The Welcome-to-Hollywood Edition Saturday, March 26, 2022

An Apple Original On DVD: The Definitive Unboxing And UX Review, by The Nougatmachine

The Oscars’ theatrical requirements have been an infamous bone of contention for streaming media, but industry insiders have long been able to prepare for awards season at home. Distributors seeking votes send the “screeners” you may have heard of to members of the production guilds, critic associations, academy members, etc – any organization with members voting in film awards. While the option to stream screeners now exists, DVD screeners remain a product in the industry’s lineup. Presumably, the stereotypical 85 year-old Oscar voter can’t be trusted to have good internet, and so the discs keep coming. As a member of the illuminati one of these groups, I was bemused to see that Apple’s quest for awards show clout has led to me receiving a DVD of an Apple Original in my latest screener haul. Like all Apple products, it deserves a thorough review.

Enough preamble, already. Let’s unbox!

At The Oscars, The Real Competition Is Between Apple And Netflix, by Erich Schwartzel, Wall Street Journal

During the free-screening weekend for “CODA,” the Coolidge Corner Theatre in Brookline, Mass., gave away 873 tickets. Several screenings were at capacity—an anomaly for such giveaways.

“Free tickets usually mean no-shows,” said Mark Anastasio, the theater’s director of special programming. “That was not happening for these screenings.”

But a cheaper strategy has emerged in Apple stores across Los Angeles, where the company has set iPads and computer monitors to the same lock screen: ads for “CODA,” reminding shoppers it is up for best picture.

Streaming Has Won The Hollywood Debate. Is Best Picture Next?, by Nicole Sperling, New York Times

Unless the predictions are wrong and something unexpected awaits inside those gold leaf-embossed envelopes at the 94th Academy Awards on Sunday, a streaming service film — in a first — will win the Oscar for best picture. “CODA,” a dramedy from Apple TV+ about the only hearing member of a deaf family, is favored to receive the prize, having already won top honors at the predictive Producers Guild Awards, Screen Actors Guild Awards and Writers Guild Awards.

A Netflix film, “The Power of the Dog,” could nudge past “CODA” to win the best picture trophy, awards handicappers say. But most are not predicting a win for nominees from traditional studios, including “Belfast” and “West Side Story.” Apple TV+ and Netflix have both campaigned aggressively, with Apple spending an estimated $20 million to $25 million to promote “CODA” and Netflix’s push for “The Power of the Dog” costing even more.

There's An App For That?

Do Friendship-Making Apps Really Work?, by Bindu Bansinath, The Cut

It’s been a year since I’ve swiped through a dating app, but the drudgery still feels fresh: the painful small talk (“Hi,” “What do you do?,” “How do you do?”) that goes nowhere; the corporate bros crowding my queue on both Hinge and Bumble; the couples looking for a third; or, my favorite, the guys I met up with off-line only to find out they were already taken. Most men I matched with turned out to be terrifying flirts (“ur so short I could break you in half by accident”) or plain terrifying (“don’t be a bitch”). The pandemic gave me an excuse to delete all of the apps, and almost immediately, nights felt a little lighter when I wasn’t swiping through Tinder Passport in bed.

But earlier this month, I turned to apps again — this time to make platonic friends. It was my foray back into a social world. I’d become weirdly comfortable with masking and six-feet-apart warnings, the distance they created being conducive to my depressive episodes, and I’d grown used to being on my own. But I missed friendship, the purest form of social connection, free from sexual and familial obligations. I felt ready for it again, but I was also intimidated.


Overcast Redesign Enhances Podcast Navigation With An Emphasis On Playlists And Recent Episodes, by John Voorhees, MacStories

The app is still highly customizable, but features like Recents and the built-in playlists make it more welcoming to newcomers and users with simple needs than ever before. Coupled with the app’s excellent audio engine, Overcast remains my favorite way to listen to podcasts.

Alto’s Adventure Gets A Spirited Apple Arcade Expansion, by Jason Snell, Six Colors

Is this more of the same, in a way? Yes. But the game is beautiful and fun and, again, these are my favorite iOS games ever. If you haven’t played the Alto games and are an Apple Arcade subscriber, they’ll be as new and fresh as the day they launched. If you played them and loved them, the new content and challenges will be a delightful invitation to revisit an old favorite.

The Best-hidden macOS And iOS Easter Egg From PCalc Is Now Its Own App, by Daryl Baxter, TechRadar

Called About by PCalc by developer James Thomson, you can manipulate the app's logo by flicking it around, changing the gravity, throwing bananas at it and even driving a car.


Every Screen In Your App Should Be A Scrolling View, by Michael Amundsen, Lickability

Even the simplest screens in an app should be architected to allow for scrolling. That way, you generally don’t have to think about supporting the keyboard, different device sizes, or Dynamic Type. Your screens become more flexible and can continue to work as they change over the lifetime of the app. Making every single screen in your app scrollable will benefit you and your users—I hope I’ve convinced you to give it a try!


Everything-as-a-service, Apple, And The Future Of Business, by Jonny Evans, Computerworld

Closed-loop manufacturing is potentially critical to future hardware manufacturing. We know Apple is working to develop its own closed-loop manufacturing system, for which end-of-life product recycling is essential. Those rare earths, metals, and other precious materials used in your tech products need to be reused, not just abandoned in a landfill.

Apple Has Not Fully Complied With Order To Open Up App Store -Dutch Watchdog, by Foo Yun Chee, Reuters

Apple is set to be hit with another fine next week for not fully complying with an order to open its App Store to rival forms of payment for dating apps in the Netherlands, Dutch antitrust watchdog ACM told Reuters.


Subsequent fines once the total penalty hits 50 million euros could be higher according to ACM rules.

Mac Mini + iPad Mini = Touchscreen Mac, by Scharon Harding, Ars Technica

Measuring 7.7 x 7.7 x 1.4 inches and weighing 2.6 pounds, the Mac Mini is more portable than most desktops. But in order to use it at, for example, a café, you also need to carry some sort of display. Instead of relegating desktop-level work to, well, the top of the desk, one maker has taken matters into his own hands. The "Portable Mac Mini," as he calls it, is supposed to make it easier to work with the Mac Mini anywhere. It also creates a pseudo-Mac laptop with a handy feature that Apple doesn't offer in its real clamshells.

Bottom of the Page

Pachinko, one of the latest from Apple TV+, is the first television show that I've watched that came with its own instruction manual, right on the screen before the opening credits. The show is in Korean and Japanese, Apple TV+ tells us, and if you want to watch it in the original languages, you may want to pause the video and switch the language preference.

Except that, when I tap on the language icon on my iPad, I do not see any option for "Korean and Japanese". The four options that mention either of the two languages are: Korean AD, Korean, Japanese AD, and Japanese. If I don't want the dubbed version, which option should I choose?

Okay, the two ADs are out. AD stands for Audio Description, that much I know. But to choose between Korean or Japanese, when Apple just told me the show is in Korean and Japanese?

In the end, I chose to watch in Korean. That's because I've already read the book, and I know the story revolves a family originally from Korea. And, after watching the first episode, I think I do get the non-dubbed version: I do not speak Japanese, but to my untrained ears, the Japanese dialogue (which I can identify because the English subtitles are coded in different colors, depending on the language spoken) did sound Japanese to me, and the visual did seem to indicate the actors were not dubbed.


Thanks for reading.