A Recount Just Knocked Virginia’s Statehouse out of Republicans’ Hands — by a Single Vote

Andrew Prokop reporting for Vox:

The recount of the vote tally for a key race in last month’s Virginia House of Delegates elections concluded on Tuesday. And incredibly enough, when the dust settled, the Democratic challenger led the Republican incumbent by just one vote — an outcome that would deprive Republicans of their majority in the chamber.

This one’s for those of you out there who say your vote doesn’t matter.

iPhone Performance and Battery Age

John Poole writing on the Geekbench Blog about decreased CPU performance as the battery ages:

First, it appears the problem is widespread, and will only get worse as phones (and their batteries) continue to age. See, for example, the difference between the distribution of iPhone 6s scores between 10.2.1 and 11.2.0.

Second, the problem is due, in part, to a change in iOS. The difference between 10.2.0 and 10.2.1 is too abrupt to be just a function of battery condition. I believe (as do others) that Apple introduced a change to limit performance when battery condition decreases past a certain point.

He goes on to note that this is a reaction to a problem iPhone 6s were having where the device would shutdown at 40% or so battery life due to low voltage from the battery.

I agree with John’s assessment that the sudden slowdown isn’t something users would attribute to a bad battery. Instead, they’d feel it’s a processor problem and and upgrade is the only way to solve it. While this may “fix” legitimate technical problem the iPhone is having, now that it’s know to be a purposeful slowdown of the hardware, it doesn’t look good to people who already feel Apple slows down hardware solely to gain more upgrades and make more money.

Apple says it immediately contacted FBI about unlocking Texas shooter’s iPhone

Nick Statt writing for The Verge:

The Washington Post is reporting that an FBI official even acknowledged Apple’s offer of assistance late yesterday evening, but that it did not need the company’s assistance as experts in the bureau’s crime lab were determining whether there was another method of accessing the data.

In other words, the FBI appears to be playing fast and loose with the facts regarding the timeline here, in an apparent effort to drum up support for weakening tech industry encryption.

In the case of Kelley, because 48 hours had passed without him using his fingerprint to unlock the iPhone in question, the access code security feature kicked in and locked the FBI out. Had law enforcement accepted Apple’s offer for assistance right away, perhaps they would already have what they’re looking for. But in that case, the FBI wouldn’t be able to blame encryption for its failure.

Or maybe the FBI is doing this on purpose.

FBI may have lost critical time unlocking Texas shooter’s iPhone

Stephen Nellis and Dustin Volz reporting for Reuters:

The Reuters source said that in the 48 hours between Sunday’s shooting and Comb’s news conference Apple had received no requests from federal, state or local law enforcement authorities for technical assistance with Kelley’s phone or his associated online accounts at Apple.

The delay may prove important. If Kelley had used a fingerprint to lock his iPhone, Apple could have told officials they could use the dead man’s finger to unlock his device, so long as it had not been powered off and restarted.

But iPhones locked with a fingerprint ask for the user’s pass code after 48 hours if they have not been unlocked by then.

One of these days, the FBI will learn to just ask Apple for help from the get go rather than trying to do it themselves then getting mad when it’s too late for Apple to do anything.

Hackers Using iCloud’s Find My iPhone Feature to Remotely Lock Macs and Demand Ransom Payments

Juli Clover reporting for MacRumors:

Over the last day or two, several Mac users appear to have been locked out of their machines after hackers signed into their iCloud accounts and initiated a remote lock using Find My iPhone.

With access to an iCloud user’s username and password, Find My iPhone on iCloud.com can be used to “lock” a Mac with a passcode even with two-factor authentication turned on, and that’s what’s going on here.

Apple allows users to access Find My iPhone without requiring two-factor authentication in case a person’s only trusted device has gone missing.

And this, my friends, why you should never used the same password accross multiple sites. It’s also a great idea to use a password manager — such as 1Password or Apple’s own iCloud Keychain — to be able to make longer, more secure passwords and not have to remember them all.

French photographer uses an iPhone and a Big Mac BOX for portraits

Germania Rodriguez writing for Daily Mail:

Philippe Echaroux, 34, specializes in celebrity portraits and, while he’s usually armed with the best camera equipment that money can buy, he decided to push himself and his photography skills out of the box, with what he called The Big Mac Portrait Challenge.

Using nothing but his iPhone for shooting and retouching, Philippe then allowed himself the use of a straw, a flashlight and a Big Mac box to construct the rest of his set-up – with which he still managed to take a series of stunning portraits of strangers.

