Rogers thanks shomi customers as streaming service shuts doors on November 30th

Rogers thanks shomi customers as streaming service shuts doors on November 30th

Rogers today thanked its customers who subscribed to shomi for trying out a Canadian innovation.

“We tried something new, and customers who used shomi loved it. It’s like a great cult favourite with a fantastic core audience that unfortunately just isn’t big enough to be renewed for another season,” said Melani Griffith, Senior Vice President, Content, Rogers. “We will be reaching out to eligible customers in the coming days as we have a wide range of premium experiences available for people to enjoy.”

shomi, a joint venture of Rogers and Shaw Communications announced today an orderly wind down with service ending November 30, 2016. As a result, Rogers expects to incur a loss on investment of approximately $100-140 million in its third quarter ending September 30, 2016 relating to the carrying value of its investment and a provision related to future liabilities in shomi.

I’ve actually been a shomi subscriber for over a year. Admittedly I was a subscriber mostly because it was included as a free two-year add on with my Rogers cell phone, but I enjoyed the service.

Shomi is actually a little closer to Hulu than Netflix, as it focuses more on TV shows than movies. It even had contracts to provide new episodes just after they aired on TV for shows like Empire, Fresh off the boat, Modern Family, etc.

Personally, I think one of the bigger issues was the slow rollout of Shomi. For the first year after launch, it was only available to people who were already cable customers of Rogers and Shaw, and then opened its doors to other users. But by then, it was already too late.

Google backs off on previously announced Allo privacy feature

Russell Brandom, reporting for The Verge:

The version of Allo rolling out today will store all non-incognito messages by default — a clear change from Google’s earlier statements that the app would only store messages transiently and in non-identifiable form. The records will now persist until the user actively deletes them, giving Google default access to a full history of conversations in the app. Users can also avoid the logging by using Allo’s Incognito Mode, which is still fully end-to-end encrypted and unchanged from the initial announcement.

[…]

Like Hangouts and Gmail, Allo messages will still be encrypted between the device and Google servers, and stored on servers using encryption that leaves the messages accessible to Google’s algorithms.

According to Google, the change was made to improve the Allo assistant’s smart reply feature, which generates suggested responses to a given conversation. Like most machine learning systems, the smart replies work better with more data. As the Allo team tested those replies, they decided the performance boost from permanently stored messages was worth giving up privacy benefits of transient storage.

Not surprising, I’d actually be more surprised if Google was storing them regardless and just not telling people, so at least I have to give them points for outright admitting they store the messages in the first place.

Dropbox Modifies TCC.db to Give Itself Accessibility Access

Phil Stokes:

If you have Dropbox installed, take a look at System Preferences > Security & Privacy > Accessibility tab. Notice something? Ever wondered how it got in there? Do you think you might have put that in there yourself after Dropbox asked you for permission to control the computer?

No, I can assure you that your memory isn’t faulty. You don’t remember doing that because Dropbox never presented this dialog to you, as it should have[…]

[…]

Indeed, even with your admin password, it still shouldn’t be able to get into Accessibility. Clearly Dropbox’s coders have been doing some OS X hacking on company time.

(-‸ლ)1

  1. I really have nothing to say other than give Dropbox a huge facepalm over this entire thing. Modifying sensitive areas without permission? Seriously Dropbox? I expected better of you. 

Matthew Panzarino on the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus

Matthew Panzarino, writing for TechCrunch:

Every time you take a picture with the iPhone 7, both the wide angle and telephoto fire off. Yes, two 12 megapixel pictures for every shot. This could be a prime driver behind the increase of the iPhone 7 Plus’ memory to 3GB.

Both images are needed due to an Apple technique it is calling “fusion” internally. Fusion takes data from both sensors and merges them into the best possible picture for every condition. If, for instance, there is a low-light scene that has some dark areas, the image-processing chip could choose to pick up some image data (pixels or other stuff like luminance) from the brighter f1.8 wide angle and mix it in with the data from the f2.8 telephoto, creating a composite image on the fly without any input from the user. This fusion technique is available to every shot coming from the camera, which means that the iPhone 7 Plus is mixing and matching data every time that trigger is tapped.

This technique is made possible because the optics, coatings, sensors, perspectives and color balances of the two cameras are perfectly matched.

The dual-camera is the main feature I’m excited about with the iPhone 7 Plus.

There are apps that use burst photos now to create a fusion of photos, such as the Pix app from Microsoft, but being able to have this happen internally, with two photos taken at the exact same time, rather than a collection of burst photos makes this look nice.

Jim Dalrymple on the Apple Watch 2

I can’t help but smile every time I think about how Apple Watch has helped me over the past year. I’m healthier, more aware, and I can communicate easily, all using one device strapped to my wrist.

The new white Apple Watch Edition is stunning to see in person. I often talk about Apple’s attention to detail—this new ceramic watch epitomizes that. After inventing a new ceramic powder, this is how Apple describes the process of making the watch:

More than 70 diamond-grit CNC cutters machine every Apple Watch Edition case—a process that takes up to six hours. Each case then undergoes two hours of polishing to increase strength and achieve its characteristic pearl-like finish.

I want this ceramic watch as much as I wanted the black iPhone—it’s gorgeous.

Jim gives a good overall review of the new Apple Watch 2, and its various new features.

