A patent filing made public today stems directly from the Apple purchase of biometric company AuthenTec, and could lead to future iPhones and iPads using part or all of the touchscreen to act a Touch ID sensor.
Apple has allegedly taken a hardline approach in negotiating with content owners for a potential $30-per-month streaming television service --?a strategy that may have backfired on the company, a new report suggests.
Apple's secondary manufacturer, Pegatron, is following in the footsteps of Foxconn and beginning to automate its factories -- and cutting back on new hires as a result, according to the company's chairman.
Apple's Senior Vice President of Worldwide Marketing Phil Schiller is bringing the better part of three decades of marketing experience to the board of directors of Illumina, the industry-leading DNA sequencing equipment company.
Apple has implemented the .xip file compression protocol with digital signatures for its newest Xcode 8 beta distribution, instead of the unsecured .zip format, guaranteeing that the contents have not changed since initial creation.
Shares of Apple audio parts supplier Cirrus Logic spiked in after-hours trading on Wednesday night as the company not only beat quarterly forecasts, but implied that it stands to benefit from Apple's "iPhone 7" and other smartphones ditching 3.5-millimeter headphone jacks in favor of USB and Bluetooth.
It came to me while I was sitting through the interminable final action sequence:
Macho masturbatory bullshit.
Because the action scenes were generally half again as long as they needed to be (and full of obnoxious, over-used shaky cam), I had plenty of time to contemplate how done I am with The Adventures of Scowly McScowlface and His Total Awesomeness*. Matt Damon is a good actor, but this film gave him bugger-all to work with; I imagine the direction he received consisted of “look intense!” and pretty much nothing else. And although there was supposed to be an interesting character conflict at the heart of it all, the script basically just nodded in that direction and then went back to the tired old formula of evil cover-ups and revenge. Round about the point at which a SWAT truck started slamming through other cars at an improbable rate, I mentally checked out for good, with the three words given above.
It is perhaps unfair to dismiss the entire film as macho masturbatory bullshit. The most engaging parts had nothing to do with Bourne at all; they were about Nicki Parsons and Heather Lee, who are the actual drivers of the plot. (For a movie titled Jason Bourne, he was a remarkably reactive character, basically just punching bad guys and engaging in vehicle chases when somebody else gives him a reason to.) Even they couldn’t really save the story from its essential blandness; Lee, who’s got a better claim to the title of “protagonist” than anybody else there, spends quite a lot of her time staring at screens and talking into a microphone, telling other people what to do. And contrary to what the director seemed to think, rapid intercuts of people walking places very intently doesn’t really build tension. But quite frankly, watching a straight white dude go around inflicting mayhem has gotten boring enough that even the simple expedient of swapping him out for a straight white woman looks interesting by comparison. My days of needing nothing more than fistfights and explosions to engage my attention are long gone.
I prefer the new Ghostbusters. And Wonder Woman. And that remake they’re planning of The Rocketeer, with a black woman as the lead. Or, y’know, anything with actual characterization and depth. Anything other than The Adventures of Scowly McScowlface and His Total Awesomeness.
*So why did I see the movie? Free ticket, via my husband’s company, which had bought out the entire auditorium for a preview. In hindsight, there were better uses for my evening.
Check out all our dispatches from the Democratic convention here.
PHILADELPHIA — In contrast to Republicans, whose convention had a random-seeming parade of speakers each night, Democrats mostly hit their marks and stuck to the traditional convention script. Each day of the Democratic convention had an overarching strategic goal. Monday was about uniting the party. Tuesday was about telling Hillary Clinton’s life story (and, by extension, improving her dismal favorability ratings). Wednesday was about articulating forceful contrasts for swing voters and reminding them of the consequences of a potential President Trump. Thursday, with a lot of flag-waving and representation from the military, along with Clinton’s own remarks, was about establishing her credentials as Commander-in-Chief.
