The best piece of news from today’s Apple Keynote

There was a blink and you miss it moment during the keynote that I feel isn’t getting enough play. Eddie Cue, when discussing the new AppleTV 4K, casually mentioned that not only will 4K movies from major studios not cost more than HD movies (25$ in Canada), but also that movies you have already bought will be upgraded for free. This is probably the best news of the entire keynote if you’re like me and have a massive library of iTunes movies (and TV).

Everything you’ve purchased from iTunes, along with your current rentals, shows up in your Apple TV app library. And if an HD title in your library is released in 4K HDR, it automatically updates for free. It currently confirms this on the AppleTV page:

I am sure that there will be workarounds from the studios to make you pay for movies again. I remember when they announced iTunes Extras they promised that if you had a movie that didn’t have them and they were added later that you’d get them for free, and while that’s mostly true (my copy of Mad Max: Fury Road even had the Blood & Chrome cut added to its extras!) it isn’t always (my copy of Iron Man was discontinued on the iTunes store and replaced with a new edition).

I am sure such tomfoolery will continue with 4K releases but here’s hoping it’s kept to a minimum. There’s no good reason for studios to charge extra for a 4K copy of a movie you already own other than “we’d like more money please” and while that’s entirely their prerogative it sure does seem like a stupid idea to punish paying customers in an era when many (most?) people won’t pay for movies at all and instead turn to streaming services (which have low return for studios) or piracy (which has no return at all).

Apparently the lone holdout on the “let’s sell 4K movies for the same price as HD” deal is Disney which is interesting given how Disney was, if memory serves, the first to sell movies on the iTunes store.

In any event, the fact that at least most of my iTunes library will be updated to 4K free of charge is the best news of the keynote because unlike every other thing they announced today it will actually save me money.

I went to an anti-racist rally and all I got was this renewed sense of hope

It feels like we’re at a crossroads. Emboldened by the election of a racists president int he United States, and the events at Charlottesville a bunch of racists decided to organize a rally in Vancouver City Hall. It didn’t take long for a counter protest to be organized. Then came the question: Do I go?

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Fantastical 2.4 for Mac

Fantastical

Fantastical, the best Calendar app for any platform, just got a major update which added a few great new features.

From their blog:

You can now view, create, and edit attachments on iCloud and Exchange, as well as view attachments on Google Calendar.

[…]

One of our most requested features is finally here! Set and view travel time for events, and receive automatic time to leave notifications to ensure you get to your events on time.

[…]

If you use Fantastical in a corporate setting with shared calendars you’ve inevitably had the situation where a single event ends up duplicated across all of your shared calendars. Fantastical 2.4 will now automatically merge these duplicate events into a single event to reduce clutter.

[…]

Fantastical now has full undo and redo support for adding, editing, and deleting events and reminders. Did you accidentally reschedule an event and want to move it back? Just press command-Z and your event will get moved back to where it was.

There’s a whole slew of other updates, and now it’s a waiting game until they make it to the mobile versions, so if you haven’t already started using Fantastical now is a great time. Also, if you don’t you are a silly person.

Get it now from the Flexibits website or the App Store.

Awesome Friday: Wonder Woman Review

Wonder Woman, the latest entry in the DCEU is out and, much to my relief, it’s really good. Here’s the review I wrote for Awesome Friday!

‘Wonder Woman’ Review: DC made a good movie and I am SO HAPPY

It’s been a long four years since Man of Steel premiered and started the new DCEU shared universe. It has been a universe of muted colours and asshole heroes, and one that has been hard to be optimistic about future entries in, but I am happy to report that Wonder Woman is a great movie and that you should definitely see it.

It’s not a movie without issues mind you, and it has a lot of the issues that even the best superhero origin stories do. The big CGI laden battle at the end is kinda blah. There’s a twist you might see coming from a mile away that leads up to said battle. There’s a huge lack of closure for some characters. None of this stuff is deal breaking though, and honestly I feel kinda nitpicky pointing it out. There are some things about good superhero movies that I can accept at this point, and a boring final battle is one of them because the big final battle with an ill-defined bad guy is ok when you have a hero who is incredibly well-defined and nearly perfectly portrayed.

