The Apple Watch as a remote for Apple TV

November 26, 2014

During the latest episode of The Talk Show, John Gruber and Christa Mrgan talked about the possibility that the upcoming Apple Watch may be able to act as a remote for Apple TV. They mention Tim Cook making an offhand comment about this during an interview as the source of the idea.

The truth is, not only did Tim Cook say it, but Craig Federighi actually demoed that very same feature on stage in October, during the last Apple keynote. It was towards the end of the segment with the phone call with Stephen Colbert. You can see it in the video below, starting at about the 4:15 mark. Federighi is applying the final tweaks to his “Tripling Down on Secrecy” presentation and uses AirPlay to preview it on an Apple TV:

If you look closely, you’ll notice that he’s actually controlling the Keynote app with his Apple Watch, not just the Apple TV itself, which suggests that the remote capabilities of the Apple Watch will be more advanced than just a simple playback controller.

Gruber also wonders whether this will be a native feature or some add-on capability via an external app, but judging from the video, I definitely believe it will be baked into the watch itself from day one. The fact that it’s one of the very few things Apple has actually shown about the device strongly suggests so.

As for whether this feature will require a new Apple TV to work, I’d say that remains unclear but then again, nothing in the video suggests that there’s anything particularly special about the Apple TV Federighi is using. He just calls it “an Apple TV”, or even “my Apple TV”, almost suggesting that it’s the very same one we all already own. Of course, I wouldn’t say this is anywhere near being conclusive proof, but there you have it. Make of it what you will.

We’ll know soon enough, but this strikes me as a very easy choice for Apple. It would definitely make sense for them to use their existing installed base of Apple TV’s — there’s already a few million out there — to add another appealing feature to the watch and perhaps get even more people to buy it. Things may change very quickly after the watch’s release but as of right now, it’s the Apple TV that can help the Apple Watch gain traction in the market, not the other way around, and Apple knows it.

Personally, I think this will prove to be one of the most popular features of the Apple Watch in everyday use. I watch a ton of movies and TV shows on my Apple TV, and I’m always scrambling to find the remote. I can’t wait for it to be forever glued to my wrist.

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The top 10 secrets of the Eiffel Tower →

November 25, 2014 |

I know it sounds like a clickbait headline, but it’s actually a pretty cool article by Michelle Young for Untapped Cities. For example, did you know there’s an apartment right on top of the tower?

Within a year of the completion of the Eiffel Tower, it was reported by writer Henri Girard that Gustav Eiffel [was] “the object of general envy.” But it wasn’t for his engineering and design feat, it was for an apartment he had at the third-to-highest level of the Eiffel Tower. Girard wrote that the famous apartment was “furnished in the simple style dear to scientists.”

Eiffel used mostly for meeting important guests like Thomas Edison, who visited in September 1889, rather than for debaucherous parties. Here is a lovely essay on the apartment, describing how the apartment embodied many of the philosophical dreams of 19th century thinkers. Today it also contains mannequins of Eiffel and Edison.

Via Messy Nessy Chic.

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The amazing interior designs of BRICKS Amsterdam →

November 25, 2014 |

BRICKS Amsterdam is an Amsterdam-based interior design studio created by James van der Velden. They have some incredible projects, including this stunning industrial loft that they created in what used to be an old garage:

Garage Loft by BRICKS Amsterdam

Garage Loft by BRICKS Amsterdam

Garage Loft by BRICKS Amsterdam

Garage Loft by BRICKS Amsterdam

Also, check out this other loft, comparing before and after pictures. It’s just as impressive, if not more.

I love how some talented designers can truly transform a space beyond recognition. It’s an incredible skill that requires a unique blend of really good taste, impeccable craft and a very vivid imagination.

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Christoph Waltz tipped to portray Ernst Stravro Blofeld in Bond 24 →

November 24, 2014 |

Great scoop by the Daily Mail:

It’s been more than 30 years since James Bond faced evil Ernst Stavro Blofeld, his most feared adversary.

But now the intimidating baddie – famous for his trademark white cat and for gruesomely disposing of his failing underlings – is back. Django Unchained star Christoph Waltz is tipped to play the evil genius in a new 007 movie which is due to begin shooting next month.

I so want this to be true. Christoph Waltz is a perfect casting choice for Blofeld, one of the most iconic villains in movie history.

After 30 years of litigation, the rights to the Blofeld character once again belong to EON, the producers of the official Bond films. This is why they’re now able to bring back not only Blofeld himself, but all of SPECTRE with him.

With Daniel Craig, Ralph Fiennes, Naomie Harris and Ben Whishaw already confirmed to reprise their roles, Léa Seydoux being announced as the next Bond Girl, and now possibly Christoph Waltz as the legendary cat-loving villain, Bond 24 is shaping up to be a pretty exciting movie indeed.

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Apple Announces World AIDS Day 2014 Campaign for (RED) →

November 24, 2014 |

Apple, in an official statement:

To mark World AIDS Day 2014, Apple® and leading app developers are inviting customers to help (RED) achieve the goal of an AIDS-free generation. For the next two weeks, a special section of the App Store℠ called Apps for (RED) will offer 25 apps with exclusive new content where all proceeds will go directly to the Global Fund to fight AIDS. In addition, Apple will donate a portion of sales at Apple’s retail and online stores around the world on two of the biggest shopping days of the year: Friday, November 28 and Monday, December 1.

