15th November 2018

Over a year ago, Niantic (the developers behind Pokémon GO) announced a game called Wizards Unite. In their announcement, they celebrated the state of their AR technology, including how successful Pokémon GO already was at that point (November 2017). It meant that they had the ability to expand on that and create an experience for the Harry Potter franchise:

We’re incredibly excited to announce this next step in the evolution of AR mobile entertainment. With Harry Potter: Wizards Unite, players that have been dreaming of becoming real life Wizards will finally get the chance to experience J.K. Rowling’s Wizarding World. Players will learn spells, explore their real world neighborhoods and cities to discover & fight legendary beasts and team up with others to take down powerful enemies. We’re thrilled to partner with Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment, and WB Games San Francisco’s development team to bring this magical and beloved series to life in a brand new way. Harry Potter: Wizards Unite will leverage the full stack of the Niantic Platform while also providing an opportunity to pioneer all new technology and gameplay mechanics.

It sounded really impressive, but I didn’t expect it to take this long. Because we’ve only just been treated to a trailer, and it wont be released until 2019.

The story sounds reasonably interesting:

The Ministry is looking for witches and wizards willing to roll up their sleeves and volunteer to save the wizarding world from the Calamity. As a member of the Statute of Secrecy Task Force (a new task force formed in partnership between the Ministry of Magic and the International Confederation of Wizards) you will hone lightning fast wand reflexes, an ability to sniff out the faintest whiff of magical disorder from afar, and proficiency in advanced casting of multiple spells.

But it will all depend on the implementation of the real world scaling, the AR features, and just how it will be played. The idea of Pokémon works very well in this scenario, and Pokémon GO has only proved that. But I’m not sure how you could get a game based around the Harry Potter franchise, that is constantly pulling you in to do more, without it being a fixed storyline.

I’m a big Harry Potter fan, so I’m going to play it no matter what. But I hope it’s something long lasting.

You can find out more information, and also sign up for updates on the Harry Potter: Wizards Unite website.

13th November 2018

It must be movie trailer season, because here’s another film that I already need to see! It’s a live-action version of the classic, Jungle Book. If it follows in the same vein that the most recent Tarzan film did, then I imagine it will be a huge success. At least, for me it will be.

Acclaimed actor and director Andy Serkis reinvents Rudyard Kipling’s beloved masterpiece, in which a boy torn between two worlds accepts his destiny and becomes a legend. Mowgli has never truly belonged in either the wilds of the jungle or the civilized world of man. Now he must navigate the inherent dangers of each on a journey to discover where he truly belongs. – Netflix

 Mowgli: Legend of the Jungle on Netflix.

12th November 2018

Apparently there’s no limit to the amount of David Attenborough we can watch.

Just after the first episode of Dynasties has aired, there’s already news of a new series that will focus on the planet as a whole, and how everything is connected.

From the creator of “Planet Earth,” “Our Planet” series takes viewers on an unprecedented journey through some of the world’s most precious natural habitats, narrated by Sir David Attenborough. Launching globally on Netflix April 5, 2019. – Netflix

One thing I’m already wondering about, is the scope of it all. I can imagine that Netflix is providing a huge budget, especially as it will be hugely available to watch. But the BBC have had Planet Earth, Blue Planet, and now Dynasties, so there not exactly lacking on budget or expertise.

Then there’s the actual content, it’s hard to imagine something that David Attenborough hasn’t told us about. But then again, he’s not failed us yet.

Our Planet on Netflix.

12th November 2018
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Michael Steeber, for 9To5Mac:

We take photos to capture moments. A great photo can fill in the blanks of our memory, instantly recalling forgotten details and conversations otherwise lost to time. But has looking at a photo ever raised more questions than it provided answers? Let’s look at reimagining the Photos app to better tell the stories of your memories.

“Why was I wearing a winter coat in May?” “What were we listening to on that road trip?” “Why were you downtown so early on a Sunday morning?” Where our memory fails, technology can assist. Beyond being a great camera, modern iPhones store and can tap into rich libraries of data relevant to our lives. By interpreting this information through the intelligence of iOS, the Photos app could be expanded in two key ways to help weave our memories into vivid stories.

There’s a ton of great suggestions on the types of information that can be extrapolated from photos, and it’s certainly interesting to see how it would look in the UI.

I really like this concept, and it’s certainly something I think Apple could pull off. Even without collecting personal information en mass, as it can be done on the device. And anything that needs to be referenced from somewhere else can be requested completely anonymously, such as the weather or information about a location.

12th November 2018

I did not expect this film at all. You get to see Pokémon actually in the real world!

It’s a bit weird hearing Pikachu talk, and maybe even weirder that it’s Ryan Reynolds (Deadpool) as the voice actor.

There were certainly some cool things that I noticed (spoilers!):

  • Pikachu looks like a teddy.
  • Psyduck has fur.
  • There’s an army of Bulbasaur!
  • Mr. Mime is an actual mime.
  • It’s based in “Ryme City”.
  • The main character (Harry Goodman) received a train ticket demo Leaventown to Ryme City on his 21st birthday. Pokémon trainers usually start their journey when they’re 10.
  • Jigglypuff isn’t very effective at maintaining an awake audience at Karaoke.

Also, there is actually already a Detective Pikachu game for the Nintendo 3DS.

Find more information about Detective Pikachu on the website.

09th November 2018

The new iPad Pro has been released, so of course it’s time for everyone to discuss how it can’t be used as a work device.

