Malcolm Owen — Mighty Mouse 2
For the most part, the Magic Mouse 2 is a well-designed peripheral. Following on from the original, it retained the same physical appearance while also losing some weight and adding a rechargeable battery, changes that are on the face of it quite useful to end users.
My beef with the Magic Mouse 2 is the lapse of judgement in its design to place the charging point for it on the bottom edge. Rather than sully the outside of the mouse, Apple hid it at the very bottom of the device, where users won’t see it unless they need to recharge the thing.
Granted, the idea of hiding it there isn’t entirely that bad, but it does mean that the mouse isn’t able to be used at times while it’s being recharged, as there’s a cable and connector in the way. It may only be for less than a minute to get a few hours worth of charge, but it still leaves the user sitting there, twiddling their thumbs waiting for the thing to get enough power to do the thing they actually want to do.
I’d also argue that there isn’t anything wrong with placing the charging point at the front point of the Magic Mouse. Some other wireless mouse producers do so, effectively turning it into a “wired” mouse while charging, and it isn’t unsightly.
Add in that the front of the mouse isn’t usually on view to the person wielding it through normal use, and it makes the base-based port seem even more daft.
William Gallagher — The original iMac
It’s heresy to say it when the product is often beloved, and when it unquestionably saved Apple. Yet back in 1998 when it was new and on through today when it’s an antique, I’ve really disliked the design. It looks bulbous and ugly to me, and I understand that this is because there’s a whacking great CRT monitor in there —but that doesn’t change my mind.
And nor did any of the range of colors it came in.
I liked that the iMac came in many colors, and I have since become an absolute fan of the iMac range. Just not that original version.
Mike Wuerthele — The “hockey puck” mouse
Apple has a long and storied history with pointing devices. The company may have ushered in the dawn of the mouse with the Lisa, and then for everybody else with the Mac, but there have been some missteps along the way.
The AppleDesign mouse that shipped after Apple’s original ADB mouse wasn’t great, but it wasn’t terrible. Its successor, the “hockey puck” mouse that shipped with the iMac, was fully terrible.
With it being circular, there was no clear “up” without looking at the protruding cable. It was a wreck ergonomically, too, so it was a good thing that there were USB mice from third parties when it shipped.
A bit later, Apple put a divot on the mouse button for a better orientation, similarly to how it has put a raised circle around the Menu button on Apple TV remote. But that didn’t help that much.
It was replaced by Apple’s optical mouse, which was better, but again, still not great.
Andrew O’Hara — Smart Keyboard Folio
I was a pretty big fan of the original iPad Pro Smart Keyboard. I liked typing on it, liked being able to easily remove it, and liked using it to prop up my iPad when watching TV or movies. There was a fraction of users though who had issues with the presumed complexity of folding the cover around.
With the second-generation Smart Keyboard Folio, Apple seems to have tried to make up for this and overcorrected. The Smart Keyboard Folio forces back protection onto users instead of making it only an option, as with the first generation. It added cost and bulk to the otherwise extremely slim third-generation Pro. With the case attached, the 2018 Pro is actually thicker than its predecessor.
It also can’t be used to prop up a Pro without the keyboard sticking out, taking up a huge footprint on your desk. When not using the keyboard and folding it around the back, there’s an awkward experience when users are holding onto the keys — it feels squishy and just odd.
Here’s hoping that the Ive-less design team comes up with some improvements for the fourth generation of Apple’s pro tablets.
Amber — The third generation iPod shuffle
For the most part, the iPod shuffle wasn’t really on my radar. In fact I didn’t routinely own iPods or really any Apple products until the introduction of the sixth-generation iPod nano. I was aware of the Shuffle however. After all, nearly half of everyone I knew owned a second-gen model at some point.
Who wouldn’t want a tiny, wearable MP3 player? It was certainly a lot more gym-friendly than most.
As before, the third generation was a thumb drive-sized stick that you plugged headphones into. It had one control on the device itself that dictated whether you listened to your music in order or shuffled — leaving additional control to the earbuds’ in-line remote.
The product was a confusing choice for Apple to make. From a design standpoint, it was a big step backward. The second generation was a small, squat rectangle with a clickwheel that clipped onto your pocket, and allowed you to easily change songs and volume without much thought.
Functionally, the third-gen Shuffle was a total miss. If a user had a favorite pair of existing headphones that didn’t feature that inline, three-button remote, they wouldn’t be able to control their music. If they did, they’d still have to learn a series of non-intuitive clicking patterns just to navigate a series of invisible menus.
The third-gen was clearly not the hit that Apple had been expecting, because the fourth-gen Shuffle was released a little over a year later and was a slightly stumpier version of the second-gen. Not only was the clickwheel back, it also included an expanded color range, making it the most iconic in the product line.
Facebook-Driven Area 51 Storming May Be Countered With Force, Says US Air Force
Fun and games on Facebook may have serious consequences for the foolish. That was the message delivered by the US Air Force, who have responded to a Facebook’s group’s efforts to have 450,000 people storm a top secret military base.
Conspiracy theorists have always believed that Area 51 in Nevada holds information about extra-terrestrial activities on our planet, possibly including actual alien remains and aircraft. That belief spawned a Facebook group suggesting that a wave of humanity could overwhelm the defenses at the base and discover the truth.
