Apple Shares AI Research, Listener Comments - TMO Daily Observations 2016-12-09

· Jeff Gamet · The Mac Observer's Daily Observations Podcast

TMO Daily Observations Podcast Logo

Apple is changing course and letting its engineers publish their research into artificial intelligence. John Martellaro and Bryan Chaffin join Jeff Gamet to share their thoughts on why Apple would do that, plus they respond to a listener comment questioning why Jeff is critical of HomeKit.

64 Square Feet of Joyce Byers's Stranger Things Wall

· Bryan Chaffin · Cool Stuff Found

Check out this working reproduction Joyce Byers’s wall from Stranger Things. I say working, but I don’t mean you can communicate with people stuck in the Upside Down. But you can write messages to it using an app. It was made by members of Makerologists, a Seattle-based maker group. Each bulb is period correct (C9 incandescent bulbs, according to Makezine), but behind the wall are modern components controlled by an Arduino so that one can send messages to it. It debuted earlier this year at the 2016 Portland Mini Maker Faire, but is making a splash today after appearing at Museum of Pop Culture in Seattle. Wallpaper and wainscoting are on fleek, and the whole thing looks great. There’s a lot of information on Makerologists’s Facebook page. The Makezine article above has good info, too.

64 Square Feet of Joyce Byers’s Stranger Things Wall

Shigeru Miyamoto Playing Super Mario Bros Theme is the Coolest Thing this Week

· Jeff Gamet · Cool Stuff Found

If you don’t know the Super Mario Bros. theme, odds are you’re in one of those South American tribes that hasn’t ever had contact with modern man, which also means you’re missing out on one of the most awesome thing of this week: Super Mario Bros. creator Shigeru Miyamoto playing the game’s theme song. He teamed up with The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon’s band, The Roots, and it’s more fun than a bag full of Koopas. Check it out, and if you aren’t smiling along with Shigeru then you’ll probably fail the Voight-Kampff test, too.

Apple Watch: Editing Your Workout Screen

· Melissa Holt · Quick Tip

Today’s Quick Tip is about working out with your Apple Watch. You can make your workout view look any way you’d like, so whether you’re a statistics person or a “one thing at a time” type, you’ll get what you want. We’ll also show you how to customize each kind of workout!

True Key by Intel Security: $15.99

· Bryan Chaffin · TMO Deals

True Key by Intel Security

We have a deal for you today on True Key by Intel Security, This software is a password keeper that lets you use unique features, like your face, fingerprint, or devices you’ve approved to unlock apps and websites. You can get one year of access to this software for $15.99 through us. There are also deals for three years and five years available.

Colin Furze Built a Giant Star Wars AT-ACT in His Backyard

· Bryan Chaffin · Cool Stuff Found

YouTuber colinfurze did what any Star Wars fan would do: he built a 5.5 meter (18 feet) high AT-ACT in his back yard. I love all the projects this nut job builds—he’s awesome—and this one is truly spectacular. It’s a scale model of a scale model on the outside, and on the inside it’s a Star Wars fan club house. In the video below he gives us a great tour, and he also has a behind-the-scenes video of how he built it.

HyperDrive USB-C Hub for MacBook Pro Raises $341K on Kickstarter

· Bryan Chaffin · Cool Stuff Found

There’s a project on Kickstarter called HyperDrive that raised more than $341,000 in two shakes of a lamb’s tail. It’s a USB-C hub from Sanho for MacBook Pro with Touch Bar. It’s similar to the 5-in-1 HyperDrive from the same company we had a deal on a few days ago, but this new one in development has even more ports. All told, it has HDMI, USB 3.1 x 2, microSD/SD, Thunderbolt 3, and USB-C. It’s designed to plug into both your MacBook Pro USB-C ports and take the place of any dongles you might need. As of this writing, there are still a few pledge slots for $69 that will net you one, but those are going fast. Sanho has blown by its funding goal of $100,000 by 3X, and there’s still 39 days to go on the campaign. Clearly, there’s a demand for this product in the Mac community. Check out the promo video.


The NHTSA May Have Required Apple to Open Up Its AI Research

· John Martellaro · Editorial

Autonomous car concept

Right after Apple revealed more of its plans to the U.S. Government regarding its autonomous car project, we learn that Apple is going to break with tradition and start publishing its AI research.  This is an interesting sequence of events.  John speculates on what may have been the cause of Apple’s more open approach.

Find Everything You Want to Read on NPR's Book Concierge List

· Jeff Gamet · Cool Stuff Found

Staying on top of all the great books coming out is pretty hard, which is why we’re glad when NPR’s Book Concierge list comes out each year. The 2016 list is out with more than 300 titles worth checking out. The book suggestions are divided into categories such as Biography & Memoir, Eye-Opening Reads, Kids Books, Funny Stuff, and more. Be sure to check out Staff Picks for a great go-to list of book suggestions. Each title includes iBooks and Amazon, local library, and independent book store links so you don’t have to go hunting. Links to previous Book Concierge lists are there, too, in case you want even more suggestions.

