Category Archives: news

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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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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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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DxOMark Calls iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus the Best Smartphone Cameras They’ve Ever Tested

“The Apple iPhone 8 Plus is the best-performing mobile device camera we have ever tested.” -DxOMark

DxOMark is a company that tests cameras. They’re well known for their comparisons of professional cameras, classic SLR cameras, DSLR cameras, mirrorless, and more. They’re the go-to source for camera reviews. They even make a $500 iPhone attachment that turns your iPhone into a high-end point and shoot camera. As smartphone cameras improved, they also got into testing smartphone cameras, comparing them so consumers could figure out just how good the camera on a smartphone is before buying it. If photo quality is your primary concern for a smartphone or camera, DxOMark’s rating is your holy text. They compare image quality using a variety of measurements, from sharpness, focus, contrast, color accuracy, bokeh, zoom, low light performance, differentiating light performance, and more. They attack camera reviews form both a subjective standpoint, comparing the visual quality of the photos, as well a a more scientific standpoint, comparing the exact pixels from each photo for sharpness and color accuracy. Their exhaustive test has become the industry standard. 

DxOMark got their hands on the iPhone 8 Plus and iPhone 8, and put them through their rigorous test. What they found was that both smartphones blew the competition out of the water. Google’s Pixel smartphone and the HTC U11 were tied for the top spots, but they’ve been throughly dethroned, with the iPhone 8 beating them by two points and the iPhone 8 Plus beating it by four. 
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Everything Apple Announced, and What it Means

You know? I like the number 9. It’s the highest single digit decimal number, it’s the number for the first month of fall, it’s my favorite number squared, and, for some silly reason, 9/10ths of a cent are added to the price of every gallon of gas in the U.S. Yes, 9 is a pretty special number. Unfortunately, some people tend to disagree with me. Namely, Microsoft and Apple. Microsoft jumped from Windows 8 to Windows 10, perhaps to distance itself from the disaster that was Windows 8, and Apple just released the iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus, and iPhone X (pronounced “ten”). In one or two years, it’s unlikely they’ll release the iPhone 9 and iPhone 11, they’ll likely mix up the names, so we likely will never see the number 9 on an iPhone. Why’d Apple release an iPhone X (ten in Roman numerals), alongside the iPhone 8? For nostalgia’s sake, of course, but it’s anything but a device stuck in the past. The new iPhones weren’t the only new Apple devices on the stage on during Tuesday’s event. Apple also announced the Apple TV 4K, Apple Watch Series 3 with LTE, and new features of iOS 11. With the introduction of three new flagship iPhone models, it was certainly a unique event, and with the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus going on preorder last Friday, we can get an idea of how popular these devices will be.

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