DxO Confirms: New Nik Collection Coming in 2018

Digital Photography Review:

The statement went out over Google Plus (go figure), where the DxO team welcomed the Nik community into the fold with the following announcement (emphasis added):

Dear Nik Collection users,

We at DxO are very pleased to welcome the Nik community! We wish you a very happy holiday season and a healthy and prosperous New Year: may you be inspired to take spectacular photos in 2018!

Like you, we are passionate about photography and image quality. That’s why we view this opportunity with Nik as a commitment to ensure that you — that all of us who enjoy taking photos — are guaranteed to have the very best solutions at our disposal.

You’ll be happy to know that our developers are enthusiastically working on a new version of the Nik Collection to be released in 2018!

For my money, an updated Silver Efex Pro would be worth almost any price they could reasonably ask!

Apple statement on ‘Meltdown’ and ‘Spectre’

Apple:

Security researchers have recently uncovered security issues known by two names, Meltdown and Spectre. These issues apply to all modern processors and affect nearly all computing devices and operating systems. All Mac systems and iOS devices are affected, but there are no known exploits impacting customers at this time. Since exploiting many of these issues requires a malicious app to be loaded on your Mac or iOS device, we recommend downloading software only from trusted sources such as the App Store. Apple has already released mitigations in iOS 11.2, macOS 10.13.2, and tvOS 11.2 to help defend against Meltdown. Apple Watch is not affected by either Meltdown or Spectre. In the coming days we plan to release mitigations in Safari to help defend against Spectre. We continue to develop and test further mitigations for these issues and will release them in upcoming updates of iOS, macOS, and tvOS.

ESPN NFL Playoffs Primer

Regarding the Tennessee Titans (9-7):

Reason for hope: Uhhh … they beat the Jaguars twice, which helps give them confidence they can beat the Jaguars. And hey, if DeMarco Murray can get back healthy, they have a 1-2 running back punch that can theoretically help them control games and maybe win ugly.

You know, if the Ravens had beaten the Bengals, we’d have been the sixth seed, played the Jaguars again next week, and probably beaten them for a third time this season and advanced to the Divisional round. Thanks Baltimore! Instead, we wind up the fifth seed, have to travel to Kansas City next week, and well, we have a spotty record against the Chiefs in recent years, so, who knows?

Happy Festivus!

I would like to extend to everyone my warmest wishes for a Happy Festivus and a Happy Holiday season.

Vincent Laforet: Expect 200-300% speed bump from iMac Pro

Vincent Laforet writing at his blog:

Whether you’re editing 8K RED video, H.264 4K Drone footage, 6K 3D VR content or 50 Megapixel RAW stills – you can expect a 200-300% increase in performance in almost every industry leading software with the iMac Pro.

I’ve seldom seen a jump this dramatic before on any new generation of Macs – 20%-30% speed increases are the norm … NOT 200%-300% increases. That’s SIGNIFICANT.

Google collects Android users’ locations even when location services are disabled

Keith Collins at Quartz:

Many people realize that smartphones track their locations. But what if you actively turn off location services, haven’t used any apps, and haven’t even inserted a carrier SIM card?

Even if you take all of those precautions, phones running Android software gather data about your location and send it back to Google when they’re connected to the internet, a Quartz investigation has revealed.

There’s just no two-ways about it: That sucks.

WATCH series 3 battery is amazing

Wow. Just wow. I’ve been wearing an original WATCH Sport (series 0?) since May of 2015 and have been quite pleased with it all this time, but having recently upgraded to an WATCH series 3 GPS + Cellular, I’m just blown away at how much better the battery life is. I’ve gone from “topping off” the battery twice a day to only having to charge my WATCH once a day—and I sleep with mine on so as to track my sleep. I seriously get 24 hours of use with plenty of battery remaining! Wow.

Vintage EPA photos reveal what America looked like before pollution was regulated

 

The Trump administration plans to kill the Clean Power Plan, the Obama administration’s main initiative to fight climate change by lowering emissions, the Environmental Protection Agency’s administrator, Scott Pruitt, said Monday.