Sad face: Google discontinues the Nik Collection

Michael Zhang at Petapixel:

Google received praise from photographers last year when it made its $150 Nik Collection of popular photo editing software 100% free. But alas, all good things come to an end: Google has quietly announced that it will be abandoning the Nik Collection from here on out.

The announcement was made through a simple banner message found on the Nik Collection homepage.

This is a pretty sad day. I remember when Nik showed up on the scene. I was at a sales conference and they gave a 20 minutes presentation that at the 2 minute mark had the jaws of basically anyone who knew anything about photo editing on the floor. Later in the conference there was a trade show that lasted about half a day and it was sending room only at their booth from the moment it started until they kicked everyone out. This software was, at the time, fucking magic.

Most of its features have been rolled into, or copied by, other products now so it’s not really that surprising to see that they won’t be updating it anymore, but for those of you who are used to how easy it is to edit photos in apps like Instagram: understand that it wasn’t always like that, and that these tools are the ones that led the charge toward making things intuitive and easy.

The good news is that while they have now plans for future updates, you can still download the Nik Collection right now and keep using it. You should do so, in case they take them down for good.

The Disappearing Computer: Walt Mossberg’s final column

Walt Mossberg writing his final column:

This is my last weekly column for The Verge and Recode — the last weekly column I plan to write anywhere. I’ve been doing these almost every week since 1991, starting at the Wall Street Journal, and during that time, I’ve been fortunate enough to get to know the makers of the tech revolution, and to ruminate — and sometimes to fulminate — about their creations.

Now, as I prepare to retire at the end of that very long and world-changing stretch, it seems appropriate to ponder the sweep of consumer technology in that period, and what we can expect next.

Walt Mossberg is a titan in the field of tech journalism. Chances are you if you read about tech, you’ve read his work. This reflection on his career, and look forward, is a lovely last column to cap off his career.

Awesome Friday: On Star Wars, Then and Now

There are two types of people in the world. Those who prefer Star Trek and those who prefer Star Wars. I’ve always been the former, but that doesn’t mean I don’t love the former. For the the release of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story on home video I wrote a piece exploring why maybe I don’t love it as much now as many of the people I know.

On Star Wars, Then and Now

Both times there was this immediate rush. Star Wars is good again. What a time to be alive. The interesting thing about watching a movie twice in two days is that everything stands out. The stuff that works and the stuff that doesn’t. There’s a lot of stuff that works about the new Star Wars movies. I love Rey, Finn, and Poe. I love the new locations in Rogue One and the Jedi-less story it tells. I love the tone of the movies, and the effects are some of the best I have ever seen.

I just wish that they didn’t feel exactly the same. There are two George Lucas quotes I have been thinking about lately. The first is from the special features of The Phantom Menace. He’s describing the story of the prequels, how it will have familiar beats as the original trilogy, and he compares them to stanzas in a poem that rhyme. The second is from 2015, right after he’d seen The Force Awakens he was asked what he thought and he replied “I think the fans are going to love it, it’s very much the kind of movie they’ve been looking for.”

Awesome Friday: Iron Fist Season 1 Review

I finished watching Iron Fist season one and I had some feelings about it. They are not good feelings.

Iron Fist Season One Review: I Don’t Have A Good Pun To Tell You To Skip It (if You Haven’t Decided To Already)

that’s really the main problem here: the show feels cheap and phoned in. The first half of the show’s 13 episodes could probably have been reduced to two or three, and like Luke Cage they even set themselves up for some great standalone episodes and then ignored the opportunity. Once the plot gets going we’re still saddled with the fact that Danny Rand isn’t a likeable character, and when they try to do anything interesting there are almost no original ideas. Davos’s character arc in Iron Fist is exactly the same as Mordo in Doctor Strange. Colleen Wing’s story has exactly the same twist as Elektra’s in Daredevil‘s second season. There’s one fight in the middle that only seems to happen so that you know someone has seen Drunken Master and another toward the end that makes sure you know that someone really liked the Hong Kong office tower sequence from The Dark Knight.

Long story short, don’t bother watching Iron Fist.