MyAppleMenu - Mar 2015

Tue, Mar 31, 2015The All-Day-Breakfast Edition

Today, we have good news for InDesign customers, 1Password customers, as well as McDonald's breakfast lovers everywhere.

(Okay, for that last item in the list: only for San Diego customers for now.)

Adobe Comp CC Review: Quickly Sketch out InDesign Drafts on an iPad

J.R. Bookwalter, Macworld:

Adobe Comp CC is a godsend for InDesign users accustomed to being tethered to the desktop. It may not be a full-featured solution, but there’s more than enough here to knock out quick comps for clients or even attractive first drafts for mobile, web, or print work.

Updated 1Password boasts massive speed increase and redesigned app extension

Jeff Byrnes, AppAdvice:

The new 1Password app extension is now able to create new logins in 1Browser, Safari, and even other apps. It will also allow you to fill out identification and credit card information in third-party apps.


Create continuous screenshots of text messages, websites, social media and more!

User Hostile Experiences

Paul Kafasis, Rogue Amoeba:

Decision makers either didn’t consider people not running the very latest versions, or worse, they just didn’t care about them. Users should never have to worry that their data will be unavailable to them, particularly when it comes to productivity apps. Unfortunately, rather than providing a user friendly experience, iWork is currently outright hostile to its users.



Auto correct made me say things I didn't nintendo

— Zahir (@heyzahir) March 31, 2015

The Internet Took the Album Away, and Now It's Giving It Back

Micah Singleton, The Verge:

Beyoncé’s surprise release changed the music industry more than any other album in the last 10 years, but not in the way you may think. When she released her eponymous album at the end of 2013, the reaction was unparalleled. There had been surprise releases before, but none of this magnitude. There were no leaks. No physical copies. No marketing budget. No singles. No streaming. If you wanted to hear one song you had to buy them all. And yet Beyoncé still sold over 800,000 units in 72 hours on iTunes. It was a ***Flawless rollout and an unprecedented risk for a superstar artist in the prime of her career to take.

If Steve Jobs Made Apple Cool, Tim Cook Is Making It Human

Hayley Tuskayama, Washington Post:

It's arguably a different kind of innovation for Apple -- not of product or service, but of company culture.

It also shows that Cook, who's known for his careful and occasionally dispassionate communication style, is on a path to becoming a full-blown culture warrior.

Paste Without Style

Craig Hockenberry,

I agree with Buzz Anderson: “Paste-with-styling is one of the worst software inventions of all time.” Every time I mention the workaround shown below, there are many retweets and favorites. Clearly, there are a lot of people that feel the same as Buzz and me.

@lonelysandwich @cabel Paste-with-styling is one of the worst software inventions of all time.

— Buzz Andersen (@buzz) March 25, 2015

I feel like Microsoft Office is to blame here. Was this 'invented' at Redmond?

Review: 'Becoming Steve Jobs,' by Brent Schlender and Rick Tetzeli

Brad Stone, New York Times:

Anyone who prematurely dismisses “Becoming Steve Jobs” as a retread will miss the best stuff.


Its The New Copy Editor!

Submitted without comment.

— Kevin Bowen (@kevin_bowen) March 30, 2015

McDonald's Is Finally Making the One Big Menu Change That Could Save Its Business

Alison Griswold, Slate

In short, McDonald’s breakfast has somehow escaped the widespread consumer skepticism weighing down sales of most other items on the menu. It’s hard to know exactly why this is. Perhaps it’s because McDonald’s has been more successful at marketing its breakfast as fresh—as Thompson said last April, “we actually crack eggs.” Or maybe it’s because with breakfast, it’s easier to believe that marketing. As anyone who’s ever had an Egg McMuffin knows, it looks and tastes authentic in a way that the standard McDonald’s burger just doesn’t. Or maybe it’s simply that McDonald’s breakfast really does taste pretty good.


Among the unique items is a soup-based pasta in Hong Kong, a full vegetarian burger and a veg pizza puff in India, a selection of breads in Brazil, sandwich with goat cheese in Norway and a Filet O'Fish in Japan.

Parting Words

Excited to live in a world where Barack Obama, Andy Richter and Harry Potter all get talk shows.

— John Erler (@elkmating) March 31, 2015

Thanks for reading.

Mon, Mar 30, 2015The Backup-Reminder Edition

Backblaze 4.0

Agen G. N. Schmitz, TidBITS:

Backblaze has updated its eponymous backup software to version 4.0 with significant improvements in upload and download speeds. Backblaze 4.0 introduces a threading scheme that optimizes bandwidth utilization when network latency is present.

And now, my reminder of the day: If you don't have any off-site backups of your precious precious data, please do consider something like Backblaze.

(And if you don't have any backups at all, please start doing backups now.)

Good Backup Habits Making Migrating to a New Mac Easier

Glenn Fleishman, Macworld:

To go forward, you must back up. This is an old rubric and bad joke about the importance of keeping regularly updated copies on hand of your personal and work documents and, ideally, your entire drive. Backing up is often an important stage in migrating to a new machine as well. This week, I cover my recommended methods.


An iOS clipboard manager you didn't know you needed.

Pro-Discrimination 'Religious Freedom' Laws Are Dangerous

Tim Cook, Washington Post:

This isn’t a political issue. It isn’t a religious issue. This is about how we treat each other as human beings. Opposing discrimination takes courage. With the lives and dignity of so many people at stake, it’s time for all of us to be courageous.

Photo: Apple CEO Tim Cook, by Mike Deerkoski (CC BY 2.0)

FDA 'Taking a Very Light Touch' on Regulating the Apple Watch

Adam Satariano, Bloomberg:

With Apple Inc. and fellow Silicon Valley companies edging further into health care, the U.S. agency in charge of oversight says it will give the technology industry leeway to develop new products without aggressive regulation.


Matt Gemmell:

So please, I implore you, make the risky choice next time you’re hovering over a colour-picker before clicking the Buy button. Would red be so bad, really?

You’ll be happier for it, I promise you. You’ll enjoy your stuff more. And if nothing else, you’ll save time at the baggage carousel.


A Wi-Fi Barbie Doll with the Soul of Siri

Natasha Singer, New York Times:

At a time when grown-ups can use voice commands to find restaurants, change channels on their TVs or get directions, it seems logical that children would now expect devices to understand their speech and respond in kind.

This fall, Mattel plans to introduce Hello Barbie, a Wi-Fi enabled version of the iconic doll, which uses ToyTalk’s system to analyze a child’s speech and produce relevant responses.


This is a love letter to a machine. It’s not quite the love Joaquin Phoenix felt in “Her,” last year’s Spike Jonze film about a lonely man’s romantic relationship with his intelligent operating system (played by the voice of Scarlett Johansson). But it’s close. In a world where the commonly held wisdom is that technology isolates us, it’s worth considering another side of the story.

Parting Words

If the future is here, just unevenly distributed, then I'll vote for anyone who will redistribute the future.

— Kevin Kelly (@kevin2kelly) March 29, 2015

Thanks for reading.

Sun, Mar 29, 2015The Goodbye Edition

My Work Here is Done

ifo Apple Store:

After following Apple retail for 14 years, I’ve reached a happy ending, and am gracefully backing away from the crazy world of following the company and its stores. No more stories or analysis, or flying out to far-flung locations to join overnight crowds, waiting for the excitement of new store opening (NSO).


Back in 2001, Apple's retail store initiative was new, and one web site tracked every move Apple made. Now that web site is winding down. A hearty farewell to Gary Allen, who for almost the last decade and a half has reported on Apple's retail store machinations on his ifo Apple Store blog.




Lee Kuan Yew: A Very Singaporean Send-Off


Singapore is ending a week of public mourning after the death of founding father Lee Kuan Yew. The BBC takes a look at some of the unusual ways the city-state and its people have been paying tribute to its first prime minister.

Parting Words

I give up on you people.

— Saladin Ahmed (@saladinahmed) March 29, 2015

Thanks for reading.

Sat, Mar 28, 2015The Dinner-With-iPhone Edition

Can Apple Pay Work at Sit-Down Restaurants? Cover, an Uber-Like Payments App, Says Yes.

Jason Del Rey, Re/code:

Cover, a startup that works with nice restaurants to let diners pay through Cover’s app rather than exchanging a paper bill back and forth at the end of the meal, introduced Apple Pay as a payment option about a month ago. And 21 percent of its 8,000 first-time customers during that period who used a phone that supports Apple Pay chose to pay with Apple’s new system.

I'm sure that portable NFC payment devices too are coming soon, if not already available.

Napkin, the Best Annotation App for Mac, Just Got Better!

Serenity Caldwell, iMore:

Not only does Napkin let you annotate single screenshots, but you can also arrange multiple Retina-quality screenshots on a single canvas and export them accordingly. That might sound like niche software, but it's essential for those of us who need to annotate screenshots for articles, books, interface review, and other jobs involving design or production. Its latest updated, version 1.5, adds a bunch of must-have annotation features including redacting images, cropping them, and new arrow and fill shape styles.


Mail Designer Pro 2 lets you create and deliver beautiful, custom email newsletters with no knowledge of HTML required.

The Best Icon Is a Text Label

Thomas Byttebier:

So let me repeat: don’t use an icon if its meaning isn’t a 100% clear to everyone. When in doubt, skip the icon. Reside to simple copy. A text label is always clearer.

The author chose an excellent example of unclear icons: Mail app on OS X. This is probably the only program that I use which I turned on text labelling for the toolbar.


Apple CEO Tim Cook Speaks out against Indiana's 'Religious Freedom' Law

Juli Clover, MacRumors:

Apple CEO Tim Cook today sent out a series of Tweets condemning Indiana Governor Mike Pence's decision to sign a controversial "religious freedom" bill into law, saying Apple is "deeply disappointed" in the move and "open for everyone."

Apple is open for everyone. We are deeply disappointed in Indiana's new law and calling on Arkansas Gov. to veto the similar #HB1228.

— Tim Cook (@tim_cook) March 27, 2015


It’s hard to believe, after how far the gay rights movement has come, that we’re still doing this. But here we are.

The Part of Apple TV Experience That Really Sucks

Peter Cohen, iMore:

In fairness to the content providers, Apple and the Apple TV itself, I didn't run into any show-stoppers doing this: Each time I visited a validation URL, I'd enter a code and then be told the content was then mine to watch. But after a half an hour I realized I'd only unlocked about two or three rows of Apple TV channels, and decided I was done for the moment. It was repetitive, it was boring, and it was so...un-Apple-like.

Becoming Steve Jobs: The Authors Speak

Ken Segall's Observatory:

The truth is, there is no financial motivation for Apple to do this. The masses will not buy or decline Apple products, now or in the future, based on any revelations about what made Steve Jobs tick. There can be only one motivation: to help people understand what Steve was really like.

They — like many — didn’t feel like Isaacson captured the real Steve, and that the new book is a better portrait of Steve as a complete human being. I agree.


German Pro Basketball Team Relegated to Lower Division Due to Windows Update

Cyrus Farivar, Ars Technica:

A second-tier German professional basketball team has been relegated to an even lower tier as a result of being penalized for starting a recent game late—because the Windows laptop that powered the scoreboard required 17 minutes to perform system updates.

Parting Words

Canada gets weird when you leave Toronto.

— Brand Canada (@The_CDR) March 26, 2015

Thanks for reading.

Fri, Mar 27, 2015The Don't-Mind-The-ROI Edition

The Apps You Can't Kill

Lily Hay Newman, Slate:

Are we setting ourselves up for unforeseen consequences when we allow companies like Apple to make choices for us? Using an iPhone means accepting the company’s limitations and judgments—even if those judgments prove to be tone-deaf. “When you look at what you can and cannot delete on a new iPhone, you realize Apple has an incredibly weird and depressing view of what the lives of its users are like —and what we intend to do with our phone[s],” Thompson writes.

I seriously doubt Tim Cook will endorse the idea that regular people should check stock prices of companies every day or every day or every few minutes. For Apple's own stocks, Tim Cook has said repeatedly that it is meant for long-term investment, and not for short-term investors that are concerned about day-to-day minute-to-minute changes in price.