Find Everything You Want to Read on NPR’s Book Concierge List

Apple's Single Sign-on Adds ABC, Disney Support

· Jeff Gamet · News

Apple TV single sign-on goes live for Apple TV

Apple TV’s single sign-on feature went public yesterday with several channels on board, and today Watch Disney and Watch ABC are joining the list. Single sign-on lets users enter their cable and satellite credentials once instead of individually for each channel.

Super Mario Run Demo in Apple's Stores Today

· Jeff Gamet · Cool Stuff Found

Super Mario Run launches next week on December 15, but you can try it out in Apple’s retail stores now. A demo version is running on iPhones and iPads in the stores starting Thursday morning so you can get a sneak peek before it hits the App Store. Nintendo made the announcement on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon, and he got to play a level on the show. Super Mario Run is the first mobile game to feature Mario. It’ll cost US$9.99 and you can sign up on the App Store to be notified when it’s available.

SKEYE Nano 2 First-Person View (FPV) Drone: $99

· Bryan Chaffin · TMO Deals

SKEYE Nano 2 First-Person View (FPV) Drone

I love drones—we have a deal on a tiny one for you today, the SKEYE Nano 2 First-Person View Drone. It has adjustable gyro sensitivity and 6-axis flight control system, making it easy to control. You can use a controller or your iPhone (or Android device) to control it. It will also record real-time, first-person view video in HD. It’s $99 through our deal. Check out the details on the deal listing.

Oral History of 'Get a Mac' with Justin Long, John Hodgman, and Creative Team

· Bryan Chaffin · News

Get a Mac Promo Shot with John Hodgman and Justing Long

Campaign US has put together a wonderful oral history of Apple’s “Get a Mac” ad campaign. Listen, it’s delightful. It’s wonderful. Justin Long (Mac) and John Hodgman (PC) talk about their roles, and the creative team from TBWA\Chiat\Day talk about putting it together. Bryan Chaffin explains.

Living with Apple's Touch Bar, the Reverse Toaster Fridge - ACM 388

· Bryan Chaffin · Apple Context Machine Podcast

Apple Context Machine Logo

Bryan Chaffin quizzes Jeff Gamet about living with Apple’s new TouchBar on his MacBook Pro. They also discuss whether or not the so-called Reverse ToasterFridge could be the future of Apple’s hardware. Listener comments have been pouring in, too.

World's Largest Rube Goldberg Machine Lights Christmas Tree

· Bryan Chaffin · Cool Stuff Found

I love Rube Goldberg machines, and according to Guinness World Records, we have a new largest one in the world. It was built by Latvian e-commerce company Scandiweb in (and for the people of) Riga. It’s purpose—aside from beating the world record—was to light a Christmas Tree. The video (below) is 4 minutes and 44 seconds, and most of it is the machine doing its absurdist thing. One of the things I like about this one is seeing the process. It’s an enormously long Rube Goldberg machine, but most of it consists of individual panels of multiple steps. Make the panels work and then “all” you have to do is worry about connecting those panels. One way or another, it’s a fun watch. Check it out. The link is to Guinness’s webpage for the record.

GoPower Plus Battery Space Gray Has Built-in Charging Cable

· Bryan Chaffin · Cool Stuff Found

The Kanex GoPower Plus Batter Space portable battery. What I like about it is that it has a built-in charging cable. The main cable is a microUSB cable for Android users. But it comes with a Lightning adapter that slips over that microUSB plug, and both just tuck away in the body of the battery. It comes in Space Gray or Gold and has a capacity of 8,000mAh. It’s $59.95.

GoPower Plus Battery Space Gray Has Built-in Charging Cable

Why Some High-Profile Hires Don’t Thrive at Apple

· John Martellaro · Editorial

Apple Campus 1 (AC1)

Recently, a high profile executive, Yoky Matsuoka, left Apple for unknown reasons. Often, the temptation is to surmise that a departure of any given executive at Apple is a sign that Apple is losing interest in a particular technology. However, that’s not always the case. Sometimes, certain high-powered people have to leave for personal reasons. Or perhaps they just didn’t realize what they got themselves into and decide that the Apple culture isn’t for them. John explores the various scenarios based on his experience.

Nomad Leather MFi-Certified Charging Wallet: $49.95

· Bryan Chaffin · TMO Deals

Nomad Leather MFi-Certified Charging Wallet

Check out the Nomad Leather MFi-Certifified Charging Wallet. It’s a wallet. A billfold, if you will. But in addition to holding credit cards and money, it has a built-in 2,400mAh battery in it for recharging your iPhone. It even has an integrated Lightning cable. Check the deal listing for more info and more pictures.

Setapp Brings Netflix-style Downloads to Mac Apps

· Jeff Gamet · Product News

Setapp monthly software subscription service for the Mac

Paying a monthly subscription to watch as many TV shows and movies as you want is a pretty good business model for Netflix, and MacPaw thinks it’ll work for software, too. The company’s trying that out with its new Setapp service where subscribers pay a monthly fee to get access to a growing list of apps from several developers.