This week’s edition of Particle Debris is one page.
Particle Debris is a generally a mix of John Martellaro’s observations and opinions about a standout event or article of the week (preamble on page one) followed on page two by a discussion of articles that didn’t make the TMO headlines, the technical news debris. The column is published most every Friday except for holiday weeks.
Permalink - Posted on 2018-01-19 23:08
Apple has hired away somewhere between one third and half of the employees of an enterprise consulting startup called Silicon Valley Data Science. Some sleuthing by TechCrunch found that at least 18 people—including two cofounders and the CEO—now list their employer as Apple.
The twist is that Apple hasn’t acquired the company. And buried at the bottom of the story is the idea that one of Apple’s partners may have acquired SVDS, and the employees are joining Apple’s embedded teams at that partner.
While public LinkedIn profiles proclaim their new employers being Apple, no one is actually talking about it. TechCrunch spoke to three employees, and reported the following:
“I’m sworn to secrecy at the moment,” one person connected with the company told me when I contacted him. “I’d prefer not to comment,” another said.
“Everything is confidential,” a third response said. “Apple acquired the tech team to support product dev ambitions. Can’t say more.”
All of which is interesting in an academic sense. Apple has done many acquihires, where it buys a whole company to get the team and/or technology. And, Apple has hired key people away from plenty of companies, including startups, this move would appear to be somewhere in the middle. Apple has effectively gutted the company, and two cofounders went along with it.
SVDS’s website remains up, and no announcements have been made.
There’s been bits and pieces here and there about Apple stepping up its enterprise efforts, and this raid feeds that narrative. SVDS is a data science company that works with enterprise giants to help them make sense of their data.
TechCrunch noted that past projects include: “analyzing Caltrain delays to predict their arrivals; a visual representation of the history of rock-and-roll; and trying to put a figure on the value of data.”
None of which is in Apple’s known wheelhouse, making the whole thing all that much more interesting.
Permalink - Posted on 2018-01-19 22:03, modified at 23:17
Kristen Wiig is coming to Apple’s not-yet launched television streaming service, according to Variety. The entertainment magazine reported that Ms. Wiig will star in a 10-episode half-hour comedy, her first regular TV gig since leaving Saturday Night Live in 2012. Reese Witherspoon and Ms. Wiig will be executive producers on the show.
The show will be based on a not-yet-published short story collection by Curtis Sittenfeld called You Think It, I’ll Say It. It’s not clear if that will be the title of the show.
Variety noted that this is the third show for Apple being produced by Reese Witherspoon’s Hello Sunshine production company. The first is drama focused on the morning show circuit that will costar Ms. Witherspoon and Jennifer Anniston. She’s also signed a show called Are You Sleeping?, which stars Octavia Butler.
Back to Kristen Wiig’s show: it was created by Colleen McGuinness, who will be another executive producer and showrunner.
Apple has signed quite a few shows now under Jamie Erlicht and Zack Van Amburg. In addition to the three shows above, the company signed an Amazing Stories reboot with Steven Spielberg, an untitled SciFi drama from Ronald D. Moore, a drama called See from Steven Knight and Francis Lawrence, and the docuseries Home from Matt Tyrnauer and Matthew Weaver.
That’s seven shows so far, and Apple hasn’t even announced a streaming video service per se.
Permalink - Posted on 2018-01-19 21:25
Top European technical colleges are adopting Apple’s Everyone Can Code initiative. In a press release Apple announced that 70 colleges and universities would be implementing the App Development with Swift curriculum.
Education institutions in UK, Germany, France, Italy, Spain, the Netherlands, Sweden, Denmark, Norway, Austria, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Ireland, Luxembourg, Poland and Portugal will start offering the full-year course. Apple engineers and educators designed the program to make it accessible for students of all levels and backgrounds.
Tim Cook said in a statement:
Coding is an essential skill for today’s workforce, and through Everyone Can Code, we’re giving people around the world the power to learn, write and teach coding. Since launching Everyone Can Code two years ago, we’ve seen growing excitement for the initiative from schools around the world, who are increasingly incorporating the curriculum into their classrooms.
The tech sector is growing fast across Europe, and computing and informatics jobs are in high demand. The App Store’s economy has created 1.36 million jobs in Europe. Since the launch of the App Store, Apple has paid out US$18 billion to European developers.
Permalink - Posted on 2018-01-19 20:57
Have you ever wanted to create a personalized HTML email signature? Maybe you’re not satisfied with “Sent From My iPhone” or you have a business you want to promote. Learning HTML would take a whole other technical article, so we’ll use a signature generator.
Using an HTML email signature in Apple Mail is a little complex, and will require us to use the Terminal, but you can copy and paste the commands below.
First, we’re going to open Apple Mail and create a placeholder email signature. In Apple Mail > Preferences > Signatures, click the plus (+) button to create a new signature. For ease of use, you could name it HTML. Your name and email will automatically fill the window, but to make it a tad easier later, replace it with placeholder text as you can see in the below image.
After you create the signature, drag and drop the NAME onto iCloud in the sidebar. This lets you use the signature across your Mac, iPhone, and iPad. Finally, at the bottom, uncheck the box next to ‘Always match my default message font.’ Close the preferences window so it will be saved.
Instead of learning to code HTML, we can search the web for a free HTML email signature generator. The one I used was at HubSpot. Once there, you can fill out your personal information you want to include in your signature.
Once you click the Create Signature button, it will make you fill in forms relevant to your business. I just picked random ones, and it doesn’t require you to sign up for anything. After this you can hit the Download Email Signature button. It will bring you to a new screen.
Look for the button that says Get Source Code. This step is important. Copy and paste the code from the box into TextEditor. Save the file as something like emailsignature.txt.
Now it’s time to head into the Terminal. Apple Mail signatures are saved as special files with the .mailsignature extension. These aren’t easy to find when browsing in Finder, even if you show hidden files. Instead, it’s much easier to use Terminal.
Since we used iCloud to save the signature, the code you can copy and paste is:
ls -laht ~/Library/Mobile\ Documents/com~apple~mail/Data/V4/Signatures/
This will bring up a list of email signature code. Your most recently created signature will be at the top of the list, ending with .mailsignature. Now, we’re going to open those files in TextEdit with the following command:
open -a TextEdit ~/Library/Mobile\ Documents/com~apple~mail/Data/V4/Signatures/*.mailsignature
This will open TextEdit with each .mailsignature file. If you have more than one signature, more than one TextEdit tab will open. Find the one that matches the corresponding most recent file in Terminal. For me, I have to search for the one that begins with 6BC. It will probably be the first tab.
Remember when we used PLACEHOLDER TEXT? It should be easy to find in the TextEdit window, so you know you have the correct one.
In the mail signature file in TextEdit, highlight the code and delete it. Make sure to keep the header, and ONLY delete the text that begins and ends with <body>, as shown in the below image.
Now, open the email signature file we created earlier. Copy and paste the HTML code in the exact same space that the old code inhabited, as seen below. After that, you can save and close TextEdit.
Finally, we can go back to Apple Mail. Open up Preferences again and go to the signature you created. You’ll see the new HTML signature in the right pane.
If the signature looks a little funky, like mine does, you can repeat the above steps. And, if you know HTML code, you can customize it to your liking. But that’s outside the scope of this article.
Permalink - Posted on 2018-01-19 18:35
Permalink - Posted on 2018-01-19 18:02, modified at 19:49
I’m a sucker for clever gadgets. Show me something that does the job better, faster, or more elegantly and I can’t resist. I’ve recently been playing with two such devices from Ten One Design.
The first solves the problem of Apple’s MacBook and iPad chargers—the square white plastic things you plug into a wall outlet to charge your Apple devices.
The problem, which has existed for as long as I can remember, is that they go into the wall outlet at a 90° angle from the wall, which makes it far too easy to kick, trip, or otherwise dislodge it from the wall outlet. Or, even worse, kick, trip, or dislodge it and then watch your laptop or tablet go flying off the table and crash to the floor.
Ten One Design’s Blockhead is the clever solution. It’s a replacement for the removable two-prong plug adapter that comes with Apple chargers. Blockhead replaces that plug with one that’s been rotated 90°, allowing your charger to sit flush against the wall instead of sticking out.
With Blockhead, your charger sits flush against the wall, protruding just 1.2 inches. Use Apple’s power cord and it’ll protrude 2.6 inches; use Apple’s 2-prong plug adapter and it sticks out 3.8 inches. So, in addition to being less susceptible to kicking or dislodging, it also means your charger fits more easily into outlets behind furniture. Finally, at just $19.95 each (or two for $34.94), you can afford to have one for each of your Apple chargers (if you have more than one).
The second clever Ten One Design gadget is called Mountie + ($34.95), which is a small double-sided clip that allows your tablet or smartphone to hang securely from the screen of your laptop.
Why might you want to hang a tablet or smartphone from your laptop screen? I can think of several good use cases, but the first (and my current favorite) is to use my iPad as a second display for my MacBook Pro when I travel.
All it takes is Mountie+ and the Duet Display app (currently $9.99 in the iOS App Store), which converts my iPad into a second screen I can use with my MacBook Pro.
As someone who is used to having two screens in front of me, I can’t tell you how awesome it is to have two screens in front of me when I travel—in hotel rooms, coffee shops, and even on airplanes.
My iPad Mini was collecting dust before Mountie+… Now, it’s my second screen when I’m on the road and I don’t leave home without it.
One last thing: In addition to Mountie+, Ten One Design offers a smaller model I didn’t try called Mountie—it’s less expensive ($24.95), smaller, and works with most smartphones and small tablets.
Permalink - Posted on 2018-01-19 17:42
We have a deal on Disconnect, a VPN service that specializes in tracker blocking. Our deal is for a one year subscription for $19 (regular price is $50), and it’s good for use on up to three devices. Check out the details on the deal listing.
Permalink - Posted on 2018-01-19 16:56
NOMAD, well known for their cables and Apple Watch bands, just released a Qi-compatible wireless charging pad for the iPhone 8 and iPhone X. The wireless hub sports 7.5W output for charging your phone, along with a 3A USB-C and two 1A USB-A, and one 2.4A USB-A charging ports. Bundling in those extra ports makes it a great choice for your desk or your suitcase if you want an easy and convenient way to juice up your phone, iPad, and AirPods at the same time while you sleep. NOMAD’s Wireless Hub is priced at US$79.95 and is available at the company’s website.
Permalink - Posted on 2018-01-19 16:37
The Fortune annual list of the World’s Most Admired Companies is out, and Apple is in the top spot again. This marks the 11th year in a row Apple has earned the title.
Fortune makes the list by surveying about 3,900 executives, directors, and securities analysts who note the 10 companies they most admire. Apple took the top spot in every category: innovation, people management, use of corporate assets, social responsibility, quality of management, financial soundness, long-term investment value, quality of products and services, and global competitiveness.
Fortune describes its selection process saying,
As we have in the past, Fortune collaborated with our partner Korn Ferry on this survey of corporate reputations. We began with a universe of about 1,500 candidates: the 1,000 largest U.S. companies ranked by revenue, along with non-U.S. companies in Fortune’s Global 500 database that have revenues of $10 billion or more. We then winnowed the assortment to the highest-revenue companies in each industry, a total of 680 in 29 countries. The top-rated companies were picked from that pool of 680; the executives who voted work at the companies in that group.