Having an undeletable Stock app from Apple on the iPhone goes against this idea. (Unfortunately, as far as I can tell, there is a stock app on the Apple Watch too.)

didn't realize so many other people had "Apple crap" folders lol mine is pretty inconspicuous:

— šīrīn ✺ šəfīʿ (@shereeny) March 27, 2015

Instapaper Joins the Slow Creep of Speed Reading

Lily Hay Newman, Slate:

Instapaper, the reader app that lets you save Web pages and look at them later, released a new feature on Thursday called Speed Reading. Starting today, users can speed-read 10 articles per month for free, and premium users can do infinite speed-reading on their mobile devices. The feature joins a growing group of speed-reading software that's pushing the limit of how much content we can consume.



Building a Custom Connected Lighting System

Sean McMains, Mutual Mobile

I recently moved into a new apartment. It’s a great place, except for one glaring omission: the built-in desk area has terrible lighting. After looking online a bit, I discovered that there are excellent LED strips that would fit beautifully under the overhanging shelf above my desk.

As an engineer, I love to build stuff (even when it’s not an especially good idea). I decided the preferable course would be to create my own connected lighting system with LEDs that can display custom colors and be controlled by iOS

No, Apple's Latest Acquisition Wasn't an Attack on Open Source

Chris Bing, Streetwise:

"If you are using open source, and simply don't want the code to disappear, you ought to keep a copy. If you are using open source, and you want its governance and ongoing maintenance to not be decided by the fate of a single company, then you could choose to push that open source code into the arms of a foundation designed for that purpose, such as Apache or Eclipse," Sheehy said.


Former FoundationDB users will now have to choose between either continuing to use a piece of software that won’t be supported and won’t receive any security updates, and migrating to a new database. That won’t necessarily be easy since there are so few databases that work like FoundationDB. Had FoundationDB been open source, the community could have picked up where the parent company left off.


Amazon Now Offering Unlimited Cloud Storage Space

Dan Moren, Six Colors:

[Apple offering] an unlimited photo storage option would engender a heck of a lot of goodwill. And, frankly, ensuring not just convenient access to all your photos but also that you don’t have to worry about which memories you can afford to back up is a message that befits the company that’s not only the world’s largest and most profitable, but also continually insists it puts its customers first.

On the other hand, there is no such thing as unlimited storage. But, yes, Apple may want to lower its prices.

Apple's Tim Cook Leads Different

Adam Lashinsky, Fortune:

Cook’s defiant, confident tone reflects the CEO he has become. No one guards Apple’s distinct corporate culture—a culture designed by Jobs—more fiercely than Cook. Yet he also is gradually tweaking Apple at its edges, leading the company where he wants to take it, adding his unique perspective, and subtly but clearly redefining Apple in his image. It isn’t clear if Jobs would have approved or disapproved. But the enigmatic founder himself, in his dying days, told Cook that he shouldn’t obsess over trying to channel Jobs when making decisions. Given that, the question of what Jobs would have thought of where Cook is leading the company is, in the end, beside the point.

Apple Wants to Rewrite History: The Demented Scheme to Make Steve Jobs a Saint

Rachel Kramer Bussel, Salon:

No reader should expect “the whole truth” from any work of nonfiction, be it memoir, biography or history because (gasp!) there is no such thing as a singular, definitive truth about anyone. Readers should be able to draw their own conclusions, and hopefully Apple’s top brass will recognize that Jobs was, after all, fallible and multi-faceted. In other words, a “human being.” Whether he was “great” or not is up to you to decide. Having multiple, well-researched books on the topic of Jobs should serve as a boon to Apple followers, rather than the pick-a-side book battle it’s become.

Today's "Becoming Steve Jobs" realization: They refer to Apple's logo with its "five exuberant rainbow stripes." Counting is hard.

— Jason Snell (@jsnell) March 26, 2015


Parting Words

WHERE is this day I need this day

— Karen McGrane (@karenmcgrane) March 26, 2015

Thanks for reading.

Thu, Mar 26, 2015The Everyone-Is-Invited Edition

Why Force Touch Matters for Accessibility

Steven Aquino, MacStories:

I find Apple’s embrace of haptic feedback fascinating and exciting, because the use of haptic technology has some very real benefits in terms of accessibility.

Apple has done good work in terms of accessibility, and I have confidence the company will continue to do good work.

Twitter's Periscope App Lets You Livestream Your World

David Pierce, Wired:

Any doubts about the demand for something like Periscope can be answered by looking at Meerkat, a live-streaming app that has, in the weeks since it launched, shown its users how cool it can be when people invite you into brief, almost always totally unstaged and unmediated moments in their lives. That’s what Periscope promises, too, plus the ability to put the viewer in the director’s chair and actually participate in the stream. It’s more immediate than Twitter, Instagram, even Snapchat. It’s life, right now, through anyone’s eyes I choose. It’s intoxicating.

Ultimate Selfie App Gets a Big Update

Henry Cooke, Stuff:

What does it add? A lot of little things (location reminders, randomised reminders, a new interface), and one big thing - the ability to control multiple separate timelines.


Apple May Have Just Killed an Open Source Project

Lauren Orsini, ReadWrite:

On Tuesday, Apple acquired FoundationDB, an enterprise software company with a major open source component. On Wednesday, that open source component was no more.

On the other hand, isn't one of the ideas of Open Source is that the code can continue to survive and flourish even when some closed-source companies pull exactly such a move?


I've Changed My Mind about Responsive Design

Mat Yurow, Medium:

I’ve started to believe (at least for now) that following this approach may dismiss the nuances of different reading behaviors, and ignores the strengths and weaknesses that each device offers.


When Angela Met Tim

Adam Lashinsky, Fortune:

“The first time I sat down with him, I walked away thinking wow, that’s a man of peace,” she says. “I just absolutely loved his integrity, his values. Nothing anybody can write, say, or do is going to take him off of always doing the right thing. Not just for Apple, but for Apple’s people, for communities, for countries. The world needs more leaders like Tim.”

Review: 'Becoming Steve Jobs' Focuses on Another Apple Era

Alessandra Montalto, New York Times:

“Becoming Steve Jobs” emphasizes competition, sales and computer specs at the expense of anything beyond business. The result is a book too spotty to be a good introduction to Jobs lore.


The Steve Jobs book I want to read would certainly recognize and celebrate his accomplishments, which were truly astonishing, and the ways he was a genuinely great man. But it would place them, and his life, in the larger context of how he operated, and how his company continues to operate. The threads of this story are not separate. They are intertwined.

I Hate Your Censorship, but I'll Defend to the Death Your Right to Censor

Cory Doctorow, Boing Boing:

It's a truism of free expression that if you only defend speech you agree with, you don't believe in free expression. That doesn't mean you have to defend the content of the expression: it means you have to support the right of people to say stupid, awful things. You can and should criticize the stupid, awful things. It's the distinction between the right to express a stupid idea, and the stupidity of the idea itself.


That $2 markdown [proposed by Apple] may be small, but Apple's failure to secure it reflects a shift in the company's relationshiop with the music industry... [Apple] now faces an array of new competitors and finds itself in the position of needing to modernize its offerings to catch up to the straming revolution. That has weakened Apple's leverage - and the labels could not be happier about it.

I hope they go with this name for the new service.

— M.G. Siegler (@mgsiegler) March 26, 2015

Parting Words

Hmm. How to explain to fathers what the departure of Zayn Malik from #1D feels like for teen girls… imagine Jeremy Clarkson leaving Top Gear

— mrbrown (@mrbrown) March 26, 2015

Thanks for reading.

Wed, Mar 25, 2015The Walk-This-Way Edition

Comparing my Fitbit One and iPhone 6

Eddie Smith, Practically Efficient:

As with any arbitrary measurement system, it's more meaningful to look at trends than fret over individual data points. Fitbit and iPhone 6 are both terrific at measuring steps, and both inform you about your movement over time. If you walk from A to B, both will credit you steps for that, even if it's a slightly different number of steps.

As with any arbitrary measurement system, it's more meaningful to look at trends than fret over individual data points. Fitbit and iPhone 6 are both terrific at measuring steps, and both inform you about your movement over time. If you walk from A to B, both will credit you steps for that, even if it's a slightly different number of steps.

Yes, the 2015 MacBook Air Supports 4K Displays at 60Hz

Andrew Cunningham, Ars Technica:

We were fairly sure that Apple’s spec page was incorrect, but to get a definitive answer we dove into the still-nascent 4K display ecosystem to do some testing. The short answer is that yes, both the Pros and Airs now support 4K output at 60Hz using a single DisplayPort 1.2 cable.

Our Favorite OS X Launcher: Alfred

Joe Caiati, The Sweet Setup:

Alfred and LaunchBar are both great choices, but Alfred’s usability factor, option for free users, custom workflows, and iOS companion app were the ultimate reasons we decided to call it our favorite launcher for OS X.

 Reminder

Just a reminder that the Option-Shift-K “” glyph is not a standard Unicode character. Only renders on Apple devices.

— John Gruber (@gruber) March 24, 2015


Swift in Production: Scenery

Chris Eidhof:

So, when people ask me whether Swift is ready for production, for me the answer is a resounding yes. It's served us very well, and it keeps getting better, faster and easier. And the best thing: this is only the beginning of the Swift journey, if the language keeps improving at this pace, the future will be very bright indeed.

Congrats on shipping!

ResearchKit and Open Source

Russell Ivanovic, Rusty Rands:

So, currently at least, there’s no open source server components, no open format for exchanging data and an iOS only open source framework that Apple want developers to build modules for.

Apple Italy Accused of Using Cork Affiliate to Avoid Tax

Paddy Agnew, Irish Times:

Italian media reported yesterday that Apple Italia “transferred” €879 million of profit earned in Italy between 2008 and 2013 to Cork-based Apple Sales International, in order to avail of Ireland’s lower corporate tax rate (12.5 per cent as opposed to 43-44 per cent)

The reports, based on the findings of an investigation by the Milan public prosecutor’s office, claim the investigation has now closed prior to the filing of tax evasion charges against the US multinational. It is believed two senior Apple managers in Italy as well as Apple’s Sales International director in Cork, Michael O’Sullivan, have all been notified by the Milan judicial authorities.

When It Comes to Apple Products, How Thin Is Too Thin?

Jason Snell, Macworld:

Once there’s a touchscreen display and microphone on your wrist, and a tiny wireless speaker in your ear, and a thin-but-not-too-thin iPhone in your pocket, measuring and weighing every separate component of that constellation of devices might seem completely unimportant.

How Steve Jobs Tamed His Explosive Genius

Kyle Vanhemert, Wired:

One thing has become exceedingly clear in the run-up to the new biography Becoming Steve Jobs: The people closest to Steve Jobs do not like that other biography of Steve Jobs. And with this one, they’re eager to set the record straight.

Much Ado About Streaming: Why Free Listening Isn't Dead

Glenn Peoples, Billboard:

No industry sources Billboard has spoken with believe free streaming will disappear from subscription services. They do believe that labels could force Spotify to end unlimited free streaming, and demand minimum guarantees rather than a revenue share on ad-supported streams.


Two rock musicians find flaws—and hope—in a book that suggests how artists can earn a decent living even after free online access to music has ravaged the business.



You can rotate through different desktop pictures on your Mac every few minutes, or every hour, or every day. I wish a future version of Mac OS X can do it using an extremely slow Ken Burns effect.

Every Tom Hanks Movie in 8 Minutes (With Tom Hanks and James Corden)

Parting Words

Mulder, it's me. Are you ready? MT @MichaelAusiello XF Revival Official @DavidDuchovny & @GillianA Back for 6 New Eps

— Gillian Anderson (@GillianA) March 24, 2015

Thanks for reading.

Tue, Mar 24, 2015The Smoking-Fast Edition

Holy Smoke! The New MacBook Pro Literally Is Twice as Fast

Lucas Mearian, Computerworld:

Apple's proprietary Samsung-made PCIe 3.0 flash card in the 2015 MacBook Pro went from a PCIe 2.0 x2 (or two I/O lanes) in the previous model to a PCIe 3.0 x4 (four I/O lanes). "Double the lanes, double the speed," said Gregory Wong, an analyst with Forward Insights.

