Thoughts on 2016

I have been trying to determine how to sum up 2016. I think the most accurate term would be “shit show”. Regardless of how you feel as though 2016 turned out, it was undeniably a surprising year. There were many unexpected aspects to 2016. The most surprising, to many, was the election of Donald Trump as President of the United States; followed closely by the exiting of Britain from the European Union, often called “Brexit” for short.

Whether it be from being able to sail across and ocean, to flying across the same ocean, or even taking a train across a vast country, there is one thing that the march of progress has done, it has made the world a smaller place. This is even more abundantly true with the rise of the internet, and most particularly social media sites. Social media is a double-edged sword. This has occurred by allowing us to communicate with those anywhere on the planet. This allows us to be exposed to ideas and people would never have another instance to engage in. One of the ways that people learn about news that they may not normally hear, is through Social Media.

There have been many people who will say “Good Riddance to 2016”. Even though they are consciously aware of the fact that a year cannot cause problems, they do look towards something as a scape goat. Sometimes this is due to the death of celebrities and those known by a significant number of people around the world.

As with any year, a plethora of household names have passed away during 2016. Some of these include Alan Rickman, Alan Thicke, Anton Scalia, Anton Yelchin, Arnold Palmer, Carrie Fisher, David Bowie, Debbie Reynolds, Elie Wiesel, Fidel Castro, Florence Henderson, Gary Shandling, Gene Wilder, George Michael, Harper Lee, Janet Reno, John Glenn, Kenny Baker, Leonard Cohen, Merle Haggard, Muhammed Ali, Nancy Reagan, Pat Conroy, Prince, Umberto Eco, William Christopher and many many more; in fact too many to list. This includes those that are not as well known, but none-the-less have impacted people across the world.

Technology’s ability to expose people to more than they could have in the past, does mean that more people have the capability of becoming more well known. This social ability of Social Media also means that collectively we can grieve for those that have died. Even with the coming together that Social Media allows, it can also cause some to be very derisive. Compounding this downside to is that some individuals do not always recognize that there are actual human beings on the other side of the wire. This means that when people interact with others, they say and do things that they would not say or do if they were in physical proximity of others.

This cognitive dissidence has lead to some of the most contentious stories of the year. Besides the aforementioned election of Donald Trump as the 46th President of the United States and the British exit of the European Union, there have been many other stories that have caused some rancor. The biggest has been the issues with race between minorities and various Police Departments. These stories do not just minorities being shot by Police, although a majority of them are just this type of story. Some of the cities that have had these stories are Alton Sterling in Baton Rouge and Philando Castile in Falcon Heights, Minnesota.

One of the biggest stories has been the leaking of emails between some Democratic National Committee members. While the emails themselves were mostly innocuous, the leak itself was, and still is, the more worrisome part. It has been determined that Russia is behind the hack. Whilst the hack itself is definitely problematic, the influence of the hack on the United States election is the bigger of the issues.

As I write this, we are entering the waning hours of 2016. With 2017, we are entering a contentious time with nuclear powers threatening each other. A defector from North Korea, now in South Korea, has indicated that North Korea may have full nuclear capabilities by the end of 2017. With the Russian hacking of the United States Election, and the unknown ties between Russia’s Vladimir Putin and President Elect Donald Trump, we are entering a very unstable time. The progress that has been made within the United States is possibly in peril due to the incoming Congress of the United States and the aims of President Elect Trump.

Despite how bad 2016 has been, it is my hope that 2017 will be better; not just for race relations, but for everything that is happening throughout the world. We, as humans, are the only ones who are capable of being kinder to one another, and we are the only ones who are able to come together and come to some consensus and compromise and learn to live with each other. Here is to hoping that 2017 is better than we all expect and some of the regression that has been experienced in 2016 is reversed and we all get back into making progress.

Halloween Movies: Update (2016)

Back in 2014, I wrote a post about the Halloween movies that I tend to watch around this time of year. Since it has been a couple of years, I thought I would update the list to add additional movies that I end up watching. These movies follow into a few different categories, Parodies, Zombies, Diseases, Horror, Super Natural, Aliens, and “Other”. The new movies are denoted with a *.

