Monday, October 5, 2015

Delete2Archive for OS X 10.11 El Capitan

Apple

Last week, Apple released OS X 10.11 El Capitan. Due to a widespread networking issue between my ISP and Apple, it took several days for me download and install the latest operating system, which resulted in a delay in updating the compatibility of Delete2Archive.

Before providing instructions on how to update Delete2Archive, I should mention that after limited testing my Gmail accounts continue to work properly in Mail without the need of the plugin (as they have since OS X 10.9.2). If you’re still using Delete2Archive, I strongly suggest you test your system to see if you can get your Gmail accounts archiving natively. Specifically, you can try unchecking the “Move deleted messages to the Trash mailbox” option under Preferences > Accounts > Mailbox Behaviours.

For those that still legitimately need the plugin, it has been updated for compatibility with OS X 10.11 El Capitan. Follow the installation instructions and download the new version of the plugin from the Delete2Archive page.

Friday, September 11, 2015

Dog’s Best Day   

Video

From the BarkPost YouTube channel:

As members of Texas Task Force 1, Bretagne and her mom/handler Denise Corliss had an intense first deployment. They joined nearly 100 other search and rescue dogs to find and save people trapped in the rubble of the World Trade Center after 9/11. They’ve had an unshakable bond ever since.

After hearing Bretagne’s story and learning that her 16th birthday was coming up, there was no question in our minds that she deserved a Dog’s Best Day for the ages.

Monday, July 27, 2015

A Quick Puzzle to Test Your Problem Solving   

Science

David Leonhardt, writing for The New York Times:

We’ve chosen a rule that some sequences of three numbers obey — and some do not. Your job is to guess what the rule is.

A great little logic puzzle.

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Visualizing the Yield Curve   

Finance

Gregor Aisch And Amanda Cox, writing for The New York Times back in March:

The yield curve shows how much it costs the federal government to borrow money for a given amount of time, revealing the relationship between long- and short-term interest rates.

It is, inherently, a forecast for what the economy holds in the future — how much inflation there will be, for example, and how healthy growth will be over the years ahead — all embodied in the price of money today, tomorrow and many years from now.

This is a really fascinating way to visualize interest rates – one which I don’t recall seeing before despite spending the majority of my time at work dealing with this stuff. It would be even more interesting if the data went back another decade – when interest rates were at record highs – to really put today’s low rates in perspective.

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Get our ‘Music Monday’ playlist on Apple Music

AppleMusic

If you’re using Apple Music, you can add our ‘Music Monday’ playlist to your library for free. The ‘Music Monday’ playlist contains all of the songs we’ve previously featured on Things of Interest and new songs will automatically show up in your playlist over time.

To add the Things of Interest ‘Music Monday’ playlist to your device, simply visit thn.gy/music.

Once the playlist opens in the Music app (on iOS) or iTunes (on Mac), click the ‘+’ symbol to permanently save it to your library. If you have any issues or questions, leave us a comment below.

Music Monday Playlist

First Look: Apple Music   

AppleMusicRadio

Jim Dalrymple, writing for The Loop:

Music is an important part of my life. I care about every aspect of music, from creating to mixing, playing to listening, and seeing bands live. I feel music in my soul. Music has the ability to make me sad, angry, happy and every emotion in between.

I sat down yesterday with Eddy Cue, Apple’s senior vice president of Internet Software and Services, and Beats Founder Jimmy Iovine to talk about Apple Music. I also started using the new service myself, so I wanted to give you my thoughts on what I found so far, good and bad.

Jim provides a thoughtful and thorough overview of Apple Music. Having used the new service for the past two days, I really like it. I had some strange issues signing up1, but overall the service is great once you have it up and running.

