The Note 7 Still Delivers Embarrassing Real-World Performance

Eric Hulse:

The same lag carries onto scrolling performance in many applications, and infrequently in every application after heavy continuous usage. The phone does not get too hot, mind you, but we do notice that after continuous sessions, it progressively begins misbehaving. Scrolling behavior in particular is behind what you’d expect out of an $850 device, especially after this has been one of Samsung’s weak points for years.

When compared to the OnePlus 3, we find that the Note 7 often neglects using its four cores as opposed to the OnePlus 3, which efficiently mixes up its core utilization when handling the same task. GPU profiling on the Note 7 makes it extremely clear that the phone leaks frames on several actions, even minor animations throughout the UI such as a WiFi network spinning circle animation. In some instances, we found outright damning displays of the Note 7’s occasionally-pitiful fluidity accompanied by the walls of green bars denoting serious difficulties pushing the frames through.

But this is not just a matter of opening or returning to your application sooner than on other devices, Samsung’s software is noticeably slower than that of competing devices in almost every action.

The stock keyboard still sees issues with split-second lockups, and the sharing menu on the Note 7 often leaves you waiting for options to load. The notorious TouchWiz Launcher has earned itself a reputation for slow speed and stutters throughout the years, and while it is not as bad as it used to be, it can still miss clear frames while switching through homescreens, and despite years of integration, Flipboard still remains the most jerky leftmost homescreen panel ever introduced by an OEM.

I’ve generally seen better performance out of the S models than the Note models, the S6 seemed to perform better than the Note 6 for example and from what I’ve tried on the Note 7, the S7 is better there as well.

Maybe that’s just me though.

Pinterest acquires Instapaper

Today, we’re excited to announce that Instapaper is joining Pinterest. In the three years since betaworks acquired Instapaper from Marco Arment, we’ve completely rewritten our backend, overhauled our mobile and web clients, improved parsing and search, and introduced tons of great features like highlights, text-to-speech, and speed reading to the product.

All of these features and developments revolved around the core mission of Instapaper, which is allowing our users to discover, save, and experience interesting web content. In that respect, there is a lot of overlap between Pinterest and Instapaper. Joining Pinterest provides us with the additional resources and experience necessary to achieve that shared mission on a much larger scale.

Instapaper provides a compelling source for news-based content, and we’re excited to take those learnings to Pinterest’s discovery products. We’ll also be experimenting with using our parsing technology for certain Rich Pin types.

For you, the Instapaper end user and customer, nothing changes. The Instapaper team will be moving from betaworks in New York City to Pinterest’s headquarters in San Francisco, and we’ll continue to make Instapaper a great place to save and read articles.

I still use Instapaper for saving stuff to read later, this could be an interesting move for the Instapaper crew.

Watching Canada’s Biggest Rock Band Say a Dramatic Goodbye

Stephen Marche, writing for the New Yorker:

Rock and roll has always been in love with death. It’s the genre of the so-called Twenty-Seven Club, the genre of “I hope I die before I get old.” It’s Jimi Hendrix up late in London, Janis Joplin at a hotel with a needle, Keith Richards doing anything anywhere—the music is defined by its proximity to mortality. This summer, in Canada, one band is living that connection fully and completely. Gord Downie, the lead singer of the Tragically Hip, is suffering from glioblastoma, a terminal tumor in his left temporal lobe. But dying hasn’t stopped the tour. Downie is coming out on stage every night to burn out publicly. It has been glorious.

The Tragically Hip are one of the biggest bands in Canadian history. The band has had nine No. 1 albums here, and has spent as much time at the top of the charts as Bryan Adams. The band members have been on a stamp. Why they have never translated to the American audience is one of the great mysteries of Canadian popular culture. I have never heard or read a convincing explanation. Their songs are catchy, and every other act anywhere near their size in Canada has gone on to success elsewhere. But the Tragically Hip belong to the North alone, it seems.

One of the first concerts I ever saw was the Tragically Hip as a teenager. I’ve seen them play in concerts at least a dozen times since then and their songs are on most of play lists.