Hands-On: Instagram's New Layout Collage App for iOS Is Quick and Easy, but Lacks That 'Wow' Factor

Jackie Dove, The Next Web:

As it stands, Instagram took the time to construct an easy, quick and intuitive tool, piling most options into the front end of the process and providing ample revision opportunities.




Critical Sharks Part IV: Fear of Apple

Eli Schiff:

There is an unfortunate climate of fear in the software community today. It is primarily in ephemeral video interviews and podcasts that we get any semblance of coherent criticism and even then it is reticent. Worse than the fact that this criticism is relegated to verbal discussions is that it is later renounced by the very same designers and developers when they are interviewed in the more permanent-seeming medium of the written word. In written interviews, these fair-weather critics go on to reverse their opinions and praise the products of modern minimalist UI design because it is more convenient not to risk questioning powerful industry leaders.

The War Over Who Steve Jobs Was

Steven Levy, Medium:

Instead, the complaint is that Isaacson over-emphasized Jobs’s unattractive qualities and failed to present a rounded picture that corresponded with the reality of those closest to him. Schlender and Tetzeli attempt to remedy that in two ways. First, they give plenty of room for people on the wrong side of Jobs’s bad behavior to contextualize it. Second, they present a contrast between the young Jobs, whose misdeeds often arose from a self-indulgence or a flailing indecisiveness, and the mature Jobs, who not only channeled his energies more successfully, but was able to develop rewarding adult relationships.

All agree Steve Jobs was genius. But at his worst was he an asshole or a jerk? Crux of two warring bios.

— Steven Levy (@StevenLevy) March 23, 2015

Why All of That Instagram Food Porn Is Shot From Above

Edith Young, Vice:

The “god’s eye view” of a tablescape is old hat for a reason: employing this angle is the easiest way to get a not-half-bad iPhone snapshot. By raising your elbows to a higher altitude than usual or squatting above your seat during mealtime, you gain leverage over the food arena, create an allusion of flatness with your dominating perspective, and voilà—you’ve transformed your lunch into food porn.


Hurray -- Twitter is testing auto-play videos. Because that's what users really want, right? Right?

— Mathew Ingram (@mathewi) March 23, 2015


How many people, I wonder, will be buying the new MacBook without the USB-C-to-regular-USB adapter? My guess, not too many. (Similarly, if you check the attics or the junk drawers of people who bought the original bondi-blue iMac, you are likely to find an external floppy drive or two.)

So why doesn't Apple simply include an adapter in the box? Probably because sometimes Apple do want to nickel-and-dime its customers simply to make a point about the product's purpose in life.

Parting Words

Best store FAQ ever (via @bookgrocer)

— Joanna Holman (@joannamuses) March 24, 2015

Thanks for reading.

Mon, Mar 23, 2015The Up-In-The-Air Edition

Review: The 2015 MacBook Air's Once-Trailblazing Design Is Showing Its Age

Andrew Cunningham, Ars Technica:

This year's Air is perched in an awkward place. It has ceded its position as Apple's thinnest, lightest, form-factor-pushing-est laptop to the Retina MacBook, but it doesn't have the speed, ports, or the screen of the Retina MacBook Pros. It's still got a place in the lineup (the Pro can't match its battery life and Apple's figures suggest that the MacBook won't, either), but it's not as broadly appealing or as easy to recommend as it was a couple of years ago. And its once-impressive design and screen are now uncharacteristically behind-the-curve.

Apple Opens up to Praise New Book on Steve Jobs, and Criticize an Old One

Brian X. Chen and Alexandra Alter, New York Times:

Through interviews and tweets, Apple brass, including the chief executive, Timothy D. Cook, are throwing their weight behind a new unauthorized biography of the Apple co-founder, “Becoming Steve Jobs,” which goes on sale on Tuesday. In the book, executives take aim at another title, “Steve Jobs” by Walter Isaacson, an authorized biography published shortly after Mr. Jobs’s death in 2011.

Mr. Isaacson’s best seller did a “tremendous disservice” to the Apple chief, Mr. Cook said in the new book, written by Brent Schlender and Rick Tetzeli, and excerpted in the April issue of Fast Company. “It didn’t capture the person,” Mr. Cook said. “The person I read about there is somebody I would never have wanted to work with over all this time.”


OmniOutliner for iPhone

Ben Brooks, The Brooks Review:

The iPhone version of OmniOutliner is exactly the same as the iPad version. I really mean that, it feels just like a smaller version of the iPad app. Which should be good, but I don’t think it works in every instance on the iPhone (although it’s still great app), as it’s not as great as it feels like it should be.


I Don't Wear A Watch, Dear iOS Developers

When you are invited to someone else's home, you don't go around the house hiding all their clocks so that the hosts can't figure out that it's time for bed and it's time to kick you out of the house.

Similarily, I wish iPhone app developers don't hide my iPhone's status bar without permission. Even for games, I personally do not see why many of them cannot co-exist with the status bar. And this is not limited to games: the app from the telco I'm subscribing to thinks that I should not be able to look at the clock when I am checking how much data I've used up this month.

Give me back my clock, dear developers.


Parting Words

What genius thought Orange County's new pro soccer team should be called the Blues?

— Danny Sullivan (@dannysullivan) March 22, 2015

Thanks for reading.

Sun, Mar 22, 2015The Hand-Eye-Coordination Edition

The Touch-Screen Generation

Hann Rosin, The Atlantic:

Norman Rockwell never painted Boy Swiping Finger on Screen, and our own vision of a perfect childhood has never adjusted to accommodate that now-common tableau. Add to that our modern fear that every parenting decision may have lasting consequences—that every minute of enrichment lost or mindless entertainment indulged will add up to some permanent handicap in the future—and you have deep guilt and confusion. To date, no body of research has definitively proved that the iPad will make your preschooler smarter or teach her to speak Chinese, or alternatively that it will rust her neural circuitry—the device has been out for only three years, not much more than the time it takes some academics to find funding and gather research subjects. So what’s a parent to do?

An App to Help Blind Type Quickly on iPad


Created by Stanford engineer Sohan Dharmaraja, the app -- named IBrailler Notes -- uses eight keys. What's different about it is that the keys form around the fingertips when they're placed on the screen. Which means that if a user loses his way, he simply lifts his fingers from the screen and places them down again.

You Need to Start Understanding Me, Siri

Apple Siri, everyone. (found on the most incredible 'softwaregore' subreddit)

— Sebastiaan de With (@sdw) March 21, 2015


Industry sources say there's only one possible hole: Not all banks are doing Apple Pay setup right.

Inside Apple's Top Secret Health Lab for Apple Watch

Rebecca Jarvis, ABC Nightline:

Behind this unassuming door, a covert operation at the world's most valuable company. Let's go check it out.

World News Videos | US News Videos

Parting Words


— ⋆☽♡☾⋆ (@princetpeach) March 22, 2015

Thanks for reading.

Sat, Mar 21, 2015The Saturday-Progress Edition

Apple Discontinues Boot Camp Support for Windows 7 on Latest MacBook Models

Mike Beasley, 9to5Mac:

Apple’s latest MacBook Pro and the upcoming MacBook will not support running Windows 7 through Boot Camp according to a support document for the software. Starting on the newest machines, users will need to upgrade to Windows 8 or later in order to take advantage of the Mac’s dual-boot capabilities.

Seems like Apple is pushing for newer versions of Windows faster than Microsoft is pushing.

Apple and USB: A History of Adoption, Acceptance, Acquiescence

Ross Rubin, Fast Company:

While Apple may have sacrificed some of its own technologies, the move to USB-C is deeply in character for the company. It always waits to embrace technologies until they serve its needs, and never hesitates to toss away legacy in the pursuit of simplification.

Face Time with FaceTime

NOTHING more terrifying than accidentally running FaceTime and only discovering this when you go move a window

— Cabel Sasser (@cabel) March 20, 2015


Unfortunately, if the problem is from coating separation, then it cannot be fixed without servicing, and you can only take steps to prevent further damage by being as gentle with your screen as possible. This means not only avoid pressing and rubbing it, but also open the display as gently as possible and avoid any twisting or torsion forces that could even slightly bend the glass surface.

Local App Developers Gear up for Apple Watch Release

Lauren Hertzler, Philadelphia Business Journal:

Developers and designers have been manipulating their already-created apps for the Apple Watch since Apple released the WatchKit and its related software dubbed Xcode, as well as design guides and templates.

“Apple knows the kinds of resources we need,” said Joe Cieplinski, an app designer. “Our re-worked app for the Apple Watch came together faster than we expected.”


Becoming Steve Jobs: The Journalist and the Genius

Philip Elmer-DeWitt, Fortune:

And yet Schlender leaves Jobs’ invitation-only memorial service in October 2011 overcome with emotion for having lit into his source in their last phone call. Jobs had invited Schlender to pay a visit. But Schlender was in a dark mood. Not realizing how close Jobs was to death, he used the opportunity to air his grievances about their relationship. “After a few minutes, once I’d had my say, there was a silence on the line. And then he said he was really sorry.”

Schlender made a halfhearted attempt to schedule a visit but quickly gave up, to his everlasting regret.

Here Comes the Long Awaited New Apple TV

John Paczkowski, BuzzFeed:

Expect an updated design and new innards: the company’s latest A8 system-on-chip — or a variant of it: a dramatic increase in on-board storage to accommodate app — well beyond the 8GB in the current device; and an improved operating system that will support Siri voice control of Apple TV, and enable it remotely for a selection of Homekit-enabled home automation devices, as earlier reports have suggested.

This rumor puts the annoucement date at June this year. Looks like I still have at least one more year to be angry with my existing Apple TV.


Solar Eclipse

Astronauts on the International Space Station caught sight of an amazing solar eclipse on Friday, and they have the photos to prove it.

We asked for your disappointing eclipse pictures. You did not disappoint. From Mull to Southampton, here is a selection of the most middling.

Why Every New MacBook Needs a Different Goddamn Charger

CollegeHumor, YouTube:

Parting Words

The best part of Apple Watch is getting to read treatises on fashion from men whose wardrobe consists exclusively of podcast t-shirts.

— Noah Manger (@noahmanger) March 20, 2015

Thanks for reading.

Fri, Mar 20, 2015The Can't-tell-You-Anything Edition

The Inside Story of How Apple's New Medical Research Platform Was Born

Daniela Hernandez, Fusion:

After Friend’s talk, O’Reilly approached the doctor, and, in typical tight-lipped Apple fashion, said: “I can’t tell you where I work, and I can’t tell you what I do, but I need to talk to you,” Friend recalls. Friend was intrigued, and agreed to meet for coffee.

Apple Has a Lady Problem: The New Version of HealthKit Still Doesn't Track Periods

Kashmir Hill, Fusion:

Last night, Apple pushed out iOS 8.2 to my iPhone, an update to its operating system. The blurb for the update promised “improvements to the Health app.” Finally, I thought. When HealthKit was first introduced last year, it came under criticism for not taking women’s health needs into consideration. The Apple app tracks an amazing assortment of possible health indicators: sleep, body mass index, number of times fallen, “electrodermal activity,” sleep, weight, sodium intake, copper intake, and even selenium intake. But it didn’t track the one thing most women want to track: their periods.

However, I was in for a disappointment. After I updated my iPhone last night and fired up the Health app, I found there were only two changes. “Biological sex” had been changed to “Sex.” And there was just one addition to the suite of tracking tools; it wasn’t “Menstruation,” it was “Workouts.” Seriously, Apple? What is the matter with you?

Why is tracking of periods important? Continue reading Kashmir Hill's article to find out.

OmniOutliner 2.3 for iOS Review: The Best Outlining App Goes Universal

Jeff Carlson, Macworld:

Version 2 added iOS 8 polish and a lot more power, and version 2.3 extends the productivity to your iPhone too.

Channel Surfing May Fix Your iMac Wi-Fi Woes

Dan Moren, Six Colors:

Lots of folks have reported Wi-Fi problems on the Mac under Mavericks and Yosemite, so unsurprisingly there were a lot of results. Among the first was an Apple discussion board thread where one person suffering from a problem that sounded very similar to my own reported that “changing my 5GHz channel from 36 to 48 on my Airport Extreme DOES seem to have resolved the issue.”

