Histrionic Weekend

Histrionic Weekend

In this section, we recommend the content that we liked most this week. It may not be new, and have a range of formats, the only thing that matters is that it managed to distinguish itself from everything else we heard, read or viewed in the past week.

This has been a problematic week for Apple and Apple users alike. MacOS and iOS have been victim to two potential disruptive software bugs. On MacOS 10.13, the ROOT bug could allow control of high-level system access and log in access by simply typing root and leave the password field blank. Although a very grave mistake on the software team, to take advantage of this exploit you had to have physical access to the machine. On iOS, on some devices, it led to a cyclical soft reset sequence every couple of minutes when the internal clock reached December 2nd.
No company is immune to software bugs and despite Apples' impeccable track record in comparison to its competitors, certainly not even them can earn the title. Notwithstanding and perhaps because of that, Apple is held to an impossibly high standard. Both set by themselves, by users and the general public.
We're not trying to be the devils' advocate here, but despite the potential for damage with the root bug, it was way overblown as usual by media outlets and the never-ending "clickbate industry". Apple is held to such a high degree of standard that every single misstep is treated as the biggest mistake in the industry history. I mean, I even got an email from the IT department in my university warning users for this destructive and apocalyptic bug. I never saw such a degree of concern with decade-old windows bugs and serious Linux security holes.
Despite all of this, apple promptly responded with patches less than 24h. We have to beg the question, is this indication that something is indeed wrong within Apple software engineering team or is this the price to pay to be in the spotlight?

There have been a lot of (important) discussions taking place regarding Net Neutrality, mostly regarding FCC chairman Ajit Pai efforts in dismantling US net neutrality rules. If he gets his way, we believe it will be a bag of hurt for everyone to let ISPs with legal means to block, slow down or charge money for specific websites, services or online content. Not all is as simple as it sounds though and in the mist of all the nuanced regulations, case-by-case exceptions and policy instruments a lot of information and arguments are being thrown around haphazardly. That was the case with a Congressional representative Ro Khanna that tweeted a screenshot from a Portuguese mobile carrier MEO, stating that "In Portugal, with no net neutrality, internet providers are starting to split the net in packages". Us being Portuguese, and European Union citizens, this sounded crooked. The tweet went viral and gave the wrong impression despite looking like what could be considered as a violation of EU Net Neutrality rules, the screenshot actually belongs to an add-on service that you can pay in addition to your mobile internet subscription plan that gives its buyers the ability to consume "all you can eat" content from the packages selected apps without impacting the plans monthly data caps.
And as I noted before, Portugal is a member of the UE, its national operating ISPs have to abide by the UE space rules. We're not saying that these packages sound good, just that in Portugal there is no Net Neutrality free hellscape, and that lawmaking debate shouldn't be supported on scaremongers half-baked truths.

NASA as a mission planned to visit the Europa, one of Jupiter's moons, to find if it is habitable and prepare future missions that will search for signs of life. 

Currently, the mission is planned to launch in 2022, but delays in the development of the Space Launch System and the need for extra funding to pay for the launch itself may delay it for several years. 

Any other rocket besides SLS—including SpaceX's upcoming Falcon Heavy—lacks the power to blast Clipper directly from Earth to Jupiter. A conventional rocket would rely on three gravity assists from Earth and one from Venus, increasing the transit time from about 2.7 years to 7.5 years.

One of the most significant promises of wearables like the Apple Watch is the expectation that they evolve into more than fitness trackers. The Apple Healthcare platform purpose is to provide a combination of hardware and software that may help medical professionals deliver personalized care. 

One of the roadblocks is to collect data and context that is precise enough to be useful for medical diagnoses. Now the FDA approved a device for the Apple Watch is starting to achieve that promise.  

AliveCor's new SmartRhythm technology takes a more personalized approach to the prevention technology the Apple Watch already has. Currently, Apple's wearable can alert you when your heart rate spikes, but SmartRhythm uses AliveCor's deep neural network and your history of heart rate data to determine a healthy and normal heart rate range for you in relation to your activity levels. If an abnormality is detected during the Apple Watch's continuous measurement of your heart rate, AliveCor and KardiaBand's app will prompt you to take an EKG reading. 

Pixelmator has been around for a couple of years now, and despite being a very good if not great image editing software on the mac, I really can't call it a Photoshop alternative with a straight face, at least not for some semi-advanced editing. Well, that changed this week. Pixelmator Team has debuted Pixelmator Pro, a more advanced more modern and professional oriented take on the original concept. I've tried it since it came out this week, and although I would advise remaining cautious about your expectations as to Pixelmator Pro being a bonafide alternative to more mature image editing solutions out there, I can really see the potential in this new platform. At an introductory price of $59.99 (64,99€) it's very hard not to justify the purchase. Give it a try with the free 30-day trial, and tell us what you think.

This video isn't new nor its a story about anything significant. I just find genuinely funny and wanted to share it in case you missed it.

Years after Avatar's release, there's one thing Steven (Ryan Gosling) just can't get over.
Toothy Saber Apple AirPods Review

Toothy Saber Apple AirPods Review

EP17: The X is For Experimental

EP17: The X is For Experimental