Amazon came in second behind Apple with Alphabet coming in third, followed by Berkshire Hathaway, Starbucks, Walt Disney, Microsoft, Southwest Airlines, FedEx, and JPMorgan Chase rounding out the top ten. The list includes 50 companies.
Permalink - Posted on 2018-01-19 15:48
Instagram released an update this week that lets you see when the people you follow were last active in the app—and lets your followers see when you were last active, too. The feature, called “Show Activity Status,” is enabled by default and shows you when they last used Instagram apps, which is just a little too creepy for some people. If that’s you, follow along to learn how to turn the feature off.
To turn off Instagram’s new Show Activity Status feature do this:
Now no one will see when you’re active in Instagram apps. This goes both ways, so you won’t be able to see when other people are active, either. That seems like a pretty reasonable tradeoff if you aren’t interested in other people seeing to-the-minute updates on your Instagram activity.
Permalink - Posted on 2018-01-19 14:47, modified at 15:48
Apple is already working on a fix for the chaiOS bug that crashes Messages when you receive a specific URL in a chat. We’re only days away from the update with Apple confirming it’s coming some time next week.
chaiOS is a bug that crashes Messages on the iPhone, iPad, and iPhone when a specific Github link is shared in a chat. It can also cause the iOS springboard to crash and relaunch.
Apple told Buzzfeed a patch is coming next week, which will hopefully prevent similar problems in the future. The webpage associated with the URL used in the chaiOS bug has been taken down, too, preventing the crash from happening.
chaiOS was revealed earlier this week and doesn’t appear to be malicious, although it is pretty annoying.
Permalink - Posted on 2018-01-19 00:56, modified at 23:16
Early this evening, Apple rolled out a redesign of the app web interface for iOS and Mac apps. The new design is visually more similar to iOS 11, and brings unification to the otherwise disparate design languages (9To5Mac via MacRumors).
Now, whenever you search for an iOS or macOS app on the web, the app preview page will look different. The icons are bigger, the fonts are bolder, and the iPhone X screenshots are showcased front and center.
Each app preview shows everything you would expect from iOS, bringing more attention to new app update information, customer reviews, and whether the app has in-app subscriptions. It also encourages you to explore deeper, with a selection of ‘Apps You May Like’ down at the bottom.
Permalink - Posted on 2018-01-18 23:32
Pop Culture artist Andy Warhol’s Apple logo painting is up for auction and is expected to bring in somewhere between US$20,000 and $30,000. Woodshed Art Auctions is conducting the auction with live bidding starting at 5:30 PM eastern time on February 1st. For you art aficionados considering making a bid, the piece is 8×8-inches in a 16.5×16.5-inch frame, float mounted with archive corners, no adhesives, and in good condition. Early online bids are currently at $6,500, so now you know what you have to out bid.
Permalink - Posted on 2018-01-18 23:24, modified at 23:34
Apple Music has a trailer out for a mini series of documentaries on UK rapper Stefflon Don. It’s part of Apple Music’s “Up Next” showcase of up and coming artists. Stefflon Don was born in Birmingham, England, of Jamaican parents, grew up in Holland, and came back to England, where she launched her musical career. Apple Music describes her sound as a mix of UK rap and Jamaican dancehall, and there are two episodes of her documentary on Apple Music now. The trailer below offers a sneak peak.
Permalink - Posted on 2018-01-18 22:20, modified at 22:27
[Update #85 January 18th, 2018 – The Moon company launched Moon Bitcoin Cash faucet, which I’ve been expecting since CoinPot added Bitcoin Cash support. – Bryan]
[PSA: Forumcoin.win will be closing its three Ethereum faucets (Eth, Ether, and Ethereum) on January 31st, 2018. Make sure to get your balance up high enough to withdraw before that date. Also, add your Forumcoin.win Ethernet address(es) to FaucetHub, as they have begun moving payments to FaucetHub. The site has a detailed letter about its plans open to the public. – Bryan]
I’ve put together a list of Bitcoin faucets that pay. They won’t make you rich, but I test and monitor my list to make sure they pay. If you need more info on Bitcoins, check out my Bitcoin primer or my faucet guide, How to Make Money with Bitcoin Faucets.
Bitcoin faucets work by paying out tiny fractions of a Bitcoin in exchange for loading a page full of ads. Other sites pay Bitcoins for watching videos or doing tasks.
You’ll need a Bitcoin wallet, either a standalone client-side wallet or a cloud-based wallet like Blockchain.info or CoinBase. Other wallets: Dogecoin, Ethereum (CoinBase also supports Ethereum), Bitcoin cash (BTC.com).
Get Free Bitcoins from Bitcoin Faucets that Pay
|13 – 1,300 satoshis||60 Mins||Direct||30,000 satoshis||Best faucet, period – see review for features|
|2-180 satoshis||5 Mins||CoinPot||Instant||Redirects, pays more the longer page sits. Loyalty bonus that can double your payout. Now uses CoinPot.|
|10-35 satoshis||Direct||60 Minutes||30,000 satoshis||There is a lot going on with this faucet, including the main faucet, offerwalls, bonuses, and gambling (which we do not test). Redesigned in October 2017.|
|24 – 120 satoshis||15 Mins||CoinPot||Instant||Redirects, great faucet. Now uses CoinPot.|
|GetCoinFree||40-60 satoshis||FaucetHub||15 minutes||21,000 satoshis||Highest paying FaucetHub faucet again, paying 40-60 satoshis every 15 minutes.|
|Multi-CoinFaucet.com||24 satoshis (two faucets)||Faucet
|60 Minutes||70,000 satoshis||There are two faucets (Dice Roll and Earn > Faucet) for both Bitcoin and Ethereum. Pays out to Faucethub. [Update: They began payout again on 11/18/17]|
|20-80 satoshis||5 Mins||Direct||20,000 satoshis||Redirects, straight forward faucet|
|Variable||Daily||Direct||Variable||Register, refer your friends, get free Bitcoins and several altcoins every day without even logging on. Added Bitcoin forks, automated payments. Highly recommended.|
|Bitfun.co||Variable||CoinPot||Variable||N/A||Play games (with ads), earn satoshis. Withdraw immediately to CoinPot.|
|BitcoinFaucet BTC||4-10 satoshis||15 Mins||Faucet Hub||Manual||Has bonus claims, easy to use.|
|20-1,200 satoshis||60 Mins||ePay||N/A||Straight forward faucet. Payouts haven’t decreased with the increase in Bitcoin, and I’ve moved it up on the list.|
|20-40 satoshis||60 Mins||Direct||10,000 satoshis||30 second timer on Submit|
|Bitemplum||75 satoshis||Xapo||Daily||10,000 satoshis||Claim 15 satoshis five times per day, but can do all five at once. WARNING: CPU mines without permission.|
|CryptoRacers||Variable||Faucet Hub||Variable||50,000 satoshis||A racing game where you win or lose satoshis for racing other players. You can also earn satoshis for “Day Jobs” (time-dealyed faucets) and offerwalls. Read my review below for more.|
|KemaBTC||18 satoshis||Faucet Hub||5 Minutes||Hourly||Lots of redirects. Do both short link bonuses to claim maximum reward.|
|6 satoshis||5 Mins||Faucet Hub||Manual||Triple CAPTCHA|
|FreeBTCMine||50 satoshis||12 Mins||Faucet Hub||100,000 satoshis||This is a gamified faucet. Pays well, but has a high withdrawal. See full description for more.|
|Wapserv BTC||11 satoshis||5 Mins||Faucet Hub||Manual||Multiple CAPTCHAs, with a higher payout.|
|Digicoin||10-50 satoshis||Faucet Hub||5 minutes||Instant||Straightforward FaucetHub faucet. I’ve seen malware redirects in ads, so be careful (as you should be with all faucets).|
|10-30 satoshis||5 Mins||Faucet Hub||Direct||Redirects, double CAPTCHA, adds 1 satoshi to reward for each use|
Get Free Bitcoin Cash from Bitcoin Cash Faucets that Pay
|81-400 satoshis||5 Mins||CoinPot||Instant||Redirects, pays more the longer page sits. Loyalty bonus that can double your payout. Now uses CoinPot.|
|47 satoshis||10 Mins||Faucet Hub||Hourly||Lots of redirects. Do both short link bonuses to claim maximum reward.|
|Wapserv BCH||38 satoshis||5 Mins||Faucet Hub||Manual||Lots of redirects, but pays well.|
|40 satoshis||10 Mins||Faucet Hub||Instant||Converted to Bitcoin Cash, pays out flat 50 satoshis to FaucetHub.|
|BitcoinFaucet BCH||20-40 satoshis||10 Mins||Faucet Hub||Manual||Has bonus claims, easy to use.|
|100-250 satoshis||15 Mins||Faucet Hub||Direct||Redirects, pays Bitcoin Cash direct to FaucetHub|
|30-90 satoshis||15 Mins||Faucet Hub||Direct||Redirects, pays Bitcoin Cash direct to FaucetHub.|
|20 satoshis||5 Mins||Faucet Hub||Direct||Redirects, pays 50 satoshis flat direct to FaucetHub.|
|18-32 satoshis||7 Mins||Faucet Hub||Direct||Redirects, triple CAPTCHA, pays Bitcoin Cash direct to FaucetHub.|
Get Free Dash from Dash Faucets that Pay
|30-160 dash||5 Mins||CoinPot||Instant||Redirects, pays more the longer page sits. Loyalty bonus that can double your payout. Now uses CoinPot, where you can convert to Bitcoin.|
|BitcoinFaucet Dash||40 dash||10 Mins||Faucet Hub||Manual||Has bonus claims, easy to use.|
|40-60 dash||60 Mins||Faucet Hub||Instant||Redirects, pays Dash direct to FaucetHub. Do the short link for a bonus.|
|60 dash||5 Mins||Faucet Hub||Instant||Redirects, pays 100 Dash direct to FaucetHub.|
|125 dash||5 Mins||Faucet Hub||Instant||Redirects, triple CAPTCHA, pays 250 Dash flat direct to FaucetHub.|
|100-200 dash||5 Mins||Faucet Hub||Instant||Redirects, triple CAPTCHA, pays Dash direct to FaucetHub.|
|29-268 dash||5 Mins||Faucet Hub||Hourly||Redirects. Do short links for bonuses on each claim.|
Get Free Litecoin from Litecoin Faucets that Pay
|112-1,200 litoshi||5 Mins||CoinPot||Instant||Like the other Moon faucets, this one pays more the longer you go between claims. Loyalty bonus can double your payout. Pays to CoinPot, where you can convert to Bitcoin.|
|WeThinkTheBest Litecoin||160-1,000 litoshis||30 Mins||Direct||500,000 litoshis||Standalone, straightforward Litecoin faucet. A very good Litecoin faucet.|
|Wapserv Litecoin||620 litoshis||5 Mins||Faucet Hub||Manual||Lots of redirects, pays well.|
|350 litoshis||15 Mins||Faucet Hub||Direct||Redirects, triple CAPTCHA, pays immediately to FaucetHub|
|150-1,000 litoshi||5 Mins||Faucet Hub||Direct||Visit short link for bonus litoshi on each claim.|
|350-3,000 satoshis||30 Mins||Faucet Hub||Direct||Double CAPTCHA, pays immediately to FaucetHub.|
|200-500 litoshis||10 Mins||Faucet Hub||Direct||Redirects, double CAPTCHA, pays immediatly to FaucetHub.|
