Apple Announces WWDC 2014

Apple yesterday announced this year’s conference, slated for June 2-6 in San Francisco:

For five days, one thousand Apple engineers and five thousand developers will gather together. And live will be different as a result.

Write the code. Change the world.

New this year is that tickets are being sold via lottery:

The opportunity to buy tickets to this year’s conference will be offered by random selection.

Like last year, I’ll be there. Can’t wait!

Fantastical 2 for iPad Released

Flexibits announces the new app on their blog:

That’s right, Fantastical 2 for iPad, our most requested and anticipated app, is now available! And this isn’t a quick port or conversion: Fantastical 2 for iPad was designed specifically for your iPad.

We’ve put all of the power, functionality, and intuitiveness of Fantastical 2 for iPhone and designed a brand-new user interface to make it feel right at home on your iPad.

I woke up this morning to news via Twitter of Fantastical for iPad’s release, and I immediately went to the App Store to pay my $9.99 to get it. I love the iPhone version, and really happy that its on iPad now too.

Be sure to check out Federico Viticci’s review of the app for MacStories.

‘Throw Until You Die’

Tom Verducci profiles Masahiro Tanaka for SI. On pitching in Japan, Verducci writes:

By the time Tanaka put himself up for auction in Beverly Hills, he’d thrown 1,315 total innings through age 24, a workload unheard of in the majors for any young pitcher over the past 40 years. The last player to be worked that hard that young was Frank Tanana, who debuted in 1973 at age 19 and whose shoulder was shot by the time he was 25.

[...]

The Japanese pitching culture was forged by men such as Keishi Suzuki, a 5-foot-11-inch lefthander who in 1966, at age 18, debuted in NPB with 189 innings. Just two years later, Suzuki threw 359 innings in a 130-game season, the equivalent of throwing 447 innings in a 162-game MLB season. He lasted 20 seasons, pitching until he was 37, accumulating 317 wins and 4,600 1/3 innings. Afterward, he became manager of the only team he ever pitched for, Kintetsu, where he unwittingly became one of the greatest agents of change in the cross-pollination of baseball cultures.

I’ve long felt managers and pitching coaches nowadays baby pitchers’ arms. While I understand the notion to want to guard against injury, my opinion is that there’d be less of a chance for arm trouble if young pitchers were conditioned for stamina while still in the minors. It annoys me to no end that a manager will yank a pitcher in the 6th or 7th inning of a game where a pitcher is doing well just because he’s reached his pitch count or whatever. Moreover, it’s saddening to me that we’ll likely never again see a guy who makes 40 starts and throws 300+ innings a year anymore.

(via Daring Fireball)

‘Accessible’ 16: We’re Abnormal People

This episode, me and Ben talk more about iOS 7.1’s Accessibility features, my accessibility-as-innovation blog post, and the accessibility tables at Starbucks.

Sponsored by Typeform. Typeform makes asking questions easy, human and beautiful. Listeners can upgrade to Typeform PRO and get 3 months free by using the coupon code FIATLUX.

‘Apple’s Cyclone Microarchitecture Detailed’

Anand Lal Shimpi, writing for AnandTech:

At the launch of the iPhone 5s, Apple referred to the A7 as being “desktop class” – it turns out that wasn’t an exaggeration.

[…]

Looking at Cyclone makes one thing very clear: the rest of the players in the ultra mobile CPU space didn’t aim high enough. I wonder what happens next round.

An interesting (and very technical) look at the A7 SoC. As Shimpi points out, fast as the A7 is, there’s a lot of room left for performance improvement with the A8.

(via @panzer)

Twitter Adds User Tagging, Multiple Photos Support

Matthew Panzarino, reporting for TechCrunch:

Twitter has announced a couple of additions to its image offerings today, including the ability to tag up to 10 people in a photo without using any precious characters up. You’ll also now be able to attach up to four photos to a tweet, and Twitter will automatically craft a collage for you.

The people-tagging feature will undoubtedly offer Twitter a way to increase the density of its social graph. Adding the ability to link people to specific photos provides Twitter with information about the photo, but also additional relational links between individuals on the platform.

[...]

Adding multiple photo support is cool, and it looks fairly nicely implemented. It will likely increase the number of photos shared on the service dramatically, and will assist those who use it in a news capacity. It never hurts Twitter to have more people sharing more photos.

Let’s hope that Twitter stays true to its word that these features will come to third-party clients, as I much rather use Tweetbot than the official first-party app. Tagging I could live without, but the multiple photo support would be very handy.

On Office for iPad

Ed Bott reviews the productivity suite for ZDNet:

Make no mistake about it: These three apps are feature-rich, powerful tools for creating and editing Office documents. They look and act like their Office 2013 counterparts on Windows. And although these iPad apps obviously can’t replicate every feature of the full desktop programs, they deliver an impressive subset of those features. Anyone who was expecting Office Lite or a rehash of the underwhelming Office for iPhone will be pleasantly surprised.

I’m with Jim Dalrymple on Office for iPad. The truth is, like Jim, iWork suits my needs, and I hardly use any of the apps. 99.9 percent of the time I’m working with plain text, and I don’t need such fancy, robust tools to do so. That said, kudos to Microsoft for releasing it, even though it took four years. I’m curious about the accessibility of Office, but I’m not paying a $99 in-app purchase just to get editing capabilities.

(via John Gruber)

On the Benefits of Public Transportation

Katrina vanden Heuvel for The Nation, on how public transit improves lives:

According to the American Public Transportation Association, Americans are using public transportation more today than at any other time since 1956. Public transit provided 10.7 billion individual rides last year, a 1.1 percent increase over 2012 and the latest uptick for an industry that has seen a 37.2 percent increase in ridership since 1995. This is something to crow about.

[…]

We need to continue to fund and promote public transportation. As Secretary Foxx pointed out in his March on Washington reflection, “[U]nfortunately, transportation also has a history of dividing us. In many places, railroads have served to identify people who were living on ‘the wrong side of the tracks.’ And rarely in the last century did an urban interstate highway plow through a neighborhood that wasn’t characterized as poor.”

We can use public transportation to mitigate inequality, to improve the environment, to develop technologically and economically; it puts more of us on the right side of the tracks. Let’s keep this trend going.

I link to this piece having just returned home from San Francisco by way of MUNI and BART. Were it not for public transportation — not to mention the kindness of family and friends — I’d not get around nearly as well as I do. As a non-driver, public transit is an essential part of my livelihood, and I’m grateful that the Bay Area has so many great (and convenient) options from which to choose.

‘Concussion Game Plan’

Apple highlights how iPad is helping treat concussions with a new “Your Verse” page:

Sports-related concussions seem to be in the headlines every day, but detecting them remains mysterious — more art than science. They rarely show up on imaging tests. And their symptoms are often hidden by athletes who don’t want to miss a single play. Now Cleveland Clinic in Ohio is using iPad to take the mystery out of concussions with an app that lets trainers monitor symptoms moments after an event occurs. Already players are making safer returns to the field, court, and ice.

I suffered a concussion a few years ago while still with the school district. My neurologist said it was a mild one, but the effects of which (e.g., headaches, memory loss) lingered for quite a while. Hence, this story was great to see, and I hope more sports leagues and healthcare professionals take notice.

(via The Loop)

‘Accessible’ 14: It’s About Proving You’re Human

This episode, me and Ben discuss the many Accessibility changes in iOS 7.1, the accessibility nightmare of captchas, and I lament CarPlay’s utter uselessness to my life.

Sponsored by Typeform. Typeform makes asking questions easy, human and beautiful. Listeners can upgrade to Typeform PRO and get 3 months free by using the coupon code fiatlux.