Posted by Oli

The Marvel heroes network in infographic form

I can't say I ever wondered how the Marvel heroes all tied together, but I still find this infographic fascinating.

Click here for the huge version!

[Source: Avalanche Infographics - Marvel Heroes]

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Experts agree - the iPhone 6 camera rules

As you might have noticed, I've been doing the yearly Project 365 photography challenge this year. Perhaps more interestingly, I'm doing it using my iPhone 6 only. No DSLR, not even a conventional point-and-shoot.

Go iPhone, or go home.

The beauty of it all is that the pictures actually turn out pretty well, and the post-processing apps in the App Store aren't too bad either. I know I keep banging on about them, but be sure to check out Pixelmator and Exposure. I'm happy with the results.

The effortlessness of taking good pictures with the iPhone is probably that phone’s most underrated quality. And yet, its importance grows with every passing day. Consider how vital the camera in any modern smartphone is. Snapchat, Instagram, Facebook, WhatsApp, and Twitter are the most popular communication platforms, and they’re all either image-centric or moving toward a greater reliance on visuals.

So I saw The Verge's piece on the iPhone 6 being the best for shooting photos and took notice. Vlad Savov might be focusing on the speed and ease of shooting, but I'd throw the quality of the end results in there, too.

Be sure to give the whole thing a read, especially if you happen to be in charge of any camera software that runs on Android.

The Verge

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UK could block WhatsApp & iMessage because they're too secure.

David Cameron could block WhatsApp and Snapchat if he wins the next election, as part of his plans for new surveillance powers announced in the wake of the shootings in Paris.

The Prime Minister said today that he would stop the use of methods of communication that cannot be read by the security services even if they have a warrant. But that could include popular chat and social apps that encrypt their data, such as WhatsApp.

Well, that's not good.


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Music (apparently) sounds different depending on which disk drive it's stored on

I've read this thrice now. I can't decide whether it's tongue-in-cheek or not.

TL;DR version: Someone decided they could tell the difference between music tracks played back on one NAS and the same tracks played back on another.

I shit you not.

Penguin Café Orchestra's Union Café has an altogether more natural recorded acoustic. On Scherzo and Trio QNAP1 promoted the leading edge piano transients, following through with a lighter, brighter instrument tone – possibly Steinway-like? The same piano had more lower mid body on QNAP2 and slightly softer hammer impact, perhaps more like a Bosendörfer.

That hint of glaze on QNAP1 also showed an impaired subjective noise floor elsewhere. In hi-fi parlance, QNAP2 had the blacker silences and deeper spaces between notes. If anything, this track highlighted a fundamental shift in timbre between the storage sources. This wasn't the gentle tweak of a DAC's digital filter option; we felt it was more akin to changing loudspeakers. System sound was improved as if the DAC itself had been upgraded, say from a £500 to a £2000 model.

This is a wind up, surely. Read the whole thing. It's long, it's wordy and, importantly, a load of rubbish.

Also, why I can't have a serious conversation with an audiophile.

Enjoy the Music

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The iPad isn't a large iPhone, and that's a good thing


This may come as a surprise to many of you, but I have not always been the well-rounded iPad user that I am today. No no, don't interrupt me. It's true.

After picking up the first iPad before it launched over here in the UK - there's an interesting little story about that involving scientist Brian Cox, maybe I'll tell you all one day - and then losing interest in it, I bought an iPad 2 shortly after its arrival. It was new, shiny, thinner and lighter. Apart from that, I still didn't really use it. It was a nice-to-have, but far from essential.

Of course, now I live on my iPad mini, but that transition started with something much more basic than going all-in. I didn't write blog posts on it, and I certainly didn't manage any FTP stuff like I do now.

What made the transition happen initially was the realisation that the iPad isn't a big iPhone.

The problem I always had when making myself use the iPad was that I tended to have my iPhone either in my pocket or my hand. Why would I hunt out my iPad to do something that I could already do with what was, quite literally, to hand? The short answer is that I didn't and, in fact, I shouldn't. The iPad is not a large iPhone, and the sooner everyone realises that, the better.

Use the iPad for reading comics. You wouldn't do that on your iPhone. Use it for watching Netflix. You wouldn't do that on your iPhone. Use it for browsing the web, for reading everything you save to Pinboard, for thumbing through Reddit. Use it for editing images in Pixelmator. And games. And...well, you get the idea by now.

Sure, use your iPad for everything that the iPhone just isn't suited for. But that also works both ways.

A lot of the problems I had with the iPad was that it just wasn't as good at doing some things as my iPhone. It wasn't as good for reading Twitter because I typed replies quicker on the iPhone. It wasn't as good for iMessage for the same reason. Emails? Same. Yes it's good for triage, but unless you use an external keyboard, it's useless for writing.

Fundamentally, the iPad and the iPhone are two distinct products in two differing product categories and should be treated as such. That's the reason developers do, or at least should design their apps to make proper use of the iPad rather than simply rescaling their iPhone apps to fit without looking stupid. Things started great in that regard, but as the App Store has matured and developers have stopped using their iPads, the lines between iPhone and iPad apps have begun to blur. But that's another argument for another time.

The reason I bring all this up now is that I have been listening to the latest episode of Accidental Tech Podcast in which the ever opinionated Marco Arment waxed lyrical about how he has a new-found love of the iPad after buying an iPad Air 2. The improved hardware works better, and that helps greatly, but Marco's real reason for getting back into iPad use is the realisation that it does some things in a much better way than the iPhone and if you remember that, the two need not fight each other for supremacy.

I like Marco, despite what he might think, and it's good to hear that one of the more prominent iOS developers around has fallen for the iPad once more. Let us hope that means that some other developers will start to give Apple's tablet a little more attention from now on.

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