|150-300 litoshis||10 Mins||Faucet Hub||Direct||Redirects, triple CAPTCHA, pays immediately|
Get Free Dogecoins from Dogecoin Faucets that Pay
|.04 – 1 Doge||5 Mins||CoinPot||Instant||Redirects, pays more the longer page sits. Loyalty bonus that can double your payout. Pays to Coinpot, where you can convert to Bitcoin.|
|0.09 – 17 Doge||60 Mins||Direct||6 Doge||Twin to FreeBitco.in, great faucet.|
|Wapserv Doge||.11 Doge||5 Mins||Faucet Hub||Manual||Multiple CAPTCHA. Manual withdrawal to FaucetHub.|
|Eaglezz Dogecoin||0.1 – 0.6 Doge||5 Mins||Faucet Hub||Manual||Straight forward faucet that pays instantly to FaucetHub.io|
|0.2-0.8 Doge||60 Mins||Faucet Hub||Manual||Redirects, double CAPTCHA, bonus opportunity, pays Dogecoin direct to FaucetHub.|
|0.1 – 5 Doge||15 Mins||Faucet Hub||Manual||Straight-forward faucet.|
Get Free Ethereum from Ethereum Faucets that Pay
|Multi-CoinFaucet.com||180 gwei (two faucets)||60 Mins||FaucetHub||70,000 satoshis||There are two faucets (Dice Roll and Earn > Faucet) for both Bitcoin and Ethereum. Pays out to FaucetHub. [Update:They began payout again on 11/18/17]|
|Forumcoin Ethereum||430-1200 gwei||5 Mins||Direct||0.00075
|Straight forward faucet that pays out direct. Use the “Short Links” to add to your claim. Shutting down on January 31st, 2017, to create new FaucetHub faucet. Get your balance high enough to make a withdrawal before then!|
|Forumcoin FreeEth||430-1200 gwei||5 Mins||Direct||0.00075
|Same as above.|
|FreeEther||430-1200 gwei||5 Mins||Direct||0.00075
|Same as above.|
|Wapserv Ethereum||120 gwei||5 Mins||Faucet Hub||Manual||Lots of redirects, manual withdrawals.|
|KemaETH||30-250 gwei||5 Mins||Faucet Hub||Hourly||Redirects. Do the short links to get the maximum claim. Pays hourly to FaucetHub.|
|Ethereum-Faucet.org||250 gwei||60 Mins||Faucet Hub||Direct||Triple CAPTCHA—do the Short Link for a bonus. Pays directly to FaucetHub.|
Task Sites that Pay in Bitcoin
|EarnCrypto.com||Variable||Direct||Variable||6,436 satoshis||Site dedicated to offerwalls, including my favorites, EngageMe.TV and CrowdFlower. Supports scores of cryptoccurencies, allowing you to choose which one you earn for doing tasks.|
|BitGames.io||Variable||Direct||Variable||150,000 “Coins”||Site features a great faucet and several offerwalls for tasks, videos, and more.|
|Variable||Direct||Variable||50,000 satoshis||BitcoinGet has a good track record. Surveys, video watching, tasks, and other offers. Pay close attention to what information you’re willing to give for these offers.|
|Variable||Direct||Variable||30,000 satoshis||Surveys, video watching, tasks, and other offers. Pay close attention to what information you’re willing to give for these offers.|
|TheBestBitcoinFaucet||5-50 satoshis||Direct||1 minute||500,000 satoshis||Brand new faucet with high payouts and a high withdrawal requirement. Read full description below for more.|
|MyBitHouse||50 – 1,000 satoshis||Direct||60 minutes||100,000 satoshis||You must register. Lots of redirects, some of which are sketchy. Payments suspended while they change payment services.|
|CryptoAddicted||25-1,000 satoshis||30 minutes||Direct||20,000 satoshis||Straight-forward|
|BitcoinUpdate.net||25 satoshis||5 minutes||Faucet Hub||500 satoshis||Supposed to pay daily to FaucetHub with 500 satoshi minimum, which I am testing. I am NOT testing any of their so-called doubling features.|
|MultiFaucet.io||10-25 satoshis||15 minutes||Faucet Hub||No Minimum||Not affiliated with MultiCoinFaucet above. Supports several cryptocurrencies. Offers bonus claim on every roll. You can trigger a payout manually with no minimum. [Update 1/4/2018: appears to have run dry. – Bryan]|
|OnlineJobCentral Bitcoin||15-18 satoshis||5 minutes||Direct||Testing||Standalone faucet. Offeres a short-link bonus. Lots of redirects.|
|Momocoins||30, 50, 80 satoshis||10 minutes||FaucetSystem||14,000 satoshis||Straight-forward, pays out to FaucetSystem. Ran dry, waiting for refill.|
|Ethereum Lottery||2,000 gwei||Direct||30 minutes||Testing||You must register. Pays in site “Credits” convertible to Ethereum. High paying faucet.|
|EthereumFaucet.info||1,000 – 5,000 gwei||Direct||60 minutes||250,000 gwei||Uses redirects, but is otherwise straight-forward. Payout minimum is HIGH.|
|BoxBit.co||1-100 satoshis||Direct||15 minutes||35,000 satoshis||Uses a choose-the-box metaphor, with a second-chance option if you don’t like what you got. Drastically lowered payments due to ad revenue issue.|
|BitcoinRPS||30-10,000 satoshis||Direct||15 Mins||40,000 satoshis||This site is a gambling site using the rock, paper, scissors metaphor, but they also have a faucet. Hasn’t paid out.|
Hub or Coinbase
|60 Minutes||80,000 satoshis||Uses same engine as MultiCoinFaucet, but is Bitcoin only. [Update: Hasn’t paid since August 7th.]|
|10-100 satoshis||5 Mins||Faucet Hub||N/A||Redirects, double CAPTCHA, adds 1 satoshi to reward for each use. Frequently runs dry. [Update: Hasn’t paid since August.]|
Unfortunately, some faucets run dry, while others are scams from the getgo. I decided to maintain a list of faucets that still appear to be operational, but aren’t.
|Topfan.info||As near as I can tell, this faucet has never paid.|
|KryptoMachine||This site pays for referrals, but requires the completion of multiple offers that include personal information and credit cards to withdraw your Bitcoin.|
|Jetco.in||As near as I can tell, this faucet has never paid.|
|Free-Ethereum||As near as I can tell, this faucet has never paid.|
|MagicBitcoin||Hasn’t paid (but removed malware redirects).|
|Dance Faucet||Ran dry and hasn’t paid|
|AutoFaucet||Ran dry and hasn’t paid|
|Bitcoland.net||Ran dry and hasn’t paid.|
|BustedFaucet||Hasn’t paid since May of 2017.|
|Ethereum Faucet||Hasn’t paid.|
|Bagi.co.in Faucets||Faucet payments are very low, and balances disappear. Avoid.|
|MyFaucet.biz||MyFacuet.biz is a scam. WARNING: DO NOT SEND BITCOINS TO THIS FAUCET FOR “VIP” STATUS!|
|BTC Matrix||N/A||BTC Matrix is a Ponzi scheme as near as I can tell. Stay away from BTC Matrix. More details on page 2.|
Next: Faucet Descriptions with more detail
FreeBitco.in is the best Bitcoin faucet. It’s operated for years and pays on time every week. FreeBitco.in has bonuses that bring users even more value.
The faucet works on a random “roll” that pays more the higher you roll. I’ve hit the third payout many times and the second tier many more. It’s heavily weighted to the lower payouts.
The first bonus is a weekly lottery where you get two lottery “tickets” with every roll. You can also buy tickets. There are 10 prizes every week—recently from 2 or more BTC. You also earn two Reward Points (RP) with every roll, and each RP is worth 2 satoshis, or you can trade them for goods or to activate boosts.
FreeBitco.in also pays an annual 4.08% interest on balances of 30,000 satoshis or more.
Moon Bitcoin adds 1 satoshi to its payout every few seconds. The longer you wait, the slower those satoshis get added, but they add up, maxing out in 24 hours. There’s also a loyalty bonus that adds 1% for every consecutive day you claim. It maxes out at 100%, meaning you can double your claims if you don’t miss a day. It pays out to CoinPot and has been operational for years.
Bitgames.io has a lot going on. The main faucet is hourly, and pays out 200-2,000 “coins” tied to the value of Bitcoin. There are also tasks, surveys, offers, and promotions for the most active users. I’ve earned the most from letting videos play in the background. Recently redesigned – look for the pickaxe icon to get to the faucet. They pay within 24 hours.
BonusBitcoin is straightforward, but you must register with a valid email address. It’s fast and is one of the best faucets, and now pays out to CoinPot.
Multi-CoinFaucet.com has two faucets for Bitcoin and two faucets for Ethereum, and you’ll need an address for both to register. Both currencies have a “Roll Dice” faucet and a second faucet under the Earn pulldown menu. Do both once per hour. I recommend using FaucetHub or CoinBase for Bitcoin payouts. [Update 12/15/2017: Resumed payments, and working to clear back payments. – Bryan]
Bitcoinker.com is straight forward. Enter your address, solve the CAPTCHA, submit. They pay on time every week.
Qoinpro.com is building an online wallet and payment service, and they pay out coins every day to raise awareness. Refer your friends and get referral bonuses several layers deep. Recently automated withdrawals, added several Bitcoin forks, and is adding Ethereum in the near future. I strongly recommend signing up for this one.
GetCoinFree pays out to FaucetHub. Recently changed to a 15 minute faucet that is the highest paying, by far. Payments have been quick,
Bitfun.co pays in bitcoins while you play games with ads. They have offers, as well as gambling (that I’m not testing). Withdraw immediately to CoinPot.
BitcoinFaucet BTC is four faucets in one: Bitcoin, Dash, Bitcoin Cash, and Blackcoin. They’re fast, with manual withdrawals to FaucetHub.
GetYourBitco.in pays out to FaucetHub immediately every five minutes. It’s straight forward, but uses a triple CAPTCHA.
DailyFreeBits now pays out to FaucetHub with a minimum withdrawal of 500 satoshis. Register your Bitcoin address at FaucetHub to make those manual withdrawals.
BitcoinFaucet.tk is another old school faucet that survived the faucet apocalypse. Load the page, enter your address, solve the CAPTCHA, submit. The site pays out every seven days on manual withdrawals. Minimum payout is 3,730 satoshis.
Wapserv BTC is one of five Wapserv faucets I like. Has a lot of redirects, and requires a manual payout, but it pays well.
Bitemplum just launched. It pays 15 satoshis per claim for 5 claims per day. WARNING: Automines and without permission.
CryptoRacers is a racing game where you get a car and “race” other players. You can level your car up—with satoshis and other in-game currencies, and a lot of people play just to boost their cars, never taking satoshis out. You win or lose satoshis based on those races, but you can earn more with “Day Jobs” that are time-delayed faucets. There are also offerwalls. It’s fun and some will find it addictive fun. Make sure you store your balance in the “Vault” under “Bank” when you aren’t playing or you will lose it as other players challenge you unseen. It took me a few weeks playing 2-3 times per day to earn the 50,000 satoshis for a withdrawal, which went through immediately.
KemaBTC pays out to FaucetHub hourly. It uses lots of redirects, and you must do the two short link bonuses to get the maximum claim.
