Archive for January 2016

The Anxiety-Ridden Edition Sunday, January 31, 2016

Using Your iPhone As An Alarm Clock Can Set The Tone For An Anxiety-ridden Day, by Courtney Kueppers, Washington Post

Levi Felix, who founded a company called Digital Detox, said that habit means you’re more likely to check your email, scroll through social media and begin racking up screen time before you’re even out of bed in the morning.

One stressful email can set the tone for the whole day.

OS X Security Compromised Via The Update Process Of Many Popular Mac Apps, by Catalin Cimpanu, Softpedia

Security researcher Radoslaw Karpowicz has discovered a flaw in how the Sparkle Updater framework broadcasts app updates to Mac users.

Man-in-the-middle attack.


MailDeck Email App Goes 3.0 With Alias Support, Swipe Actions And More, by Aldrin Calimlim, AppAdvice

MailDeck 3.0 also features a new Filtered inbox, which removes computer-generated emails to show your most important emails.

Paperless Classroom App Showbie Now Optimized For iPad Pro And Apple Pencil, by Aldrin Calimlim, AppAdvice

If you’re a teacher, you can use Showbie to easily assign, collect and review your students’ work from other apps, or have your students complete assignments using the app’s built-in rich annotation tools or using apps that are compatible with Showbie.


U.S. And European Negotiators Near Deadline For Data Transfer Deal, by Mark Scott, New York Times

American and European officials entered Sunday rushing to reach a deal over how digital data — including people’s social media posts and financial information — could be transferred between the two regions.

As of Saturday night, it was still unclear whether a comprehensive deal was imminent. If no agreement is reached, it could put companies that regularly move digital data, including tech giants like Google and nontech companies like General Electric, into murky legal waters.

Bottom of the Page

How hard is it to create an email app, a calendar app, and a messaging app that I don't detest? Or maybe it's just that I really really don't enjoy any social stuff?


Thanks for reading.

The See-The-World Edition Saturday, January 30, 2016

Apple Builds Secret Team To Kick-start Virtual Reality Effort, by Tim Bradshaw, Financial Times

Apple has assembled a large team of experts in virtual and augmented reality and built prototypes of headsets that could one day rival Facebook’s Oculus Rift or Microsoft’s Hololens, as it seeks new sources of growth beyond the iPhone.

The secret research unit includes hundreds of staff from a series of carefully targeted acquisitions, as well as employees poached from companies that are working on next-generation headset technologies including Microsoft and camera start-up Lytro, according to people familiar with the initiative.

Apple Acquires Flyby Media, Makers Of Tech That “Sees” The World Around You, by Sarah Perez, TechCrunch

Apple’s VR ambitions continue. According to a new report from the Financial Times, Apple has acquired an augmented reality startup called Flyby Media, which developed technology that allows mobile phones to “see” the world around them.

Apple’s VR Team Is Real, Here’s Who They Are, by Chris Burns, Slashgear


Tweetbot For iOS And Mac Updated With Twitter's Hearts And Likes, by Aldrin Calimlim, AppAdvice

On iOS, the lists of trends are now truncated to smaller sets, mute filters can now be shared again by long-pressing on the filters tab, and retweets from unfollowed accounts are no longer shown on the timeline.

Downcast For iPhone Adds CarPlay Integration For Enhanced Podcast Playback, by Zac Hall, 9to5Mac

iPhone Users, The AdWords App For iOS Has Arrived, by Ginny Marvin, Search Engine Land

With the app, you can get campaign performance stats and update budgets and bids on the go. You can also take action on campaign suggestions and get billing and ad status notifications from the app. And you can call an AdWords rep if you need support.


Swift Struct Storage, by Mike Ash

Swift's classes tend to be straightforward for most people new to the language to understand. They work pretty much like classes in any other language. Whether you've come from Objective-C or Java or Ruby, you've worked with something similar. Swift's structs are another matter. They look sort of like classes, but they're value types, and they don't do inheritance, and there's this copy-on-write thing I keep hearing about? Where do they live, anyway, and how do they work? Today, I'm going to take a close look at just how structs get stored and manipulated in memory.

Making 20% Time Work, by Begriffs

I’d like to share a technique I developed to organize teamwork on open-source days. It helps each person do the work they love while coordinating everyone into an efficient machine. I noticed remarkable results after applying it for a few weeks. My coworkers went from diffuse experiments to regularly making tools that would trend on Github. It felt great and best of all it is reproducible.

