Recent Articles By Bryan Chaffin [RSS]

On Getting to the Bottom of Google Duplex

· · Link

Diagram for Google Duplex

This, from John Gruber:

But everything about the way Google announced this — the curious details of the calls released so far, the fact that no one in the media has been allowed to see an actual call happen live — makes me suspect that for one or more reasons, the current state of Duplex is less than what Sundar Pichai implied on stage.

This was my thought from the get-go, and John Gruber does a great job of walking through the reasons. He also explains that he’s not bagging on Google’s ability to get to a true human-sounding AI that can book our appointments, and I agree with him there, too. There’s simply a lot that doesn’t add up about the Google Duplex demo and the information about that demo that’s come to light. It’s a good read I recommend.

A Key Organizer that Pairs with Your iPhone for Tracking: $39.99

· · TMO Deals

KeySmart Pro with Tile Smart Location

We have a deal on the KeySmart Pro with Tile Smart Location. The KeySmart Pro is a key organizer that works a lot like pocket knife. Unfold your key, use it, fold it back up, no mess. This model has an embedded Tile Smart Location device that pairs with your iPhone via the Tile app. That means you never need to wonder, “Where’d I put my keys.” It will even play a sound for you. It’s $39.99 through us, 33% off retail.

goTenna Lets You Send Secure Messages and GPS Coords without Service: $155

· · TMO Deals

Two goTenna Devices

We have a deal on an interesting device called goTenna. It’s essentially your own private network for sending encrypted messages and GPS coordinates to friends, with no local service required. You pair it with your iPhone or Android device, and then use the goTenna app to send messages to your goTenna friends. Check out the video. Our deal is on two goTennas for $155, 13% off retail.

Apple's New 'Taxi Driver' Commercial: Animoji and Great Song from Korean Band Hyukoh

· · Cool Stuff Found

Apple has a new commercial out called Taxi Driver to promote Animoji. It’s an intense animated spot with a drawn romp through a city as the backdrop to the Animoji figures. But the reason I love this spot is the tune—called “Citizen Kane,” rather than Taxi Driver—by South Korean band Hyukoh. This isn’t super-produced K-Pop, either. Hyukoh is an indie band with real musicians playing music they wrote. 9to5Mac noted that Citizen Kane dropped over the weekend, a single for an upcoming Hyukoh EP. In any event, I am effectively obsessed with this tune, and I love Apple’s Animoji commercials. Your mileage may vary.

Samsung Thinks Galaxy S9 Is at Least Better than iPhone 6

· · Cool Stuff Found

Check it out. Samsung is positioning its two-month old flagship Galaxy S9 against an iPhone. And when I say “iPhone,” I mean iPhone 6 [via MacRumors]. The ad appears to be a pitch to owners of old iPhones, but it feels more like a Freudian slip to me. “This,” Samsung appears to believe, “is all we can do.” Even if the psychology behind the ad isn’t as twisted and warped as my Samsung-loathing mind wants it to be, comparing a brand new flagship device to a three-and-a-half year old competitor is terrible, awful, absurd positioning. Perhaps that’s part of why iPhone 7 is still selling as well as the Galaxy S9, let alone the iPhone 8, 8 Plus, and X, all of which handily outsell the Samsung device. Anyhoo, you can watch it and judge for yourself.

Unboxing Photos of a Pristine Original 1984 Macintosh

· · Cool Stuff Found

Oh, wow. This is so cool! I’m talking about photographs of an original Macintosh unboxing event. It wasn’t a “new in box” Mac, or anything, but it was an immaculately cared for device, including the 34 year old box! The owner recently sold the Mac to Imgur user edifyyo, who then documented his initial unboxing. How cool, right? He posted the pics in two batches, the first focusing on the box and unpacking the device. Part 2 included closeups of the Mac itself. As I mentioned up top, it was immaculately cared for, and even includes the original “ELECTRICALLY SAFETY CHECKED” sticker, which I can’t recall having seen before. Check it out! Thanks to Jim Tanous for the heads up.

Unboxing Photos of a Pristine Original 1984 Macintosh

StopTheMadness Safari Extension Keeps Websites from Blocking Mac Services

· · Cool Stuff Found

Do you have it when a website’s form blocks Safari’s autocomplete or autofill? Or sites that block control-click access to ordinary Mac services? Or—and why for the love of anything remotely holy or sane—copy/paste? Why on earth do you think it’s OK to stop me from copy/pasting? Like, when you use 1Password to make a 24 character password, but the site won’t let you paste it in for the confirmation field? I saw that one yesterday and about blew a gasket! ::pounds desk in righteous fury:: OK, I’m taking a deep breath, because developer Jeff Johnson has solved this with a Safari Extension called StopTheMadness [via Daring Fireball]. It re-enables all the normal Mac services in Safari, and you control which services you want on a site-by-site-basis if you wish. It’s $5 on the Mac App Store. I bought it immediately.