What a great idea. If you wanted to try some new apps, this might be a good time to do it.

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The New York Times faces layoffs if buyout offer falls short →

November 24, 2014 |

Edmund Lee, Re/code:

So far, 29 people have applied for the exit and 14 have been accepted by management, according to two insiders. Applications, due Dec. 1, are still incoming, but based on an informal survey, the Times could fall short of its goal by as many as 25 to 30 positions, according to one person with knowledge of the matter. The Times could also be satisfied with less than 100 volunteers so long as the jobs being eliminated allow the Times to hit their financial goals.

The New York Times is in a tough spot. Of course, a significant part of the problem lies in their lack of understanding of digital media:

A big part of the reason for the cutbacks is that the paper’s new subscription strategy, based on the idea of multiple apps, isn’t working. The Times has already planned to shut down its NYTOpinion app, four months after it launched, because not enough people were buying subscriptions for the service, marketed at $6 a month.

And while the Times’ slimmed-down digital subscription app, NYT Now, will continue to operate, it hasn’t seen the adoption the company has hoped for, the Times has said.

It’s sad to see the Times struggling but let’s face it, their digital subscription model is downright ridiculous. For example, the smartphone and tablet subscriptions are priced separately, and if you want to read the NYT in both your phone and your tablet you need to pay for both.1 It feels like 2010 all over again.

I can’t believe we still have to say this in 2014, because it’s just obvious: people pay for the content, not the app. And the New York Times is the same whether your read it on your computer, your tablet or your smartphone. Trying to charge separately for these types of access is simply shameful, and it will only hurt them in the long run.

This is a problem that all newspapers are facing, and it’s caused by their institutionalized — and completely illogical — fear of digital media. And the problem is not going away.

It may take a long time for them to die, but make no mistake, the Times is in trouble. Either they change their ways — and soon — or I’m afraid they’ll continue to struggle until their eventual demise. And it won’t be pretty.

  1. Technically, you’re paying for a combined, “All Digital Access” subscription that includes both the smartphone and tablet apps, and that conveniently costs exactly the same as buying them separately. So, you know, it’s totally not paying for both.

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The tall tales of “Little Nicolás” →

November 24, 2014 |

Terrific article by Javier Ayuso, in which he explains some of the mysteries that surround the story of “Little Nicolás”, a 20-year-old con artist whose arrest recently shocked Spain’s society:

Soon after, Fran, Nicolás or whatever his name may be (conmen tend to use different names) made another noteworthy appearance on the balcony of Pinto City Hall, during a tribute to the cyclist Alberto Contador. He managed to get up there by passing himself off as the Marquis of Togores and an assistant at the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister. He had been using the title of Marquis of Togores for months to get into the elite Puerta de Hierro Club and impress his lunch guests.

Also, don’t miss the side-story, where we learn how he managed to atteend King Felipe VI’s coronation ceremony and even shake the monarch’s hand:

Invitations for the reception at the Royal Palace were sent by email given that there was not enough time to send out printed versions to the more than 2,500 guests. But the email contained a scanned, personalized invitation. Nicolás never received such a personalized invitation, instead entering the reception as the guest of businesswoman Catalina Hoffman. The pair appear in a now-infamous photo greeting the new king.

You can’t make this stuff up. The whole mess is so unreal that it feels like a shameless ripoff of Catch Me If You Can.

I thought this story, incredible as it is, would slowly die after his arrest, but here comes the twist:

But now, Francisco Nicolás Gómez Iglesias, who was born in Madrid in 1994, has decided to “spill the beans.” He is threatening to disclose sensitive information while shamelessly asserting that he works with the CNI, the government and the royals. He also claims to be in possession of evidence that will back up all his statements, and has announced a series of television appearances to discuss all these issues. He also made a point of stating (up to 10 times at one point) that he would do it for free, even as rumors circulated that the production company Mandarina had paid him €100,000 to appear on its program.

I guess we’ll find out. One way or another — whether in a courtroom or a TV set — the truth will come out eventually. Now I’m just missing some popcorn.

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Russian miner spends his breaks taking photos of foxes in the Arctic Circle →

November 24, 2014 |

Bored Panda shows the amazing pictures of Russian miner and photographer Ivan Kislov:

Kislov, who lives in the north-eastern port city of Magadan, works in Chukotka as a mining engineer. When he has time during his long shifts, he looks to photography for “relaxation from routine.” He likes to go on “hikes to inaccessible places, raftings,” or just simple walking tours to “observe the wildlife.”

Though he takes pictures of everything from bears and reindeer to wolves and stoats, Kislov says the foxes are often very willing models: “Foxes are curious and can come very close, and I shoot with wide angle and telephoto lenses.”

A word of caution, though: the aforelinked article contains several pictures of incredibly cute foxes that may induce a sudden desire to start using Firefox again. Limited exposure is advised.

If you like these images — and if you don’t, you’re probably dead inside — don’t forget to check out Mr. Kislov’s website and his 500px page for more Arctic fauna in all its enchanting glory.

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