My two favourite features thus far are:

  • the way Apple Music seamlessly merges my existing iTunes library of 10,000+ songs with the Apple Music catalogue, giving me quick access to the stuff I like most while providing unlimited access to 30 million other songs
  • playlists from third-party curators such as Shazam and Rolling Stone found under the ‘New’ section

Apple advertised early iPods with the tagline “1,000 songs in your pocket” and I think of the new Apple Music service as “every song in your pocket.”2 It is mind-blowing the first time you realize that you don’t have to carefully select which songs or albums to purchase because they are all included. I realize other streaming services have provided this ability for some time, but there’s something different about Apple Music – I used Spotify’s free tier for several months but disliked the user interface and never fully understood how to discover new music. Having tried Apple Music, I’m confident that I can delete the Spotify app without any regrets.

If there’s a common criticism of Apple Music, it relates to complexity. The service consists of several ambiguously named sections such as ‘For You’, ‘New’, and ‘Connect’. What lies beneath these simple titles is essentially several different streaming services wrapped into one:

  • For You: provides customized playlists and album recommendations based on your musical tastes, constantly updated as Apple Music learns from your listening habits and the songs you mark with the “Love” symbol throughout Apple Music. Think of this as a replacement for Beats Music.
  • New: a combination of new releases, top charts, and editorialized playlists from Apple and select third-parties. Think of this as a replacement for Spotify.
  • Radio: a combination of genre-based radio stations featuring hand-picked songs from Apple, a traditional live radio station called Beats 1 produced by humans, and algorithm-based radio stations that you create based on a particular song, album, artist, or genre that you can then further customize to your preferences by telling Apple Music to “Play More Like This” or “Play Less Like This”. Think of this of this as a replacement for Pandora and traditional radio.
  • Connect: a social network that artists can use to post content for the fans that follow them.
  • My Music: a ‘treasure chest’ containing your original iTunes library and items from the Apple Music catalogue (including playlists) that you opt to “Add to My Music”. Think of this as a replacement for the original iTunes combined with a bookmarking utility.

So yes, Apple Music is complex, but with that complexity comes a lot of flexibility and powerful features. You can go from selecting every single song you want to hear by playing content from ‘My Music’, to selecting a genre and letting Apple’s editors pick the songs using the curated playlists in the ‘New’ section, to giving up all control by letting the producers and DJs of Beats 1 select everything you hear. That you get all of this for $9.99 a month ($14.99 for a family) is pretty impressive.


  1. I signed up members of my family for Apple Music using the iPhone app. Between selecting the Apple Music Family plan, accepting new iTunes Terms & Conditions, validating credit card security codes, and entering Apple IDs, I would estimate that the sign-up process took between 5 and 15 steps for each family member. Sign-up for the Family Sharing organizer account was relatively straight forward, but adding additional family members required several steps that I’m sure were bugs. Ultimately, each additional family member would get to a sign-up screen with all buttons greyed out and the only option was to force-quit the Music app. Luckily, upon restarting the app, the registration process was complete and the family members were able to start using Apple Music. 
  2. Apple Music doesn’t include ‘every song’ but there sure are a lot! While some big names (like The Beatles and Prince) are noticeably absent on day one, Apple Music has some exclusive content not available on other streaming services. Hopefully the catalogue improves over time, and even if it doesn’t, it is still quite comprehensive. 
Monday, June 29, 2015

The Oregon Trail Generation   

ReadingTechnology

Anna Garvey:

We’re an enigma, those of us born at the tail end of the ’70s and the start of the ’80s. Some of the “generational” experts lazily glob us on to Generation X, and others just shove us over to the Millennials they love to hate — no one really gets us or knows where we belong. […]

A big part of what makes us the square peg in the round hole of named generations is our strange relationship with technology and the Internet. We came of age just as the very essence of communication was experiencing a seismic shift, and it’s given us a unique perspective that’s half analog old school and half digital new school.

Markets Brace for ‘Leap Second’   

FinanceScience

Bob Ivry and Yuji Nakamura writing for Bloomberg:

Since 1967, when clocks went atomic, human timekeeping has been independent of the earth’s rotation. The problem is, the planet is slowing down and clocks are not. So every few years, to get everything back in sync, scientists add a second. They’ve done it 25 times since 1972. The last time was 2012, but that was on a weekend. June 30 will be the first leap second during trading hours since markets went electronic.