StopTheMadness Safari Extension Keeps Websites from Blocking Mac Services

Apple's Better Video for 2FA on Apple Devices

· · Cool Stuff Found

What Is 2FA?

A couple of days ago I wrote about a video Apple posted to Twitter on using 2FA with Apple devices. Really, it was an excuse to write about security, because it’s important. And that’s cool, because Apple has a new and MUCH better video on the same subject, and I’m going to write about it for the same reason. So, watch the video, make sure you have 2FA enabled on your Apple devices if you haven’t already. Then share a link to the tweet, or this article, or Apple’s KnowledgeBase article with all the people in your life who don’t already have 2FA activated.

Classic C1 iPhone X Case on Indiegogo Inspired by iMac G3

· · Cool Stuff Found

Check out the Classic C1, an iPhone X case inspired by the iMac G3. Why? Apparently getting an iMac G3 from his mom when he was a kid was this huge and awesome moment for the company’s founder. That’s great inspiration! The company—Spiegen—has already raised more than $112,000 on Indiegogo, blowing past their $5,000 goal with a month left to go. The $100,000 milestone was to add a model for iPhone 8, too. It has a two-layer design that looks like you’re peeking into the device, and I think it’s cool. Funding options that include a case start at $35, with shipping in June of 2018.

Portable USB-C Power Adapter and 6-Port Hub: $49

· · TMO Deals

CASA Hub PDC601 USB-C Power Adapter

We have a deal on the CASA Hub PDC601 USB-C Power Adapter, a USB-C power adapter for your MacBook that also has 6 ports, including: USB Type-C PD port, three USB 3.1 Type-A ports, SD Card slot, and a microSD Card slot. It’s small, too, at 3.6″ x 1.6″ x 0.7″, and 100 grams. It’s $49 through us, 16% off retail.

About Twitter's API Stupidity

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Bug with a Twitter coffee cup

I was going to write a rant—OK, another rant—about how stupid Twitter is being its APIs and third party apps. The company announced a change that will effectively render third party clients useless without change—this after the company killed its own Mac client. Twitter has confused its ^#%$ desire for me to use its service on a browser with my desire to do so. Because I do not want to. At all. Anyhoo, enter John Gruber, who already wrote the rant. It’s a good one.

To me this is like finding out you’re now required to access email entirely through a web browser. Sure, lots of people already do it that way and either prefer it or think it’s eh, just fine, who cares — but a lot of others hate it and find it completely disruptive to longstanding workflows.

Senate Net Neutrality, Nader's Whiff, Jony Watchman - ACM 462

· · Apple Context Machine Podcast

Apple Context Machine Logo

The U.S. Senate passed legislation that would restore Net Neutrality in the country, but Bryan Chaffin and Jeff Gamet explain why they don’t think it will go any further. They also break down Ralph Nader’s kind-of-weird whiff in complaining about Apple’s share buyback program. They cap the show with a look at how Sir Jony Ive is a watch-man, though Steve Jobs wasn’t involved with Apple Watch.

CINEMOOD Portable Movie Projector: $349

· · TMO Deals

CINEMOOD Portable Movie Projector

We have a deal on the CINEMOOD portable movie projector, a 3-inch device that streams Netflix and YouTube content. You can also download Netflix content for offline projecting. It’s $349 through our deal, 12% off retail.

Apple's Helpful Video on Using 2FA for Apple Devices

· · Cool Stuff Found

Screenshot from Apple 2FA Video

Check out this Apple video on using 2FA to secure your Apple devices. I won’t pass up an opportunity to promote device and service security. For instance—and while I’m here—DON’T REUSE PASSWORDS! So, anyway, Apple has this short (only 6 seconds) how-to video that gives you the quick run-down on using 2FA to protect your Apple ID. Really, it’s a pointer to a more in-depth piece on using 2FA, and that article has a lot of good information. TMO has some great articles on 2FA, too, and too, and too, and too. Many of our readers already know this stuff, but we all have friends and family who don’t. Pass it to them. Post a link in social media. Help the people who count on you for tech stuff learn more about protecting their digital #^%$!