October 25, 2013

Israel and the Saudis, United in Jealousy

Always good to know what the other fellow is thinking. This piece espouses an idea I’ve seen elsewhere, and long agreed-with.

Five-minute read. Worth it, because it’ll make you think about the US-Middle East status quo.

Scott McConnell, writing for The American Conservative:

“I would wager nonetheless that the forces in favor of a rapprochement of Iran with the West will prevail. It is to some extent simply bizarre that the United States—which does, to a very considerable degree, believe in and support democracy and science and progress—finds itself permanently estranged from one of the Islamic countries which is most modern and most democratic. Not to fault Israel and Saudi Arabia, but Iran as well as Turkey should be on friendly terms with the United States.”

October 22, 2013

October 22, 2013 Apple Press Event

New and improved hardware and software from Apple:

  • Stats: Apple sold 9 million iPhone 5C and 5S phones over the first weekend of availability in September. Over 200 million devices were running iOS 7 after five days of availability. Over ⅔ of Apple’s mobile devices are now running that upgrade. The iOS App Store has seen over 60 billion downloads.
  • New Mac OS X version Mavericks, v10.9, has nearly twice the graphics processing speed of the previous version. It’s written fully 64-bit. OS X Mavericks price: FREE. Single-step upgrade from any previous version going back to Snow Leopard, for Macs going back to 2007 models. Available today.
  • iBooks (Kindle store competitor) and Maps come to the OS X desktop. Maps will seamlessly integrate with iOS devices such as iPhone and iPad. Map a route on the desktop, send it to your mobile devices.
  • Updated 13-inch MacBook Pro (with Retina display, but naming does not mention that): 3.46 pounds, 0.7 inches thick, runs on the latest Intel Haswell chip with integrated Iris graphics. Up to 9-hours battery life. Faster, PCIe-connected SSD performance (no more internal SATA connection), faster WiFi (802.11AC), faster Thunderbolt 2 connector for external peripherals. Pricing starts at $1299, (dual-core CPU, 4 GB memory, 128 GB SSD). Available today.
  • Updated 15-inch MacBook Pro: powered by Intel Crystalwell chip with Iris Pro graphics. Up to 8-hours battery life. Same SSD, WiFi and Thunderbolt 2 as 13-inch MacBook Pro. Pricing starts at $1999 (quad-core CPU, 8 GB memory, 256 GB SSD). Available today.
  • New Mac Pro: 4-, 6-, 8- or 12-core CPU, super-fast internal bus. Up to 64 GB memory, user-accessible. Dual-workstation GPUs. Up to 1 TB internal SSD storage. Expansion through Thunderbolt 2 connectors. GPUs will drive up to three 4K displays. Assembled in the US. Price starts at $2999 (12 GB memory, 256 GB SSD, dual high-end video cards). Available before 12/31/2013.
  • iLife: Updated versions of iPhoto, iMovie, GarageBand for both Mac and iPad, iPhone. All 64-bit apps for the 64-bit Haswell, Crystalwell chips in Macs as well as the 64-bit A7 chip in iPhone 5S and new iPads. All FREE with the purchase of a new Mac or iOS device. Available today.
  • iWork: Pages (word processor), Numbers (spreadsheet), Keynote (presentations) all updated for 64-bit chips and OS platforms, both Mac and iOS. Adds collaboration through iWork for iCloud. All FREE with the purchase of a new Mac or iOS device. Available today.
  • Updated iPad: 170 million iPads sold to date. 475,000 iPad apps available. New, 5th-generation iPad is called iPad Air. 9.7-inches diagonal display (same as 4th-generation iPad), thinner bezel. Device is 7.5 mm thick (20% thinner), 1 pound (down from 1.4 pounds), uses the new 64-bit A7 chip with M7 motion coprocessor (same as iPhone 5S). CPU and GPU performance are double 4th-generation iPad. CPU is 8x faster than 1st-generation iPad, GPU performance is 72x 1st-generation iPad. Faster WiFi (MiMo 802.11N, not AC), 5 MP camera, 1080p display, dual microphones, 10-hour battery life. No fingerprint reader. Available in silver/white and space-grey/black. Pricing starts at $499 for 16 GB, WiFi-only model. LTE models are $129 more for same memory capacity. iPad2 remains for sale at reduced $399 starting price. iPad Air ships November 1.
  • iPad mini: New, 2nd-generation iPad mini gets a Retina display, A7 chip (4x faster CPU than previous generation, 8x faster GPU). Faster Wifi (MiMo 802.11N, not AC). No fingerprint reader. Comes in silver/white and space-grey/black. Price starts at $399 for 16 GB, WiFi only model. LTE models are $129 more for same memory capacity. Available later in November. First-generation iPad Mini remains at a $100-reduced starting price.
  • New covers and cases available for both new iPad Air and iPad mini with Retina display.

Not mentioned: MacBook Pro without Retina display, Apple TV, iWatch, iTV.

October 6, 2013

The Road, Run

the road, run

Some runs are long, some are short. Some are fast, but most are slower for me these days. Today's 6.1-mile mother, long for my less-conditioned body, almost exacted a double calf strain, but not quite. No, not today. Today I win.

Runners always know what's at the end of the road. Satisfaction in success, disappointment in failure and soul-crushing defeat in having to quit. But always the right to look back up the road and silently say, "I *did* that."