SchwarzTech
July 1, 2015

Link: 2 Beats 1. Or Does It? ☍

MG Siegler:

Maybe that’s unfair, but in the age of having every song at your fingertips at any time you want, our affliction is a preponderance of choice. What do you listen to when you can listen to literally anything? For me, it’s often the same things over and over again. I hate choosing.

I’m enjoying Beats 1, too, even if a particular song or block aren’t my cup of tea. My problem with terrestrial radio, and to a lesser extent, satellite radio, is that even “variety” rock/pop/alternative stations tend to stay with the most current song of an artist, and even then seem to have a playlist of about 20-30 active songs. In the few times I’ve listened, Beats 1 seems to challenge this, and it’s been fun. It’s nothing new (college radio and some good local stations have done this for awhile), but an enjoyable change of pace from my usual rotation of a few songs out of a few thousand.

Link: The Real Difference Between iTunes Match and iCloud Music Library: DRM ☍

Kirk McElhearn:

The whole iTunes Match and Apple Music thing is confusing. Apple says they are “independent but complementary,” and, on first glance, they look quite similar. But when you look closely, they are very different.

Both match your iTunes library and store your purchases. Both allow you to access these files, and listen to them, on multiple devices. But with iTunes Match, when you download a matched or uploaded file, you get either the iTunes Store matched copy, or the copy that iTunes uploaded of your original file.

When you match and download files from iCloud Music Library (without having an iTunes Match subscription), however, you get files with DRM; the same kind of files you get when you download files from Apple Music for offline listening.

Interesting distinction—I’m going to start my free trial of Apple Music later on, and already have iTunes Match enabled. I’m almost tempted to keep “permanent” copies of my music on an external drive, use my current iTunes Match subscription to stream the content of that library (housed on my computer’s internal drive—this is how my work computer is set up), and complement that with Apple Music for everything else.

June 23, 2015

Link: Hulu Gives Jerry a PC ☍

Christina Warren:

…Hulu recreated nearly every aspect of the Season 8-era Seinfeld apartment with great attention to detail.

Except for one thing. They gave Jerry an old PC.

In the words of Cosmo Kramer, “Oh, come on!”

After Carrie Bradshaw, Jerry Seinfeld might be the most visible Mac user in 1990s television. Over the course of Seinfeld’s 9 seasons, Jerry’s apartment frequently showed off various models of the Macintosh. Everything from the Mac SE/30 to a PowerBook Duo with Duo Dock, to the 20th anniversary Macintosh were featured on the show.

I even tracked down a Season 8 episode and sure enough — Jerry has a Performa/PowerPC on his desk.

Although nobody drew attention to Jerry’s computer on the show, it was in quite a lot of scenes and seemed to fit with his character. The detail stands out as if they put Batman figures around the pop-up apartment or a Ferrari poster on the wall. Instead, Hulu chose to find the Uncle Leo of computers.

Link: The Macintosh LC and a Meditation on Miniaturization ☍

Christopher Phin for Macworld:

The thing modern eyes notice about the LC, though, when you flip its lid off, is the chunkiness of all the components. It’s not just the big things that are big, either—things such as the hard disk. No, the chips themselves are hefty, thick slabs jutting up from the circuit board, and for all their dizzying complexity inside, I can’t help but think they look simple and primitive in part because of the small number of prominent pins, and because there are so few of them.

My first exposure to Macs that I personally used was in elementary school and we had a mixture of LCs, LC IIs, and LC IIIs (my first Mac was an SE). Although the former two were grossly underpowered for their time to keep costs down, these machines will always be a favorite of mine. Everything fit together just-so and you could disassemble one almost entirely without tools. Although the “pizza box” form factor mostly disappeared once CD-ROM drives were a part of the lineup (save for the Power Mac/Performa 6100s), this really paved the way for the Mac mini both in design and goal.

June 19, 2015

Link: iPad mini Pulled From Apple Store ☍

Jeremy Horwitz for 9to5Mac:

The original iPad mini has quietly disappeared from Apple’s web site, and is no longer available to purchase new from the Apple Store. Introduced in October 2012, the first iPad mini established the industrial design that was subsequently used in the iPad mini 2 and iPad mini 3, as well as the larger but otherwise nearly identical iPad Air and iPad Air 2. Apple notably continued to sell the 16GB iPad mini as an entry-level model alongside two of its sequels, dropping its price to $299 in October 2013, then $249 in October 2014. In recent months, falling street prices for other models made the classic mini a tougher sell.

Although the A5 processor lives on with the Apple TV and the iPod touch, it sort of makes sense that there’s now one less iPad mini to choose from. For $50 more, you could have a 64-bit device with a Retina Display. I even know of a few people who are looking to get rid of their original minis, due to poor performance, yet it was still being sold as a new product.

June 18, 2015

Link: Instacast Discontinued ☍

Caitlin McGarry for Macworld:

The app’s [Instacast] parent company, Vemedio, sent an email to subscribers indicating that the abrupt move was due to money issues. In the email, which was obtained by 9to5Mac, Vemedio founder Martin Hering said he “ran out of funds to keep the project going.”

The freemium app did make some money through subscriptions, with 6-month memberships going for $9.99 and yearly ones available for $14.99. With its brand new Apple Watch app, Instacast seemed to be innovating up until its sudden death.

I used Instacast for many years before moving to Apple’s Podcasts app, Castro, and Overcast and really enjoyed a number of its features. Still, I felt the subscription model was hard to understand and not very necessary, which made it a hard sell for the average customer. It’s a shame to see a longtime third-party tool discontinued, but it seems a lot of people have moved on.

June 11, 2015

Link: Talking With Phil ☍

John Gruber took The Talk Show to WWDC and hosted the show in front of a live audience. Not only was it a treat to listen to the show with a different format from a different venue, the guest was Apple Senior Vice President of Worldwide Marketing Phil Schiller. Gruber asked intelligent questions and Schiller offered great answers, rather than rattling off some generic PR speak. Even if you don’t enjoy podcasts, this is one episode that everyone with an interest in Apple should listen to.

June 9, 2015

Link: David Sparks on OS X El Capitan ☍

The summary of impressions by David Sparks closely mirrors my initial thoughts on Apple’s latest version of OS X. I’m excited for most of the changes, especially the overall refinement from the radical changes in OS X Yosemite.