The Real Story of How Amazon Built the Echo

Joshua Brustein, writing for Bloomberg:

The idea for the Echo was an offshoot of Project C, and many of the early employees on the Echo moved over from C. Amazon remains particularly eager to keep this project a secret, even though work on it has stopped. But a sense of the focus and scope of the idea can be gleaned from patent applications filed by engineers at Lab126.

The first activity showed up on Dec. 21 and Dec. 23, 2010, when Lab126 employees applied for five patents whose titles all included the phrase “augmented reality.” Augmented reality—hologram-like displays projected into the physical world—was already a buzzword at the time. An e-commerce company wouldn’t seem like an obvious leader in the field. But Amazon’s patent applications show it was pursuing a vision that goes far beyond anything that exists as a commercial product even today, almost six years after the first patent applications were filed.

Nice deep dive into the building of the Amazon Echo, including the little known fact that it grew out of an augmented reality project

Apple updates MacBook: rose gold, no Thunderbolt 3

The updated MacBook features sixth-generation dual-core Intel Core M processors up to 1.3 GHz, with Turbo Boost speeds up to 3.1 GHz, and faster 1866 MHz memory. New Intel HD Graphics 515 deliver up to 25 percent faster graphics performance, and faster PCIe-based flash storage makes everyday tasks feel snappier — from launching apps to opening files.* And now with up to 10 hours of wireless web browsing and up to 11 hours of iTunes movie playback, MacBook is the perfect notebook for all day, on-the-go computing.

The updated 12 inch MacBook is now available in rose gold.But, it still just has the one port, and that port is USB-C, not Thunderbolt 3

Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference Kicks Off June 13 in San Francisco

Apple PR:

Monday’s kickoff events, including the keynote address, will be held at the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium. The rest of the week’s conference sessions will take place at Moscone West.

[…]

Developers can apply for tickets via the WWDC website (https://developer.apple.com/wwdc/register/) now through Friday, April 22 at 10:00 a.m. PDT. Tickets will be issued to attendees through a random selection process, and developers will be notified on the status of their application by Monday, April 25 at 5:00 p.m. PDT. For the second consecutive year, there will be up to 350 WWDC Scholarships available, giving students and STEM organization members from around the world an opportunity to earn a ticket to meet and collaborate with some of the most talented developers of Apple’s ever-growing app ecosystem (https://developer.apple.com/wwdc/scholarships/). Additionally, this year, we will provide travel assistance to up to 125 scholarship recipients to ensure aspiring developers with financial limitations have an opportunity to participate.

It is interesting that they’re moving Monday’s events to the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium.

That’s where they held the iPhone 6S/iPad Pro event last September.

Being Dapper with Dapper Vigilante

The Conrad Navy Blue Silver Anchor Rope Bracelet

I grew up in Newfoundland, some of my earliest memories involve going fishing for your dinner. So when I saw these Dapper Vigilante rope bracelets, I ordered one immediately, the fine folks at Dapper Vigilante actually threw in the fish hook bracelet as a gift, which was a nice thing to do as I was planning on ordering that one next.

The Chuck Grey & Blue Matte Black Fish Hook Rope Bracelet

These bracelets are a nice conversation piece, people ask all the time where I got them. For me, it’s the simplicity of them, they are essentially a piece of rope with an anchor or a fish hook attached to it, but I like it.

If you’re interested in checking them out, Use this link for a $10 dollar off coupon.

Should I use Grid or Flexbox?

Two sentences from Rachel Andrew that explain when to reach for which layout choice:

Flexbox is essentially for laying out items in a single dimension – in a row OR a column. Grid is for layout of items in two dimensions – rows AND columns.

Flexbox can wrap, making it sorta-kinda two dimensions, but it still flows in a single dimension.

GoPro hires Apple designer Daniel Coster; shares jump

Fred Imbert, CNBC:

GoPro is having a good day. The wearable camera maker’s stock surged more than 19 percent Wednesday and the company announced it hired Daniel Coster away from Apple as vice president of design.

Coster was a core member of Apple’s industrial design team for more than 20 years and is credited with contributing to devices such as iPhone 4 and iPad wireless keyboard, the company said in a statement.

It’s interesting that hiring a single designer could have this type of effect, even if it is just a temporary stock price spike.

But, Coster does has his work cut out for him.

I’ve had GoPro cameras, and they are sorely disappointing.

Jason Snell’s 9.7-inch iPad Pro Review

Jason Snell, writing for Six Colors:

As a laptop user I’ve always found myself a bit outside the mainstream. I opted for the MacBook Air over the Retina MacBook Pro, and even within the Air line, I opted for the 11-inch model over the 13-inch. What I’m saying is, I appreciate that my choice isn’t just between chocolate and vanilla.

These past few years Apple has been diversifying its mobile product lines, expanding beyond a single, mainstream product to include variations that appeal to customers who want something a bit different. The iPhone 6 Plus gave people who wanted more battery and screen space the ability to get it; the iPhone 5S (and now the iPhone SE) serve people who want a smaller and cheaper model. The iPad mini was a nice shrunken-down variation on the classic iPad; the 12.9-inch iPad Pro offered a much larger, richer iPad experience.

Now here’s the 9.7-inch iPad Pro, but this isn’t Apple adding another device that’s nibbling at the edges. This is the flagship of the iPad line, undoubtedly the best-selling iPad model for the next year, full of impressive features (as well as a few curious omissions) and in a size that’s exactly what people expect from an iPad.

Make sure to read the rest of the article, Jason’s thoughts on Apple’s product naming is especially interesting.

The Loop Magazine app is dead

Jim Dalrymple:

It is with tremendous sadness that I write this post today. I have tried to figure out a way for The Loop Magazine app to work on the App Store, for the last few months. It turns out, it just won’t. This morning, I removed the app from the App Store.

[…]

My struggles are no different from any other developer on the App Store. If you have a game or social media app, you’re golden in Apple’s eyes. Anything else, forget it. (Unless you’re a big publisher, then you’re golden too).

I was an early subscriber of the Loop Magazine when it first came out, the articles were refreshing and interesting. In my case, I stopped being a subscriber only due to lack of time to properly enjoy the issues.

I agree with Jim on the struggles of apps in the App Store as well.

Macminicolo merges with macstadium

Big news from Brian Stucki, founder of Macminicolo:

In short, I’ve decided to sell ownership of Macminicolo and merge it with another company. I will stay on as President of Macminicolo and also serve as a Vice President of the parent company, MacStadium.

Now, I could just announce this with no explanation and be done with it. I could also write one of those generic acquisition posts focused on sunsets and brands and blah. Instead, I’ll be forthright and real like I’ve always tried to be with customers.