Connected #238: Weird Plex, But Okay »

This week on Connected, we cover a lot of ground:

Federico has discovered something terrible about his childhood, Stephen had an accident and Myke wants a new TV. After all of that is taken care of, the trio talk about a new iPad case that uses the Magic Keyboard and using macOS as an iPad app.

I’m not sure what is more shattered, Federico’s innocence or my Apple Watch.

My thanks to our sponsors:

  • Freshbooks: Online invoicing made easy.
  • Squarespace: Make your next move. Enter offer code CONNECTED at checkout to get 10% off your first purchase.
  • Warby Parker: Quality eyewear at a fraction of the usual price. Order your FREE Home Try-On kit today.

Moving Black Hole Data »

Jason Snell has written about today’s black hole news:

To capture this image, the EHT used seven different radio telescopes all around the world in order to use something called interferometry, which combines data from telescopes spread out over a wide distance to essentially create a virtual telescope the size of the distance between the telescopes. The result is a telescope that’s basically the size of Earth. (Among the telescopes used is one at the South Pole, which needed to be retrofitted to make these measurements.)

Then the telescopes have to capture data simultaneously, which means the weather needs to be good in Hawaii and Spain and Chile and the South Pole and other places simultaneously. And when that data is captured, it needs to be brought back to a correlation facility to process it and generate a single data set.

He quotes Dan Marrone, Associate Professor of Astronomy at the University of Arizona:

At the end of that, we had five petabytes of data recorded… it amounts to more than half a ton of hard drives. Five petabytes is a lot of data. It’s equivalent to 5,000 years of MP3 files, or according to one study I read, the entire selfie collection over a lifetime for 40,000 people.

The image you saw, though, isn’t five petabytes in size, it’s a few hundred kilobytes. So our data analysis has to collapse this five petabytes of data into an image that’s more than a billion times smaller. We do that in many steps. The first of those steps is to get [hard drive modules] to our correlators in western Massachusetts and Bonn, Germany. The fastest way to do that is not over the Internet, it’s to put them on planes. There’s no Internet that can compete with petabytes of data on a plane.

This is the ultimate sneakernet.

Scientists Share First Photo of a Black Hole »

This morning, the National Science Foundation and the team behind the Event Horizon Telescope project announced a things-will-never-be-the-same bit of news:

Today, in coordinated press conferences across the globe, EHT researchers reveal that they have succeeded, unveiling the first direct visual evidence of a supermassive black hole and its shadow.

This breakthrough was announced in a series of six papers published in a special issue of The Astrophysical Journal Letters. The image reveals the black hole at the center of Messier 87, a massive galaxy in the nearby Virgo galaxy cluster. This black hole resides 55 million light-years from Earth and has a mass 6.5-billion times that of the Sun.

“This is a huge day in astrophysics,” said NSF Director France Córdova. “We’re seeing the unseeable. Black holes have sparked imaginations for decades. They have exotic properties and are mysterious to us. Yet with more observations like this one they are yielding their secrets. This is why NSF exists. We enable scientists and engineers to illuminate the unknown, to reveal the subtle and complex majesty of our universe.”

Just look at this image:

Here’s a bit more from the NSF on what is going on in this photo:

“If immersed in a bright region, like a disc of glowing gas, we expect a black hole to create a dark region similar to a shadow — something predicted by Einstein’s general relativity that we’ve never seen before,” explained chair of the EHT Science Council Heino Falcke of Radboud University, the Netherlands. “This shadow, caused by the gravitational bending and capture of light by the event horizon, reveals a lot about the nature of these fascinating objects and allowed us to measure the enormous mass of M87’s black hole.”

Multiple calibration and imaging methods have revealed a ring-like structure with a dark central region — the black hole’s shadow — that persisted over multiple independent EHT observations.

Guilherme Rambo: With Marzipan, Apple Bringing Music, Podcasts and TV Apps to macOS »

Mr. Rambo, writing at 9to5Mac:

Fellow developer Steve Troughton-Smith recently expressed confidence about some evidence found indicating that Apple is working on new Music, Podcasts, and perhaps Books apps for macOS, to join the new TV app.

I’ve been able to independently confirm that this is true. On top of that, I’ve been able to confirm with sources familiar with the development of the next major version of macOS – likely 10.15 – that the system will include standalone Music, Podcasts, and TV apps, but it will also include a major redesign of the Books app. We also got an exclusive look at the icons for the new Podcasts and TV apps on macOS.

Enjoy your new life in the Utilities folder, iTunes.

Apple’s W.A.L.T. Prototype: Wizzy Active Lifestyle Telephone »

I know a lot about Apple history, and I’ve never come across this device until today. Juli Clover writes:

Unsurprisingly, the W.A.L.T. takes a while to start up given its age, but it’s functional, running Mac System 6. The W.A.L.T. featured a touchscreen, fax functionality, on-display caller ID, a built-in address book, customizable ringtones, and online banking access.

As shown in the video, it had a series of hardware buttons for activating various functions, and it worked with a connected stylus that could be used for navigation and writing. There’s a ton of lag when using the stylus, though, so writing doesn’t look great.


Liftoff #96: Probably Not Space Cows »

This time on Liftoff:

Rocket Lab has a new satellite platform, while methane cycles have been measured on Mars. Elsewhere, NASA continues to work through the details of its new 2024 lunar goal and 2007 OR10 needs a name.

Landing Americans on the moon within five years will require incredible funding and detailed plans. So far, NASA hasn’t produced either, but details should be coming soon. I’m looking forward to seeing the agency rise to meet this goal, assuming Congress agrees to fund it.

My thanks to our sponsors:

  • KiwiCo: Hands on learning and experienced based play. Get your first crate free.
  • Squarespace: Make your next move. Enter offer code LIFTOFF at checkout to get 10% off your first purchase.

MPU #477: Mobile Music and Production with Jakob Haq »

This week on Mac Power Users, our special guests goes into the ins and outs of creating music with iOS devices:

Jakob Haq is a musician and YouTuber from Sweden who create, edits and publishes all of his content with his iPhone and iPad.

My thanks to our sponsors this week:

  • 1Password: Have you ever forgotten a password? You don’t have to worry about that anymore.
  • The Omni Group: We’re passionate about productivity for Mac, iPhone and iPad.
  • Bombas: The most comfortable socks in the history of feet. Use this link for 20% off.
  • Hover: Extensions for anything you’re passionate about. Grab a .ME domain for $9.99.