This is by no means a comprehensive list, nor do I end up watching all of these movies every year, but I do tend to watch a bunch of them. There may be some additional ones in the future, but, as of this writing, I have not yet watched them. The possible additions include: “Navy vs. Zombies”, “Scout’s Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse”, and “Warm Bodies”.

There are also a few “honorable mentions”. These include “Fido”, “Tucker and Dale vs. Evil”, and “Zombeavers”. I have seen all three of these movies, but they have not yet made into the rotation. “Tucker and Dale” has a real shot to be added to the list.

Attack the Block cover
Attack the Block*
Battle: Los Angeles cover
Battle: Los Angeles*
Cloverfield cover
Cowboys and Aliens cover
Cowboys & Aliens*
Paul cover
Signs cover
Skyline cover
Super 8 cover
Super 8*
Contaigon cover
Outbreak cover
Scream cover
Scream 4 cover
Scream 4
Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown cover
It’s the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown
The Village cover
The Village
Hot Fuzz cover
Hot Fuzz
Scary Movie cover
Scary Movie*
Shaun of the Dead cover
Shaun of the Dead
Super Natural
The Happening cover
The Happening
Hocus Pocus
Hocus Pocus
Knowing cover
Something Wicked This Way Comes cover
Something Wicked This Way Comes*
Cockneys vs. Zombies*
The Crazies Cover
The Crazies
Dawn of the Dead Cover
Dawn of the Dead
Dead Snow Cover
Dead Snow
28 Days Later Cover
28 Days Later
28 Weeks Later Cover
28 Weeks Later
World War Z cover
World War Z
Zombieland Cover

Apple’s September 2016 Event

Apple held their annual Fall event earlier this week. The event was filled with both the expected, and a couple of very unexpected items. We’ll go over each of the items announced.

iPhone 7

Apple unveiled a slew of new features for their next iPhones, the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus. The first thing that most people notice with any iPhone is the color. This year’s iPhones have two new colors, but one color is being retired. The new colors are Black and Jet Black. The remaining colors are Silver, Gold, and Rose Gold. This means that Space Grey is no longer in the line up. The Jet Black iPhone 7 is polished to a high gloss finish, and is very reflective. The standard Black iPhone 7 provides a more matte finish.

The next thing that many would like to know about is the storage sizes of the iPhone. This year Apple’s has doubled the storage sizes. They are now 32GB, 128GB, and 256GB. All iPhone 7 colors are available in these sizes, except the Jet Black. That is only available in 128GB and 256GB models. The pricing for the iPhone 7 is the same as the 6s and 6s Plus. They start at $649, if paying full price, or about $37 with Apple’s Upgrade Program.


One thing that most iPhone users have in common is that we have all dropped our iPhones at one point or another. Sometimes these drops are on a carpet and the dropped iPhone is no worse for wear. However, all to often the iPhone comes into contact with a water source. To help protect users, Apple has made the iPhone 7 water resistant. This has been done by re-engineering the seals that help protect the internals of the iPhone. This also comes from the design and being able to minimize the inputs on the iPhone 7.

The second new feature is the new processor, the A10 Fusion. This goes above and beyond what was already done with the A9 processor. The A10 combines four processors, two of these are high performance processors, while the other two are lower performance. Apple’s own processor engine determines which processor is needed for which tasks. Applications like games, 3D Rendering, or any intensive application will be able to use the high performance processors. At the same time, applications like email, and Siri can use the lower performing processors. This is all handled by Apple’s own performance controller which will determine whether the application needs performance or battery life.

Similar to the processing power is the graphical performance. The iPhone 7 has a six-core graphical processor that is capable of performing 50% faster than the A9, or even 3 times faster than the A8. One of the things that the graphics performance is needed for is the Camera. The iPhone 7 has a whole new set of cameras.

