Confirmed: Apple Slows Down Older Devices

Ever notice – like I have – that your iPhone gets slower when you update to the latest version of iOS? A comment thread on Reddit started a few weeks ago on this topic and it hit the tech news sites this week.

Apple has since responded (via iMore):

Our goal is to deliver the best experience for customers, which includes overall performance and prolonging the life of their devices”, Apple told iMore. “Lithium-ion batteries become less capable of supplying peak current demands when in cold conditions, have a low battery charge or as they age over time, which can result in the device unexpectedly shutting down to protect its electronic components.

Last year we released a feature for iPhone 6, iPhone 6s and iPhone SE to smooth out the instantaneous peaks only when needed to prevent the device from unexpectedly shutting down during these conditions. We’ve now extended that feature to iPhone 7 with iOS 11.2, and plan to add support for other products in the future.

This is a shitty way for Apple to get busted doing something they claim is by design.

I agree with what Marco Arment said on Twitter yesterday:

For years, we’ve reassured people that no, Apple doesn’t secretly slow down their older iPhones to make them buy new ones.

If this must be done, it should be a setting. If it’s on by default, the user should be alerted the first time it happens.

I have a 6-year-old Retina iPad 3 running iOS 9 and it’s for this very reason I haven’t updated it. And it’s also for this reason that it’s performance is still fairly snappy.

I’ve never needed confirmation from Apple that my devices were slowing down when I updated them.

Facebook Still Sucks

On Facebook’s news blog David Ginsberg and Moira Burke ask if Spending Time on Social Media Bad for Us?:

The bad: In general, when people spend a lot of time passively consuming information — reading but not interacting with people — they report feeling worse afterward. In one experiment, University of Michigan students randomly assigned to read Facebook for 10 minutes were in a worse mood at the end of the day than students assigned to post or talk to friends on Facebook. A study from UC San Diego and Yale found that people who clicked on about four times as many links as the average person, or who liked twice as many posts, reported worse mental health than average in a survey. Though the causes aren’t clear, researchers hypothesize that reading about others online might lead to negative social comparison — and perhaps even more so than offline, since people’s posts are often more curated and flattering. Another theory is that the internet takes people away from social engagement in person.

The good: On the other hand, actively interacting with people — especially sharing messages, posts and comments with close friends and reminiscing about past interactions — is linked to improvements in well-being. This ability to connect with relatives, classmates, and colleagues is what drew many of us to Facebook in the first place, and it’s no surprise that staying in touch with these friends and loved ones brings us joy and strengthens our sense of community.

So Facebook has concluded social media sucks if you use it the wrong way. Wow, thanks for the advice.

That’s like a car dealership selling cars that all pull to the right without turning the steering wheel and the dealer telling you, “The driving experience is better if you drive straight.”

Facebook created a platform that encourages the passive consuming of information garbage. If people are engaging in this incorrect usage, maybe Facebook should rethink how Facebook is designed, which it sounds like they’re doing.

Another way of feeling better about yourself is not using Facebook at all. I admittedly have an account that I check once or twice a week and I’m usually reminded as soon as I log in why I don’t like using it for more than a minute or so. If I spend any significant time on Facebook, it’s in the private group my best friends and I set up to talk.

The main Facebook newsfeed feels like I’m having a political debate in an isle of Walmart, with someone handing out pizza bites next to me and a row of TVs playing clips of stupid home movies and dogs tricks behind me, all the while hearing everyone else’s rants around me. Bleh.

Reading Aloud to Yourself

The production effect is the memory advantage of saying words aloud over simply reading them silently. It has been hypothesised that this advantage stems from production featuring distinctive information that stands out at study relative to reading silently. MacLeod (2011) (I said, you said: The production effect gets personal. Psychonomic Bulletin & Review, 18, 1197–1202. doi:10.3758/s13423-011-0168-8) found superior memory for reading aloud oneself vs. hearing another person read aloud, which suggests that motor information (speaking), self-referential information (i.e., “I said it”), or both contribute to the production effect. In the present experiment, we dissociated the influence on memory of these two components by including a study condition in which participants heard themselves read words aloud (recorded earlier) – a first for production effect research – along with the more typical study conditions of reading aloud, hearing someone else speak, and reading silently. There was a gradient of memory across these four conditions, with hearing oneself lying between speaking and hearing someone else speak. These results imply that oral production is beneficial because it entails two distinctive components: a motor (speech) act and a unique, self-referential auditory input.

—Noah D. Forrin & Colin M. MacLeod, Memory (via Wired)

Trump’s Name as a Racial Jeer

‘Trump, Trump, Trump!’ How a President’s Name Became a Racial Jeer:

According to several scholars of American history, the invocation of a president’s name as a jaw-jutting declaration of exclusion, rather than inclusion, appears to be unprecedented. “If you’re hunting for historical analogies, I think you’re in virgin territory,” said Jon Meacham, the author of several books about presidents, including a Pulitzer Prize-winning biography of Andrew Jackson.

