Who told Pontiac it could have sex with TRON?

By Michael Mulvey on September 19, 2014 11:07 AM

Ad for the 1982 Pontiac Firebird Trans Am:

via The Verge

Android Defectors

By Michael Mulvey on September 19, 2014 6:16 AM

Buzz has been building since the new iPhones were unveiled on Sept. 9 at an event near Apple's headquarters, with pre-orders topping 4 million units in the first 24 hours and surpassing earlier releases. A third of Android users polled by Boston-based Gazelle said they're likely to upgrade to the iPhone 6, with 39 percent saying the bigger screen was driving the decision. Last year, a 10th of the smartphones traded in when the iPhone 5s and 5c went on sale were Android-based devices, according to Chris Sullivan, Gazelle's CEO.

—Tim Higgins, Bloomberg

How Very Sopranos of You, New Jersey

By Michael Mulvey on September 19, 2014 5:33 AM

Former Tic Tock Diner manager to be sentenced in murder-for-hire plot

The former manager of a northern New Jersey diner faces sentencing in what authorities say was a foiled plot to kill the co-owner of the restaurant, who is his uncle by marriage.

Georgios Spyropoulos will appear before a judge in Paterson today. The Clifton resident faces up to 10 years in prison after he pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit murder.

The Tick Tock Diner is a legendary New Jersey Diner. When I was growing up in the suburbs of northwestern New Jersey, I remember passing the Tick Tock on Rt 3 on our way to the Lincoln Tunnel into Manhattan.

In the last season of Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee, Jerry Seinfeld sits down at the Tick Tock with John Stewart.

No Screen

By Michael Mulvey on September 17, 2014 9:36 AM

Sam Byford at the Verge on the Leica M Edition 60:

The M Edition 60 is a special version of the M-P Type 240 digital rangefinder, but there's a twist -- the new model features no screen at all, forcing you to use it as if it were a film camera. "Working with the Leica M Edition 60 intentionally demands the same care and attention as working with an analogue model," says the company in a statement. "Only the sensor and the entire electronics reflect the state of the art of contemporary camera technology." The screen has been replaced with an ISO selector dial, which at least means you'll be able to alter the sensitivity of your photos more often than you could with a 36-shot roll of film.

Over at Co.Design, Adrian Covert and Mark Wilson debate whether this no-screen thing is a good idea:

Adrian: On paper this sounds great. It forces photographers to really think about what they're shooting and how they're shooting it. And while I'm all for designs that address issues with faulty user behavior, this is coming at the expense of another feature which has unquestionably helped improve the photographic process: the LCD. That's a problem.

As with many debates in life, I see both sides.

For me, though, the screen has to stay.

[images taken from The Verge]

iOpener

By Michael Mulvey on September 17, 2014 9:10 AM

Yes, I actually did it.

And yes, my iPhone 4 can handle it.

Like I've said before, I like my gadgets looking like Han Solo's blaster.

taken from The Combustion Chamber

Outgrowing the Computer Industry

By Michael Mulvey on September 17, 2014 8:31 AM

It's no coincidence that Apple announced their hiring of Marc Newson on the Friday before last week's event. But I don't think his hiring is about the Apple Watch in particular. Nor do I think Apple Watch in particular is what Apple thinks was "historic" about last week's event. Rather, I think Apple Watch is the first product from an Apple that has outgrown the computer industry. Rather than settle for making computing devices, they are now using computing technology to make anything and everything where computing technology -- particularly miniature technology -- can revolutionize existing industries. Newson isn't a watch designer, or a fashion designer. He's a designer of anything and everything. He's designed everything from watches to cars to chairs. Apple Watch isn't merely Apple's foray into the watch industry -- it's their foray outside the computer/consumer electronics industry. I think they're just getting started. At the close of his Apple Watch unveiling video during the keynote, Jony Ive said, "We're now at a compelling beginning actually designing technology to be worn, to be truly personal." The watch just happens to be first.

—John Gruber, Apple Watch: Initial Thoughts and Observations

A great and lengthy (over 4,500 words) post. A must-read.

