Foggy Morning Pajamas

A foggy morning provided a few minutes of good photography as my daughter and friends (here, her friend Ainsley) looked out our hotel room window at Great Wolf Lodge. Taking most pictures of these girls needs to be surreptitious these days, because they want to mug for the camera instead of pose. (Click the photo to view it larger.)

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Project phoenix

Twitterrific was the first Mac client for Twitter, and I’ve used it since almost the beginning—10 years ago! When the app developers, The Iconfactory, expanded to iOS, Twitterrific kept up with Twitter’s features on iOS, but not on the Mac. (That’s due to programming resources, but also a lot of dickish moves by Twitter to shut out developers for a while.)

And yet, I still use Twitterrific as my Twitter client on the Mac, even though it lacks a lot of modern Twitter features. I’ve tried others, and none of them stick.

Now, The Iconfactory is Kickstarting a push to revive Twitterrific on macOS with Project Phoenix. If they can raise $75,000, they’ll be able to finish development on a brand-new version of Twitterrific. If they go over that amount, that gives them the ability to add more features.

In general, I’m not a fan of established companies using Kickstarter to fund their products. I get PR emails from one company all the time advertising some new product that’s actually just a funding plea.

But I make exceptions for companies I respect and trust, and The Iconfactory is way up on that list. I’ve kicked a contribution to help this project get made. You can too.

Airpods coffee

When Apple announced AirPods, the wireless earbuds, I thought they looked cool, but they didn’t really catch my attention. I already owned a pair of Bluetooth headphones, and regular earbuds have generally worked just fine in my ears.

And then people started to rave about them. As I mention in this week’s Practical Mac column for The Seattle Times, “… I began to see something unusual for modern Apple, with its deep marketing prowess and industry clout: enthusiastic word-of-mouth.”

After using them for a few weeks, I’m sold. They’re great, even with a few limitations (no volume control except via Siri, no quick pairing with the Apple TV). And AirPods offer the best first-encounter experience of any Apple product in recent memory, hands down.

Read the entire review here: AirPods turn out to be rare product that lives up to the hype.

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I appeared on Clockwise again this week, a great 30-minute podcast where four people offer their opinions on four technology topics. I love Clockwise because it’s so easily digestible, and the topics are always interesting.

For this episode, 172: Serial iPhone Killer, we discussed the upcoming Nintendo Switch gaming platform, Twitter security challenges for the White House, the death of the Vine video service, and the changing face of Apple support. I was joined by hosts Jason Snell and Dan Moren, as well as the multi-talented Alex Cox. Go have a listen!

Soupzine

With the new year, I and many other people are trying to figure out ways we can help people and causes that need assistance. My friend Anne Livingston just created a great one: Soup Zine, a “hand-illustrated mini cookbook [that] shares easy recipes and pro tips for comforting soups to keep you warm all winter.” Anne is an amazing food photographer, professionally-trained cook, and writer who has also worked on Edible Seattle magazine, so right off you know the contents of Soup Zine are going to be good.

Even better: All proceeds from the sales of the $10 printed zine go to Earthjustice, a nonprofit environmental law organization working to combat climate change, advance clean energy, protect people’s health, and preserve natural wildlife.

I love this idea, both because it’s exciting to bring projects into the world, and because I can’t wait for the issue to arrive so I can cook up some soup.

Pudding Creek Trestle at Sunset

I love running across photos in my library that I’d forgotten about. I need to allocate more time to going through back albums. (Click the photo for a better, larger view.)

The Pudding Creek Trestle in Fort Bragg, California once carried lumber by train, and has since been refurbished as a walkway.

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Up Early for Snow in Seattle

After it snowed a few inches overnight, we were up early (thanks to the 8-year-old, very early) to go experience it. The people in this house were awake, too.

The cold weather today made me think of this photo from December when it snowed here in Seattle. It’s sunny and a brisk 31 degrees F outside now, but friends in Portland are digging out of a foot of snow from the last couple of days!

Stay warm.

iPhone, 10 Years Ago

January 9, 2017 — Leave a comment

My contribution to this day in history: the first iPhone at Macworld Expo in 2007, in a glass case with a very burly guard next to it.

Ten years ago today, I was in the audience at Macworld Expo for the unveiling of the first iPhone. Steve Jobs’s lead-up to it during the keynote is classic Steve, and yes, it was an exciting moment. My first thought was, “Finally, someone is doing a mobile phone right.” I was happy just to see the phone features, like easily adding a third person to a call and listening to messages via Visual Voicemail without having to navigate a phone tree. Here’s what we wrote at TidBITS at the time: iPhone Seeks to Redefine the Mobile Phone.

My colleague Glenn got a briefing and actually had a few minutes of hands-on time with a prototype (which had a plastic screen at the time), putting him into rarified air for a few months. See iTouched an iPhone.

That said, the price was high at the outset, and I was mostly-happy using a Palm Treo as my mobile device, so I didn’t think I needed an iPhone right away. Within six months of the iPhone being released (it didn’t ship until June of that year), though, I gave in and bought one. I don’t regret it for a second. And it still works:

Iphone still works 10 years

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360fly4k in hand

Following the publication of my guide to The Best 360 Degree Camera at The Wirecutter, I sat down with Chuck Joiner at MacVoices to talk all about it. We cover why someone would want a 360-degree camera in the first place, some background on how I went about making the final selections, and more.

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apple_watch_cc_cover_shadow.pngThe Apple Watch is now a year and a half old, and on its second hardware revision. (Technically, it’s on the third revision, since you can buy a Series 1 model that is identical to the original but with a better processor.) And watchOS 3 brings several enhancements and refinements to Apple’s wearable that show the company was listening to feedback from the first versions.

What better way to take advantage of those than with the latest 1.3 version of my book, Apple Watch: A Take Control Crash Course! If you bought a previous edition, you can get the update for free. If you don’t yet own it, grab it now while the Take Control Winterfest sale is going on to get 25% off the $10 cover price.

So what’s new in this version? That turns out to be an interesting question.

For this time around, my schedule didn’t allow me to work on this update to release it in the window we wanted, so Take Control enlisted the most prolific wordsmith Joe Kissell to do it in my place. I’ve worked with Joe on many projects over the years, and I couldn’t ask for a steadier hand to tackle the Apple Watch Series 2 and watchOS 3 information. And with Scholle McFarland as editor, I knew I didn’t have to worry about anything.

The update is great, and covers the new hardware, new features in watchOS 3 such as easily swiping to change watch faces and the new Dock, and contains 85 pages of densely-packed information and full-color illustrations.

For more on what’s to be found in the book, and some background on how it came about, check out this interview that Joe and I did with Chuck Joiner for MacVoices.

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