There’s a lot to celebrate in this week’s ExtraBITS: Adam and Tonya Engst discuss ten years of Take Control with Chuck Joiner on the MacVoices podcast, Google commemorates 50 years of “Doctor Who” with a special doodle, and Joe Kissell joined the Panel podcast to talk Thanksgiving turkey. We also take a look at how the iPhone 5s stacks up to its forebears, the purpose of Snapchat, Apple paying for water-damaged devices, and Google’s self-driving car.
Adam and Tonya Engst Share Stories about Ten Years of Take Control on MacVoices — In this episode of MacVoices, Adam and Tonya Engst talk with host Chuck Joiner about the past ten years of Take Control Books. But instead of rehashing the same old ground, the conversation caromed around in unusual directions, with questions about where the “Take Control” name came from, why “series” is such an important concept, how and why Take Control’s production process has evolved over time, and what it means to do professional publishing. Well worth a listen if you’re at all interested in the world of publishing.
Celebrate Doctor Who’s 50th Anniversary with a Google Doodle — To commemorate the 50th anniversary of the British sci-fi series “Doctor Who,” Google has created an elaborate “doodle” that is actually a retro-style Doctor Who game. Play as any one of the 11 Doctors, dodging Daleks, Cybermen, and Weeping Angels, as you travel through time and space. One particularly nice touch: if your Doctor dies, he regenerates into his next incarnation.
Joe Kissell Talks Turkey on the Panel — Our own Joe Kissell, donning his foodie hat as author of “Take Control of Thanksgiving Dinner,” joined host Benjamin Alexander and the co-hosts of the Food Safety Talk podcast — Ben Chapman and Don Schaffner — on the Panel podcast to discuss Thanksgiving dinner. Topics included the best thermometers for the bird, a vigorous debate over food safety, and whether pumpkin pie can kill you.
Fascinating Speed Comparison across All iPhone Models — There’s no question that the A7 chip in the iPhone 5s is the fastest processor ever to grace an iPhone, but how does the performance it provides compare with that enjoyed by previous generations of the iPhone? In this fascinating YouTube video, user EverythingApplePro lines up eight iPhone models and shows how they compare at powering up and down, and loading several Web sites.
Confused by the Fuss over Snapchat? — Us too. For those who haven’t heard, Snapchat is a service that lets you take and annotate a photo, send it to friends, and have it self-destruct shortly after being viewed (but not before a recipient could take a screenshot, rendering the ephemerality of the system moot). The company is massively popular among the 13–23-year-old set, to the tune of 350 million snaps sent per day, and recently made news for turning down a $3 billion acquisition offer from Facebook, despite having no revenues or business model. For full description and analysis, see Roy Murdock’s excellent essay — and yes, the title gives away his conclusion — “Am I Going Insane? Snapchat Is Intrinsically Worthless.”
Apple Now Paying for Water-Damaged Devices — Apple’s Reuse and Recycling Program will now give you an Apple Store gift card in exchange for a water-damaged device. Previously, Apple’s trade-in program wouldn’t accept soggy iPhones, iPads, or Macs. Now, according to CNET, Apple will offer $235 for a water-damaged iPhone 32 GB Verizon iPhone 5 that still works, as opposed to $265 for a non-damaged model. A non-functional device will score you $35 at most, but it’s better than nothing.
A Look into the Past, Present, and Future of the Self-Driving Car — Could Google’s most significant impact on the world be not its search engine, but its work into self-driving cars? We won’t know for years, perhaps longer, but it’s clear from this New Yorker article by Burkhard Bilger that technology is no longer the gating factor. Instead, it’s more a question of law, liability, and social change.