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Month: June 2020

The 2020 Nathan’s Hot Dog Contest to Be Held Indoors, Without Fans

Chris Bengel, CBS Sports:

The annual Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest is synonymous with July 4th. Despite the coronavirus pandemic, the event is still going to be held, but it’s going to look a little bit different this year. Instead of holding the annual competition at the Coney Island boardwalk in Brooklyn, the contest will take place at a private indoor location nearby.

Since 1972, the majority of the contests have been held at the corner of Surf and Stillwell Avenues, where the original Nathan’s location stands. The 2020 edition will be the 104th installment of the popular eating competition.

At least the true national pastime gets to continue unabated in 2020.

’Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1 & 2’ Expands to Include 8 Brand New Skaters

James Mattone, Playstation.Blog:

You already know the legends of the Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1 and 2 roster – from Elissa Steamer to the Birdman himself, these extreme athletes defined an era of skateboarding.

Since then, those legends inspired the “next generation” of skaters, who would go on to expand the skateboarding community to a more global and connected scale, dominate the competition medal boards, and find a seat next to the O.G.’s as faces of the sport itself.

With the launch of Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1 and 2, Vicarious Visions are now bringing the past, present, and future of skateboarding together with eight additional skaters joining the lineup of OGs in this epic remaster.

These eight skaters – Lizzie Armanto, Leo Baker, Leticia Bufoni, Riley Hawk, Nyjah Huston, Tyshawn Jones, Aori Nishimura, and Shane O’Neill – will skate alongside the legendary roster of pros from 1999 and 2000 in Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1 and 2 and represent just a few of the latest shining stars in the sport today.

Just like the original pros, all eight of these skaters come with their own style, stats, and signature tricks to represent the strengths and accomplishments of their young careers.

Very cool to see the Tony Hawk franchise show some love to the modern generation of skating, and to also make sure that the gender split is 50/50, men and women!

Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1 & 2 lands an ollie on September 4, 2020, with a demo hitting on August 14, 2020.

20 Years Later, Aardman Animation to Team with Netflix to Produce ‘Chicken Run’ Sequel

John Hopewell, Variety:

20 years to the day after its theatrical release, Aardman Animation Studios has confirmed it will produce a “Chicken Run” sequel, this time backed by Netflix, who will distribute the film globally outside of China.

The sequel announcement was delivered during an Annecy Making Of panel on the festival’s digital platform. The sequel has long been rumored, though Netflix’s involvement is major news.

Netflix’s “Chicken Run” sequel will turn on Ginger, now living in a human-free chicken paradise. There, Ginger and Rocky hatch an egg together and daughter Molly is born. The girl grows up quickly, “as children do,” Fell explained, and Molly begins to outgrow the island. At the same time, rumors start to float of a new and terrible threat on the mainland, forcing Ginger to rally her troops and put their own hard-won freedom at risk for the good of all chicken-kind.

As a long-time Aardman fan, I am all for this. Just so long as Mel Gibson is far, far away from the final product.

Edit, June 24, 2020 at 7:57am: Good news, No Mel!

A Quick Look at Otterbox’s Brand New Cases for AirPods and AirPods Pro

Folks, as you’ve probably affirmed by my (good lord) 12 years of blogging, I’m a very big fan of Apple technology. I love how it all works and flows together, and yes, I do love the industrial design of their products as spearheaded by Jony Ive.

That said — I’m also kind of a klutz.

In turn, pretty much every single piece of kit which I own from Apple is wrapped up in a case, and my favorite of those cases is from the team at Otterbox.

Now, before you raise an eyebrow too high at my mention of Otterbox, I know what you’re thinking — the big, chunky phone protectors with built-in screen protectors and what not. But they actually cater beyond the construction site and military types.

For example, I really enjoy the Symmetry cases I have on my iPhone 11 Pro and iPad Pro. They’re slim, yet protective, and I rarely feel like I need to worry if I drop my device.

In turn, when word came out that Otterbox was releasing cases for the AirPods and AirPods Pro, as owners of both products, I knew I wanted to snap them up fast.

Meet the Ispra Series!

These cases feature a mixture of rubber bottoms and rock solid tops, along with a built-in carabiner.

I just got mine in the mail today, so I wanted to give you a quick look at how they turned out and what they look like on their respective devices (versus how they appear in the website renders).

AirPods Ispra Series

The AirPods Ispra Case in “Black Hole”
The AirPods Ispra Case from the Rear

AirPods Pro Ispra Series

The AirPods Pro Ispra Case in “Spacesuit Blue”.
The AirPods Pro Ispra Case, Open. Those are Comply Foam Tips on my earbuds.
The AirPods Pro Ispra Case from the rear.

These cases are available through Otterbox directly now, and if you don’t like the colors I picked, they also come in “Infinity Pink”, “Moon Crystal Grey” and a clear, “Black Crystal” version as well.

All and all, I think they’re pretty great, I just wish it was easy to close that little gap between the top and bottom.

If you own AirPods and want to make sure they’re nice and protected, I highly recommend these cases.

Some High Level Favorites from Today’s Apple WWDC 2020 Keynote

It was a socially distanced, video-only keynote this time around, as the first ever virtual WorldWide Developers Conference lead to a Keynote that was all killer, no filler.