The iPhone 7 now has optical image stabilization on both the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus models. Besides this, there is a whole new camera assembly. The new camera uses an f/1.8 lens, that can take in even more light to create even better images. It is still a 12 Megapixel camera, however it is now 60% faster and consumes 30% less power. The two tone flash now has four LEDs to provide 50% more light. This is particularly useful in low light situations. The other new feature is a flicker sensor. The flicker sensor will be able to detect any errant light in the frame and will match that light so you will not end up with wavy lines in your photos. This is most useful if you try to capture an image off of your TV.

On the iPhone 7 Plus, there is now a dual camera system. The camera mentioned above is the first the second lens is for telephoto pictures. The second camera has a 56mm lens that will allow you to zoom in. This is very simple to do. On the iPhone 7, there will be a software button, just above the sensor that will allow you to zoom in to 2x. This button will use the second lens to optically zoom. There is also software zoom available. This is accessible by holding on the software button and sliding to the right. This will zoom up to 10x. Anything above 2x is software zoom.

One thing that many photographers want to be able to do with their iPhone is accurately capture and display the colors that are represented. The best way to be able to do this is to use the latest color display. The iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus do just this by utilizing a new display that will show the DCI-P3 color gamut. This color gamut I’d already present on the late 2015 iMac as well as the 9.7-inch iPad Pro. With the camera being able to take even more vivid colors, you will be able to get even better representations directly on your iPhone. These upgrades should also help if you are taking videos.

The rear cameras were not the only ones to get upgraded. The FaceTime HD Camera has also been upgraded. It now is a 7 megapixel sensor that supports the same color gamut as the rear cameras, DCI-P3. The FaceTime HD camera also supports Auto Image stabilization to make sure that you can take the best pictures. Along with the 7 megapixel upgrade, the camera is now capable of recording in 1080p. This is up from the 720p recording capabilities on the iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus.

The third new feature is actually the Home button. The Home button has been present since the original iPhone, but the Touch ID sensors within the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus now features a new taptic feature, similar to the Apple Watch. The new taptic feature allows feedback to be given for different actions. In conjunction with this, developers now have a new API for customizing the feedback given.

One aspect to the iPhone that many take for granted is the audio. Many users end up having to use the speaker in their iPhones There have been two significant changes to audio. The first revolves around the speaker. The iPhone 7 now encompasses two speakers. One on the bottom and a second one on the top. This is the first time that an iPhone has had stereo speakers. The dual speaker setup means that users will now be able to hear even more from their iPhone. This is primarily due to the speakers also being twice as loud. The new speakers also have improved dynamic range which should improve the audio output of the iPhone 7.

Many users use the EarPods that are bundled in with their iPhone. Apple is making a slight change to the EarPods. They will now have a lightning connector. With this change, the 3.5mm headphone connection has been removed. Do not fret too much though, included in the box is a lightning to 3.5mm adapter for those who will continue to need the connection. With the headphones now being lightning, the quality of the output should be even better. However, this setup still requires wires. Apple is bullish on a wireless future. To help usher in this new era they have created a new type of headphone, the AirPods.


The Apple AirPods take Apple’s work with the EarPods and brings them forward. The AirPods look just like EarPods sans the wires. The AirPods are able to hold a five hour charge. This may not seem like much, and it may not be. But, the AirPods come with a charging case that can charge the AirPods for up to 24 hours. The AirPods can be charged in the charging case via a lightning cable. A fifteen minute charge will give you three hours of battery life with the AirPods.

The AirPods have a brand new chip inside of them, the Wireless1, or W1. The W1 chip has some features that many users will find compelling. The W1 chip contains an accelerometer so it can sense when it is being used and only play sound when it detects it is in use. Alongside this, there is also a voice accelerometer to be able to recognize voice as well as beam forming microphones to be able to reduce outside noise so if you are on a call, you will sound clearer.

