Halide Explains Why iPhone XS Is a Whole New Camera

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Smart RAW examples from Halide

Apple is doing something entirely new with the camera in iPhone XS, and Sebastiaan de With, designer of the Halide app published a killer explanation of what those new things are. He also explains how they work and why those things are good—and where they are not good. He also explains the so-called smoothing effect that has been noted on selfies. The end of the piece is a pitch for Halide 1.0, Mr. de With’s camera app, that includes something he calls Smart RAW, but the technical analysis and explanation of what’s happening with the iPhone XS camera is a terrific read. It’s long, too, but well worth the read. Here’s a snippet:

An iPhone XS will over- and underexpose the shot, get fast shots to freeze motion and retain sharpness across the frame and grab every best part of all these frames to create one image. That’s what you get out of the iPhone XS camera, and that’s what makes it so powerful at taking photos in situations where you usually lose details because of mixed light or strong contrast.

Soon Instagram Could Share Your Location With Facebook

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Now that the Instagram founders are out of the way, Facebook is free to ruin the platform. Instagram was found prototyping a new feature that could share your location with Facebook.

That means your exact GPS coordinates collected by Instagram, even when you’re not using the app, would help Facebook to target you with ads and recommend you relevant content. Worryingly, the Location History sharing setting was defaulted to On in the prototype. The geo-tagged data would appear to users in their Facebook Profile’s Activity Log, which include creepy daily maps of the places you been.

If this happens I will seriously delete my Instagram account. F*ck Facebook, I’ll migrate fully to VSCO.

The Complete Arduino Starter Kit and Course Bundle

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The Complete Arduino Starter Kit & Course Bundle

We have a deal on the Complete Arduino Starter Kit and Course Bundle. As the name suggests, this bundle starts with the Complete Arduino Starter Kit, which includes the Uno R3 board, wires, LEDs, sensors, and more. It also includes six different Arduino training courses, with hundreds of lectures and 26.5 hours of video training. This bundle is $89.99 through us.

Check Out This 85,000 Piece Apple Park LEGO Set

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A master LEGO craftsman has completed a massive 85,000 piece Apple LEGO set. Shared on Flickr, Spencer_R said after seeing early drone footage of the Apple Park construction site, he felt he had found the right project to build what he calls a horizontal skyscraper.

In 2014 I came across some drone footage of an enormous circular excavation being dug into the California earth. When I discovered this was the start of the foundation for a new low-rise Apple “spaceship” campus, I knew I had found an interesting and suitable candidate.

The set has a scale of 1:650 and it took him over two years to build. The Apple LEGO set weighs 77.5 pounds and has an area of 19 square feet.

China Reportedly Snuck Spy Chips Onto Apple, Amazon Servers

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iMac with spy watching through screen

Bloomberg says spies in China managed to add a chip to servers Apple, Amazon, government agencies, and other companies were using. The chips were found on Supermicro server and were no bigger than a grain of rice. They let the People’s Liberation Army, and presumably other government agencies capture data and even remotely control compromised servers. From Bloomberg’s report:

The attack by Chinese spies reached almost 30 U.S. companies, including Amazon and Apple, by compromising America’s technology supply chain, according to extensive interviews with government and corporate sources.

Apple vehemently denies the report and calls out what it says are factual errors. The other companies deny the report, too. Apple stopped buying Supermicro servers in 2016 after discovering an unrelated security issue. Amazon bought Elemental Technologies, the company that wrote the software running on Supermicro servers, to run on its own custom designed hardware. Either China pulled off the most amazing hack ever: altering server hardware during manufacture for espionage, or Bloomberg and its sources got the story completely wrong.

A Terrific Review: Apple Watch Series 4

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Apple Watch Series 4

Jason Snell, at Six Colors, has written up a very nice review of the Apple Watch Series 4.  Notable is the assessment of which previous generation owners should upgrade to Series 4. And he doesn’t forget to note: “Apple also won’t let you buy a Stainless Steel model unless you buy the cellular edition. That double penalty means you can’t get a stainless Series 4 for less than $699.” Check it out.

Silicon Valley is Suddenly Pushing Privacy Laws. Don't Believe It.

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Neema Singh Guliani points out that just because Silicon Valley companies are suddenly pushing for privacy laws after all of these years, that doesn’t mean they have our best interests in mind.

After years of claiming they could self-regulate, the tech industry is suddenly receptive to the idea of federal privacy legislation. But don’t let this post-Cambridge Analytica “mea culpa” fool you into believing these companies have consumers’ best interests in mind. Far from it.

This seeming willingness to subject themselves to federal regulation is, in fact, an effort to enlist the Trump administration and Congress in companies’ efforts to weaken state-level consumer privacy protections.

More Streaming Services Mean More Piracy

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A Global Internet Phenomena report shows that piracy is increasing thanks to a deluge of streaming services. They all have compete with Netflix and it ends up being the exact same situation we had with television providers.