April Is Coming

This is our last month of having a conversation with someone where they aren't constantly noticing/interacting with their watch. Enjoy it.

— Seth Weintraub (@llsethj) March 19, 2015


If you're self-motivated and just need help logging or remembering what exercise you've done recently, this is a perfect app to keep on hand.

Just tried the force touch trackpad. BLACK MAGIC.

— Fraser Speirs (@fraserspeirs) March 19, 2015


Behind many a great application is a developer so obsessed with the problem domain that they ignore all the logical reasons not to build it.

— Daniel Jalkut (@danielpunkass) March 20, 2015

5 Extremely Private Things Your iPhone Knows About You

Sara Boboltz, Huffington Post:

The Huffington Post spoke with some legal experts about Apple's iOS 8.1 software license agreement and iOS 8 privacy policy -- the most current versions of these docs available online -- to figure out what information we give up when we use iOS devices.

Apple's Haptic Tech Makes Way for Tomorrow's Touchable UIs

Kyle Vanhemert, Wired:

This phantom click is but one trick the haptic trackpad might be able to achieve. A recent update to iMovie shows Apple already is experimenting with others. These haptic flourishes are a hint of what’s to come: A future where we feel interfaces with our fingers—not just on desktop trackpads but on smartphones as well.

Why Do We Call a Dongle a Dongle?

Katy Waldman, Slate:

We are all adults, so I am sure nobody is already giggling at the headline to this post. Right? Oh, come on. Control yourself! Dongle is a useful word with a fascinating history, and … OK, OK. I’ll wait.


And this, ladies and gentlemen, is 2015!...

— stefano mariani (@stefanako71) March 19, 2015


Who is 'Spanish Laughing Man' and what is he really talking about?


I wonder how much of Steve Jobs' refusal to accept Tim Cook's offer of liver transplant has to do with not wanting people saying Tim Cook became the CEO because of the offer.

Parting Words

Pretty dark advertising slogan. But we've all been there, I guess

— Ben Hammersley (@benhammersley) March 19, 2015

Thanks for reading.

Thu, Mar 19, 2015The Create-A-City, Spot-A-Tiger Edition

Tiger-Tagging App Aims to Boost Surveillance

Jonathan Webb, BBC:

The project is called Wildsense and it emerges from research at the University of Surrey, where a team of computer scientists has a particular passion for wildlife conservation - and they want to share that with the public.

They have developed the app as a tool to turn the internet's vast wealth of images, and the help of willing iPad users, into valuable data for conservationists.

The 'SimCity' Empire Has Fallen and 'Skylines' Is Picking up the Pieces

Emanuel Maiberg, Motherboard:

​> Mariina Hallikainen, CEO of small Finnish game developer Colossal Order, is having a good day. When I call her, it's only been a few hours since she learned that Colossal Order's SimCity-like game, Cities: Skylines, has sold more than half a million copies in its first week. The first 250,000 of those were sold in the first 24 hours, making it the fastest-selling game its publisher Paradox Interactive has ever released.

Apple Is Ignoring a Major Problem with MacBook Screen Stains

Matthew Humphries, Geek:

From viewing the images it looks to be an issue with the screen coating Apple applies at the point of manufacture. The bonding is possibly breaking down and forms what looks like a stain in the display. Alternatively, it could be related to cleaning products used on the display or keyboard area, but surely there’d be many more cases of staining if this was the cause.


What seems likely from Launcher’s history and return to the App Store, though, is that Apple has been thinking about the way developers take advantage of iOS 8, and even without a public update on their guidelines, they are loosening some of the restrictions from last year.

TouchTone is a dark, smooth puzzle game about the surveillance state. The player manipulates simple, clean circuits of light -- and once they all connect, must review information logs and decide whether to flag them as suspicious.

Behind the App: The Story of Simplenote

Andy Orin, Lifehacker:

It wasn't a hit overnight, but Simplenote's popularity slowly snowballed and now it's available on a variety of platforms. We caught up with Fred and Mike to hear a bit of their story behind the app.


Just for fun: Get hired as "Code Ninja". Don't show up the first day. When they say "We didn't see you at the office today." Say "Exactly."

— kim gardner (@kgardnr) March 18, 2015

The Changing - And Unchanging - Structure of TV

Ben Thompson, Stratechery:

The benefit for Apple is the strengthening of their ecosystem: owning the TV will make iPhone and Watches more valuable; this too is the main way in which consumers win, and why they will switch: a better UI, better integration with their devices, and a company that actually cares. Just be prepared to pay the same, if not more, than you pay today.

Screens May Be Terrible for You, and Now We Know Why

Brandon Keim, Wired:

For more than 3 billion years, life on Earth was governed by the cyclical light of sun, moon and stars. Then along came electric light, turning night into day at the flick of a switch. Our bodies and brains may not have been ready.

Hardware Designs Should Be Free. Here's How to Do It

Richard Stallman, Wired:

We already have suitable licenses to make our hardware designs free. What we need is to recognize as a community that this is what we should do and to insist on free designs when we fabricate objects ourselves.


In short, Apple Pay’s security, speed, and convenience became a stress test for the banks that could expose otherwise manageable weaknesses in their processes and decisions.

Parting Words

It just occurred to me that in the evenings I could choose to not be on the internet for a while and it’s like

— Casey Kolderup (@ckolderup) March 18, 2015

Thanks for reading.

Wed, Mar 18, 2015The Flappy-Flappy Edition

A Sucker Is Optimized Every Minute

Virginia Heffernan, New York Times:

Not long ago, our blockbuster business books spoke in unison: Trust your gut. The secret to decision-making lay outside our intellects, across the aisle in our loopy right brains, with their emo melodramas and surges of intuition.

No more. The gut is dead. Long live the data, turned out day and night by our myriad computers and smart devices. Not that we trust the data, as we once trusted our guts. Instead, we “optimize” it. We optimize for it. We optimize with it.

Tim Cook On Apple's Future: Everything Can Change Except Values

Rick Tetzeli and Brent Schlender, Fast Company:

"We change every day. We changed every day when he was here, and we’ve been changing every day since he’s not been here. But the core, the values in the core remain the same as they were in ’98, as they were in ’05, as they were in ’10. I don’t think the values should change. But everything else can change."

"Yes, there will be things where we say something and two years later we’ll feel totally different. Actually, there may be things we say that we may feel totally different about in a week. We’re okay with that. Actually, we think it’s good that we have the courage to admit it."

The Nine Most Infuriating iPhone Games, and Why I Love Them

Eric Johnson, Re/code:

You can play them for 30 seconds or 30 minutes, depending on how patient you are, and they never apologize for what makes them great: An intense 1980s arcade-like difficulty where success is always juuust out of reach.

Hakuna Matata

Today, the LA Zoo used Meerkat to stream meerkats. That is all.

— Jon Erlichman (@JonErlichman) March 18, 2015


The updates revolve around fixes for WebKit.


The GNU Manifesto Turns Thirty

Maria Bustillos, New Yorker:

Stallman was one of the first to grasp that, if commercial entities were going to own the methods and technologies that controlled computers, then computer users would inevitably become beholden to those entities. This has come to pass, and in spades. Most computer users have become dependent on proprietary code provided by companies like Apple, Facebook, and Google, the use of which comes with conditions we may not condone or even know about, and can’t control; we have forfeited the freedom to adapt such code according to our needs, preferences, and personal ethics. “With software,” Stallman still frequently observes, “either the users control the program, or the program controls the users.”

The Steve Jobs You Didn't Know: Kind, Patient, and Human

Rick Tetzelt and Brent Schlender, Fast Company

"Steve cared," Cook continues. "He cared deeply about things. Yes, he was very passionate about things, and he wanted things to be perfect. And that was what was great about him. A lot of people mistook that passion for arrogance. He wasn’t a saint. I’m not saying that. None of us are. But it’s emphatically untrue that he wasn’t a great human being, and that is totally not understood.


Parting Words

You can’t get away from yourself by moving from one place to another.

— Ernest Hemingway (@DailyHemingway) March 17, 2015

Thanks for reading.

Tue, Mar 17, 2015The Change-Your-Life Edition

The iPhone's Slo-Mo Video Has Become a Dancer's Best Friend

Christina Bonnington, Wired:

For dancers, it’s become an incredibly useful tool for honing their craft. The newfound affordability of slow motion has enabled them to improve their technique, spruce up their audition reel, and isolate aspects of their performance that were once intangible.

iOS 8.2 and Health Follow-Up

Federico Viticci, MacStories:

Last week, Apple released iOS 8.2, bringing a variety of improvements to the built-in Health app and other general enhancements and bug fixes. Almost two weeks after publishing my Life After Cancer article, I thought I'd briefly mention the changes introduced in iOS 8.2 and follow-up on some of the apps I originally covered in the story.

How the iPad Is Changing the Way We Learn

Rihannon Williams, Telegraph:

Jobs wasn’t wrong when he poked holes in the education system, or even when he condemned the majority of what is studied in school as “completely useless.” “But,” he continued, “Some incredibly valuable things you don’t learn until you’re older — yet you could learn them when you’re younger.” Perhaps the sooner we all start thinking differently, the more we stand to learn.

Adobe Unveils Document Cloud with Acrobat Mobile and Fill & Sign Apps for iOS

Zac Hall, 9to5Mac:

Adobe is taking its document strategy to the cloud with its latest service. Taking the same approach as its Creative Cloud Suite of apps for creators, Adobe is revealing its new Document Cloud service alongside two new apps for iOS: Acrobat Mobile and Fill & Sign. The new service aims to make handling PDFs and other documents much more flexible, and the new iOS apps can bring paper documents into the Adobe Document Cloud for work on the go…


OutlineEdit consciously slots in to the middle of the pack for outlining software. On the one hand, it is more powerful than the tools built in to word processors like Microsoft Word. On the other, it's more affordable than what is effectively the industry leader in this field, OmniOutliner.

Tracking Joy at Work


We don’t yet have enough data to make statistically significant claims about how we feel, but it has sure been fun keeping an eye on the dashboard. Many companies have big screens showing web analytics, but we’re the first I’ve seen to track how we feel – and it feels good.


Touch Me Touch You

The iPhone showed us how amazing touch could be as an input device, WATCH will show us how awesome it can be as an output device.

— Craig Hockenberry (@chockenberry) March 16, 2015

Pointing Fingers in Apple Pay Fraud

Andrew Ross Sorkin, New York Times:

The vulnerability in Apple Pay is in the way that it — and card issuers — “onboard” new credit cards into the system. Because Apple wanted its system to have the simplicity for which it has become famous and wanted to make the sign-up process “frictionless,” the company required little beyond basic credit card information about a user. Nor did it provide much information to the banks, like full phone numbers and addresses, that might help them detect fraud early.

The banks, desperate to become their customers’ default card on Apple Pay — most add only one to their iPhones — did little to build their own defenses or to push Apple to provide more detailed information about its customers. Some bank executives acknowledged that they were were so scared of Apple that they didn’t speak up.

Apple Plans Web TV Service in Fall

Keach Hagey, Shalini Ramachandran and Daisuke Wakabayashi, Wall Street Journal:

The technology giant is in talks with programmers to offer a slimmed-down bundle of TV networks this fall, according to people familiar with the matter. The service would have about 25 channels, anchored by broadcasters such as ABC, CBS and Fox and would be available on Apple devices such as the Apple TV, they said.

The recently-announced HBO Now is probably playing an important card in Apple's negotiations with the networks.


Parting Words

Computer Science: "In low-level languages like C" Computer Engineering: "In high-level languages like C"

— Stacey Mason (@stcymsn) March 16, 2015

Thanks for reading.

Mon, Mar 16, 2015The Brain-Cloud Edition

The Disturbing Puzzle Game That Nobody Can Solve

Patricia Hernandez, Kotaku:

On July 10th, 2014, a small, mysterious game called "Do Not Believe His Lies" was uploaded to the iOS app store. Since then, over 40,000 people have downloaded the app. Nobody has beaten it. Hell, nobody quite knows what it is, either.

