An Insight to Apple's Spaceship

We go upstairs, and I take in the view. From planes descending to SFO, and even from drones that buzz the building from a hundred feet above it, the Ring looks like an ominous icon, an expression of corporate power, and a what-the-fuck oddity among the malls, highways, and more mundane office parks of suburban Silicon Valley. But peering out the windows and onto the vast hilly expanse of the courtyard, all of that peels away. It feels … peaceful, even amid the clatter and rumble of construction. It turns out that when you turn a skyscraper on its side, all of its bullying power dissipates into a humble serenity.

For the next two hours, Ive and Whisenhunt walk me through other parts of the building and the grounds. They describe the level of attention devoted to every detail, the willingness to search the earth for the right materials, and the obstacles overcome to achieve perfection, all of which would make sense for an actual Apple consumer product, where production expenses could be amortized over millions of units. But the Ring is a 2.8-million-square-foot one-off, eight years in the making and with a customer base of 12,000. How can anyone justify this spectacular effort?

I'd love a tour of this architectural marvel. Anyone?

Republicans Getting Bought

A look at eight of the country’s largest providers, as well as five of the trade groups that signed a letter in January in favor of overturning the rules, show that in the last six years, they gave a total of at least $1,726,288 to those 22 senators — an average of more than half a million dollars per election cycle.

Idiots. We should probably harvest their internet browsing history and share it with their constituents. Idiots. It's our political system and if this isn't a form of corruption, I don't know what is.

via 9to5mac

The Right Continues to Misfire on Technological Advances

Ingraham is now the National Chairman of the organization that just launched the campaign against Musk and his companies.

They market themselves as being against “the entire culture of corporations making billions of dollars off of the American people for almost zero return to the consumer”, but they target very specific industries.

For example, they say they are against “Big Energy” in their manifesto, but in the section about ‘Big Energy’ they only attack the solar industry because they receive tax breaks. Does the solar industry really represent “Big Energy”? If your goal is really to attack energy subsidies, solar and renewable energy subsidies should be your last target considering their share of federal subsidies: Fossil Fuels.

Politics like this I cannot stand. Relentless idiocracy. Utterless stupidity. So what, we continue to run on gas? Idiots. // *frustrated.

Banned!

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT), with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA), today announced it is issuing an emergency order to ban all Samsung Galaxy Note7 smartphone devices from air transportation in the United States. Individuals who own or possess a Samsung Galaxy Note7 device may not transport the device on their person, in carry-on baggage, or in checked baggage on flights to, from, or within the United States. This prohibition includes all Samsung Galaxy Note7 devices. The phones also cannot be shipped as air cargo. The ban will be effective on Saturday, October 15, 2016, at noon ET.

It's serious. Don't mess around and even think about showing up to the airport with Samsung's Note 7! (Bold is my formatting)

Failure to Recognize

Apple has squandered its once-commanding lead in hardware and software design. Though the new iPhones include several new features, including water resistance and upgraded cameras, they look pretty much the same as the old ones. The new Apple Watch does too. And as competitors have borrowed and even begun to surpass Apple’s best designs, what was iconic about the company’s phones, computers, tablets and other products has come to seem generic.

It's a generic now standard that Apple has created! No matter what Apple puts out, they are going to be haters because they haven't 1) advanced as much in hardware or software or 2) changed a standard currently widely adopted alienating a large chunk of their user base.

What Mr. Manjoo fails to accept is that no other company goes into their manufacturing details and design process as much as Apple does. It goes without saying, it's all deliberate. In describing the the creation of the new Jet Black iPhone 7, we are shown the process was indeed different from the previous iPhone 6/6s production and that the new Apple Watch series 2 development was put through the ringer in creating a truly water resistant and swimming pool compatible design able to withstand 50m.

Did you even check out the speaker ejecting water? That's pretty ridiculous if you ask me. I don't think Samsung, LG or even HTC put that much care and love for design into ANY of their products. Slow and steady.

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Diamonds Are Done

reputational headaches have been compounded by a glut of diamonds caused by a slump in consumer demand in China. That has dragged prices of top-quality cut diamonds down from about $12,000 per carat to $7,400 in five years, according to Rapaport-RapNet Diamond Trading Network, a price index.

Against this backdrop, a technological challenge is also emerging that could make it harder for the industry to win over the millennial customers on whom future sales depend. From China to California, boffins are improving their ability to cultivate diamonds in labs. They are looking beyond the billions of carats of synthetic diamonds produced under high temperature and pressure that are used in industries such as oil drilling. Now they are perfecting gem-quality stones for jewellery.

Only fitting that these narcissistic rocks that people have associated with wealth are finally coming into their own worthlessness. Jewelry means nothing against the backdrop of origin and acquisition.

And here's a wonderful video explains why diamonds are dumb.

Ash Wednesday And Lenten Fasting

"The root of all sin" is thinking that one is god, something often expressed in a total preoccupation for accumulating money and power, the pope wrote. And just as individuals can be tempted to think they have no need of God, social and political systems can run the same risk, ignoring both God and the real needs of human beings.

"Love alone is the answer to that yearning for infinite happiness," Pope Francis wrote. It is the only response to the longings "that we think we can satisfy with the idols of knowledge, power and riches."

As he advised a year ago, Pope Francis reiterated that Lent is not just about giving up the soda, video games or anything else personal per se. The bigger picture is partaking in giving and doing good for others.