Coding As A Career Isn't Right For Me, by Tom Reece

What do I really want? I want to pay off this massive $65,000 student loan debt bill that earned me the "privilege" to build someone else's dream from 9 to 5. And then I want to get away from coding for you and code for me. I don't like coding for you. I don't think any of us do. We only do it because you pay us way too much money and we have loans to pay off. We're nice components of the system.

Why You Should Avoid Vibrating Color Combinations, by Eli Schiff, Envatotuts+

In this quick article you’ll learn about how color vibration affects interface legibility in the context of web and interface design.


Apple Maps Stops Sending People Searching For "Abortion" To Adoption Centers, by Christina Farr, Fast Company

In the past week, after performing identical searches to earlier ones, we received a more comprehensive list of Planned Parenthood facilities and other abortion providers. Adoption clinics continue to pop up, but near the bottom of the list.

Why the sudden change? One explanation is that these changes are a result of the company's efforts to improve its Apple Maps search results with the launch of Apple Nearby. The company has been working to more accurately categorize small and large businesses for Apple Nearby, which was released with the most recent software update. With the new Nearby feature in iOS 9, Apple confirmed that "typed search queries deliver more relevant results from more categories."

Bottom of the Page

To steal a quote from somebody we all know, VR is a feature, not a product.

What is the product? The car. No, I'm not talking about having some VR goggles in your car. But rather, all the technologies of VR is going to help in the car's self-driving and navigation capabilities.

Or at least this is what I hope. VR goggles are silly.


Can all-you-can-listen be coming to Audible too?


Thanks for reading.

The Electric-Shock Edition Friday, January 29, 2016

Apple Recalls Some International Wall Plug Adapters, by Josh Centers, TidBITS

Apple has issued a recall for some two-prong wall plug adapters used in Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Continental Europe, Korea, and New Zealand. [...] These adapters shipped from 2003 to 2015 with various Apple devices. The danger is that the prongs may break off and create an electric shock risk.

Important Notice For Certain AC Wall Plug Adapters & World Travel Adapter Kit Customers, by Apple

Apple® today announced a voluntary recall of AC wall plug adapters designed for use in Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Continental Europe, New Zealand and South Korea. In very rare cases, affected Apple two-prong wall plug adapters may break and create a risk of electrical shock if touched. These wall plug adapters shipped with Mac® and certain iOS devices between 2003 and 2015 and were also included in the Apple World Travel Adapter Kit. Apple is aware of 12 incidents worldwide.

Erasing, In The World Of SSDs

Erasing A Drive In Mac OS X: Step By Step, by Robin Harris, ZDNet

With Mac OS 10.3 - El Capitan - Apple has removed the Secure Empty Trash function. Why? Because with solid state drives - SSDs - Apple couldn't guarantee that a secure erase would actually erase the data.

Thus when you sell a Mac - almost all of which have had SSDs for the last 4 years - using Secure Empty Trash with an older version of OS X, or trusting Empty Trash to nuke your data is asking for trouble. Follow these instructions and your data will be well and truly vaporized.


To Catch Up On The News On Your Apple TV, Just Watchup, by Jeff Byrnes, AppAdvice

While live sports might be the biggest thing many cord cutters look for in the way of content, news probably doesn’t come in too far behind. There are already plenty of apps for the new Apple TV centered around consuming news, but Watchup has joined the ranks aiming to redefine how you watch the news by providing you with a daily newscast of local, national, and international news stories to watch on your own schedule.

5 Apple TV Fitness Apps To Get In Shape On A Budget, by Caitlin McGarry, Macworld

I chose five apps that met at least some of my criteria, the most important being the variety and quality of workout videos at a decent price point. After spending some time with Zova, Beachbody On Demand, Grokker, DailyBurn, and Cody, I realized Apple TV has huge potential for health and fitness apps, though it’s not quite there yet.


Seven Deadly Annoyances Of API Design, by Chicken Wing Software

Designing an API is an art and a science. Many intelligent people have failed. Those who succeed do so by keeping in view the main goal of an API: to annoy the hell out of developers.


Apple Merges iTunes Radio Channels Into Apple Music, Beats 1 Now Lone Free-to-stream Service, by Mikey Campbell, AppleInsider

As announced earlier this month, Apple on Friday discontinued free access to ad-supported iTunes Radio channels, folding the content into Apple Music as part of a broader push to grow adoption of its subscription service.

Apple Acquires Education-Tech Startup LearnSprout, by Eric Newcomer and Adam Satariano, Bloomberg

Apple Inc. said it acquired education-technology startup LearnSprout, which creates software for schools and teachers to track students’ performance.

Apple is working on education tools for the iPad, which will allow students to see interactive lessons, track their progress, and share tablet computers with peers. "Apple buys smaller technology companies from time to time, and we generally do not discuss our purpose or plans," said Colin Johnson, a spokesman for Apple.

