iPhone 6 and 6 Plus benchmarks →

September 22, 2014 |

Speaking of Rene Ritchie, he asked the makers of Geekbench to run the new iPhones through Geekbench 3, and compared their score with all previous iPhones (except for the original iPhone and the iPhone 3G). He also compared them with their main Android competitors.

An interesting tidbit:

The iPhone 6 Plus has a slight edge over the iPhone 6, but not by much. Perhaps the biggest surprise is how well the iPhone 5s still holds up. Perhaps that’s because Apple’s second-generation 64-bit core is just that, 2nd generation, and it’s focused on things beyond raw power, like power efficiency.

If you have an iPhone 5S and are not very keen on the bigger displays of the new iPhones, this is good news for you.

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How the new battery usage monitor works in iOS 8 →

September 22, 2014 |

Rene Ritchie:

Battery usage is best thought of as a sanity check. It lists each app (or service) you’ve used in the last 24 hours or 7 days, not including apps used while charging, along with the percentage of power drain they’ve been responsible for.

Since about a week ago —before I upgraded to iOS 8—, I’ve noticed a sharp reduction in battery life on my iPhone 5S. It doesn’t last into the evening, while previously it lasted a whole day with power to spare. It’s weird, particularly because I’m not using it significantly more than I always have, and I’m yet to find a concrete cause for this. Maybe my iPhone’s battery is damaged, or maybe there’s an app that’s misbehaving and draining it a lot quicker than it should. I don’t know.

The battery usage monitor, which is a new iOS 8 feature, is helping me find the culprit. For example, I thought Overcast would probably be using a lot of power, but it turns out it isn’t. That’s a relief, because I really enjoy using it. Similarly, Maps and the Phone app are the two most power-hungry apps in my phone, both due to “Low Signal”. Now we’re getting somewhere.

I think it’s worth it to spend a while getting used to this feature. There are some important things to learn about how we use our phones, and what we can do to make them last longer.

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Dear parents, you are being lied to →

September 22, 2014 |

Jennifer Raff thoroughly debunks the myth that vaccination is bad for our childen:

They say that if other people’s children are vaccinated, there’s no need for their children to get vaccinated.

This is one of the most despicable arguments I’ve ever heard. First of all, vaccines aren’t always 100% effective, so it is possible for a vaccinated child to still become infected if exposed to a disease. Worse, there are some people who can’t receive vaccinations, because they are immune deficient, or because they are allergic to some component. Those people depend upon herd immunity to protect them. People who choose not to vaccinate their children against infectious diseases are putting not only their own children at risk, but also other people’s children.

This is an extremely important issue, and if you’re a parent, it’s your responsibility to learn about it, become informed beyond Internet gossip, and make the only sensible, reasonable choice: vaccinate your kids.

It deeply saddens me to think there are people so stubborn and irresponsible that they would gamble with their own children’s lives like that.


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Humans of New York, the book →

September 22, 2014 |

Humans of New York

Humans of New York is a wonderful —and ongoing— collection of portraits of New Yorkers by Brandon Stanton.

New York is the greatest city in the world. I’m always in awe of its incredible energy and the uniqueness of its people. It is a place like no other to watch life unfold. Brandon’s project captures this essence better than any other I’ve ever seen. It really is a must read.

Humans of New York, the book, is a compilation of the most interesting anecdotes and pictures from the project’s first three years. It showcases the greatness of New York, but more importantly, that of its people. It is a love letter to diversity and the human spirit. Above all, though, it’s just a gorgeous, gorgeous book.

There’s a very short list of books I’d recommend buying in hardcover edition, and this is one of them. Trust me, you will not regret it.

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Faith in eventually | Signal vs. Noise →

September 22, 2014 |

Jason Fried:

During the development of most any product, there are always times when things aren’t quite right. Times when you feel like you may be going backwards a bit. Times where it’s almost there, but you can’t yet figure out why it isn’t. Times when you hate the thing today that you loved yesterday. Times when what you had in your head isn’t quite what you’re seeing in front of you. Yet. That’s when you need to have faith.

I try to keep this in mind every day.

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The first week of the rest of Jason Snell's life →

September 20, 2014 |

This is the end of day three of me sitting in a chair in my garage and writing things and doing podcasts and calling that my job, instead of sitting in an office building in San Francisco and doing various things and calling that my job.

I’m really sorry for how things ended at Macworld, but I’m so glad we have Six Colors now. Jason’s work is amazing and inspiring, and I couldn’t imagine the Apple community without him.

Here’s to many more awesome weeks, Jason.

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Why Dan Frakes bought an iPhone 6 Plus →

September 19, 2014 |

It wasn’t until I stopped thinking of my iPhone as a phone, and started thinking of it as a computing device, that I warmed to the idea of a honking-big smartphone. My hope with the iPhone 6 Plus is that I’ll find myself carrying a second device much less frequently. Sure, the 6 Plus may be bigger than the “perfect” phone size, and it may be a tight fit in my front jeans pocket, but it’s still incredibly small for a powerful computing device, and as long as it fits in my pocket at all, it’s better than carrying a smaller phone and a bag or sleeve with an iPad or laptop inside.