[…]

Pruitt has reportedly spent much of his term meeting with executives and lobbyists from companies and industries regulated by the EPA. Many reports also suggest that Pruitt’s primary aim is to eliminate environmental protections and dismantle much of the regulatory agency.

[…]

If Pruitt succeeds in rolling back a significant portion of the rules meant to protect air and water quality, we’d return to the state the US was in before these things were regulated.

 

These photos are startling—take a look.  And this wasn’t that many years ago, after all, the EPA was only founded in 1970…

 

Steve Jobs knew what the fuck he was doing…

Six years ago today, The Onion:

CUPERTINO, CA—Steve Jobs, the visionary co-founder of Apple Computers and the only American in the country who had any clue what the fuck he was doing, died Wednesday at the age of 56.

Usually people say, “it doesn’t seem like __x__ years,” but in this case, I have to say that it seems like forever since Steve Jobs was on stage at an Apple Keynote, or even being interviewed by the press.  For me, at least, it seems like it’s been a lot longer than 6 years…

Speaking of collusion (and treason)…

The Vietnam War, Episode 7: The Veneer of Civilization (June 1968 – May 1969) at 51:55-55:42, Ken Burns and Lynn Novick (2017):

NARRATOR: But on October 31st [1968], just five days before the election, the president himself made a surprise announcement.  He was stopping all bombing of North Vietnam.  There had been real progress in Paris, he said.  Hanoi had agreed for the first time to talk with Saigon, and the United States had agreed to include the Viet Cong.  It suddenly looked as if peace were possible.

Humphrey was jubilant.  His poll number rose overnight.  He was confident he would now be able to overtake Nixon.

But then, on November 2nd, with just three days to go until Americans went to the polls, President Thieu suddenly announced that the South Vietnamese government would not attend the proposed talks after all.  A representative of the Nixon campaign, at the candidate’s personal direction, had secretly contacted the Saigon government, urging Thieu to stay away from the talks, promising that once Nixon was elected, he would drive a harder bargain with Hanoi than Humphrey would.

Thanks to a CIA bug planted in Thieu’s Saigon office and an FBI wiretap on the South Vietnamese embassy in Washington, [Lyndon] Johnson got wind of what had happened and called his friend Everett Dirksen, the Republican Senate minority leader, to warn him that the Nixon people were committing treason.

 

[via LBJ tape recordings]

LBJ: I’m reading their hand, Everett.  I don’t want to get this in the campaign.

DIRKSEN: That’s right.

LBJ: And they oughtn’t to be doing this.  This is treason.

DIRKSEN: I know.

LBJ: And I think it would shock America if a principal candidate was playing with a source like this on a matter this important.

DIRKSEN: Yeah.

LBJ: I know this—that they’re contacting a foreign power in the middle of a war.

DIRKSEN: That’s a mistake.

LBJ: And its a damn bad mistake.

[end of phone conversation]

 

[via LBJ tape recordings]

NIXON: Uh, Mr. President?

LBJ: Yes.

NIXON: This is Dick Nixon.

LBJ: Yes Dick.

NIXON: I, uh, just went on Meet the Press and said that, uh, I had given you my personal assurance that, uh, I would do everything possible to cooperate both before the election and if elected, after the election.  I just wanted you to know that, uh, I feel very, very strongly about this and, uh, any, uh, rumblings around about, uh, somebody, uh, trying to, uh, sabotage the Saigon government’s attitude certainly has no, absolutely no credibility as far as I’m concerned.

LBJ: That’s, that’s—I’m very happy to hear that Dick because that is taking place.

NIXON: My God, I would never do anything to encourage Saigon not to come to the table because basically, that was what you got.

LBJ: Well that’s good Dick.

NIXON: We’ve got to get this goddamned war off the plate, the quicker the better, and the hell with the political credit.  Believe me.

LBJ: Thank you Dick.

[end of phone conversation]

 

NARRATOR: Nixon was lying and Johnson knew it.  But to go public with the information, the president would have to reveal the methods by which he had learned of the Republican candidate’s duplicity.  He was unwilling to do so.  Nixon’s secret was safe.  The American public was never told that the regime for which 35,000 Americans had died, had been willing to boycott peace talks to help elect Richard Nixon or that he had been willing to delay an end to the bloodshed in order to get elected.