But Pope Francis has asked us to reconsider the heart of this activity this Lenten season. According to Francis, fasting must never become superficial. He often quotes the early Christian mystic John Chrysostom who said: “No act of virtue can be great if it is not followed by advantage for others. So, no matter how much time you spend fasting, no matter how much you sleep on a hard floor and eat ashes and sigh continually, if you do no good to others, you do nothing great.”

Playboy Goes PG-13

In short, the new Playboy, which will appear on newsstands as early as this weekend, has ditched its jauntily illicit aura and become a slightly saucier version of a lot of other magazines, like Esquire and GQ. But the March issue retains elements of the original DNA, including a lengthy interview (with the MSNBC host Rachel Maddow) and a long essay by a famous writer (the Norwegian memoirist and awkward-moment connoisseur Karl Ove Knausgaard).

Whether this will appeal to younger readers without alienating regulars is unclear. The problem is that many of these ingredients can be acquired separately by anyone with time and a web browser. And with a web browser, these ingredients can be acquired in no time at all.

The print version of Playboy, in other words, is struggling with the conundrum of the Internet, just like every other legacy media enterprise. But say this for the redesign: Even if it fails to increase subscriptions, it makes that deathless dodge “I read it for the articles” a little easier to utter with a straight face.

Exactly. Now we can truly admit it was always for the articles. I will miss the cartoons but who the hell am I to say. I haven't seen a Playboy magazine since my college dorm room days and back then, Maxim was the "better" magazines for pictures. Just saying.

via NYTimes via Playboy

Apple's iPad Pro Beats Last Year's MacBook Pro

The benchmarks speak for themselves. Apple is out pacing Intel's x86 architecture with their own in-house ARM A series build out and it’s really impressive. See for yourself.

After a very short conversation with my wife, looks like the iPad Pro might be her next machine while I’m still reserving myself for the SkyLake Retina MacBook Pro for gaming and heavy photography processing. Maybe some video intertwined here and there.

The iPad Pro

The iPad Pro is without question faster than the new one-port MacBook or the latest MacBook Airs. I’ve looked at several of my favorite benchmarks — Geekbench 3, Mozilla’s Kraken, and Google’s Octane 2 — and the iPad Pro is a race car. It’s only a hair slower than my year-old 13-inch MacBook Pro in single-core measurements. Graphics-wise, testing with GFXBench, it blows my MacBook Pro away. A one-year-old maxed-out MacBook Pro, rivaled by an iPad in performance benchmarks. Just think about that. According to Geekbench’s online results, the iPad Pro is faster in single-core testing than Microsoft’s new Surface Pro 4 with a Core-i5 processor. The Core-i7 version of the Surface Pro 4 isn’t shipping until December — that model will almost certainly test faster than the iPad Pro. But that’s a $1599 machine with an Intel x86 CPU. The iPad Pro starts at $799 and runs an ARM CPU — Apple’s A9X. There is no more trade-off. You don’t have to choose between the performance of x86 and the battery life of ARM.

It's getting to the point that Apple is indeed paving the way for a faster and better experience. If they up the game with iOS X (or whatever they are going to call it) and make it a more viable operating system for the notebook replacement, I can see them conquering the $1200 and lower market segment.

The only thing that sets me back on making this a replacement laptop is that sometimes, Mac OS X has more to offer in terms of shortcuts and various other apps that are NOT for mobile. Jon Gruber also points out a few short comings on using a keyboard without a trackpad. Funny though, I see my daughter (3 years old) try and manipulate my laptop and her little fingerprints are all over my screen. After some frustrations has set, she turns to me confused. 

Read or Better Yet, Jam with Your Kid!

Crucially, its findings are based on situations where the child’s musical activities were informal and shared, typically with a parent – essentially a playful social experience.

Simple and fun musical activities can have enormous power in developing numeracy and literacy: try improvising a counting song, or making up new rhymes to familiar tunes.

But the true power of musical play lies in the unique blend of creativity, sound and face-to-face interaction; the learning is strengthened by its basis in a positive, empathic emotional relationship.

Let's jam. I'll host. Bring your best kitchen utensils and percussion instruments.

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UK's New Proposed Internet Bill is Wrought with Crazy

From Independent:

iPhones the include a messaging programme called iMessage which would likely fall under the provisions in the bill banning “strong” end-to-end encryption of messages.

The proposed law, to be published in its full draft from on Wednesday by the Home Secretary Theresa May, will mandate internet and technology companies to hand over communications data on request.

Published in BBC:

In urgent situations, such as when someone's life is in danger or there is a unique opportunity to gather critical intelligence, the home secretary would have the power to approve an interception warrant without immediate judicial approval.

The judges would also be able to refer serious errors to an outside tribunal which could then decide to tell the individual their data has been illegally collected.

The bill also proposes:

Making the Wilson doctrine - preventing surveillance of Parliamentarians' communications - law

Placing a legal duty on British companies to help law enforcement agencies hack devices to acquire information if it is reasonably practical to do so

Edward Snowden has chimmed in and we already know what Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales has said. All in all, I hope this doesn't happen. You'd hope that the government, especially the U.K., who was voted in by the people, would know better. Here's a guide to the U.S.'s CISPA and all the other bills that the US have passed or have tried to pass in the name "security."