August 25, 2015

Link: Windows 95 Hysteria ☍

Chris Wild profiles for Mashable the launch of Windows 95 and the features that set it apart from its predecessors. I borrowed the link from Stephen Hackett, and wanted to share my own Windows 95 story:

Like Mr. Hackett, the first Windows-based computer I ever used regularly was my dad’s work laptop IBM ThinkPad 750c running Windows 3.1, and then a Toshiba Satellite something-or-other running Windows 95. I always got to tinker with these, which in hindsight, I’m really surprised my dad trusted me since these were in the days of single-users.

I remember the massive marketing push, mostly because my dad was watching a lot of CNBC on days when he worked at home and they covered the launch quite thoroughly (for context, I seem to remember Microsoft getting as much ridiculous coverage on that network as Apple does today). I was fascinated by Windows 95, how Microsoft completely redesigned their user interface and it also felt much more modern than the Program Manager of Windows 3.1.

Our “family PC” was an IBM running Windows 3.1, bought just before Windows 95 was released.
Although I’m often running an operating system regularly before it ships these days, the choice to upgrade to Windows 95 never really happened for that IBM, partially because my mom got very used to Windows 3.1 and didn’t have a compelling reason to upgrade.

At that point, I had plenty of Mac-using years at school under my belt and eventually began bringing ancient Macs home to play with. Regardless, it’s hard to believe that Windows 95 was introduced twenty years ago and how much in the world of technology has changed, especially how Microsoft was on the upswing at that point, and Apple was blissfully unaware of its impending flirtation with doom. Now I feel old…

August 23, 2015

Link: iSight Camera Replacement Program for iPhone 6 Plus ☍

Apple is covering an issue on the first batches of the biggest iPhone for the next three years:

Apple has determined that, in a small percentage of iPhone 6 Plus devices, the iSight camera has a component that may fail causing your photos to look blurry. The affected units fall into a limited serial number range and were sold primarily between September 2014 and January 2015.

If your iPhone 6 Plus is producing blurry photos and falls into the eligible serial number range, Apple will replace your device’s iSight camera, free of charge.

I’m with John Gruber that most people probably have never referred to the rear camera as an “iSight” camera, but nonetheless, this program is good, especially since a number of the affected iPhones will probably have expiring warranties next month.

August 21, 2015

Link: Spotify Really Wants to Know You ☍

“If you don’t agree with the terms of this Privacy Policy, then please don’t use the Service.” – Spotify

When you get down to it, contacts, photos, locations, Facebook information have nothing to do with streaming music.

Update: Apparently they’re just really bad at communication, which may be even worse. According to the company, they’re really sorry.

August 6, 2015

Link: Apple Blends Store and Main Site ☍

This is an interesting, but understandable change. Gone is the “Store” tab, and a site-wide shopping bag is now prominently featured. You can now place items in your bag directly from the information pages, rather than learning about the product, then being linked to the accompanying Apple Store page. I suspect this could be the end of WebObjects and further simplifies so many things about Apple’s site. In fact, it almost feels like a web version of the Apple Store iOS app, which really makes sense.

July 28, 2015

Link: Walt Mossberg on Windows 10 ☍

At its heart, Windows 10, which will begin rolling out gradually as a free update, is a rescue mission. It’s an attempt to almost fully backpedal from its 2012 predecessor, Windows 8 (they are skipping 9), which was a radical effort to redefine the way Windows looked and worked. That experiment failed to win the hearts and wallets of consumers, and is estimated to have only about a 16 percent share of global PC users.

I’ve been using Windows 10 on VirtualBox on my MacBook Air at work for quite some time (we’re still standardized on Windows 7 in most areas), and have found it to be a satisfying update. For the few tasks I need Windows for, I probably could get by with 7 (heck, even XP), but I was curious to see what Microsoft’s latest and greatest is like. Undoing the last few years will be important for Microsoft, and I think Windows 10 is a step in the right direction.

July 18, 2015

“I always wear a Daring Fireball shirt when I go to an Apple Store. It’s like playing on ‘Difficult’ instead of ‘Easy.'”

Link: Apple IIGS System 6.0.2 ☍

Bill Martens (via Stephen Hackett):

After 22 years, 2 months, 2 days and 2 hours since System 6.0.1 was released, this is a summary of the visible changes. There have been many bugs fixed and many features added that are not immediately visible–they will enable developers to create better future products. Be sure to also read the Shortcuts file on the SystemTools3 disk for more information.

The first computer I regularly used before getting a Macintosh SE was an Apple IIGS. In fact, the whole reason I got the used SE was that it came with an ImageWriter II that I could use with my IIGS. Although that particular computer has been in storage for about the last 15 years and I haven’t had a chance to test it, I was able to rediscover Eric Shepherd’s Sweet16 and recreate the experience on a MacBook Air. If you don’t know what an Apple IIGS is, I encourage you to familiarize yourself.

July 11, 2015

Link: ESPN Tightens Its Belt as Pressure on It Mounts ☍

Shalini Ramachandran and Joe Flint for The Wall Street Journal (via MG Siegler:

The company, majority owned by Walt Disney Co., has lost 3.2 million subscribers in a little over a year, according to Nielsen data, as people have “cut the cord” by dropping their cable-TV subscriptions or downgraded to cheaper, slimmed-down TV packages devoid of expensive sports channels like ESPN.

At the same time, the prices ESPN pays for the rights to show games are ballooning. Rivals including 21st Century Fox Inc.’s Fox Sports and Comcast Corp.’s NBC are aggressively pursuing sports properties to feed their own outlets, which is also driving up prices…

Although ESPN has added channels over the years (I remember when ESPN2 launched), the amount of non-event programming with talking heads has become mostly filler and they haven’t seemed to expand covering more sports, dumping those on ESPN3, their included-with-a-TV-subscription Internet channel. Mix in competitors getting the rights to things that previously went to ESPN by default, Millennials cutting the cord, and a reluctance to embrace the Internet fully and ESPN is in for some rough times ahead.