More than 400,000 people have joined a Facebook event page calling for storming Area 51, with many more indicating interest. The proposed event is scheduled for Sept. 20.
“We will all meet up at the Area 51 Alien Center tourist attraction and coordinate our entry,” the event description reads. “If we naruto run, we can move faster than their bullets. Lets see them aliens.”
Naruto Run refers to the unique running style of the protagonist Naruto Uzumaki in the Japanese anime series Naruto, where he is often depicted sprinting with his hands behind him to decrease wind resistance.
The Washington Post on Friday asked how officials will deal with anyone showing up for the event. Air Force spokeswoman Laura McAndrews declined to elaborate on specific details of the military’s plans.
However, she did issue a warning.
“[Area 51] is an open training range for the US Air Force, and we would discourage anyone from trying to come into the area where we train American armed forces,” McAndrews said. “The US Air Force always stands ready to protect America and its assets.”
Amazon Prime Day 2019: The Best Deals So Far
Did you think Amazon Prime Day 2019 started on Monday, July 15? Think again. While Monday marks the official start of the sales, just like last year, Amazon has jumped the gun and some of the best deals you’ll find on Prime Day are already live. These are the deals you need to move on now.
Amazon Prime Day 2019 – Early Live Deals
All these “early access deals” are available right now but they come with one catch: you must be an Amazon Prime subscriber. If you aren’t one, don’t worry because there’s an easy hack. Sign-up for Amazon’s free 30-day trial membership and you can cancel the moment Prime Day is over at no cost.
- Echo Dot: $22 (saving $27.99) – easily the show-stopping deal right now for this hugely popular product – product link
- Echo (2nd Generation): $49.99 ($50 saving) – at under half price, this very hard to ignore – product link
- Fire TV Stick with Alexa Voice Remote: $14.99 ($25 saving) – a very popular item which is almost an impulse buy at this price point – product link
- Fire TV Stick 4K with Alexa Voice Remote: $24.99 ($25 saving) – another 50% off bargain product link
- Fire HD 8 Kids Edition Tablet: $79.99 ($50 saving) – one of Amazon’s most popular tablets – product link
- All new Fire Tablet (7-inch Display, 16GB) – $29.99 ($20 saving) – product link
- Fire HD 10 – 10-inch, 1080p edition – $99.99 ($50 saving) – product link
- All-new Kindle (built-in display light) – $59.99 ($30 saving) – a bargain now it matches the best fature of the Kindle Paperwhite – product link
- Kindle Paperwhite – $84.99 ($45 saving) – product link
- Kindle Oasis – $199.99 ($50 saving) – product link
- All-new Fire 7 Kids Edition Tablet: $59.99 ($40 saving) – product link
- Echo Show (2nd gen) – $159.99 ($70 saving) – a new edition with a strong early reduction – product link
You’ll notice a clear theme here: Amazon is pushing its products early. That’s understandable, but given Amazon devices are typically among the biggest selling devices on the site anyway, it doesn’t make them any less desirable. I also know that these prices will also not be lowered any further when Prime Day officially launches, so grab yourself a bargain now and beat the rush.
Note: Prime Day starts on July 15 at 12am through July 16. It will be Amazon’s biggest ever Prime Day sale and the best deals will go quickly.
Twitter Suffers Widespread Hour-Long Outage on Mobile Apps, Web
Twitter users worldwide were unable to access the social-networking site for about an hour Thursday, with an outage that affected both mobile and web platforms.
On the web, users saw an error message that said, “Something is technically wrong. Thanks for noticing —we’re going to fix it up and have things back to normal soon.” An error message in the Twitter app said, “Tweets aren’t loading right now.”
According to website DownDetector.com, Twitter began experiencing issues around 2:46 p.m. ET on Thursday. The highest concentration of user-reported technical problems were from Western Europe and the U.S.
Twitter service appeared to begin to be restored about an hour later, at around 3:45 p.m. ET.
Twitter’s support account said in a tweet at around 4:15 p.m., “Twitter is back up for some people, and we’re working to make sure our service is available to everyone as quickly as possible.” The company said the outage was “due to an internal system change, which we’re now fixing. We’re sorry for the inconvenience and should be at 100% soon.”
The Twitter outage comes on the heels of a string of technical problems at Instagram recently. On July 3, a technical glitch prevented Instagram users worldwide — as well as Facebook and WhatsApp users — from sharing or accessing photos and videos for much of the day. That was less than a month after Instagram had an outage that lasted more than two hours, following two other major outages in June.
Once Twitter service was restored, the downtime was an immediate subject of tweets. “miss us?” Twitter posted on its main account. Netflix also had some fun with the technical snafu:
Twitter was out of commission just as Donald Trump — a frequent and aggressive tweeter — was hosting a so-called “social-media summit” at the White House on Thursday afternoon. The White House did not release a list of attendees, but those expected at the event included reps from conservative think tanks and “far-right internet personalities and trolls, some of whom have pushed conspiracy theories, lies and misinformation,” according to a CNN report. Twitter and Facebook execs were not invited.
“A big subject today at the White House Social Media Summit will be the tremendous dishonesty, bias, discrimination and suppression practiced by certain companies,” Trump tweeted earlier in the day, evidently referring to tech companies like Google, Facebook and Twitter.
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