To Yida →

My brother’s non-profit Operation Broken Silence has worked in Sudan and South Sudan for many years. They just spent two weeks in Yida, a refugee camp that has swelled to hold 70,000 who have fled the genocidal acts of Sudanese dictator Omar al-Bashir. The purpose of the trip was to film a documentary about life in the camp, in the shadow of the unspeakable crime of genocide at the hands of the Sudanese government.

Mark Hackett, meeting with leaders in South Sudan

Here’s The Memphis Flyer’s Chris McCoy writing about the trip:

“Yida is sort of a microcosm of what’s wrong with Sudan right now,” [Mark] Hackett says. “No schools, people who don’t have jobs, people displaced by the conflict. We wanted to go to Yida to get eyewitness interviews about what’s happening. But it’s also where most of our classrooms are. In Yida alone, it’s estimated that there are 20,000 to 25,000 kids. We’ve only put 700 of those kids back into a classroom.”

The teachers Operation Broken Silence supports are all local. “Before the war started, there were about 200 schools in the Nuba Mountains. Now there are fewer than 100, and none of them are functioning anywhere close to capacity. The schools that were destroyed, almost all of the teachers escaped, alongside the kids. They’re the only ones who understand the cultural context, and they understand what these kids have been through, because they’ve been through it, too. They’re better than any teacher we could bring in.”

I’ve said it before, and I’m sure I’ll say it again, but I could not be prouder of Mark and the work he and his team are doing. In a world where people are jumping up and down about headphone jacks, it’s good to be reminded that there is some serious shit in the world, and that people are busying trying to make it right.

NASA launches Apple TV app →


The agency released on Tuesday its popular NASA app for a new platform, the fourth-generation Apple TV. This version joins the app’s other versions available for iOS in iPhone and iPad versions, Android and Fire OS. The NASA app has been downloaded more than 17 million times across all platforms.

“The NASA app has been a fantastic way for the public to experience the excitement of space exploration from their mobile devices,” said David Weaver, NASA associate administrator for Communications. “Now, users with the latest Apple TV can explore and enjoy our remarkable images, videos, mission information, NASA Television and more on the big screen with the whole family.”

The app is a little clunky in places but includes a ton of great content, including access to NASA TV, live video from the International Space Station, mission information and access to over 15,000 agency images. If you’re into space, you should go check it out.

Early 2001: The iMac G3 goes psychedelic 

At Macworld Tokyo 2001, Steve “Business Suit” Jobs showed off what would be the last two new iMac G3 designs: Blue Dalmatian and Flower Power.

Blue Dalmatian

Flower Power

Like Sage and Ruby before them, Blue Dalmatian and Flower Power were used for just one generation of iMac: the Early 2001 models.

According to Jobs, the new cases took 18 months to develop. They weren’t “colors,” but rather patterns molded “right into the plastic.” While some companies may have just used a decal, Apple wanted something special with these machines.

There’s no denying that the designs were a line in the sand. A lot of people liked them, but even today, people poke fun of them, too.

(I think it’s telling Apple returned to more sensible colors for the last set of iMacs, later in 2001.)

Blue Dalmatian features a pattern of white blobs on a blue and green background. It’s a little bit like a cartoon disco ball.

Flower Power is way out there. The pattern of simplistic flower shapes may have been colorful, but it soon picked up nasty nicknames comparing the design to moldy bread left in the refrigerator too long.

Both of these machines were a big departure from the previous colors used, and it feels a bit like Jobs (and Jony Ive, maybe) really wanted them to exist.

All “Early 2001” iMacs came with FireWire and iMovie, but Apple still shipped multiple lines of iMacs within this generation.

Our old friend Indigo sat at the base of the “iMac” line with a 400 MHz G3, a 10 GB hard drive and a $899 price tag.

The $1,199 mid-range Blue Dalmatian and Flower Power machines ran at 500 MHz with 20 GB of storage.

The high-end “iMac SE” (sold in Graphite, Blue Dalmatian and Flower Power) came with a new 600 MHz G3, 40 GB of storage and CD-RW optical drives for burning music. It sold for $1,499.