Off-stage, the proceedings weren’t always as smooth. A group of Bernie Sanders delegates — led by the rowdy California delegation — attempted a series of tactics to disrupt the proceedings, booing various speakers, Clinton among them, and staging a walkout after Clinton was officially nominated by roll call on Tuesday night. These delegates represented a minority of the 1,865 Sanders delegates on the floor in Philadelphia — perhaps 250 Sanders delegates participated in the walkout — although they proved that a small, determined minority can draw a lot of attention to itself. On the flip side, the energetic and boisterous crowd at Wells Fargo Center helped the Democrats’ best moments to pack more emotional punch, such as during the remarks given by President Obama and Michelle Obama, and by Khizr Khan, the father of a Muslim-American soldier killed in action.
In short, the Democrats appeared to have a conventionally effective convention, and perhaps a very effective convention (which is not to say they had a perfect one). Conventions usually produce polling bounces. In the 1980s and 1990s, these bounces often stretched into the double-digits, but they’ve been more modest in recent election cycles, averaging about 4 percentage points. Donald Trump’s bounce, as measured by the FiveThirtyEight now-cast, was roughly in line with the recent trend, about 3 to 4 percentage points.
Could Clinton get a 10-point bounce? Or no bounce at all? Sure — we don’t know enough about convention bounces to rule out either possibility. It’s not even clear whether convention bounces have to do with the efficacy of the conventions or the underlying conditions of the race (or some combination). Bounces seem to be larger in years when there are more undecided and third-party voters. They seem to be larger in years when the polls are more volatile heading into the conventions. Both those factors might portend larger bounces this year, since there are a lot of undecideds and the polls have been fairly volatile. On the other hand, bounces have gotten smaller over time, and perceptions of Clinton and Trump are relatively hard-wired as compared with those of typical presidential candidates.
Another way to think about conventions is that they help to reset the race to equilibrium. In 1988, for example, George H.W. Bush headed into the conventions trailing Michael Dukakis despite conditions that seemed relatively favorable for Bush: The outgoing Republican president, Ronald Reagan, was fairly popular, and the American economy was in good shape. The conventions produced a big swing in the polls toward Bush, and he never looked back.
What’s tricky about 2016 is that we don’t have a strong sense of what that equilibrium looks like. “Fundamentals” models like the ones that predicted Bush would beat Dukakis suggest that this election ought to be close, since the economy and President Obama’s approval ratings are about average. But those fundamentals-based models don’t have all that good a track record, and they potentially have trouble accounting for the effects of an unusual candidate like Trump.
We can look to the polls instead, but the news cycle has constantly been in motion, and therefore the polls have been in motion as well. Trump gained on Clinton after wrapping up the Republican nomination in May. Clinton rebounded to take a clear lead once the Democratic campaign officially ended in June. The polls held relatively steady for a few weeks, but Clinton’s numbers began to decline again after FBI Director James B. Comey’s repudiation of her use of a private email server while serving as secretary of state. There have also been a lot of tragic and chaotic events over the past month, such as the Dallas shootings of police officers and the terrorist attack in Nice, France, which potentially play into Trump’s narrative about a world spinning out of control. And now Trump seems to have gotten a modest convention bounce.9
The assumption embedded in our polls-plus model, which adjusts for convention bounces and which held steady through the Republican convention, with Clinton having about a 60 percent chance of winning, is that she’ll exit the conventions in about the same position that she entered them. That would mean she’d hold a lead of about 3 percentage points by a few weeks from today, although, it might be higher in the interim. That would leave her as a favorite, although a long way from a sure thing.
But just perhaps, this convention will reveal the true colors of this race, when other events have failed to do so. If Clinton vaults to an 9-percentage-point lead, or if she doesn’t get a bounce at all, that will be the clearest sign to date of where the race is headed.
The only Christian blogger I read is Slacktivist (Fred Clark), who gives me a much-needed regular dose of sane, loving faith. Today, reflecting on the Democratic convention, he quotes Reinhold Niebuhr, one of those people I am kind of aware of, but have never read:
Nothing worth doing is completed in our lifetime; therefore, we are saved by hope. Nothing true or beautiful or good makes complete sense in any immediate context of history; therefore, we are saved by faith. Nothing we do, however virtuous, can be accomplished alone; therefore, we are saved by love.