I think most of Canada watched this concert last night and thought back to when they’d seen them perform in concert at some point.

The Tragically Hip are a Canadian icon, a piece of Canadian music history that won’t be forgotten

Uber CEO Travis Kalanick discusses self-driving cars

Travis Kalanick has to get Uber’s bet on self-driving cars right.

“It starts with understanding that the world is going to go self-driving and autonomous,” he told Business Insider in an interview.

“So if that’s happening, what would happen if we weren’t a part of that future? If we weren’t part of the autonomy thing? Then the future passes us by basically, in a very expeditious and efficient way.”

The New Samsung Gear VR Virtual Reality Headset

The New Samsung Gear VR Virtual Reality Headset

Samsung has released a new Gear VR headset. There aren’t a lot of differences, but the differences they have made are nice.

First, they’ve changed the color from white to a blueish-black color, then they made it lighter, you can actually wear it longer and not get a headache.

The darker color also keeps light from leaking in so it’s a better feel overall.

Next, they changed the trackpad on the side to make it into more a touch pad you have on your laptop, rather than the previous design. Another change is a home button beside the back button, so you can exit apps quicker.

But, the big change is that they’ve given it a wider view, a while 110 degrees wider view. This is the change that makes it easier to use, when combined with the thicker, more comfortable foam around the eyes and the darker color. This all helps to make it more immersive, and lets you watch it longer.

The other change is they’ve switched the charging port to a USB-C port to accommodate the cable for the Note 7, they’ve also made a switchable dongle to swap out micro-USB or USB-C adapters to plug your phone into the Gear.

Don’t worry, there’s also an adapter for the USB-c charging port to use Micro-USB but the significant feature here is that this port also support data and not just charging, so this can open things up to plugging in controllers and motion controllers down the road.

Is it worth switching if you already have a Gear VR headset?

That is a good question, while the extra 110 degrees of view does make it a nicer experience over all, it really depends on how hardcore you are into using your Gear VR already. The future potential motion controller support does really make this more promising than the previous model though, and I still recommend some sort of controller for most of the games.

Also, most of my previous tips still stand.

Andre De Grasse vs. 1936 Olympic Champ Jesse Owens

Today’s Olympic runners use the best equipment available, from custom built shoes to ultra-lightweight clothing, in order to give them an edge over their opponents. But what would happen if they were forced to use the old, outdated equipment of past Olympics?

I came across this video and thought it was an interesting share as it compares the equipment runners use today vs what was used back in 1936.

1Password for Teams and Families incompatible with VPNs

Matt Henderson:

One of the services for which I’ve truly been happy to pay is 1Password for Families, which allows my wife and I to centrally manage information vaults that are shared among ourselves, and among our kids, across all our Mac and iOS devices.

Some time ago, I wrote about how I secure our home network with a VPN. After doing that, we began having to frequently respond to CAPTCHAs when accessing any website that uses the CloudFlare security platform, as CloudFlare (understandably) doesn’t trust the IP addresses of the Private Internet Access VPN service that we use. This is an annoyance, but certainly something we can live with.

Unfortunately, however, I recently discovered that all of our 1Password applications (iOS and Mac) have stopped syncing their data with 1Password’s servers. And to make matters worse, the apps don’t provide any feedback to the user that synchronization has failed! It was only after removing a Families account from one of the devices, and trying to add it back did I finally see a “No response from server” error.

[…]

Right now, because so few users are affected by this, 1Password’s response is just: “Sorry, you can’t use our service if you’re going to use a VPN.” This seems short-sighted for the following reasons:

  1. The problem doesn’t only affect users on Private Internet Access IP addresses. It affects users on any IP address that CloudFlare distrusts. Currently that’s at least PIA users, and almost certainly includes other popular VPN providers. But over time, one can certainly expect that set of IP addresses will expand.

  2. More fundamentally, when accessing a website, CloudFlare provides a means by which a legitimate user on a distrusted IP address can successfully get through—by responding to a CAPTCHA. In other words, there’s a model in place by CloudFlare that anticipates false positives. If you’re going to put your software API in front of CloudFlare, as 1Password has done, then you must also engineer a model and user experience that accounts for false positives. (Perhaps CloudFlare offers a mechanism to surface a CAPTCHA like mechanism to the human user of an app that’s getting trapped on its API by CloudFlare.)