GetYourBitco.in pays out to FaucetHub immediately every five minutes. It’s straight forward, but uses a triple CAPTCHA.
FreeBTCMine is a gamified faucet. On the surface, you get 50 satoshis every 12 minutes. There’s both a timer and golden Bitcoins that slowly reveal themselves. You can buy “upgrade packs” that make your mining faster, but I haven’t tested that.
Digicoin is a new 5 minute FaucetHub faucet. It’s straightforward, but I’ve seen some malware redirect ads. As with all faucets, be careful.
BTC4Free.site pays out to Xapo and uses the same engine as the other Xapo faucets listed. Withdrawals to Xapo go through immediately.
Moon Bitcoin Cash adds 1 satoshi to its payout every few seconds. The longer you wait, the slower those satoshis get added, but they add up, maxing out in 24 hours. There’s also a loyalty bonus that adds 1% for every consecutive day you claim. It maxes out at 100%, meaning you can double your claims if you don’t miss a day. It pays out to CoinPot.
KemaBCH pays out to FaucetHub hourly. It has lots of redirects—do aboth short links to claim the maximum reward.
Wapserv BCH is one of five Wapserv faucets I like. Has a lot of redirects, and requires a manual payout, but it pays well.
OneWayFaucet pays out to FaucetHub immediately. It pays 50 satoshis every 10 minutes. It’s straight forward and easy to use.
CoinMine BCH is a Bitcoin Cash faucet that pays directly to FaucetHub. Uses redirects, and pays instantly.
LuckyBits is a Bitcoin Cash faucet that pays directly to FaucetHub. Uses redirects, and pays instantly.
GetFreeCo.in BCH is a Bitcoin Cash faucet that pays directly to FaucetHub. Uses redirects, and pays instantly. Pays a flat 50 satoshis.
RektCoins BCH is a Bitcoin Cash faucet that pays directly to FaucetHub. Uses redirects, double CAPCTHA, and pays instantly.
Moon Dashcoin is part of the Moon faucet family, and it adds dash every few seconds. The longer you wait, the slower those litoshis get added, but they add up, maxing out in 24 hours. There’s also a loyalty bonus that adds 1% for every consecutive day you claim. It maxes out at 100%, meaning you can double your claims if you don’t miss a day. All Moon faucets pay out to CoinPot, where you can exchange your altcoins for Bitcoin. That makes Moon Dash worth doing even if you don’t want Litecoin.
BitcoinFaucet Dash is four faucets in one: Bitcoin, Dash, Bitcoin Cash, and Blackcoin. They’re fast, with manual withdrawals to FaucetHub.
Dash-Faucet.com pays instantly to FaucetHub. Do the short link for a bonus. Fast Dash faucet.
Hotcoins.cf pays a flat 100 dash instantly to FaucetHub. It’s a fast, 5 minute faucet. Straight forward.
Bitcoin-S Dash pays a flat 250 dash instantly to FaucetHub. Straight forward.
8raa.com pays instantly to FaucetHub. Uses a triple CAPTCHA.
KemaFaucet Dash pays out dash to FaucetHub. It pays out hourly to FaucetHub, and lets you do two short link bonuses to add to your claim.
Moon Litecoin is part of the Moon faucet family, and it adds litoshi every few seconds. The longer you wait, the slower those litoshis get added, but they add up, maxing out in 24 hours. There’s also a loyalty bonus that adds 1% for every consecutive day you claim. It maxes out at 100%, meaning you can double your claims if you don’t miss a day. All Moon faucets pay out to CoinPot, where you can exchange your altcoins for Bitcoin. That makes Moon Litecoin worth doing even if you don’t want Litecoin.
WeThinkTheBest Litecoin is a straightforward Litecoin faucet. It has a 500,000 litoshi withdrawal minimum. This is a very good Litecoin Faucet.
LTC Ghost is a high paying Litecoin faucet. Uses a triple CAPTCHA, and pays straight to FaucetHub.
Forumcoin Litecoin is a straightforward faucet. Visit the “Short Link” for a 600 litoshi bonus on each claim. Pays immediately to FaucetHub.
Lites4all.co is a straightforward faucet. Pays straight to FaucetHub.
AleksCoin Litecoin is a Litecoin faucet. It uses redirects and a double CAPTCHA, but posts odds of winning, recent payouts, and faucet balance. Pays immediately to FaucetHub.
Rektcoins Litecoin is a Litecoin faucet. It uses a triple CAPTCHA and pays immediately to FaucetHub.
Moon Dogecoin is the sister site to Moon Bitcoin and works the same way. There’s also a loyalty bonus that adds 1% for every consecutive day you claim. It maxes out at 100%, meaning you can double your claims if you don’t miss a day. All Moon faucets pay out to CoinPot, where you can exchange your altcoins for Bitcoin. That makes Moon Dogecoin worth doing even if you don’t want Dogecoin.
Wapserv Dogcoinis one of five Wapserv faucets I like. Has a lot of redirects, and requires a manual payout, but it pays well.
Eaglezz Dogecoin pays out directly to FaucetHub, and uses a double CAPCTHA.
Doges4All.co pays out immediately to Faucethub. Straight-forward, with an easy double CAPTCHA.
Multi-CoinFaucet.com has two faucets for Bitcoin and two faucets for Ethereum, and you’ll need an address for both to register. Both currencies have a “Roll Dice” faucet and a second faucet under the Earn pulldown menu. Do both once per hour. I recommend using FaucetHub or CoinBase for Bitcoin payouts. [Update 12/15/2017: Resumed payments, and working to clear back payments. – Bryan]
Forumcoin Ethereum is paying out 700-750 gwei (0.000000001 Ethereum), and it pays out directly to your wallet. Visit the “Short Link” to add 700 gwei to your claim. You can roll every 5 minutes, and the minimum withdrawal is 0.001 Ethereum.
Forumcoin FreeEth looks exactly like its sister faucets, but each is separate. It pays out directly to your wallet. Visit the “Short Link” to add 700 gwei to your claim. You can roll every 5 minutes, and the minimum withdrawal is 0.001 Ethereum.
Forumcoin FreeEther looks exactly like its sister faucets, but each is separate. It pays out directly to your wallet. Visit the “Short Link” to add 700 gwei to your claim. You can roll every 5 minutes, and the minimum withdrawal is 0.001 Ethereum.
Wapserv Ethereum is one of five Wapserv faucets I like. Has a lot of redirects, and requires a manual payout, but it pays well.
BitcoinFaucet Ethereum is four faucets in one: Bitcoin, Dash, Bitcoin Cash, and Blackcoin. They’re fast, with manual withdrawals to FaucetHub.
KemaETH pays Ethereum to FaucetHub. It has a lot of redirects, but pays well when you do the two short link bonuses. Pays out hourly.
Ethereum-Faucet.org pays directly to FaucetHub. Make sure to do the Short Link for a bonus. Uses a triple CAPTCHA.
EarnCrypto.com is a dedicated offerwall and task site. What makes them unusual is that you can choose which cryptocurrency you want to earn. They support more than 50, too, making it easy to collect the cryptocurrency of your choice. Note that they have EngageMe.TV and CrowdFlower, two of my favorite offerwalls.
Bitgames.io has a lot going on. The main faucet is hourly, and pays out 200-2,000 “coins” tied to the value of Bitcoin. There are also tasks, surveys, offers, and promotions for the most active users. I’ve earned more than a million coins with these tasks. There are also gambling games, which I don’t test. They pay within 24 hours of withdrawing.
BitcoinReward pays users for taking surveys, watching videos, or doing other tasks. I am leery of some surveys, but I’ve done a bunch of tasks. Note that many require Flash, but BitcoinReward has consistently paid out for years.
BitcoinGet is a good tasks-for-BTC site, and the longest operating service. In addition to videos and surveys, BitcoinGet has tasks and “offers.” Pay very close attention to those offers and make sure you’re doing what you think they’re doing. BitcoinGet has been stable for many years.
TheBestBitcoinFaucet is a brand new faucet that just launched. I’m not sure what their model is yet, but they don’t show ads—at least not yet. There’s a timer on the faucet that starts off at one minute, paying 5-50 satoshis per claim. That’s a lot as of this writing, and it appears to be a genuinely even distribution (meaning it really does pay up to 50 satoshis per claim). It has a very high withdrawal requirement, though, at 500,000 satoshis. So help me test it, but dig in for the long haul.
MyBitHouse is a very high paying faucet with a bonus for daily visits. They feature on-site support, excellent documentation, and what appears to be full transparency.
CryptoAddicted pays 25-1,000 satoshis every 30 minutes, weighted to the low end, of course. It’s straight forward, and pays direct. There’s a 20,000 minimum withdrawal.
BitcoinUpdate.net is a straight-forward FaucetHub faucet. At 25 satoshis per claim, it’s one of the best 5 minute faucets. The site says it pays daily to FaucetHub with a 500 satoshi minimum, which I am testing. Note that I am NOT testing any of their so-called doubling services.
OnlineJobCentral Bitcoin is a standalone Bitcoin faucet. It offers a short-link bonus, and pays 15-18 satoshis every 5 minutes. Has a lot of redirects.
Ethereum Lottery is a high-paying faucet. It technically pays out in “Credits,” which are convertible to Ethereum. Claim every 30 minutes.
MultiFaucet.io is a brand new FaucetHub site that isn’t associated with MultiCoinFaucet above. It supports six cryptocurrencies: Bitcoin, Ethereum, Dogecoin, Litecoin, BitCore, and Primecoin. Payouts must be triggered manually, but can be done with no minimum. Make sure to the bonus claim on every roll. [Update 1/4/2018: Appears to have run dry.]
EthereumFaucet.info pays 1,000-5,000 gwei every 60 minutes, with a small chance to win more. It has some aggressive redirects, but it’s straight-forward.
BoxBit.co uses a choose-the-box metaphor. Click or tap a treasure chest to get satoshis. If you don’t like your result, you get a second chance. You must then click through a CAPTCHA to have the reward credited to your account. There’s a “big game” bonus once you’ve claimed 30 times. Drastically lowered payouts due to ad revenue problems. The operators have been commendably up front and transparent about the changes. Still testing.
BitcoinRPS pays 20-10,000 satoshis, heavily weighted to the bottom. It also offers gambling games I am neither testing nor endorsing. I have an overdue payment waiting.
Free-Etherum is a faucet for Ethereum, as above. It pays between 0.00000300 and 0.03000000 ether per claim, and you can claim every 5 minutes. You’ll need an Ethereum wallet to use this faucet. [Update 7/23/2017: I’m waiting for an overdue payment – Bryan
SwissAdsPaysFaucet uses the same engine as Multi-coinFaucet and has a high payout. The minimum withdrawal is high, at 80,000 satoshis. [Update 10/2/2017: Hasn’t paid since August 7th. – Bryan]
BFaucet.com often runs dry, but always comes back, plus you can keep earning. Uses a double CAPTCHA and pays out to FaucetHub. [Update 10/2/2017: Hasn’t paid since August. – Bryan]
KryptoMachine pays for referrals, and it pays a lot—but, it requires you to fill out surveys and offers to withdraw your Bitcoins. I went through one to test and found that I had to supply personal information, addresses, birthday, phone numbers, and even credit card numbers. I didn’t do that, of course, and closed out without withdrawing. Your mileage may vary, but I call shenanigans on this sort of thing.
Topfan.info has never paid, as far as I can tell.
Jetco.in has never paid, as far as I can tell.
