The Generative-AI Edition Tuesday, March 21, 2023

Adobe Made An AI Image Generator — And Says It Didn’t Steal Artists’ Work To Do It, by Jacob Kastrenakes, The Verge

Adobe is finally launching its own AI image generator. The company is announcing a “family of creative generative AI models” today called Adobe Firefly and releasing the first two tools that take advantage of them. One of the tools works like DALL-E or Midjourney, allowing users to type in a prompt and have an image created in return. The other generates stylized text, kind of like an AI-powered WordArt.

This is a big launch for Adobe. The company sits at the center of the creative app ecosystem, and over much of the past year, it’s stayed on the sidelines while newcomers to the creative space began to offer powerful tools for creating images, videos, and sound for next to nothing. At launch, Adobe is calling Firefly a beta, and it’ll only be available through a website. But eventually, Adobe plans to tightly integrate generative AI tools with its suite of creative apps, like Photoshop, Illustrator, and Premiere.

Netflix Games Is Still Happening. Just Don’t Hold Your Breath, by Megan Farokhmanesh, Wired

Video games are a harder sell than investing passive energy into a 30-minute TV show or a movie. It’s difficult to sample games quickly via Netflix, and some games can't really be enjoyed without working through a learning curve. Netflix is working on its own cloud streaming tech (similar to Google’s now dead Stadia and Nvidia’s GeForce Now), but for now it remains focused on a specific corner of the gaming market: mobile.

A Mobile Gaming Subscription War Looms As Netflix Sets Its Sights On Apple Arcade, by Oliver Haslam, iMore

Apple has long been the master of its kingdom, calling the App Store shots and controlling what is and isn't allowed onto the iPhone and iPad. But that could be about to change and even if it isn't, trouble is brewing. If Apple really does, contrary to popular opinion, get games, now is the time to prove it.

Following the news that Microsoft is planning its own games store for iOS and Netflix is taking Apple Arcade's crown jewels, now isn't the time for Apple to sit by.


Carbon Copy Cloner 6.1.5, by Agen Schmitz, TidBITS

The update now presents more context in cases where a task fails due to a stall at the source or destination.

Lunar 6.0, by Agen Schmitz, TidBITS

he upgraded app can now read the real brightness value in nits from Apple displays and sync it more accurately to other monitors.


I Saw The Face Of God In A Semiconductor Factory, by Virginia Heffernan, Wired

I arrive in Taiwan brooding morbidly on the fate of democracy. My luggage is lost. This is my pilgrimage to the Sacred Mountain of Protection. The Sacred Mountain is reckoned to protect the whole island of Taiwan—and even, by the supremely pious, to protect democracy itself, the sprawling experiment in governance that has held moral and actual sway over the would-be free world for the better part of a century. The mountain is in fact an industrial park in Hsinchu, a coastal city southwest of Taipei. Its shrine bears an unassuming name: the Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company.


Perhaps more to the point, TSMC makes a third of all the world’s silicon chips, notably the ones in iPhones and Macs. Every six months, just one of TSMC’s 13 foundries—the redoubtable Fab 18 in Tainan—carves and etches a quintillion transistors for Apple. In the form of these miniature masterpieces, which sit atop microchips, the semiconductor industry churns out more objects in a year than have ever been produced in all the other factories in all the other industries in the history of the world.

Apple Pay Is Now Available In South Korea, by Kate Park, TechCrunch

South Korea’s limited number of NFC (near-field communication) terminals in retail shops could still be a roadblock for Apple Pay. (Only about 10% of 2.9 million local retailers in South Korea reportedly have NFC enabled in their credit card terminals.) But, more NFC terminal installations are expected to increase by the end of 2023, according to a recent report by Counterpoint, which also says that Apple Pay’s launch could intensify competition in South Korea’s payment market and among peers such as Samsung Pay, Naver Pay and Kakao Pay. iPhone and Apple Watch users are likely to switch to Apple Pay, it noted.

His L.A.-based Podcast Company Faced A Crossroads. Now Jesse Thorn's Employees Are Owners, by Wendy Lee, Los Angeles Times

But during the last few years, he said, running the MacArthur Park-based business drove him to a breaking point. The father of three young children struggled to balance his work-life and home-life. He suffered from splitting migraines.

“You have to back off of this,” his wife, Theresa, told him at their dining room table in 2018. “I’m afraid you’re going to die.”

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Remember when we lost track of time during these strange times? I'm still doing that. Yesterday, at work, I couldn't recall what day of the week it was, and had to ask someone to remind me.

Either it was the strange times, or I am getting old.


Thanks for reading.