Why The iPad Is Going Extinct, by Navneet Alang, New Republic

The tablet may not be dead, but the dreams that accompanied its arrival probably are.

The Tower Records Stuck In Time, by S.Mubashir Noor, Medium

Okay, so I’m borderline otaku. Maybe not the I-hate-everyone-but-Miku-chan kind, but I absolutely adore Japanese manga and anime. That said, I never understood why the average Japanese teenager-in-ink is the music technology equivalent of Amish. They’re still swapping CDs in tankōbon-land! What gives?

Bottom of the Page

The problem with the iPad for me personally is that it is hard to figure out how to make better use of the tablet.


Thanks for reading.

The Company-Executives Edition Thursday, January 28, 2016

Apple's Angela Ahrendts On What It Takes To Make Change Inside A Successful Business, by Fast Company

"We just ended the year with the highest retention rates we’ve ever had: 81%. And the feedback [from Apple Store employees is that it’s] because they feel connected. They feel like one Apple. They don’t feel like they’re just somebody over here working with customers. I don’t see them as retail employees. I see them as executives in the company who are touching the customers with the products that Jony [Ive] and the team took years to build. Somebody has to deliver it to the customer in a wonderful way."

Apple's Updates

Apple Says It Has Fixed The Bug That Was Crashing Safari, by Joseph Bernstein, Buzzfeed

Sources say the issue impacted only people whose Safari “Suggestions” data storage cache updated during early-morning hours, Pacific Time. The immediate cause of the crash was typing into the address bar. Emptying the cache should resolve the issue for those still experiencing it (click on the “clear history and website data” in Safari’s preferences).

Apple Updates Snow Leopard So You Can Continue To Upgrade From Snow Leopard, by Andrew Cunningham, Ars Technica

This doesn't mean that Snow Leopard is suddenly supported again. Rather, it allows Apple to continue offering modern OS X versions to the Snow Leopard users whose Macs can run newer versions. You can upgrade directly from Snow Leopard to any newer version of OS X, including the current El Capitan, and the Mac App Store is the main delivery method for those upgrades.

More On Financial Results

Three More Observations About Apple’s Conference Call, by Jason Snell, Six Colors

Then there’s the Mac, which ended a two year period of positive year-over-year sales growth. During the first fiscal quarter of 2016, Mac sales were down (slightly). Again, this is a situation where the overall market the product is in might say a lot: As Apple pointed out, analyst firm IDC estimates that the global PC market was down 11 percent, meaning that the Mac’s four percent sales drop means that the Mac continued to gain PC market share.

A bigger slice of a shrinking pie?

No Need To Fret, Apple Is Doing Fine, by Farhad Manjoo, New York Times

Let’s get this out of the way first: Despite what you may have heard, the iPhone is not dying. Neither, by extension, is Apple.

Money Money Money

Opening The iTunes Affiliate Kimono, by Dr. Drang, And Now It's All This

I’m not complaining. I don’t do this for money (obviously), I do it for fun. And the small income from affiliate links pay for my hosting at Digital Ocean (yes, that’s an affiliate link for them), my FastMail account (ditto), and a few apps here and there. But I won’t be quitting my day job.

Apple CFO Says 'Fair' Outcome In Irish Tax Investigation Would Be No Money Owed, by Roger Fingas, AppleInsider

On Wednesday Apple CFO Luca Maestri attacked an ongoing European Commission investigation into the company's tax deals with Ireland, claiming that a "fair" decision would find the iPhone maker owing nothing.

Apple Isn't As Rich As You Think It Is, by Matt Krantz, USA Today

Apple's cash isn't free and clear for investors to cash in on. Apple has been piling on debt over the years - even faster than cash is growing. Apple ended last year with $53.2 billion in long-term debt, which is up 64% from the same period a year ago. That debt amounts to $9.60 a share.


Office For iOS Gets More Cloud-Friendly, by David Sparks, MacSparky

So Office for iOS now lets us work directly on files in Dropbox or Box without any multiple-copy shenanigans. All of this happens right from the Open menu. I've been working with my Dropbox documents in this manner since it first rolled out and it works great. Microsoft intends to add additional services in the coming months.

Unfortunately, missing from the list is iCloud and that is too bad.

Box Gets Deeper Integration With Office Apps For iPhone And iPad, by Joseph Keller, iMore

Cloud storage provider Box has announced a new set of integrations with Microsoft Office. This includes some new capabilities for Word, Excel, and PowerPoint for iPhone and iPad that make editing documents from Box much easier.

