Author Archives: Mike

Rick and Morty canceled after 3 seasons

Adult Swim’s smash hit Rick and Morty has been canceled following the end of its highly-viewed third season. The decision to end the show came not from the network, but from co-creators Dan Harmon and Justin Roiland. The duo announced the cancellation Friday in a video posted to the Adult Swim Facebook page.

“The show’s mission is complete,” Roiland states triumphantly during the video in which the collaborators reveal that the entire series was a long con created solely for the purpose of generating a large enough base of rabid fans that they could effectively force a multi-billion-dollar corporation to do whatever they wanted.

The story starts in late 2011, when Roiland says he mentioned to Harmon that he was craving McDonald’s Szechuan sauce, a limited-edition McNugget dipping sauce that the fast food giant had released as part of a promotional tie-in for the Disney movie Mulan. When Harmon confessed that he had never tried the sauce during its availability, Roiland hatched a plan to get it back into production so Harmon could get his hands on it.

“It took a lot of work to convince the big-wigs at Adult Swim that the show was worth the investment,” Harmon recounts mid-way through the video. “It’s honestly the most juvenille—maybe, I would even say, infantile—thing that I’ve ever worked on, which is really saying something when you think back to my involvement with Channel 101.”

“Yeah, this has been really one of my least favorite projects,” Roiland chimes in. “It’s terrible. I hate it. I wish we didn’t have to go through all of this to get the McNugget sauce back. I’m not even sure it was worth it. It’s almost embarrassing to be recognized for this now.”

“Totally not worth it,” Harmon immediately concludes with a frown.

A brief interview with Mike Lazzo, who was Senior VP of Programming and Production at Adult Swim when Rick and Morty debuted, is appended to the video. In the clip, Lazzo details the network’s initial hesitation regarding the sci-fi comedy:

“A lot of people at the network were very concerned with the low-brow humor and rapid-fire pop culture references. They were afraid that half of the show’s jokes would fly right over the heads of viewers who tuned in for the other half of the jokes. A lot of them only agreed to greenlight the show after I reiterated Justin’s promise that this was all just to get some McNugget sauce back on the market and then it was over.”

Indeed, Harmon and Roiland fondly reminisce on the many meetings in which they had to reassure network execs that the show would never survive past its third or fourth season.

“We were really relying on the idea that we could create the same sort of fanbase that Dan had created with [NBC’s Harmon-produced sitcom] Community to drive this project,” said Roiland, as Harmon nodded his agreement. “I told them a few times that I had no intention of keeping this thing going very long. That really put them at ease with the whole situation.”

It was at the end of the show’s second season that the producers decided they had generated enough interest to bully the second-largest fast food chain in the world into resurrecting a long-discontinued menu item. A number of factors went into this determination, including live TV viewership numbers and activity levels on the Rick and Morty subreddit.

“When we saw the buzz we were getting online and we saw how many people were watching, we figured we had probably reached critical mass. It was time to go ahead and start winding things down,” Harmon explained.

Soon, the writing staff had started to put the plan into action. Mike McMahan was selected to write the season 3 premiere, which Adult Swim agreed to air completely unannounced as an April Fool’s Day surprise. The episode’s plot revolved in large part around the Szechuan sauce, complete with a closing scene that mirrored the popular closing moments of the pilot episode for maximum fan recognition.

The network played the episode on a loop for the entire night of April 1, 2017 in the hopes that by catching the viewers off-guard, they could capitalize on frantic web chatter to drive the most dedicated fans into a frenzy. The plan worked, and Google Trends showed spikes for searches related to the sauce every half hour as the episode came to an end and started over.

Fans flooded McDonald’s social media and web contact forms to demand that the sauce be brought back to the menu. The burger chain acquiesced in short order and began working on recreating the recipe. Soon, Roiland had a gallon of the stuff in his possession, and McDonald’s was pushing a one-day-only comeback to promote their new chicken tenders.

With the show’s one true goal fulfilled, Harmon was able to try to elusive condiment for the first time, and the co-creators could finally free themselves of the monster they had created.

