The Summer-Camp Edition Saturday, August 5, 2017

At Apple's New Summer Camp, High School Kids Can Build The Next Big Thing, by Lauren Goode, The Verge

In a nondescript Apple office building in Cupertino, California, a group of engineers has spent the past four weeks working feverishly on the next big thing in consumer hardware, prototyping a water-saving shower head, a new version of the Apple Watch, and a “smart” water bottle.

These products may never hit the market, but that hasn’t deterred the 25 high schoolers who are building them as part of an Apple summer camp. Called the Engineering Technology Camp, or ETC for short, the new camp was designed to give high school juniors and seniors full access to 40 Apple staffers, as well as various building tools, as they split into teams and try to build working prototypes in just under a month.

What’s Wrong With The Touch Bar, by Josh Centers, TidBITS

In most cases, the Touch Bar is the slowest way to perform an action! It’s a cool-looking racing stripe that slows you down in many cases, and even worse, eliminates useful physical keys that you probably reach for reflexively, like Esc.

That’s not all. The screen is too small to be useful in some cases. For instance, you can use the Touch Bar to switch tabs in Safari, which looks cool, but you can barely make out what’s in each tab.

Apple Plans To Release A Cellular-Capable Watch To Break IPhone Ties, by Mark Gurman, Scott Moritz, and Ian King, Bloomberg

Apple Inc. is planning to release a version of its smartwatch later this year that can connect directly to cellular networks, a move designed to reduce the device’s reliance on the iPhone, people familiar with the matter said.


Intel Corp. will supply the LTE modems for the new Watch, according to another person familiar with the situation. That’s a big win for the chipmaker, which has been trying for years to get its components into more Apple mobile devices.


Watch Apple’s Carpool Karaoke Teasers Ahead Of Series Premiere, by Romain Dillet, TechCrunch

Carpool Karaoke is growing up and becoming so much more than just segments on James Corden’s Late Late Show. Apple has commissioned 16 standalone episodes, and the show is about to premiere on August 8. The company shared three different teasers this week to promote the show.

Send And Receive Faxes Cheaply With The Right iOS App, by Glenn Fleishman, TidBITS

You may think of fax services as relying on Web sites and Mac apps, but there are also plenty that you access through iPad and iPhone apps. Although iOS can be clumsy for productivity work, these apps skirt such awkwardnesses by working with intra-app sharing, cloud services, the Photos library, and the onboard camera. Having everything in one place can reduce friction. Most offer one-off faxing via a credit-based system, though some are wildly more expensive than others.

Elgato Eve Motion Review: A Smart Sensor To Automate Apple Households, by Popular Science

This wireless motion sensor is part of Elgato's lineup of HomeKit-compatible accessories and can be used to trigger "scenes" and rules based on your movement (or the lack thereof) around your house.


Software As Narrative 1/N, by Infinite Undo!

In order to not build the wrong thing we must know with clarity what we are meant to be building. It sounds like a tautology and if we were talking about any medium but the digital medium it would be a tautology. But as all software engineers immediately come to learn, there is a Lovecraftian, Non-Newtonian gulf between “what we build” and “what we were meant to be building.”

“Know what is meant to be happening not just what is happening” is anything but a tautology in software. It is a yawning conceptual gulf that can swallow projects whole.

Conjecture Regarding The Precise Details Of The iPhone D22 Display Resolution, by John Gruber, Daring Fireball

All of these facts point to the same conclusion: D22’s display is 5.8 inches, 2436 × 1125, 462 PPI. The only reason to think otherwise is that Ming-Chi Kuo reported otherwise back in February. The simplest explanation is that Kuo got this wrong, and either he or his sources conflated the displays of two different iPhones.


The Loyal Engineers Steering NASA’s Voyager Probes Across The Universe, by Kim Tingley, New York Times

All explorations demand sacrifices in exchange for uncertain outcomes. Some of those sacrifices are social: how many resources we collectively devote to a given pursuit of knowledge. But another portion is borne by the explorer alone, who used to be rewarded with adventure and fame if not fortune. For the foreseeable future, Voyager seems destined to remain in the running for the title of Mankind’s Greatest Journey, which might just make its nine flight-team engineers — most of whom have been with the mission since the Reagan administration — our greatest living explorers. They also may be the last people left on the planet who can operate the spacecraft’s onboard computers, which have 235,000 times less memory and 175,000 times less speed than a 16-gigabyte smartphone. And while it’s true that these pioneers haven’t gone anywhere themselves, they are arguably every bit as dauntless as more celebrated predecessors. Magellan never had to steer a vessel from the confines of a dun-colored rental office, let alone stay at the helm long enough to qualify for a senior discount at the McDonald’s next door.

Their fluency in archaic programming languages will become only more crucial as the years go on, because even as the probes harvest priceless information from the cosmos, they are running out of fuel. (Decaying plutonium supplies their power.) By 2030 at the latest, they will not have enough juice left to run a single experiment. And even that best case comes with a major caveat: that the flight-team members forgo retirement to squeeze the most out of every last watt.

Bottom of the Page

The trailers of Carpool Karaoke looks much more fun than Planet of the Apps, much more Apple-Music-ly.


Thanks for reading.