Friday, October 15, 2021

LG Foldable Glass Is A Good Start But Imagine Its Third or Fourth Version

 Source: Engadget.

When Apple came out with the original iPhone and spoke about how great the first version of the Gorilla Glass from Corner was, I tried to imagine what it would be like five versions down the line. It would be so strong and scratch resistant that, well, it would eventually be crack and scratch resistant, right? Just like this new LG foldable glass, the first generation is promising but I don't know if it will live to up expectations. So, I wonder what the third or forth generation of this foldable glass will be like. To do that, we will have to visit the first time we were told about how strong the original iPhone glass was.

When Steve Jobs went on stage to unveil the iPhone to the world for the first time, it was also the first time we have ever heard of Gorilla Glass from Corning. We heard later about how Apple with with a plastic screen during the prototype stages and how bad the screen became as a short period of use and how Apple went to Corning and Steve Jobs warped Corning's CEO into his reality distortion field and convinced him to give him something impossible.  And the Gorilla Glass was born. 

As far as I know, Apple is still using the Gorilla Glass from Corning. I think we can definitely say that the glass has improved vastly since 2007. I still get a small scratch here and there and continue to cringe each time I see a broken glass in an iPhone 11 or 12 on the Internet. We are not at the point of shatter resistant and through also more scratch resistant, today's Gorilla glass isn't quite there yet. 

So, with LG marketing about how good it's foldable glass is, I have to believe that they have some way of backing up all this talk, especially if Apple will use it one day. Apple will continue to demand only the best and, again, the impossible as far as how durable and scratch resistant the LG glass is going to be. Oh, and let's add crease free to that.

If what LG says is true about its foldable glass and Apple is impressed enough to use it, imagine what the third or fourth generation of the glass is going to be like. Imagine how impress and cool that would be. 

If it all goes according to plan, expect LG to start selling them to customers (ahem, Apple), in a couple of years. 

Saturday, October 9, 2021

Should You Upgrade Or Get A Computer, Smartphone, New Car, Or Anything That Runs On A Computer Chip Amidst The Global Chip Shortage

 Source: CNBC.

We seem to be running now on a lot of things. Since this blog is geared more towards, the vast majority of readers probably are aware of the chip shortage for a while now. And with the Holidays coming, tech toys are likely to continue to be in high demand and should fly off the shelves as fast as retailers can stock them. And that's before we even get into the Black Friday discussions. Question is should you upgrade now? 

This reminds me of when a lot of Apple users who are not up with the in-and-outs of Apple's product release schedule and will ask if they should upgrade now or wait. The quick and easy question is upgrade when you need to. And if you can wait, why not? 

However, this chip shortage may be different. The disruption seems to be mostly in the car industry as car manufacturers slow or shut down plants due to chip shortages. Consumer electronics are affected but not to the extend of other markets. You can still get a PC, Mac, or smartphone that you want. Right now, the new Galaxy phones and iPhones are just going through the channels and some models are more difficult to find because of the pinned up demand for new models. There are posts out there that suggest the wait may be longer than past years. 

Let us not forget that media reports of these types are high unreliable and we will not know for sure until the tech companies report their financials for the current quarter to know what is really going on. Production relays are not unusual. Apple devices have taken longer than expected, at least those of public exceptions, and took longer to ramp up. Recent reports suggest that the new Apple Watch 7 which just became available for presale are limited in quantity and the reason seems to be a production issue rather than the result of a chip shortage.

This seems to be different than that of the car industry. If anything, the question about getting a car is a bigger one than if you should get the new game system now or wait for a Black Friday deal. And given that there is a global chip shortage, can you afford to wait too long? 

One other issue to consider beyond chips is the disruption in the supply chain. That is a bigger issue than if your car model is going to be available when you go into the car dealership. Your car, computer, Xbox, or Mac may be sitting on a ship that is currently dock off the coast of California waiting for its turn to have its cargo off loaded. There are good chances that they may not get into the retail stores or warehouses on time.

The chip shortage and supply chain issues may be here to stay at least through all of 2022 and into 2023. Personally, I'm a good place now. I'm happy with what I have. This affords me the chance to sit back and wait to see what the next MacBook from Apple is enough to entice me to upgrade.

Wednesday, October 6, 2021

Work From Anywhere: Mac or PC

 Source: 9to5Mac.

During the work from home period of the pandemic last year, I had been using my personal MacBook from 2016 as my primary computing machine for work. Since returning to work in the office this June, I had been given a Windows laptop with an i7 chip, which I assume is at least towards the high end of the speed spectrum, with 16 GB of memory.  From my experience, if I was given a choice of a new Macbook with M1 or the Windows laptop, I think I would rather go with the MacBook.

