MyAppleMenu - Tue, Nov 17, 2015

Tue, Nov 17, 2015The Music-Obsessed-Collectors Edition

Apple’s iTunes Is Alienating Its Most Music-Obsessed Users, by Jesse Jarnow, Wired

At the start of the millennium, Apple famously set out to upend the music business by dragging it into the digital realm. The iTunes store provided an easy way of finding and buying music, and iTunes provided an elegant way of managing it. By 2008, Apple was the biggest music vendor in the US. But with its recent shift toward streaming media, Apple risks losing its most music-obsessed users: the collectors.

Most of iTunes’ latest enhancements exist solely to promote the recommendation-driven Apple Music, app downloads, and iCloud. Users interested only in iTunes’ media management features—people with terabytes of MP3s who want a solid app to catalog and organize their libraries—feel abandoned as Apple moves away from local file storage in favor of cloud-based services. These music fans (rechristened “power users” in the most recent lingo) are looking for alternatives to Apple’s market-dominating media management software, and yearn for a time when listening to music didn’t require being quite so connected.

How Apple Is Giving Design A Bad Name, by Andy Ihnatko

I don’t think it’s unreasonable to expect users to learn new skills over time before they can get the most out of an app or piece of hardware. It’s just that, Jeez…five years ago I couldn’t have imagined myself deciding that an Android phone has a prettier, easier-to-use interface than an iPhone.

The iOS Alternative

Shooting & Directing Live Music Exclusively With iOS, Switcher Studio & Jukebox The Ghost., by Brian King, Medium

My experience with directing live productions isn’t exhaustive, but I enjoy doing it whenever I get a chance. From high school in 2004 all the way through working on Coachella’s livestream this summer, the workflow has always been very similar: a director with a big bank of screens & buttons guides a crew of camera operators and picks his or her favorite shots out of the bunch. For as long as I can remember, these shoots have been very expensive and have demanded a lot of gear.

A month ago, I was contacted by my friends at Jukebox the Ghost. They were looking for a live streaming solution for their upcoming halloween shows. I gave them quotes for a full-fledged live show ($20,000+), and a laptop with a built-in camera running a YouTube feed ($0). Neither of these options worked for anybody. We needed good sound and at least a couple camera options to keep the feed engaging. After a rejection of the $20,000 option, I came across a solution that wouldn’t break the bank.

Channel Surfing

I Binge-Watched Periscope TV And It Almost Killed Me, by Jason Tanz, Wired

Channel-surfing is something of a lost art. In the streaming era, you no longer need to wile away countless hours and brain cells cycling through hundreds of TV stations, but I can’t be the only person who misses the serendipity of stumbling upon something you wouldn’t actively choose to watch, but somehow find yourself unable to turn off. A terrible movie that you still wouldn’t mind rewatching at 3 am. Comically inept infomercials. The bizarre juxtapositions of the trash-cultural bazaar, hurtling toward you through a cathode-ray tube.

Periscope’s Apple TV app, released on October 30, is in some ways a bold vision of the future of media. In an instant, anyone can beam a transmission to TVs across the globe, from their phone, for free; in homes, anyone can let those transmissions come in randomly, finding nostalgia in the experience—call it feed-surfing (if you must). Unlike the mobile app, the Apple TV version operates only in Couch Mode, which doesn’t let you follow specific accounts or comment in real-time. Indeed, other than a launch screen that shows rows of feeds in different cities, it offers very little control over what you watch. Its algorithm simply pushes what it determines to be the most desirable feed. When a broadcast ends, it loads another. You can skip ahead to the next feed, but you can’t rewind or fast-forward or pause—and if you want to post comments, you must fire up your mobile app. The result is an oddly compelling combination: all the rough intimacy of social media, with the passivity of a late-night basic-cable binge.


Using Apple HealthKit To Care For Patients With Type 1 Diabetes, by Stacy Finz, MedicalXpress

Rajiv Kumar, MD, a pediatric endocrinologist at Stanford Children's Health and Lucile Packard Children's Hospital Stanford, can access the teenager's blood-sugar readings quickly, without his mom having to crunch numbers or schedule a clinic appointment. And it's all because of a new health-care platform from Apple.

CasaTunes QuickSync Simplifies Music Catalog Sync Across Devices, by MacNN

WhatsApp Adds Rich Previews For Web Links, by Federico Viticci, MacStories

The Problem With iCloud Photo Library And Family Sharing, by Glenn Fleishman, Macworld


Pac-Man’s Siren Call: The Story Of A Most Unusual Bug On A Most Unusual Day, by Marcin Wichary, Medium

Imagine this for a second. You sit down Friday morning and power up your computer. For you, there’s nothing unusual about this Friday. You open your browser. You might not know about CoolPreviews, or even the concept of plugins or extensions. You don’t have to use, or even know about Google. You might not know what browser you use — or what a browser is. As a matter of fact, you might not even be using your browser; perhaps it has been minimized and sits unobtrusively in the toolbar at the bottom of your screen. Perhaps you’re just checking your mail or warming up for today’s first round of Solitaire.

It doesn’t matter what you do. Ten seconds later, coming from your computer’s speakers — do you know how to change their volume? do you even know your computer has speakers? — you hear this.

It’s the siren of an invisible Pac-Man game having infiltrated your computer in the most unusual manner.

On repeat.


Apple Pay Is Now Available In Canada With American Express, UK Apple Pay Adds Tesco Bank And TSB, by Benjamin Mayo, 9to5Mac

German Watchdog Probes Apple And Amazon Audiobooks Agreement, by Stephen Lam, Reuters

"The two companies have a strong position in the digital offering of audiobooks in Germany. Therefore, we feel compelled to examine the agreement between these two competitors in the audiobooks in more detail," cartel office chief Andreas Mundt said in the statement.

Rdio Is Shutting Down And Pandora Is Buying Up The Scraps, by Ben Popper, The Verge

The purchase price is $75 million, and the acquisition includes technology and intellectual property. The announcement says "many employees" from Rdio will be offered the chance to work at Pandora, implying that at least some will be out of work. Rdio's CEO, however, will not be making a move to join Pandora's ranks.

The Oxford Dictionaries Word Of The Year Is An Emoji, by Lizzie Plaugic, The Verge

Share on Facebook (441) Tweet (391) Share (2) Pin Language is a wonderful, masterfully evolving beast and we're all just puppets bending to its many whims. Dictionaries aren't safe from the power of a linguistic whim either, and so maybe that's why Oxford Dictionaries has chosen an emoji as its 2015 word of the year. It's the crying-from-laughter / crying-from-happiness emoji — officially known as the Face with Tears of Joy emoji.

A Little Life

I've just finished reading "A Little Life" by Hanya Yanagihara, and I definitely have a lot of mixed feelings about the book, about the characters, about life, and about all the peaks and all the troughs. If you think you can swallow the sadness -- as well as the many explicit horrible details -- I do recommend this book.


Thanks for reading.