In my opinion a big part of the arguments stem from the idea of it being a laptop replacement. And this leads to a lot of comparisons of apps, and tasks that people do on their Mac, and how they’d accomplish it on an iPad. Some of the time, you find some really good discussions on where a Mac or iPad would be better suited, or things that could be improved. But most of the time I don’t find the comparisons to be very helpful at all, and the rhetoric of not doing work on an iPad, is for some reason, still a thing.

There’s quite a lot of things that I think cause this type of reaction, and hopefully I’ll manage to explain all of them, in this rant-style piece.

First of all, the reviews are not always being done by people who use the device full-time, or do a substantial about of tasks on it. I wouldn’t be able to review a windows laptop very well, simply because I don’t use one, or even know anything about them anymore. Therefore my opinion would be completely worthless, and would only provide inaccurate information to the debate.

Also, I think the comparisons between the devices are being done are mostly too high-level. The problem is being abstracted away so much, that what’s left is checking if a Mac app is available on iOS, or if a workflow can be done in the exact same way. They’re not trying to solve an actual issue, or ask themselves what else can this device do that I couldn’t do before.

This shouldn’t need to be pointed out, but macOS and iOS are different operating systems. And the way to do something is not always going to be the same. Maybe the question you have to ask yourself when trying to see if the iPad could work for you, is “How can I reproduce my expected result using the iPad?”. Instead of trying to replicate the exact process. It’s a nice thing to have if everything works the same, but it doesn’t devalue the iPad as a platform, just because the way it does things is different.

Another thing I see, and I think it’s becoming noticed by more people, is that reviewers tend to project their own situation a bit too much. For example if the reviewer couldn’t use an iPad full-time, or if a specific group of tech people can’t either, then it must mean the device is the problem, and that no-one can use it for work. A lot of professionals exist outside the tech community, and a lot of them happily use the iPad for their work. But a lot of reviewers tend to ignore these people. Not every person is in the tech community.

It leads to another misconception, that if you can’t do your work on an iOS, then the iOS platform is somehow behind. Sure, there are loads of places where iOS can be improved. One of my biggest wishes is some way to develop apps for iOS, on iOS itself, that would be a huge chunk of users that could then do work on the iPad. But it doesn’t necessarily automatically apply to all work. For example, does a farmer moan about his tractor because he can’t do his taxes on it? No. It’s just one of the many tools they use to do their work. And the iPad is just another tool that people can use.

My last complaint is what I regularly see on Twitter, and that’s when people want proof about how people use their iPad, and they want the people that do happily use them for work, to explain how other people can as well. I don’t like this. They tend to put blame on happy iPad users, why they can’t become one themselves. Maybe this stems from jealousy, but it’s annoying to see.

I’ll end on what my current situation is: I like to work on my iPad, and I’d like to work even more on it, but that doesn’t mean the iPad is necessarily bad.

If anyone wants to know about why they can’t work on an iPad, my answer is: “I like to work on my iPad, and I can do a great deal on it. If you can’t, then oh well.”

05th November 2018

I’ve just got back from a week long trip to Barcelona, Spain. So I thought I’d share a few of my favourite photos. What’s surprising to me is that how only one of them is in black and white.

Anemone in one of the tanks at the Barcelona Aquarium.

Anemone in one of the tanks at the Barcelona Aquarium.

Skateboarders at Jardins de les Tres Xemeneies.

Skateboarders at Jardins de les Tres Xemeneies.

Our hotel rooftop.

Our hotel rooftop.

Barcelona beach.

Barcelona beach.

View from our hotel rooftop.

View from our hotel rooftop.

24th October 2018

Ben Lovejoy, writing for 9To5Mac:

It’s not unusual for celebrities paid to promote Android brands to be caught using an iPhone. In many cases, they have been caught out on Twitter – like Wonder Woman star Gal Gadot.

But Samsung appears to take the matter more seriously than most: they are suing their own Russian brand ambassador for using an iPhone X for a massive $1.6M …

Reality TV show host and politician Ksenia Sobchak is the face of Samsung in Russia, and is required by contract to use a Samsung smartphone. But the Mirror reports that she was seen on a television interview using an iPhone X.

I don’t blame them. Who would, given the option, use a Samsung phone 😜.

However, you’d probably either make a better effort to hide it, or just not become a Brand Ambassador.

24th October 2018

I just received some good news in an email from Apple. They’re finally reopening their Covent Garden store on the 26th October.

Come and see our brand-new space. Explore a wide range of inspiring Today at Apple sessions taking place every day. And learn new skills in everything from photography to design, music and more.

Join us to see just how far your creativity can take you.

They’ve got some interesting events already lined up:

  • Photo Walk: Capturing Covent Garden
  • Performance: Joncan Kavlakoglu
  • Kids Hour: Draw Along with the Moomins
  • Business Exclusive: Perfect Your Creative Pitch with Hubbub

Maybe I’ll have to start looking at going to some of them. I haven’t been to any events at an Apple store yet.

Apple – Covent Garden Creative Series

24th October 2018
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From an EU Press Release:

Single-use plastic items such as plates, cutlery, straws, balloon sticks or cotton buds, will be banned in the EU under plans adopted on Wednesday.

These products, which make up over 70% of marine litter, will be banned from the EU market from 2021, under draft plans approved by Parliament.

MEPs added to this list of plastics banned from the EU market from 2021: products made of oxo-degradable plastics, such as bags or packaging and fast-food containers made of expanded polystyrene.

Another step in the right direction.