Author Archives: Dani from Leaf and Core

Apple Needs to Work on iOS 11 Split Screen 

Let’s just get this out of the way, I love how Apple’s handling multitasking on the iPad in iOS 11. I like how you can easily share items between apps, I like the new multitasking view, I like that you can have floating windows, respoisition items, do split screen in Safari, and generally use the iPad more like a Mac. However, there’s still one big issue with split screen multitasking, and that’s how Apple handles bringing apps in from the home screen. It’s still a little awkward to use apps that aren’t in your dock, as you can see in the video below. While trying to make that tutorial, I actually screwed up twice before finally getting the app I wanted sitting next to Safari. There’s got to be a more efficient way to do this, Apple, right?
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Reflecting on the iPhone 6s

I still question Apple’s choice on this shot, those iPhones would have all shattered.

When a new iPhone is coming out, I always spend some time using my old iPhone without the case. It’s dangerous, I know, one drop could shatter the screen, meaning I’d be out hundreds of dollars when I try to trade it in to Gazelle or Apple, but it’s something I have to do. I want to really get to know the device one more time, before I give it up. This is the phone that got me countless dates through OKCupid and Tinder, the phone that I used to talk to the girls I loved this year, the phone that connected me to my friends. It’s where I followed election results, then tweeted angrily about the electoral college undermining democracy, and a new president undermining American freedoms. I’ve written blog posts, even portions of books on this phone. It’s the phone were I found the apartment I hope to move into in a few weeks. And, also in a few weeks, I’m going to wipe this phone clean of any of that, deleting those memories from its storage permanently, and ship it off to a recycling facility, where it will be dismantled and either sold for parts or cleaned up, sold as refurbished, and enter the home of someone else, to become an integral part of their life, as it once was a part of mine. Really, I just want to give myself one last chance to get to know this phone, remember what it was like, before I give it up. Because the truth is, despite everything I’ve been through with this phone, I kind of hate it
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YouTube Still Hasn’t Rid Itself of Anti-LGBTQ Bias

Mention their relationship as anything but a heterosexual, plutonic friendship, and Google will come after your video’s earnings.

A while ago, LGBTQ content creators on YouTube found that their innocent videos with any depiction of LGBTQ themes or tags were being flagged as “inappropriate for under 18 users.” Google, the owner of YouTube, wasn’t quick to fix the problem, but they did eventually stop immediately flagging videos with LGBTQ content as inappropriate after the outcry became too great for the company. Google tries to paint itself as a woman and LGBTQ friendly place, so accusations of the inverse are bad public relations. They were quick to respond to James Damore’s sexist manifesto with racist overtones, and have marched in Pride parades. I’ve personally attended LGBTQ mixers they’ve hosted for other LGBTQ people in the tech industry in my city. Truly, I thought Google to be an ally, and usually, they are. But they’re not quite practicing what they preach. I saw a thread on Reddit some time ago, either on an LGBTQ related subreddit or the Life is Strange subreddit (I can’t remeber and foolishly didn’t save it). By the way, mild Life is Strange spoiler to follow. The thread in question raised an issue a YouTuber realized with their videos. YouTubers can “monetize” their videos, that is, have ads on the page that they can share the profits of with YouTube. A YouTuber who created Life is Strange gameplay videos found that their videos specifically mentioning the gay choices one can make in Life is Strange were demonetized, the creator couldn’t put ads on their videos. They even experimented, replacing the word “lesbian” in the titles with “straight” (or removing it altogether) and found that these videos were allowed to have ads. 

YouTube’s still treating LGBTQ themes as taboo. They may not be censoring them from underage users, but they’re not letting LGBTQ, especially lesbians, make any money from their videos. 
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Advanced Sound Accessport Review

Advanced Sound’s based on Long Island, NY, just outside of the world’s greatest city, and not far from where I was born. They’re a plucky company, making headphones and hardware for people who really care about audio quality and want to get it at a good price. They launched a Kickstarter campaign not long ago for their Accessport, a dongle that solves a silly problem. The iPhone 7 didn’t come with a headphone jack. The iPhone 8 and iPhone X don’t have headphone jacks either. You could use the adapter that Apple provides (and sells for just $9), or you could try to upgrade your experience. You could go with a dongle that allows you to both listen to music and charge your phone at the same time. You could go further by getting one that has a higher quality digital to analog converter (DAC) and amplifier, to really make your music sound incredible. With such a setup, you’d actually be better off than if Apple provided a headphone jack in the phone. An external DAC and amplifier that can also charge your phone? Perfect. And that’s just what Advanced Sound promised with their Accessport. Unfortunately, they didn’t come close to delivering on that promise. In fact, it actually sounds far worse than the sound from my iPhone (I still have a headphone jack equipped iPhone 6s… for now). 
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iOS 11 Cures the Greatest iPad Problem!

