Tesla UI and the Future of Driving

Figma Blog: What Tesla’s Model 3 UI Reveals About Its Vision for the Future

There’s no knobs. There’s barely a steering wheel, for goodness sake. You have to tap a screen to turn on the windshield wipers. (*edit* you have a console lever to turn them on, but frequency is controlled via the screen) You have to tap a screen to open the glovebox. You have to tap a screen to turn on the emergency brake (*edit* this also is appears to be automatic, but manual application does appear to be in the settings). Doesn’t this all sound awful for a driver? They can no longer rely on their sheer instinct and muscle memory to operate their car.

I don’t think Tesla did this simply to be edgy, dangerous or different. They did this to prepare people for a world without drivers.

Also:

The HDTV resolution suggests that Tesla made their center console for watching things, not for driving the car. This bad boy is allllll about the driverless future. This isn’t a car with a weird dashboard, this is a mobile living room. It’s a long play, with the understanding that when regulations and technology are in place, there will be no better place to watch movies than right smack dab in the middle of the car.

This is some fascinating work and deductive reasoning by Mr. Johnson. There’s still a part of me that has a hard time wrapping my head around a future of driverless cars. I think I’ve just had a serious Douglas Adams moment: “Anything invented after you’re thirty-five is against the natural order of things.”

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FCC Votes Against Net Neutrality

Reuters: U.S. Regulators Ditch Net Neutrality Rules as Legal Battles Loom

The approval of FCC Chairman Ajit Pai’s proposal marked a victory for internet service providers like AT&T Inc, Comcast Corp and Verizon Communications Inc and hands them power over what content consumers can access.

Democrats, Hollywood and companies like Google parent Alphabet Inc and Facebook Inc had urged Pai, a Republican appointed by U.S. President Donald Trump, to keep the Obama-era rules barring service providers from blocking, slowing access to or charging more for certain content.

Consumer advocates and trade groups representing content providers have planned a legal challenge aimed at preserving those rules.

The meeting was evacuated before the vote for about 10 minutes due to an unspecified security threat, and resumed after law enforcement with sniffer dogs checked the room.

New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, a Democrat, said in a statement he will lead a multi-state lawsuit to challenge the reversal. He called the vote “a blow to New York consumers, and to everyone who cares about a free and open internet.”

Actually a Pro Machine

The Verge: The iMac Pro Is a Beast, Bus It’s Not For Everybody

There are new versions of Final Cut Pro and Logic Pro available today that take advantage of the iMac Pro’s power. We listened to songs with a truly stupid number of instrument tracks play along without spiking the 10 cores (20, if you count the hyperthreading). Final Cut was able to play back unrendered 8K video with some color correction and other effects applied without skipping a frame.

We saw a virtuoso demonstration of 3D modeling in VR, game engines reapplied to purposes like architectural rendering where entire forests could be pasted into a giant, open field with no lag or loss of visual detail. We saw body scans converted from thousands of slices into full 3D models of a human body magically appear without having to wait for the computer to render anything. We watched an Apple engineer run three simultaneous iOS emulators doing a test run on an app while running three more virtual machines (Windows 10, Ubuntu, and an older version of macOS) without a hiccup.

This isn’t just an iMac with beefier internals. This computer sports an entirely rethought architecture in a familiar shell. Apple seems to have brought their best to the table with the iMac Pro. I can’t see dropping this much on a machine whose memory isn’t even user-accessible, but this bodes well for the future of the Mac professional offerings.

Net Neutrality

Pixel Envy: Ben Thompson Is Wrong About the Deregulation of ISPs

There is clearly plenty of evidence that ISPs will not treat data the same if offered the opportunity to do otherwise. And, I stress again, we aren’t simply talking about internet providers here — these are vertically-integrated media conglomerates which absolutely have incentive to treat traffic from friendly entities differently through, for example, zero-rating, as AT&T did with DirecTV, Verizon does with their NFL app, and T-Mobile does for certain services.

This is such a big deal. The current track the FCC is taking seems to completely disregard the damage it could do to low-income households, small businesses, and independent entrepreneurs to play favorites with our large media and internet providers.

And it’s not like ISPs exactly have a lot of public trust. They’ve shown time and again they are willing to harm their own customers in order to squeeze a few more pennies of profit. Nothing good can come from deregulating them.