I like CloudFlare and 1Password, I’ve been a loyal user of both for several years, but they do need to have a way to detect something better for this. Maybe there aren’t a lot of home VPN users, but there are more than they might think.

Google Chrome to Flash: Good Bye, good riddance

Yesterday, Google announced that its Chrome browser will begin blocking Flash that runs in the background of webpages in September and make HTML5 the ‘default Chrome experience’ in December.

According to Google:

Today, more than 90% of Flash on the web loads behind the scenes to support things like page analytics. This kind of Flash slows you down, and starting this September, Chrome 53 will begin to block it.

HTML5 is much lighter and faster, and publishers are switching over to speed up page loading and save you more battery life. You’ll see an improvement in responsiveness and efficiency for many sites.

In December, Chrome 55 will make HTML5 the default experience, except for sites which only support Flash.

This is about time, I actually block Flash on my desktop browsers, so it’s nice to see this catching up.

The iPad’s unfinished business

Jean-Louis Gassée:

The iPad Pro undoubtedly appeals to a more demanding base of users than the smaller iPads. iOS is “growing windows”, a more visible file system and, in a soon to be available version, will provide easier access to documents on a Mac Desktop or Documents folder. We’ve yet to see if these improvements help Mac users actually create more on their iPads, or if they merely make life more pleasant for those fortunate enough to commute between the two devices. In the longer run, progressively beefing up the simpler/cleaner iOS is a better bet than adding more layers of bug fixes and features on top of the noble and worthy OS X, now macOS.

The original iPad and iPad Mini, on the other hand, pretty much fully satisfy the “non-pro” users who don’t need to do much more than message family and friends, navigate social websites, share pictures, watch videos, and so on.

And Dave Marks as part of his reply:

Will the next generation of iPads cross the chasm and offer the interface power and usability of the Mac? Will the next generation of MacBook Pros grow closer to the iPad? What if the iPad added a keyboard case with the ability to attach a trackpad and mouse? What if the next MacBook Pro had a touchscreen and could split like the Surface? Will the Mac ever run iOS apps? Or, perhaps, iOS itself?

Jean-Louis and Dave both have a few good points here. I actually find myself wishing the smart keyboard had a trackpad several times, or sometimes an esc key (and yes, I know there is a virtual esc key, but it’s not always available on some apps so it’s annoying), but it’s workable and lets me do my work without any problem.

Dave’s final question is also good, and has been asked before… Will the iPad become more like the Mac? or will the Mac become more like the Ipad

Putting Apple Product Development into Perspective

Rick Tetzeli, co-author of Becoming Steve Jobs, interviewed Tim Cook, Eddy Cue, and Craig Federighi for an article about Apple’s approach to product development that was published by Fast Company yesterday. Tetzeli does an excellent job exploring critics’ ‘Apple is doomed’ refrain, putting it into historical context, and exploring what Apple’s long-term approach to product development might mean for the company’s future.

Apple often seems to be criticized for simultaneously doing too much and too little. The ‘Apple is doing too much’ criticism typically points to recent product misses as evidence that Apple has lost its focus under Tim Cook’s leadership and needs to return to its core products. But as Tetzeli points out, product failures at Apple are not a new phenomenon:

Indeed, the iPod, iPhone, and iPad—and the financial success they engendered—obscured the fact that Jobs oversaw almost as many flops as hits during Apple’s resurgence: the circular, nearly unusable mouse that came with the first iMac in 1997; 2001’s beautiful PowerMac G4 “Cube,” which was discontinued after one year; Rokr, a music phone Apple released with Motorola in 2005; the iTunes social recommendation network Ping, and many more.

The complaint that ’Apple is doing too little’ seems to come from fear that Apple is missing out on technologies announced by companies like, Google, Amazon, and Microsoft

There have been a few takes on the Fast Company article that was published yesterday, but the one by MacStories hits it on the nose.