Archive for January 21, 2021

Thursday, January 21, 2021 [Tweets] [Favorites]

Beeper Brings iMessage to Android and Windows

Hartley Charlton (tweet):

New universal chat app “Beeper” combines 15 different chat platforms into a single inbox and offers iMessage on Android and Windows (via The Verge).

[…]

The app is “using some trickery” to achieve this, with the website’s FAQ revealing that an always-online Mac running the Beeper app is needed to use as a bridge. Alternately, Beeper will ship a “Jailbroken iPhone with the Beeper app installed which bridges to iMessage” to users unable to use a Mac.

Previously:

Update (2021-02-08): John Gruber:

The idea of a single app with support for multiple messaging services harks back to Adium — and even Apple’s own iChat, which supported several services back in the day (AIM, Jabber, Yahoo, ICQ, and more). One of Beeper’s founders is Eric Migicovsky, who created the Pebble smartwatch back in 2013. When Beeper was announced two weeks ago, he tweeted to confirm that the jailbroken old iPhone trick was no joke, with photos.

Notes on Activation Lock: Apple Silicon Management Challenges

Nathaniel Strauss:

EFI (Extensible Firmware Interface) no longer exists on Apple silicon and along with it has gone EFI passwords. In the past, EFI passwords secured recovery and prevented Macs from using most boot modifiers at startup. A user couldn’t enter recovery, do a PRAM reset, enter target disk mode or perform a whole host of other useful functions without first entering a password.

[…]

Minor differences until point number three. To emphasize, anyone with physical access can to erase the disk, with or without FileVault. Sure, they can’t boot to recoveryOS without entering a FileVault user’s password first, but the erase option exists before authentication.

[…]

Activation Lock would work well as an enterprise alternative to EFI passwords except for the fact MDM can’t enable it on Mac.

Intel Problems

Ben Thompson:

In fact, the x86 business proved far too profitable to take such a radical step, which is the exact sort of “problem” that leads to disruption: yes, Intel avoided Microsoft’s fate, but that also means that the company never felt the financial pain necessary to make such a dramatic transformation of its business at a time when it might have made a difference (and, to be fair, Andy Grove needed the memory crash of 1984 to get the company to fully focus on processors in the first place).

[…]

This is why Intel needs to be split in two. Yes, integrating design and manufacturing was the foundation of Intel’s moat for decades, but that integration has become a strait-jacket for both sides of the business. Intel’s designs are held back by the company’s struggles in manufacturing, while its manufacturing has an incentive problem.

Ian Cutress (Hacker News):

We’re following the state of play with Intel’s new CEO, Pat Gelsinger, very closely. Even as an Intel employee for 30 years, rising to the rank of CTO, then taking 12 years away from the company, his arrival has been met with praise across the spectrum given his background and previous successes. He isn’t even set to take his new role until February 15th, however his return is already causing a stir with Intel’s current R&D teams.

News in the last 24 hours, based on public statements, states that former Intel Senior Fellow Glenn Hinton, who lists being the lead architect of Intel’s Nehalem CPU core in his list of achievements, is coming out of retirement to re-join the company. (The other lead architect of Nehalem are Ronak Singhal and Per Hammerlund - Ronak is still at Intel, working on next-gen processors, while Per has been at Apple for five years.)

See also: Nvidia’s Integration Dreams.

Previously:

Update (2021-01-22): John Gruber:

Gelsinger, speaking in early 2021, knows that Intel fell behind years ago — in an industry where it’s notoriously hard to catch up. He’s taking over a ship that already hit an iceberg and is in need of saving. Sometimes you talk trash about your opponent because you’re an idiot. But other times, you talk a little trash to fire up your own team.

Why Webcams Aren’t Good Enough

Jeff Carlson:

But the issue wasn’t just that Camo gives you better picture quality. I wanted to dig into why webcam technology is so far behind. Even today, in 2021, the Logitech C920 is recommended by many, many magazines and outlets as being the best webcam you can buy. The C920 was released 8 years ago and is still essentially the same hardware. It has terrible color and blows out highlights. Logitech’s top-of-the-line BRIO 4K webcam, which retails for $200 but for most of last year couldn’t be had for less than $350 if you could find one at all, does a better job with highlights but is strangely soft and blurry. The Kiyo Razer, a clever webcam with a built-in ring light, has so much trouble focusing that it can give you a headache if you don’t sit completely still.

So I wrote a giant, 5,000-plus word article breaking it all down: Why webcams aren’t good enough. It’s full of example images and video comparisons, details my methodology, and speculates about why the webcam field has been largely stagnant.

This is one feature that is not rumored to be improving.

Previously:

Update (2021-01-22): David Owens II:

Why buy an expensive webcam when you can buy a significantly better camera?

The market for high quality web-cams is just non-existent; there’s little profit to be made by companies there. Top-end streamers don’t use them (small market anyhow) and Zoom/Skype users don’t need them... who is left?

Elgato:

With Cam Link 4K, simply hook up your DSLR, camcorder, or action cam to your PC or Mac.

[…]

Coupled with Cam Link 4K, your camera appears as a webcam in all your favorite apps. Superb quality at 1080p60 or even up to 4K at 30 frames per second keeps your stream professional.

Update (2021-01-26): Tim Brookes:

So, why not use your iPhone as a webcam for your video meetings instead? Here’s how to do it.