Apple At Its Best

Stratechery: Apple At Its Best

More importantly, the experience of using an iPhone X, at least in these first few days, has that feeling: consideration, invention, and yes, as the company is fond to note, the integration of hardware and software. Look again at that GIF above: not only does Face ID depend on deep integration between the camera system, system-on-a-chip, and operating system, but the small touch of displaying notifications only when the right person is looking at them depends on one company doing everything. That still matters.

Moreover, it’s worth noting that the iPhone X is launching into a far different market than the original iPhone did: touch is not new, but rather the familiar; changing many button paradigms into gestures certainly presents a steeper learning curve for first-time smartphone users, but for how many users will the iPhone X be their first smartphone?

After a tough week for Apple enthusiasts, I enjoyed finding this in my archives to read. We went to our local Verizon store to upgrade my wife’s phone a couple weeks ago (to an iPhone 8 Plus), and the iPhone X certainly stood out on the shelves. It looks nice in press images, but it looks outstanding in person. Using it feels even better. It recalled the very first time I picked up an iPhone.

Sexist Rules and Laws

Motto: This Woman Was Fired for a Heavy Period Leak

The decision in Ames’s case was not only shocking, but also reminiscent of cases previously decided by federal courts that ignored blatant discrimination against pregnant women in the workplace. Before the late 1970s, courts routinely opined that adverse employment actions against pregnant women did not qualify for Title VII protection because both men and women can be non-pregnant. It took a specific act of Congress — the Pregnancy Discrimination Act, passed in 1978 as an amendment to Title VII — to reject this flawed reasoning, establishing that discrimination based on pregnancy, childbirth and related conditions all qualify as sex discrimination. The contorted reasoning used by courts to discriminate against pregnant women in the last century — the pattern that inspired Congress to take action in the first place — is the same reasoning that the courts used in ruling against Ames.

Ames’s and Coleman’s cases serve as a harsh reminder of the obstacles women face in pursuing sex discrimination lawsuits, and show how much work still needs to be done before women can achieve equality in the workplace. No woman should be demeaned or fired for having a heavy period, lactating or experiencing any other natural part of her biology. Every worker has a right to earn a living in a place that’s free of bias against her body.

If it’s not painfully obvious institutionalized sexism is still a real problem, it should be.

A Long Week for Apple Engineers

Recode: Apple’s Had a Shockingly Bad Week of Software Problems

Let’s recap the week of Apple software problems:

  • macOS High Sierra critical flaw with root admin access
  • macOS High Sierra update released, but breaks file sharing
  • iOS 11 crashing on some iPhones due to a date bug
  • macOS High Sierra fix not installing correctly on some systems
  • iOS 11.2 released early to fix iPhone crash bug

It’s hard to say whether Apple has been particularly sloppy recently with its software updates, or whether this is a growing trend in software in general. Apple also didn’t notice an epic security flaw in macOS and iOS for 18 months a few years ago. Either way, this latest week of problems does highlight Apple’s challenge to meet the needs of its customers on a wide scale. 10 years ago Apple introduced the iPhone, but at the time its main computing devices were Macs which made up around five percent of all desktop machines. Windows was the operating system you associated with bugs or security patches at the time.

But Apple now has more than 1 billion devices running iOS, and any security flaws or problems impact millions of people on a much larger scale than macOS has ever experienced.

It’s been a while since I’ve seen a run of software problems like Apple saw this last week. Remember the File Vault bug in 10.4 that erased, instead of encrypted, some disks? Like that, only over two platforms instead of one. Unfortunately, Apple is under greater scrutiny now that they have millions of more customers, and trust is easily lost.

Compel the Reader to Read the Next Sentence

The Writing Cooperative: 10 Unusual But Critical Edit Checks Before You Hit Publish

There’s some incredibly good advice here.

Each time you read your piece focus on one checklist item. In your first pass, read your copy out loud. See where you stumble. On your second pass, move to the second checklist item. With each pass, look at your piece through a different lens.

I know that I can really benefit from the edits suggested in this article, and I hope you’ll find them useful as well.

“Snape Is Suspishous.”

Mashable: This 9-Year-Old Girl Is Reading “Harry Potter” For The First Time, And She’s Writing Down All Her Questions

“In class, her teacher is trying to get them to wonder and question as they read. Sometimes the teacher has said to write things down,” Eschmann told BuzzFeed. “She decided to take this questioning very seriously and had a bundle of little pieces of white paper.”

We’ve read the first four Harry Potter books with our daughter now, and it’s fun to see what a similar journey this little girl has taken. As an adult, it’s pretty easy to see plot holes and inconsistencies, but to the child in all of us, this series is simply magical.