Manual for iPhone

New camera app for iPhone that lets users manually control such things as exposure, white balance, etc.

Great video — so great, in fact, that I downloaded the app to my phone.

(via Daring Fireball)

Apple: iPhones 6 Launch Weekend Sales Top 10M

Per Cupertino’s press release:

Apple® today announced it has sold over 10 million new iPhone® 6 and iPhone 6 Plus models, a new record, just three days after the launch on September 19.


“Sales for iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus exceeded our expectations for the launch weekend, and we couldn’t be happier,” said Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO. “We would like to thank all of our customers for making this our best launch ever, shattering all previous sell-through records by a large margin. While our team managed the manufacturing ramp better than ever before, we could have sold many more iPhones with greater supply and we are working hard to fill orders as quickly as possible.”

Count mine — iPhone 6, silver 64GB on AT&T — as one of the 10 million sold. So far, I like it a lot.

On Portland, Oregon

Claire Cain Miller for the NYT, “Will Portland Always Be a Retirement Community for the Young”:

Portland has taken hold of the cultural imagination as, to borrow the tag line from “Portlandia,” the place where young people go to retire. And for good reason: The city has nearly all the perks that economists suggest lead to a high quality of life — coastlines, mountains, mild winters and summers, restaurants, cultural institutions and clean air. (Fortunately, college-educated people don’t value sunshine as much as they used to.) Portland also has qualities that are less tangible but still likely to attract young people these days, like a politically open culture that supports gay rights and the legalization of marijuana — in addition to the right of way for unicyclists or the ability to marry in a 24/7 doughnut shop. “It’s really captured the zeitgeist of the age in a way that no other small city in America ever has,” said Aaron Renn, an urban-affairs analyst who writes the Urbanophile blog. According to professors from Portland State University, the city has been able to attract and retain young college-educated people at the second-highest rate in the nation. (Louisville, Ky., is No. 1.)

I was in Portland last week for XOXO — my first time in the city, first time in the state — and I was really taken by how lovely it is. There really is a more relaxed vibe to the city than there is anywhere in the Bay Area, particularly here in San Francisco. The people are very nice and the food is awesome; me and my girlfriend will definitely be back sooner than later.

Looking at Accessibility in iOS 8

In my latest for MacStories, I contribute to the site’s exhaustive coverage of iOS 8 by writing a piece wherein I share my impressions of some of iOS 8′s Accessibility features and little touches.

‘How ISIS Works’

The New York Times published an interesting breakdown of the terrorist organization:

The Islamic State in Iraq and Syria has a detailed structure that encompasses many functions and jurisdictions, according to ISIS documents seized by Iraqi forces and seen by American officials and Hashim Alhashimi, an Iraqi researcher. Many of its leaders are former officers from Saddam Hussein’s long-disbanded army who augmented their military training with terrorist techniques during years of fighting American troops.

(via @fmanjoo)

On Roger Goodell’s Job Security and the Ray Rice Investigation

Mark Maske, reporting for The Washington Post:

An official with another NFL team who had been briefed on the views of the owner of his franchise said of that owner: “He supports the commissioner.” Asked what it would take for that owner’s support of Goodell to be withdrawn, the official said: “If the investigation concludes that the commissioner saw more and knew more than he has said, and he was not truthful about that to the clubs, things would change.”

A top executive with a third franchise who had spoken to his team’s owner expressed similar sentiments, saying Goodell’s job would be at risk only if it is found that he personally orchestrated a cover-up.

“Certainly he would be [held] accountable for intentionally misleading people and taking actions to cover his tracks,” that executive said. “Certainly that would be grounds for anything from a reprimand to termination. [But] it would take a lot. No one expects it to come to that.”

I like football as a sport and the NFL, but I haven’t been excited for the start of the new season. I watched barely any preseason games, and through Week 2 (this week) of the regular season, I haven’t watched any action. That my interest in the league is waning is sad in ways, but that’s where I stand with professional football right now.