The context is Obama's speech; Clark says that Obama's philosophy has a lot of Niebuhr in it, and he's very likely right. What I know is that this particular quotation speaks to me in exactly the way I need to get through the next four months.
A few years ago, I wrote a recommendation of the strip “Cul de Sac,” by Richard Thompson, a gentleman I had the privilege of meeting several times. I wrote:
The characters are eccentric in ways that continually delight and surprise. I read individual strips in bits and pieces (here’s the strip’s official online home), but it wasn’t until I sat down with the full books in-hand that Alice, Petey, and their parents and friends took on strange and hilarious personalities. The language is clever and specific; the drawings are weird and delightful…
In 2012, Richard retired from drawing “Cul de Sac”, following the worsening of his Parkinson’s disease. To aid in a fundraising effort for Parkinson’s research, I and many of my cartooning colleagues contributed original art to a book called Team Cul de Sac. The next time I saw Richard was in my buddy Dave Kellett’s cartooning documentary Stripped.
This week, Richard passed away from complications from Parkinson’s. He was 58 years old.
Here’s a video that shares a little bit of what made Richard’s art — and his life, and his personality — so marvelous:
I hope everyone takes the time to read some “Cul de Sac”, or his editorial strip, “Richard’s Poor Almanac”. Richard was a phenomenal talent, a cartoonist’s cartoonist whose work overflowed with wit and exuberance, and I hope his voice will endure to inspire generations of artists in the way it has me.
He was also a kind, generous, gentle man whose acquaintance I was supremely honored to have made:
To David, the genius behind Wondermark, with admiration from your fan — Richard Thompson, SPX 2010
He did not have to be so kind, but he chose to be. I will always be grateful that I met him, that I got the chance to experience his work, and that I could be a tiny, tiny part of his life.
Honestly, I don’t think this is unusual for me. Summers are generally very busy for me. Partly that’s because of the vacation rental. I have lots of yard maintenance that I do during the summers, in part, because of the vacation rental. I want my guests to think I have an awesome yard. And that takes work.
Plus, I have MANY THINGS going on.
For example, WORKSHOPS.
Yes, I teach workshops. Two of them, in fact. I just finished the first Covers workshop. I’ll be teaching the Print Interiors workshop next. It starts August 10th.
To learn more, go here: http://krpworkshops.com/about-the-workshops/
Another example of things going on: BOOKS
At the end of August, “The Princess Troll” comes out.
At the end of September, “Spoiled Harvest” comes out. This is the sequel to “Poisoned Pearls” and “Tainted Waters”. I’m updating all the covers, so I don’t have links available for it yet.
At the end of December, “The Immortals’ War” comes out. This is a standalone novel, composed of three already published stories as well as three new ones. (“Dancing with Tong Yi”, “War On All Fronts” and “The Sweet Shop”)
In January, I hope to have a new Business for Breakfast book available.
February/March I should have a new novella available.
Then…I don’t know what.
Blaze will have a bunch of things that I’m publishing as well between now and then. And other writers. Stay tuned!
Other things–Am going to Worldcon in a few weeks. Hope to see some of you there. Am starting a new novel tomorrow–VERY EXCITING. I’m not impressed with how hot it has been in Seattle recently. And other NEWS that I’m still sitting on, at least for now.
How is your summer going?
Crossposted from my website. If you'd like to comment, you can do so here or there.
Friday, July 29 at 7:00pm (that's TOMORROW!) I will be reading from my debut novel Arabella of Mars at the U District branch of the University Bookstore in Seattle. But I'm not just going to be reading and signing books -- I will also be rapping, and leading a singalong, and giving away freebies... in costume. I hope that you will attend if you can, and if you have a Regency or other steampunky outfit I hope you will wear it. It should be a lot of fun. Tell your friends!
(1) OLD PROSE, YOUNG EYEBALLS. This time James Davis Nicoll set the table at Young People Read Old SF with Lawrence O’Donnell’s “Vintage Season” – O’Donnell being a pseudonym used by both C.L. Moore and her husband, Henry Kuttner, though … Continue reading →