The Windows laptop I was given was an HP laptop with a much bigger screen than my 12” MacBook. There were many advances in laptop technology in the last 5 years and the HP is faster with most operations. It had the advantage of a faster Intel ship, native software from Microsoft, and 16 GB of RAM to my 8 GB on the MacBook.  Plus, my Macbook was barely above 1 GHz.

So, my new Windows HP laptop is a monster, right?  Fearlessly chewing up Excel sheets while allowing me to open about 10 tabs on the default Microsoft browser, Edge, and playing a Youtube video of someone who recently visited Universal Studios, the real one in California, for Halloween without breaking a sweet.

Well, maybe. Maybe not. I could not really tell. See, while it did all that, I also was able to do the same on the Macbook with only 8 GB and an aging CPU vs 16 GB on the latest Intel chip. The Windows laptop was faster with a very large Excel file but I was still able to walk away, make coffee and get a snack and enjoy it before it was finished. With the MacBook, I had time to go for a run and come back and it would be finished. However, with the recent updates from Apple and Microsoft, the same Excel file was also faster on the MacBook as well.

And that same file on a Surface laptop? 16BG and whatever the high end option we could get from earlier in the year seemed to have to labor through those calculations. I think it is faster than my MacBook. I think.

So, I can see why companies that invest in getting Macs for its employees have a better return in the long run than those who go with the traditional Windows option. And this is just a small company I work for.  For enterprises with hundreds if not thousands of companies, they stand to save over $800 per user (see link above) over three years by going with a Mac because it needed less support and had a longer uptime without having to worry about the usual issues that come with machines running Windows.

Furthermore, the Forrester report finds that companies with Macs tend to have a higher worker retention as well as increase productivity. What if you are a small company with only a hand full of employees or going solo?

I still think the Mac is the way to go - the MacBook Air with M1 seems to be designed just for that. It has everything you need right out of the box - Safari for Internet access, Mail for emailing, and Apple’s suite of productivity apps, while far from perfect, are good alternatives to Microsoft Office. Furthermore, the computing environment we have today are nothing like those of the late-90s and the 2000s when even if companies want to deploy Macs, they could not because many applications were Windows only. Today, there is virtually a native Mac version of the top applications. On top of that, many applications can now be accessed through a browser. 

And let’s not forget about the native security features of the MacOS. As far as I know, there has not been a major ransomware hack of a company or government agency running Macs (I do not think there is a government agency in the world that operates with mostly Macs). (See Macworld UK). There are Trojan horses rather than traditional Windows viruses that require the user to do a few things like disabling security measures Apple have in place that keep them at bay. 

On the Windows side, if you’re mostly safe if you do not venture into the bad neighborhoods if you get my meaning.  Even then, there are things that could go wrong. And with hundreds if not thousands of employees, the risk is amplified when running Windows vs Mac. I keep to myself. I run whatever my work laptop is for. I have my iPad or iPhone with me when I need to do stuff that are not work related. I watch YouTube videos and that’s as far as I go with the work computer. And even then, I sometimes wonder if something has snuck in and running in the background without me knowing it just because it’s a Windows laptop.

I don’t have the same concern on a Mac.

Sunday, September 12, 2021

Twitter's Communities Can Just Be Better Than Facebook But A Force For Positive Advocacy

 Source: Twitter, The Verge.

Twitter has been a tear lately with some new features and one of the most important one which could really be a breakout for Twitter is its version of communities to compete with Facebook and Reddit. As with anything social media these days, it could be useful or toxic like the spread of false information regarding election fraud or COVID vaccines. Twitter seems to have a good approach from what they are saying and what is on paper. It has to be a positive force for good, not simply better than Facebook.

Twitter is about making money for itself and creating value for shareholders. Twitter is now profitable and its stock has gone up a lot in the last year. Compared to Facebook, it is no where near where Facebook's profit and valuation is. So, Twitter has been trying a lot of new features in the last few years that can retain and engage users and encourage them to come back regularly rather than occasionally checking on their timelines.  That has been Twitter's problem. 

With Communities, it might have a winner.  Twitter seemed to have learned from the mistakes others have made and decided to go at it slowly. It is offering Communities on an invitation-only basis for now and will have qualified moderators. It is also rolling it out at a slower paces to work out any issues or bugs. 

