network engineer, cloud infrastructure fluffer, fascinated with the machinations of the tech industry, friend to Cthulu and animals everywhere
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Dean Allen

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Om Malik:

Dean Cameron Allen, a 50-ish writer, designer, web-guy, and an all-around rascal, died this weekend in London, U.K. He leaves behind his parents, a former girlfriend and a lot of friends. If the universe feels a little hollow this week, now you know why.

Jason Hoffman, founder of Joyent and a close friend, called out of the blue. He has just moved back from Stockholm, back to the Bay Area after a stint at Ericsson. “Dean is no more,” Jason said. He was fighting to hold back his tears, his voice shaking. I think I heard Jason say that Dean took his own life, giving up on the struggle.

Dean was a magnificent bastard. His death is a real gut punch. I heard about it two days ago, and still can’t believe it. Om’s obituary is simply splendid, capturing the man I knew.

Textism was such an achingly-good thing — an utterly personal website of exquisite writing and beautiful design. Unlike most who came from the print world — and Dean was a mightily talented print designer — Dean loved and truly got the web. He knew it wasn’t an ersatz throwaway stand-in for people too cheap to pay for the print edition of a magazine or newspaper. He knew the web was a wonderful new medium of its own, a glorious playground ripe for anything. Textism was well-paced.

Dean strove for perfection and often achieved it.

Textism started in 2001, a little over a year before I started Daring Fireball. To say that Textism was an influence on Daring Fireball is an understatement for the ages. Fairer to say Textism was the influence on Daring Fireball. I don’t know what DF would’ve wound up looking and reading like if not for Dean Allen, but it wouldn’t look or read like it did and does. For godsake just read his old About page. It’s so good, and so Dean.

On the indie web of the early 2000s, Dean Allen was the man. There’s just no other way to put it. He did it better than anyone, week after week, post after post. And then he just walked away from it. For a while, the long-dormant home page of Textism.com was replaced by a single word: “Retooling.” The thought that Textism might someday spring back to life made me downright giddy.

The closest I ever came to telling Dean what an influence Textism was on Daring Fireball was the following, in an email in 2002, after I wrote to him to thank him for a post on Textism — announcing the release of Textile — that described yours truly as “witheringly talented”:

Textism has been an inordinate influence on me; there is nothing else quite like it, but I wish there were.

Daring Fireball was only months old when I wrote that. We were frequent email correspondents in those days. He was, as you would expect, a master of the clever Subject: line. I helped him with the quote-educating algorithms in Textile. He helped me form the basis of Markdown. (I was badgering Dean with a series of “Why don’t you change the syntax of Textile to be more like this and this?” requests. Dean’s response was, more or less, “These are great ideas, but why don’t you just put them in your own thing?”)

A year later, Dean wrote me this:

Date: Fri, 14 Nov 2003 19:38:16 +0100
From: Dean Allen
Subject: Empty Coffee Pot

  1. I really really liked the OSX screen reading essay.

  2. Good job on the Waffle interview: you’re really establishing a Voice. Something most writers can only dream of.

  3. I plan to start corresponding with people again once I get over the guilt of not having corresponded with people while I went through the Samsa-like transformation from someone who got away with pretending the rest of the internet didn’t exist into someone who did not.

Yr lad,

- dca

(The “OSX screen reading essay” was this 2,900-word exegesis on the improvements to text rendering in Mac OS X 10.3. The “Waffle interview” was this.)

Dean Allen telling me I was “establishing a Voice” is the only compliment about my work that I’ve ever remembered. That’s when I knew that maybe I was actually hitting the notes I was trying to hit.

We lost contact in the years of his self-imposed internet exile. Our last email exchange was over seven years ago. Every few months, though, it would occur to me that I dearly missed Textism, and I’d think to write Dean and tell him so — and to tell him that his offhand compliment in 2003 was still something I thought about all the time. Thinking maybe he’d be pleased to hear that, and perhaps he needed to hear it. I never did.

I wish I had.

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MotherHydra
5 hours ago
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The regret mentioned at the end of this post really hits me in the feels. Tomorrow is never promised, we have the here and now to change ourselves and the world around us, to “make a dent in the universe” as Steve Jobs put it. Reach out. If you’ve got someone on your mind, that is the surest sign in the world that reaching out is necessary. That’s your gut talking, it is always wise to listen.
Space City, USA
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Japanese Twitter falls in love with unusual vending machine in Akihabara

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There’s good reason why people from around Tokyo are making the trip to Electric Town to get a taste of these special beverages.

If you’ve ever visited Japan, you’ll know how great, and abundant, the country’s vending machines can be. Given that there’s one on practically every corner, people in Japan who’ve grown up with the street-side convenience usually walk by without giving them a second thought, so when a vending machine makes news online with Japanese people, you can be sure it’s stocked with something that’s extra special.

The latest vending machine that’s got everyone’s attention is located on a street not far from Tokyo’s Akihabara Station. From the outside, the machine looks like any other, with a white and nondescript appearance that wouldn’t ordinarily attract any special interest.

