Recent Articles By Bryan Chaffin [RSS]

Apple's Using a Lexus for Self-Driving Car Tests

· · Cool Stuff Found

Bloomberg got pictures of a Lexus that reportedly belongs to Apple. An unnamed source gave the news outlet photos of the Lexus and claimed it emerged from an Apple facility known to be part of Project Titan. That’s Apple’s self-driving car project. The car is a  Lexus RX450h SUV, and it has a sporty, “top-of-the-range 64-channel LIDAR, at least two radar and a series of cameras.” One must extend a measure of trust to the unnamed source, but it seems reasonable to imagine this is an Apple vehicle. If not, it’s going to be very like the kind of system Apple would be using to develop its self-driving technology. Apple veteran (legend) Bob Mansfield has refocused and pared down the Project Titan team. Its exclusive focus as of now is thought to be developing a self-driving system before moving on to an actual car. The long and the short of this story, however, is that people care what Apple is doing, even if it’s just testing technology using off-the-shelf components and a nice SUV. Bloomberg has more pics and a GIF of the car.

Apple’s Using a Lexus for Self-Driving Car Tests

Laurene Powell Jobs Will Speak at Code Conference

· · Cool Stuff Found

Laurene Powell Jobs will be appearing on stage at Code Conference, the conference run by Re/code. The widow of Steve Jobs will be appearing on stage with Senator Kamala Harris (D-CA). The two will be talking about philanthropy, including Silicon Valley’s efforts in that realm. According to Re/code, Ms. Powell Jobs will, “talk about her approach to philanthropy and investing, why she’s interested in working with ‘social entrepreneurs’ – and what she thinks other people can do with their time and money to help tackle big systemic problems.” In other words, it’s some big picture stuff, which what some people do when they’re worth an estimated US$20 billion. Code takes place from May 30th to June 1st, 2017, in Rancho Palos Verdes, California.

Laurene Powell Jobs Will Speak at Code Conference

Jimmy Iovine Wants Apple Music to Be a Movement in Pop Culture

· · News

Dr. Dre, Lady Gaga, Jimmy Iovine

Music legend and Apple executive Jimmy Iovine wants nothing less than for Apple Music to be, “an overall movement in popular culture.” Apple Music is Apple’s streaming music service, but the company has been running original video content, too. Not so much as, say, Amazon or Netflix, but Bloomberg said its an experiment that could get bigger.

Have United Miles, But Don't Want to Fly the (Un)Friendly Skies? Buy Apple Gear Instead

· · Cool Stuff Found

Do you have United frequent flyer miles, but don’t want to risk being dragged bloody and battered from a United flight? It turns out you can buy Apple gear with your United miles. United’s MileagePlus program has an entire Apple Store that allows you to trade your miles for iPhones, iPads, Macs, Apple Watches, Apple TVs, and even accessories. For instance, a 32GB iPad Pro (9.7-inch) Wi-Fi model is currently 79,900 miles. An aluminum Apple Watch with a Sport Band is 53,200 miles. AirPods are 21,200 miles, while MacBook Pros start at 173,200 miles. The store shops like Apple’s own, allowing you to choose options and configure your device as you want it. Plus, you won’t get thrown off a flight, thrown to the floor, or dragged out by your feet, which counts as a big win in my book. [Update: @markelp noted that Mileage Plus members with “status” get better deals on this gear. He noted, for instance, that the same Apple Watch I mentioned is 49,900 miles.]

Have United Miles, But Don’t Want to Fly the (Un)Friendly Skies? Buy Apple Gear Instead

Dear Facebook, Snuff Films Aren't 'Content'

· · Editorial

Facebook Angry Emoji

I have a message for Facebook: snuff films aren’t “content.” Videos and streams of humans murdering other humans aren’t “content.” Any outlook that considers such videos “content” is morally bankrupt, and Bryan Chaffin believes it is rooted in a business mind-set that sees all of our lives as product to plunder.

Stephen Colbert Spoofs Samsung Galaxy S8's Revolutionary 'No Fire'

· · Cool Stuff Found

Check out The Late Show with Stephen Colbert’s Samsung spoof. From the narrator: “When our engineers designed this phone, they asked one simple question: how can we design a smartphone that won’t catch on fire?” Well yeah that’s a good question. And the answer? “The Galaxy S8 has been completely overhauled with revolutionary new features like larger screen display, better camera, and no fire.” 😂 I’d add that we know of. Yet. But that’s just nitpicking. It’s a fun bit of satire at one the expense of one of my least favorite companies. Enjoy!

And Now for the Leather Desk Pad and Wooden Apple Pencil Stand

· · Cool Stuff Found

Pad & Quill launched a new line of leather and wood desk accessories aimed at Apple users. This includes a leather desk pad ($174.95), a leather mouse pad ($49.95), and a Wooden Apple Pencil Holder ($39.95). I like Pad & Quill’s products, and I definitely like leather and wood. This product line jumped out at me—now if I could only have a desk that was neat and tidy enough for such things. Everything is discounted for the introduction at the above-mentioned prices, and there are other products in the series, too.

And Now for the Leather Desk Pad and Wooden Apple Pencil Stand

Macintosh Original Andy Hertzfeld to Keynote Vintage Computer Festival April 29th

· · Cool Stuff Found

Andy Hertzfeld from Steve Jobs’s original Macintosh team will be presenting a keynote address at Vintage Computer Festival Southeast 5.0 in Roswell, Georgia. The event takes place on April 29th and 30th, and Mr. Hertzfeld will be speaking on April 29th. This event is dedicated to vintage computers and includes booths, consignments, hands-on activities, exhibits, concessions, and speakers. In addition to Mr. Hertzfeld, Tandy executive Don French will be offering his own keynote presentation. Andy Hertzfeld left Apple in 1984, and in the years since he cofounded Radius (1986), General Magic (1990) and Eazel (via Wikipedia). He also took a lead role in the creation of Google+. Admission for the event is $10 for one day and $15 for two days. Kids 17 and under get in free with a parent or guardian, and students get in free with an ID. The pic below is of Steve Wozniak and Andy Hertzfeld from back in the day.

Macintosh Original Andy Hertzfeld to Keynote Vintage Computer Festival April 29th

Alphabet's Waymo Offers 'Early Riders' Driverless Rides in Phoenix

· · Cool Stuff Found

Alphabet’s driverless car company—Waymo—announced an “Early Rider” program for its driverless cars. The company has invited the general public to apply to be part of the program, saying “We’re searching for early riders in parts of the Phoenix metropolitan area, including Chandler, Tempe, Mesa and Gilbert. Come join us in making it safer and easier for everyone to get around!” The feel-good video below features a family that participated in small-scale tests, and Waymo said it would accept a “limited number” of additional participants in the expanded program. Alphabet CEO Larry Page has been an enthusiastic pursuer of driverless car technology since before Google, and Waymo’s goal is to launch a ride-hailing service based on its driverless platform. Apple, Didi, Uber, and a variety of other tech companies are all invested in a similar vision. Waymo’s testing in Arizona is a sharp reminder that a driverless future is marching inexorably closer. You can apply at Waymo’s site.

That Time Tim Cook Spanked Uber CEO Kalanick for Breaking the Rules

· · Editorial

The Uber App on an iPhone

You ever hear the one about Tim Cook bending Uber CEO Travis Kalanick over his knee and spanking him? It happened in 2015, but went unreported until Monday. The New York Times offered an account of Tim Cook threatening to pull Uber’s app from the App Store if it didn’t stop behaving like a spoiled bully on at least one front. And, according to the story, Mr. Kalanick cried uncle.