‘Stop using the Galaxy Note 7’, says US safety commission

The US plans to formally recall the Galaxy Note 7 and is telling consumers to power down and cease charging the phones immediately.

The recommendation came through a US Consumer Product Safety Commission statement today, which referenced the various fires that have been linked to battery issues with Samsung’s new phone. “These incidents have occurred while charging and during normal use, which has led us to call for consumers to power down their Note 7s,” the commission writes.

It put the recommendation more bluntly in a tweet:

Samsung echoed the CPSC in its own statement, saying, “We are asking users to power down their Galaxy Note 7s and exchange them now.”

All the pundits who are busy claiming that everything Apple is doing right now was done years ago by Samsung (or others), need to remember this phone.

Apple’s annual iteration: Thoughts on the Sept. 7 media event

It’s an unusual step for Apple to release a third iteration of the same design, but the iPhone 7 looks and feels an awful lot like the iPhone 6 and 6S. As you might expect from a new iPhone, the relatively small changes to the exterior belie the changes that are going on in the device’s insides.

But first, the outside. With repositioned antenna lines and some new colors—not one, but two new blacks to replace Space Gray!—this new phone does look a little different from the previous 6 models. And of course, the headphone jack is gone. The “iPhone” label on the back of the phone is printed using San Francisco, Apple’s new go-to typeface.

I was a fan of the black phone option on the iPhone 5, and I admit to just not loving Space Gray as an appropriate replacement for my Darth Vader phone. Now that Space Grey has been ejected into space, we have some new black models—a bead-blasted “black” and a shiny “jet black.” The shiny sure is pretty, but I think that basic black is probably the one I’d choose. (The other iPhone colors—silver, gold, and rose gold—remain intact.)

This summer there were some rumors that Apple was going to introduce more real colors into the iPhone line, going farther beyond the relatively monochrome and metallic options it’s been offering the past few years. (I can’t even see the pink in the rose gold—thanks, color blindness!) I was really hoping Apple would use this opportunity to expand the color palette to include blue and green models, at least. It wasn’t to be.

At long last, the base iPhone storage tier has risen from 16GB to 32GB. This probably should’ve happened a year or two ago, but it’s good that it finally happened. (Now let the countdown begin for critics to suggest that it’s time that Apple move to 64GB as the base storage in the iPhone. How does 2017 sound?)

Jason Snell’s overview of the iPhone 7 launch event covers everything you need to read.

With the Apple Watch 2 and iPhone 7 (and no more headphone jack!) and of course the airpods, it was an interesting event.

AirPods hands-on: They stayed in my ears and sounded awesome

Susie Ochs, writing for Macworld:

I didn’t want to like the AirPods, I really didn’t. But in the hands-on area after Apple’s iPhone 7 event on Wednesday, I found myself dancing along in spite of myself—and the AirPods stayed put, feeling surprisingly secure. With convenient features on both the hardware and software sides, I have to admit that Apple’s totally-wireless AirPods kind of rocked my world.

I do like how my earpods fit, and the airpods seem to be a similar fit so may work well.

Apple Explains Why It Eliminated the Headphone Jack

John Vorhees, for MacStories:

Apple seems to get that eliminating the headphone jack will be a tough sell in some quarters. In a packed keynote, Phil Schiller spent a fair amount of time laying out Apple’s case for why switching to the lightning connector for wired headphones and moving to wireless AirPods is the right thing to do. But Apple also spoke to BuzzFeed’s John Paczkowski to add context and the detail that couldn’t fit into the keynote.

Apple’s Dan Riccio explained the challenge this way:

”We’ve got this 50-year-old connector — just a hole filled with air — and it’s just sitting there taking up space, really valuable space,” he says.
Eliminating the headphone jack helped enable the iPhone 7’s new camera, waterproofing, and better battery life. As Paczkowski explains:

The 3.5-millimeter audio jack has been headed to its inevitable fate for some time now. If it wasn’t the iPhone 7, it might have been the iPhone 8 (or, for that matter, the iPhone 6). In the end, it was simple math that did the audio jack in, a cost-benefit analysis that sorely disfavored a single-purpose Very Old Port against a wireless audio future, some slick new cameras, and the kind of water resistance that anyone who has ever dropped an iPhone in the toilet has long wished for.

Anyone who has used Bluetooth headphones knows that they promise freedom, but at the price of friction – charging, spotty connectivity, and poor audio quality. Apple’s answer to those headaches comes in the form of its new W1 chip that adds a layer of ‘secret sauce’ to its newly announced wireless AirPods that promises to eliminate the pain points.

I actually like bluetooth, I’ve had a few sets over the years and have a few that I like, so I don’t really mind Apple killing the Headphone Jack.

Now the airPods, those could take getting used to with no connecting cable.

Jason Snell on What to look for at Wednesday’s Apple event

Jason Snell:

Apple’s big fall media event is Wednesday, and I’ll be there bright and early to cover the whole thing here on Six Colors. Thanks to the leaks from Apple and its supply chain, most of us think we’ve got a pretty good idea of what will be announced—though surprises are welcome!

The devil’s in the details, though. This event is Apple’s big chance to put all of its fall product offerings in context, to tell stories that explain why these products do what they do (or in some cases, don’t do what they don’t). This is product marketing at its highest level, and the way Apple introduces a product can be enlightening.

So here are a few details I’ll be keeping my eyes out for tomorrow