BustedFaucet – Hasn’t paid since Epay.info ran into trouble.
MagicBiotcoin hasn’t paid (but removed malware redirects).
AutoFaucet ran dry.
Free-Etherum has never paid out.
Bitcoland.net hasn’t paid out since May.
MyFaucet.biz is a scam. WARNING: DO NOT SEND BITCOINS TO THIS FAUCET FOR “VIP” STATUS!
BTC Matrix (no link) is nothing more than a ponzi scheme as near as I can figure out. I don’t recommend BTC Matrix—should I learn anything new, I will update this description.
Keep your eyes open for new faucets—drop a note in the comments or email me through my TMO profile page.
Permalink - Posted on 2018-01-18 21:53, modified at 21:54
We’ve seen a flurry of Qi chargers aimed at the Mac market since Apple launched iPhone 8/Plus and iPhone X. There are a ton of options if you just want a functional Qi charger, but I had one from Grovemade cross my desk last night that looks good, too. It has a 1/4″ brushed metal base to give it some heft, but what stood out for me was the natural cork bed. I think it looks way better than the plastic Qi chargers I’ve seen, plus it should grip my iPhone better. The company said it works with all of its own cases, and should work with other cases up to 3mm thick. Not surprisingly, it’s pricier than a small plastic puck, at US$79. I’m linking to the natural cork color model, but it’s also available with charcoal gray cork.
Permalink - Posted on 2018-01-18 21:51
I’ve been podcasting since June of 2005, and since June of 2005 I’ve been using Skype for every episode of every show we’ve ever done. For years, Skype was sensitive to the needs and use-cases of podcasters and worked quite well. Unfortunately, over the past year this has changed, and Skype’s interface and audio codec have changed such that it’s now difficult to use and adds a lot of noise (comfort noise!) into the connection. With that, I sought out another solution and that solution is Discord.
Discord has been around since May, 2015, and was built as a platform for gamers to chat. It features, text, audio, and video chatting, and can be tweaked to attain very high sound quality with zero extra noise. Discord is also built such that it can be used entirely inside a web browser, meaning your interview guests don’t have to download the Discord app. In fact, there’s a way to set it up so that your interview guests don’t even have to sign up for a Discord account.
As I said, Discord was originally built for gamers, and its user interface most definitely betrays those roots. Ignore the cute loading messages and funky icons if they bother you, though. Discord’s audio game is on point.
First thing’s first, go download Discord for your Mac. Yes, you can do everything inside your web browser (except Safari), but for you, as the host, you’ll want the app.
During initial setup, Discord will ask if you want to Create a Server or Join an existing one. For your podcast, create a server. It’s free, and this allows you to tweak your settings the way you want.
Once your server is created, it will auto-create two channels. Both channels are called “general”, but one will be a Text Channel and the other will be a Voice Channel. You’ll automatically be joined to both. And while Discord does allow person-to-person calls, most everything you’re going to do for your audio podcast will be inside a Voice Channel.
The first thing to do is customize your channel. Click on the Edit Channel settings icon next to your General Voice Channel. In there, set the Bitrate all the way up to 96kbps. You’re podcasting and you’ll want as much signal as possible. You can also change your channel’s name here. Then click Save Changes. Don’t worry about the rest for now.
One of the biggest reasons I like Discord is because it gives us easy control over our audio settings. At the bottom of the Discord window, you’ll see the little User Settings gear. Click that, then choose Voice & Video. There are quite a few changes to consider and experiment with on this screen. I’ll go through how I consider each one, and then I’ll leave you to experiment with what works best for your particular setup.
You’ll want your co-hosts and guests to join the same Discord Server and Channel as you, and Discord makes that easy with server-specific invites. From the main Server screen, click Invite People icon right at the top. For your co-hosts, you’ll want them to have Discord accounts that they can use every time you podcast with them, so the normal invite is fine. Also encourage your co-hosts to download the app instead of running inside their web browsers.
For one-time guests, though, you probably don’t want them in your channel all the time, and they probably don’t want to have to create a Discord account just to be a guest on your show. Click the Link Settings gear in the lower right and check the Grant temporary membership box, then Generate a New Link. That will give you the special link for your guests.
Remind your guests that they don’t have to download Discord nor do they have to create accounts (they need to click “Skip Setup” on the first screen they see after typing their names). But they do need to use a browser that’s compatible with Discord’s audio, and that means anything except Safari.
Here at TMO and Mac Geek Gab we’ve been using Audio Hijack to record our Discord audio and it works exactly the same as Skype. You can grab both the inbound and outbound audio if you like, or separate them one or the other. You can check out my detailed Audio Hijack setup and just replace Skype with Discord and you’re good to go.
And, in fact, that’s it. Just replace Skype with Discord and we think you’ll be amazed at the difference. We started using Discord back in November for Mac Geek Gab 685 and listener Kyle’s unsolicited email comment says it best: “I’m writing to ask you please, don’t change anything! You’ve found the sweet spot!”
It doesn’t get much better than that! Let us know in the comments if you have any questions. I’m happy to answer!
Permalink - Posted on 2018-01-18 20:02
Apple employee buses are coming under attack and need to be rerouted. Mashable obtained an internal Apple email thread, saying that the company is working with law enforcement to get to the bottom of it.
Here’s what the email said:
Subject: Coaches temporarily being rerouted
Due to recent incidents of broken windows along the commute route, specifically on highway 280, we’re re-routing coaches for the time being. This change in routes could mean an additional 30-45 minutes of commute time in each direction for some riders.
As always, the safety of our employees is our first priority. We’re working closely with law enforcement to investigate these incidents and we’ll notify you as soon as the coaches are able to return to the regular route. Thank you for your patience and understanding.
The Apple Commute Team
It seems that Google buses are also getting attacked, and thankfully no injuries were reported by either company. In 2013 Google buses were attacked by protesters who were protesting gentrification. Although Mashable’s report doesn’t directly mention protesters, it could be something similar.
One Apple employee speculated that the assailants were firing rubber rounds at the buses. At least four separate buses have had its windows broken while driving on a certain highway.
Permalink - Posted on 2018-01-18 19:51
On Wednesday, Sony rolled out a software update for its most advanced 4K/UHD TVs that support Dolby Vision. Except the Dolby Vision portion of the update caused an uproar.
The short version of the story is that the update for the high-end Sony 4K/UHD TVs, models X940E, X930E, A1E and Z9D series, limited Dolby Vision support to the on-board Android apps, such as Netflix. That’s according to John Archer at Forbes, who first reported the situation on Wednesday. He described Sony customers as “fuming.”
What this means is that, for example, Apple TV 4K users who connect to these TVs via HDMI still won’t be able to view Dolby Vision content supplied by a streaming service such as Amazon, iTunes, or Netflix. (As I understand the operation of the Apple TV, the delivered 4K video will simply default to SDR.)
I contacted Sony about this immediately, and my representative suggested that the situation isn’t as bad as it sounds. The Dolby Vision support via HDMI can be fixed. He said there would be more information to come, and I’ll update this article when/if that arrives.
Meanwhile, stay tuned. The article at Forbes, linked above, has more technical details.
Permalink - Posted on 2018-01-18 19:13, modified at 19:27
The latest news to hit the Apple blogosphere is a Motherboard article about an app that claims to detect net neutrality violations. The net neutrality app—called Wehe—lets you test download speeds of various video services, and compares it to a generic speed test of your ISP. Then, if the two speeds are different, the ISP has seemingly violated net neutrality, or so it seems on the surface. It might be more nuanced than that, however.
David Choffnes, a professor at Northeastern University who researches distributed systems and networking, created an app called Wehe. It’s part app, part research study, because David uses the results in his research, which means to use the app you have to sign a consent form.
The app has two aspects to it. First, the part that users see lets you test network download speeds of video services like YouTube, Netflix, Amazon, Skype, Spotify, NBCSports, and Vimeo. If you get unusually slow speeds for a service, the app cries violation. Behind the scenes, Wehe anonymously collects the recorded data.
App Store reviewers rejected the app, saying:
Your app’s metadata contains misleading content or content that is intended to deceive users. Specifically, your app is marketed as a way to check if their carrier is violating Net Neutrality. However, your app has no direct benefits to the user from participating in this study. Please note that adding a disclaimer to the app description is not sufficient if the rest of the metadata and the app are misleading. The next submission of this app may require a longer review time, and this app will not be eligible for an expedited review until this issue is resolved.
The part that has certain areas of the internet in an uproar is “your app has no direct benefits to the user.” Some people, including David, are taking this to mean that Apple doesn’t think people finding out if their ISP violating net neutrality is important.
I’m not automatically defending Apple, but in general the company has a good reason when it rejects apps. There must be something in the app and the way it collects data for research that was cause for alarm. For example, there is already an app that does something similar, and it’s successfully on the App Store.
As ArsTechnica points out, testing whether a carrier is throttling is complicated. Online services themselves can play a big role in service quality. For example, YouTube and Netflix automatically change video quality based on network speed.
Other factors that can affect speeds include how each service is structured, what content delivery networks (CDN) are used, and how far away a user is to that CDN. The app doesn’t seem to present this nuance; rather it gives you a binary answer of “Differentiation: Yes; Differentiation: No.”
As an example, Verizon started throttling network speeds when the FCC was still chaired by Tom Wheeler, who led the net neutrality rules. The carrier said at that time throttling was allowed under an exception to the rules concerning reasonable network management. The FCC didn’t challenge Verizon on this.
Current net neutrality rules clearly state that providers may employ reasonable network management practices to ensure that their networks and services run efficiently and work well for their customers.
Video optimization is a non-discriminatory network management practice designed to ensure a high quality customer experience for all customers accessing the shared resources of our wireless network.
On Twitter David says that Apple has actually recently approved the app today. It doesn’t appear to be the on the App Store yet, so stay tuned.
Permalink - Posted on 2018-01-18 18:31
Check out the mStand360 Laptop Stand with Swivel Base, a solid single aluminum base with a built-in swivel. Comes in Rose Gold, Silver, and Space Gray to match your MacBook. It’s $49.99 through us.
Permalink - Posted on 2018-01-18 18:13
Permalink - Posted on 2018-01-18 16:36, modified at 16:37
Animoji on the iPhone X is pretty cool, but with just a handful of emoji faces to choose from it feels a little limited—plus it works only in the Messages app. FaceRig is an app that fixes those problems by giving you loads of characters to choose from, and you can unlock more through credits you earn by using the app. It uses the iPhone X’s facial tracking feature to do its magic, plus you can record videos to share with friends. You can choose from characters that animate in sync with your movement, or masks that overlay your face. FaceRig is free, and it’s already eating up too much of my time.
Permalink - Posted on 2018-01-18 15:38, modified at 15:39
Apple CEO Tim Cook says his company was upfront about how the iOS 10.2.1 update affected iPhone performance to fix battery-related crashes. He also said users may not have been “paying attention” to the explanation when the update rolled out in early 2017.
Apple released iOS 10.2.1 in January 2017 to address a problem where iPhones with older batteries could spontaneously crash and reboot. The problem was that aging batteries can’t hold the same charge compared to when they’re new, and the processor occasionally needed more power for intense tasks than the battery could provide. That caused the phone to shut down, leaving users frustrated.
The fix Apple came up with took those intense tasks and split them up over multiple processor cycles. That stopped the crashes, and saved users from having to pay for a battery replacement, but their phones could run slower at times.
