Rivet and Other Cool Children Apps

I'm always looking for new, child friendly apps for the iPad / iPhone or even maybe Amazon's newly updated Amazon Kindle Fire 7 Kids Edition Tablet specifically when it comes to reading or math. Granted, I'm pretty sure that my children do not spend more than 20 minutes on any device per week when I'm home as I have a strict no screen time during the week and only VERY limited time on the weekend. Anyways, that's a whole different batttle these days as the Wall Street Journal points out.

Out today is Google's new Rivet app from their incubator team Area 120 called Rivet on Apple App Store or Google Play. It's a speech processing app that has over 200 books availble for children to read and learn. I played with it yesterday with my son for just over 3 minutes and it was awesome. I've also done the Apple Coding App for children called Swift Playground on the iPad but of course, Google has their own app as well, by the same group called Grasshopper. I encourage you to check them all out. Pretty intuitive and interactive stuff!

Time to Switch to Powerbeats Pro

They are the most sincerely and comprehensively new Beats product since the Apple takeover, and they are a triumph. The Doctor’s headphone elves have been quietly busy, and the first true wireless Beats earphones happen to also be the best Beats headphones of any size or kind. At $250, they don’t come cheap. However, the Powerbeats Pro deliver numerous advantages over Apple’s cheaper and simpler AirPods, and those upgrades totally validate the Beats price premium.

I love my AirPods, which by the way has been updated with a newer faster chip and wireless charging, but I love the idea that these won’t fall off when I sprint on the treadmill. There goes $250 I wasn’t budgeting for :)

The Kona is the Answer to Going 100% Electric

Let me see how I can wrap up the Hyundai Kona EV in one sentence: Why would anyone buy a gasoline daily driver when you can get a fun and roomy electric vehicle with 258 miles of range at a fairly affordable price?

The Hyundai Kona EV is fun to drive, has 201 hp (150 kW) of power, and has a copious 291 lbf⋅ft of torque. This EV should replace just about any daily gasoline commuter. Hyundai does a great job packaging the Kona EV very well. It includes standard wireless phone charging and great driving features. Starting at $36,450 before incentives, there are the base SEL, Limited, and Ultimate trim — all have a 64 kWh pack. This EV can come down to about $30,000 after the $7,500 US federal tax credit for EVs, depending on your taxable income.

I’ll admit, the only hold back I have with any vehicle outside of Tesla is the charging infrastructure. But if you’re going to charge at home every night, this is it!

Free Energy

One of the most fascinating articles I’ve read in a while pertaining to Karl Friston and his idea of “Free Energy.” Also pretty awesome that there is a Twitter parody account called @FarlKriston which essentially lives to mock the opacity if the theory. Heck, I’ve been so intrigued I really want to read his papers! Can anyone lead me in the right direction?

Free energy is the difference between the states you expect to be in and the states your sensors tell you that you are in. Or, to put it another way, when you are minimizing free energy, you are minimizing surprise.

According to Friston, any biological system that resists a tendency to disorder and dissolution will adhere to the free energy principle—whether it’s a protozoan or a pro basketball team.

Late 2018 MacBook Pro Vega Benchmarks

The benchmarks that we have all been waiting for (at least me) have finally been popping up and Macrumors.

The machine, which includes a 2.6GHz Core i7 Intel processor, a Radeon Pro Vega 20 graphics card, 16GB RAM, and a 1TB SSD, earned an OpenCL score of 72799. Additional benchmarks found on Geekbench with a similar machine using an upgraded Core i9 processor demonstrated OpenCL scores of 75817, 76017, and 80002.

In a separate benchmark uploaded to Geekbench, the new high-end MacBook Pro with Core i9 processor also earned a Metal score of 73953.

Comparatively, machines with similar specs and Radeon Pro 560X graphics cards on Geekbench earned maximum OpenCL scores of right around 65000 and Metal scores of approximately 57000, suggesting much higher graphics performance with the new Radeon Pro Vega 20 card.

So in Metal, we are seeing a 25% in performance in Metal and around 20% boost in OpenCL. These numbers are far from the 60% that was touted on Apple's website, but then again, maybe we haven't seen a true software tweak / update that utilizes the full potential of these new dedicated graphics cards or maybe throttling is once again part of the issue. Looking to pull the trigger in January so stay tuned!

MacBook Pro 15” Now with Vega dGPU

Vega GPU options are now available today via selecting the most expensive 15-inch MacBook Pro configuration which starts at $2,799 with a Radeon Pro 560X! If you want to upgrade to the Vega 16, it’ll cost you another $250, while the Vega 20 is $350 more expensive than the base model.

If you opt out of either option, there is the new Blackmagic Pro eGPU for $1,199 which comes with the Vega 56 which can be found on the iMac Pro. I’m interested to see what the benchmarks of all these are although I wish there was an Nvidia compatible eGPU.

Also, I don’t remember the MacBook Pros coming with the 8th generation Intel processors but now they do. Cheers!