And a slower pace that allows Twitter to do something important that Facebook and other communities have failed to do: others have allowed their communities to go unchecked and become havens for hate, conspiracy theories, and other harmful social platforms. This is not an issue about free speech. Political communities are probably going to be allowed on Twitter across the political spectrum - conservatives, liberals, or moderates. However, extremism must not be allowed to breed and foster on Twitter. Otherwise, Twitter Communities would be no different from from Facebook.

Also, Twitter needs to letting its communities turn into echo chambers and that rules are applied evenly across the board and respect the privacy of users.

Personally, I'm rooting for Twitter to flourish and be a real factor in the social media realm and I'm looking forward to trying Communities out.

Saturday, September 11, 2021

Social: Delta Airline's Plan To Add $2400 A Year For Its Unvaccinated Force Work Is Working

 Source: CNBC.

Delta Airline started charging workers a $2400 extra per year for health insurance for those who are not vaccinated. A full 20% of the unvaccinated workforce at Delta got their shots two weeks after Delta made the announcement. It makes sense and this is something more companies should try. 

And why not? The Affordable Care Act penalizes tax payers for violating the individual mandate. In same ways, this is an extension of that. If you are not willing to do your part, you have to pay extra. 

Now, I get that some people are avoid vaccine for legitimate reasons. For the most part, I personally have  not come across a strong argument against vaccines other than false information or unfounded fears. Some wanted to wait and see. It's been 9 months since the COVID vaccines have been distributed and administered to millions. There are been reports of side effects and even deaths but statistically minute.

Come on, America. Let's get this virus under control so we can have a real reopening, maybe even without masks.

So far, I have not heard of any other company trying what Delta is doing. I am sure that if more unvaccinated workers at Delta begin to get vaccinated to avoid footing over $2400 a year by November 1 (Delta's deadline), it could get boardrooms across America to get on board with this plan as well.

For Delta, the monthly $200 penalty brings the percentage of its workers who are vaccinated from 74% to 78%. That means a vast majority of its workers were already board with protecting themselves and others from COVID-19. 

If we can get even half the unvaccinated in the US to get vaccinated, it would have a huge impact on how we go forward in the US socially and economically heading into winter and 2022.

Sunday, September 5, 2021

Working From Home - It Has Been Done Before for Many Years Before COVID and Companies Should Get Used To It

 Source:  Live Science.

A majority of us enjoy working from home since we have had a taste of what that is like since the pandemic in the last eighteen months and counting.  We have had a taste of what work life can be if we do not have to go into the office five days a week, or even four.  An even larger majority like the option to work from continue to work from home or at least have that option available to us. It's time companies come to this realization because this was not the first time since workers have had the technology to telecommute.  

Yes, before working from home was working from home, there was telecommuting. It was offered in most special circumstances. My friend's wife had been working with a firm from Los Angeles where she started a few years after college and remained for nearly twenty years while working from various cities as they moved around from the West Coast to the Midwest and then up the Pacific Northwest.

And let us not forget a various of freelance jobs that are offered to consultants and freelance workers who have been able to work more easily remotely as technology for telecommuting has gotten better. If the COVID pandemic had happened back before the Internet, it would have been much more devastating and creating an even greater public health crisis all over the world.

The difference between telecommuting in the past and the COVID-created "work from anywhere" phenomenon is the number of workers who have participated and continue to work remotely because of the current pandemic. Previously, a worker likely would need to have a unique skill set and special circumstances to request for telecommuting and be granted it. Today, as COVID continue to rage with new variants, especially among those who have not been vaccinated, WFA is especially crucial to workers who wish to remain healthy whether they are vaccinated or not. Companies should recognize this fundamental aspect of a worker's health before any policy change to revert back to requiring workers return to the office.

Most recently, Apple had a change of heart after months of expecting workers to return to their cubicles and offices in September and has pushed the deadline back to 2022 with no hard date given the uncertainty  and pandemic is posing to businesses and employees. 

Companies need to make sure that worker health is paramount and above the need for maximizing profit. I have been back in the office for nearly three months but most of us are isolated from each over and have adequate distancing and air circulation. However, I cannot say that is the same for everyone else. Employees continue to get COVID without policies to send workers home like they did a year ago and only ask (not require) employees be tested once is is known that someone they work with was infected. No longer are employees automatically quarantine like before. And this is not due to a change in policy by the CDC but rather it shows that employers are no longer taking the pandemic seriously.

