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Comedy Actor Roundtable

August 25th, 2015
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Comedy acting Emmy nominees Ricky Gervais (Derek), Don Cheadle (House of Lies) and Will Forte (The Last Man on Earth) join Fred Armisen (Portlandia) and Jordan Peele (Key & Peele), who write and produce their Emmy nominated shows, and actor Thomas Middleditch who stars in the Emmy nominated Silicon Valley for The Hollywood Reporter’s Comedy Actor Emmy Roundtable where the actors share how and when they discovered they were funny.

An absolute must watch. Actually, while you are there, you should check the entire new season of the THR’s Roundtables.

A Movie Review

August 24th, 2015

I’ve just seen an amazing movie.

 

A movie that I wouldn’t have probably seen if it was left by my choice. You can call it an accident if you wish. And sometimes life you give you the gift on an happy accident. This was one of those.

 

I will tell you the name of the movie, but not now. If I do you’ll probably stop reading here and go over to Google.

 

The movie itself is about many different things. It involves the lives and struggles of two American teenagers, struggling to find their place in their high school. For one it’s a life choice; for the other, it’s a choice made for her by her own life.

 

Of all the many things, to me the big takeaway is how two people are obliged to react to the impossible. How they are faced with choices and emotions too big for them. Emotions and feelings that no one should ever have to experience, let alone while being of their age.

 

The maturity and the reactions shown on screen by the actors were astoundingly good. You could actually feel those emotions transferring from them to you. Feeling part of the movie, of the story. All the crowd as one, reacting together to the inevitable, with hopes and fears and yes, maybe even a tear.

 

A big component of this movie, was its music. During every scene, from the most simple to the most dramatic, the music was always there underlying every single emotion, amplifying it to perfection. I caught myself many time during the movie asking how was it possible that those melodies were always 100% right. The closing credits gave me the answers: all the music (except for few commercial pieces) was written specifically for this movie by Brian Eno. That piece of credit made it all clear.

 

With his music you can feel an extra dimension. It’s not the gimmick of 3D computers. It’s an higher dimension, a real 4D experience if you wish. Characters on screen didn’t have to talk. Their faces, their looks were brought alive by the melody, sometimes sweet and sometimes bitter.

 

I could probably going on about this movie for a long while, but I may end up ruining the experience of seeing it and experience it first hand, which in this case is the only real way to really enjoying it.

 

So please, do yourself a favor and go see Me and Earl and the Dying Girl as soon as you can.

 

You will thank me later.

The Martian In Real Life

August 21st, 2015

“The Martian” merges the fictional and factual narratives about Mars, building upon the work NASA and others have done exploring Mars and moving it forward into the 2030s, when NASA astronauts are regularly traveling to Mars and living on the surface to explore. Although the action takes place 20 years in the future, NASA is already developing many of the technologies that appear in the film.

Absolutely fascinating.

 

Whatsapp Web Finally Comes To iOS

August 20th, 2015

The long wait is finally over! Since last night Whatsapp on web is finally compatible with the iPhone and iOS in general.

 

The feature is slowly rolling out to all users with a server side update, so you won’t see any update in the AppStore. Once you get it, you’ll see a new menu item in the settings: Whatsapp Web. From there you can scan the QR code displayed online and sync the devices together. From that menu you can also review all the open sessions and find out with which device you are connected.

 

But the news don’t stop here. It actually gets better. With this new functionality you can now use Whatsapp from your iPad. Simply go to http://web.whatsapp.com from Safari and then use the sharing menu to Request Desktop Site. The page will reload and voila’, the QR will appear in all its glory and you can start using the service.

 

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On a laptop you can enable notifications from within the browser, on the iPad you lose that ability, so you’ll see new message as long as your browser is open. It’s a baby step, but still is better than nothing.

The Food Of A Spy

August 19th, 2015
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Photographer Henry Hargreaves is known for using food to tell a story, and his latest series tells a story about James Bond. Specifically, it tells the story of the globe-trotting agent’s culinary appetites—as distinct from his carnal ones and his bloodthirst. “Dying To Eat” brings to sumptuous visual life the vast array of meals Bond dined on mostly in the book series, which fans could previously only imagine. Interestingly, the meals reveal more about this inscrutable man than most of his films do.

Amazing collection of picture, around a very neat idea. It’s almost like taking a peek behind the curtain of a celebrity.

2015 Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance

August 19th, 2015
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The Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance is an automotive charitable event held each year on the Pebble Beach Golf Links in Pebble Beach, California, considered the most prestigious event of its kind. It is the finale of Monterey Car Week held in August every year.
 
A Concours d’Elegance (French, literally “a competition of elegance”) is an event open to both prewar and postwar collector cars in which they are judged for authenticity, function, history, and style.1

2015 was an amazing edition. Do yourself a favour, go and check out the full gallery at the link above. You’ll be looking at car heaven, thanks to the incredible pictures of photographer Drew Phillips.

