Recent Articles By Bryan Chaffin [RSS]

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.

iOS 10 and Swift 3 Starter Bundle: $45

· · TMO Deals

iOS 10 & Swift 3 Starter Bundle

We have a deal on  the iOS 10 and Swift 3 Starter Bundle. It’s a collection of five training courses for learning how to code for iOS 10 using Swift 3, including The Complete iOS 10 Developer, iOS 10 Projects: Build Amazing Apps with Apple’s Newest iOS, Swift 3 Fundamentals & Essential Training, iOS 10, Swift 3 Hands On Features, and Master iOS 10 + Swift 3 & Create Apps. These developer courses retail for $654, but you can get them for $45 through our deal.

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

Private Internet Access VPN 2-Year Subscription: $59.95

· · TMO Deals

Private Internet Access VPN

We have a deal for VPN fans, a two-year subscription to Private Internet Access. With this plan, you get unlimited bandwidth on up to 5 devices, including Mac, iOS, Android, Windows, and Linux PCs. There are more than 3,300 servers in 25 countries to choose from, and the subscription comes with a variety of services. Check out the details on the deal listing. The price through our deal is $59.95, some 63% off retail.

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.

Gekkopod Flexible iPhone, GoPro, and Android Mount

· · TMO Deals

Gekkopod Flexible iPhone Mount. Also works with GoPro and Android devices

Check out the Gekkopod, a flexible mount and stand for iPhones, Android devices (if that’s your thing), and GoPros. The feet and arms are flexible so they can wrap your device and grab hold of wherever you need to set up your device. Check out the video below to see some of its uses. It’s $19.99 through our deal, with two color options.

Check out the Machine Apple Stores Use to Calibrate iPhone Screens

· · Cool Stuff Found

Motherboard published a photo of a machine Apple Stores reportedly use to calibrate iPhone screens, Touch ID sensors, and cameras. The photo was sent to Motherboard‘s Jason Koebler after he offered a photo bounty on it. He believes it’s a key part of how Apple maintains a lock on iPhone screen replacement, which is probably true. One can argue whether or not Apple should maintain that lock, but judging from the kludgy look this device has, it may be necessary. The tipster told the site he was a former Apple Genius, and he described the machine as, “not very Apple-like at all.” Check out the full piece for more information and a larger version of the image.

Check out the Machine Apple Stores Use to Calibrate iPhone Screens

Someone Is Slipping Malware Into Android Devices in the Supply Chain

· · Editorial

Android assembly line with a hacker breaking into them

Get this: someone is slipping malware into Android devices while they’re still in the supply chain. Security firm Check Point found evidence that malware, adnets, spyware, and even ransomware was installed on some 36 Android devices before customers touched them. Devices from Samsung, LG, Xiaomi, ZTE, Lenovo, Asus, and Oppo were included in Check Point’s report. Bryan Chaffin explains.

Waterproof Smartphone Bag With Music Out Jack + Waterproof Headphones

· · TMO Deals

Waterproof Smartphone Bag With Music Out Jack + Waterproof Headphones

It’s getting warmer in on the top half of the planet, and we have a deal to make your spring and summer music listening a wee bit easier. It’s for a waterproof iPhone bag (or your Android device, if that’s your thing) with both a music-out jack and included waterproof headphones. The bag has a touch-sensitive screen and is waterproof up to 60 feet deep. It’s $28.99 through us, 58% off retail.

Mazda Will Add Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, Retroactive for Some Models

· · Cool Stuff Found

Mazda announced Monday that it will (finally) add support for Apple’s CarPlay and Google’s Android Auto technologies. Cars.com reported (via AppleInsider) that Mazda was short on specifics, but that support for both platforms will be retroactive with models that have Mazda Connect. That platform first appeared in in the 2014 Mazda3. There’s no specific timeline for the rollout, but Mazda made the announcement as part of the 2017 introduction of the Mazda CX-5 (pictured below). The company did say a “potentially minimal hardware addition” may be necessary, but it didn’t explain what that might be or how much it will cost. Cars.com also noted that once Mazda is on board, Toyota will be the last major holdout to support these mobile connectivity platforms from Apple and Google.