Tech's next Step: Devices That Touch You Back

Edward C. Baig, USA Today:

All of us have been twisting knobs and pushing buttons to make stuff happen almost from the day we were born. But with advances in the field of haptics many more of the devices that we engage with are learning how to push back, promising to creatively impact digital entertainment, health care, cars, wearable computers, advertising, even sex.

Abort, Retry, Fail?

You can all go home now. I have won the dialog sweepstakes.

— Matt Drance (@drance) March 16, 2015


Why I'm Optimistic about Gender Equality in Tech

Jean Macdonald, iMore:

Discrimination still exists in this field and likely will exist for some time. But I don't get discouraged by the terrible stories circulating in the news on harassment and workplace discrimination. I don't get frustrated with well-meaning but clueless commenters who think the status quo reflects innate gender differences. Instead, I'm spurred on to redouble my own efforts to make the future better.


Tech progress is amazing. Twitter means we live with typos. Instagram makes square photos normal. Meerkat means vertical video is a thing.

— Danny Sullivan (@dannysullivan) March 14, 2015


The number of volunteer contributors -- those who submit code for periodic updates, examine bug reports, and write fixes -- has shrunk over its long lifespan, even as its importance has increased.

I Love You Too... But the Timing Stinks

Are you in a mood for a romantic comedy, a movie about life, magic, love, and happily ever after... for "less than six months"? A movie that Mr Roger Ebert called "new and fresh", with "magnificient goofiness"?

May I recommend "Joe Versus the Volcanao"?

Like anything with this much ambition, Joe Versus the Volanco stumbles plenty of times, and there's a lot of messiness to go along with the comic inspiration. So of course it's not surprising that the film even now remains forgotten and unloved. But it's a different, special little blast of oddness, and on this its 25th birthday, it pleases me to encourage any and all of you to take a peek at this oddest little relic of the late 1980s.

"I was going to cast one woman to play three different roles, and when you decide to do that, you’re in a stylized place."

But I can see the film's storybook loveliness and bittersweet, child-like whimsy being a huge influence on Wes Anderson, especially The Life Aquatic, while the workplace absurdism and Bridges' sprightly oddball turn anticipate Being John Malkovich and Orson Bean's similarly twinkly performance as a genially warped old buzzard. But the loopy, child-like romanticism and winsome optimism at the heart of Joe belongs wholly and irrevocably to Shanley, who establishes himself as a true auteur here even as he draws extensively on the films of David Lynch, Tim Burton, and Spielberg.

Parting Words

Me too, antique stove thing… me too.

— Ed Casey (@edcasey) March 15, 2015

Thanks for reading.

Sun, Mar 15, 2015The Catching-Up Edition

The Upside of Slower

M.G. Siegler, Medium:

Unfortunately, for now, the trade off is a bit of speed, fewer ports, and a weaker camera. I’ll shed some tears for those of you up in arms about such things while staring into my glorious 12-inch retina display.

Hands On: Audreio (iOS)

Michelle Elbert, MacNN:

Audreio lets multiple iOS devices connect through Wi-Fi, sending audio input from one to be played back and recorded on the other.


Pins and Needles for Apple Watch App Makers

Paresh Dave, Los Angeles Times:

Developer Curtis Herbert worries that a winter's worth of work on an Apple Watch app will come to nothing.

Herbert and other independent developers haven't gotten nearly as much guidance from the tech giant as they'd like. They've had no access to the watch to test their work, and little direction on how to land a coveted spot in the virtual Apple App Store.

Burn Baby Burn

Hong Kong's dearly departed are getting the Apple Watch before you — sort of.

— Mashable (@mashable) March 14, 2015

The History of Lorem Ipsum

Rosie Cima, Priceonomics:

What is this incantation we wrap every prototype we make in, before filling it with the text we hope will make it great? It turns out that Lorem Ipsum is such a good tool in these ways because its half invented and half discovered. It does actually mean something. Here’s how it got from the pen of a Roman philosopher to your browser window, and how a medieval typesetter might have scrambled it on the way.

Parting Words

When you see it...

— James Rhodes (@JRhodesPianist) March 14, 2015

Thanks for reading.

Sat, Mar 14, 2015The 3.14 Edition

Evil Mad Scientist: With a little help from a square springform pan, you too can have an Apple apple pie for dessert!

Steve Strogatz, New Yorker: Why Pi Matters

Video Games Are Better without Characters

Ian Bogost, The Atlantic:

It’s not really a simulation, despite its name, nor is it an educational game. Nobody would want a SimCity expert running their town’s urban planning office. But the game got us all to think about the relationships that make a city run, succeed, and decay, and in so doing to rise above our individual interests, even if only for a moment.

This was a radical way of thinking about video games: as non-fictions about complex systems bigger than ourselves. It changed games forever—or it could have, had players and developers not later abandoned modeling systems at all scales in favor of representing embodied, human identities.

Photo: Simcity 4 Dense Downtown by haljackey (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Good Design Is Honest

Giovanni Donelli, Astropad:

A product perceived as honest will show respect for its buyer. It will create a sense of trust, which is one of the most valuable intangibles we can find in a product.


What I've Learned so Far about Software Development

Landon Noss, Medium:

Never assume your code is finished. Remember; code mutates. Mutation happens with or without direct influence. Document it, and make the mutations simple as you can, but no simpler. Don’t be a dick. Try to teach others about your decisions for each mutation.

Data and Goliath: Bruce Schneier on the Hidden Battles to Collect Your Data and Control Your World

Democracy Now:

While the leaks of Edward Snowden have shed light on the National Security Agency’s surveillance practices, less attention has been paid to other forms of everyday surveillance — license plate readers, facial recognition software, GPS tracking, cellphone metadata and data mining.


Parting Words

Nice tip ...

— Scott Bembenek (@sbembenek18) March 14, 2015

Thanks for reading.

Fri, Mar 13, 2015The Creative-Friday Edition

Ulysses for iPad

Ben Brooks:

The magic of Ulysses has always been that it is wonderful to write and organize in, but that the app also understands that more needs to be done with your text once you are done adding characters to it. The work isn’t done just because you are done composing, that was just a step in the process of writing — and Ulysses truly understands the process.

Allyson Kazmucha, iMore:

Ulysses for iPad and Mac let me write how I need to and both adapt to suit my needs, not the other way around.

Mitch Wagner, Six Colors:

It’s fast, streamlined, and easy-to-use. It’s a good choice for people looking for a simple writing app with versions for both the Mac and iPad.

A Simple iPad Add-On That Helps You Draw Flawlessly

Tim Moynihan, Wired:

The simple but brilliant iPad accessory known as Osmo, which takes real-world objects and movements and transforms them into onscreen gameplay, has a new trick up its sleeve. Its new “Masterpiece” app deploys the same clever attachment to help even the most art-challenged feel like a regular Raphael.

How Apple Makes the Watch

Atomic Delights:

I see these videos and I see a process that could only have been created by a team looking to execute on a level far beyond what was necessary or what will be noticed. This isn't a supply chain, it is a ritual Apple is performing to bring themselves up to the standards necessary to compete against companies with centuries of experience.


Nullability and Objective-C

Apple's Swift Blog:

In previous Xcode releases, some Apple frameworks had been specially audited so that their API would show up with proper Swift optionals. Xcode 6.3 supports this for your own code with a new Objective-C language feature: nullability annotations.

Apple Adds App Store Guidelines Requring Devs Obtain Health Research Data Consent, Disclose Apple Pay Policies, More

Jordan Kahn, 9to5Mac

“8.6 Apps that include the ability to download music or video content from third party sources (e.g. YouTube, SoundCloud, Vimeo, etc) without explicit authorization from those sources will be rejected”


Most Watch Edition criticism only makes sense if the Sport doesn't exist. Most MacBook criticism only makes sense if the MBP doesn't exist.

— Ben Thompson (@monkbent) March 12, 2015

No MagSafe on the new MacBook means Apple doesn't expect you to use it plugged in. No one complains about no MagSafe on iPad.

— Peter Wagenet (@wagenet) March 12, 2015

The Good News about the CIA Targeting Apple

Rich Mogull, TidBITS:

Apple security isn’t perfect — new flaws will continue to be revealed, likely more often than any of us would like — but now that Apple has upped its security game to block even the most capable intelligence agencies in the world, the main beneficiary is the average user.

Apple Watch: The Question of Wrist Etiquette

Tim Bradshaw, Financial Times:

But whether Apple Watch can solve the distraction issue or will just move it to a new location is still an open question. However beautiful it is, will I want to look at it every five minutes?


How-To Friday

Parting Words

Still one of my favourite hacks: Dublin Bus timetable boards use a Japanese あ character to denote disabled access.

— Paul Campbell (@paulca) March 12, 2015

Thanks for reading.

Thu, Mar 12, 2015The Not-the-Schweddy-Balls Edition

Well, we Singaporeans 'know' that there isn't too much fish in the fishballs here in Singapore. Turns out, there isn't too much meat in the meatballs over at Finland either. (Or, at least, from one company in Finland.)

Will Your New MacBook Crash to the Ground without MagSafe? (Yes.)

Glenn Fleishman, Macworld:

Hold on! Some math’s coming, but it’s worth it.

Apple's ResearchKit Is Not (Yet) Ready for Primetime - A Medical Researcher's Perspective.

Phil Jones, Ramblings of a Doctor:

Clinical research did not become bloated and highly controlled for no reason. Although I’d be the first to state that the red tape surrounding clinical trials is now creating a situation whereby ensuring safety and ethical behaviour (the original intent of clinical trial bureaucracy) is being overshadowed by barriers which limit research (because most clinicians don’t want the hassle), the answer is not to simply have a free-for-all of uncontrolled, biased research. However, currently, studies enabled by Apple’s ResearchKit are not the answer for most clinical trials, since the information garnered from them will not be credible nor generalizable.

However, the future is bright! I have no doubt significant improvements will be made that will enable high quality, high fidelity research to be done using smartphones and ResearchKit. But, we are not there yet.

Das Keyboard 4 Professional Mac review

Peter Cohen, iMore:

The choice of tactile brown Greentech switches and clicky blue switches gives discriminating mechanical keyboard enthusiasts a great choice - tactile but quieter, or loud and clicky. The Pro 4 for Mac is thinner and lighter than its predecessor. Outside of a rather awkward black USB cable, it's gorgeous inside and out.


I was curious as to how all the watches compared, so I pulled data from those sources and made one massive spreadsheet.

There simply is no faster way to ferret out files on your Mac.


Refund Calls Over 'Cancer Survivor' Belle Gibson's Book and App Sales

Beau Donelly and Nick Toscano:

Tech giant Apple and publishing house Penguin are facing a wave of criticism after revelations their author and app-developer Belle Gibson's cancer survival story may have been embellished.

Penguin and Apple are heavily invested in The Whole Pantry brand, with Apple previously flying Ms Gibson to the US to work in secret on the new Apple Watch. The popular book was marketed off her "inspirational" story of cancer survival and large-scale charitable donations.

Apple: Services Back After Major Outage

Everett Rosenfeld, CNBC:

"We apologize to our customers experiencing problems with iTunes and other services this morning. The cause was an internal DNS error at Apple. We're working to make all of the services available to customers as soon as possible, and we thank everyone for their patience," Apple said in a statement to CNBC.


Parting Words

"yes, i’ve known perfectly well, for a long time, that i have an irrational heart. but knowing it doesn’t stop me in the least." - colette

— mairead case (@maireadcase) March 12, 2015

Thanks for reading.

Wed, Mar 11, 2015The Lame-Joke Edition

What does a liberal arts graudate say to a science graduate?
"Do you want kale with that?"

Apple Commits More Than $50 Million to Diversity Efforts

Michael Lev-Ram, Fortune:

Apple’s human resources chief Denise Young Smith said the company is partnering with several non-profit organizations on a multi-year, multi-million-dollar effort to increase the pipeline of women, minorities, and veterans in the technology industry—and, of course, at Apple.


Apple's Cook Agrees with Jackson: Diversity Still Elusive (Jon Swartz, USA Today)

"We urge you to put more people of color in top management ... and look like America," Jackson said in a statement during the 75-minute meeting.

