Fiber Optic Breakthrough Could Make Internet 100X Faster

· Andrew Orr · Link

Researchers have had a fiber optic breakthrough, and it could significantly speed up existing networks and boost efficiency. The secret is twisted light.

Fibre optic cables use pulses of light to transmit information, but currently information can only be stored through the colour of the light, and whether the wave is horizontal or vertical.

By twisting light into a spiral, engineers effectively create a third dimension for light to carry information: the level of orbital angular momentum, or spin. “It’s like DNA, if you look at the double helix spiral,” said Min Gu from RMIT University. “The more you can use angular momentum the more information you can carry.”

I wonder how much current ISPs would throttle this 100X faster internet?

Apple's Original TV Shows Coming to 100 Countries in 2019

· Jeff Gamet · Link

Jennifer Anniston and Reese Witherspoon are coming to Apple TV

Apple’s original TV shows are launching in more than 100 countries, including the U.S., in 2019. That’s according to sources speaking with The Information. They say three “people familiar with the company’s plans” shared those details. From the report:

Apple is working to launch its new TV service in the U.S. in the first half of next year and will make the app available globally in the following months, the people said. It will include Apple’s original programs free to Apple device owners and also will enable users to sign up for TV network subscriptions owned by other companies, just as Amazon Prime Video subscribers can do through the Amazon Channels feature in the U.S., U.K., Germany and Japan.

I still find it weird that Apple would give away all that content, especially since people are already willing to pay for Apple Music. Still, more reports are coming out saying all those TV shows will be a free perk for owning an iPhone, iPad, or Apple TV.

Ming Chi Kuo Says Apple Working on iPad Mini 5

· Bryan Chaffin · Link

A cloudy Apple crystal ball

TF International Securities analyst Ming Chi Kuo says Apple is working on an update to iPad Mini, and that loooooooooooooooong-awaited AirPower and updated AirPods could be released sometime in the next 6 months. Those devices may or may not be mentioned at Apple’s October 30th media event in Brooklyn, but new iPad Pro models with USB-C ports will definitely be there. According to Ming Chi Kuo, that is. Juli Clover has details at MacRumors. I’ll believe it all when I see it. Here’s a snippet:

Kuo says that Apple will launch a new version of the iPad mini, which has not seen an update in several years. Kuo says the device will feature an upgraded processor and a lower-cost panel.

Kuo does not know, however, if Apple will announce it during the media event or launch it sometime later in the year/early next year, but if an updated model is in the works, it makes sense for it to launch alongside the iPad Pro .

Apple Promotes 13 Pre-Release Reviews of iPhone XR

· Bryan Chaffin · Link

iPhone XR smartphone available in several colors

Apple put out a press release Tuesday promoting 13 different pre-release reviews of iPhone XR. As expected, they’re all positive reviews full of gushing commentary about Apple’s new entry-level XS-era device.

Apple Has Been Doubling Down on HDR Video

· John Martellaro · Link

HDR - Dolby Vision example

This tidbit is from February, but it has some interesting facts. First, H.266 is in the works and will offer 30% better compression than the H.265 standard used for 4K TV. It’ll be needed for 8K TV.

Plus, “Jason Power, Sr Director of marketing/broadcast at Dolby Labs, said that the progress made by Dolby Vision was further boosted when the codec was accepted at CES by Apple for its portfolio of video products, and where Apple was aggressively promoting High Dynamic Range (HDR) as ‘the new normal’ for broadcasters. There were now more than 200 titles available in HDR from Apple.” No wonder the iPhone XS/Max and XR both fully support HDR10 and Dolby Vision.

Bloomberg Spy Chip Piece Doesn't Pass Peer Review

· Andrew Orr · Link

With the famous Bloomberg spy chip article, other news organizations have attempted to copy Bloomberg’s research. But they haven’t gotten the same results.

According to a company source, editorial staff has been “frustrated” that competing news organizations haven’t managed to match the scoop. Sources tell the Erik Wemple Blog that the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal and The [Washington] Post have each sunk resources into confirming the story, only to come up empty-handed.

