lorin schultz


lorin schultz
Last Active
  • Apple assessed Apple TV 'dongle' to goose adoption of new streaming service, report says

    Given how poorly the existing models work, it's hard to get excited about a new version. I'd be much, much happier to read that Apple has committed to bringing tvOS up to the standards we enjoy with its other products.

    The list of weirdness got a little longer yesterday. In addition to the long-standing issues, such as...

    1. Locally-stored content and cloud based content are listed in separate sections, so finding a title requires looking in two different places.
    2. "Looking" is the only option for rips and downloaded content, because tvOS doesn't search local content.
    3. Some services appear in the TV app, others don't.
    4. The OS routinely fails to notice that we've already watched something, so when we go to watch a new episode we're presented with the last one we watched instead.
    5. It does not allow purchases of individual songs. The only music acquisition option is a subscription to Apple Music.

    ...we can now add:

    6. Despite being signed in to my iTunes account, it now occasionally reports that I have no purchases to view. I have to restart it to get it to "see" my purchases.

    This is the kind of thing I might expect and tolerate in a $50 off-brand device, but it's really disappointing in an Apple product that costs two hundred bucks.
  • Disgruntled MacBook Pro users petition Apple to recall defective keyboards

    anome said:

    [...] Put simply, the number of people with genuine mechanical problems are the only thing to consider when issuing a recall.

    Apple's failure figures may not be accurate, either. The keyboard in my 2016 15" MBP TB has become unusable three times, but each time I've fixed it myself because the wait for a Genius Bar appointment is over a week around here. That means Apple doesn't know that I'm having problems. I don't know if there are many others like me, but if so, it could make the issue look less widespread than it actually is.
  • Canada's Rogers sees 'tremendous' demand for iPhone X, upgrades iPhone 8 status to 'good'

    I wonder if Canadians are waiting until after December 1 to buy ANY phone, as carriers will no longer be allowed to lock them as of that date?

    Apparently the carriers will also be required to unlock any previously locked device for free after that date (if I understand the new rules correctly), so it doesn't really matter when one buys it, but waiting a month eliminates the hassle.
  • Apple to reportedly unveil iPad Pro, MacBook Air replacement, Mac mini at Oct. 30 event

    [...] Also one snagged USB-C cord and a $4k macbook pro flying off a desk is not something I would look forward to or consider a design 'upgrade'...
    You're overestimating the gripping power of a USB-C connection. It pops out when the cord gets snagged. I speak from experience. I share my living space with dogs who like to chase each other around the house. They frequently gather up the power cord for my MBP as they race by, and it has never once dragged the computer off the table.

    If anything, my complaint about the USB-C port is that the grip is too weak. After two years of use, my computer occasionally fails to charge overnight because bumping it can dislodge the cable just enough to disrupt power.
  • Another test finds HomePod frequency response flat, but results potentially meaningless

    The reason for an anechoic chamber is that room reflections cause variations in frequency response measurements that have nothing to do with the speaker.

    HOWEVER, Apple says the HomePod performs automatic room analysis and acoustic correction. That means the variations caused by reflections in the room should be nullified by the HomePod's automatic correction, eliminating the need for an anechoic chamber because the variable the anechoic chamber is intended to eliminate SHOULD be eliminated by the HomePod itself.

    If variations in frequency response exist as a result of the HomePod being tested in a reflective environment (i.e. not an anechoic chamber) it means the HomePod's automatic room correction is not effective (or not effective enough).
  • Dolby Atmos isn't on the Apple TV 4K yet, but it is a must for home theater fans

    Atmos will not allow a soundbar or other simple setup to magically emulate a multi-speaker theatre array. For Atmos to provide any benefit, the playback system, including speakers, has to be configured to take advantage of it.

    The benefit of Atmos is that it changes the way the filmmaker describes where sounds are supposed to be located in physical space. Instead of assigning a specific sound to a particular channel, the mix engineer simply assigns a location for each sound. Atmos then automatically scales to the system on which it's being played. If you have a stereo playback system you'll still get stereo, even with Atmos.

    On a typical 5.1 speaker system, Atmos won't sound a lot different than the "traditional" 5.1 surround mix. Where it begins to shine is in setups with additional speakers for side fill, overhead and front elevation. These systems provide Atmos the flexibility to steer sounds into additional physical placements, including height. That can be a definite benefit, but only if you have speakers in places that take advantage of it.