Anyone that’s had to deal with the nuances of dates or times knows just how complicated horology and chronometry are. Take for example the algorithm for determining leap years – there’s more to it than just adding an extra day to the calendar every four years. With intricacies like daylight savings, leap seconds, and time zones, it’s surprising that we don’t run into serious issues more often. What will you be doing with your extra second on June 30?

Sunday, May 31, 2015

London’s Cereal Cafe   

Food

Anucyia Victor writing for the Daily Mail Online:

With 120 cereals, 20 types of toppings and 12 varieties of milk, self-confessed cereal obsessives Alan and Gary Keery have taken their love of the breakfast staple to new heights with UK’s first cereal cafe. […]

Cereals are sourced from America, South Africa, France, Australia, South Korea as well as the UK and will be served alongside 13 varieties of milk as well as 20 types of topping.

Forget fish and chips – this is at the top of my list the next time I’m in London.

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Adobe Updates Lightroom   

Technology

Adobe:

Adobe today announced a major update to its Creative Cloud Photography plan with the release of an all-new Adobe Photoshop Lightroom CC that delivers lightning-fast performance and new tools to edit, enhance, organize and showcase beautiful photos. With Lightroom CC and the legendary magic of Photoshop CC, Adobe Creative Cloud Photography empowers photographers to transform photos into amazing shots. Creative Cloud Photography also includes unique sophisticated mobile capabilities: automatically syncing photos with Lightroom CC on the desktop, Lightroom on mobile devices lets users access and edit their entire catalog of photos on iPad, iPhone as well as Android smartphones and tablets.

[…]

New features in this release include:

  • HDR Merge –- Create natural-looking or surreal images from extremely high-contrast scenes by easily combining multiple shots taken with different exposure settings into a single raw high dynamic range image.
  • Panorama Merge — Capture super wide fields of view and amazing detail by stitching together multiple images to create stunning raw panorama shots.
  • Performance Improvement & GPU Enhancements — Perfect photos up to 10 times faster than ever.
  • Facial Recognition — Quickly find and categorize images of family and friends.

With the death of Aperture and the disappointing lack of pro features in its ‘Photos for OS X’ successor, I’ve decided to make the switch to Adobe Lightroom. Moving an existing library of 28,000 digital photographs – 2,500 of which had adjustments applied – is a tedious and frustrating process, but I’m hopeful that it will be a worthwhile annoyance. In the little time I’ve spent with Lightroom it feels superior to Aperture in every possible way and the new features announced this past week will only help to improve the experience.

Monday, April 6, 2015

A Brewing Problem   

FoodReading

James Hamblin, writing for The Atlantic:

In 2010, journalist and caffeine aficionado Murray Carpenter visited the Keurig facilities in Waterbury, Vermont, reporting for The New York Times that the K-Cup idea posed environmental concerns, as the pods were not recyclable or biodegradable. It was that same year that the Keurig model seemed to take off, doubling in sales. In a 2011 local-boys-make-it-big story in the Boston Globe magazine, Eric Anderson, a professor of marketing at Northwestern University, likewise noted that the coffee machines could invite significant backlash because they “generate a ton of plastic waste.”

At the time of Carpenter’s visit, Keurig was on pace to sell three million K-Cups. So to say that growth has been good since then is understatement; last year they topped 9 billion. But today the cups are still not recyclable or biodegradable.

Unfortunately, convenience and waste tend to be positively correlated. Disposable diapers, plastic water bottles, and increasingly single-serving beverages.

Thursday, March 5, 2015

The ugly afterlife of crowdfunding projects that never ship and never end   

Finance

Casey Johnston writing for Ars Technica:

The public life-cycle of a Kickstarter rarely ends in tragedy. Often, if a Kickstarter manages to get covered by the media before its funding round end, or even starts, it can meet its goal within days, and superfluous funds continue to roll in over the next few weeks. By the time its crowdfunding stage closes, the creators, backers, and media alike are excited and proud to have ushered this new project so quickly to a place of prosperity, eager for it to continue to grow.