‘Letter of Recommendation’

Chris Breen delivers a eulogy of sorts for his laid-off Macworld comrades:

All the people I’ve mentioned are enthralled with technology—they wouldn’t do what they do otherwise. But I don’t think I’m going too far in saying that were you to ask them to describe their professional life in one word they’d reply “Writer.”

These people love language and using it to convey sometimes arcane ideas and procedures. Because they do, they are careful with the words they use and the way they’re arranged. These words and the ideas behind them are issued with intent—to help with understanding, to entertain, to instill insight.

In a world where it’s easy to get attention through raving, snark, and the overuse of punctuation, this is a rare skill. I hope those of you in the position to do so will honor that skill by allowing these voices to be heard.

As I mentioned in this post, I had the great fortune to be able to work with a few people on Breen’s list when contributing to Macworld. Of those mentioned, I worked closest (i.e., directly) with Dan Frakes and Scholle MacFarland, and both were really great to me. It’s my hope that everyone laid off (save for Serenity Caldwell) lands on their feet soon.

Jason Snell Leaving ‘Macworld’, Staff Laid Off

Jason Snell announced today that he’s leaving Macworld and comments on the lay-offs:

Last December, after several corporate leadership changes, and with budget cuts looming on the horizon, I decided I couldn’t go on. My newest set of bosses persuaded me to stay give them a chance. So I continued to work and ponder my next move.

Then another leadership shift occurred, the sixth in 24 months. The new bosses were actually my old bosses, and they knew exactly how I was feeling about my job and the prospect of going through more painful changes. To their great credit, they allowed us to end our relationship amicably. I thank them for their support and their generosity. They even asked me to write a final front-of-the-book column in the November issue of Macworld.

Unfortunately, many of my colleagues lost their jobs today. If there’s anything I can do to help them, I will. I have had time to plan for this day, but they haven’t. You probably know some of them. Please join with me in giving them sympathy and support.

Sad news. I’ve written a few things for Macworld, and the editors with whom I worked were great to me. My work for them has played a big role in propelling my career and my name to where it stands today. I sincerely hope those who were laid off find new jobs soon.

To be clear, won’t be going away; it’s just operating under the watch of a greatly reduced editorial staff. (The print edition has been axed, though.) Still, it won’t be the same without the bylines of Snell, Dan Frakes, Dan Moren, Serenity Caldwell, et al. Snell, in fact, is joining Relay FM as a co-host to two podcasts.

Dr. Drang, On the ‘Standard Common Markdown Clusterfuck’

The Good Doctor writes:

Fundamentally, Markdown was tolerant and inclusive. At the risk of some ambiguity, it let you write pretty much the way you’d write a nicely formatted plain text email and turned it into HTML for you. It was both easy to write and easy to read in source form. The readability of Markdown was key. If a normal person could read your Markdown source and understand its structure, chances are could, too.

Gruber’s Markdown, as outlined here, is the canonical version for me. Like Drang, it’s never lead me astray and is the one I reference. Furthermore, I’m in complete agreement with Drang that the best parts of Markdown are (a) its cleanliness and (b) you’re able to drop in raw HTML code when needed. The simplicity and versatility of the syntax is really wonderful.

Related: my piece for TidBITS from last year on Markdown and accessibility.

On Rdio 3.0

Ben Sisario for The New York Times, on Rdio’s new update, including a move to the “freemium” model:

“What we’ve learned collectively over the last few years,” said Anthony Bay, Rdio’s chief executive, “is that the most successful models are freemium models.”


Rdio’s new design, which fills a user’s screen with readymade playlists based on their tastes, draws heavily on the Internet radio format, which was popularized by Pandora and has become an increasingly important as digital outlets try to figure out how people prefer to listen to music online. The radio giant Clear Channel has made an aggressive push for its online radio platform, iHeartRadio. Recently Rhapsody introduced unRadio, a music service that is free for T-Mobile customers, and Google bought Songza, an online playlist service.

I’m a big fan of Rdio, and yesterday’s update is great. Rdio’s gotten even better.

Be sure to check out The Sweet Setup’s rundown of all the new stuff in 3.0.