These portraits are absolutely gorgeous. It’s no wonder even ex-Googlers say that if you care about photography, you choose an iPhone.

Apple Acknowledges Siri Leadership Has Officially Moved From Eddy Cue to Craig Federighi

Joe Rossignol reporting for MacRumors:

Apple’s leadership page is only now reflecting Federighi’s role as head of Siri, but the transition has been apparent for several months, based on recent interviews and stage appearances at Apple’s keynotes.

Eddie Cue is in charge of the products that require deal-making with third parties. Apple Music & Apple Pay fall under his purview. Siri did start off by integrating directly with services via deals with third parties such as Wolfram Alpha, but that seems to have stopped in favor of an API. So now, having Craig be in charge of another core piece of the OSes he manages seems like a no-brainer.


Starting a Bullet Journal Again

It’s been two year since I last used a Bullet Journal. Originally I only used it out of necessity. I had lost my iPhone and had to two months without a smart phone while I waited for the new iPhone to be announced and shipped. It was a long two months, let me tell you, but Bullet Journaling help me through it.

Lately I’ve had the thought that maybe I’ve been forcing myself to be digital first when my mind doesn’t work that way. I can’t say this for fact, but how am I supposed to figure it out if I don’t see what the alternative to what I’ve been doing is? My last attempt at this ended because when I got my new and shiny iPhone, I couldn’t figure out where it needed to go or how to marry my digital and analog life successfully. In the end, I opted to go fully digital, because I attributed the friction as being caused by the journal, and not the phone.

But maybe I was wrong, maybe the friction was in trying to force the phone to take too much from the journal, which had been working perfectly up until then, and instead I should relegate the phone to a supportive role. This is made easier by the existence of a Bullet Journal Companion App. The key feature of which, for me, is the temporary Rapid Logging feature. Let’s be real, there are many times when carrying the journal around is impractical, but your phone is almost always around. The point isn’t to serve as a substitute for the Bullet Journal, but more as a notepad. And to ensure that you aren’t tempted to use it as a permanent journal, any rapid logging done in app disappears after 48 hours. So in this way, it serves as a notepad to log thing while you aren’t near your journal for transfer into it later.

But beyond the app, and a new term (“Stacks”) not much has changed in either the Bullet Journaling system or the community. You still only need a pen and a notebook to get started. I chose some Uni-ball 307’s and a Moleskine. If you want to go barebones basic, the basic structure hasn’t expanded beyond the 5 original modules, with the fifth, collections, being the wild card that could expand into infinite possibilities.

Hopefully I can stick with it this time. I truly believe it has a place in my life if I am correct about my mind working better with the analog. For now I’m sticking with the basic setup, and maybe expand into some permanent collections in the future. But for now, it’s experimentation time again.


The Rock x Siri

I’ve seen the Apple / Rock / Siri ad 4 times now, and I’m laugh out loud every time. This could have been truly terrible, but I’m happy to report that it’s absolutely awesome. Click the title of this post to take a look for yourself.

Senate GOP is trying really hard to avoid the Democrats

Sarah Kliff Reporting for Vox:

This exemption could have the effect of ensuring that members of Congress have coverage for a wider array of benefits than other Americans who purchase their own coverage.

A Senate Republican aide confirmed that the exemption existed but was unable to comment as to the specific effect it would have. The aide said it was included to ensure that the bill hewed to the chamber’s strict reconciliation rules that limit the policies this health bill can include.

It was already made clear they wanted not help from Democrats when it was decided that there would be no formal hearings on the bill. This exemption serves to further emphasize the lengths to which Republicans are willing to go to avoid the filibuster and, by extension, having to work across the aisle.

John Gruber Speculates on the Price and Strategy Behind This Year’s iPhone

John Gruber writing at Daring Fireball:

[…] if Apple expects severe supply constraints on these iPhones, I think prices of $1199 (64 GB) and $1299 (256 GB) are more likely. I honestly don’t think something like $1249/1399 is out of the question.

The prices for these iPhones need to be high enough so that tens of millions of people still want to buy the iPhone 7S and 7S Plus. If the “iPhone Pro” or “iPhone Edition” or whatever it is that Apple is going to call this phone starts at $800 or even $900, who is going to buy an iPhone 7S or 7S Plus? Not enough people, that’s who. Apple needs tens of millions of people to buy the 7S and 7S Plus because they aren’t going to be able to produce the “Pro/Edition” model in sufficient quantity.