“I don’t think anyone caught it, but the episode Meeseeks and Destroy was actually a not-so-subtle hint at what we were doing with the series as a whole,” Harmon revealed. “The show is an abomination, no doubt about it, and it was created to serve a singular purpose. To do that, it had to keep growing and multiplying to the point that we thought it would probably kill us both. Its existence was pain for us, but now that it’s accomplished its goal, it can finally die in peace.”

“That was our series arc, Morty!” Roiland shouts in his “Rick” voice.

Apple introduces iPhone 7S with all-new Pro Audio Port

Apple Inc. today announced its next-generation iPhone, dubbed the iPhone 7S, which features an all-new Pro Audio Port for use with professional audio equipment. The new connector, which was first included on the latest MacBook Pro models, is a sleek 3.5mm jack that allows the smartphone to connect to an array of audio accessories.

“We’re really proud of the work our engineering team has done to bring this innovative new connector to mobile devices,” said Apple marketing SVP Phil Schiller. “With the inclusion of the 3.5mm Pro Audio Port, professionals in the music industry can take full advantage of their iPhones to create and capture their inspiration anywhere they go.”

The benevolent company has graciously opened the Pro Audio Port as a free-to-use standard for accessory makers, which will allow it to be used not just in specially-built partner devices, but in a wide array of consumer hardware applications. Of the decision to make the port an open standard, Schiller said, “We’re excited to see what new uses the industry comes up with for this port to enable even the average customer to create or enjoy music and other audio recordings on-the-go. We think this is a big win for portable audio.”

Apple has already captured the attention of many accessory makers, who have integrated the new connector into their audio products. From speaker and headphone manufacturers such as Apple-owned Beats to third parties like Bose, and even car makers like Ford and Honda, a plethora of companies have already expressed an interest in incorporating the new technology into their hardware.

“At Ford, we’re always looking for the next big thing in mobile connectivity. That’s why we created our revolutionary SYNC technology with Microsoft, and why we were quick to adopt features like Siri Eyes-Free and CarPlay. Now, we’re looking to the future with Apple’s universal media adapter. This is going to be the audio connector that propels us forward for years to come,” said Ford CTO Raj Nair.

Ford is expected to include support for the Pro Audio Port (marketed by Ford as an “Audio Universal Experience,” or “AUX”) right in the dashboard of its entire 2018 vehicle lineup.

But at Apple, while these other uses may serve to make the port more useful for general consumers, pro users remain the primary use case.

“We’ve always been focused on the professional and prosumer market,” Schiller said in an interview with CNET following the unveiling. “That’s why we take the time to keep products like the Mac Pro up-to-date with the latest industry changes. It’s why we removed the useless function and escape keys from the MacBook Pro and replaced them with an ever-changing strip of touchscreen controls.”

Later in the interview, he further commented on the company’s commitment to pro users: “The professional market has always been one of our key demographics. They’re a big part of why Apple is what it is today. We want to keep taking care of them the way they’ve taken care of us. That’s why we’re proud when we can show off these amazing new innovations that will help them do more. That’s what Apple is all about.”

Twitter Inc. is the federal government

This is adapted and expanded from a Twitter rant.

Twitter Inc. is the federal government and third-party developers are state and local government. Individual apps represent industries, and Twitter users function as regular citizens who vote, work, and live within the system. Allow me to elaborate.

Twitter Inc. originally provided a framework for the third parties to build on, but left them autonomous in many regards. They could make their design their apps however they wanted. They could decide which features they wanted to support and which ones they didn’t. If their apps were useful to a large number of people, the developers could sell them and make a living.

However, in recent years, Twitter Inc has continued to remove more and more authority from developers, increasing regulation of apps. They’ve decreed that third-party Twitter apps must support specific features. They’ve ordered developers to make their apps look alike, even dictating the placement of profile photos, timestamps, and other metadata.

Perhaps most egregiously, they’ve told app developers that anyone making a new app for viewing a Twitter timeline can only have 20,000 users. After the 20,000th user has logged into a specific app, Twitter will block additional people from using it.