The last piece to the W1 chip, and the AirPods, is pairing. If you have tried to use Bluetooth with multiple devices, you know that switching between the two devices can be a painful process. Apple has decided to take this method and make it easier. When you place the AirPods near your iPhone 7, and open the top to the AirPods you will be presented with a dialog asking if you want to pair. You simply tap “Pair” and the two items are paired. That is it. The AirPods will also be paired with your Apple Watch, if one is paired with your iPhone. That s not all, all of your pairing information will be synchronized over iCloud to your Macs as well, meaning that you will be able to seamlessly switch between your Macs, iPhone and Apple Watch.

The AirPods are not the only headphones to get this technology. The new Beats Solo 3 Wireless, Powerbeats 3, and the new Beats X lines will all have the W1 chip built right in. This means that you will be able to seamlessly pair and switch your Beats between your iPhone, Apple Watch, and Macs.

Apple is keeping the iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus in the iPhone lineup as well. These prices are now $549 for the iPhone 6s and $649 for the iPhone 6s Plus. The storage for these starts at 32GB, this is double the previous base of 16GB. There is only one other storage option for the iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus, that is 128GB. These cost $649 and $749 respectively. This means that the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus are no longer in the lineup.

The iPhone 7 will be a fantastic upgrade for all users. That is not the only new product announced by the Apple. The next product is the Apple Watch.

Apple Watch

The Apple Watch was introduced 18 months ago. In that time it has become the number one selling smart watch and the second best selling watch by revenue. Apple has improved the Apple Watch, with the new Apple Watch Series 2.

The Series 2 includes a brand new processor, the S2. The S2 chip is now dual-core and allows for even faster processing. Besides being dual-core, the S2 now also includes a GPS. The GPS will be very beneficial for users who want to track their exercises. The GPS can be used without an iPhone accompanying it. The Apple Watch Series 2 also has a brighter screen. In fact, it is twice as bright as the previous Series 1 screen. The brighter screen will make it even easier to see in a brightly lit area. This was not the only change to the Apple Watch Series 2.

Just like the iPhone, the Apple Watch Series 2 is also water resistant. The Apple Watch Series 2 is water resistant up to 50 meters. This makes it great for swimming, snorkeling, or even just tooling around the pool. Being water resistant meant that Apple had to redesign the seals and internals in order to protect the watch. The one area that had to remain opened is the speaker. Apple took a clever turn with this. the speaker itself is designed to the water out of the Apple Watch when you are done in the water.

With the water resistance of the Apple Watch, this also allows for two new exercises to be added. These do relate to the water. There are now two swimming related, one for pool swimming and one for open water swimming. The difference is that the pool exercise will take into account laps.

The Apple Watch Series 2 will cost $369 for the 38mm version and $399 for the 42mm version.


Apple has partnered with a couple of companies, Nike and Hermes to bring some new products. The Nike+ Apple Watch comes in four colors, and is designed for those who really want to exercise. The cases consist of an aluminum case and perforated bands and come in two colors, Space Grey and Silver. The Nike+ watches cost the same as the Apple Watch Series 2 watches, at $369 for the 38mm and $399 for the 42mm version. The Hermes partnership bring two new bands, a new Single Tour and Double Tour bands.

There is also Apple Watch Edition Series 2 watch. It is no longer the Yellow and Rose Gold. Instead it is made of White Ceramic. The Apple Watch Edition is only available in White, and will cost $1249 for the 38mm version and $1299 for the 42mm version.

The Apple Series 1 watch also received a slight upgrade, only to the processor. It now has the same dual-core processor that is present in the Apple Watch Series 2. The price for the Apple Series 1 is $269 for the 38mm and $299 for the 42mm watches.

The Apple Watch Series 2 is a solid upgrade, particularly for those that are focused on fitness. The addition of the GPS to the Apple Watch Series 2 will be much needed to alleviate the need to carry and iPhone while out exercising.


The biggest surprise of the event was that a Nintendo executive appeared on Stage. The executive that appeared on stage was not just ANY executive, Shigeru Miyamoto appeared on stage. Miyamoto is the brains behind iconic games like Donkey Kong, the Legend of Zelda, and Super Mario Brothers. At the event Miyamoto announced a new application coming to iOS that includes a Nintendo property. That application is Super Mario Run. Super Mario Run is a side-scroller, just like the Classic Mario games, except that it is an endless runner.