He’s right. I don’t want him to be because this would price me out of the new hotness, but it makes sense. I encourage you to read his whole analysis / reasoning, it’s quite good.

Jay-Z’s ‘4:44’ to Arrive on Apple Music Next Week

Gil Kaufman reporting for Billboard:

Less than 24 hours after JAY-Z’s 13th album, 4:44, dropped as a midnight exclusive on Tidal/Sprint on Friday (June 30), Billboard has learned that the confessional 10-track work will soon be available elsewhere.

A source confirmed that 4:44 will be added to Apple Music/iTunes next week after its one-week exclusivity window on Tidal

That didn’t take long.

Apple Announces New Activity Challenge to Celebrate National Parks

Brent Dirks writing for AppAdvice:

On Saturday, July 15, anyone worldwide with an Apple Watch can complete a walk, run or wheelchair workout of 3.5 miles to earn a special award and exclusive iMessage stickers.

The distance was chosen because it matches the length of a hike from Old Faithful to Mallard Lake in Yellowstone National Park – the first national park in the United States.

I love these activity challenges. I think Apple has definitely hit on something to get people out and about on special days.


Switching to WordPress

I’ve done it. I’ve migrated my site, or most of it, to a self-hosted WordPress. Previously I’d hosted Dragonami on Squarespace because it’s ridiculously easy to set up and maintain. I didn’t have to worry about anything but my content. Recently, though, I got the itch to try something new. I started dabbling around with HTML & CSS, messing around with a test site on GitHub Pages using Jekyll because it was free and easy.

There came a point where I realized that Jekyll wasn’t going to do it for me. So I bought some hosting and installed WordPress. In my previous attempts to use WordPress, I wasn’t happy with the free theme offerings. Most themes did one or two things I wanted, but none did all of them, and most didn’t handle them the way I wanted. So obviously the way to go is to write your own.

Here is where you stop me and say “Wait a minute Kristian, you know there are some great paid options.” I hear what you’re saying, and I looked. Most of the are super expensive, and this site is really just a hobby at this point. I’m not making any money from it, and I don’t know that I ever will, so it wasn’t worth it to me to spend the money. Additionally, I want to learn to do things myself. I may never be a fully fledged web developer, but I like to have at least a basic understanding of how my blog works.

With that in mind, I set out to something to explain to me what goes into a WordPress theme. After a few Google searches, I came across this excellent series of posts by Tania Rascia. What was great was that they didn’t just ask me to paste code into a file. Sure, you could do that (I chose to type in the code), but she explained to you what it did and how it worked with the greater WordPress system.

Learning ‘PHP’, the language WordPress is coded in, was easy enough. having taken a few programming courses over a few languages in college, once I learned the general syntax, I was off to the races. At this point, I know just enough to be dangerous, and can read and understand basic structures. Anything more complex, and I’m Googling to find out what’s happening. I’m still learning the finer points of organizing my website as far as HTML elements go. CSS is simple enough, though when I’m trying to do something specific, Google is again my go to.

At this point, the overall structure and design of Dragonami is hugely inspired by John Gruber’s ‘Daring Fireball’. Almost to the point of being a clone with a different logo and color scheme (sorry John). But I’m no designer, and I really like that aesthetic. Hopefully, should he ever come across my site, John will be flattered rather than upset. Or even better, maybe my skills will have progressed by then to the point that it’s an original expression of me and not just of something I find inspiring.

Some people use services like Squarespace because they want to just write. I thought that’s what I wanted too. But now I realize that a lot of my enjoyment comes from doing what Squarespace manages for me. So until I get bored, I’ll keep tweaking and adjusting this blog and learning more in the process.


Passive-aggression in the Age of iPhone

Kaitlyn Tiffany writing for The Verge:

Last summer, psychotherapist and “relationship expert” Lisa Brateman told Broadly that the decision about whether to turn on read receipts reflects on you as a person, as it’s an indication of how much control you need to have over your interactions.

That explains all of the unsettling and scary blog posts I was able to find, written by college students, laying out the ways in which they use read receipts as a weapon of passive-aggression and thereby manipulate their friends and lovers. […]

For Odyssey Online, two college students wrote similar, if less horrifying posts. In 2015: “Read-receipting someone’s message is equivalent to the silent treatment… I even know people who normally don’t have their read receipts on, but still turn them on when they are in an argument with someone just so they can read-receipt them.”

Some people have turned passive aggression into an art form.