The Most Critical Component

By Michael Mulvey on September 16, 2014 2:28 PM

There will be no price umbrellas because the practical price of the watch will vary based on the band you buy. True, we have barely any pricing information (starts at $350!), but I'm making an assumption: the most expensive bands will cost at least as much as the watch itself while the base bands (likely the sports bands) will be a modest $30-$40.

In effect, with wide range of bands Apple has a full price gradient which addresses the luxury market and the mass market. This is important. Without the mass market, the economies of scale won't kick in and platform plays (like Apple Pay) will whither on the vine. But if they only addressed the mass, the Watch both wouldn't be personal and precious for those who want luxury and they'd leave a ton of money on the table.

—Drew Breunig, The Watch Band Connector is its Most Critical Component

Formula E

By Michael Mulvey on September 16, 2014 9:43 AM

What FIA is trying to accomplish with Formula E differs from the agenda of most other major motorsports. They are adamant that Formula E's main purpose is rooted in the general promotion and proliferation of all electric vehicles. The Formula E website states that the series "represents a vision for the future of the motor industry over the coming decades, serving as a framework for R&D around the electric vehicle, accelerating general interest in these cars and promoting sustainability." It's why this entire first championship season will see teams run the same exact cars set up according to factory specifications; FIA wants the focus of the technical side of the series to be on electrical engine and battery innovation.

—Sean O'Cane, All-electric racing: Formula E's thrilling debut

Apple Product Shot Templates

By Michael Mulvey on September 16, 2014 9:35 AM

Apple posted O-ficial product shots of iPhones and iPads with rules on how you're allowed to use them.

Microsoft Hardware

By Michael Mulvey on September 16, 2014 8:18 AM

I talk lots of shit about Microsoft's software, but they've been producing solid hardware products for a long time now.

This Apple/Android-compatible tablet keyboard looks interesting:

via The Verge

Shitty Dashboards

By Michael Mulvey on September 16, 2014 8:00 AM

Paul Cothenet thinks most dashboards are shit and you probably don't need one (on-screen dashboards, you probably need a physical car dashboard):

Side note: I'm talking trash about software here, but the law could be extended to all dashboards.

Take car dashboards for example. They use vast amount of real estate to display information that is useless 99% of the time. How often do you need to know the RPM on an automatic car? Can't you just take that stupid dial out and put something useful instead?. They also employ UX techniques that dates from a time where the only UI component you can use was a light bulb. If that red thing is critical, can't you tell me right away what it means?

I have knack for sniffing out good design links that reference cars or car metaphors.

Obvious Fact

By Michael Mulvey on September 15, 2014 5:12 PM

Sherlock Holmes

Weekly Exhaust Ep. 16: Make It Look Like Something I'd Want To Drive

By Michael Mulvey on September 15, 2014 9:18 AM

This week Michael and Bryan discuss Formula E racing and their lack of exhaust noise, hydrogen fuel, Bryan's book Impact Winter, The Leftovers and the crap movie that is Leprechaun: Origins. The episode opens with the exhaust from a Model T Ford.

Weekly Exhaust - Episode 16

The Gilded & Jaded Age

By Michael Mulvey on September 12, 2014 10:29 AM

[When I first thought about the title for this post, I wasn't sure "gilded" was the right term, but after reading the description on Wikipedia, I realized there are a lot of parallels between the Gilded Age and the time we're in right now.]

As I sit, read and absorb (what I can handle of) the news and reactions of Apple's September 9th Keynote I can't help but think of a clip I saw a few years ago of Louis CK as a guest on the Conan O'Brien Show. The clip starts out with Louis sadly admitting,

"Everything is amazing right now and nobody is happy."

During the Keynote Tim Cook & Company announced two new iPhone models as well as a brand new Apple Watch. Many of specifications for the new iPhone models were leaked way in advance of the event, but little was known about the Watch. No one knew what the "wearable" would look like or what did (the press had been calling it the 'iWatch' for the last year).