Plenty of projects manage to deliver the goods, even if the timeline slides a bit. That was the case with Tim Schafer’s Kickstarter game Broken Age. If creators miss deadlines, backers typically continue to receive updates via e-mail and the Kickstarter page. But sometimes the end of funding is the beginning of a slide into radio silence, which ultimately turns into few or no backer orders fulfilled, and no satisfactory explanation for why the project didn’t pan out according to the orderly delivery schedule the creators promised.

Fix the Home and End keys on Mac OS X   

Apple

Matthew Holt:

If you use a keyboard that’s not designed specifically for Macs, you probably are familiar with the annoying mapping of the Home and End keys: they scroll to the beginning or end of an entire document, with no regard to the cursor’s location.

Fortunately it’s an easy fix.

After purchasing a new Mac, this was one of the first tweaks I made.

A Spreadsheet Way of Knowledge   

FinanceTechnology

Steven Levy, republishing a piece he originally wrote for the November 1984 issue of Harper’s:

The problem with ledger sheets was that if one monthly expense went up or down, everything – everything – had to be recalculated. It was a tedious task, and few people who earned their MBAs at Harvard expected to work with spreadsheets very much. Making spreadsheets, however necessary, was a dull chore best left to accountants, junior analysts, or secretaries. As for sophisticated “modeling” tasks – which, among other things, enable executives to project costs for their companies – these tasks could be done only on big mainframe computers by the data-processing people who worked for the companies Harvard MBAs managed.

Bricklin knew all this, but he also knew that spreadsheets were needed for the exercise; he wanted an easier way to do them. It occurred to him: why not create the spreadsheets on a microcomputer?

I can’t think of another invention that has done more for office worker productivity in the last half-century. With a few key presses, I can accomplish in a matter of minutes what would take an entire department weeks to accomplish in the late 1970s. And yet, it’s quite amazing how little the ‘electronic spreadsheet’ has changed over the years, with the main interface – a simple grid of rows and columns – essentially unchanged.

(Via Planet Money)

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Supreme Court rules Canadians have right to doctor-assisted suicide   

HealthOpinionPolitics

Sean Fine, reporting for The Globe and Mail:

Canadian adults in grievous, unending pain have a right to end their life with a doctor’s help, the Supreme Court ruled on Friday.

The unanimous ruling, by establishing that the “sanctity of life” also includes the “passage into death,” extends constitutional rights into a new realm. The courts have used the 1982 Charter of Rights to establish gay marriage and to strike down a federal abortion law. The new ruling will change the way some Canadians are permitted to die.

I could express my reasons for supporting doctor-assisted suicide, but I think the opening paragraph of Court’s ruling says it best:

It is a crime in Canada to assist another person in ending her own life. As a result, people who are grievously and irremediably ill cannot seek a physician’s assistance in dying and may be condemned to a life of severe and intolerable suffering. A person facing this prospect has two options: she can take her own life prematurely, often by violent or dangerous means, or she can suffer until she dies from natural causes. The choice is cruel.

First look: Photos for OS X   

AppleOpinion

Christopher Breen, writing for Macworld:

Last June, Apple announced that it would stop development of its Aperture and iPhoto apps and offer a single photo app in their place—Photos for OS X. Today, developers are getting their first glimpse of Photos, as it’s bundled with the beta version of OS X 10.10.3.

Providing many of the features found in its mobile sibling, the Yosemite-only Photos for OS X offers an interface less cluttered than iPhoto, improved navigation, simpler yet more powerful editing tools, the ability to sync all your images to iCloud (though it doesn’t require you to), and new options for creating books, cards, slideshows, calendars, and prints. I’ve had the opportunity to take an early look at Photos, and this is what I’ve found.

There are several early reviews of Photos for OS X but I found this one the most detailed and informative. Sounds like Photos will be a decent upgrade for those migrating from iPhoto but will certainly be a step down for Aperture users. It isn’t nearly as bad as I feared, nor is it anywhere near what I hoped for. Ideally some additional features – geotagging, star ratings, and stacks to name a few – will find their way into the app before it officially launches. I’d also like to hear that extensions – third-party add-ons available for the iOS version of Photos – will also be available on the Mac.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Delete2Archive for OS X 10.10.2

Apple

Apple has released OS X 10.10.2, the second major update to Yosemite.