Michael Beschloss, a presidential historian, agrees. “If you’re looking at modern presidents, fill in the blank and see if it can be used in the same way,” he said. “You will see it has not. Hoover? Or Eisenhower? Can you imagine a situation like that?”

What horrible piece of shit we have as president.

LeBron will never be as iconic as Jordon.

Scottie Pippen: LeBron James’ Stats Have ‘Probably’ Passed Michael Jordan’s:

“The numbers don’t lie. He’s right there,” he said. “He probably will never catch him in terms of MVP, but in terms of statistics, LeBron is right there. And when you look across the board—not just scoring—check his assists, check his rebounds … he’s probably ahead of Jordan.”

Jordan averaged 30.1 points, 6.2 rebounds, 5.3 assists, 2.3 steals and 0.8 blocks across 15 seasons in the NBA (13 with the Bulls and two with the Washington Wizards).

James currently checks in at 27.2 points, 7.3 rebounds, 7.1 assists, 1.6 steals and 0.8 blocks per game as he takes part in his 15th campaign at the professional level.

LeBron is an amazing athlete (says the guy who doesn’t watch sports), but even if (when) LeBron passes Jordan’s stats, he’ll never be as iconic as Jordan. Sure, “LeBron” is a brand, but “Jordan” is a bigger brand, at least at the level of the company that has been putting his silhouette and name on their shoes for over 30 years – Nike.

I’d go so far as to say Michael Jordan is at the level of a pop culture icon like Mickey Mouse.

Net Neutrality Dismantled

F.C.C. Repeals Net Neutrality Rules:

The Federal Communications Commission voted on Thursday to dismantle landmark rules regulating the businesses that connect consumers to the internet, granting broadband companies the power to potentially reshape Americans’ online experiences.

The agency scrapped the so-called net neutrality regulations that prohibited broadband providers from blocking websites or charging for higher-quality service or certain content. The federal government will also no longer regulate high-speed internet delivery as if it were a utility, like phone service.

The action reversed the agency’s 2015 decision, during the Obama administration, to better protect Americans as they have migrated to the internet for most communications. It will take a couple of weeks for the changes go into effect, but groups opposed to the action have already announced plans to sue the agency to restore the net neutrality regulations. Those suits could take many months to be resolved.

Today was a very bad day for Americans.

What Ed Lee Didn’t Do

How Mayor Ed Lee remade San Francisco in Big Tech’s image:

It was for the have-nots, too, but not in the same way: many have found themselves economically banished from San Francisco. At the dawn of Lee’s tenure, nobody foresaw the explosion of tech industry job growth in this city and region at its present level. As such, the Lee administration’s gift bag for tech outfits — an industry that was poised for takeoff, regardless — led to unforeseen consequences. The avuncular Lee found himself portrayed by the city’s left as the smiling avatar of the tech- and business-friendly policies that have driven San Francisco’s inequality levels to be on par with those in Rwanda.

“Ed could have worked more robustly to address the runaway inequality in San Francisco,” says former city supervisor John Avalos, a critic of Lee’s from the left who ran against him for mayor in 2011. “The way he supported tech and the private sector was an effort that got out of hand. It was like The Sorcerer’s Apprentice.”

This was all part of Ed Lee’s San Francisco. His policies made many people angry. But right now people aren’t angry; they’re sad.

Fuck that, I’m angry. Just because someone dies, doesn’t mean you can’t be critical of them.

The number of homeless people — and their sidewalk encampments of tents – exploded in number under Ed Lee, mirroring the explosion of techies and tech companies in San Francisco. I know this because I’ve lived in San Francisco for five years and I’ve been visiting it regularly since 2001.

I’m not saying Ed Lee is completely to blame for this, but he sure as hell didn’t make the situation better.

Mayweather in the UFC is a cute idea.

Morning Report: Floyd Mayweather says he has multi-fight offer with UFC, can ‘make a billion dollars’:

Appearing in a live stream on Instagram captured by Fight Hype, Mayweather told his fans that he has a multi-fight offer with the UFC that would make him “a billion dollars.”

“You already know I’m a money-getting motherfucker,” Mayweather said. “I’m Money May. They just called me not too long ago and asked me to come back. I can come right back. If I want to, I can come right back to the UFC. I can go fight in the Octagon. I can do a three- or four-fight deal in the Octagon and make a billion dollars. Remember, I’m Floyd ‘Money’ Mayweather, and you motherfuckers love me, and I love you motherfuckers.”

Good luck with that, Floyd.

Don’t Force-Close Your Apps

Over at The Verge Ashley Carman asks, Should you force close your apps?

No. No. No.

It drives me crazy when I see people do what Carman describes (and I see a lot of people do it):

I force close my apps all the time. I double click the home button on my iPhone 6S and close out of every app I’ve used, even in the past 20 minutes. It’s a terrible habit, but it makes me feel good.