Cook readily agreed. "Our diversity is increasing ... and I want it to be better — it will get better," Cook said. "This does not happen overnight. The recruiting process takes time. But rest assured: We get it."

Tim Cook: 2014 Was an Unbelievable Year (Associated Press)

Apple CEO Tim Cook took a figurative victory lap at his company's annual shareholder meeting, one day after he announced details about the new smartwatch Apple plans to start selling next month.

Apple's New ResearchKit: 'Ethics Quagmire' or Medical Research Aid?

Arielle Duhaime-Ross, The Verge:

The research apps are easy to download, and the Apple audience is very large; both are advantages for recruitment. But those things can also be ethical liabilities: both Apple and ResearchKit researchers will have to make extra efforts to ensure that participants are eligible for studies, that they are knowledgeable about the risks, and that their data is secure.

Hands On: Forest (iOS)

Amber Neely, MacNN:

If you're looking for a way to ween yourself off the addicting glow of your magical entertainment device, Forest is a great way to keep your phone on your desk and out of your hands.


Xcode Compromised

Craig Hockenberry,

There’s a very good chance that Xcode has been compromised.

The article refers to “Xcode” generically, but as we all know, there are a lot of pieces to this puzzle: I’m going to examine a few of them below. It’s your job to think about how these things might affect your own products.

Apple Gets Sweet Deals From Mall Operators

Suzanne Kapner, Wall Street Journa:

Apple Inc.’s huge gravitational pull on mall traffic is distorting the market for mall rents, winning the iPhone maker sweetheart deals and putting upward pressure on other tenants’ leases.

The Economy of Weirdness

Katja Grace, Meteuphoric:

It is often said that you should spend your weirdness budget wisely. You should wear a gender-appropriate suit, and follow culture-appropriate sports, and use good grammar, and be non-specifically spiritual, and support moderate policies, and not have any tattoos around either of your eyes. And then on the odd occasion, when it happens to come up, you should gather up your entire weirdness budget and make a short, impassioned speech in favor of invertebrate equality. Or whatever you think is the very most effective use of weirdness. In short: you only get so much weirdness, so don’t use it up dressing like a clown or popularizing alternative sleep schedules.

While I agree the oddball activist will often get less airtime than her unassuming analog, and that weirdness is often a cost, the issue seems more complex. Let us better explore weirdness budgeting.

Margaret Hamilton

Margaret Hamilton next to the code she wrote (by hand) for @NASA's Apollo guidance computer. #WomensHistoryMonth

— SpaceCenterHou (@SpaceCenterHou) March 10, 2015


Today in Science:


Parting Words

My son saw this and asked why the sign for "video" was "bunkbed".

— Ed Morrish (@edmorrish) March 10, 2015

Thanks for reading.

Tue, Mar 10, 2015The Spring-Forwarded Edition

We're hoping to make jokes about Apple today, but I'm not sure we can be funnier than the tweets on Apple's homepage:

— Anil Dash (@anildash) March 9, 2015

Spring Forward: MacBook

Instead of going with a Broadwell i5 or i7 like with the MacBook Air, the new MacBook will start with a 1.1GHz Intel Core M that sips 5W of power. It will come standard with 8GB of RAM and 256GB of solid state storage, and it will start at $1,299. An upgraded 1.2GHz Core M CPU (which will boost up to nearly 3Ghz under load) and 512GB of storage will run $1,599. The new models are expected to start shipping on April 10, and they even come in three colors: Space Gray, Silver, and Gold.

The numbers seem small on paper—it weighs two pounds and is 13mm thick at its thickest point. Seeing it in person really drives home what a small laptop this is. It’s the most similar to the 11-inch MacBook Air, but it’s got a bigger and better screen. I moved from an 11- to a 13-inch MacBook Air because I found the display too cramped, but the new MacBook is large enough to avoid that problem.

The new MacBook's charger is a cross between the standard MacBook charger and an iPhone or iPad charger. It uses a regular USB Type C cable that unplugs from the adapter—no more replacing the whole brick just because the cable frays—but the brick itself is comparable in size to the 45W adapter that ships with the MacBook Air.

The obvious third-party opportunity: an USB hub that can also charge the MacBook, iPhone, iPad, and Apple Watch. Every hotel will need one for each room.

Apple's "taptic feedback” system is more than just marketing. A small motor vibrates ever so slightly when you press down on the new MacBook’s trackpad, and the amount of feedback is adjustable in software. With the feedback set to “firm,” the trackpad plus the taptic feedback make the trackpad indistinguishable from a standard clicky trackpad. The only difference is that you get the clicky feel anywhere on the pad, including at the top.

Of all the new features in the new MacBook, this trackpad is probably the one that I'm most skeptical about. I've used the software-click option in the existing MacBooks, and I've never enjoyed it. This new trackpad is obviously significantly different, so it may well turn out to be good enough or even better. The good thing is: you can still get a Magic Trackpad. Of course, that's yet another accessory that you'd need to buy and bring along, together with your USB hub.

But, Jason Snell does have this to say about the new trackpad...

The real highlight of trying the MacBook was the trackpad. When the first reports about a non-moving trackpad arrived, I wasn’t happy. I’ve never liked the tap-to-click gesture on trackpads, and always turn it off. But what’s been implemented in the MacBook trackpad is not remotely like tap-to-click or anything else you’ve ever experienced on a trackpad. In fact, it’s more like a magic trick—or an optical illusion.

The first time I clicked on the MacBook trackpad, I was just moving the cursor around to get my bearings and wasn’t thinking of the fact that I was using a new trackpad. I pressed, the trackpad clicked, and suddenly my train of thought screeched to a halt. Wait, I thought, wasn’t this thing supposed to have a new trackpad? It had felt like nothing had changed.

That means you can either tap the touchpad or give it a harder press in order to bring up the functions that were usually associated with the right-click.

This reminds me of the early days of contextual menu on the classic Mac OS, where you can activate by pressing and holding down your single mouse button.

Quick MacBook thoughts: keyboard is weird, but you could get used to it. Force Touch trackpad is awesome.

— nilay patel (@reckless) March 9, 2015

bloody 'ell these new macbooks are cheap

— Visual Idiot (@idiot) March 9, 2015

Spring Forward: Apple Watch

Pricing is a little more complex than Apple’s iPhones or iPads, with pricing for the three collections— Apple Watch, Apple Watch Sport, and the gold Apple Watch Edition— all including various tiers depending on strap and case size combinations.

The case of the Sport being aluminum will ding and scratch. Apple has claimed its special alloys and coatings help protect the watch, but in comparison to the other variants of the watch, if this one takes abuse it will eventually show.

The ne plus ultra of mechanical watchmaking is the Patek Philippe Henry Graves Supercomplication, which sold this past November for $24,000,000. Why? Because it is not only incredibly complicated, with 24 distinct functions, but designed and built entirely by the human hand — something the Apple Watch will never be able to claim.

And that is a wonderful thing.

If you're curious the Apple Watch Edition crown colors are matched to the bands that you buy them with and are not interchangeable.

— Matthew Panzarino (@panzer) March 9, 2015

Apple Watch battery aims for 18 hours. Tim Cook sleeps about six hours. I wonder where that 18-hour figure came from? HMMM.

— Craig Grannell (@CraigGrannell) March 9, 2015

This time next year, yelling “Hey Siri” in a crowded bar is going to be pretty interesting.

— Craig Hockenberry (@chockenberry) March 9, 2015

Man, if pictures of hairy wrists is your thing, today is your DAY.

— Amy Jane Gruber (@AmyJane) March 10, 2015

Spring Forward: ResearchKit

The software framework is designed to benefit medical research and can pull data from the Apple Watch and the Health app on iOS. Apps will be able to monitor asthma, assess Parkinson symptoms and more. Participation will be optional and data will be stored and transmitted securely.

Consumers should question any medical advice that comes from the apps, because it isn’t likely to be peer-reviewed, said Adrian Gropper, chief technology officer of Patient Privacy Rights, a nonprofit group.

Apple did take a step to ensure the safety of patient data by making ResearchKit open-source, which means that the code used to write the software is visible by the public, Gropper said.

I really wish Apple breast cancer app wasn't called “share the journey” (barf) and was pink ribbon free. But until I try it, can't say more.

— Xeni (@xeni) March 10, 2015

Spring Forward: Apple TV

Richard Plepler, CEO of HBO, was on hand for Monday's event and called the deal a "transformative moment for HBO." Piepler also used the stage to debut a new trailer for the upcoming fifth season of Game of Thrones. The season premiere will air on April 8, and HBO Now subscribers will be able to view it for free.

I'm getting a stronger feeling of having overpaid my Apple TV, as compared to people living in the United States.



Omni’s culture deserves an article of its own, but I’m not going to get into culture much. Instead, this is an engineering-centric tour of the details of how we manage our apps.

The CIA Campaign to Steal Apple's Secrets

Jeremy Scahill and Josh Begley, The Intercept:

By targeting essential security keys used to encrypt data stored on Apple’s devices, the researchers have sought to thwart the company’s attempts to provide mobile security to hundreds of millions of Apple customers across the globe. Studying both “physical” and “non-invasive” techniques, U.S. government-sponsored research has been aimed at discovering ways to decrypt and ultimately penetrate Apple’s encrypted firmware. This could enable spies to plant malicious code on Apple devices and seek out potential vulnerabilities in other parts of the iPhone and iPad currently masked by encryption.


Parting Words

Breaking News: Tim Cook has finished 0 marathons.

— Matthew Bischoff (@mb) March 9, 2015

Apple Pay and Coke machines: Apple CEO is selling sugar water again.

— John Gruber (@gruber) March 9, 2015

Thanks for reading.

Mon, Mar 9, 2015The Springing-Forward-Soon Edition

I am not going to stay up late at 1 am local time to watch the Apple Watch event today. But if your timezone is more favorable to your physcial and mental health, you can follow the event at the following:

Of course, the online Apple Store is now closed.


These are what Apple introduced during the "Spring Forward" event:

One Can Hope

Something that I do wonder about that I don't think will be answered by Apple during the event: will we see other devices using the Apple Watch OS? Like a pocketwatch, or an iPod?

On The Scene

The mysterious white building next to Yerba Buena is progressively shrinking.

— Nick Frey (@nickfrey) March 9, 2015

I may wear my Commodore watch to tomorrow's Apple event. (And vice versa, should Commodore hold any events.)

— Harry McCracken (@harrymccracken) March 9, 2015

I'm a 12-Year-Old Girl. Why Don't the Characters in My Apps Look Like Me?

Madeline Messer, Washington Post:

For a 12-year-old girl, playing games on an iPhone is pretty regular behavior. Almost all of my friends have game apps on their phones, and we’ll spend sleepovers playing side by side. One day I noticed that my friend was playing a game as a boy character and asked why she wasn’t a girl. She said you couldn’t be a girl; a boy character was the only option.

Lastronaut: A Love Letter

Darrin Henein, Medium:

This game is my love-letter to an industry, my way of saying “thanks” to the makers and players of games that have continually entertained and inspired me. I want nothing to stand between it and the kids (and adults!) who may want to play it. There are no ads and no in-app purchases. It is not a blockbuster 3D adventure with a huge budget and large team behind it; but it is a hand-crafted experience built with passion by myself and a good friend. Every pixel, animation, and note of music you hear is the result of 2 years of hard work.

My iPad Week

Ben Brooks:

The iPad wasn’t a panacea for me, but it is more than capable as my only work machine. I expected to have a more firm stance, but both a Mac or iPad have compelling reasons to use them.

Why Everyone From Beethoven, Goethe, Dickens, Darwin To Steve Jobs Took Long Walks and Why You Should Too

Andrew Tate, Canva Blog:

Not only will it make you more creative, it will help you get those ideas over to your colleagues better and allow you to fit more into your day. All while helping you not to die early. Fantastic.



America Needs Its Own Emojis

Damon Darlin, New York Times:

Or I should say that the vocabulary offered by the 722 symbols — faces, animals and various objects — that reside on my smartphone was too limited. The set of emojis that came with my iPhone have birds, seven of them, some very cute, but no hippos and no ewes. It has rams (those are male sheep for readers who know little about animal husbandry), a hog, a cow and even dragons, but no ewes.