Delta variant of the COVID has dominated the conversation but a new one, Mu, is the one to watch as it has shown that it is just as infectious and has shown natural immunity against antibodies and vaccines. It is not the time let up and force workers back to the offices. Companies like Apple, Google, and others that have either build new campuses or rented office spaces in expensive downtown real estates should not let such costs factor into asking employees to return. What happens is that employees who can work remotely and safely continue to be just as productive as before. And employers, both small and large, need to innovate and adapt to changing environments and needs of the workforce and be open to employees never returning to the office.

I hope everyone is having a good Labor Day weekend and when Tuesday comes around, you're working safely at home, outdoor, anywhere you choose being just as productive and worth every dollar your company pays you. And most importantly, you're healthy and safe.

Friday, September 3, 2021

Apple Is Listening To You - CSAM Delayed (Or Shelved), Other Ways Apple Heeded Public Opinions

 Apple surprised pretty much everyone when it announced that it would scan photos for evidence of sexual child abuse. The first thought, I am sure it is the same for most other Apple followers, is that it seems like a bad one, one that would quickly be followed by "the road to hell was paved with good intentions". Now, another surprise: Apple has backdown from following through, for now. It shows that Apple has finally learned a valuable lesson. Perhaps, Apple could have implemented the scan photos for Child Sexual Abuse Material (CSAM). 

Last month, Apple made the announcement of an upcoming feature to scan photos stored on iPhones for sexual abuse of children.  You likely have seen CSAM all over the news and on the Internet. It really has not been talked about enough in the context of what it could offer users in general. For something like this, it means that Apple has developed algorithms that can recognize certain elements in photos that is beyond identifying people, objects, and places. 

For many, I suppose it can be a great feature to have. I have gone through my photo library based on people or places that I have visited over the years. Not once has it dawned on me that Apple may will know more about me that I expected but not to the point where Google knows more about me than even I know about myself. Given Apple's stance on privacy, I still think that Apple has kept certain doors closed to itself about us.

What remains true about that is that it is Apple who still holds the keys to the privacy door. Not the user and at any time, whether through corporate needs, decrees by government, or anything else that could compel Apple to change its policy or view on privacy, that door will be opened. Perhaps a little at a time.

Apple's about-face here shows that it is listening to users. What we do not know is why.  Has Apple decided it is a feature they’re still hashing out and need more time to think through or bring it back at a later time when all the uproar has died down?

How about other features and products that Apple makes? Will Apple now be more receptive to what the public wants to a point? It will be interesting to see. There are times when it seems that Apple figures it knows what is best for the consumers and will not add a feature that many are request if ever or comes after years of waiting. One example is being able to chat with multiple users on FaceTime. It took years for Apple to finally implement that.

And the MacBook with the keyboard debacle around 2016-2018. Apple finally gave up on the butterfly keyboards and moved on to give users what they want -  you know, keys that actually can be typed on. Then there is the ports or lack of on the MacBooks. Not only did Apple take away ports but it affected critical workflow for professional users that have come to depend on them.

That Apple finally came around on CSAM should not be surprising. Apple under Tim Cook has always charted a course to avoid controversy whether in the US or even places like China. I believe Apple does think it is doing good with CSAM. I think it just needs to take public opinion into account and really make sure the feature is fully baked.

Wednesday, August 18, 2021

Twitter Is Missing Out On Being the Go-To Network Without Being Controversial and Disliked Like Facebook

As a daily user, Twitter can count me in as one of its daily users that it use as a metric for advertising.  Despite the MAGA crowd hating Twitter along with Facebook for banning all those who spread false news and dangerous conspiracy theories, it still offers a wide range of political opinions. Politic aside, it is a very relevant and open social network that is not as manipulative as Facebook (Twitter still relies on ads for its revenue but it is looking at other sources of income).  Twitter is far from a saint but it does not carry the stink of Facebook and that is a good thing.  However, Twitter is missing out on become even more relevant and the go to source for news and information.  If Twitter can turn that around, it will find a huge gold mine just waiting for it to take.

Like cable news, Twitter had an increase in engagement during the Trump years in office.  Compared to Trump, no tweet from the Biden administration or the president has yet to generate much headlines, controversies, or retweets. I'm sure it's bad for business from Twitter's perspective.  However, relying on elections and wannabe dictators is no way to build your business model upon.  

Currently, Twitter is upping its game and trying to make Twitter more appealing to current users.  While that is good that Twitter is trying to add features to its app (Twitter is as much a social network as it is an app), it does not hold much appear outside.  It does not seem to have ever experienced the meteoric rise that other social networks have had.  Aside from competitions from other social networks and apps that are fighting for user engagement and attention, it really has no competition.  