 

Image Credit: Copyright 2015 Drew Phillips / AOL

 


  1. Definition from Wikipedia 

Apple Pay On Apple Watch Could Reach 95% Adoption Rate

August 18th, 2015

Ben Lovejoy writing for 9to5mac:

A new survey of Apple Watch owners by Wristly found that 80% of those in the US and UK have already used Apple Pay, and suggests that this number could eventually hit 95%. The survey was limited to the two countries where Apple Pay is currently available.

The firm found that only 19% of Watch owners hadn’t yet tried Apple Pay, and of those only a quarter of them either had concerns or saw no benefits, suggesting that the rest were likely to try it at some later point.

I can definitely see how these numbers came to be. Since my bank started supporting Apple Pay, I’ve always used anytime I could. It’s very convenient and fast and it’s easier than picking up your credit/debit card from your wallet.

 

Despite that, I’ve only used my Apple Watch to pay in very few occasions just after the initial roll out. In my day to day experience I’ve found the phone to be more convenient, reliable and quicker1 than the watch.

Unsurprisingly, most Apple Watch owners said they preferred the watch to their iPhone when it came to using Apple Pay, just 9% preferring to use the phone.

Among other inconveniences, the biggest one that has prevented my from reliably using the watch is due to the weird placement of the different point of sales in the shops. Some of them are at a convenient height and easily reachable on the counter, many others are placed such as you need to do some weird twists and turns with your wrists, defeating its ease of use.

 

Looks like this time I’m in the small minority.

 


  1. Especially if you pre-authorize the phone seconds prior the actual transaction. 

Dreaming Of An iPad Hub

August 17th, 2015
ipad mockup

 

First of all, please forgive my poor design capabilities. I’ve tried to put the above mock-up together to help the words that’ll follow1.

 

So, what are we looking at? Simple, an iPad powered work station. Please allow me to illustrate the concept in all its glory.

 

The original idea came to me because of the horror that my work station instills in me every day. I’m working off a HP laptop, which is big, slow and runs Windows 7 (yeah!). Excluding coding, most of my job is spread across emails, spreadsheets and presentations. Starting from this point, you can easily see how an iPad could easily replace all of this functions out of the box (except for a bit of coding – more on that later).

 

I currently use my iPad side by side my laptop as a way to quickly take notes. I have a stylus and together with Penultimate they form a pretty powerful combination. I also use my iPad to deal with emails. It’s a much more focused machine for that kind of task and I find myself automatically picking up the iPad to read, reply and manage emails, rather than relying on my main machine.

 

From this kind of daily use, I’ve started wondering what could be the next step.

 

The first obvious one is the screen size. I own an iPad Air 2, which is an awesome machine, but even the 9.7″ screen is not enough for me. Every time I’ve connected it to an external monitor, I immediately felt home. The thing is that when you do that, you only get a a bigger iPad screen, but still all the touch input has do be done on the iPad screen itself, so you spend more time looking down rather than up. A bit pointless.

 

So here is my question: what if, when you connect the iPad to an external display, the iPad itself becomes a massive touchpad?

 

Now the mockup above is starting to shape up. Let’s say I’m using the lighting to HDMI connector to go to an Apple Cinema Display (or any other display for that matter). When I connect, the UI goes solely on the external display, while the iPad itself transforms into a massive trackpad and effectively becomes a mouse. Pair this with a bluetooth keyboard (as many of us already do) and voilà: an iPad-powered workstation is born.

 

The power of iOS has always been in the versatility of the software. That was the entire argument about having a software keyboard: a medium that could adapt to the current requirement, rather than being a static and dumb input medium.

 

Here I’m applying the same concept, just on a bigger scale. Let’s go even further. The iPad screen could gets split into two (using the same concept of split screen coming with iOS 9): one half being the trackpad2 and the other half being used for different shortcuts to different iOS functions3.

 

Being on the big screen, you could now make full of use of the new split screen functionality. Instead of being locked into a single app view, you could have the two side by side and really embrace this newly found flexibility4.

 

This is definitely a very edge case scenario of iPad use and I know I’m definitely in the minority. Still, the iPad keeps becoming faster and more powerful but Apple keeps underplaying it, leaving a massive potential untapped.

 

I’m guessing that now you might ask: why don’t you just use the new MacBook and shut the hell up?

 

That’s certainly a good question. My answer would be that the iPad is a much more versatile machine. I could be in workstation mode while in the office, then unplug it at the end of the day and go back to couch mode in the evening.

 

At the end of the day a MacBook is and will always be a laptop. An iPad is and will always be whatever you want it to be. The only limit is your imagination.

 


  1. Yes, I know, the HDMI cable (yes, it’s a cable) is particularly terrible but I couldn’t find anything better than drawing it myself. 
  2. Imagine a future revision of the iPad including Force Touch, the half trackpad could be used for very precise input. 
  3. We could have a button to invoke Siri, one for the app switcher and maybe a couple to quickly switch between favorite apps. 
  4. Of course it would be nice to be able to move content between side-by-side apps, but that’s just crazy talk at this point.