Apple TV and Xfinity Partner Program?

As I mentioned back when I got my new Apple TV, Comcast making it’s internet-based TV solution available for the Apple TV would be a huge win for everyone. It let’s Comcast keep their foot in the door with folks who are heavily invested in streaming media, and it gives Apple a solution for live TV on the Apple TV.

Comcast just announced their Xfinity Partner Program, which in theory, would allow Apple to deliver the app themselves, integrating the Xfinity on-demand library (and maybe even DVR and live tv guide) into the Siri voice search.

For folks who are already invested in the Comcast eco-system, but spend a lot of time on their Apple TVs, this could be a big win, eliminating flipping back and forth between inputs, and bringing Hulu, Netflix, and other streaming services into the same interface as your live cable. Hopefully, Apple sees the value here, as it could act as a gateway to get more folks into Apple TVs.

Two Wonderful Garry Shandling Tributes

I don’t remember where I came across these, but I didn’t have a chance to point to them. It’s a few weeks out now, but I find these to both be incredibly fitting and wonderful.

My own Garry Handling story is, I think, incredibly similar to many people’s. It’s Garry Shandling’s Show aired originally on Showtime, but ended up airing on Fox in 1988. I’m not sure how far in I discovered it, but I was 10 or 11, and I thought the theme song, breaking the 4th wall, and meta humor were just the funniest things I’d ever seen. I think it was probably the beginning of me recognizing what I really found funny, and that it wasn’t always the TGIF-brand family sitcom.

I remember setting my VCR to try to record as many episodes as I could.

(It was probably both It’s Garry Shandling’s Show and Sledge Hammer! that let me know my humor leaned a bit to the off-beat. Sledge Hammer! belongs on Netflix streaming.)

Anyway, I thought these two videos were really fitting, human tributes.

Obamacare Works

I flagged this article the other day.

Under “Obamacare,” the share of Americans without health insurance has dropped to a historic low of about 9 percent, with room to go even lower. But even as the economy has expanded, major government surveys point to a lackluster rebound for employer-based coverage.
“It’s very clear that the Affordable Care Act has done most of the work in decreasing the number of uninsured,” said economist Robert Kaestner of the University of Illinois Chicago.

It’s really hard to argue, using non-gamed statistics, that Obamacare hasn’t been a success. It’s likely it’d be even more successful with some sort of single payer option, but progress is progress.

Yes, there are problems (e.g. still poor coverage at higher premiums, some confusion and poorly run state markets). But improving Obamacare (again, some sort of single payer option, expanding Medicare to cover more lower income folks) is almost inarguably the path we should be taking.

(Via Daily Kos.)

Interesting Juxtaposition

First, from The Guardian:

I would be “dead rich”, to adapt an infamous Clinton phrase, if I could bill for all the hours I’ve spent covering just about every “scandal” that has enveloped the Clintons. As an editor I’ve launched investigations into her business dealings, her fundraising, her foundation and her marriage. As a reporter my stories stretch back to Whitewater. I’m not a favorite in Hillaryland. That makes what I want to say next surprising.

Hillary Clinton is fundamentally honest and trustworthy.

As for her statements on issues, Politifact, a Pulitzer prize-winning fact-checking organization, gives Clinton the best truth-telling record of any of the 2016 presidential candidates. She beats Sanders and Kasich and crushes Cruz and Trump, who has the biggest “pants on fire” rating and has told whoppers about basic economics that are embarrassing for anyone aiming to be president. (He falsely claimed GDP has dropped the last two quarters and claimed the national unemployment rate was as high as 35%).

Now, from the GOP Town Hall last night. CNN’s fact checking:

Reality Check: Cruz on the Muslim Brotherhood

Verdict: False.

Reality Check: Cruz on Wall Street Journal article on Arizona immigration

It’s true that the Journal story said that spending on education dropped by hundreds of millions of dollars. But Cruz exaggerates the other claims, so we rate them as false.

Reality Check: Cruz on anti-ISIS campaign

Verdict: False.

Reality Check: Cruz on 2009 Fort Hood attack

Verdict: False.[1]

Reality Check: Cruz on NYPD surveillance of Muslim neighborhoods

is completely false.[2]

Reality Check: Trump on refugees

we rate this statement false.

Reality Check: Trump on NATO and terrorism

Verdict: False.

Reality Check: Trump says reporter grabbed him

Verdict: False.

Reality Check: Trump on self-funding

Verdict: False.

Reality Check: Trump on San Bernardino

Verdict: False.

Reality Check: Kasich on beating Clinton in polls

Verdict: True.

Reality Check: Kasich on Ohio job creation

It’s false that Ohio is now among the top 10 in terms of job creation.

I don’t even know how you combat that.