So, either Twitter has a limited appear among the seven billion humans on earth or that it needs to do more to make it more appealing and engaging while not being as controversial and disliked as Facebook. Perhaps, the main limitation of Twitter's growth and appeal has to do with its beginning.  Short messages of 140 characters allows users to say a lot but it is only 140 characters, basically a text message.  That might have been fine in the beginning but even Twitter realized that it had to increase the number of characters users are allowed to send per tweet to 280 characters.  It's like that Twitter will increase that again in the future for no reason other than to generate headlines.

Twitter has seen as a microblogging apps that blasts out short ideas but it does not do much after that.  If there is a link, users are taken out of the app entirely and probably will not come back right away.  Twitter has become a gateway to some.  Twitter does not have to become an enclosed Internet.  No need for walls to keep users in.  What it does need is for users to stay longer.

Perhaps, Twitter also needs to do a campaign that explains what Twitter is all about and how it can be an important part of people's lives - for sources of good information and entertainment.  Everyone once in a while, blast something out on television, Youtube, or ads on websites to reminder users that Twitter is the place to go if they to stay informed or engaged on matters or subjects they find appealing. "Local news. Sure! Follow your local news channels and get updates on weather, news, and local issues while making your voice heard."  "Into vampire romance materials.  Twitter is the place go to!"

One of the things that appear to users is live blogging.  Twitter has not done enough to tap into that - live bloggers follow Apple and Google events and are popular among tech enthusiasts and fans.  Twitter may consider sponsoring or promoting certain events with social media hosts tweeting out updates - sporting events, the next SpaceX or Virgin Galactic launches, community events, concerts, and host watch parties during new shows and post show chats with users. Spaces, a live audio feature for users to chat about whatever they want to to engage users, is a good start that Twitter needs to promote and help grow. It cannot be only the users pushing it.  This is a very exciting new feature.

The possibilities are there for Twitter to rival and outshine the likes of Facebook without being despised.  Twitter is not doing bad right now but it is not doing great either.  There is a lot of room for improvement and growth.  Twitter needs to evolve beyond tweets and move into areas that truly makes it social platform.

Sunday, August 15, 2021

Apple Rumors Are Heating Up As 2021 Product Releases Near So Know The Sources

Rumors are a double or even triple edge sword. I do not traffic in rumors about Apple unless I am very sure a product, service, or announcement is very certain.  While, I enjoy reading about them on a near daily basis, they are mostly just that, rumors.  A lot of rumors and supposed leaks, well, they are wishful thinkings by fans, misinterpretations of the facts on the grounds, and misrepresentations of Apple’s and its competitors’ intentions.  

Rumors are not just for fans.  The effects of rumors and leaks are wide and impact buying decisions, development decisions, and, of course, financial matters as well.  If you are the CEO of a competing company and you just read that Apple is about the change up its iPhone lineup with a new feature, it would impact your own development to a certain extent.  And with Apple moving slowly into additional markets, anything about Apple on fan sites or Twitter is going to make waves in the media, boardrooms, and R&D labs.

When Apple’s own TV streaming plans started to become more concrete, its pricing had a great impact on a lot of its competitors who also happen to be partners in the iTunes Store.  At $5 a month, it was impactful even if Apple has yet to enter the market.  It likely had an effect on pricing of competing services, development budgets for content, and deals studios throughout Hollywood were making given Apple's very, very deep pocket.

Then there are the hardware developments that form the backbone of Apple - iPhones, iPads, and computers.  Apple’s M1 chip and shift away from Intel had been rumors for years and it finally happened in 2020 with M1 MacBooks and Mac mini.  For years, competitors both in the smartphone market and chip markets know what Apple is capable of and likely have had time to come up with their own answers. And yet, when Apple finally made the move, it seemed that much of the industries were caught off guard. Since the witnessing the speed and efficiency of the M1 in real world operations and rumors of the next generation M chips from Apple has now spurred a new urgent at Qualcomm, Samsung, AMD, and Intel. The urgency has increased given rumored upgrades that apple has planned.  

Now, there are different types of Apple rumors.  If you're new to this, please bare with me.  It's worth the read.  There are rumors and then there are "rumors":

  • Leaks.  Leaks happen because someone at Apple who is mostly very excited about what Apple is working on and can't help themselves and want to share it with the work.  These types of leaks go out to journalists, highly regarded Twitter users or bloggers.  