I wrote about this over 4 years ago and what I wrote remains true: swiping up to kill background apps kills your battery life because it forces iOS to relaunch apps, versus merely ‘waking them up’ from their suspended background state.

What I discovered on my new iPhone X running iOS 11.2 is that Apple has made it a bit harder to close apps.

Now when you bring up the app switcher swiping up on an app card simply brings you back to your Home screen. In order to close apps, you have to bring up the app switcher and then long-press on any app card. This causes red close icons to appear in the corners of all the app cards. Now you can swipe up on app cards to close them.

But you don’t need to, so leave them the fuck alone.

“reality and fantasy weirdly and dangerously blurred and commingled”

Back in September The Atlantic published a fascinating long-form article that I just got around to reading.

It’s titled, ‘How America Lost Its Mind‘, and it was adapted by a book written by Kurt Anderson:

America was created by true believers and passionate dreamers, and by hucksters and their suckers, which made America successful—but also by a people uniquely susceptible to fantasy, as epitomized by everything from Salem’s hunting witches to Joseph Smith’s creating Mormonism, from P. T. Barnum to speaking in tongues, from Hollywood to Scientology to conspiracy theories, from Walt Disney to Billy Graham to Ronald Reagan to Oprah Winfrey to Trump. In other words: Mix epic individualism with extreme religion; mix show business with everything else; let all that ferment for a few centuries; then run it through the anything-goes ’60s and the internet age. The result is the America we inhabit today, with reality and fantasy weirdly and dangerously blurred and commingled.

Then comes the Internet:

And there was also the internet, which eventually would have mooted the Fairness Doctrine anyhow. In 1994, the first modern spam message was sent, visible to everyone on Usenet: global alert for all: jesus is coming soon. Over the next year or two, the masses learned of the World Wide Web. The tinder had been gathered and stacked since the ’60s, and now the match was lit and thrown. After the ’60s and ’70s happened as they happened, the internet may have broken America’s dynamic balance between rational thinking and magical thinking for good.

And then we get to Trump:

Donald Trump is a grifter driven by resentment of the establishment. He doesn’t like experts, because they interfere with his right as an American to believe or pretend that fictions are facts, to feel the truth. He sees conspiracies everywhere. He exploited the myths of white racial victimhood. His case of what I call Kids R Us syndrome—spoiled, impulsive, moody, a 71-year-old brat—is acute.

Who knew we’d have to be so vigilant in our fight for truth and facts in 2017.

Pretending to play a UFC fight.

This genius streamed a pay-per-view UFC match by pretending to play it:

A streamer broadcast a live pay-per-view UFC match on multiple platforms, including Twitch, by pretending it was a video game he was playing, as spotted by EuroGamer. AJ Lester streamed the UFC 218 match between Max Holloway and Jose Aldo in its entirety over the weekend. Lester appeared in the corner of the stream, wearing a pair of headphones and holding a controller while watching intensely and reacting to the punches as if he was in control of the action.

A tweet showing Lester’s antics went viral, with over 63,000 retweets and 140,000 likes at the time of publication. Another clip shows him reacting wildly yelling “oooooooooooooooh!!!” and “damnnnnnn!” in response to the match. It’s his dedication to the charade that makes him a true internet hero.

Never count out a geek.

Of course this will likely be the first and last time someone is able to get away with this.

I was at a rowdy, Irish tavern in San Francisco for to watch UFC 218 — a proper venue to watch fights — but I give Lester props for being resourceful.

A Good-Character Test

New Zealand Examines Matt Lauer’s Ranch Purchase After His Firing:

The ripples from the firing of Matt Lauer as the co-host of the “Today” morning news show have hit the world of New Zealand property, where officials are already scrutinizing the role of foreign buyers in an increasingly expensive market.

A New Zealand government agency said on Thursday that it was in discussions with Mr. Lauer’s representative over his purchase of a 16,000-acre farm there. Foreigners must pass a good-character test to be allowed to buy New Zealand land, and while Mr. Lauer’s purchase was approved earlier this year, the country’s Overseas Investment Office is revisiting his case in light of his firing.

I wish our presidential candidates had to pass ‘good-character’ tests.

William Gibson

Abraham Riesman interviewed William Gibson for Vulture and they talked about dystopias:

How do you account for the recent surge in popular fiction about the collapse of civilization into dystopia or Armageddon?

This could be a case of consumers of a particular kind of pop culture trying to tell us something, alas. Seriously, what I find far more ominous is how seldom, today, we see the phrase “the 22nd century.” Almost never. Compare this with the frequency with which the 21st century was evoked in popular culture during, say, the 1920s.

Do you mean it’s ominous because people are so pessimistic that they can’t even imagine a future?

Well, that’s the question — why don’t we? I don’t know.

Gibson, along with Michael St. John Smith, released a new graphic novel on November 1st called Archangel. It’s illustrated by Butch Guice,‎ Alejandro Barrionuevo,‎ and Wagner Reis.

UPDATE: The reviews on Goodreads seem polarized between people who really liked the book and people who hated it.