There is a simple reason that joke doesn’t translate into emojis. It is not Japanese. And emojis are.


Apple will fund a 25 percent increase in hourly pay for its shuttle bus drivers, who are employed by contractors including Compass Transportation and Royal Coach Tours, a company spokeswoman told this newspaper. In addition, drivers who work the split shift -- which requires them to drive routes in the morning and evening -- will earn a higher hourly wage to make up for the downtime, the spokeswoman said.

Parting Words

Consider a career as a programmer, where you can loathe timezones *every* day!

— Andy Lindeman (@alindeman) March 8, 2015

Thanks for reading.

Sun, Mar 8, 2015The All-Decked-Out Edition

Yerba Buena is all decked out for Monday. (Also saw a bunch of folks in Apple Security shirts in the vicinity.)

— Harry McCracken (@harrymccracken) March 7, 2015

Entrance to the building behind the Yerba Buena theater is sealed up & presided over by Apple Security.

— Harry McCracken (@harrymccracken) March 8, 2015

False Dichotomies

Lukas Mathis, Ignore the Code:

Tribalism based on superficial, insignificant criteria — the computers or phones we use, the sports teams we like, the clothes we wear, the car brands we drive — is pretty common human behavior, and we fall into it easily.

The article includes a proposal to solve the iPhone mute switch's mute-everything/mute-everything-but-alarms problem.

Why My iPhone Is the Best Watch I've Ever Owned

Geoffrey Goetz, GigaOM:

My iPhone is more important to me as a time piece than it is an actual phone. Here’s why.

Take your typical 'feature-watch', add apps and customizable options and notifications and Siri, and you get the iPhone.


Up Next by Illuminated Bits takes all of your calendar events and reminders to organize them in an easier-to-digest format. We spent about a week with Up Next, and we quite liked how easy it made reviewing and managing our schedule from one place.


I emailed @tim_cook to share my excitement re: L. Jackson spearheading accessibility, and I get this in my inbox.

— Steven Aquino (@steven_aquino) March 6, 2015

Tap-Tap-Tap Time for a [Insert Brand Here] Lunch

If you are currently working on ways to bring advertising to a wristwatch, now would be a great time to rethink your life choices

— Marko Karppinen (@markonen) March 7, 2015

Robots Read News

Scott Adams:

I am testing out some edgier material today just to see if a robot can get away with it.


Parting Words

One day your wedding album will look like this as well

— olia lialina (@GIFmodel) March 5, 2015

Thanks for reading.

Sat, Mar 7, 2015The Weekend-Before-the-Event Edition

A Dashboard for My Apartment

Shawn M Moore,

I originally bought my iPad back when tablets were becoming a fad. I had expected to use it for everything from reading ebooks to playing elaborate new games. But no, it has been sitting idle, collecting dust, for years. Even the promise of a shared, coffee-table web browser has fallen flat. Whenever there's a task to be done, I instead reach for my laptop or my phone. After all, as phones get larger and more capable, and laptops get lighter and extend their battery life, the sweet spot that tablets offer gets squeezed out from both above and below. So for the past year or so, my usage has been limited to ordering food online with friends, passing the iPad down the couch. But now I've finally figured out the perfect job for it. I've mounted it right next to my front door. My previously-unused iPad now serves as a dashboard and control panel for my apartment.

You Can Stop Lying About Your Age

Your kids with wrong birthdates on their Apple ID accounts can now change them for #familysharing for Mac and #ios8.

— Chris Espinosa (@cdespinosa) March 6, 2015

Apple, Facebook, Comcast, and Hundreds of Others Ask Supreme Court for Nationwide Marriage Equality

Nathan Ingraham, The Verge:

A host of the biggest companies in the world, including Amazon, Apple, Facebook, Google, Microsoft, and 374 others have banded together to file an amicus brief in the US Supreme Court stating that all couples should share the right to marry. The brief, which was filed today by law firm Morgan Lewis, actually makes a business case for legalizing same-sex marriage across the country. It claims that the currently muddled and confusing legal landscape surrounding same-sex marriage "places significant burdens on employers and their employees — making it increasingly hard to conduct business."


Building Steak or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Lock Screen

Max Child, Volley:

There are two cardinal sins for notification actions with completion handlers. The first is not calling them (the app will get angry and start ignoring you), and the second, which is much more insidious, is calling them before whatever you wanted to do is done.

Did You Buy My App?

“Apple has sent an email to Aperture customers about the impending removal from the App Store.” Good luck emailing your own MAS customers.

— Ole Begemann (@olebegemann) March 5, 2015

The Man behind the Apple Watch

Nick Foulkes, Financial Times:

Ive is arguably the most influential designer in the world, and yet he does that slightly disingenuous self-effacement thing characteristic of confident people who say they are just part of a team. There is a gentleness about him. He talks quietly and articulately in an accent unaffected by two decades in America. Even when he describes those who copy Apple as little better than thieves, it is with a smile and softness of tone that suggests he would far rather the unpleasant subject had never been brought up.


Parting Words

Xcode just decided to start hanging whenever it code signs a specific framework, so I guess I’m looking for a new career. Any suggestions?

— Daniel Jalkut (@danielpunkass) March 7, 2015

Thanks for reading.

Fri, Mar 6, 2015The Write-Once-Run-Everywhere Edition

Today, Microsoft is launching the beta version of Microsoft Office 2016, promising "redesigned Ribbon and your favorite cross-platform features and keyboard shortcuts." To celebrate, here's a look back at the famous Mac Word 6.0. :-)

Speaking of Microsoft... If you are a programmer, you are probably familiar with Microsoft Visual Studio, one of the better products Microsoft produces for the Windows platform. But, are you aware that there was once a Microsoft Visual C++ Cross Development for Macintosh? As best as I can recall, Microsoft never followed up with a second version.

These Apps Help Kids With Autism Learn Basic Skills

Li Zhou, Smithsonian:

For children with autism, math problems are a lot easier if images are involved. Addition, for example, becomes significantly more clear if the equation and answer are accompanied by physical pictures representing the math taking place. Two cars plus three cars is logically depicted with images of five physical cars. Reinforcing every question with a visual reference helps make it more concrete and accessible.

Katie Hench, Christopher Flint and Lally Daley, all of whom have worked with autistic students as special education teachers or therapists, were inspired by their firsthand experiences to establish Infiniteach, a Chicago-based startup building mobile apps that cater to the specific ways that kids with autism learn. Their current app, Skill Champ, teaches ten vital skills, including number matching and object sorting, using approaches proven to resonate with autistic students.

Microsoft Releases the Preview Version of Microsoft Office 2016

According to Microsoft, Office 2016 is designed to unify the look and feel of the applications across all platforms, so that no matter where you use Office—Windows, Mac, iOS, Android, Web—the way you work remains the same. To that end, Microsoft has updated the “ribbon,” that tabbed toolbar running across the top of every Office document, so it looks like Office 2013 for Windows, and according to Microsoft, the user interface is now the same across all versions. Looking at the Windows and Mac versions side-by-side I’d say that’s accurate, although, to my somewhat biased eye, Office 2016 is easier on the eyes.

Office now supports Yosemite’s native full-screen mode, but does not support Yosemite’s native auto-save features nor does it support renaming, moving, tagging, or locking documents using the document title bar. And it should be noted that it’s unlikely you’ll see support for these features in any future versions of Office, as, according to Microsoft, Yosemite’s autosave feature and OneDrive don’t play well together. The one notable autosave exception is (pun intended) OneNote, which has had its own version of autosave and synchronization since it was first released.

Cloud connectivity is a central tenet of the "Microsoft everywhere" strategy that drove the company to create all-new clients for iOS and the Mac, and users who frequently hop between platforms will be pleasantly surprised to see it used not just for synchronizing documents, but for enabling small interactions that make things easier.

One example can be seen in the redesigned Open dialog. Taking a cue from their mobile brethren, the new Mac apps feature an updated "Recents" tab that automatically surfaces the user's most recently-opened documents, regardless of platform — edit a document in Word for iPad, and it will appear at the top of the list in Word for Mac.

Microsoft is providing a free preview of Microsoft Office 2016 that you can download onto your Mac. It is for OS X Yosemite only, and you need to be aware that this is a beta version. It can potentially wipe out your hard disk and you have no one to blame.

Access Hidden Options and Information with Your Mac's Option Key

How-To Geek:

Apple hides a lot of additional information and useful options in your Mac’s menus. You can access these > hidden options by holding down the Option key.

In some cases, you may have to hold the Option key before opening a menu. In others, you can press the > Option key while the menu is open and see the menu items change.

Holding down the Shift key while holding down the Option key may reveal even more additional options in some menus.

Apple's Secret Lab Lets Facebook Fine-Tune Apps before the Watch's Debut

Adam Satariano and Tim Higgins, Bloomberg:

In a lab shut off from communication with the outside world and where visitors can't bring in a pad of paper, let alone a phone, Apple Inc. has given some companies special early access to Apple Watch.

The three companies named in the article are BMW, Facebook, and United.

Also, if you are developing apps for Apple Watch, do take note:

Apple has recommended that developers be judicious about interrupting people with constant alerts that will buzz their wrist or drain the battery. [...] Apple is suggesting developers design their applications to be used for no longer than 10 seconds at a time.

About the Price of Apple Watch

Apple Watch starts at cheapest price point for any new Apple main product line ever (Mac, iPod, iPhone and iPad).

— Daniel Tello (@dtellom) March 6, 2015



Banks Changing Apple Pay Procedures after Fraud, Consultants Say

Olga Kharif, Elizabeth Dexheimer and Tim Higgins, Bloomberg:

“This is a black eye that needs to heal through improved authentication procedures,” said Richard Crone, chief executive officer of Crone Consulting LLC. Some banks are now requiring users to call them to activate Apple Pay, to ensure that their identities haven’t been stolen, he said.

France, Luxembourg Lose Lower VAT Rate Battle on Ebooks

Foo Yun Chee, Reuters:

France and Luxembourg lost their battle to apply reduced VAT rates to ebooks on Thursday when a top European court agreed with EU regulators that only paper books qualified for lower taxes.

Your e-books are going to cost more. Even though Europe wants to encourage you to read more, you are not suppose to benefit smartphone and tablet makers through reduced VAT.

It doesn't make sense to (layperson) me -- afterall, didn't you pay for the VAT already when you purchase your smartphone or your tablet? Or maybe, in a world of digital goods and services, VAT doesn't make sense anymore?

What's Interesting?

One of the synonyms for "interesting" in the default OS X thesaurus is "bloggable". Uhhhh...

— Jason Kottke (@jkottke) March 5, 2015


Parting Words

People who don’t read podcast show notes mystify me. How else can you be forewarned that it’s yet another episode about the Watch?

— Dr. Drang (@drdrang) March 6, 2015

Thanks for reading.

Thu, Mar 5, 2015The Games-People-Play Edition

Apple's Capitulation to China Undermines Obama's Tough Talk on Snooping

Heather Timmons, Quartz:

US president Barack Obama was sharply critical of China’s newest security demands for foreign companies this week, saying that plans to “snoop and keep track” of users of US-made technology were unacceptable.

But Obama’s remarks completely ignore the fact that the most prominent and profitable technology company in the world has reportedly already agreed to China’s demands. Apple fully accepted China’s new cyber-security rules in January, according to Chinese state media.

They Wanted to Make a Video Game Phenomenon. They Made $10 Million. The Story of Crossy Road.

Dvaid Tach, Polygon:

Unlike many of its contemporaries, nothing about Crossy Road makes a player feel the need to pay to progress or win. Its design subdues its monetization, and that has cost its developers revenue. Crossy Road rarely — if ever — squeezes onto the top of the iOS App Store's list of highest grossing games, where titles like Clash of Clans and Candy Crush Saga are entrenched. Yet yesterday, Crossy Road was the 12th most popular free iPhone app without even appearing in the App Store's list of top 100 grossing iPhone apps.

This is not an accident. Crossy Road was an experiment in doing free-to-play differently, and that experiment has been wildly effective.