Then there are leaks from the floor.  By floor, I mean from the factories themselves, specifically, factories where Apple products are being produced.  I don't know how much these workers make but I figure it's very labor that is intensive and repetitive.  In other words, mind numbing.  So, maybe one of these workers will sneak out plans or even a mold of an unreleased iPhone and sell them to journalists or factories that might need to use these molds to make cases and it gets leaked onto Weibo (this is China's heavily monitored social network) or Twitter.  As far as reliability, surprisingly, it is very high in recent memories.  In the past, it was very spotty.

  • Sources inside Apple.  Apple plays the rumors game as well.  From time to time, a newspaper like the Wall Street Journal will have a private chat with someone at Apple.  The messages are very well crafted. Apple has a message to get across and it is almost never about an unreleased product.  Apple might wish to convey where the company is headed or wish to test the water and gauge the public's reaction.  As far as reliability, the source is Apple itself.  It shows what Apple's thinking for what it is worth.
  • Journalists with connections.  Journalists in Asia with sources at various companies that either produce and manufacture components for Apple could get a peak at the latest component that Apple is likely to use.  Again, these are Asian sources providing information to Asian publications.  So, you would think they're very accurate.  Personally, I would not put any money on them.  For whatever reason, they may have certain facts about what these companies are doing but their interpretations of the facts are questionable. 
  • Wishful thinking.  That's me here.  Fans who want to see Apple make something or add a feature to the iPhone or iPad.  And to this day, you know that it's what I want from Apple.  I have never dressed this up as something other than that.  Others have turned these wishful thinking into "rumors".  So, it is very unreliable.  Why do that?  I have no idea.  Maybe it's clickbait.  Maybe it's "if I call it a rumor, it might actually happen".  There are not as many of this type of rumor as before.  You still see it pop up once in a while.  I think the reason is that Apple news sites or blogs are a lot more mature than it was like ten years ago.  Furthermore, Apple products on the market are very mature and there is really little room left for "wishful thinking" features.  

There are two major unreleased Apple products where rumors that we read about border on wishing thinking.  One is the rumored Apple Car.  It does seem like Apple is closer than ever to producing a car with an established auto company but Apple can still pull back and release something on a much smaller scale.  Until Apple rolls out a car during an event, everything is highly speculative.

The other is augmented reality glasses.  There is something to this rumor since Tim Cook himself has mentioned how Apple believe this is the next big thing and the iPhone cameras already play a big role.  Rumors about Apple Glasses are mostly speculations from what Apple actually want to do with it to whether the glasses are really goggles.

  • Analysts.  There is no shortage of analysts from financial companies that cover Apple.  There are cheerleader types.  To them, Apple can do no wrong. These analysts are paid a lot of money but I am unwilling to gauge my Apple product buying timeline on what they say.  A lot of time, they try to provide support Apple's stock prices by suggesting where Apple can continue to expand and make money.  They like talking about Apple's car plan (I am willing to bet they know squat about it) and iPhone upgrade super cycles.

There are a couple of analysts who have good track records with "check" in Asia about Apple's dealing.  You can corroborate their rumors with those from bloggers. If they both agree, then the rumors generally are accurate. 

  • Time-based rumors. Articles that dealt in rumors about Apple events start to get posted at around the same time every year.  Apple's spring event (Apple sometimes skip it), the World Wide Developer Conference in June, and Apple's iPhone and/or Mac event in September.  These articles will speculate when Apple will hold the event.  This is sometimes confirmed for debunked by bloggers.  Accurate?  Sure. Sometimes, Apple has more than one event in the fall for products they want to refresh for the Holidays.  If Apple releases only the iPhone along with say the Mac but not the iPad, then rumors will start to fly that Apple will plan another late October or early November event to introduce the iPad.  Other than the iPhone that is released like clockwork, other products like the Apple TV, Macs, or iPads are released when Apple is ready.  
Apple fans can look to all the sources above for their fill of Apple news.  And by news, I mean rumors or speculations.  There is a little of everything for everyone - Wall Street guys, mobile warriors, and dedicated Apple fans.  The thing is that these rumors are fun to read about but I would not based my purchases based on a rumor I read.  Other than that I can get my hands on a shiny new iPhone late September every year, if I need a new MacBook or iPad now, I need to go into the Apple store or Apple's website to make my purchase even if there is a rumor suggest something new will are out in two months.  I simply cannot wait two months when I need to use it now.

Apple tidbits, news, and rumors is an industry all its own.  It's fun, informative, and a time killer.  I visit Apple blog sites on a daily basis.  Older now, I do not consume as much rumors as I used to.  But when I do, it's very exciting.  So, I hope this breakdown of Apple rumors help new readers.  

