July and August are pretty much wide open on the sponsorship calendar. If you’ve got a cool product or service to promote to DF’s astute audience, get in touch and let’s fill these spots up.
Apple Discontinues the Thunderbolt Display ★
Apple is discontinuing the Thunderbolt Display, the standard
resolution, external IPS monitor the company has been selling
since 2011. An Apple spokesperson provided us with the following
“We’re discontinuing the Apple Thunderbolt Display,” Apple told
iMore. “It will be available through Apple.com, Apple’s retail
stores and Apple Authorized Resellers while supplies last.
There are a number of great third-party options available for
This is a good example of Apple punditry being like Kremlinology. Does this mean Apple is getting out of the standalone display market? Or does it mean, Just wait, we’ve got a retina display coming, but because it isn’t ready to be announced, we won’t talk about it?
I’m guessing the latter, that a 5K display from Apple is coming. But that’s just a guess.
David Sparks on WatchOS 3 ★
David Sparks was brave/foolish enough to put the iOS 10 beta on his daily iPhone, which in turn allowed him to update his Apple Watch to WatchOS 3:
Likewise the watchOS Dock works swimmingly. I’ve pressed the
physical button for the Dock more times in the last week than I
did in the prior year when it was the Friends button. The
background refresh of Dock-based apps is the killer feature here.
I can actually now consider some third party apps that hold time
sensitive data without worrying whether or not they’ll be
I’m quite impressed with Apple’s ability to go back to the drawing
board and improve the user interface of the Apple Watch. I’m even
more impressed, however, that they are squeezing this much better
performance out of the exact same pokey hardware I had a week
ago. I simply didn’t think it was possible.
‘Helvetica’ Director Gary Hustwit Is Kickstartering a Documentary About Dieter Rams ★
Hell yeah, I’m backing this.
The Brexit Ballot Is Simple and Clear ★
Libby Nelson, writing for Vox:
The question is written in plain language: “Should the United
Kingdom remain in the European Union or leave the European Union?”
And while it’s a yes-no question, the options make it perfectly
clear which one you’re choosing and how you should do it. (The
Scottish referendum ballot in 2014 was even clearer: “Should
Scotland be an independent country?”)
This is a very good design — but points off for setting it in Arial.
Is Poor Shift Lever Design to Blame for Death of ‘Star Trek’ Actor Anton Yelchin? ★
Rain Noe, writing for Core77:
Over the weekend Anton Yelchin, the 27-year-old actor known for
playing Chekov in the recent Star Trek movies, was killed in what
was referred to as “a freak accident” in his Los Angeles driveway.
But was it really “freak?” It seems to us that lousy design may
have played a role.
Yelchin was found crushed between his car, a 2015 Jeep Grand
Cherokee, and the security gate at the end of his driveway. It
appears that Yelchin had exited his car and walked behind it,
perhaps to close the gate, and apparently believed the
transmission was in “Park.” Instead it appears it was actually in
“Reverse” or “Neutral” and the car rolled down his steep driveway,
This brings us to the design of the 2014-2015 Grand Cherokee’s
That is a horrendous design. Betteridge’s Law be damned, I think the answer to this headline is clearly “Yes”.
Update: Ben Sandofsky shows another bad shifter, from a Chrysler he rented. Chrysler owns Jeep — what the hell is going on over there?
Imagine if Exxon Was Protected From Liability After the Valdez ★
Evan Osnos, author of this week’s New Yorker feature on the U.S. gun industry, in a Reddit AMA:
Anybody — especially people who favor free markets — should
conclude that the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act was a
big mistake. Imagine if Exxon was protected from liability after
the Valdez? That’s not how markets should work. It will probably
be revised or repealed to make sure that companies are doing safe
work — as with any industry.
Update: The above comment seems to have been deleted from the Reddit thread. But The New Yorker Twitter account even tweeted it as a pull quote.
Can the Light on Modern Mac FaceTime Cameras Be Bypassed by Malware? ★
The previous item about using tape to cover your laptop camera got me wondering about the indicator light that shows when Mac FaceTime cameras are in use. Back in 2013, security researchers at Johns Hopkins University showed how this could be overridden:
Marcus Thomas, former assistant director of the FBI’s Operational
Technology Division in Quantico, said in a recent story in
The Washington Post that the FBI has been able to covertly
activate a computer’s camera — without triggering the light that
lets users know it is recording — for several years.
Now research from Johns Hopkins University provides the first
public confirmation that it’s possible to do just that, and
demonstrates how. While the research focused on MacBook and iMac
models released before 2008, the authors say similar techniques
could work on more recent computers from a wide variety of
vendors. In other words, if a laptop has a built-in camera, it’s
possible someone — whether the federal government or a malicious
19 year old — could access it to spy on the user at any time.
I’m curious whether this remains true for recent Mac FaceTime cameras. Does the same technique still work?
LeBron James Played Steve Jobs’s Commencement Address to Inspire the Cavs During NBA Finals ★
Ramona Shelburne, writing for ESPN:
LeBron had spent the weekend watching old Muhammad Ali fights, in
awe at the champ’s perseverance. His longtime friend and adviser,
Nike executive Lynn Merritt, had suggested he study the way Ali
carried himself in those epic 12- and 15-round fights. The way Ali
took punches, knowing his opponent would eventually tire. The way
he taunted opponents, flaunting his superior skill and talents,
knowing he would get into their heads. His teammates needed
something else, though. Something they could connect to that would
make them believe this series was not over. And so LeBron gathered
everyone in the Cavaliers locker room before Game 3 and played a
portion of Steve Jobs’ commencement address to Stanford University
Script Debugger 6 ★
Great update to one of my all-time favorite apps. Major new features include code-folding, auto-completion, robust support for AppleScriptObjC (including inspection of Objective-C object values), and a whole lot more. If you write AppleScript, you owe it to yourself to try Script Debugger.
On Covering Your Laptop Camera With Tape ★
Katie Rogers, in a piece for the NYT headlined “Mark Zuckerberg Covers His Laptop Camera. You Should Consider It, Too.”:
On Tuesday, observers were reminded that Mr. Zuckerberg, 32, is
not just a normal guy who enjoys running and quiet dinners with
friends. In a photo posted to his Facebook account, he celebrated
the growing user base of Instagram, which is owned by Facebook. An
eagle-eyed Twitter user named Chris Olson noticed that in the
image’s background, his laptop camera and microphone jack appeared
to be covered with tape.
Other publications, including Gizmodo, used the tweet to raise the
question: Was this paranoia, or just good practice?
I think this is nonsense. Malware that can surreptitiously engage your camera can do all sort of other nefarious things. If you can’t trust your camera, you can’t trust your keyboard either. Follow best practices to avoid malware in the first place — don’t install Flash Player, and don’t install software from sketchy sources — and you’ll almost certainly be fine.
(If you look at the photo, Zuckerberg wasn’t even careful applying the tape — it partially covers his display. That would drive me nuts.)
Update: Covering the microphone with tape is downright pointless. Tape blocks light, yes, but not sound waves. Try it.
Long-Term Goals, Short-Term Annoyances ★
Neven Mrgan sums it up in a tweet:
Removing the iPhone headphone jack is a fine long-term goal.
Complaining about the short-term annoyances is also fine. These
Removing the analog headphone jack is inevitable, and the transition is inevitably irritating. This is what makes Apple different. They will initiate a painful transition for a long-term gain. Other companies will avoid inducing pain at all costs — and you wind up using VGA until the mid-2010s.