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iPad Pro 2018 Benchmarks

We all know now that the benchmarks are more than impressive in respects to Apple’s A12X but we also know that the new 2018 iPad Pro in the 1TB configuration has an extra 2GB of RAM. For multitasking purposes, this is going to be the jam but the price sets it around the realm of MacBook Pro pricing. So, if you’re comfortable with iOS as the sole computer, this maybe just be the thing.

If you’re asking me, I’ve been contemplating it for over two years but still find myself on the MacBook Air from time to time. I’m also waiting to see what the pricing structure will be for the new MacBook Pro’s with the Radeon Vega GPU Chipset set to debut sometime this week. 60% faster than the Radeon 560 which is currently in the latest highest spec’d MacBook Pro is a tremendous update.

Geekbench scores for iPad Pro (top), MacBook Pro (bottom)

Geekbench scores for iPad Pro (top), MacBook Pro (bottom)

The biggest takeaways are:

That means the highest-spec iPad Pro's single-core performance is 92.8 percent that of the top end MacBook Pro.

Geekbench's scores for multi-core operations are not quite as close, though. For multi-core performance, the benchmark rates the iPad Pro as 17995 and the MacBook Pro as 21251. That puts the iOS device at 85.68 percent of the laptop.

Of course, John Gruber also summarizes it quickly in reference to the 13” MacBook Pro:

It’s not clear at all who the MacBook Pro without Touch Bar is for today, though. In principle, it’s for people who want higher performance than the MacBook Air provides. In practice, it’s not much faster — about the same in single-core, and about 15 percent faster in multi-core. It weighs more, costs more, and yet doesn’t have Touch ID.

Ideally, maybe a the new 2018 MacBook Air with the BlackMagic eGPU Vega 56 would be the key especially if the performance of that box for $1,199 is much better than the built in Vega in the upcoming MacBook Pro. I just want to start editing the videos of my kids faster and while on the road and carry the least possible.

Vega 16 or Vega 20 built in 

Vega 16 or Vega 20 built in 

Hydrow Campaign Has Started!

Don't get me wrong, I've always wanted a Peloton bike and enjoy their services when I'm at various hotels but rowing has always been up there as my go to if an ergometer is available. I rowed for a year at UCSD but it was some of the funnest times and the most awesome competitive sport that I have been a part of. Hydrow looks to grow the company with their Indiegogo campaign and seems to me an easy acquisition target for Peloton.

update: They are almost up to $1M in funds raised! Let’s get them over that hump!

Apple’s New MacBook Pro i9 is Cleared to Go FAST!

After the initial hoopla concerning thermal related throttling in Apple’s new MacBook Pro, after working with popular laptop YouTube review Dave Lee, Apple has issued a statement and software update that addresses this issue. Looks like I’m getting a new computer and finally putting down this 2010 MacBook Air Core2Duo!

Following extensive performance testing under numerous workloads, we've identified that there is a missing digital key in the firmware that impacts the thermal management system and could drive clock speeds down under heavy thermal loads on the new MacBook Pro. A bug fix is included in today's macOS High Sierra 10.13.6 Supplemental Update and is recommended. We apologize to any customer who has experienced less than optimal performance on their new systems. Customers can expect the new 15-inch MacBook Pro to be up to 70% faster, and the 13-inch MacBook Pro with Touch Bar to be up to 2X faster, as shown in the performance results on our website.

Tesla’s Rainbow Farting Space Ship — Model 3P

I’m no financial analyst, but I do know cars. If you were hoping Tesla would fail on account of the Model 3 I’ve got bad news: This thing is magnificent, a little rainbow-farting space ship, so obviously representative of the next step in the history of autos.

So many great anecdotes in WSJ’s review but this one was the best.

Tesloop Raking in the Miles

Since the Model S was launched Tesloop has incurred a combined maintenance cost of roughly $19,000 or about $0.05/mile. This cost breaks down to $6,700 for general vehicle repairs and $12,200 for regularly scheduled maintenance. The Model S’ full service record is available here. The record includes comparable estimated costs of running the service with a Lincoln Town Car instead of a Model S or Mercedes GLS class instead of a Model X. Tesloop estimates that a Lincoln Town Car or Mercedes GLS class’ combined maintenance cost to be around $88,500 ($0.22/mile) and $98,900 ($0.25/mile) respectively over 400,000 miles.

Some pretty impressive numbers!!! I still have yet to use any of my 6 passes that I bought a while ago but I’ve heard plenty of positive reviews!

Back in June 2018 one of Tesloop’s Model X 90Ds, dubbed Rex, achieved 300,000 miles on its original battery and drive units in 1.75 years. Battery degradation over the 300,000 miles was ~10%. Tesloop has also included the Model X’s full service record, see here. Since achieving the milestone the Model X’s rear drive unit has been replaced.

Looks like we may be keeping the X for MANY years to come! We have personally driven around 19,000 since acquiring her on Dec 2017. Needless to say, it’s been VERY enjoyable.