    Unless you have more speakers around your room than a standard 5.1 setup, don't expect Atmos to revolutionize your listening experience.
  • Another test finds HomePod frequency response flat, but results potentially meaningless

    When selecting speakers for production work, one of the things the buyer has to be careful about is not being seduced by speakers that sound "pleasing" even though they're not very accurate. An accurate speaker should reveal flaws in the source that a pleasing speaker may mask.

    The flip side of the equation is that, with certain source material, an accurate speaker may be less enjoyable to listen to than a pleasing one. So for home entertainment the question becomes one of priorities: would you rather have a speaker that is as accurate as possible, revealing every detail in the source, including the warts, or do you prefer something less likely to ever offend the ears?

    I was initially alarmed by the high-end roll-off of the HomePod. Then I remembered the guidelines for balancing monitoring in the studio call for some high-end roll-off: 2db per octave starting at about 2,000 Hz. That would put the output of the monitors down about 6dB-ish at around 15,000 Hz. The HomePod is in that general ballpark, so the response may actually seem quite natural and pleasing, rather than "lacking highs" as a quick glance at the graph might lead one to expect.

    The bottom line is that even if the HomePod is not as accurate as a production monitor chain, it might be quite enjoyable and pleasing to the ear. If it sounds good in your setting (and the test results indicate that setting DOES matter, despite Apple's claims to the contrary), and if deadly accuracy is not important to you as long as the experience is pleasant and enjoyable, then none of the pontificating by experts and debate over testing methods matters.
  • When to use an external microphone or recorder to make your podcasts

    The single greatest thing you can do to improve your recordings is treat the room. That will make more difference than using the even the best microphone in the world.

    There a few factors that cue a listener that a recording is an amateur project and not high-quality professional. Listeners may not be able to articulate what exactly they're hearing, but not being able to put a name to the problem doesn't prevent them from hearing it.

    The most obvious of these factors is room reflections (followed closely by poor mic technique). A microphone picks up whatever sound is present, and doesn't differentiate between the sound you want it to record and what you wish it wouldn't. You don't realize just how reverberant a typical bedroom or living room is compared to an acoustically treated studio until you compare the same equipment on the same source in both. The difference is night and day.

    Fortunately you don't have to spend a fortune to get a room sounding good enough for a podcast. Just hanging heavy blankets around the recording area will help a lot. If you have a bit of budget but don't want to spend too much or permanently alter the room, look into theatrical curtains. Any hard, flat surface is an enemy. Bookcases full of different sized books help reduce slap echoes and smooth out the room reverberation. Acoustically absorbent materials like blankets, cushions, stuffed furniture (and professional sound absorbing panels) all help reduce room reverberation. If you can leave some dead air space between the absorber and the hard wall, even better (in other words, hang the blankets six inches away from the wall instead of right against it).

    Once you have a decent recording space, the next step is to work on mic placement and vocal technique. Once you have a handle on all that, THEN look into better equipment. You'll be amazed how much better your recordings will be with a couple simple improvements to the room and your technique.
  • Here are the five biggest iPad Pro problems, because no device is perfect

    lowededwookie said:
    [...] I can edit video on an iPhone just as easily as using iMovie on the Mac
    "Easily," yes. Accurately, no. Fine adjustments are difficult using a finger on a small screen. One's choices are endless re-zoom operations or accepting edits that are "in the ballpark."

    The fact that a task is possible on a phone or tablet does not mean it's automatically equivalent to a laptop or desktop in terms of ease-of-use, speed, workflow (particularly within a facility where one's work is part of a chain), or any other productivity measure. iPads have opened up a new form of computing that is better than a laptop for some things. That's awesome in itself. It doesn't mean that it's better than -- or even equivalent to -- previously existing input and interaction methods for some kinds of work.

    Besides, even putting all that aside, the iPad Pro's marketing includes using the keyboard stand and an external monitor. Both make touch a less effective control method than using a mouse.
  • Apple's weak Chinese iPhone sales blamed directly on high prices

    maestro64 said:
    [...] I am willing to wait to get something since I know the price will come down or there will be a deal around the corner.
    Really? How much did the price of the Mac mini come down in the four years we waited for an update? How much has the price of a the cylinder Mac Pro come down since it hit the market five years ago?

    I disagree that waiting is a viable solution to overcoming the high price of Apple products.