Note:  I've avoided mentioning specific bloggers, publications, or sources where I read Apple rumors. Like I said above, I enjoy reading them but I do want to help spread them.  

Sunday, August 1, 2021

Apple: M1 On the iPad Pro and Mac Not Ideal For Cryto Mining. Yet

 Source: CryptoAge.

Ever thought about using your brand now MacBook or Mac mini to earn a few extra bucks by using them to mine some cryptocurrencies?  For now, you can forget about it.  Leave that to crypto farms or others who have the know-how.  In fact, it's very likely that mining crypto is not on Apple's mind when it designs  future chips for the Mac or iPads.  The reason is that it has been tried and the M1 was only able to earn fourteen cents a day - that roughly comes out to $51.10 a year.  That will get you a medium latte a month for a year.

To be fair, the M1 was not created for any intensive mining in mind.  It was created to run MacOS and iPadOS efficiently and with as little power as possible.  In terms of efficiency, Apple first laptop chip has ran rings around offerings from AMD and Intel.  For crypto mining, it takes a different type of computing on all its own. Graphic processing units specializes in mathematical computing that does rendering faster than regular computer chips.  And it is why miners buy GPU, specifically mining ones, for just this reason.  Right now, Apple's M1 while very competent in the rendering department, it cannot hold a candle to these speciality chips.  (More from CryptoCoinSociety).

Will Apple's chip one day rival discrete GPU?  Speaking for Apple fans, one would hope so or want to see Apple offer something close that can rival offerings from the likes of AMD and Nvidia but that is likely years away.  

One might wonder why regular computer chips do not just ship the superior computational capability that GPU offers?  CPU is redesigned for operating the computer and it makes no sense to have the kind of power a dedicated graphics card needs.  

If one considers getting a Mac mini with a M1 chip, the cheapest Mac Mini out there, it might earn about 14 cents a day while some other CPU can earn up to thirty-seven cents. Dedicated GPU can earn up to $1.37 a day.  Plus, a mining rig can be created with multiple GPU, something that cannot be done with Macs.  

Will Apple release a chip that will one day be as fast as discrete GPU that can also be used for mining? Apple is sure going to try but it will do it for this reason.  Should Apple be able to do that or even surpass its competitors in this department, it might joke about it during its unveiling but it will not be marketing the chips to crypto miners.  They are not Apple's market and never will be. Apple's Macs are regular users to office workers to professionals.  

And if anyone in this market wants to use their Mac for mining while plugged into a solar array that can provide free power and can rig a bunch of inexpensive Mac mini together, hey, who knows, right?

Global Warming or Climate Change - 2021 Summer of Droughts, Heat Domes, and Floods

In Los Angeles, we have something of a monsoon season. The first time I heard about it in the news was about five years ago.  Apparently, it happens during the summer months to early fall. We heard about thunder storms out in the deserts to the east. Also flash flood warnings.   But we don't really experience them here in Los Angeles until recently.  And the reason we hear about it more and more now is that we seem to be getting more moisture in the air.  I can definitely feel the humidity.  With each passing summer in the past five years, I feel it's smothering embrace more and more.  I fear that this may only get worse and that we are looking at more humid and hotter summers in the years and decades to come no matter what we do in the short-term. 

It does not mean that we should not do anything.  I am fortunate to be in a position to be able to install a solar system (I'm looking at options now) and I have to upgrade my car in about a year so I will definitely go electric and begin to drive more green than I have been.  I believe a lot of people are thinking along the same line and that explains why the electric vehicle market has been so hot with many new companies involved.

So fart this summer, we have not been disappointed by a lack of wild fires (I'm being sarcastic here - last summer was months of bad air quality that kept us indoor). On top of that, from the Southwest to the Pacific Northwest, heat domes made their presence felt as heat records fell all across the West.  In Southern California, we are getting our share of heat (including the above mentioned uncomfortable humidity) but we are just par for now.  With August through October still on tap, I'm dreading that we will get our 100+ days.  Rolling blackouts, anyone?

Oh, let's not be so self centered here. Europe and Asia are also feeling the extreme weathers here.  Historic floods in Belgium, the Netherlands, and Germany displaced thousands as Hollywood like scenes of muddy water washed away cars and homes.  Oh, and then there are the floods in China that the government is denying it ever happened.  I'm not sure what those hundreds of Chinese went through if it was not flooding.

Then let's come back to North America where Greenland supposed lost enough ice to cover Florida in 2 inches of water.  We can sure use those water here in California.  Anyway, no state is getting that water. No country.  Not in any useful ways.  But we will feel the effect of all that water flowing back out into the ocean when the sea level rises, bigger waves, and continued changing ocean temperature that will likely create even more unexpected and extreme weather patterns.