New Boundary Warp Feature For Lightroom Helps You Create More Detailed Panoramas, by Grant Friedman, Layers Magazine

Today, Adobe released Lightroom CC 2015.4. While the goal of this release was to provide additional camera raw support, lens profile support, and address a few bugs that were introduced in the previous version of the app, version 6.4 also includes a new feature called Boundary Warp, which gives photographers a new option when stitching together panoramas.

BBEdit Gets Performance Boost, Interface Refinements, More, by MacTech

BBEdit 11.5 offers a variety of performance improvements, refinements to fit and finish, and changes to streamline workflow in specific areas, such as Find Differences.

Is A Luxury Wireless Speaker Worth The Splurge?, by Michael Hsu, Wall Street Journal

The fact is, a single speaker can only do so much; it’ll never rival a traditional two-speaker system. But if you simply must have the most compact setup available, these three pricey offerings from esteemed audio companies deliver considerable punch per cubic square inch. Here’s a rundown of how they work, and the technical know-how they borrow from their much, much more expensive full-size counterparts.

The Real Way To Use Focus On A Mac To Avoid Distractions, by Bohemian Boomer

What we need is a distraction free app that frees us from the distractions. That’s Focus, a simple Mac Menubar utility which creates an optimal work environment on your Mac by prohibiting you from opening or using specific apps during specific times.

What Focus does is block websites and apps from starting so you can stay focused on whatever you’re doing.

Microsoft Hits A Home Run With This Brilliant iPhone App, by John Brandon, Computerworld

The app does an amazing job of finding stories related to your job, skills, and interests. It cuts out the fluff and makes news reading easier.


Seven Swift Snares & How To Avoid Them, by David Ungar, IBM

The Swift language is intended to help developers avoid bugs by adopting safe programming patterns. Inevitably though, such an ambitious undertaking will produce an artifact that (for now, at least) has a few rough edges, snares that can introduce bugs into programs without any warnings from the compiler. Some of these are mentioned in the Swift book, and some (as far as I can tell) are not. Here are seven snares most of which have caught me in the past year. They involve Swift’s protocol extensions, optional chaining, and functional programming.

Apple Enables Lower Price Tiers For The App Store In Canada And New Zealand, by Aldrin Calimlim, AppAdvice

In an announcement posted on its official developer portal, Apple says that the lower price tiers, Alternate Tier A and Alternate Tier B, are now available to allow developers to offer their paid apps and in-app purchases at $0.99 (CAD and NZD). “Existing apps that already use these price tiers have been automatically updated,” the company notes.

Why I Work Remotely (Hint: It Has Nothing To Do With Productivity)., by Jason Zimdars, Signal v Noise


America's Sudden U-Turn On Highway Fonts, by Kriston Capps, The Atlantic

Clearview is out, Highway Gothic is (back) in. Critics want to know why.

McDonald's Introduces Chocolate-covered French Fries To Japan, by Justin McCurryin, The Guardian

McDonald’s is attempting to reverse its sagging fortunes in Japan with the launch this week of a new menu item: french fries smothered in chocolate sauce.


These McDonald’s Mozzarella Sticks Have A Problem: No Cheese, by Hayley Peterson, Slate

McDonald's is under fire for serving mozzarella sticks that are missing a key ingredient: cheese.

Not so yummy.

Rumor Of The Day

Apple Likely To Debut iPad Air 3 At March Event; New Apple Watch Models Revealed, by Mark Gurman, 9to5Mac

Bottom of the Page

watchOS, tvOS, phoneOS, padOS, computerOS?


Thanks for reading.

The Really-Cool Edition Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Apple Reports Record First Quarter Results, by Apple

Apple® today announced financial results for its fiscal 2016 first quarter ended December 26, 2015. The Company posted record quarterly revenue of $75.9 billion and record quarterly net income of $18.4 billion, or $3.28 per diluted share. These results compare to revenue of $74.6 billion and net income of $18 billion, or $3.06 per diluted share, in the year-ago quarter. Gross margin was 40.1 percent compared to 39.9 percent in the year-ago quarter. International sales accounted for 66 percent of the quarter’s revenue.

Apple Q1 2016 Results: $75.9 Billion Revenue, 74.8 Million iPhones, 16.1 Million iPads Sold, by Federico Viticci, MacStories

Apple Reports 1 Billion “Active” Devices, by Sarah Perez, TechCrunc

Apple says now its “active” install base has reached 1 billion devices. (Actually, it has surpassed it, says CEO Tim Cook.) That figure includes iPhone, iPad, Mac, iPod touch, Apple TV and Apple Watch devices that have been engaged with Apple’s services over the past 90 days, the company explains.