Everything about the new 4.7-inch iPhone 6 and 5.5-inch iPhone 6 Plus was as expected to nerds (myself included): bigger screens, a better camera, more storage capacity and the new iOS 8 operating system, pre-installed. Meh, no big deal. Status quo. Phones with technical stats—mind you—better than the original (desktop) iMac.

Then Cook announced "one more thing..." and we got to see the Apple Watch for the first time.

The Apple Watch is a device that works in conjunction with your iPhone. Some of it's features are extensions of what the iPhone does: you can view maps/directions, push notifications from email, texts and notifications from other apps you choose.

Then there are other, brand new fitness tracking features only the Watch can do like monitor your pulse, elevation and distances you travel. It then aggregates all this data so you can track your progress. Oh, and you can wirelessly and securely pay for things with it as well.

What you're able to do with the new iPhones and Apple Watch (as well as all the other smart watches and smartphones) is amazing. Forget going back in time 50 years and showing people an Apple Watch (or even the flat-tire Moto 360). If you just went back in time 10 years people would be blown away.

But in 2014? Not so much.

"Yeah, that's kinda cool, but the battery only lasts for a day. Weak."

"The screen is so tiny. I can't read anything."

"The watch is HUGE. I can't wear that on my wrist."

"I wish it read my mind."

"Why can't it start my car?"

Now I don't think the Apple Watch is for everyone and I don't expect everyone to get excited about it. What irritates me is the disappointed and negative reactions to the Apple Watch. Many people have been so conditioned by the day-to-day advances in technology they're numb to even amazing—albeit incremental—advances.

I also acknowledge the tech press has a long track record of being critical of new gadgets, but in last 5-7 years though, they seem to have become increasing critical of the king of the hill, Apple. Forget the fact every other smart watch on the market lasts a day on a charge, but for Apple's Watch, lasting just a day on a charge is a disaster. Add to this the psychology of the human brain and its tendency to focus on the negative more than the positive (loss aversion comes to mind).

Here's a some of the many negative headlines that have passed through my RSS stream (I know what you might be thinking, maybe stop reading BGR):

BGR: The iPhone 6 feature that's great, but hardly good enough: Wi-Fi Calling

PCMag: 5 Wearables More Interesting Than the Apple Watch

The Verge: Apple Watch will likely require nightly charging

BGR: It's confirmed: You'll have to recharge your Apple Watch every night

BGR: The iPhone 6 feature that's great, but hardly good enough: Wi-Fi Calling

Reuters: Fashion world divided on first look at Apple Watch

ZDNet: Apple's appalling iPhone 6 camera compromise

Telegraph: Apple Watch 'too feminine and looks like it was designed by students', says LVMH executive

Everything is amazing right now and nobody is happy.

Shameless Self-Promotion

By Bryan Larrick on September 11, 2014 9:00 AM

IW_cover_lowRes_03a.jpg
Last year, I got it into my head that I could write a book. Check that, I've known I could do it for a long time. Last year was when I finally figured out that, in order to be a writer, one must write, instead of thinking about writing. So, I sat my ass down four or five days a week and banged out a first draft. I then inflicted the book on friends and family. Many revisions and tweaks later I felt I had something polished enough to begin shopping it around to literary agents. The literary agents, so far, do not agree. I chose to go the traditional route for publishing a book because it is still a valid business model. But, following the traditional route, unless an author is picked up by an agent, said author's book remains a lonely file on a lonely computer.

Well, the hell with that!

This is the 21st Century. I have other options, which, in lieu of traditional publishing, I am choosing to exercise.

I wrote a book. It's called Impact Winter. It's a post-apocalyptic sci-fi story set about a year after a meteorite impact with the earth. Dust from the impact has shrouded the earth and plunged it into a winter that will last for years. In this bleak setting, humanity struggles to survive.

My book is now available for purchase as a Kindle eBook. As soon as the legal stuff is taken care of, it will be available from iBooks and other retailers.

My book! Mine. I love writing those words. Check it out. Also, many thanks to Daily Exhaust Mike for the cover art, as seen above.

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