In an interview with ABC Mr. Cook said, “Maybe we weren’t clear. We deeply apologize for anyone who thinks we have some other kind of motivation.”
The notes users saw on their iPhone when installing the update only said “iOS 10.2.1 includes bug fixes and improves the security of your iPhone or iPad.” That’s the only place most users look for update information, and there isn’t any mention of a battery related fix, or potentially slower performance.
Apple’s Knowledge Base article that details iOS updates offers a little more detail saying,
iOS 10.2.1 includes bug fixes and improves the security of your iPhone or iPad.
It also improves power management during peak workloads to avoid unexpected shutdowns on iPhone. For information on the security content of Apple software updates, please visit this website: https://support.apple.com/HT201222
That at least mentions the battery fix, but doesn’t say anything about phone performance. We compared the KB notes Apple currently lists to the Internet Archive Wayback Machine snapshot from March 17, 2017, and there haven’t been any changes.
While Cook’s admission that Apple may not have been clear seems spot-on, his suggestion that users weren’t paying attention feels disingenuous. Based on the information Apple published, it’s not clear that phone performance could be impacted by the battery fix.
Apple plans to release an iOS update soon that more clearly shows battery health and tells users when overall performance may be impacted. The company is also offering US$29 battery replacements to all iPhone owners, and free warranty replacement for specific phone models.
Permalink - Posted on 2018-01-18 14:15, modified at 14:16
If you’re having trouble loading a website within Safari on your Mac, then there are a few troubleshooting tricks to attempt. The first is just reloading the page; you’d do this by pressing Command-R, choosing View > Reload Page, or by clicking the little “reload” icon in Safari’s search bar.
If that doesn’t work, you could of course try quitting the browser completely and relaunching the page, but another possibility would be to use the (somewhat new) View > Reload Page From Origin feature, which’ll show up if you hold down Option on your keyboard with the View menu open.
As you can see, the shortcut for that is Option-Command-R, so if you’re a fan of keyboard shortcuts, you could try to remember that instead. What “Reload Page From Origin” does is refresh the page without using any caches you’ve got, meaning that you’ll be seeing a newly downloaded view. So if the problem you’re having has to do with an old cached version on your Mac, then, this’ll likely fix it! It’s worth a try, anyway.
And just so you know, you can also use the hidden “Develop” menu to remove ALL of Safari’s caches at once if you’re having trouble with multiple sites, as TMO’s own John Martellaro describes at the bottom of this article. And of course, if you STILL can’t get pages to load properly, it might be time to reboot your computer. Or is it frustrating for me to say that? I get the feeling folks might get tired of hearing that suggestion.
Permalink - Posted on 2018-01-18 07:38
Apple told employees Wednesday that they’ll be receiving $2,500 bonuses in the form of restricted stock units. According to Bloomberg, the company also said it will double employee charitable contributions through 2018.
At Wednesday’s closing price of $179.10, each employee would receive (roughly) 14 shares of restricted stock units that would then vest over time. Apple said it would begin distributing the shares to part time and full time employees worldwide in the coming months.
Apple notified employees by email, and tied the bonuses to the GOP tax bill signed into law by President Trump. That law gave huge tax breaks to corporations, many of whom have announced nominal bonuses for employees, including Apple. With some 120,000 employees around the world, Apple’s largesse could top US$300 million. The company has not yet announced additional stock buybacks or dividends for shareholders.
The letter was sent to employees the same day Apple announced it will be paying $38 billion in a one-time repatriation tax to bring some $245 billion home from overseas. Apple also reported that it would increase its Advanced Manufacturing Fund from $1 billion to $5 billion, and made an additional $37 billion or so in investments in its business over the next five years. Included in that are a new, as-yet unspecified campus and hiring another 20,000 employees.
All told, counting the new investments, its one-time tax bill, and its existing plans, Apple committed to contributing $350 billion to the U.S. economy over the next five years.
Permalink - Posted on 2018-01-17 23:27, modified at 23:31
Permalink - Posted on 2018-01-17 22:23
The MacBook Air, introduced by Steve Jobs at Macworld San Francisco in January, 2008, was limited in capability and outrageously expensive. We loved it.
On this 10th anniversary, I have some reminiscences.
If ever there were an aspirational product from Apple, the first MacBook Air (MBA) was it. It was so slender, only 0.16-inch in the front, that its sheer thinness made it mouthwatering. Sure it was limited in its capability even by the standards of its time. It only had 2 GB RAM. It only had one USB-A port and no Ethernet port. Gasp. There was, scandalously, no optical drive.
It shipped with Mac OS X 10.5.1, “Leopard.” OMG.
What’s more, it was outrageously expensive, launched at US$1799. And if you wanted that awesome, fast 64 GB SSD, add another $999. ::Cough::
This revolutionary notebook computer received blistering criticism. All sex appeal. Too limited. Too few ports. Too expensive. A hopeless blunder.
And yet. And yet. From the moment Steve Jobs, on stage, pulled the MBA out from a yellow mail-stop envelope, we drooled. I was in the audience, and I drooled. I tried mightily to figure out how I might afford one, but, in the end, I could not. A local writer friend bought one, and I turned green with envy. I told myself the price would come down, and it did.
Years later, 2011, to be precise, I was able to afford one. By then, it had 4 GB of RAM and a 128 GB SSD at a price mere mortals could afford (around $1300). And an odd thing started to happen. These newer MacBook Airs slowly warmed their way into our hearts and pocketbooks with lower prices, a Core i5 or i7, and an additional USB-A port.
What was basically unobtainium in 2008 became a travel workhorse in 2011. You’d be in coach class, with a full-blown UNIX-based OS in your lap, and next to you would be some businessperson with a thick, black, plastic IBM ThinkPad. You remember those, right? An inch thick. A gazillon ports. Butt ugly. A forlorn little red button in the middle of the keyboard for cursor control. Yes, the reviled little red button. Who could use that ? Like an animal.
You’d pull out your sleek, aluminum MacBook Air and open MS Word. Your seatmate would glare for a bit, and then glumly go back to his spreadsheet. The MBA made you feel like a super advanced extraterrestrial from another planet.
In the last few years, the MacBook Air has gotten a little faster, a little cheaper, and the resolution has risen to a non-Retina 1440 x 900. It has lingered, frozen in time, as Apple poured resources into the MacBook Pro with Touch Bar on the high end and the exotic 12-inch MacBook on the low end. Just how the MacBook Air could or would evolve became hard to fathom.
One of the mysteries surrounding the MacBook Air was Apple’s resistance to a Retina display upgrade. The only reasonable conclusion was that Apple was keeping the costs in check so that it could eventually position it for education. And yet, even as economies of scale kicked in, Apple never reduced the price to become within reach of ordinary high school and college students.
So there it sits, in never-never land. Never getting serious display upgrades. Never getting a compelling price reduction. Never able to compete against Chromebooks. Left behind by the rapture of newer MacBooks.
But it was an amazing run. I think, at one time, all the core staff of The Mac Observer had one. Everyone I knew in the Apple community (it seemed) had one. With a beautifully thin aluminum frame and full-size, backlit keyboard, it was simply the most glorious notebook of its day. Even the awesome (2015) 12-inch MacBook has never quite managed to capture the minds and souls of the Apple community in the same fashion. Not even in rose gold.
The moment Steve Jobs pulled the original MacBook Air out of the mail-stop envelope on that hallowed day in January of 2008, our mobile world changed for the better. At three pounds, our shoulders never ached. We learned how to work wirelessly. Just carrying one around produced a feeling of pride and elation to be a member of the Apple community.
I wonder whether Apple will ever be able to achieve that kind of feeling again. The new (2017) iMac Pro verges on it. And Apple has another opportunity coming with the re-imagined 2018 Mac Pro.
We lived through glory days. ::sigh:: Now we live in hope.
Permalink - Posted on 2018-01-17 21:17, modified on 2018-01-18 05:14
Apple committed a massive US$350 billion to the U.S. economy on Wednesday. In a long press release, the company said increased investment, existing plans, and a one-time tax would add up to a $350 billion contribution to the nation’s economy.
Apple didn’t offer a lot of details, but reading between the lines indicates Apple isn’t planning on using much of the money it’s repatriating for capital investment, as I explain below the fold.
Among the tidbits we did get are that Apple is increasing its for for investing in U.S. manufacturing—the Apple Advanced Manufacturing Fund—from $1 billion to $5 billion. The company also said it was building a new campus, would hire another 20,000 people, make investments in STEAM education, add more data centers, and more.
Interestingly, Apple is including its $38 billion in one-time repatriation taxes in the $350 billion figure, but isn’t included its regular, ongoing taxes. Apple also isn’t counting taxes paid by its employees—a figure adding up to billions more over five years—in its claim.
I call it interesting, because it would certainly be reasonable for Apple to do so. Here’s Apple’s statement on the topic:
Combining new investments and Apple’s current pace of spending with domestic suppliers and manufacturers — an estimated $55 billion for 2018 — Apple’s direct contribution to the US economy will be more than $350 billion over the next five years, not including Apple’s ongoing tax payments, the tax revenues generated from employees’ wages and the sale of Apple products.
Planned capital expenditures in the US, investments in American manufacturing over five years and a record tax payment upon repatriation of overseas profits will account for approximately $75 billion of Apple’s direct contribution.
Another way of looking at this is that Apple’s existing plans already accounted for roughly $275 in contributions to the economy. Some $75 billion will be new contributions, and at least $36 billion of that figure had already been accounted for and set aside by Apple in the years before the GOP tax plan that was just signed into law.
And what that means is Apple will be spending only a small amount of the $245 billion in money being brought home as a consequence of the tax bill. Apple didn’t say what the rest will be used for, but paying down debt, buying back stock, and increasing dividends are (still) a good bet.
*In the interest of full disclosure, the author holds a tiny, almost insignificant share in AAPL stock that was not an influence in the creation of this article.
Permalink - Posted on 2018-01-17 20:55, modified at 20:56
With the dust still settling on its new spaceship campus in Cupertino, Apple announced plans to build another facility. A location hasn’t been announced yet, but we do know it’ll be primarily for customer technical support.
The money for the new campus will come in part from the US$75 billion Apple plans to repatriate in response to corporate tax law changes.
Apple already employs 84,000 people in the United States, and plans to increase its head count with the new campus and other investments. The company said in a statement, “Apple expects to invest over $30 billion in capital expenditures in the U.S. over the next five years and create over 20,000 new jobs through hiring at existing campuses and opening a new one. ”
The company says all of its U.S. operations are powered by 100% renewable energy, and that will hold true for the new campus, too. Now that the news is out it’s a safe bet cities across the United States will start courting the company in hopes of being the home for the new campus.
Permalink - Posted on 2018-01-17 20:45, modified at 21:12
Apple said on Wednesday that it will pay US$38 billion in U.S. taxes in a one-time payment. The Apple tax is money owed on roughly $245 billion in overseas profits being repatriated under the recent tax overhaul bill signed into law by President Trump.
Apple said in a statement that, “a payment of that size would likely be the largest of its kind ever made.”
U.S. corporations are the largest beneficiaries of the new tax law, with a cut from 35% to 21%. It also offered a one-time repatriation tax of 15.5% for the huge hoards of cash being held offshore by U.S. companies, especially tech giants.
