The Benefits-Galore Edition Saturday, November 17, 2018

How Apple Is Suddenly A Player In An Unlikely Hollywood Realm, by Steven Zeitchik, Washington Post

It has become a flimsy trope to say a strategic partnership gives every side what it needs, only to later find the only thing it gave any side is debt and agita. Didn’t pundits make similar boasts about AOL and Time Warner?

But A24 and Apple, because it marks a marriage of such different partners, really seems to offer benefits galore. Cachet, reach, money, an industry fast-track. Everyone here is getting something that helps them. And, even more critical, that they can’t easily get anywhere else.

How Apple And Other Manufacturers Attack Your Right To Repair Their Products, by Michael Hiltzilk, Los Angeles Times

In the old days, the television repairman was a popular member of American society — the guy who would come to your house, stick his hands in the innards of any manufacturer’s TV set and find the burned-out tubes needing replacement. Our throwaway culture has made such figures into historical relics, at our expense and at the price of filling landfills with mountains of electronic trash. The right to repair movement wants to bring them back, and neither Apple nor Amazon should be permitted to get in its way.


Apple Mac Mini Review (2018): A Video Editor’s Perspective, by Christopher Schodt, Engadget

For music producers and people writing apps in Xcode, maybe the new Mini makes sense, but I don't imagine most other "pro" users will be happy with this level of performance. I can't help but shake my head at Apple's charts and graphics showing off how much faster the new Mini is than the 2014 model. Not only do a lot of the benchmarks they've published only highlight CPU intensive tasks (rendering in Keyshot, exporting from Final Cut) instead of actual workflows, but they're also comparing a $4,300 2018 Mini with a six-core processor and 64GB of RAM to a 2014 machine that couldn't even beat its own 2012 predecessor. Four years later, I'd certainly hope the new model would be faster.

Maybe this highlights the best professional use case for the new mini. A rendering machine that can handle CPU intensive tasks like compiling code and rendering graphics, but that you wouldn't actually want to do your daily work on. When Apple unveiled the Mini, it floated the idea of chaining multiple Minis together into a "Mini" server, and for serious CPU-based number crunching, that's actually an intriguing idea. Four Mac Minis upgraded to an i7 and 16GB of RAM would get you 24 cores with 48 threads and 64GB of memory for only $200 more than the eight-core iMac Pro. You would need a pretty specific workload to take advantage of a setup like this (office server? Code compiler? Render farm?), but it's an interesting concept.

This AR Story App Aims To Immerse Kids In The World Around Them, by Marty Swant, AdWeek

Wonderscope encourages viewers to follow the characters as they walk across a floor or bed or fly around a room. A viewer can lean in closer to the action or back up to take it all in while also talking with the characters themselves using the app’s voice-recognition technology. The first few stories are around eight or nine minutes but could vary depending on how quickly a viewer wants to travel along the storyline or its surrounding landscape.

A Dark Room On Your iPad, by Paisal Chuenprasaeng, The Nation

Pixelmator is an app that lets you easily retouch your photos and enhance them by sketching or painting using the Apple Pencil on an iPad Pro.

Several templates are provided, allowing you to create stunning collages or add beautiful frames to your photos. For example, you can add a blurred edge frame or a round-corner frame to a snap you particularly like.


Microsoft Deprecating HockeyApp Multi-platform Development Tool, Gives Devs One Year To Transition, by Michael Potuck, 9to5Mac

Microsoft encourages developers to make the switch sooner than the November 2019 deadline which includes some App Center exclusive features like iOS auto-provisioning, handled errors, integration with public app stores, and more.

The Promise Of (Practically) ‘Serverless Computing’, by Klint Finley, Wired

Lowery and Ferguson liken serverless computing today to "object-oriented programming," which made it easier for software developers to reuse code, in the 1980s. It took time for developers to learn the new approach, and for the tools and other resources to mature. By the 1990s, though, it became the default, but not exclusive, approach to programming. They think serverless will follow a similar path.


A Smarter Way To Think About Intelligent Machines, by Ed Finn, New York Times

If we spend all of our time looking over our shoulders for killer robots, that means we are not looking ahead to discern the outcomes we might actually want. A study of A.I. representations in film and television by Christopher Noessel underscores the problem: We have lots of stories about the power and the duplicitous nature of A.I., but almost none exploring what he calls the “Untold A.I.” themes: accountability, effective policy and broad literacy around these technologies.

To thrive in the era of intelligent machines, we need to expand our thinking. Instead of worrying about godlike super-machines, we should tell better stories about all the everyday ways A.I. is already changing the world.