As was done for prior versions of the operating system, I’ve released a new version of Delete2Archive that is compatible with the latest update. Follow the installation instructions and download the new version of the plugin from the Delete2Archive page.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

The Horror of a ‘Secure Golden Key’   

OpinionPoliticsTechnology

Chris Coyne explains why there can be no compromise on end-to-end encryption:

This week, the Washington Post’s editorial board, in a widely circulated call for “compromise” on encryption, proposed that while our data should be off-limits to hackers and other bad actors, “perhaps Apple and Google could invent a kind of secure golden key” so that the good guys could get to it if necessary.

This theoretical “secure golden key” would protect privacy while allowing privileged access in cases of legal or state-security emergency. Kidnappers and terrorists are exposed, and the rest of us are safe. Sounds nice. But this proposal is nonsense, and, given the sensitivity of the issue, highly dangerous. Here’s why.

A great explanation of why it doesn’t make sense to give trusted entities the ability to intercept encrypted communications. Too bad the U.K. Prime Minister and his advisors didn’t read this prior to announcing new anti-terror policies.

WhatsApp and iMessage could be banned under new surveillance plans   

OpinionPoliticsTechnology

Andrew Griffin, reporting for The Independent earlier this month:

David Cameron could block WhatsApp and Snapchat if he wins the next election, as part of his plans for new surveillance powers announced in the wake of the shootings in Paris.

The Prime Minister said today that he would stop the use of methods of communication that cannot be read by the security services even if they have a warrant. But that could include popular chat and social apps that encrypt their data, such as WhatsApp.

Apple’s iMessage and FaceTime also encrypt their data, and could fall under the ban along with other encrypted chat apps like Telegram.

The British Prime Minister proposes a system where trusted entities gain the ability to intercept communications when they have a legal reason to do so. In theory this sounds rational, especially when compared to the alternative – violent crimes like the events that took place in Paris.

Realistically, such a policy is terrible:

  • Who decides which trusted entities have access to your communications?
  • What happens if an untrusted entity gains access to your information through a hack or by exploiting a software bug?
  • How can you be assured that the trusted entities won’t abuse their power?
  • And what’s stopping bad actors from simply creating their own private applications with full end-to-end encryption?

A knee-jerk legislative reaction to tragic events could unfortunately lead to controversy and regrets.

(Via Daring Fireball)

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Top 10 Films of 2014

MoviesOpinion

The Oscar nominations have been announced and all the critic groups have announced their best of 2014 lists. There has definitely been a bit of a general consensus around a few key films this year, some of which will appear on my list. I am not a film critic so my list includes some of my favourite quotes from some of my favourite critics, describing my top 10 films of 2014. There were several others films that I loved but I just couldn’t squeeze into my top 10 list, including The Grand Budapest Hotel, Birdman, Ida, and Nightcrawler.

Here are my top 10 films of 2014:

1. Boyhood

Director: Richard Linklater

Ann Hornaday, writing for The Washington Post:

What makes Linklater great is that he possesses the modesty and confidence to simply observe banal, otherwise forgettable non-events, then invest them with scale and sweep and deep significance. As a film that dares to honor small moments and the life they add up to, “Boyhood” isn’t just a masterpiece. It’s a miracle.

2. Under the Skin

Director: Jonathan Glazer

Matt Zoller Seitz, writing for rogerebert.com:

Movies like this don’t find their way into commercial cinemas very often. When they do, they don’t tend to star anyone you’ve heard of. When a film comes along that doesn’t fit the usual marketplace paradigms, such as “The Tree of Life” or “Upstream Color” or “Spring Breakers,” you take notice. “Under the Skin” is a film in that vein.

Is it perfect? Probably not. It might be too much of something, or too little of something else. Time will sort out the particulars. But I do know that the movie’s sensibility is as distinctive as any I’ve seen. “Under the Skin” is hideously beautiful. Its life force is overwhelming.