Super Mario Run is able to be played with one hand. The game play consists of tapping to make Mario jump, or tapping and holding to have Mario jump higher. The goal is to get to the flag before time runs out, just like in the classic Mario games.

This is not the only mode. There is also a battle mode, where you can face off against other players. You can try and beat their time, and there will be a ghost of their run to see how they completed the run. The coins that you collect will help you add items to your own Mushroom Kingdom.

Mario Super Run will be available in December. The game will be free with one in-app purchase to unlock all of the content. Once you buy the in-app purchase, you will have the entire game.

This was not the only announcement that was made that involved Nintendo. Niantic, the company behind the popular Pokemon Go application also had an announcement. Their announcement was that Pokemon Go was coming to the Apple Watch. This change means that those who are out hunting Pokemon no longer have to have their phone open all of the time. Users are now able to be notified on their watch that there are Pokemon to catch along side being notified that their eggs are hatched. This change should make it easier for people not only to pay attention to their surroundings, but also save some battery life.

Final Thoughts

Apple’s September 7th Event was one that provided a solid update with the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus. The dual cameras on the iPhone 7 Plus will be a boon for those who enjoy using their iPhone as a camera. The increased battery life, while maintaining the same form factor will be great for all users.

The new AirPods are just the beginning of a new era in technology for Apple. The ability to charge the airPods quickly and provide an additional 3 hours of battery should help some get through an entire work day with their AirPods.

The surprise of having Nintendo and Niantic both appear on stage brought audible gasps and claps, and may just be the beginning of a very fruitful collaboration between Nintendo and Apple. Pre-orders are live now, but you will end up having to wait to get a device.

Predictions for Apple’s WWDC

Apple’s World Wide Developer Conference kicks off one week from today, on Monday June 13th. The keynote for the event is at 1:00 PM Eastern, 10:00 AM Pacific time. Back in April I posted my wish list for iOS and OS X. Here are my predictions for what we will see next week.


WWDC has seen its share of new hardware being released. However, last year as well as in 2014, WWDC did not see any new hardware released. Even though the past couple of years have been hardware free, I think this year’s WWDC will see some new hardware. This will include things that developers will love; a new Mac Pro and a new Thunderbolt display. If Apple were to announce high-end hardware like this, WWDC would be the best place to do so. Besides this, developers are one of the target audiences for the Mac Pro, and there is no where better to announce new hardware for developers.


Language is a fluid and dynamic entity. New words are being created, and other words are being re-appropriated for other uses. There are times though that words do not always accurately evoke the sentiment that we are looking to express. This is where Emoji come in handy. Emoji are handled by the Unicode consortium. The latest release of Emoji are to be included with Unicode 9.0, which will be released on June 21st. It is almost a foregone conclusion that we will see the Emoji of Unicode 9.0 in iOS 10. It may not be in the first beta, but it will likely be in the 2nd or 3rd beta, and most definitely by the first public beta.



I am thinking that Swift will be a giant portion of the conference. There are a couple of indications that this is the case. The first is that the WWDC site is full of Swift code. This is the first indication. The second is that Apple is preparing Swift 3 for release. Swift 3 is set to bring many new features to the language, including it being the last one to do any major code-breaking changes.


Apple’s biggest selling product, the iPhone, is supported by iOS. There haven’t been any rumors leaked as to what we will see with iOS, but here is what I think.


With this year’s WWDC, it will be the 10th release of iOS. If tradition were to continue, Apple may just name the release iOS 10. Alternatively, Apple could name it iOS X and start changing the numbering she me. However, the 10th release is a good time to change tact. Instead of continuing to use the same numbering scheme, it may be time to change to a code name instead. Apple could start using the same code name as OS X. Given that there are times that the feature of iOS work best with the corresponding release of OS X. This approach may just work best in the long run. Yes, it would require users to know the name of the OS installed on their iPhone, yet the version of the OS could still appear under Settings.