In science, peer review is an important part of scientific research. If other scientists follow the exact methodology you used, and they get the same results, your experiment is valid. But if they don’t get the same results, there is something wrong with your experiment.

8 Advanced Photo Editing Techniques for iPhone

· Andrew Orr · Link

Gizmodo has a great list of 8 advanced photo editing techniques for the iPhone.

You might already be familiar with the quick fixes you can apply to your pictures after you’ve snapped them, right on your phone—but if you want to take your mobile photo editing to the next level there are tools and apps that can help here too.

The editing techniques include: Combining photos together (compositing), removing objects from photos, adjusting the depth of field, adjusting white balance, brightening shadows, healing, correcting image distortion, and photo pixelation.

Private Internet Access VPN 2-Year Subscription: $55.55

· Bryan Chaffin · TMO Deals

Private Internet Access VPN

We have a deal on a 2-year subscription to Private Internet Access VPN. This VPN uses Blowfish CBC encryption to protect your data, and it works with Mac, iOS, Windows, Android, and Linux. You can get a 2 year subscription for $55.55. There are also 1 and 3 year options available on the deal listing.

Companies Should Have a Chief Ethics Officer

· Andrew Orr · Link

Who will teach ethics to Silicon Valley? Kara Swisher asks this in her column for The New York Times. A title of Chief Ethics Officer should become the norm.

Grappling with what to say and do about the disasters they themselves create is only the beginning. Then there are the broader issues that the denizens of Silicon Valley expect their employers to have a stance on: immigration, income inequality, artificial intelligence, automation, transgender rights, climate change, privacy, data rights and whether tech companies should be helping the government do controversial things. It’s an ethical swamp out there.

I think the answer to this is US. It’s up to American citizens to elect responsible politicians who will “nudge” corporations into having ethical and privacy standards.

Here's How Much Apple Charges for iPhone XR Repairs

· Jeff Gamet · Link

If you break your iPhone XR screen get ready to shell out US$199 to get it replaced. If you do any other damage to your new iPhone it’ll cost $399 to get fixed. That’s assuming you don’t have AppleCare+. Screen repairs with Apple’s extended warranty plan cost $29, and other repairs are $99. The moral of the story: Put a case on your iPhone XR, and if you think there’s any chance you may drop and break it, shell out the $199 for AppleCare+.

iOS 12.1 to Address iPhone Front Camera Skin Smoothing Effect

· Jeff Gamet · Link

iPhone XR in black, blue, and silver

Complaints about the front-facing camera on the iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max, and iPhone XR smoothing away skin details in selfies apparently has a fix coming. Apple told the Verge it’ll be part of iOS 12.1, an update that’s currently in beta testing. From the Verge’s iPhone XR review:

Apple told me that the forthcoming iOS 12.1 update, currently in public beta, will address the issue of the front camera appearing to smooth out skin by picking a sharper base frame for Smart HDR, but I wasn’t able to test it yet.

That sounds like a reasonable fix for what some see as a problem with photos on the new iPhone models. Also, the Verge review says the iPhone XR is a really nice phone. Pre-order deliveries and in-store sales start this Friday, October 26th.

Intel's 9th Generation Chips Confront Moore's Law

· John Martellaro · Link

Intel 8th gen Core.

Moore’s Law appears to be coming to a grinding halt, and Intel is confronting that reality with new ideas to speed up it’s 9th generation CPUs. The Verge writes: “But for the most part, the new chips have the same things last year’s chips had: more cores. And the reason is pretty simple: Intel still hasn’t managed to move on from its 14nm manufacturing node to the next step, its repeatedly delayed 10nm process.”

Saudi Arabia Had a Mole Inside Twitter

· Andrew Orr · Link

The New York Times reports that Saudi Arabia “groomed a Saudi employee at Twitter” to help spy on certain user accounts, presumably including that of Jamal Khashoggi.

Many Saudis had hoped that Twitter would democratize discourse by giving everyday citizens a voice, but Saudi Arabia has instead become an illustration of how authoritarian governments can manipulate social media to silence or drown out critical voices while spreading their own version of reality.

