eXtensions - Sunday 18 October 2020
Sunday Notes: Apple TV+ Matures; Product Availability; Censorship by Algorithm (Updated - minor changes for clarity)
By Graham K. Rogers
This was still being worked on as I saw in a Tweet from the Bangkok Post that had just been posted (around 0630): "Twitter was working Thursday evening to resolve a global outage of the social media platform used by hundreds of millions worldwide." It all came back later but the annoyance caused indicates how important Twitter is as a medium of communication: far better than Facebook.
Samsung was quick to go back to its juvenile approach by mocking the decision. We may remember how the Korean company and much of the tech press also ridiculed Apple over the decision to remove the 3.5mm headphone jack, yet when Samsung followed suite a few months later there was silence. I was disappointed that Apple has still not switched to the USB-C port for iPhones. Indeed, Samsung, with certain Galaxy models is way ahead there. When Apple does make this switch, I expect Samsung will release a "better late than never" advertising campaign.
Apple iPhone 12 Pro in Pacific Blue - Image courtesy of Apple
The Apple Watch has been available in the online store here for a while, but with a delivery date of 6-8 weeks. However, I did notice that the Pickup in store option is now showing "Today" from IconSiam. Central World is also shown (Icon Siam is closer to my location), but I think that might be a little risky currently. Earlier this week there were thousands of protesters and opposing police just outside the Store that had the lights full on. Comments online expressed concern for the amount of glass and suggested Apple would be worried. These protesters are not interested in damaging property.
If you have not been watching Apple TV+ there are now quite a few good series and movies, with more to come. One of the oddest, and a runaway hit, especially among Americans trying to understand Brits, is Ted Lasso: an American football coach is hired as manager of a British soccer team with some interesting cross-cultural results. Running now, with updates every Friday, is Long Way Up, another of Ewan McGregor's motorcycle safaris, this time from the southern tip of South America up to Los Angeles. A surprise for me - actually two surprises - was the use of electric vehicles.
McGregor and Charley Boorman are riding what are little more than prototype Harley-Davidson electric motorcycles. Once the cold (this is found to affect the battery charge) is done with, these perform surprisingly well and all credit to HD (and the riders) for this accomplishment. To add to this, the support team are using a pair of Rivian trucks which, similarly, are almost in the prototype stage: both these trucks and the bikes were still being built at the start.
Rivian chassis - Image courtesy of Rivian
Because so much is at stake for the companies, they are providing backup and technical advice. In the latest episode Rivian have come up with a way to fast charge the bikes (2 hours) from the trucks: the technology is getting there. As well as riding through magnificent landscapes (and falling off once or twice). There have been a number of side trips and in the most recent episode visited Machu Pichu (train, bus and foot) and the Nasca Lines (small plane).
I see that one of the Rivian sites is in Normal Illinois where I studied in the mid-1980s. At that time, Chrysler and Mitsubishi built a factory there which later shut down. Maybe that is now being used again. Oddly, neither the Rivian nor the Harley-Davidson site has any prominent information about this long trip. Perhaps there is an embargo until the series has ended. Maybe it all went wrong. . . .
Fireball - Image courtesy of Apple
As well as picking up series like this, Apple has also bought in some movies, such as Greyhound and The Banker, with Asimov's Foundation arriving next year. They also have a documentary by Werner Herzog and Clive Oppenheimer coming soon: Fireball which "explores the cultural and physical influence that meteors, comets, and deep impacts have had on earth in regard to mythology, religion, and human imagination" (Juli Clover, Mac Rumors). A trailer is available on YouTube. AppleTV+ is beginning to fill up now.
One of my favourites has been Bordertown, a Finnish series with a detective who has unusual analytical capabilities. In the last few days I have been watching a Russian series made in 2019 which follows a groups of people after a country-wide virus outbreak similar to COVID-19, but predating it: To the Lake. There is much potential here with the ways characters act and misinterpret. It was well-filmed and acted although a couple of characters are annoying. The ending demands a second series. A callout too for The Trial of the Chicago 7 which I watched this weekend. There is some good television available right now.
Graham K. Rogers teaches at the Faculty of Engineering, Mahidol University in Thailand. He wrote in the Bangkok Post, Database supplement on IT subjects. For the last seven years of Database he wrote a column on Apple and Macs. After 3 years writing a column in the Life supplement, he is now no longer associated with the Bangkok Post. He can be followed on Twitter (@extensions_th)
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