This was part of Apple’s Rip. Mix. Burn. campaign:

The Early 2001 iMacs were even featured in print and banner ads:

Rip Mix Dalmatian

With the Early 2001 iMacs, Apple didn’t simplify the line up all that much, but I think people were starting to wonder how long the iMac G3 would stick around.

At this point, the PowerMac, PowerBook and Cube were all running with G4 chipsets, leaving just the lower-cost iMac and iBook with the G3. The division made the overall product line a little easier to understand, but some wanted more power out of a consumer machine.

To be fair, Apple was still updating the internals of the iMac at this point. The G3s used in these models was markedly better than before, and the inclusion of CD-RW drives was a big deal. Remember, these machines shipped months before the iPod would be announced.

The G4 was the chip of the future, but the iMac would have one more round in the ring after these extra colorful machines.

Snell, on macOS Sierra →

Jason Snell at Six Colors:

The X is dead—long live macOS. With this fall’s release of macOS Sierra, Apple is bringing some familiar iOS features to the Mac, along with interesting interactions with iOS hardware, a dramatic expansion of iCloud, a major update to Photos, and a lot more. I’ve spent the past few days using an early beta, and here are some first thoughts about where Apple is taking the Mac in 2016.

There are a lot of previews of macOS Sierra floating around today, but this is the one you should read. Lots of nerdy little details.

Kbase Article of the Week: AppleCD SC: High Sierra CDs Are Accessed Like Any Other Volume →

I searched the kbase for “Sierra” for this week’s post and found a goodie:

Accessing the information on a CD-ROM volume isn’t much different than accessing the information on most magnetic disks, whether the CD-ROM discs use HFS (Hierarchical File System) for Macintosh files, ProDOS (Professional Disk Operating System) for Apple II files, or the High Sierra format for either system. Generally, if you know how to work with files and folders (subdirectories) on a hard disk, 3.5-inch disk, or 5.25-inch disk, you know how to work with the files on a CD-ROM under these formats.

High Sierra is a standard way of organizing the information on a CD-ROM. CD-ROM discs that conform to the High Sierra standard can be accessed from a variety of computers. The discs need not be customized for each different computer’s operating system. You don’t need to know anything about the High Sierra format to use High Sierra CD-ROM discs. You communicate with application programs as you always have.

Connected #96: Simplified the Paradigm →

With post-WWDC flu raging throughout Europe, most of the Connected crew talks about the winners and losers of WWDC including watchOS, macOS Sierra and the iPad.

My thanks to our sponsors this week:

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‘Can you take our picture?’ 

Visiting the Apple Campus

During WWDC last week, I took a drive down to Apple’s campus with CGP Grey, Federico Viticci and Myke Hurley. Ticci needed to pick up an iPad for his iOS 10 review and everyone wanted to get a photo in front of 1 Infinite Loop before Campus 2 opens.

Once we were in front of the sign, we asked two Chinese men who were there as well to take the photo you see above. They didn’t speak much English, but they were willing to help us out, taking several photos of our field trip.

I offered to take their photo to return the favor. When the older man handed me his iPhone 6, I couldn’t help but notice it was set in Chinese. While that in and of itself isn’t remarkable, it’s the first time I’ve used an iOS device set in any language other than English. I snapped a few photos of them, smiling under the flags just as we had. They reviewed the photos, thanking me for giving them a hand.

Our entire interaction took place in just a couple of minutes, but it’s really stuck with me. It’s easy to think about the community surrounding Apple being our favorite group of writers and podcasters, but it’s far bigger than that. I don’t know if those guys were attending WWDC, or lived in the area and were just checking Apple’s campus out, but clearly they were excited to be there. Had we been able to communicate any more deeply, I’m sure we could have compared thoughts on the keynote and shared our hopes for Apple’s platforms in the future. We probably aren’t all that different when it comes to our interests and obsessions. That’s pretty cool, and I enjoyed the reminder that all around the world, people are nerdy about the same things.