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iPhone 4S and iOS5 debut at Apple’s “Let’s Talk iPhone” Event

iPhone 4S and iOS5 debut at Apple’s “Let’s Talk iPhone” Event (photo)

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For almost three hours today, the entire internet ground to a screeching halt as Apple put on its “Let’s Talk iPhone” event – the first one hosted by new CEO Tim Cook. But since your boss probably wasn’t too thrilled with the idea of you taking a few hours away from your spreadsheets to monitor tech site live blogs, we figured we’d go ahead and round up all the interesting bits. Why? Because we like you.

First up is the new iOS 5 for your iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch. It features more than 200 new features – way too many to run down here – but below are some of the highlights:

• The Notifications Center, which is a less grating and obtrusive way for Apps to yell at you than the traditional pop-up notifications. You’ll be able to open it up with a downward swipe.
• iMessage is basically Blackberry Messenger for iDevices, allowing you to send text, photos and videos to other iUsers. Apparently, the only thing that makes this difference from a regular text is that messages get pushed to all of a user’s devices, which sounds well more irritating than pop-up notifications.
• Reminders sounds more or less like an appointment entry in Calendar, which isn’t tied to a specific time. Instead, you can tether reminders to locations so your device tells you to do stop by the bank when you’re nearby.
• Twitter will now be completely integrated into your device, meaning no re-logins and the ability to Tweet from most of your standard Apps. Interesting, but seems like it might be irritating for people who share an iPad.
• There are several upgrades to Safari, including the Reader, which can save stories and pages to read later, which are then synced across device. Most exciting to us, however, is the introduction of tabbed browsing on the iPad.

After going over the new iOS features, the focus moved to hardware, with new versions of the iPod Nano available today in seven colors and two different versions: 8 GB for $129 and 16 GB for $149. The new devices are said to include improved functionality for Fitness, as well as 16 additional clockfaces for people who wear the player as a watch.

Apple’s most popular iPod, however, is the iPod Touch, and with the new iOS 5, it will also experience a price drop. The new iPod Touches will be available on October 12, in 8 GB ($199), 32 GB ($299) and 64 GB ($399) versions.

Of course, what everyone was waiting for was news about a new iPhone. While rumors had swirled around about a massive upgrade in the form of an iPhone 5, Apple is only taking what amounts to a half-step forward, introducing the iPhone 4S. The new device looks exactly like the pre-existing iPhone 4, but has completely new innards which makes it up to seven times as fast as the previous version. Here are some other highlights of the new iPhone:

• The phone has an Apple-designed A5 processor, which allows it to run monstrous Apps, like the all-new “Infinity Blade II,” which will hit the App Store on December 1 of this year.
• The device has two internal antennas, which the system will switch between during calls and regular use to get the best speeds, achieving 4G levels of performance.
• The iPhone’s camera is also experiencing massive upgrades, with 60% more pixels a five element lens (compared to four in the previous version) and more, which results in a 30% sharper image. Just as importantly, the device is also 33% faster at taking pictures than the iPhone 4.
• Video recording is also getting a shot in the arm, as the device can film 1080p HD footage.

By far the biggest news out of the “Let’s Talk iPhone” event, however, was the introduction of Siri, a digital assistant hardwired into the iPhone 4S. To summon Siri, users will hold down the home button, and can then ask the digital assistant to do pretty much anything the phone can do: Tell me the weather, play a particular song, set a new calendar entry, etc. Siri can even read your text messages, recite information it found on the internet and just generally make you feel kind of stupid – so basically Siri is like a new annoying girlfriend who you don’t even get to ogle.

The new iPhone 4S will be available on October 14, with pre-orders beginning this Friday. With a two-year contract, you’ll be able to get a 16 GB for $199, a 32 GB for $299 or a 64 GB for $399. If you’re bargain shopping, however, you’ll soon be able to get an iPhone 4 for $99 with a two-year contract, or even pick up the somewhat dated iPhone 3GS for free with a new two-year contract.

What do you think of the iPhone 4S’s new features? Will you be ordering one this week? Tell us in the comments below or on Facebook or Twitter.

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Hard Out

Comedy From The Closet

Janice and Jeffrey Available Now On IFC's Comedy Crib

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She’s been referred to as “the love child of Amy Sedaris and Tracy Ullman,” and he’s a self-described “Italian who knows how to cook a great spaghetti alla carbonara.” They’re Mollie Merkel and Matteo Lane, prolific indie comedians who blended their robust creative juices to bring us the new Comedy Crib series Janice and Jeffrey. Mollie and Matteo took time to answer our probing questions about their series and themselves. Here’s a taste.

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IFC: How would you describe Janice and Jeffrey to a fancy network executive you met in an elevator?

Mollie & Matteo: Janice and Jeffrey is about a married couple experiencing intimacy issues but who don’t have a clue it’s because they are gay. Their oblivion makes them even more endearing.  Their total lack of awareness provides for a buffet of comedy.

IFC: What’s your origin story? How did you two people meet and how long have you been working together?

Mollie: We met at a dive bar in Wrigley Field Chicago. It was a show called Entertaining Julie… It was a cool variety scene with lots of talented people. I was doing Janice one night and Matteo was doing an impression of Liza Minnelli. We sort of just fell in love with each other’s… ACT! Matteo made the first move and told me how much he loved Janice and I drove home feeling like I just met someone really special.

IFC: How would Janice describe Jeffrey?