I greatly enjoyed this format for Apple revealing their new features and projects for the forthcoming year, as I found it way better than the cheap cheering and such. Granted, I’m also a guy who has greatly preferred Nintendo’s Direct format to the E3 press conferences of old, so you know where my interests lie.

Anyway, using the press releases from Apple’s Newsroom site, let’s talk about the bits and bobs from each which I personally loved, though there was a lot for everyone.

Apple reimagines the iPhone experience with iOS 14

Apple today previewed iOS 14, introducing the biggest update ever to Home Screen pages with beautifully redesigned widgets and the App Library, a new way to tap into the App Store with App Clips, powerful updates to Messages, and more.
The new widgets present timely information at a glance and can be pinned in different sizes on any Home Screen page. Users can create a Smart Stack of widgets, which uses on-device intelligence to surface the right widget based on time, location, and activity.
Home Screen pages can display widgets that are customized for work, travel, sports, entertainment, and other areas of interest. At the end of the Home Screen pages is the App Library, a new space that automatically organizes all of a user’s apps into one simple, easy-to-navigate view, and intelligently surfaces apps that may be helpful in the moment. Users can choose how many Home Screen pages to display and easily hide pages for quicker access to the App Library.

In many ways, this was all about Apple bringing some level of parity to iOS which Android has had for a very long time, including on-screen Widgets and an App Drawer App Library for those of us (like me) who have a shit ton of apps and are tired of having to organize them manually.

I’m glad to see the learnings from watchOS play out here, and I can’t wait to see the widgets on my own home screen this June.

iPadOS 14 introduces new features designed specifically for iPad

Apple today previewed iPadOS 14, with new features and designs that take advantage of the unique capabilities of iPad and its large Multi-Touch display. iPadOS 14 introduces an all-new compact design for incoming FaceTime and phone calls, Siri interactions, and Search to help users stay focused on the task at hand. Apps have new sidebars and toolbars that consolidate controls in one place, making them more streamlined and powerful than ever. New Apple Pencil features, including Scribble for iPad, deliver a whole new way to work with handwritten notes, and ARKit 4 delivers a brand new Depth API that allows developers to create even more powerful features in their apps.

So, yeah, iPadOS 14 is all about bringing the iOS 14 options to iPad, but the entire additional layer of being able to work with and manipulate handwritten text and drawings, along with the “Scribble” integration into the OS proper was the first time in a long time I felt that Apple “magic” while seeing a new feature announced.

I am so glad I bought an iPad Pro just a few weeks ago as my primary personal computing device.

It was also around here that Apple showed off “Spacial Audio” for AirPods Pro, which basically made it sound like your AirPods could act as a virtual home theater, audio-wise. As an avid digital movie buyer, this felt like Apple was speaking directly to me, and I can’t wait to test it out.

watchOS 7 adds significant personalization, health, and fitness features to Apple Watch

Apple today previewed watchOS 7, delivering enhanced customization tools and powerful new health and fitness features to the world’s most advanced smartwatch. Personalization is taken to an entirely new level with shareable and discoverable watch face configurations, while sleep tracking, automatic handwashing detection, additional workout types including dance, and a new hearing health feature give greater insight into overall well-being and are designed with privacy in mind. Conveniently on the wrist, Maps is updated with cycling directions and Siri now offers language translation.

Nothing as major here, as watchOS hits its “refinement” phase, but I am very happy for the Sleep tracking along with the very-of-our-times handwashing tracking.

Apple introduces macOS Big Sur with a beautiful new design

Apple today previewed macOS Big Sur, the latest version of the world’s most advanced desktop operating system. macOS Big Sur introduces a beautiful redesign that is entirely new yet instantly familiar. Safari is packed with new features, including a customizable start page, elegantly designed and more powerful tabs, quick and easy translation, and a new Privacy Report. The updated Messages app lets Mac users send and receive more personal and expressive messages, and easily keep track of and interact within group messages. Maps also offers an all-new experience with immersive features for exploring and navigating the world.

This was the big one, as Apple finally brings us “macOS 11”, in everything but name.

I love the visual language, I love the fit and finish of what was shown. I need this on my MacBook Pro today.

But at the end of the day, this was just about setting the stage for a massive shift for Apple.

Apple announces Mac transition to Apple silicon

In a historic day for the Mac, Apple today announced it will transition the Mac to its world-class custom silicon to deliver industry-leading performance and powerful new technologies. Developers can now get started updating their apps to take advantage of the advanced capabilities of Apple silicon in the Mac. This transition will also establish a common architecture across all Apple products, making it far easier for developers to write and optimize their apps for the entire ecosystem.

Apple is going completely in house for their hardware and software needs. No longer do they need to wait and see what Intel has planned. Benchmarks have shown for years that the A-Series chips found in iPhones and iPads have run circles around the chips controlling Apple’s desktops and laptops. Now it’s time for the rubber to hit the road. I am incredibly excited to see what’s capable.

Of course, betas for all of these devices are due out today for devs, July for the public, and the final releases are due in the fall…probably with new iPhones and Apple Watches to take advantage of them.

Now comes the really fun part: people digging into the betas and finding the functions which weren’t shown off in the keynote.