I'm furious that there are selfish politicians out there who are unwilling to tell their constituents that droughts, floods, and weird weathers are our own doing and that we have to do more to prepare for them and to mitigate their efforts and do much more than what we are doing now to combat the devastating rise in global temperature.  They are nothing short of being cowards.  

I don't have extreme positions but I can see with eyes and experience what is going on with why other senses.  All it takes is to apply a bit of common sense to see that we cannot continue to live life as we have in the last 100 years.

Wednesday, July 28, 2021

By Denying Climate Changes, Corporations and Politicians Are Cancelling Me From Buying or Utilizing Their Goods Or Services

 Sources: The Verge, NY Times.

My family has bought about three generations of Toyota vehicles.  By all account, we are a Toyota family. A lone Honda and a Lexus from other family members stand out like weeds that need to dealt with.  Both of the non-Toyota cars were bought by black sheep family members. So, there you have it. However, with reports that Toyota has been lobbying members of Congress to roll back support for electric vehicles, increase in fuel efficiency, and greater hostility towards  fuel efficiency, it is Toyota that has cancelled not only me but a large segment of the American public.

All this has been a huge surprise to me.  This is Toyota.  For the most of my life, the Japanese car brand has been synonymous with affordability, efficiency, and reliability.  That has been before even the Prius came to dominate the fuel efficient hybrid market.  It largely still is but you can see things have changed at Toyota. When you think hybrid, you likely think Prius.  (Maybe the Insight?)

These days, the consumer clean vehicle rage is dominated by the likes of Telsa, old world car companies like GM, Ford, BMW, and even companies that have yet to release their own cars yet like Fisker. Toyota's Japanese competitors like Honda and Nissan are plowing ahead.  Toyota is nowhere to be seen in the next five years.

Perhaps this is why Toyota's EV plan consists of obfuscating the efforts of others using Republican anti-science politicians who do not believe in climate change to blunt efforts by the Democratic efforts to remake the US economy including promotion of green energy and sales of EV.  

To be fair, Toyota is not simply saying no to cleaner cars.  It simply suggests that its solution of hybrids and even hydrogen fueled vehicles are the way to go.  But that argument means little as Toyota has also dropped in fuel efficiency.

In the long run, tt could be right about hydrogen but its hybrid options are simply a band-aid solution at this point.  Toyota has dragged its feet with regards to hydrogen by releasing only one car while doing almost nothing to establish a network of hydrogen stations.  EV companies and their partners have spent years dotting the US with charging stations.  Where I live and places I am most likely to go are surrounded by charging stations. For hydrogen, I would be forced to take a 20 minute drive to fuel up.

It is never too late for Toyota to get back into the game and perhaps even lead the industry again.  It has the brand clout as well as the financial muscle to make that happen.  However, current market leaders in the EV market are not simply going to roll over for the auto giant.  Toyota will be fight to against battle tested companies like Telsa and even new entrants like Apple or Google in the next few years.

Meanwhile, Toyota decided to go low and decided that the only way it can stave off the competition and keep from falling further behind is to create political and public policy barriers.  My next vehicle is going to be an electric car.  I'll be making that purchase to replace my 15 year old car in the next year or two.  That means not buying a Toyota or Lexus vehicle. It means others like myself who are tech enthusiasts and want climate friendly policies find ourselves being cancelled by Toyota's underhanded and closed door political dealings.

Saturday, July 17, 2021

Macbook: The Next One May Not Be A Huge Leap But Expect Apple To Stay Ahead of Everyone Else

  Source:  AppleinsiderMacworld.

Do you compare yourself to others or just your previous self?  I'm not a fan of the former but I am fine with comparing myself harshly but fairly against myself a week ago, a month, ago, a year, ago, and even five years ago.  And sure, once in a while, I'll question what I am doing and how I am doing compared to others in similar positions.  I still favor self comparisons and evaluations.

So, when Apple's latest M1 chip currently powering its lower end MacBook Pro, MacBook Air, and 2021 iPad Pro was released late 2020, there were benchmarks after benchmarks that compared Intel-based MacBooks and Windows laptops against the M1 Macs.  And Apple was the clear winner in many if not most of the tests. However, time for those comparisons are over and we should be focusing on the next chip from Apple and how they match up to the M1.  It'll be faster, running cooler, and maybe even smaller but how will it compare to the M1?  That's the comparison we like to see.

More at On Apple.