Mazda Will Add Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, Retroactive for Some Models

Apple Says It with Stickers in Real World with App Store Collection and Commercial

· · Cool Stuff Found

Apple launched a new commercial Monday called Say It with Stickers, a spot that imagines iMessage Stickers in the real world. The piece shows a variety of (mostly young) people running around slapping stickers on their friends, as well as the people and places they see. It’s designed to promote Stickers in iMessage, a feature Apple added to iMessage in IOS 10. It allows users to send Stickers to one another, a feature first made popular in social networking apps like WhatsApp, Line, SnapChat, and others. To go with the commercial, Apple has a collection of Stickers on the App Store also titled “Say It with Stickers.” That collection features more than 40 Sticker apps, some free, but most for a buck or two. It’s a fun commercial, and I heartily applaud Apple promoting Stickers. They’re a great way to express yourself and add an additional layer to simple text chats.

Steve Jobs's Early History with Apple in 33 Pics

· · Cool Stuff Found

BusinessInsider put together 33 pics that explore Steve Jobs’s history with Apple. Most of them are interesting pics from the 1970s and 1980s, with a few more from the 1990s through 2007. My favorites include a smug-looking Steve Jobs next to John Sculley with Macintosh and Lisa, as well as a great pic of Steve Jobs and Bill Gates before their relationship took a negative turn over Windows. It’s a fun look through history, but I do have to do a mostly pedantic quibble about one thing. In its mention of Apple’s 1984 commercial, BusinessInsider said, “It aired during the third quarter of Super Bowl XVIII, and never again.” Apple played it one other time—in fact, the first time—in a local TV market: Twin Falls, Idaho, in December of 1983. That was done so the commercial would quality for 1983 awards. That’s something many folks get wrong. Still, the pictorial is a fun read.

Steve Jobs’s Early History with Apple in 33 Pics

Block Your Webcams with These Magnetic Covers

· · TMO Deals

Nope Webcam Covers

We have a very timely deal for you today on Nope Webcam Covers. If you want something more elegant than Stickies or tape to cover your webcams, Nope Webcam Covers stick to your Mac and rotate to cover your webcam when you aren’t using it. For $14.99, you’ll get two Nope and four Nope Minis, and you can choose your finish (Gunmetal, Silver, or Silver and Gunmetal). Check out the details on the deal listing.

JP Morgan Buys CurrentC Technology for the Lawls

· · Cool Stuff Found

Then there was CurrentC and its parent company MCX. This was the company that was going to larn Apple a lesson with its so-called “Apple Pay.” Wait, you don’t remember that? That could be because CurrentC was a big phat failure predicated on what retailers wanted rather than what consumers want. Enter Wall Street giant JPMorgan. That company bought a stake in MCX in August of 2016—because it was doing so well, I suppose. And on Friday, the bank announced it had purchased what’s left of MCX’s technology, its FinTech payment technology. Again, because it’s so awesome. JP Morgan plans to add FinTech to Chase Pay, its own soon-to-be-erstwhile mobile payment platform. Or maybe I’m just cynical. Either way…😂

JP Morgan Buys CurrentC Technology for the Lawls

Grain Audio OEHP On-Ear Headphones: $69.99

· · TMO Deals

Grain Audio OEHP On-Ear Headphones

We have a deal for you today on the Grain Audio OEHP On-Ear Headphones. These minimalist, solid wood headphones feature proprietary drivers with Neodymium magnets and CCAW voice coils. They also don’t artificially boost the bass. You can get them through us for $69.99, some 64% off retail.

That Time Steve Jobs Taught Guy Kawasaki a Life Lesson

· · Cool Stuff Found

Then there was that time the late Steve Jobs taught Guy Kawasaki a life lesson. It comes in the form of a Quora answer posted by Guy Kawasaki and republished by The Huffington Post. In it, he talks about the time Steve Jobs walked up to him with a nameless companion and asked a question about a company. Mr. Kawasaki rattled off his negative opinion of that company, and Steve Jobs then introduced him to his companion, the CEO of that company. “Thank you, Steve.” 😂 There was a lesson in that incident, though, and I think it makes a very good read. So go read it.

That Time Steve Jobs Taught Guy Kawasaki a Life Lesson