Recent Articles By Andrew Orr [RSS]

Twitter Will Stop Transcoding JPEG Images Which Lowered Quality

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Twitter engineer Nolan O’Brien said that Twitter will preserve JPEGs as they are uploaded. This means that uploaded images will retain their original quality.

It’s a small change that has the potential to make a big difference to the way photographers view and use the platform. Nolan’s thread has inevitably kick-started a conversation about plans for other image formats and user-requested changes, so Twitter could make itself even more photo-friendly soon.

Another interesting note is that Twitter automatically strips EXIF data from photos, which I didn’t know. This is nice because this metadata can contain private information, such as where the photo was shot.

Steam Game Terraforming Mars Heads to iOS

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Terraforming Mars, a Steam game that was previously only available for PCs, has made its way to iOS. It’s a strategy game in which players try to terraform Mars to make it habitable. You play as a corporation, and each one has a different specialization, like metal, heavy industry, financier, biotech, or energy. You work together with other corporations in the terraforming process, and compete to get points based on your contributions. You can play solo with AI opponents or online with humans. It requires a minimum of iOS 10 to download. App Store: US$8.99

Steam Game Terraforming Mars Heads to iOS

Senator Lindsey Graham to ‘Impose His Will’ on Encryption Backdoors

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Apple and Facebook representatives met with lawmakers today where senators pushed for the companies to compromise their users’ security by including encryption backdoors. In particular, Sen. Lindsey Graham said:

My advice to you is to get on with it. Because this time next year, if we haven’t found a way that you can live with, we will impose our will on you.

“Encryption backdoors for thee, but not for me.”

Edison Mail for Mac Brings Powerful Productivity Features for Email

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Edison Mail has been a popular iOS email app for a while now, and today Edison Mail for Mac has launched. You can sign up for early access and referral codes here. I’ve been using it for about 2 weeks and think it’s a good email app for the Mac. Here are some features it brings: One click unsubscribe button, blocking people from emailing you, Quick Actions and swipe gestures, email threading and email templates, and an email assistant to help you manage subscriptions, trips, packages, entertainment, and bills/receipts.

Edison Mail was created with a promise of being free of ad-targeting. No privacy-invading ad trackers are allowed into Edison Mail, and our app automatically blocks all read receipts from tracking your emails.

Edison Mail for Mac Brings Powerful Productivity Features for Email

Google Wants COPPA to Change so it can Keep Collecting Kids’ Data

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The Federal Trade Commission is considering a revamp of the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA). Google wants to help them change the rules, and asked the agency to eliminate rules that categorizes anyone watching kids content online as actual kids.

In September, Google agreed to pay US$170 million to the FTC to resolve claims that YouTube violated COPPA by serving targeted advertisements to children under 13…After the FTC settlement, YouTube told creators that they would have to identify when videos are aimed at children under 13. When that happens, YouTube now turns off ads that rely on web browsing behavior and other targeting data, which earn more for YouTube and creators.

Yubico Authenticator iOS App Now Supports NFC

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While Yubico has a security key that plugs into your iPhone via Lightning, the app also supports NFC YubiKeys now.

Instead of storing the time-based one-time passcodes on a mobile phone or computer, Yubico Authenticator generates and stores one-time codes on the YubiKey. A user must present their physical key in order to receive the code for login. This not only eliminates security vulnerabilities associated with a multi-purpose computing device, but also offers an added layer of convenience for users that work between various machines.

Massive Procreate 5 Update Brings a Ton of Features

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Procreate is one of the most popular drawing apps on iOS, and it got a bunch of new features today with Procreate 5. Here are just some of them: Animation Assist helps you create rich illustrative animations, animatics and looping GIFs to share with others. Brush Studio lets you create your own brush has never been easier with the new seamless textures generator. An expanded Drawing Pad sets you free to experiment. Save a reset point at any time and keep on refining. You can also import ABR Photoshop brushes. The new Valkyrie engine gives artists the most flexible and versatile painting system on iPad. If you want to make a glazed brush that wet mixes, has color dynamics, and also has wet edges with burnt edges? You can. And all with Procreate’s trademark performance. App Store: US$9.99 (Offers In-App Purchases)

Massive Procreate 5 Update Brings a Ton of Features

Swiss Company Launches Apple TV Remote Alternative

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Swiss company Salt has launched an Apple TV remote alternative with more buttons and less touch pad.

Thanks to Apple’s input, the alternative remote doesn’t require any pairing with ‌Apple TV‌ and works out of the box. It includes directional arrows in place of the Siri Remote’s glass Touch surface, a power button in addition to a Menu button, along with separate volume and channel rockers and traditional media playback buttons.

Supposedly Apple even worked with Salt to create this.

File Speeds Using iOS Files are Terrible Compared to Finder

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Redditor u/j1ggl did a test to compare Finder and Files using a folder of 2048 texture files. The folder was only 1MB, but iOS Files still handled different tasks way worse than Finder. For example, using the app’s built-in zip function, zipping the folder took 3 seconds with Finder and 38 seconds with Files. Unzipping took 7 seconds versus 42 seconds, respectively.

Conclusion: The Files app for iPhone/iPad is badly optimized and not ready to handle a larger amount of files, even though they take up just 1MB in total. It is also worth noting that the iPad required several reboots to even achieve the zipping and unzipping of the folder.

How the De-Aging Process Behind ‘The Irishman’ Worked

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Filmed by Martin Scorsese, The Irishman tells the story of Mafia hitman Frank Sheeran and the disappearance of Jimmy Hoffa.

Their first concern was making sure the actors would be comfortable. “The process doesn’t use animation, it actually records the faces of actors with every nuance of their performance and replaces them with the younger CGI faces,” Prieto explains. “The advantage is that you don’t have to place motion-capture marks on the actors’ faces or helmets with little cameras. In fact, they don’t even wear makeup. It feels perfectly natural to them. This was a prerequisite for Scorsese — he did not want the actors to be encumbered with any VFX paraphernalia.”

It’s a long, 3.5-hour movie but I thought it was good.