Mollie: “He can paint, cook homemade Bolognese, and sing Opera. Not to mention he has a great body. He makes me feel empowered and free. He doesn’t suffocate me with attention so our love has room to breath.”

IFC: How would Jeffrey describe Janice?

Matteo: “Like a Ford. Built to last.”

IFC: Why do you think the world is ready for this series?

Mollie & Matteo: Our current political world is mirroring and reflecting this belief that homosexuality is wrong. So what better time for satire. Everyone is so pro gay and equal rights, which is of course what we want, too. But no one is looking at middle America and people actually in the closet. No one is saying, hey this is really painful and tragic, and sitting with that. Having compassion but providing the desperate relief of laughter…This seemed like the healthiest, best way to “fight” the gay rights “fight”.

IFC: Hummus is hilarious. Why is it so funny?

Mollie: It just seems like something people take really seriously, which is funny to me. I started to see it in a lot of lesbians’ refrigerators at a time. It’s like observing a lesbian in a comfortable shoe. It’s a language we speak. Pass the Hummus. Turn on the Indigo Girls would ya?

See the whole season of Janice and Jeffrey right now on IFC’s Comedy Crib.

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Die Hard Dads

Inspiration For Die Hard Dads

Die Hard is on IFC all Father's Day Long

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Photo Credit: Everett Collection, GIPHY

Yippee ki-yay, everybody! It’s time to celebrate the those most literal of mother-effers: dads!

And just in case the title of this post left anything to the imagination, IFC is giving dads balls-to-the-wall ’80s treatment with a glorious marathon of action trailblazer Die Hard.

There are so many things we could say about Die Hard. We could talk about how it was comedian Bruce Willis’s first foray into action flicks, or Alan Rickman’s big screen debut. But dads don’t give a sh!t about that stuff.

No, dads just want to fantasize that they could be deathproof quip factory John McClane in their own mundane lives. So while you celebrate the fathers in your life, consider how John McClane would respond to these traditional “dad” moments…

Wedding Toasts

Dads always struggle to find the right words of welcome to extend to new family. John McClane, on the other hand, is the master of inclusivity.
Die Hard wedding

Using Public Restrooms

While nine out of ten dads would rather die than use a disgusting public bathroom, McClane isn’t bothered one bit. So long as he can fit a bloody foot in the sink, he’s G2G.
Die Hard restroom

Awkward Dancing

Because every dad needs a signature move.
Die Hard dance

Writing Thank You Notes

It can be hard for dads to express gratitude. Not only can McClane articulate his thanks, he makes it feel personal.
Die Hard thank you

Valentine’s Day

How would John McClane say “I heart you” in a way that ain’t cliche? The image speaks for itself.
Die Hard valentines

Shopping

The only thing most dads hate more than shopping is fielding eleventh-hour phone calls with additional items for the list. But does McClane throw a typical man-tantrum? Nope. He finds the words to express his feelings like a goddam adult.
Die Hard thank you

Last Minute Errands

John McClane knows when a fight isn’t worth fighting.
Die Hard errands

Sneaking Out Of The Office Early

What is this, high school? Make a real exit, dads.
Die Hard office

Think you or your dad could stand to be more like Bruce? Role model fodder abounds in the Die Hard marathon all Father’s Day long on IFC.

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Founding Farters

Know Your Nerd History

Revenge of the Nerds is on IFC.

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Photo Credit: Everett Collection, GIFs via Giphy

That we live in the heyday of nerds is no hot secret. Scientists are celebrities, musicians are robots and late night hosts can recite every word of the Silmarillion. It’s too easy to think that it’s always been this way. But the truth is we owe much to our nerd forebearers who toiled through the jock-filled ’80s so that we might take over the world.

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Our humble beginnings are perhaps best captured in iconic ’80s romp Revenge of the Nerds. Like the founding fathers of our Country, the titular nerds rose above their circumstances to culturally pave the way for every Colbert and deGrasse Tyson that we know and love today.

To make sure you’re in the know about our very important cultural roots, here’s a quick download of the vengeful nerds without whom our shameful stereotypes might never have evolved.

Lewis Skolnick

The George Washington of nerds whose unflappable optimism – even in the face of humiliating self-awareness – basically gave birth to the Geek Pride movement.

Gilbert Lowe

OK, this guy is wet blanket, but an important wet blanket. Think Aaron Burr to Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Hamilton. His glass-mostly-empty attitude is a galvanizing force for Lewis. Who knows if Lewis could have kept up his optimism without Lowe’s Debbie-Downer outlook?

Arnold Poindexter

A music nerd who, after a soft start (inside joke, you’ll get it later), came out of his shell and let his passion lead instead of his anxiety. If you played an instrument (specifically, electric violin), and you were a nerd, this was your patron saint.

Booger

A sex-loving, blunt-smoking, nose-picking guitar hero. If you don’t think he sounds like a classic nerd, you’re absolutely right. And that’s the whole point. Along with Lamar, he simultaneously expanded the definition of nerd and gave pre-existing nerds a twisted sort of cred by association.

Lamar Latrell

Black, gay, and a crazy good breakdancer. In other words, a total groundbreaker. He proved to the world that nerds don’t have a single mold, but are simply outcasts waiting for their moment.

Ogre

Exceedingly stupid, this dumbass was monumental because he (in a sequel) leaves the jocks to become a nerd. Totally unheard of back then. Now all jocks are basically nerds.

Well, there they are. Never forget that we stand on their shoulders.

Revenge of the Nerds is on IFC all month long.

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