October 27, 2020

current events

Reminder: today was the last day to mail your ballot in Arizona. If you have not yet mailed it, take it to a dropbox instead.

What can you do to protect yourself from Coronavirus that lingers in the air? Here's how to lower your risks. Reported by Pien Huang/NPR:

Researchers found a way to clean N95 masks for reuse: in a common electric cooker, the Washington Post reports. `the researchers found that 50-minute treatments without pressure at a temperature of 212 degrees Fahrenheit left the masks thoroughly cleaned without compromising fit or filtration efficiency.' Here is the research paper,published by the American Chemical Society: Dry Heat as a Decontamination Method for N95 Respirator Reuse. Here is an overview:

UK study finds evidence of waning antibody immunity to COVID-19 over time, reports Reuters.

The COVID Tracking Project is a useful online resource for comprehensive data, run by The Atlantic.

The World Health Organization has daily updates on COVID from around the globe.

More Tucson businesses are adjusting to remote gatherings. Some examples:

The Feast restaurant is offering their usual Saturday wine tastings via Zoom.

Arizona Friends of Chamber Music is offering concerts online (stream for $15 per concert or $5 for students), as well as their usual season tickets.

Scoundrel & Scamp Theatre is offering online plays for kids and for adults.

Tucson Modernism Week is coming up again, celebrating mid-century modern design and architecture. This year’s events are all virtual, with virtual house viewings, free self-driving events, and architecture lecture series.

Apple and iOS news

iOS 14 has been out since mid-September. iOS 14 Poised to Surpass iOS 13 Installations as Adoption Nears 50%.

Apple Acquires AI Startup Vilynx to Improve Siri, reports MacRumors.

Patently Apple reports that Apple Won Patent for a Protective Layer designed to protect Future Folding Device Displays from Cracking at the Fold. This reveals that Apple is developing a protective layer to resist cracking on foldable displays, as well as improve scratch resistance and durability.

One Billion people have and use iPhones, reports Neil Cybart. A billion people now have iPhones. According to my estimate, Apple passed the billion iPhone users milestone last month. Thirteen years after going on sale, the iPhone remains the perennial most popular and best-selling smartphone.'

Early tests show Ceramic Shield significantly improves iPhone 12 durability, reports Apple Insider.

The new iPhone 12 is now available. Recall that the iPhone 12 Pro series will be available starting Nov 6.

Phone 12 is so good, there’s no real reason to go Pro, writes CultofMac in their review.

iPhone 12 benchmark results — Android phones should just give up now, reports Tom's Guide.

iPhone 12 battery life results are in: when 5G is enabled, battery life takes a hit. In a nutshell, 5G took about 2 hours off the battery life for both the 12 and 12 Pro.

Hands-On With the New iPhone 12 Pro, with MacRumors.

How many ways can we abuse a new iPhone 12 to test how tough it is? Here are three ways.

iPhone 12 Six-Foot Drop Test Results: Ceramic Shield More Durable But Not Damage Proof, reports MacRumors. `In a face down sidewalk drop test at six feet, the ‌iPhone 12‌ suffered small cracks and scuffed corners and edges, leaving sharp grooves in the metal. According to Allstate, this result was significantly better than both its predecessor, the iPhone 11, and the Samsung Galaxy S20.'

Do you remember `bendgate' with the original `Plus' iPhone model, back with iPhone 6 Plus? Mary Anne points us to a video testing the new iPhone 12's resistance to bending.

Many (most?) of us have gotten a notification from Apple that our Apple TV+ free subscription has been extended by 3 months.

Apple TV+ has signed on Jon Stewart. `As part of an expansive, multiyear deal with Apple, the Emmy-drenched former writer, producer and host of The Daily Show is set to front an all-new current affairs series for the streaming service. The show, which will run for multiple seasons, puts Stewart back in the anchor’s chair as he explores a host of topics at the center of both the national conversation and his own advocacy work,' reports Hollywood Reporter.

New emoji have been approved to help express the anguish of 2020.

sell / buy used devices

It’s the season of new iPhones and iPads. You can consider selling an old device or buying a gently used device. There are many choices: word of mouth, Apple, Craigslist, eBay, Swappa, and more.

Apple sells refurbished devices and also accepts old devices for trade-in and credit toward a new one. It’s an easy choice and it works well.

If you want to do a bit more legwork, Swappa can be an excellent choice and you will generally get more if you sell directly to the buyer, via Swappa. Olga has had many good experiences both buying and selling. You can subscribe to a search to get notifications.

photography & video

The much awaited iPhone 12 camera review, by Austin Mann. This year, he traveled to Glacier National Park in Montana.

Apple is touting the fact that iPhone 12 Pro and iPhone 12 Pro Max offer the highest quality video in a smartphone, and are the first cameras and only devices in the world to enable an end-to-end experience for HDR video with Dolby Vision, up to 60 fps, and even better video stabilization for cinema-grade productions. Only the Pro version of iPhone 12 has these professional level features.

Apple also released a short video on the new iPhone 12 Pro, with three-time Academy Award winner Emmanuel "Chivo" Lubezki - the first device ever to capture, edit and playback in Dolby Vision.

iOS apps

Roger S. points us to `10 Tips For Using iPhone Home Screen Widgets’ shown here:

AnyList has updated the app to offer widgets. See Demo by Olga.

Also see demo on importing this recipe into AnyList.

tips & tricks

10 tips you must know with iOS 14, by OSXDaily.


A recent episode of Sway by Kara Swisher is on The Man Behind America's Race for a Vaccine. description: Dr. Moncef Slaoui is the chief scientific adviser for Operation Warp Speed, and arguably the most powerful force in the mission to vaccinate America from the coronavirus. The scientist, a 30-year pharmaceutical industry veteran and registered Democrat, says he doesn’t “want to get into the politics” even though everything about the United States’ coronavirus response — from mask-wearing to President Trump’s illness — seems to have been politicized. Dr. Slaoui says he’s an adviser with “significant influence” — not a decision maker. And while he makes no guarantee about vaccine timelines, he does stand by a commitment to quit if politics interferes with science, saying, “I can guarantee that I will say what I think, and I am saying what I think.”

gadgets & accessories

AirPods are popular with all:

more evidence:

Moment iPhone cases now include options for the new iPhone 12 models.

Roger uses this Portable Charger Made for Apple Watch which is useful especially when traveling.

Roger has mentioned Wyze Cam 1080p HD as a WiFi Smart Home Camera with Night Vision and 2-Way Audio. It's affordable and works with iOS devices but does not support Apple's HomeKit.

Roger also mentioned Aqara HomeKit Security Video Indoor Camera G2H. This is also a smart camera for the home which supports Apple's HomeKit.


Apple Pay With Express Transit Mode Now Available in Chicago. `The Chicago Transit Authority announced that Ventra now supports Apple Pay with Express Transit mode, allowing the fare card to be added to the Wallet app on a compatible iPhone or Apple Watch for tap-and-go payment at train stations and on buses,' reports MacRumors. Recall that this is a new feature of iOS 14, allowing users to bypass turning on their iPhone or authenticating via TouchID or FaceID.