  1. This one is amazing, as it’s Cruz lying about his home state. He claimed Florida was his home state. Maybe everyone who has some Cuban heritage gets to claim Florida as their home state?  ↩
  2. This was actually a long ranging answer that went false, true, false. But, it was primarily false. You can read the article for the details.  ↩

The GOP Lab Experiment in Kansas

The Koch-backed Kansas Policy Institute predicted that Brownback’s 2013 tax plan would generate $323 million in new revenue. During its first full year in operation, the plan produced a $688 million loss

This article is entirely damning of the tea party, ultra-free market, low business taxes, “let them eat cake”, GOP philosophy. There’s a balance to be found in taxing corporations, but the current-ish crop of GOP establishment candidates (Cruz, Rubio, Perry, etc.) seem to believe in the fallacy of corporate trickle down economics.

And it hurts those least able to defend themselves.

Between 2010 and 2012, Kansas saw income growth of 6.1 percent, good for 12th in the nation; from 2013 to 2015, that rate was 3.6 percent, good for 41st.

I’d be willing to bet a whole bunch of jellybeans that the income growth rate disproportionately impacts low-to-middle income households.

There’s a reason the Trump campaign is resonating with the disenfranchised on the right. Many of the voters don’t realize it, but their party has left them behind in favor of uber-social conservatives with an ultra-libertarian view on the role of government, who look at them as collateral damage in a big fiscal experiment.

The Reagan Republicans, who Ted Cruz claims to carry the mantle of, are really voting for Trump, who’s championing the middle class, hawkish (albeit nuance-less) foreign policy, and middle-of-the-road social views.[1]

It’s remarkable that Donald Trump, who is spouting absolutely insane policy proposals, is somehow the most relatable and electable Republican candidate.[2]

(Via NYMag.)

  1. Whether or not this is a winning strategy is TBD. I don’t think it is, as this is a rapidly diminishing group of voters. Those policies don’t resonate, I think, with a majority of today’s electorate.  ↩
  2. It’s not lost on me that the Democrats have run out two life-long politicians, one who is a Socialist and one with a history of taking, shall we say, politically expedient positions. I still voted for Hillary (I think she’s well-prepared for the job and well-connected in Washington with the non-Tea Party wing of the GOP). I’ll vote for Bernie in a heartbeat if he’s the nominee (but he won’t be).  ↩

Stupid Siri Won’t Read Me Text Messages

In hindsight, this makes a ton of sense. For the last 3–4 months, however, it’s been infuriating.

I have a tendency to have Siri read me my text messages if I’m out walking or driving. It worked forever. In the old days, hold down the button, ask Siri to read the unread text messages, and then you could respond. Since I got my iPhone 6S, it was even easier—if I was in speaking distance, just say “Hey Siri, read me my text message” and she would.

Until a few months ago, when Siri said “I’m sorry, you’ll need to unlock your iPhone for that.”

Say what? Why you gotta be that way?

I googled and binged and duck-ducked for the last few months. I always assumed it was a bug. The only fix I ever saw was a factory reset, which I wasn’t going to do.

When iOS 9.3 came out yesterday and I got a new text message, I figured “Ah, maybe it’s fixed! Let’s give it a shot!”

“Hey, Siri, read me my text messages, please”

“I’m sorry, you’ll need to unlock your iPhone for that.”

Oh, Siri, it’s on.

I kept poking around the settings and turning things off and on to no avail. Finally, I noticed that I had turned off showing text messages on the lock screen (which was a result of a text barrage I was on the end of months ago and was sick of my phone lighting up every 2 seconds).

Hmm … I mean … if I didn’t want messages on my lock screen, it probably makes sense that Siri shouldn’t read them to someone who walks by.

Flip that switch, Siri is back to being my best friend.

So, again, in hindsight, this makes sense. The UI doesn’t make this obvious though. Somewhere in the UI it should say “This will also prevent Siri from reading you text messages on a locked phone”, or when you try to do it, Siri should say “I can’t do that. You can change that setting here.”

Or something.

Anyway, my phone outsmarted me and Siri and I are cool again.

Owning Your Own Social Media Content

I’ve been linking to Manton Reece a good bit lately, as he’s hitting on some topics that I’ve been thinking about. Namely how do you ensure that while you’re putting stuff into Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, etc., you ensure that you own the canonical versions of your files (or at least make it so that when one of those businesses pivots, gets bought, whatever, you don’t lose everything).

“I rarely post photos here on my own site. I’ve stuck with using Instagram instead.
I need to change that. I do like the Instagram app, though, so I’m going to keep using it. I’ll just copy the photos over to my site as well, and I’ll use Workflow on iOS to help automate it.”

He made a nice workflow for the Workflow app for iOS. Workflow is really cool, and sometimes you just need a little kickstart to get going.

I loved the idea of making it easy to post photos to this here blog, so I adapted his workflow a bit to make one that’s a bit more generic. You can find that here.

With it, I can take any photo on my phone and post it over to my site in about 10 seconds. You can see an example with this post about the bottle of Pretty Things I opened up the other day (two more bottles of Jack D’Or hanging out in my fridge for a special occasion).