Brydge Over Troubled Keyboards

· Bob LeVitus · Dr. Mac's Rants & Raves

Wanna know which Bluetooth keyboard Dr. Mac calls, “easily the most functional, usable, durable, and clever iPad keyboard I’ve ever tried?” Read this week’s Dr. Mac’s Rants & Raves!

macOS: How to Get Manual iCloud Sync Control

· Andrew Orr · How-To

With macOS Sierra, Apple introduced Documents & Desktop syncing to iCloud. But sometimes it can be a pain in the arse to use.

New Zealand has the World's First Digital Teacher

· Andrew Orr · Link

Auckland energy company Vector partnered with AI company Soul Machines to create a digital teacher called Will.

Will’s there to teach children about energy use. Students interact with Will — essentially just a face on a screen — via their desktop, tablet, or mobile device. He teaches them about different forms of renewable energy, such solar and wind. Will can then ask the students questions about what they’ve learned to ensure the lessons stick.

Thankfully it’s not teaching an entire curriculum, because education probably doesn’t need AI teachers. Maybe in developing countries, where lack of education/teachers is a problem. But in first-world countries, we should just pay human teachers better.

Prototype iPhone on eBay Going for More than $12,500

· Jeff Gamet · Cool Stuff Found

A prototype original iPhone just popped up on eBay and the bidding has already hit US$12,500. The phone is described as an early prototype, and the seller says, “This prototype is running an early version of Apple’s iOS designed to test the phone’s hardware functions. The same operating system, which features tests for the iPhone’s radios, touch sensors, display and battery.” Considering how rare these are it isn’t too surprising the bids climbing so high, and they will likely go a lot higher, too.

Prototype iPhone on eBay Going for More than $12,500

Blue Microphones Announces Yeti Nano USB Mic for Content Creators, Includes Mac/PC Controller App

· Bryan Chaffin · Cool Stuff Found

Blue Microphone (now part of Logitech) announced the Yeti Nano USB microphone on Tuesday. This device is aimed at YouTubers and other content creators, both for streaming and pre-recording. It’s much more compact than the original Yeti mic, and it comes with a new Mac/PC app called Sherpa (currently in beta) that allows you to control the mic from your desktop. That app allows you to, “mute and unmute your mic and headphones, fine-tune gain and levels, switch polar patterns, and change sample rates.” The mic also comes with both a Cardioid more and an Omnidirectional mode for use in multiple settings. It comes with a metal stand and is compatible with the optional Radius III shockmount and Compass boom arm. There are also four finishes for the mic, including Cubano Gold, Red Onyx, Shadow Grey, and Vivid Blue. All in all, at US$99.99, it looks like a solid mic option for a lot of content creators, and it’s available now.

What's We're Likely to See in the 2018 iPad Pro

· John Martellaro · Link

At ComputerWorld, Jonny Evans writes: “… there are lots of reasons to think about Apple’s [2018] pro tablets.” And he’s right. From Face ID to loss of the headphone jack (for the sake of consistency) to thinner bezels and better performance, these improvements may well get customers in a great buying mood. Check it out.

Visualizing a 4D Sphere in 3D Space

· John Martellaro · Link

For those who are fascinated by (theoretical) four-space dimensional objects, this visual tutorial explains how a 4D sphere would appear as it travels into and out of our 3D space. For more background see the Wikipedia entry for Flatland. All kinds of SciFi fun has followed.

This is The Age of Privacy Nihilism

· Andrew Orr · Link

Ian Bogost writes that these recent scandals involving Google and Facebook mistreating is just the tip of the iceberg. Data collection, along with data brokers, has been happening for decades.

But none of this is new, nor is it unique to big tech. Online services are only accelerating the reach and impact of data-intelligence practices that stretch back decades. They have collected your personal data, with and without your permission, from employers, public records, purchases, banking activity, educational history, and hundreds more sources. They have connected it, recombined it, bought it, and sold it. Processed foods look wholesome compared to your processed data, scattered to the winds of a thousand databases.

I hope that the U.S. adopts its own federal privacy law like GDPR. Talks have been underway, so there’s a glimmer of hope.

Veronica Mars gets a new Season on Hulu

· Jeff Gamet · Cool Stuff Found

OK, Veronica Mars fans, I hope you’re sitting down because it’s official: A new season is in the works. This isn’t a reboot; it’s a new season with Kristen Bell starring and original show creator Rob Thomas involved. The show will air on Hulu, and there isn’t any word yet on how many episodes they’re making. The production won’t interfere with The Good Place, so don’t worry, that awesome show is still happening, too.

Veronica Mars gets a new Season on Hulu

Mubert Gives You Focus Music Created by AI

· Andrew Orr · Cool Stuff Found

Mubert is an app that uses AI to generate focus music. By focus music I mean certain sounds that it claims will increase your productivity when you study, work, or do something creative. I don’t know of the science behind this, so it may or may not be a legitimate claim based on evidence. But I do know that sometimes I like to play certain songs as background music when I’m writing. I’ve tried Mubert out and the music it generates is nice to use in that way. The music is electronic, and it’s generated by taking certain patterns typical of electronic music and creating an endless stream of pattern variations. Mubert worked with techno producers to create and sample sounds based on different genres of electronica. App Store: Mubert – Free

Mubert Gives You Focus Music Created by AI