Apple had already accounted for at least $36 billion for taxes on these overseas profits. Apple always owed taxes on this money, but didn’t have to actually pay it until it was repatriated. The law requires those taxes to be paid anyway, and the one-time repatriation tax was for money already being held offshore
Apple’s press release made it clear that Apple pays a lot of taxes, saying:
Apple, already the largest US taxpayer, anticipates repatriation tax payments of approximately $38 billion as required by recent changes to the tax law. A payment of that size would likely be the largest of its kind ever made.
Tim Cook told lawmakers critical of how Apple didn’t repatriate its overseas profits that his company followed the law. He further said that if they wanted Apple to behave differently, they should change the law. Which they have now done.
But still, Apple is a huge beneficiary of the tax law. Already the most profitable company on the planet, Apple will have its corporate tax rates slashed. Apple will still be the most profitable company on the planet, all the more so because its tax overall tax bill is now smaller.
*In the interest of full disclosure, the author holds a tiny, almost insignificant share in AAPL stock that was not an influence in the creation of this article.
Permalink - Posted on 2018-01-17 20:33
Apple’s Advanced Manufacturing Fund just got a big boost from US$1 billion up to $5 billion.
Apple announced the fund in May 2017 as a way to help create new manufacturing jobs in the United States. The company started off by investing $200 million in high-strength glass maker Corning, and followed up later in the year with a $390 million investment in VCSEL laser maker Finisar.
The iPhone and Mac maker said in a statement,
Building on the initial success of the Advanced Manufacturing Fund announced last spring, Apple is increasing the size of the fund from $1 billion to $5 billion. The fund was established to support innovation among American manufacturers and help others establish a presence in the US. It is already backing projects with leading manufacturers in Kentucky and rural Texas.
The company’s AMF investments are altruistic in the sense that they can help boost local economies and create new jobs. They’re also self serving in that Apple is investing in companies that make components and technologies it needs.
Increasing the AMF investment fund means more companies will get a cash infusion from Apple. That means more manufacturing jobs, and it also means companies focusing even more on Apple’s development needs.
Permalink - Posted on 2018-01-17 20:09, modified at 21:21
Apple has a Find My Friends app that lets you see locations of your friends and family, and there are other tracking apps that provide similar features. These are apps meant for you to do this in a non-creepy, non-stalker way. This isn’t Arkangel.
Last year, Snap Inc. introduced a feature into Snapchat called Snap Map. If people to choose to turn geo-location on, they can share their location on a map. You can share your location with all friends, select friends, or turn Ghost Mode on so people can’t see where you are. | SnapChat – Free
Life360 has a family and friend locator. Create a private circle of family and friends, and get notifications when they come and go from work, home, and school. You can share photos and text messages in the app too. Plus, there is a crash detection service to let you know if there’s been an accident. | Family & Friend Locator – Free
Zenly’s social map lets you keep up with your friends in real time. You can get stats on your friends based on who you spend time with and where that time is spent. You can send them emojis and messages, and get directions to them. Like Snapchat, Zenly also has a Ghost Mode for those times when you want to hide your location. | Zenly – Free
Permalink - Posted on 2018-01-17 19:16
Apple is rolling out a Siri podcast news feature for users of iOS 11.2.2. It previously showed up in the iOS 11.2.5 beta, but now it’s in the official release.
If you ask Siri what the news is today, she’ll open a news podcast so you can start listening. The default option in the United States is NPR, but you can change it to Fox News, CNN, or the Washington Post. This only works with Apple’s Podcasts app, and not a third-party app.
If you’re in another country, a podcast from a local news station will appear. For example, in the U.K. Siri will give you news from BBC, Sky News, or LBC. The Siri podcast feature was designed for the HomePod in mind, and it’s designed for hands-free situations.
In contrast, if you invoke Siri using the Home or Side button and ask for news, Siri will give you text-based news instead.
Permalink - Posted on 2018-01-17 18:31
Permalink - Posted on 2018-01-17 17:03
There’s a URL circulating that can crash Messages on the iPhone, iPad, and Mac, and it can even cause the iOS springboard to unexpectedly crash and relaunch.
The URL looks like a GitHub link and it crashes Messages for the recipient. It sometimes crashes Messages for the sender, too, in our tests. It looks like the only way to fix the issue once someone sends you the link is to delete the conversation.
Effective Power is back, baby!
Text the link below, it will freeze the recipient’s device, and possibly restart it. https://t.co/Ln93XN51Kq
— Abraham Masri (@cheesecakeufo) January 16, 2018
So far it looks like chaiOS is good for pranks and little else.
Permalink - Posted on 2018-01-17 16:53
We have a deal on a one-year subscription for 1TB of cloud storage from SpiderOak ONE. Your traffic to and from the company’s servers are encrypted end-to-end. It’s $39.99 through us.
Permalink - Posted on 2018-01-17 16:28
Apple and HBO are both bidding on a new sci-fi drama series from J.J. Abrams. Assuming Apple wins the deal, that’ll add another power house name to its growing original content lineup.
Details about the series are nebulous, although Variety says it’s a drama about a world fighting to save itself from a massive oppressive force. The series will be a joint venture between Warner Bros. Television and Abrams’ own Bad Robot Productions.
Apple already has deals in place for at least three more shows. Steven Spielberg is rebooting Amazing Stories for Apple, Reese Witherspoon and Jennifer Anniston are co-producing their own drama series, Ronald D. Moore is on board with a sci-fi drama, and Are You Sleeping starring Octavia Spencer is on the lineup, too.
Apple has been working to build up its own original stable of TV series for Apple Music with former Sony Pictures Television executives Jamie Erlicht and Zack Van Amburg at the helm. We haven’t seen any shows from their efforts on Apple Music yet, but it’s looking like Apple will have a pretty strong lineup when they do.
Permalink - Posted on 2018-01-17 15:25, modified at 15:27
The internet is going crazy over the Google Arts & Culture app, and now even the New Yorker is getting in on the action. The magazine’s daily cartoon from January 16th has a very political spin, but shows how mainstream the app’s feature comparing our faces to art in museums has become.
The daily cartoon is titled “Trump tries a new Google app,” with his face next to Marcel Duchamp’s “Fountain.”
Daily Cartoon: Tuesday, January 16th https://t.co/2KSonwylSA
— New Yorker Cartoons (@nyercartoons) January 16, 2018
We walk you through trying out the app for yourself in a how-to from earlier this week. You won’t however, get compared to anything other than a portrait because that’s all Google is using.
Permalink - Posted on 2018-01-17 14:39, modified at 14:41
Apple’s HomePod still isn’t on store shelves, but it looks to be getting a little closer now that Inventec has completed a production order for 1 million units. The small run is a step in the build up to mass production and could be a hint Apple is much closer to releasing its streaming music speaker.
HomePod is Apple’s Siri voice controlled smart speaker that was first shown off in June 2017 at the company’s Worldwide Developer Conference. Apple said it would ship before the end of the year, but that was pushed out to early 2018 to finish product development.
HomePod includes a collection of speakers and microphones so it can adapt to where it’s placed in a room for best sound. It also includes Siri support, although that’s limited primarily to entertainment features, and to-do lists, messaging, and notes. It also requires a paired iPhone or iPad.
Sources speaking with Taipei Times spilled the beans on the initial HomePod shipment.
Foxconn is also building HomePod for Apple. The two companies are expected to ship between 10 million and 12 million units this year.
Getting closer to an actual shipping date is good news for Apple, especially since Amazon’s Alexa voice control platform pushed Siri to the sidelines at this year’s CES in Las Vegas. Apple can’t go toe-to-toe with Amazon in the home voice control space without HomePod shipping, and it already missed the critical holiday buying season window.
HomePod will cost US$349 when it finally ships. Apple seems more interested in competing with Sonos smart speaker systems than the Amazon Echo, so it’ll be interesting to see how that strategy works out—and if HomePod is a success or Apple’s next iPod Hi-Fi debacle.
Permalink - Posted on 2018-01-17 01:10, modified at 01:11
The Shanghai Consumer Council has asked Apple for information about the company’s decision to slow down iPhones with degraded batteries, or Throttlegate, according to Reuters. This new call joins a chorus of lawsuits, and even a French criminal probe, demanding information and damages for the practice.
iPhone users uncovered the practice by analyzing benchmark data from GeekBench. That research found consistent slower performance on iPhones with degraded batteries. The press and class action lawyers quickly (and erroneously) turned that into Apple slowing down old iPhones on the whole, dropping tons of negative publicity on the company.
Apple quickly copped to the practice—once it was already discovered—and explained it was a technical solution designed to keep affected devices from shutting down unexpectedly. The company began doing so in February of 2017, but the whole thing has been (erroneously) taken as confirmation by the uninformed that it’s a deliberate effort to trick people into buying new iPhones.
There has been a flurry of class actions filed in the U.S. over the issues as lawyers smell corporate blood in the water. Apple has apologized for not informing customers. The company also lowered the price of battery replacements by US$50, down to $29, for one year. The Shanghai Consume Council wants to know what Apple is going to do about it in China, too.
Permalink - Posted on 2018-01-17 00:44, modified on 2018-01-18 18:22
The 4K/UHD HDR standards are in place, and Apple TV 4K honors the most important ones. But there are a few wrinkles to be aware of. I’ll summarize and point to several awesome resources.
From a post-CES 2018 perspective, “It’s Safe to Buy a 4K/UHD TV.” By that, I mean that we’ve reached a point where:
…display technologies and HDR technologies are well-fleshed out. There is no new ‘thing’ on the immediate horizon that we should be waiting for. Or be concerned about in terms of making our new equipment obsolete.
Nevertheless, in an industry like this, there are always players who, for some reason, buck established technologogies for their own reasons. For example, Samsung is holding out on Dolby Vision because there’s a certain amount of loss of control over the display. But Sony has come to embrace Dolby Vision along with LG, TCL and Vizio.
The Apple TV 4K in its current state supports HDR10, Dolby Vision and HLG. This was a wise selection. However, when buying a TV, it’s good to know which TVs support which HDR standards and also where the industry is headed.
If you’re reading this, you probably have a feel for each of the HDR technologies. I’ve written a lot about them lately, but if you need a refresher, see: “Apple TV, 4K Mania: HDR10, Dolby Vision & HLG Explained.”
But there other standards as well. The issue is whether they’ll catch on or whether they’re doomed political maneuvers by a few TV makers. One is HDR10+ and another is “Philips Technicolor SL-HDR1.” Back in November, the amazing Yoeri Geutskens provided a technology description and roadmap. “HDR video formats – the prospects.”
This is a very good place to start because author Geutskens lays out the marketplace prospects for each of the technologies. Especially valuable is the chart at the end of the article that shows (with tabs) which TV brands, media players, Hollywood studios and content distributors support which HDR format. This is pure gold.
Amongst the gems is a low-key reminder that the 4K Roku box does not yet support Dolby Vision while the Apple TV 4K does.
Then, after CES, author Geutskens provided another gem in the form of a Venn diagram that summarizes HDR support and provides additional perspectives on where each technology stands. That’s in light of studio and TV brand politics and some technical considerations. See: “HDR video format support, post-CES 2018.” More gold here.
Just about everything there is to know about 4K/UHD HDR is in these two articles. They’re the best writing I’ve seen on this topic.
One of the reasons 4K/UHD Blu-ray players haven’t taken off is because, prior to CES 2018, no company had a 4K player that supported Dolby Vision. That’s now changed with the introduction of Sony and Panasonic models. More are sure to follow.