Once Arab Spring happened back in 2010-2011, I think that was the moment that governments—authoritarian and otherwise—realized the power of social media as a force for the public. And of course some governments don’t like that.

The White House Encourages Public Service for Silicon Valley

· Andrew Orr · Link

Today the White House will talk with technology companies with a plea to make it easier for tech workers to do public service in government.

For the Trump administration, the hope is that private companies might encourage employees to take leaves of absence to help modernize state and federal agencies — bringing a Silicon Valley sensibility to challenges like improving veterans’ health care and combating cybersecurity threats.

This sounds like a shockingly good idea for the current administration, and maybe it will help to deflate the Silicon Valley bubble a bit.

Jobs at Apple: A Brand New Design

· Andrew Orr · Link

The Jobs at Apple web page has a new design, and there’s a video that gives you a look at what’s like to work for Apple. There are links to teams, Apple Retail, an About page, and students.

This is where some of the world’s smartest, most passionate people create the world’s most innovative products and experiences. Join us and you’ll do the best work of your life — and make a difference in other people’s lives.

Sir Jony Ive Interviewed by Financial Times

· Bryan Chaffin · Link

Apple Chief Design Officer Sir Jony Ive was interviewed by The Financial Times of London. The first part of the story can be skipped, since it’s about waiting, meetings past, and snacks, but the second half includes some interesting comments on Apple Watch. Here’s a snippet:

“I think we have been lulled into this sense that people will accept new products and services very quickly, and I don’t believe that’s true at all,” [Sir Jony] says. “Very often, so much of what a product ends up being able to do isn’t what you initially thought. If you’re creating something new, it is inevitable there will be consequences that were not foreseen — some that will be great, and then there are those that aren’t as positive. There is a responsibility to try and predict as many of the consequences as possible and I think you have a moral responsibility to try to understand, try to mitigate those that you didn’t predict.”

Populele - the Smart Ukulele: $179 [Update]

· Bryan Chaffin · TMO Deals

Populele Smart Ukelele

We have a fun deal of the day for you, Populele. It’s a smart ukelele, by which I mean it interacts with an app. It also has LED-lit frets that work with the app to help teach you how to play. You also get real-time feedback and correction via sound-responsive technology. It works with iOS and Android, and it’s $179 through our deal. [Update: our deal includes the Accessory Kit that features a capo, canvas case, 2 picks, a string set, and a MicroUSB charging cable.]

Experiment: Go Without an iPhone For a Week. Apple Watch Only

· John Martellaro · Link

iPhone 8 and Apple Watch Series 3

Could you do it? Give up your iPhone and depend on just an Apple Watch? “Loup Ventures went phoneless last week. That is, some of the Loup team turned off our iPhones for a full week and only used Apple Watches for connectivity. It was freeing. And frustrating.”  There’s a lot of substance in this report, including a discussion of the “Eisenhower matrix” a “four-quadrant graph … meant to help people analyze where they’re spending time.” Fascinating stuff.

Scanmarker Air, a Wireless OCR Pen Scanner for $89

· Bryan Chaffin · TMO Deals

Scanmarker Air Wireless OCR Pen Scanner

Check out today’s deal of the day on Scanmarker Air. It’s a wireless OCR pen scanner, meaning a scanner you hold in your hands, and it does optical character recognition. This device can scan one line per second, and it can also translate text in 40 different languages. The Scanmarker Air is $89 through our deal.

Humans are Slowly Killing the World's Biggest Organism Pando

· Andrew Orr · Link

Pando is the world’s biggest organism. It’s a forest made up of genetically identical aspen trees numbering 47,000. Scientists think it’s anywhere between 80,000 and 1 million years old. And humans are slowly killing it.

“People are at the center of that failure,” Paul Rogers, an ecologist Utah State University who co-authored the paper, told Earther. Nearby ranchers have allowed their cattle to roam and snacked voraciously on young stems, and as human populations have grown in the area, deer hunting has decreased for safety reasons. But thriving deer populations wreck havoc on young aspen stems. For the past 40 years, it appears the root system has not been able to reproduce fast enough to keep up with the decimation.