The Next Track, Episode #200 – This Was the Year that Wasn’t

Another year is gone, and what a year. Four the 200th episode of The Next Track, we take stock of what 2020 meant for us musically, talk about some of the wonderful musicians we were able to interview in lockdown, and mention a couple of musical discoveries we have made.

Help support The Next Track by making regular donations via Patreon. We’re ad-free and self-sustaining so your support is what keeps us going. Thanks!

Support The Next Track.

Find out more at The Next Track website, or follow The Next Track on Twitter at @NextTrackCast.

Apple’s new ProRAW Photo Format Is Neither Pro nor Raw

Apple recently released iOS 14.3 which includes the new ProRAW photo format feature for iPhone 12 Pro models. As Apple explains:

Apple ProRAW combines the information of a standard RAW format along with iPhone image processing, which gives you more flexibility when editing the exposure, color and white balance in your photo.

This format is intended to offer higher quality photos while still benefiting from the computational photography features of the iPhone. However, Apple is exaggerating a bit, because this is not a raw file, and it’s not really a "pro" file either. Here’s why.

Read more

PhotoActive Podcast, Episode 83: Raw and ProRAW on the iPhone

Is Apple’s new raw photo implementation ProRAW or FauxRAW? In this episode, we look at why you’d want to shoot raw on an iPhone in the first place, and then dig into the details of Apple’s new ProRAW format, which is available only on the iPhone 12 Pro and iPhone 12 Pro Max.

Find out more, and subscribe to the podcast, at the PhotoActive website. You can follow The PhotoActive on Twitter at @PhotoActiveCast to keep up to date with new episodes, and join our Facebook group to chat with other listeners and participate in photo challenges and more.

Intego Mac Podcast, Episode #168: A Brief History of Adobe Flash Player: From Multimedia to Malware

On December 31, 2020, Adobe Flash Player is officially dead. This browser plugin, which provided multimedia content for the early internet, has been plagued by security issues, and became the most exploited vector for malware on the Mac. We look back on 25 years of Flash.

Subscribe to The Intego Mac Podcast, which I co-host with Josh Long. We talk about Macs and iOS devices, and how to keep them secure.

The History of Adobe Flash Player: From Multimedia to Malware

If you were an early adopter of the internet, you remember how the height of multimedia was the “blink” tag, that made text on a page flash. In order to go beyond the text and static image limitations of early web pages, a number of companies began developing tools to display rich multimedia content on the web, and the platform that became dominant was Adobe’s Flash.

Flash had the advantage of being lightweight, and, with a browser plugin, could run on multiple operating systems. But it was also a security nightmare, presenting vulnerabilities that were regularly exploited by malware creators. Its need for regular – sometimes weekly – updates meant that users were sensitized about the need to frequently updated their plugins. This worry was exploited, and eventually led fake Flash Player installers to be the leading vector for malware on the Mac.

Adobe has officially ended support for Flash on December 31, 2020. Here’s a look back at the checkered history of this multimedia and malware platform.

Read the rest of the article on The Mac Security Blog.

Intego Mac Podcast, Episode #167: Looking Back on the Year in Apple Security

As the year ends, we look back on the security issues that arose in 2020, including malware that bypassed Apple’s checks, Flash Player malware, and malware that specifically targeted Mac developers.

Subscribe to The Intego Mac Podcast, which I co-host with Josh Long. We talk about Macs and iOS devices, and how to keep them secure.

The Next Track, Episode #199 – Do You Know It’s Christmas?

We again re-run our much-loved Christmas show, because it was so good that we couldn’t imagine doing a better Christmas show. And because we really don’t want to do a new Christmas show. And because we’re really proud of the extensive show notes that took so long to collate.

Help support The Next Track by making regular donations via Patreon. We’re ad-free and self-sustaining so your support is what keeps us going. Thanks!

Support The Next Track.

Find out more at The Next Track website, or follow The Next Track on Twitter at @NextTrackCast.

Intego Mac Podcast, Episode #166: Understanding Apple’s App Privacy Information

Apple has introduced new app privacy information on its app stores, explaining how developers collect data. We also look at this week’s Apple updates, including one for iOS 12, and even iCloud for Windows. And we discuss how Google is manipulating links in emails, ostensibly to protect users.

Subscribe to The Intego Mac Podcast, which I co-host with Josh Long. We talk about Macs and iOS devices, and how to keep them secure.

Book Review: Modernist Bread, the Ultimate Bread Cookbook

Modernist books

I’ve been baking bread off and on for several decades; it’s a great pleasure to take flour, water, yeast, and salt and make something so wonderful. It’s a tactile experience when preparing, an almost sensual experience when it’s cooking, and a delight to eat fresh bread right out of the oven.

I’ve got a few bread cookbooks, but this year, with the lockdown, I’ve gotten back into making bread seriously, and I wanted to learn more. I’m the guy who wants to know not just how to make something, but why it works the way it does, because understanding how cooking works allows me to diverge from recipes.

Modernist slipcaseModernist Bread (Amazon) is the most extensive book available about bread and the science of bread and baking. In five volumes, at 2,600 pages, weighing a ridiculous 50 pounds (and with a very heavy stainless steel slipcase), this set is the culmination of years of research by the Modernist Cuisine group, founded by former Microsoft TCO Nathan Myhrvold. It follows a first set called Modernist Cuisine: The Art and Science of Cooking (Amazon), which covers other types of food, and a one-volume version of this set called Modernist Cuisine at Home (Amazon). Co-authored by Fransisco Migoya, a baker with many years of experience, Modernist Bread sets out to examine everything about bread, from ingredients to techniques, to the way dough rises, how bread bakes, and more.

I bought this set about a month ago, as an early Christmas present, and have been reading through it learning about the history of bread, and the many ingredients and techniques used when making bread, and this weekend I tried my first recipe. It is very different from the way I used to make bread, using techniques I wasn’t aware of (such as autolyse, four-edge folds of dough, etc.), and there’s a lot to learn, but I’m impressed by how much better this is than the bread I’ve made over the years. This book has highlighted how little information about techniques there is in other bread cookbooks; here, every detail is explained, though you have to jump around a lot through the various volumes to piece it all together. Recipes explain what tasks you perform with links to explanations in other volumes, so it can take a while to get a grasp on recipes in the beginning.

First bread

The books themselves are a bit unwieldy; at about 27x34cm, they are large and heavy. They could have been smaller; the fonts are quite large, but the huge pages show off the magnificent photography by Myhrvold and his team. (Myhrvold is an avid photographer, and there is another book available called The Photography of Modernist Cuisine (Amazon), which presents the photography used in these first books.) There is also a sixth volume, which is a spiral bound book on plastic paper, designed for use in the kitchen, which presents summaries of the recipes and more.

This is clearly not a set of books for everyone, in part because of its price. It lists at $625, and the current Amazon price is around $534, but when I bought it, there was a promotion with a “coupon” saving of $176. So if you are interested, keep your eyes open.

This is an investment for any serious baker who wants to learn why bread works the way it does, and who wants to discover the widest range of bread recipes. I’ll be learning from this for the rest of my life.