To walk past this one, though, would be a mistake, as it’s filled with exclusive beverages that people in Tokyo wouldn’t usually get to try. To the untrained eye, these might look like an ordinary selection of juices, but people who’ve grown up in Japan will know that most of these are usually only available to purchase in and around the island of Shikoku.

Shikoku is known for producing some of the best citrus fruits in the country, and one in particular, the Japanese mikan, is particularly popular for creating a refreshing juice that’s similar in flavour to a tangerine. Anyone who’s been to the southern island of Shikoku will know that the king of juices there is one called “Pom Juice”, a product born in Ehime Prefecture on the island in 1952, which is so popular it’s now sold around the country.

▼ The Pom Juice bottle, pictured on the far right of the middle row below, is one of the few familiar products in this selection.

With its 100-percent mikan juice content, Pom Juice is a favourite amongst lovers of the fruit, so to see a wide variety of drinks on offer from the same brand is like heaven, especially for people in Tokyo who might not have known that these other products even existed. With prices ranging from just 80-100 yen (US$0.70-$0.90), the drinks on offer are also reasonably priced, enticing people from around Tokyo to make multiple purchases, which is what our Japanese-language reporter Seiji Nakazawa decided to do when he visited.

First up, Seiji tried out the “Pom Tsubu”, a version of the original that includes pulp, adding a new textural experience to the drink. The fresh fruit flavour was enhanced by the addition of the pulp, and Seiji absolutely loved it, saying he would definitely make the journey out to Akihabara to try this again.

Next up, Seiji tried out a selection of the company’s canned products, starting first with the 100-percent Mikan Iyokan Juice. Ehime Prefecture produces 90-percent of the country’s iyokan, which is the second most widely produced citrus in Japan after the mikan. Similar in taste and appearance to a mikan, the addition of iyokan in this beverage packs a more acidic punch than just plain juice, making it one that tart-loving taste hounds will definitely enjoy.

Next up was the Ehime Hime Pon, which contains nothing but straight juice with no additives, and showcases the flavour of the Ehime-grown Dekopon, a larger variety of mandarin that’s known for its large size, sweet taste, and distinctive bump at the top of the fruit. This was a deliciously thick juice, with plenty of sweet mandarin flavour.

The Ehime Kiyomi features another famous fruit from Ehime Prefecture: the Kiyomi citrus. Again, this one is “straight juice” with nothing added, so you know you’re getting a top-quality product, and this one comes filled with the well-balanced sweet and sour flavour unique to Kiyomi citrus.

The reason why these drinks were being sold at an Akihabara vending machine, and at such a good price too, is because it’s located outside the Tokyo Sales Division office of Ehime Inryo, the company that produces Pom Juice products. Many of the drinks in the machine are only available to purchase online, in boxes of 24, which makes this one of the only ways to get your hands on a single can or bottle.

There’s so much more on offer than just orange juice in Japan, and this little little vending machine hidden away on the streets of Akihabara is the best place to try some of the country’s most prized, and unusual, citrus flavours in Tokyo.

Be sure to give it a try next time you’re in the area, and while you’re at it, don’t forget to keep an eye out for the secret milk stand vending machines on platform 5 at the station as well!

Location information

Address: Tokyo-to, Chiyoda-ku, Sotokanda 4-13-2, in front of the Ehime Inryo Tokyo Headquarters
東京都千代田区外神田4丁目13-2 えひめ飲料東京営業本部前

Photos © SoraNews24





























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MotherHydra
5 hours ago
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Adding this drop pin to maps.
Space City, USA
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This Is What 'Super Mario' Looks Like at 380,000 Frames Per Second

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The technology that makes televisions possible is a miracle. Lights of varying types blast through pixels constructed of green, red, and blue colored lenses to create incredible moving images.

That movement is an illusion created when the television renders frames dozens of times every second, or hundreds of times if you’re using a high end PC monitor, which can render many more frames per second than a typical TV. Which begs the question—what if we could watch a game of Super Mario Bros. slowed down to, say, 380,000 frames per second and played it on an old TV? YouTubers The Slow Mo Guys did just that. Gavin Free and Dan Gruchy’s YouTube channel is all about using an expensive camera to slow things way, way down.

Their latest video tackles television technology and does a great job explaining how the technology behind America’s actual favorite pastime (baseball? C’mon, let’s be honest with ourselves) works. Then they train their slow-mo cameras on an old cathode ray tube television playing the original Super Mario Bros. and things get magical.

Old TVs render an image by actually drawing the entire frame from top to bottom at speeds so fast the human eye can’t detect it, but Free and Gruchy’s cameras can. Mario is almost indistinguishable at 380,000 FPS, but it’s amazing to watch beams of light shoot across a screen in slow motion, slowing building the Mushroom Kingdom we all know and love.