No, I’m not talking about how changing the volume takes up the entire screen on an iPhone for absolutely no reason. No, I’m not talking about lingering notifications that aren’t easy to dismiss blocking interface elements. Apple still hasn’t fixed those after 11 versions of iOS. You’d think someone at Apple would be half decent with an interface design. I honestly now think they’re keeping the volume display as obtrusive as possible to see how long Apple users will continue to put up with it before being driven mad. No, I’m talking about the biggest problem the iPad faced in iOS 10. Remember?

Yeah. No flashlight. Well guess what?

The flashlight is here to stay. Now, when you’re lost in the woods with no phone, no lighter, no flint and steel, no camera with flash, and no glow sticks, you can use the flash on your iPad to find your way home. 

Thanks, Apple! 

The iOS 11 Control Center is a Lie

As a subway commuter, I quickly learned a little trick for getting service in the subway. For the uninitiated, nearly every subway station in NYC now has cellular reception. Usually it’s LTE, but sometimes it’s just 3G. But these are the only places where you can get service. In the tunnels between stations, there is no service. When the iPhone loses a data connection, it goes down the chain of potential technologies to use for a connection. First it looks for 3G, then it looks for a call-only connection, and finally, it settles on no service. When service returns, it goes back up the chain… slowly. Often you’re not in a station long enough for it to get back to LTE on its own. That’s where the little trick comes in. I have an iPhone 6s, so I’ve got Force Touch. I press hard on the Settings icon, and tap the Cellular option that comes up. Then I turn Cellular Data off for about 5-10 seconds, then I turn it back on. This causes the cellular radio to reset. When the cellular radio gets powered back on, it looks for a connection in descending order, starting with the best possible connection. First LTE, then 3G, then a voice only connection. When this happens, it goes from “thinking” there’s only a 1x voice connection to realizing that there’s an LTE connection available. It’s a handy trick, and one I’ve actually heard other commuters talking about, so I know it works. 

When Apple introduced iOS 11, they put all the wireless radios in Control Center. I was probably more excited than I had any right to be. This put the cellular radio toggle just a swipe and a tap away from any app. Surely this would make my little trick easier. However, when I tried it on the subway, I found it didn’t work. The next day, I read an article that told me why: the toggle is a lie. iOS doesn’t shut off the cellular, WiFi, or Bluetooth radios when you toggle them in Control Center. This is a huge problem, it’s a UI element that claims to do something, but doesn’t do it, tricking it’s user. It’s simultaneously unlike Apple and extremely Apple-like. 
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You Should Play: Life is Strange Before the Storm

Rachel and Chloe meet at a fight during a punk show. Chloe held her own when I played.

I’ve discussed Life is Strange at great length before, and for good reason. It’s probably been one of the most impactful games I’ve played, and I think I could honestly call it my favorite, despite not being an action-heavy game, which are usually my favorites. The end of the game has stuck with me, perhaps even haunted me, since I played it. I always recommend it to everyone, even people who don’t play video games. In fact, I especially people who don’t play video games. This is a game that is perfect for anyone who loves a story, not just gamers, and you’d be cheating yourself out of a fantastic story by dismissing it as “just a game.” The game involves Max, an introspective girl who discovers she can rewind time, and her best friend Chloe, a punk rocker with a troubled past (and future), as they try to navigate a difficult world of bullies, depression, threats of violence, love, and most of all, solve the disappearance of Chloe’s best friend (and possible former girlfriend), Rachel Amber. The twists the story takes as these two learn the dangers and wonders of messing with time bring players through a rollercoaster of emotions.

The trailer for the original Life is Strange game

Dontnod, the creator of the first game, is making a sequel, though it won’t involve the original characters, it’ll be a completely new situation with a new group of people. However, they knew fans needed more time with the original cast of characters. They got DeckNine to make a prequel for the game, Before the Storm, staring the protagonist’s best friend Chloe, showing the most difficult time in her life, and perhaps the second greatest pivot in her life: when she met Rachel.
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