3. Mommy

Director: Xavier Dolan

Peter Howell, writing for The Toronto Star:

Xavier Dolan’s Mommy is defiantly a movie for the here and now, something so immediate, its very form resembles Instagram photos or smartphone videos.This fifth (and best) feature by the 25-year-old Quebec auteur demonstrates a mastery of the lens that would be remarkable at any age. Dolan and cinematographer André Turpin place each volatile image within a square 1:1 format, making the energy within it all the more intense.

4. Whiplash

Director: Damien Chazelle

Michael Phillips, writing for The Chicago Tribune:

“Whiplash” is true to its title. It throws you around with impunity, yet Chazelle exerts tight, exacting control over his increasingly feverish and often weirdly comic melodrama. (At times the intensity rivals Darren Aronofsky’s ballet nightmare, “Black Swan.”

5. Gone Girl

Director: David Fincher

Justin Chang, writing for Variety:

Surgically precise, grimly funny and entirely mesmerizing over the course of its swift 149-minute running time, this taut yet expansive psychological thriller represents an exceptional pairing of filmmaker and material, fully expressing Fincher’s cynicism about the information age and his abiding fascination with the terror and violence lurking beneath the surfaces of contemporary American life.

6. Selma

Director: Ava Duvernay

A.O. Scott, writing for The New York Times:

Ms. DuVernay, in her third feature (after “I Will Follow” and “Middle of Nowhere”), writes history with passionate clarity and blazing conviction. (The cinematographer, Bradford Young, captures its shadows and its glow.) Even if you think you know what’s coming, “Selma” hums with suspense and surprise. Packed with incident and overflowing with fascinating characters, it is a triumph of efficient, emphatic cinematic storytelling.

7. Interstellar

Director: Christopher Nolan

Kenneth Turan, writing for LA Times:

But though it’s a big studio blockbuster with all the traditional plot elements the term implies, “Interstellar” turns out to be the rarest beast in the Hollywood jungle. It’s a mass audience picture that’s intelligent as well as epic, with a sophisticated script that’s as interested in emotional moments as immersive visuals. Which is saying a lot.

8. Blue Ruin

Director: Jeremy Saulnier

Andrew O’Heheir, writing for Salon:

It’s a brilliant, slow-burning American revenge thriller that hardly puts a foot wrong, a work of startling violence and profound conscience that announces the arrival of an exciting young director.

9. Snowpiercer

Director: Bong Joon-ho

Patrick Gamble, writing for CineVue:

Seamlessly entwining the dramatic tensions and linear narratives of western cinema with the stylised violence and absurdity of its Asian counterparts, Snowpiercer is a genuinely global film – a rich hybrid of styles that breaks through cultural and political boundaries. The performances are equally as diverse. While Swinton’s Thatcher-esque fundamentalist steals the limelight, but the entire cast from Jamie Bell and Evans to Kang-ho and Ko Ah-sung all bring something fresh to the fore. And yet, it’s the depiction of class warfare and the rise of the proletariat that makes Bong’s triumph more that just a runaway actioner. The intelligent scrutiny of neoliberal ideals makes for a wonderfully reflective, spectacular think piece on social irresponsibility and individualism.

10. Citizenfour

Director: Laura Poitras

Matt Patches, writing for HitFix:

That’s the paranoid exhilaration of “CITZENFOUR,” Laura Poitras’ inside look into the 2013 global surveillance disclosures and the man who blew the NSA whistle: Edward Snowden. Actually, “inside” doesn’t do the film justice; Poitras isn’t picking the brains of experts and beginning her investigation after the fact. As Snowden and Guardian journalist Glenn Greenwald sift through a cache of confidential documents to decide where to strike first, Poitros is there rolling camera, rubbing shoulders with a man whose media profile would explode only a week after their first face-to-face meeting. A reminder of the NSA’s infractions, an indictment of American bullying tactics and a powerful character study of the down-to-Earth Snowden, “CITIZENFOUR” is an expertly crafted expose with unprecedented urgency.