[UPDATE: Jan 18. My thanks to Yoeri Geutskens who has kindly provided the following correction:The first Dolby Vision Ultra HD Blu-ray players were announced at CES 2017:1. Oppo Digital UDP-203 and 2052. LG UP9703. Philips BDP7502All of them were to require a software update (following later) to enable Dolby Vision.For Oppo, this came in June.LG issued an update in August but reportedly had to retract it and still hasn’t delivered a final update.I’m not sure the Philips was ever released to market. I’ve seen another model on Amazon but never this model.]
Why would one invest in 4K/UHD/HDR/Dolby Vision discs when there’s growing content available to stream from Amazon, iTunes, Netflix and Vudu? Purists will point out that 1) The customer may not have the 25 Mbps into the house required via the internet and 2) There will be some level of compression via streaming that is avoided when one has a physical disc. As I recall, 4K/UHD content leaps off that plastic disc at 60 to 100 Mbps.
I have seen charts that show how streaming is popular and growing while sales of discs are declining. And yet, that’s not the whole story. It could very well be that the sales of 4K/UHD Blu-ray players will increase, even as fewer discs are purchased per capita. That’s natural as consumers buy very special, favored movies on disc while doing the majority of their watching via streaming. It’s an optimization process. This next article, while somewhat industry biased, has a boat load of information about 4K/UHD Blu-ray. “BDA: 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Format Making Big Strides.”
The above articles have a wealth of information about the state of 4K/UHD and HDR from several different perspectives: the TV makers, the set-top=box makers, the studios and the content deliverers. And even while the discussion and accompanying charts can seem complex, the good news is that the industry has so far avoided a debilitating format war that would vex consumers and slow down sales. 2018 will be a great year for 4K/UHD.
Permalink - Posted on 2018-01-17 00:43, modified at 00:44
Turns out there’s at least one bigwig in the FBI who thinks Apple is more the bee’s knees than Beelzebub. John Bennett, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s San Francisco office, told Forbes, “We heart Apple. They train our cops.”
This is a meaningful statement in light of the accusations that Apple is comprised of “evil geniuses” and “jerks,” as FBI forensic expert Stephen Flatley recently told Motherboard. His complaint is the same as James Comey’s and Christopher Wray’s, the previous and current FBI Directors, respectively, namely Apple’s encryption.
Mr. Wray recently told the world he doesn’t believe the experts who say you can’t have a backdoor in encryption without putting everyone at risk. Despite decades of science and math universally agreeing on this issue—not to mention the acceptance of America’s own intelligence services—Mr. Wray wants a backdoor into encryption systems so the FBI can get into devices they have a legal right to get into.
I’ve pointed out the error in this thinking many times over the years, and I’ll admit I found Forbes’s story about John Bennett refreshing. When it comes to Apple and encryption, Mr. Bennett said:
They’re in an interesting environment where they have to service a legal process from agencies, from FBI to GCHQ to Chinese to Russian services. They are trying to make sure everyone is playing from a level field.
What Apple has tried to do in the past is engineer their ability out of having access to people’s private data, and that’s the balance former [FBI] director [James] Comey had talked about, the balance between safety and privacy. We’re not here to say one is better than the other.
John Bennett has a good reason to appreciate Apple, and that’s because Apple helps train his agents in dealing with Apple devices. In fact, according to this article, Apple works with agents from all over the country who fly in for special training courses put on by Apple. The company works with local law enforcement forensics people, too.
This isn’t to say that Apple is doing what it can’t: break into encrypted devices. Instead, Apple is training FBI agents on the things they can do with Apple devices. For instance, Apple reached out to the FBI to help with a Texas mass murderer’s iPhone. In the end, however, the FBI folks in charge of that investigation never responded, but did whine to the press about not being able to get into the shooter’s device.
This kind of cooperation—which Apple does for free—is vital in a fast moving world of technology. While we, the people, need encryption to be protected from a myriad of malicious actors around the world, law enforcement also has legitimate need to legally access devices and data (whenever it can).
Judging by John Bennett’s “We heart Apple” comment, there’s a lot Apple does to help the FBI make the most of what it can do.
Permalink - Posted on 2018-01-16 23:30, modified on 2018-01-17 01:01
The price of Bitcoin fell sharply Tuesday, a continuation of a broad retreat that began over the weekend. The price of the world’s biggest cryptocurrency fell below $10,000 Tuesday afternoon, only to immediately rally back to $11,000 moments later.
As of this writing, Bitcoin was trading at $11,077.85 on Coinbase‘s GDAX platform. CoinMarketCap.com has the average Bitcoin price across exchanges at $11,040.90. Bitcoin was trading above $14,000 over the weekend.
Bitcoin’s volatility is legendary, and one of the things that holds it back from being a usable currency in the eyes of many. But as big as Bitcoin’s market cap is—$186 billion at this price—it’s still small enough for any kind of news, and not much volume, to send it moving in both directions.
What appears to be unsettling the markets now are worries that South Korea or China may be planning some kind of interference in Bitcoin exchanges. Similar reports have rattled Bitcoin in the past, and Bitcoin veterans have seen these rapid falls and rises before. Many times.
Which is where the term “hodl” came from. Most likely a typo for “hold,” as in “I’m going to hold on to my Bitcoin,” hodl has become a thing unto itself. Today, it stands for “hold on for dear life,” and it’s used by people who believe the longterm value of Bitcoin is far higher than it is today.
Kay Van-Petersen, an analyst at Saxo Bank, for instance, told CNBC Bitcoin would hit $100,000 in 2018, or some 9 times higher than what it is right now. His claim to fame in the cryptocurrency world is predicting that Bitcoin would top $2,000 during 2017. He made the prediction in January, and Bitcoin topped that mark in May.
Others, however, have been predicting Bitcoin’s ever-impending doom. Warren Buffet, for instance, thinks Bitcoin and all cryptocurrencies will come to naught. JP Morgan CEO Jamie Dimon has called Bitcoin a fraud. Though he later walked back that specific term because he thinks blockchain technology itself has potential, he’s still a Bitcoin bear.
Then again, people have been predicting Bitcoin’s demise since its creation, and today its market cap is more than $185 billion, as noted above. As tough as the recent bear run has been relative to the heady highs of December, I saw a quip that kind of brings this drop into perspective. I can’t remember who said it, or I’d embed the tweet, but the joke is essentially this:
Bitcoin holder looks at Bitcoin’s price drop, wails and gnashes his teeth, then says, “I haven’t been this worth this little in weeks!”
The point being that at the $11,000 mark, Bitcoin is still trading higher than it was in November of 2017, roughly 6 weeks ago.
Bitcoin’s price drop represents a good opportunity for people interested in faucets. I’ve been running a Bitcoin faucet guide here at TMO for years, and it’s good to remember that faucets pay out more satoshis when the price of Bitcoin falls. Most faucets tie their payouts to the dollar, which means more satoshis when Bitcoin falls, and fewer satoshis when Bitcoin rises. If your goal is accumulating cryptocurrency for free, hit more faucets when Bitocin drops, like it did today.
I also have a primer on Bitcoin faucets if you’re looking for tips on how to make the most of them.
The author has a small stake in Bitcoin that was not an influence in writing this article.
Permalink - Posted on 2018-01-16 21:56
CES 2018 brought loads of interesting products to Las Vegas for us to check out. These are our top picks from everything we got to look at.
The idea of a friendly robot rolling around your home is about to become reality thanks to Kuri from Mayfield Robotics. The robot has cameras and audio and mapping sensors, speakers, and even a touch sensitive head so she (or he) can respond when you pet it. Kuri can patrol your home when you’re away, snap photos and video, stream music and podcasts, and interact with you, too. Kuri is shipping this spring for US799 if you pre-order before March 1st.
Fast is the name of the game with OWC’s new ThunderBlade V4 external drive. It supports up to 8 GB storage and Thunderbolt 3 for 2800MB/s read, and 2450MB/s write speeds. The company says it’s the fastest external drive ever built. It’ll be available some time this year at $1,199.99 for 1 TB storage and up to $4,999.99 with 8 TB.
Kano’s lineup of built-it-yourself electronics kits are great educational tools because they teach how to make cool devices, and how to code for them on your Mac, too. They offer a smart webcam, motion sensor, and programmable LED light board, along with a kit for building your own Raspberry Pi-based portable computer. Each kit is designed for kids age six and up, and are equally great for adults. Pricing starts at $29, and the portable computer kit costs $200.
Promise beefed up its Apollo Cloud 2 Duo private cloud appliance at CES with 4 TB storage and bi-directional sync support with Dropbox and Google Drive. You choose what data syncs with the services and what is served only through the Cloud 2 Duo. It’s an easy way to set up your own private cloud storage system. The 4 TB Apollo Cloud 2 Duo costs $369 and is available now.
Amazon Alexa was everywhere at CES 2018, and the voice assistant sounded great in Polk’s new Command Bar sound bar. Along with built-in Alexa voice control, the Command Bar includes two 4K HDMI 2.0b HDMI inputs, HMDI (ARC) out, optical input for TV audio, a USB port designed to fit an Amazon Fire TV, Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth. It’s available for pre-order in the United States and Canada on April 1, 2018 for $299.95.
Permalink - Posted on 2018-01-16 19:20, modified at 19:23
Permalink - Posted on 2018-01-16 19:03
During nwHacks 2018, one of the projects that was showed off was Loki, a Face ID emotion tracking system. It’s a proof-of-concept social network app that uses Face ID to detect what emotion you’re experiencing.
Then, the facial data is put through a neural network trained to map facial data to emotions. It then uses the emotion it thinks you’re experiencing to modify the content you see in the app.
For a while, there were fears that Face ID could be used exactly like this. Whether it’s an advertiser tracking your eyes to make sure you look at the ad, to Facebook manipulating your emotions even more.
Thankfully, Apple only lets developers access basic facial data [PDF], although that doesn’t seem to have stopped this team. If this was a real app though, it’s unlikely it would have made it’s way onto the App Store, because of Apple’s review process. Still, it’s interesting—if not terrifying—to see how systems like this could potentially work.
Permalink - Posted on 2018-01-16 18:42
Although the company has been the longest CarPlay holdout, Toyota CarPlay vehicles are coming this spring. The models will be the 2019 Avalon, as well as other 2019 models like the luxury Lexis brand.
CarPlay isn’t the only “first” coming to the Avalon. Other technologies include Dynamic Auxiliary Turn Signals, authentic Yamaha wood, and aluminum cabin accents, as well as Engine Sound Enhancement.
CarPlay compatibility will work with the Entune 3.0 and Enform 2.0 multimedia systems. Although Entune 3.0 is available in some 2018 models, like the Camry and Sienna, Toyota said it doesn’t plan to support pre-2019 vehicles for CarPlay.
The CarPlay systems will have a wired connection, so you’ll have to connect your iPhone via USB. The cars will support remote control functions via smartwatches and Amazon Alexa, like starting the engine, seeing the fuel level, and locking/unlocking doors.
Permalink - Posted on 2018-01-16 17:13
We have a deal today on the Spiel Bluetooth Speaker System. It’s a 3-piece desktop speaker, with two 2.5″ mid-range satellites and a 4″ woofer. In addition to Bluetooth, it also has a 3.5mm audio hack for another input. You can get it for $55 through us.