It’s amazing to watch the tech work while slowed down—and, by the way, old CRT televisions draw Mario’s mustache in less than 1/380,000th of a second.



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MotherHydra
1 day ago
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No surprise, another great video.
Space City, USA
peelman
5 hours ago
been a fan of Gavino since he was just a popular rooster teeth fanboy.
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Suggestion for less addictive iPhone fucking stupid, says everyone with common sense. 

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MotherHydra
1 day ago
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An article about abdicating personal responsibility to a consumer electronics company. I can’t even with the projection anencephaly lack of personal accountability here.
Space City, USA
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Tim Cook says users will be able to turn off iPhone battery performance throttling in future iOS update

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Apple had already said that a future iOS update will give users more insight into the state of their battery. In an interview with ABC News, Tim Cook was asked for his take on Apple slowing down iPhones with degraded batteries. He revealed that the developer beta including these features will be released next month, with a public release to follow after.

Moreover, he says that this forthcoming update will give users the option to disable the throttling to maintain normal CPU performance but be at risk of unexpected shutdowns.

In its public apology letter on Apple.com regarding the iPhone slowdown debacle, Apple described the update in the following way:

Early in 2018, we will issue an iOS software update with new features that give users more visibility into the health of their iPhone’s battery, so they can see for themselves if its condition is affecting performance.

This implied an enhancement of the Battery screen in iOS Settings to include more information about the iPhone’s battery health and whether users were being subjected to Apple’s advanced power management throttling.

It did not say anything about Apple giving users the choice to disable battery throttling, so either Tim Cook misspoke (in an interview focused on Apple’s investment into the US following tax reform) or he is sharing new details.

The new feature will make a lot of users happy who have openly asked for the ability to use their iPhone at full speed knowing that it increases the likelihood of their device randomly turning itself off if the battery cannot provide enough instantaneous voltage.

You can listen to Cook talk about this in the interview embedded below. Skip to around 4:30 to hear him talk about the iPhone slowdown debacle. His wording is not ambiguous, he states plainly that Apple will release the developer beta (presumably iOS 11.3) next month and that it will include the ability for users to disable performance throttling if they want to.

Apple will not recommend users disable the throttling as it may mean that they will not be able to use their device in emergency situations.

A developer beta in February probably means a public release of this update will be available in March.

Apple’s battery throttling techniques is activated on iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus, iPhone 6s, iPhone 6s Plus, iPhone 7, iPhone 7 Plus and iPhone SE as of iOS 11.2. It can reduce performance by up to 50% in benchmarks, but only kicks in if the system determines that the battery is degraded.

So far, Apple’s solution has been to cut the price of battery replacements to $29 through 2018 and tell customers to service their phones with a new battery if they do not want to experience slowdowns. It seems this forthcoming iOS release will offer users another alternative, where they can continue to use their iPhone at full speed even if the battery is degraded (albeit with a chance that the phone turns off occasionally).

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MotherHydra
1 day ago
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Wow, this is just going to add more wood to the legal tire fire over this whole battery situation. This toggle should have been in iOS to begin with.
Space City, USA
peelman
5 hours ago
what bugs me is the apologists who are like “well that’s just how battery chemistry works”. yes. and apple has an entire team of chemists an engineers dealing with battery tech. they KNOW these limitations. they had to be aware that shaving the battery down as much as they had would cause problems. and they did it anyway. and when problems surfaced, which they obviously knew about, instead of fessing up and rolling out a reasonably priced battery replacement program two years ago, they went the shady skivvy route and kneecapped the devices. there is no amount of lipstick to be applied to this pig. apple (once again) engineered themselves into a tight corner and then tried to take a shitty way out and hoped no one would notice.
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BMW to Make Apple CarPlay a Subscription Service on New Models

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Alanis King, Jalopnik:

While a lot of manufacturers stick Apple CarPlay into their vehicles as standard equipment these days, The Verge reports that it’s been a one-time $300 charge for BMW buyers since BMW started offering it on cars with built-in navigation in 2017. But BMW North America’s technology product manager Don Smith told The Verge that’ll change next year, and CarPlay will cost owners $80 a year.

To be clear, there’s nothing remotely subscription-based in CarPlay. The phone connects to the car’s screen, displays its own UI, and routes its audio through the car’s speakers — that’s pretty much it. There’s no justification for this other than nickel-and-diming iPhone users.

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MotherHydra
1 day ago
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I can see this both ways in theory. Under the old model, if you switch from iPhone to Android that’s 300$ down the toilet a year into ownership. But does one presume that a sunk cost such as this will not bother folks in the market for a BMW? I’m not so sure. In reality I’d love to see recent figures regarding switching of phone platforms, both ways, for iOS and Android.

Consider die-hard BMW enthusiasts. Consider people that code for a living. Consider iPhone owners. Given the resulting Venn diagram, I’d say it is highly likely this premium “service” will be cracked and posted online for the clever duckies to use. The truly enterprising few will likely sell the crack on their local Craigslist.
Space City, USA
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