Recent Articles By Bryan Chaffin [RSS]

Apple Loves Outdated Tech and Gives up on Social Media, Plus Electrified LEGO - ACM 403

· · Apple Context Machine Podcast

Apple Context Machine Logo

Apple appears to be increasingly comfy offering yesterday’s technology at today’s prices, and Bryan and Jeff are all cranky about it. They also talk about Brixo, chrome-plated and electrified LEGO bricks, and Apple’s new Clips app and what it means for social media. Oh, and Jeff had to edit out an F-bomb because Bryan got all ranty.

Apple Facebook Commercial Promotes Spring 2017 Apple Watch Bands

· · Cool Stuff Found

Apple has a new commercial promoting its Spring 2017 collection of new Apple Watch bands. The spot hasn’t appeared on YouTube yet, but it is available on Facebook. In 15 seconds, the commercial flashes through the new bands launched on Tuesday and encourages people to “choose a model” and “try a band.” It was posted with the tagline, “New Apple Watch bands are here. Explore the possibilities,” Also, it should make my friend John Kheit sit back and blow bubbles of contentment until the cows come home. Or until this week’s episode of Pop.0, whichever comes first.

New Apple Watch bands are here. Explore the possibilities.

Posted by Apple on Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Global Fleet of Apple Stores Explode in this Animated Timeline

· · Cool Stuff Found

Check out Apple Stores Worldwide, an “Interactive map showing the impressive expansion of Apple stores” by Retale.com. It’s a map of the globe that shows the year-by-year expansion of Apple’s fleet of retail stores. Each one blossoms like a nuclear hit in a war game, and you can hover over any one of them to get details about the store. Apple’s foray into retail is one of the biggest corporate success stories of the last 15 years, and seeing it play out over the course of a few seconds is interesting. In the screenshot below, I highlighted a random store in Brisbane, Australia.

Global Fleet of Apple Stores Explode in this Animated Timeline

Here Are 14 New Apple Watch Bands Announced Tuesday

· · Product News

Apple Watch Spring 2017 Collection

Apple launched several new Apple Watch bands Tuesday for Spring 2017. The collection includes new Striped Woven Nylon and Sport bands, standalone Nike Sport bands, and new flavors of Apple Watch Hermès bands. At the same time, Apple has sharply limited the number of out-of-the-box choices for new Apple Watch Series 2 purchases. Here’s what they look like.

PSA: Don't Charge Your iPhones in the Bath

· · Editorial

An iPhone in a bath tub

Folks, don’t charge your iPhones or iPads (or other smartphones, if that’s your thing) in the bath. While most people likely understand that, London’s The Daily Mail reported that Richard Bull from Ealing in west London died of accidental electrocution while charging his iPhone in the tub.

Drake Crushes Apple Music Record with 89.9 Million Streams, Beating Spotify

· · News

Drake's More Life cover

Drake set a new record for first-day streams with his new album, More Life, which was streamed 89.9 million times on the first day. That was not only a record-setting debut, it crushed Spotify’s first-day totals for the album of 61.3 million streams. That’s significant, because that was itself a record for the larger streaming service.

A Ventilated Lapdesk Designed for Apple MacBooks

· · Cool Stuff Found

Check out iSkelter’s Slate 2.0, a ventilated lapdesk designed for Apple’s MacBook line. iSkelter has a number of products for Apple users, as well as a large ventilated laptop desk designed for PC gamers with ginormous PC laptops. The ones aimed at Mac users include slots to hold an iPad (or book or whatever), and you can choose to get it with a mousepad, a naked work space, or a white board(!!). They’re made from bamboo, and are priced starting at $59.95. Models with a mousepad are available through Amazon Prime for $69.95.

A Ventilated Lapdesk Designed for Apple MacBooks

Uber's Bad News Now Includes a Ride that Ended in a Fireball

· · Cool Stuff Found

Uber has been delivering punishing, but self-inflicted wounds for weeks now. This week, the company can add the bad PR of a ride that ended in a fireball. A literal fireball. Firstly, the Uber driver in the car shown below—and his passenger—walked away with minor injuries. Secondly, the driver of a car hit moments before—and not shown in this video—did receive more serious injuries, according to local TV station KOMONews. The video below was captured by surveillance cameras when the Uber driver came speeding through a Seattle gas station, striking a gas pump and causing a fireball. On a side note, how amazing is gas station technology that the whole place didn’t go up in flames? Uber wanted folks to know this particular driver has been removed from its app. So there’s that.

XKCD's Snarky Look at Home Surveillance Virtual Assistants

· · Cool Stuff Found

Home virtual assistants like Amazon’s Alexa, Google Home, and to a lesser extent, Apple’s Siri, are loved by some and feared by others. Here at TMO, our staff falls on both sides of that line. Most of us love Amazon’s Echo/Dot/Alexa, while I personally hold my nose at the underlying technology and fear its potential for home surveillance. I should add that most of our staff also think I’m flat out wrong. Note that I’m OK with that. Of all the virtual assistant companies, only Apple has a stated position of protecting our privacy, but the company also hasn’t released hardware like Amazon Echo or Dot. Online comic strip XKCD took a snarky, succinct— and yet oblique—look at the subject. I’d love to know what our readers think.

XKCD’s Snarky Look at Home Surveillance Virtual Assistants

These MIDI Scores Also Tell a Visual Story

· · Cool Stuff Found

Check out this awesome video by Mari Lesterberg (via Laughing Squid). It’s a MIDI Drawing where she draws a story—about Mario, in this case—with MIDI notes. That makes it both a soundtrack and a story, which is intensely clever. She has many more, including a still dedication to Frank Zappa, stories about cars and trains, and childrens’ fairy tales. Ms. Lesterberg is a performing musician, which is always awesome, but these MIDI projects are just too cool.

And Now for Some Old Fashioned 'Digital' Numeral Displays

· · Cool Stuff Found

I’ve been on a big anachronism kick lately, so it really resonated when John Kheit turned me on to this video of analog numeral displays. This is the sort of thing we had to look digital before we had digital. Or something like that. As noted by Boing Boing, this technology is called “edge lit digital display,” and it’s part analog and part mechanical. In the video, you can hear the mechanical relays clicking and buzzing away as they control which digit is being displayed. The video comes from Steve Johnson, who runs a website deliciously Steve’s Antique Technology. Steve, you had me at “Antique Technology.” He’s got a lot of info on these old systems.

Android Insecurity, Messaging Anachronisms, and Legacy Apple Auctions - ACM 402

· · Apple Context Machine Podcast

Apple Context Machine Logo

Bryan and Jeff try and wrap their heads around a world where malware is being installed on Android devices in the supply chain, before customers even get the devices. They also take a trip into the anachronistic world of sealing wax and sealing wax stamps, as well as the fascinating world where 40 year-old Apple I computers are auctioned for hundreds of thousands of dollars.