Really good point. I can see how this line of thinking would work for many. Me, I’m already used to carrying a bag everywhere because of my diabetes-related gear, so I don’t really find it that much more inconvenient to carry my iPad when I think I may need it.

To me, the more compelling features of the 6 Plus are the higher pixel density of the display (not really the size itself), the better camera with optical image stabilization, and the longer-lasting battery. All together they make a pretty good case for the iPhone 6 Plus than only gets better if, like Frakes, you look at it purely as a computing device instead of a phone.

Like I said before, I will reserve final judgement until I see them in person, in a store, and get to play with both of them for a few minutes at least. That being said, however, they are both extremely good devices so there’s probably no wrong choice here. If you’re getting ready to buy one, go with your gut and don’t think about it too much, you’ll be fine.

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An update to my lightweight photography kit

September 19, 2014

NOTE: This is an update to my article on how to build a lightweight photography kit for the urban professional. I have updated the original article to add this information, but I’m including it here separately for those of you who already read that piece.

Lately I’ve been experimenting with an old analog SLR that belonged to my father. It’s a Canon AE-1 Program, one of the most popular 35mm film SLR’s from the 80’s. It’s in absolutely mint condition and it just pained me to see it unused, so I grabbed it a couple months ago and I’ve been playing with it since then.

Canon AE-1 Program vs Olympus OM-D E-M10

Fortunately, this camera also fits inside the RR Field Pocket without any issues, maybe even better than the E-M10. Despite being a 35mm film SLR —this sensor size is what we’d call “full-frame” in the digital world—, the body of the AE-1 Program is remarkably compact. As for the lens, I’ve been shooting with the kit lens, a Canon FDn 50mm f/1.8, which is pretty good, giving sharp images and decent bokeh. I also recently purchased a used Canon FDn 35mm f/2.0 lens on ebay, which is fantastic for street photography. It’s the fastest Canon FD lens in this focal length, but it’s even smaller —although a bit heavier— than the Panasonic Leica 25mm f1.4 for Micro Four Thirds

Goruck RR Field Pocket with Canon AE-1 Program and Canon FDn 35mm f/2.0 lens

Shooting with this camera is awesome. It’s manual-zoom only, and it supports full manual operation as well as full auto-exposure and shutter-priority modes. I love it. I usually shoot in shutter-priority mode. I’ll probably end up going full manual, but in the meantime, having these extra modes is certainly helpful.

So far I’m loving the experience of shooting film, and I would recommend anyone to try it. The good news is, you can get a high-end 35mm film SLR and a pretty good lens for under $100 on ebay, easy. I think it’s a great creative exercise because it forces you to be much more thoughtful and deliberate about your photography, and that’s good. Full auto-everything doesn’t make you a better photographer; being 100% responsible for the image you capture does.

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Matt Gemmell on the Scottish referendum →

September 19, 2014 |

I was very curious to read Matt’s thoughts on this subject. I think his position is entirely coherent and eminently reasonable. Then again, that’s not really a surprise.

I actually believed the yes would win, mainly because of how the issue has been portrayed by the Spanish media. Many politicians from Catalonia have been holding up the Scottish referendum as a victory of the people for months, and they’ve been playing it as though Scottish independence was a sure thing, and the referendum a mere formality. They believed the result was going to be overwhelmingly in favor of the yes, and they bet heavily on the Scottish example to advance their own pro-independence cause. As it turned out, it was not to be, and no matter how they try to spin it now, the outcome of the Scottish referendum has been a direct blow to the aspirations for Catalonian independence as well. If the door was already half-shut, this may be what slams it closed for good.

Now the question is, where do they go from here?

Matt says:

I don’t mind admitting that I feel like we’ve missed an opportunity.

I absolutely get where he’s coming from, but I believe the opportunity still exists. Scotland has achieved an unprecedented level of autonomy from the British government, and that’s huge. If they play their cards right, they could very well get the best of both sides with this outcome. Of course, as Matt points out, there are a million problems that the UK as a nation still needs to figure out, so we’ll see how things work out in the end.

I readily admit I’m not qualified to judge, but as a European citizen, I’m happy Scotland is still part of the Union. Yes, the UK has always been pretty ambivalent towards the EU, but they’re part of it, even if they don’t always like to admit it. I like Scotland, and I like the idea of it feeling like an extension of home. Europe is one big home we’ve built together, and I for one wouldn’t trade it for anything.

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Scotland votes no in independence referendum →

September 19, 2014 |

Yesterday was a historic day, as Scotland voted to decide its future. In the end, they decided to stay in the UK, with the no obtaining 55.4% of all votes cast.

Whatever your views on the matter, this was a great show of democracy, and they should be proud.

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