My buddy Dave Ganjamie and I have been collaborating on comics for a few years now. Not all of our brainstorm-and-sketch sessions end somewhere exciting, but we did have one fun idea that came to fruition. It was the fall of 2013, and Dave half-jokingly challenged me to write him a — his words, and I quote directly from our GChat — "cyber-craftian Eldritch-punk time travel" story.
I assumed this was meant to be deliberately absurd. But I'm never one to back down from a challenge. So we pitched the idea to Grayhaven Comics for one of their sci-fi anthology collections — and much to our surprise, they gave us the greenlight. With only 3 pages to work with, we were fairly strapped with space to express our ridiculous concept. But we did the best we could, and ultimately came up with something pretty cool.
Some day we'll get around to finishing our Evil Academy concept, or dramatize that time at New York Comic-Con when we found ourselves in an Abbot-&-Costello, Who's-On-First routine at a party with Kieron Gillen and Karen Gillan. In the meantime, Dave is probably still pissed that I made him draw all those suckers on the bottom of the tentacles (even though it was technically his idea in the first place). So enjoy the fruits of our labor: "iCthulhu!"
"iCthulhu" — art by Dave Ganjamie, words by Thom Dunn. Originally published by Grayhaven Comics. Read the rest
Always pull both ends at the same time.
I absolutely hate it when my Amazon Basics retractable Lightning-to-USB cable disappears from my travel bag. These gadgets are small enough and neat enough they can just get jammed into a dark corner of your bag and will be there when you need a charging cable.
I would have enjoyed using mine today, but I was recently traveling with my daughter and find I must order another.
Watch what and how you pull.
I love what iOS 13 has brought to my iPhone's party. I'm not attached, however, to how frigging buggy it's been. Read the rest
I spend a lot of time typing shit and talking smack about Apple's recent hardware shortcomings, greasy dealings with authoritarian governments and questionable labor practices. But you know what? The still make my favorite smartphone. I kind of hate myself for that, but here we are.
It's looking like we'll soon have a whole new crop of iPhones to love/covet and loathe as the invitations for this fall's iPhone event have, it would seem, been dispatched on the chamfered wings of a lily white dove.
From The Verge:
Although Apple’s invitation doesn’t explicitly say what the company plans to announce at the event, the rumors suggest we’ll see three new iPhone models, and these will act as successors to the iPhone XR, XS, and XS Max. Two of these phones are expected to feature Apple’s first triple-camera system on the rear of the device, and the successor to the XS could also have a slightly bigger 6.1-inch display (up from 5.8 inches on the current model).
Another rumor suggests that these iPhones could support bidirectional wireless charging, allowing them to charge AirPods when used with their new wireless charging case. Upgrades to battery life and Face ID biometric security, as well as the use of new shatter-resistance technology have also been suggested.
I tend to ignore any talk of what Apple'll be releasing until it's been trotted out on stage—the world's on fire and careening off into space. So you know, things to do. But I know that lots of people dig playing what if with Cupertino-designed hardware. Read the rest
We can expect three new “iPhone 11” models this fall from Apple, according to the official unofficial rumor mill. Each of these is said to be designed with an A13 chip, a Lightning port, and a new 'Taptic Engine' that will replace iPhone's current 3D Touch. Read the rest
While I travel, one of the biggest pains in the ass that I fret over is the possibility of having to get my hardware repaired. This past winter, the closest Apple-certified repair depot to where my wife and I set up camp (the work laptop supplied to me is a MacBook Pro,) was three hours away. Just taking my laptop in to drop it off is a six-hour round trip. I could have it shipped off, but that takes an ass load of time as well. According to The Verge, this pain-in-the-ass could very well be demoted to a simple pain-in-the-neck: Moving forward, 1,000 Best Buy stores across the United States will be able to fix all of the Apple-branded shit that I can't.