With these API token limits, Twitter Inc. effectively told third parties to take a hike. “Sure, you CAN do great things, but we’ll limit your profit.” These new regulations stifle third-party app development. With so much regulation on how apps can look and function, and how many users they can support, developers no longer care to put in the work to create great software. Why bother when you’ll be limited to such a small user base, thereby limiting the number of copies of your app you can sell and the money you can make from your work?

If Twitter Inc. started deregulating third-party apps at the federal level, developers would be free to institute design choices and features catering to the unique needs of their apps and users.

As the apps become better and increase their user base (here an analog for employment) more people benefit from the overall Twitter service.  Twitter Inc. can’t possibly be responsible for maintaining the well-being of every single app. Developers and their users (“employees” who “vote” by purchasing apps) can work together to determine what works best & improve the service for everyone.

People want different things from the Twitter service (the overall system of government that we all live within). App developers (state and local government) can help meet the needs of specific groups with more care and precision by implementing policies (features and design choices) that benefit their applications (industries and businesses) than Twitter Inc. (the federal government), which forces a one-fit solution on everyone whether it benefits them or harms them.

Apple announces nothing

we have nothing

Apple CEO Tim Cook excitedly took the stage today during a special media event to announce that the Cupertino-based tech giant has nothing left to announce.

“We are completely out of ideas,” the executive told the gathered crowd of developers and press, before launching into a breakdown of the company’s year so far. Here are Apple’s 2014 stats according to Cook:

  • ZERO – The number of new products released to the public so far this year
  • ZERO – The number of new product categories Apple has entered so far this year

Cook then turned over the stage to SVP of Software Engineering Craig Federighi, who detailed the company’s latest public software releases. “We haven’t actually released any new software this year,” Federighi noted. “And now,” he added, “I’d like to take a few minutes to talk to you about hair care products.”

Federighi was careful to point out that hair care products are just one of his many passions and that Apple was in no way planning on making the jump to that “new product category.”

After Federighi gave the crowd a look at his top 10 styling tips, Cook once again came on stage to introduce Phil Schiller, Apple’s marketing chief.

“I want to start today by going back to something I said last year. It turns we actually can’t innovate anymore.” Schiller then showed off Apple’s newest iPhone ad, which explains all of the ways Ludwing van Beethoven could have used an iPhone 5s if the device had existed in his lifetime.

Following the video, Schiller explained the reasoning behind it: “Here at Apple, we believe that our products are truly life-changing. We want everyone to know how minimally-relevant people can use iPhone to accomplish things that most smartphone customers would never have a need for. And this ad continues that theme by demonstrating the powerful ways an 18th-century composer could have used iPhone.”

Finally, Cook came back on stage to close out the event. “We at Apple are so excited to be introducing nothing to you today. Our employees have put so much work into nothing for the past six months, and we can’t wait for you to try it out.”

The CEO then announced that nothing would be available on July 28th for only $899.

Philip Baxter, a college student who was the first one in line for the iPhone 5s launch at his local Apple Store, said of the event, “That was really a game-changing announcement. I can’t wait for the launch next month. I’m already making plans to camp out at the Apple Store for nothing.”

Let’s talk about those OS X Yosemite app icons

I’m not going to bother explaining what OS X Yosemite is outside of linking to this page. Now, let’s talk about the redesigned app icons. Some are OK. Some are not. I’m going to explain what I don’t like about the bad ones and why I like the not-so-bad ones.

I’m not going to talk about stuff like the share icon (which is better than iOS 7’s but still really bad) or any other buttons and glyphs. Just app icons. I won’t even discuss all of the icons, just the ones that have actually been changed in Yosemite beta 1 (which does not include iTunes).

Each icon will be listed below with the old and new versions. You can roll over each icon to see which version it is, but it should be pretty obvious without that.

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Small town left reeling following horrific discovery at local home

police

Residents in the tiny town of Butler, Oklahoma were shocked Monday night when thirty one-year-old Jake Wallace was arrested. Police say they were called to the house after two of Wallace’s friends made a shocking discovery in his kitchen.

Wallace was holding a small party with some friends in his home to celebrate the long President’s Day weekend when police say things got out of hand.