The audio on the iPad Pro is excellent. One of the areas where iOS lacks is in the audio arena. Currently on iOS you can only record audio, but not listen at the same time. This limitation makes it difficult to be able to do a podcast entirely on an iPad, or even an iPhone. I predict that Apple will announce the ability to not only listen, but also record simultaneously. If Apple does indeed add this, there will be many happy podcasters. Additionally, this would make it even easier for non-techies to create and edit their own podcasts.


tvOS is Apple’s latest operating system, based on iOS. There are many features that could be added to tvOS. One that users have been asking about is the ability to allow developers to be able require a controller for their game. Currently, Apple does not allow this to occur. If Apple really does want to make the Apple TV viable as a gaming platform, the ability to require a controller is key. I think this will be an increase in the number of podcasts, with decent audio, being released; beyond what is happening now.


watchOS has been around for just about 18 months. It was originally released in November of 2014 with the first release of Xcode with WatchKit. Last year at WWDC 2015, Apple unveiled watchOS, which allows developers to create applications that run natively on the watch.

I think there will be a slight improvement with watchOS. I think the biggest improvement will come with applications becoming faster. Some of the current speed issues is due to limitations in the hardware, but the applications do need to become faster.

The only other feature that I think we will see is the ability to create and use custom watch faces. Imagine that any company, or developer, could release a custom watch face that was able to look how one wants. It could allow for even more customization for the Apple Watch.


Along with the developer betas of iOS 10, tvOS 10, and watchOS 4, comes the oldest Apple operating system, OS X.


One of the rumors for OS X is that the name of the operating system will be changed from OS X to macOS. I did not originate this idea, but as I stated in my OS X post then:

On Episode 123 of The Talk Show with John Gruber Apple’s Vice President of Marketing, Phil Schiller, was asked about the casing of the various operating systems of Apple (iOS, tvOS, watchOS). Gruber asked why OS X was different. Schiller responded “give us time”. As Jason Snell of Six Colors has postulated “OS X will be renamed to macOS”. This is entirely possible and given the hints, it is likely to occur.

I think we will see this. Instead of being macOS 10.12, it will just be called macOS, without any numbering. If Apple is going for a cleaner look, this will definitely assist in that coming to fruition.

During the 3D Touch demo at the September 2015 event, “…Apple showed an email with three place names within it. These names are Manteca, Tehachapi, and Arroyo Grande”.

As mentioned above, iOS could utilize a codename instead of continuing the numbering that has been prevalent since its initial release. I think macOS and iOS codename will be “Arroyo Grande”.


There have been rumors that Siri will make its way onto the Mac. The rumors also state that Siri will replace spotlight. Siri will be able to do everything that is possible on iOS. In addition, Siri will be able to search users files, much like Spotlight can do now, except it can be done via voice.

With having a large battery, power conversation is less of a concern for the Mac, but it is still important. I think Siri will gain the ability to perform tasks via voice. For instance, you will be able to say “Siri, turn off the screen”, and the screen will turn off. Or something similar, like “Siri, open Tweetbot”, and the Tweetbot application will open.


Here is what I think we will see, in order of likelihood.

  • Some news about Swift 3.0.
  • New Emoji that are included in Unicode 9.0.
  • OS X will be renamed to macOS.
  • Siri will appear on the Mac, replacing Spotlight
  • Siri on the Mac will gain the ability to open applications.
  • iOS will get enhanced audio abilities that podcasters will like.
  • iOS and macOS will both use code names; that name will be Arroyo Grande.
  • Apple will allow developers to require controllers for tvOS games.
  • watchOS will get faster applications and customizable Watch faces.
  • New Hardware with the Mac Pro and Display

Regardless of what Apple does end up unveiling next week, I know I will be watching the keynote live. I will also be installed the iOS on my iPhone and my iPad, macOS on my iMac and my MacBook Pro, tvOS on my 4th Generation Apple TV. I will also be posting a recap of the event as well as how well my predictions did. So be sure to check in again next week.