From The Verge:
Read the rest
Best Buy has offered Apple repairs at many locations for some time now, but the completed expansion brings that number up to nearly 1,000 stores. “Best Buy’s Geek Squad has nearly 7,600 newly Apple-certified technicians ready to make same-day iPhone repairs or to service other Apple products,” Apple said in a press release. There are Best Buy stores in neighborhoods that might not have an Apple presence, so this is a nice option to have at the ready. Most Best Buy locations have Apple showcase sections with the company’s iOS devices, MacBooks, HomePod, and other products.
At its own stores, Apple has recently been pushing to speed up keyboard repairs for its MacBook, MacBook Air, and MacBook Pro laptops, promising a next-day turnaround in many cases.
Rumor has it that Apple is testing a triple camera system for iPhones in 2019, plus other improvements including 'dark mode.' Less expensive iPads and an updated iPhone XR are also said to be in development. Read the rest
Apple's Carpool Karaoke... isn't great. But despite scathing critical reviews of the show, Apple keeps trying to make it happen. In fact, they're so horny for the show to succeed that they've been forcing advertisements for it out to iOS users. According to The Verge, many iPhone, iPad and Apple TV users have been receiving unwanted Carpool Karaoke push notifications from Apple, via the iOS TV app for the past few weeks.
From The Verge:
We’re not sure how many iPhone users received the notifications, but it looks like Apple has tried plugging its show at least twice in recent weeks: once on December 7th for an episode where Kendall Jenner and Hailey Baldwin grill each other using a lie detector test, and once on December 14 for an episode featuring joint singalongs with comedian Jason Sudeikis and the Muppets.
Developed in house by Apple, the TV app doesn't ask for user permission to send along push notifications the first time that it's launched, like third-party developed iOS apps do. The shit and giggle part of this is that Apple App Store policy makes it very clear to developers that unsolicited notifications pushing advertising, features or promotions are not OK. If you know your way around iOS, turning off notifications spewed out by any app is as easy as flipping on a light -- but not all of Apple's users are software-savvy. So, without help, they could be stuck putting up with the company's unwanted solicitations.
It's a case of "do as we say and not as we do," I suppose. Read the rest
Almost immediately after buying my first iPhone in 2009, I became hooked on jailbreaking. Despite the fact that my iPhone 3GS met all of my mobile computing needs, I couldn't resist the temptation to tweak my user experience: tethering my computer on the go, messing with the color and style of my onscreen keyboard--you name it. If it was available for download via Cydia app, I gave it a spin. Some apps and hacks were worth paying for. Many weren't. I never dabbled in pirated apps, but I could have! That's what was so wonderful about Cydia: it offered the possibility of wandering off the path of what was normally a walled garden.
Sadly, after years of service to the homebrew and jailbreaking community, Cydia is shuttering its store.
Service creator Jay Freeman (aka Saurik) has shut down the Cydia Store citing a combination of costs and security issues. It "loses [him] money" and, when there were multiple staffers, cost him a significant chunk of his "sanity." And while Freeman had already planned to close the store by the end of 2018, he bumped it up a week after learning of a security hole that let let someone buy apps through your account if you were logged in and browsing untrusted app repositories.
The good news is that you’ll still be able to gain access to apps previously purchased in the Cydia store – at least for the time being. As sad as it is to see Cydia winding down, this isn’t the end of the road for jailbreaking. Read the rest
I dig Moment's high quality smartphone camera lenses for the convenience that they offer. I don't always have my Sony RX100 III on me. It often isn't even charged and ready to use. But where ever I roam, I typically have my smartphone with me: thanks to Moment's lenses, I'm able to up my iPhone's photographic game to almost reach the heights that my pocket-sized Sony shooter affords. What's more, the money I've spent on their glass feels like a good investment. Should I ever pull together enough scratch to upgrade to a new iPhone, all I'll have to do in order to use the lenses I own is buy a new case for it. Currently, Moment makes cases for Apple, Samsung, and Google hardware and, as of earlier this week, OnePlus.
