The Significant-Step-Up Edition Monday, October 10, 2016

The iPhone 7 And iPhone 7 Plus Review: Iterating On A Flagship, by Joshua Ho & Brandon Chrster, Anandtech

Overall, I think that if there’s any phone that is worth 650-750 USD at its base, it’s the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus. If you’re upgrading from the iPhone 6s Plus you probably won’t find a ton of differences, but it’s still a significant step up in display, camera, speaker quality, battery life, and system performance. There are some software bugs and minor performance issues, but there’s nothing that really stands out as a showstopper and these issues are due to be fixed within the coming weeks. The iPhone might not excite like smartphones once did, but the amount of attention to detail and execution in the hardware is unparalleled and a cut above anything else in the industry.

iMessage Is The Glue That Keeps Me Stuck To The iPhone, by Lauren Goode, The Verge

Over time, iMessage has become indispensable in my everyday life. If the gadgets I have to carry with me on a daily basis are the bones of my tech existence, iMessage is the connective tissue. It’s quick work chats; it’s sharing location on the way to a meeting or dinner; it’s sending a GIF of a hug to a friend who is having a bad day; it’s keeping in touch with mom; it’s getting a series of poop emojis from my niece on her iPod Touch.

[...] But other messaging apps feel like disparate, fragmented experiences, whereas iMessage has collated most people I communicate with into one place.

Not Just Siri That's Doing The Listening

Apple Watches Banned From Cabinet After Ministers Warned Devices Could Be Vulnerable To Hacking, by Peter Dominiczak, The Telegraph

Under David Cameron, several cabinet ministers wore the smart watches, including Michael Gove, the former Justice Secretary.

However, under Theresa May ministers have been barred from wearing them amid concerns that they could be used by hackers as listening devices.

Simply Powerful

Life After Death For Apple’s Xserve, by Andrew Cunningham, Ars Technica

Apple put the final nail in the Xserve’s coffin in January 2011 when it officially stopped selling rack-mounted servers. Instead, the company started pushing server customers toward Mac Pros and Minis. On Sept. 20 of this year, Apple lowered that coffin into the ground when macOS Sierra dropped software support for the systems. And while Xserves running El Capitan will keep getting security updates for a couple of years and the current build of the macOS Server software still runs on El Capitan, the hardware will soon be completely buried.

For a few years after the Xserve’s death, the company offered Mac Pro and Mac Mini Server configurations that could do some of the same things, but even those options eventually disappeared. Even though Apple never offered true server-class hardware again, that doesn’t mean the hardware isn’t still out there doing its job. In our Sierra review we asked those of you who are still using Xserves to get in touch, and plenty of you did.


Level EX Blends Video Games, Medicine In New Surgical Training App, by Heather Mack, Mobihealthnews

There are only so many ways to practice surgery, and mistakes aren’t forgiven easily. For medical students and physicians in need of continuing surgical education, the options in institutional settings are cadavers (open only to students) or in the few surgical simulation centers around the country. So Chicago-based technology company Level EX is addressing that by bringing the visual effects from the entertainment and gaming industries into medicine with mobile apps.


We’re So Addicted To Our Gadgets That ‘Unplugged’ Tourism Is Booming, by Marina Lopes, Motherboard

These days, vacation can feel like work. Between Facebook updates, Instagram posts and tweets of your shower thoughts, memorializing your vacation can overpower the trip itself. In fact, 41 percent of millennials feel that their phones are keeping them from living in the moment when traveling, according to a JWT Intelligence consumer trends survey. And over half of those who plan on unplugging during vacation aren’t able to, according to an Intel digital behavior study.

So how much are tech addicts (i.e. most of us) willing to pay for someone to cut them off? It turns out, quite a lot. And the travel industry is readily capitalizing on our addiction to glowing screens.

The Neighborhood Bookstore’s Unlikely Ally? The Internet, by Amy Haimerl, New York Times

“Bookstores are being reinvented by taking advantage of how the world has changed,” said Oren Teicher, chief executive of the American Booksellers Association, which represents independent sellers. “The whole ability to put technology to work for you has changed everything.”

Some bookstores are investing in infrastructure, such as in-shop e-book printers and new back-end systems, while others are embracing social media as an inexpensive way to connect with new customers.

Bottom of the Page

Liked many children who enjoyed reading books, I used to think owning a bookshop and selling books will be a cool job to be doing when I grew up. Of course, like many children who grew up, I realized reading books and selling books are totally different things.

But still, the dream lingers. I wonder, now with the internet and the web and the e-commerce and everything, is it easy to sell books, if profit is not a priority?


Thanks for reading.