EA shuts down Maxis Emeryville, studio behind SimCity

Samit Sarkar, Polygon:

Electronic Arts is closing Maxis, the studio behind the SimCity franchise, EA confirmed in a statement to Polygon today, following reports on Twitter from now-former employees of the company.

R.I.P. Maxis 1987-2015. Hopefully SimCity 2000's transportation advisor can now find peace.

— Wow, A Bob Mackey! (@bobservo) March 4, 2015


Simple, useful radio streaming app for Macs.

Hard Syncing

Brent Simmons, Inessential:

Syncing by reading and writing files on a generic storage system, on the other hand, is much, much harder.



In another move that should alleviate indie label concerns, the leading digital download store has also backed away from relying so heavily on the sales velocity algorithm it had been experimenting with in December and January, which it was using to help determine the music featured in its sliders.

Parting Words

oh man you got hacked? you should have turned on 2 factor auth and also sacrificed a goat to the infosec gods. you did? two goats, then

— Sarah Jeong (@sarahjeong) March 4, 2015

Thanks for reading.

Wed, Mar 4, 2015The Freak-ing Edition

Apple Plans Fix Next Week for Newly Uncovered Freak Security Bug

Jim Finkle, Reuters:

The vulnerability in web encryption technology could enable attackers to spy on communications of users of Apple's Safari browser and Google Inc's Android browser, according to researchers who uncovered the flaw.

Apple spokesman Ryan James said the computer [maker] had developed a software update to remediate the vulnerability, which would be pushed out next week.


The exploit takes about seven hours to carry out and costs as little as $100 per site. The so-called FREAK attack—short for Factoring attack on RSA-EXPORT Keys—is possible when an end user with a vulnerable device—currently known to include Android smartphones, iPhones, and Macs running Apple's OS X operating system—connects to a vulnerable HTTPS-protected website. Vulnerable sites are those configured to use a weak cipher that many had presumed had been retired long ago.

Life After Cancer: How the iPhone Helped Me Achieve a Healthier Lifestyle

Federico Vitcci, MacStories:

Last year, I decided to regain control of my body, my life habits, and my health. I started tracking everything I could about my activities, my exercise routine, the food I ate, and the time I spent working with my iPad instead of walking, sleeping, or enjoying time with my family. Since then, I've made a decision to not let cancer and its consequences define me any longer.

I want to be healthier, I want to eat better, and I want to take the second chance I was given and make the most of it. What started as an experiment has become a new daily commitment to improve my lifestyle and focus.

And it wouldn't be possible without my iPhone.


At first it feels like a handy note-taking app or convenient syncing service but if that is enough for you to carry on using it, there suddenly comes a moment when it changes. At some point Evernote becomes a ubiquitous part of your working life.

Shipping a Non-Trivial App in Swift

Parker Wightman, Lucid Software:

Developing an app in Swift feels very much like a game of “Hurry up and wait.” At first it seems so nice that the language syntax is clean and expressive, and you’ll be buzzing right along until you run into a show-stopping problem that could take hours to fix. We don’t regret doing Swift—we feel confident our gripes will be better 3 – 6 months from now. Swift 1.2 looks to be a breath of fresh air when it’s released in a few months. But in the meantime, make sure you have good tests and a QA team to test your Swift app thoroughly.


Apple to Make Many Security Guards Full-time Employees

Julia Love, San Jose Mercury News:

The move comes as advocates are calling upon Apple and other tech companies to extend their wealth to service workers who cook, clean and monitor security on tech campuses but see few of the industry's lavish perks.


Parting Words

The ultimate meta security question! It has come to this. Via @alexislloyd and @jomc:

— James Gleick (@JamesGleick) March 3, 2015

Thanks for reading.

Tue, Mar 3, 2015The Bring-Your-Camera-Everywhere Edition

Apple Found Its Newest Billboards On The Internet

Brendan Klinkenberg, BuzzFeed:

Apple’s latest ad campaign, Shot on iPhone 6, is crowdsourced using iPhone photography from around the world. It is taking photos found online, typically seen in a browser window, and plastering them up in massive sizes out in the real world.

Apple found them by scouring online communities for photos that were tagged as having been taken with its newest iPhones.


The ads feature the photographs in full bleed with a simple ‘Shot on iPhone 6′ tagline. The posters are going up around the world, including some dramatic large billboards on the side of skyscrapers.

Apple decided that the announcement of the Galaxy S6 would be the perfect time to promote some of the great photography captured by the iPhone 6.

And now, let's tweet...

“Shot on iPhone 6” billboard in LA. Pretty cool.

— Beau Colburn (@beaucolburn) March 2, 2015

This week's #newyorkerinthewild, shot on iPhone 6, just like our back cover from Apple, shot on iPhone 6.

— New Yorker Promo (@NewYorkerPromo) March 2, 2015

New advertising campaign at MRT & BTS train stations in #Bangkok "Shot on iPhone 6" (Pic @photogjack)

— Richard Barrow (@RichardBarrow) March 2, 2015

OS X Yosemite 10.10.3 Public Beta With Photos App Now Available

Juli Clover, MacRumors:

Apple today made a pre-release version of OS X Yosemite 10.10.3 available to those who are signed up for the company's OS X public beta program, giving them early access to the new update and the new Photos for OS X app.

The standard warning: don't sign up if you don't really understand what the word beta means. These are your precious photos we are talking about. Precious precious photos. You should be prepared for the event that all your photos got deleted when using this beta software. Which means that you should always, at all times, have backups of your photos that is not connected to the computer running the beta operating system and software.

APPLE: My Key to Success

Mitchell Hashimoto:

No, not the company or the fruit. APPLE is an acronym ingrained into every Apple store employee before they ever even step on the retail floor. And it has continued to guide me ever since.



Neven Mrgan's Tumbl:

I’d like to see more software try to do a good job of a fuzzy task, let you help it with the last mile, and give you a fallback option. That kind of magic can be more delightful than behind-the-scenes, guess-and-stick-with-it magic we’re often promised.



Follow-up: Remember that Swiss Trademark Filing?

Apple first added Class 12 to its European Union trademark in 2003. That date falls just before Apple began launching collaborations with automakers like BMW to add iPod support to in-vehicle infotainment units.

Various other Apple trademark applications over the years have included protection under International Class 12, which covers vehicles and their accessories. A European Union filing from October 2003 describes a similar vehicle-related corporate trademark, and others such as a United Kingdom filing from last year have been filed since that time.

City of Cupertino Has a Lot Riding on Apple and Its Spaceship Campus

Julia Love, San Jose Mercury News:

Although the cities appreciate having a cadre of well-paid workers, they risk becoming too dependent on giant employers whose fortunes rise and fall. They also must answer to residents about the dark side of growth, which threatens to clog roads and wipe out local charm.


The crooks have not broken the secure encryption around Apple Pay’s fingerprint-activated wireless payment mechanism. Instead, they are setting up new iPhones with stolen personal information, and then calling banks to “provision” the victim’s card on the phone to use it to buy goods.

On Yahoo’s 20th Anniversary, its CEO presents a progress report on how she’s turning around—and maybe transforming—an Internet icon.

Parting Words

A hotel rating service that tells you if the in-room iPhone dock is Lightning or 30-pin.

— Jason Shellen (@shellen) March 3, 2015

Thanks for reading.

Mon, Mar 2, 2015The Anti-Bucket-List Edition

"Suppose you woke up tomorrow and received two phone calls. The first phone call tells you that you have inherited $20 million, no strings attached. The second tells you that you have an incurable and terminal disease, and you have no more than 10 years to live. What would you do differently, and, in particular, what would you stop doing?"

What are the things that you will someday eventually hopefully stop doing? Maybe it's time to take stock, and figure out a plan or a timeline to get rid of things in your anti-bucket-list?

Shot on iPhone 6


People take incredible photos and videos on iPhone 6 every day. And here are some of our favorites. Explore the gallery, learn a few tips, and see what’s possible with the world’s most popular camera.

As noted by many people, including Matthew Panzarino of TechCrunch (see next article), Apple is not boasting that iPhone is the most popular phone-camera. Apple is claiming it is the most popular camera.

Apple Would Like You To Know People Think The iPhone’s Camera Is Awesome

Matthew Panzarino, TechCrunch:

As counter-programming, Apple offers up an ad campaign based on the fact that the iPhone isn’t just the most popular camera phone in the world, but the most popular camera period. That’s a pretty strong riposte.

But the advantages that Apple in the camera + phone space aren’t just ones of momentum. Most of its leverage comes in the fact that it has been proactive, not reactive about photography. Rather than buying whatever the next highest megapixel array is available to it and stuffing it in the iPhone, Apple has invested deeply in the less visible and less toutable bits of the photographic imaging chain.

My Thoughts on the iPhone 6 Plus, Five Months Later

Mark Crump, GigaOM:

Instead of trying have one device at arm’s reach that can handle all of my needs, instead I want the device I use the most to be able to handle the important day-to-day tasks. I’ve decided that the most important task is to triage and handle information thrown to me on a daily basis. I may not be able to do anything about it at that moment, but it’s important to address it and file it away. The large screen makes it easy to do that.

How to Keep Your Email Private with PGP Encryption on Your Mac

Glenn Fleishman, Macworld:

None of this is, shall we say, straightforward. But neither does it require the level of tweakiness and complexity of years past. Once set up, you can send and receive encrypted emails with other people who use PGP simply by remembering or retrieving your key’s passphrase. And that takes us a lot closer to reliably encrypted communications on demand than we have been until now.

Toggle Toggle

The ability to quickly and easily switch between two apps may well be one of the best contribution to GUI operating systems from Microsoft. I'm glad Command-Tab exists in Mac OS X, and I miss this greatly on my iPhone.


Even though the Dock is intended to be managed primarily with your mouse, Apple supports accessing it via the keyboard. The default action for this is to press Control-F3, but since some of its features are quite similar to Command-Tab, I recommend changing it to Option-Tab or something similar.

First-class drawing tool for people who aren't first-class artists

Init Question

Brent Simmons, Inessential:

Let’s say you have an object where initWithSomething could fail due to bad inputs or other error.

Let’s also say that, if it fails, an error should probably be presented to the user.


Apple Adds Vehicles to Its List of Company Activities in Swiss Legal Filing

Ben Lovejoy, 9to5Mac:

Apple has officially added vehicles to the corporate documents describing the company’s activities, at least in Switzerland.


Happy Birthday

Today you are you! That is truer than true!
There is no one alive who is you-er than you!

Happy birthday, Dr Seuss. Thank you. I miss you.

Parting Words

Who is the youngest person following me who knows what a .plan is? My guess: 35

— alicetiara (@alicetiara) March 2, 2015

Thanks for reading.

Sun, Mar 1, 2015The Pop-Up Edition

Apple Constructing Outdoor Building next to Yerba Buena, Likely Demo Area for Watch Event on March 9th

Benjamin Mayo, 9to5Mac:

Apple built a similar external structure for the Apple Watch’s original unveiling in September, which acted as a demo hall for the products (iPhone 6 and Apple Watch) that Apple had announced at the event prior.

Has anyone measured how many mini-vans can fit into that tent? Or maybe there is just one mini-van inside to demonstrate how the Apple Watch can replace your car key?

Apple construye un edificio de pruebas en los exteriores del Yerba Buena, probablemente para…

— Actualidad Watch (@Actu_Watch) March 1, 2015

Apple Watch Pop-up Shop Also Planned for London's Selfridges Department Store

Joe Rossignol, MacRumors:

The shop will likely be located near the entrance of the iconic Wonder Room, a 19,000-square-foot shopping hall that houses a wide selection of luxury jewelry and watch brands alongside a concept store and mezzanine wine bar.

How to Avoid Long Waits at the Genius Bar before You Get There

Geoffrey Goetz, GigaOM:

I typically perform the following series of checkups on the devices that I help manage before deciding that a trip to the Genius Bar is in order.


For those wanting an ultra-portable keyboard to use with your iPhone or iPad, but don't want the bulk and weight of a keyboard case should consider the Logitech Keys to Go.


Parting Words

One of the best nights in SF for photos in decades. [by @prachipun cc @burritojustice]

— Steve Silberman (@stevesilberman) March 1, 2015

Thanks for reading.