“More sources than ever are producing “exclusive” content available on a single streaming or broadcast service—think Game of Thrones for HBO, House of Cards for Netflix, The Handmaid’s Tale for Hulu, or Jack Ryanfor Amazon,” Sandvine’s Cam Cullen said in a blog post.

“To get access to all of these services, it gets very expensive for a consumer, so they subscribe to one or two and pirate the rest.” Cullen said.

The Facebook Hack Betrays Trust in Single Sign On Services

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The recent Facebook hack means that we probably shouldn’t rely on single sign-on services like Facebook and Google anymore.

If they had taken more care with their implementation of Facebook’s Single Sign-On feature—which lets you use your Facebook account to access other sites and services, rather than creating a unique password for every site—the impact could have largely been limited to Facebook. Instead, hackers could potentially have accessed everything from people’s private messages on Tinder to their passport information on Expedia, all without leaving a trace.

The Feds Will Have a Tough Time Blocking California's Net Neutrality Law

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Net Neutrality

As soon as Governor Jerry Brown signed California’s tough net neutrality bill, the U.S. Justice Department filed suit to stop it, claiming the state doesn’t have the legal authority, but this Verge article points out: “… telecom industry legal experts say that when the FCC dismantled its own authority over broadband ISPs (by rolling back their classification of ISPs as Title II common carriers under the Telecom Act), it ironically killed any authority it might have had to tell states what to do.” Oh, the delicious irony.

How to Play Free Classic Arcade Games Online

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The Internet Archive has built the Internet Arcade, and it lets you play over a thousand free classic arcade games online.

The majority of these newly-available games date to the 1990s and early 2000s, as arcade machines both became significantly more complicated and graphically rich, while also suffering from the ever-present and home-based video game consoles that would come to dominate gaming to the present day. Even fervent gamers might have missed some of these arcade machines when they were in the physical world, due to lower distribution numbers and shorter times on the floor.

iPhone XS Tests Far Better Than iPhone X in LTE Speeds

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Apple iPhone Xs and iPhone Xs Max

At PC MagazineSascha Segan has compared LTE speeds of the iPhone X to XS, and the latter is substantially faster. “The new iPhone XS and XS Max use an LTE modem that we’ve never seen used anywhere else: the Intel XMM7560. The 7560 is Intel’s first modem to support all four US wireless carriers, letting Apple drop Qualcomm, the world’s dominant high-end modem supplier.” However, ” … it still doesn’t quite match the Qualcomm X20 modem used in the Samsung Galaxy Note 9.” This is good stuff.

California Just Passed an Internet of Things Law

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California Governor Jerry Brown has signed an Internet of Things law covering cybersecurity. California is the first state with a law like this.

Starting on January 1st, 2020, any manufacturer of a device that connects “directly or indirectly” to the internet must equip it with “reasonable” security features, designed to prevent unauthorized access, modification, or information disclosure. If it can be accessed outside a local area network with a password, it needs to either come with a unique password for each device, or force users to set their own password the first time they connect. That means no more generic default credentials for a hacker to guess.

If only it affected all IoT devices, instead of ones created two years into the future.

In This Cafe Students Pay With Their Personal Data

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Shiru Cafe’s customers are all college students (as a requirement) and instead of cash students pay with personal data.

To get the free coffee, university students must give away their names, phone numbers, email addresses and majors, or in Brown’s lingo, concentrations. Students also provide dates of birth and professional interests, entering all of the information in an online form. By doing so, the students also open themselves up to receiving information from corporate sponsors…

I know it sounds horrifying, but think of it this way. First, it’s voluntary. If you don’t want to give them your information, you can go to another shop and pay with cash (free market capitalism right there). Second, students will realize how valuable their data is, and maybe rethink giving it away for free in the future to the likes of Google and Facebook. It’s fine if you do, but understanding the tradeoff is important.

Laptop and Monitor Stand with Built-in USB-C Hub: $154.99

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ProBASE HD USB-C Laptop & Monitor Stand

We have a deal on a very cool device called the ProBASE HD USB-C laptop and monitor stand—with a built-in USB-C hub. That hub has one USB-C input, as well as output ports for 4K HDMI, USB 3.0 (x3), and USB-C DATA. That makes this device pretty close to a docking station with a built-in stand, and it will even look good with your Apple gear. It’s $154.99 through our deal. Check out the promo video.

Comparison of iPhone X and iPhone XS Video

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Apple iPhone Xs and iPhone Xs Max

It takes a lot of work to photograph or video identical scenes when comparing iPhone cameras, so I appreciated this very nice article comparing iPhone X to XS video. Also, here’s a snippet that has been widely overlooked: “Both the XS and XS Max can now record audio in stereo, which adds another layer of depth to recordings. By contrast, all iPhone models up to 2018, including the iPhone X, recorded sound in mono.” Have a look.