Chris Peterson, 32, entered Wallace’s kitchen to refill his drink. That’s when he says he was “sickened” by what he found. “I couldn’t believe what I had discovered,” he told reporters. “It was horrible. I’ve never seen anything like that. I just had to get out of there.”

Peterson fled the scene, but not before telling his brother, Alex, what he had seen. It was Alex who called police before leaving the party with Chris. Alex later told a neighbor that what he had seen was “so messed up that he couldn’t even think about it.”

What police found when they arrived was beyond anything they had ever seen, according to police commissioner Ralph King. In a statement given to the press outside of Wallace’s home, King said, “In the past we’ve dealt with a few nutjobs that got a carried away, but this is something on a whole different level.”

According the police report, officers on the scene discovered that the pizza Wallace had served his guests was in fact DiGiorno, not delivery, as they had been lead to believe.

News of the incident traveled quickly in the small town, which has a population of less than 300.

“What kind of sick, twisted individual does it take to let people eat something frozen and tell them it came from a pizza shop?” asked neighbor Doug Stanton.

Others, such as Wallace’s longtime friend Regina Brant, were concerned that he may have tried a similar trick on them. “I ate at his house. I’ve eaten pizza with him. Now who knows what he was feeding me? Could it have been DiGiorno? At this point I think I’d rather not know.”

Robert and Cynthia Wallace, Jake’s parents, were shocked by the news. “He was always so quiet as a child. I never would have believed he was capable of something like this,” his mother told us.

Police are still working through the crime scene, but tell us that so far they have confirmed the presence of at least three DiGiorno pizza boxes. Wallace has been booked on charges of fraud.

Let’s talk about Avengers: Age of Ultron!

The video above is the first teaser for Marvel’s Avengers: Age of Ultron. It was first shown during Comic-Con this year. This teaser, and a few casting announcements, are the only things we know about the upcoming sequel, which started filming this week. But is this enough to draw any real conclusions about the plot of the movie? Maybe. Maybe not. But I’m definitely going to give it a shot.

Obviously, this is all speculation, but I should point out that it’s coming from someone who has never read a single Marvel comic. My knowledge of Marvel’s expansive universe is limited to what’s in the movies and some of what I’ve read on other sites like IGN (along with journeys down the rabbit-hole of Wikipedia when I was really just looking for some basic info).

So, that being said, let’s make some guesses.

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An update on the “Make Mike Update to iOS 7” charity campaign

Screen Shot 2014-01-31 at 5.07.30 PM

If you have no idea what this post is about, please read this first.

After waiting to ensure that any remaining Indiegogo fees that needed to be refunded had been added to my PayPal account, I headed over to the charity: water website today and contributed my entire PayPal account balance.

I realize the amount listed above is quite a bit lower than what appeared on the Indiegogo funding page. This is because Indiegogo keeps a portion of all funding raised through that service. At first they withhold a higher percentage for some campaigns and refund a portion of that one the campaign is successful. The process can take a few weeks to complete, so I waited several weeks before making the donation to ensure everything was correct. In the event that they refund any additional money to my PayPal account a bit late, I will do a follow-up donation with the rest of the money.

Thanks to everyone who contributed to the campaign. I’d especially like to thank the anonymous donor who used the name Scott Forstall to donate the initial $500. Together we raised exactly $968.13 for to help bring clean water to a community that needs it somewhere halfway across the world.

As for the iOS 7 side of things, I did update my phone as soon as the $500 goal was reached and went an entire week without complaining about the horrible design issues that plague the OS when we hit the $1,000 mark.

A crazy thing happened last night: Why I’m giving up my iPhone jailbreak and updating to iOS 7

This is simultaneously the best and worst decision I have made in recent memory. For those who are unfamiliar with this whole iOS 7 thing, let me start with a little background. Earlier this year Apple introduced a new operating system for the iPhone. It was completely redesigned and looked nothing like the old version. I loved the old version, and I hate the new version.

Many people who updated their phones tried to convince me to do so as well. Even a coworker who previously hated iOS 7 as much as I do finally upgraded and decided that he really liked it. Despite the constant nagging, I declared numerous times that I would not update to iOS 7. So why have I suddenly changed course? Well, a crazy thing happened last night…

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