The one Moment lens that I used more than any other was their 60mm tele lens. It provided 2x optical zoom over what my old iPhone SE could manage on its own. My dual lens iPhone 7 Plus? Same thing, only better: when paired with the iPhone's native optical zoom, you wound up with 4x optical magnification. A couple of years ago, it allowed me to shoot this:
Not bad! But here's the thing: when you use the 60mm with a dual lens camera phone, like the iPhone X, which typically has a wider field of view, the images captured aren't as crisp at the edges as they are in the center. With the photo above, I was able to crop and correct for some of this in Lightroom, but it's a pain in the ass. Read the rest
China's "invisible poor" are poor people who successfully project a facade of affluence through consumer goods, clothing, etc: a research report from Shanghai's MobData found that Iphone ownership is strongly correlated with membership in the "invisible poor," with the median Iphone owner being an unmarried woman aged 18-34, with no post-secondary education and a monthly income of less than RMB3,000 (USD430). Read the rest
Apple invited consumer technology reporters to an event scheduled for next Tuesday, October 30, at New York's Brooklyn Academy of Music, Howard Gilman Opera House. The late-October event will presumably feature something different from the September iPhone-centered event. Read the rest
A leaked police-training presentation from digital forensics company Elcomsoft (a company that made history due to its early run-in with the DMCA) advises officers not to look at Iphones seized from suspects in order to avoid tripping the phones' facial recognition systems -- if Iphones sense too many unlock attempts with faces other than those registered as trusted, they fall back to requiring additional unlock measures like passcodes or fingerprints. Read the rest
When you pay 1,000 bucks for a thing, it'd be nice if it, you know, does what it's supposed to. In the case of a smartphone, that means taking calls, accessing the Internet, taking great photos, downloading apps--the usual. Arguably, none of these abilities baked into our pocket computers is as important as its being able to recharge its internal battery. If the battery don't work, all else don't work. Guess what? There are a number of reports that Apple's new iPhone XS and XS Max have batteries which, in many cases, don't work.
Tech vlogger Lewis Hilsenteger of Unbox Therapy has the goods on the issue, which he illustrates by using a multitude of new iPhones:
These sorts of issues aren't unique to Apple's iOS devices (remember AntennaGate?) or Android hardware (the display falling off of my Blackberry a few years back was powerful fun). However, when folks are forking over a good chunk of their monthly income to pick up what they believe to be a premium device--and according to the reviews of the iPhone XS and XS Max they are very luxe in the functionality and feels department--it's a reasonable expectation that hardware works right out of the box. Sure, minor glitches are to be expected with a complicated piece of hardware like a smartphone. There's a lot going on inside of them. But something as basic and as important as it not being able to charge under certain circumstances is too huge a quirk to easily forgive. Read the rest
Apple has always talked a good game where recycling and environmentalism are concerned. They're quick to point out that they recycle what they can and are always on the hunt for new, sustainable manufacturing practices to adopt. They've got robots named Liam that take old stuff apart to make new stuff! While the company's PR machine is spinning that it's Apple's dream to one day make all of their products out of completely recycled materials, they're presently shitting the bed on the most basic of sustainability practices.
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Apple rejects current industry best practices by forcing the recyclers it works with to shred iPhones and MacBooks so they cannot be repaired or reused—instead, they are turned into tiny shards of metal and glass.
"Materials are manually and mechanically disassembled and shredded into commodity-sized fractions of metals, plastics, and glass," John Yeider, Apple's recycling program manager, wrote under a heading called "Takeback Program Report" in a 2013 report to Michigan Department of Environmental Quality. "All hard drives are shredded in confetti-sized pieces. The pieces are then sorted into commodities grade materials. After sorting, the materials are sold and used for production stock in new products. No reuse. No parts harvesting. No resale."
...A document submitted to North Carolina's Department of Environment Quality in September 2016 shows that Apple's must-shred policy hasn't changed in recent years, even as it continues to position itself as a green company: "All of the equipment collected for recycling is manual and mechanically disassembled and shredded.