Apple Sold A Record Number Of iPhones—But Just Barely, by Davey Alba, Wired

Compared to the same time last year, iPhone sales saw their slowest growth—0.4 percent—since the product was launched in 2007.

Apple Chief Tim Cook: We’re Seeing Extreme Conditions Everywhere We Look, by Mark DeCambre, MarketWatch

Apple pointed to troubles from the greenback and weakness in currencies in Brazil, China and Russia as a headwind for the company that has drawn two-thirds of its revenues from overseas.

Apple Still Didn’t Say How Many Watches It Sold, by Davey Alba, Wired

This marks the third consecutive quarter Apple has kept silent on the figure.

Apple’s CEO Tim Cook Thinks Virtual Reality Is “Really Cool”, by Tyler Lee, Ubergizmo

According to Cook, who responded to the question on whether he thinks virtual reality is considered niche, he claims that virtual reality technology is not a niche field and that it is “really cool”. He also notes that the technology could have some interesting applications, although he did not provide any specifics.

Maybe Apple Really Does Need To Make A Smaller iPhone, by Kirk McElhearn

60% of people are using an iPhone prior to the iPhone 6. In other words, 60% of people are using smaller iPhones.

This Is Tim: Apple's CEO On Q1 2016, by Serenity Caldwell, Jason Snell, iMore

Apple CEO Tim Cook spoke with analysts during the company's Q1 2016 earnings call. Here's our ongoing live transcript of his remarks.

Today's How Tos

How To Learn To Code When You Have No Idea Where To Start, by Serenity Caldwell, iMore

It would likely take you millions of years to consume all the content available on our computers, phones, and tablets — there's so much out there on the Internet and App Store, and more coming every day. But what if you want to make your own content? That world can be a lot darker and scarier if you're not sure where to start.

There's a ton of great content on website-building, ebook creation, writing automated workflows for productivity, and even putting together your own apps. But when you're starting from step zero, where do you go? Who do you talk to?

How To Give Up Your Phone For A Week, According To A 16-year-old, by Leslie Landis, Washington Post

My parents tease me about how much I use my phone. It’s always in my hand at home. Even at the dinner table, my phone is right next to me. My parents always say I can’t go without my phone and I always answer back with yes I can. One day I thought to myself, can I?

For a whole week, I, a 16-year-old girl living in New York City, gave up my iPhone. I use a laptop at home, so I could check the news and do my homework. I wasn’t giving up communication, I was giving up instant communication. I wanted to see if our phones really were our lifeline.

How To Fix Your Own Headphones, by April Glaser, Wired

Just because something is broken doesn’t mean it can’t be fixed—especially if that something is a nice pair of headphones you’ve invested in. Headphones break relatively easily because we use them so frequently and treat them harshly. They’re subjected to rain, sun, airplane seat-backs, and the bottom of your backpack.

So don’t ditch your favorite pair just because they break. See if you can fix them first.

How To Get A Mac Laptop's Headphone Jack To Work Reliably, by Glenn Fleishman, Macworld

There can be several causes to this problem, but you can isolate the easy one first: Get a can of compressed air or an air compressor designed for use with computers. Put the laptop on a level surface, and briefly spray air into the headphone jack. (Never spray canned compressed air except with the can perfectly level; otherwise, it can leak compressed liquid and damage.)

How To Get Five Planets Into A Single Photograph, by Nicholas St. Fleur, New York Times

One of the trickiest aspects of getting the shot is simply knowing where to look for the headliners amid the countless bright orbs above. Before his trip, Mr. Hogan used a software program called Stellarium to help him pinpoint the planets’ locations. When he got to the park he used a mobile app called Sky Guide to home in on Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn.

More Reasons For Safari To Crash

Safari Is Crashing On iPhone And Mac Because Apple’s Search Suggestions Are Down, by Owen Williams, The Next Web

If you can’t open Safari on your Mac or iPhone today, you’re not alone. A bug that appears to be related to Apple’s search suggestions within both Safari on iOS and OS X is causing the browser to crash or lock up.


The 5K iMac, by Casey Liss

What with each of my virtual desktops on the iMac having around three times as many pixels as my MacBook Pro’s, I don’t need virtual desktops near as much.

The Best PDF App For Mac: PDFpen, by Mike Schmitz, The Sweet Setup

If you’re looking to edit PDFs on your Mac, quality options are hard to come by, and PDFpen is the cream of the (very limited) crop. PDFpen offers enough features to complete just about any standard PDF editing task quickly and easily, and offers a Pro version for those who need the extra features.

Dashlane 4 Review: Easy And Convenient Password Management For Your Mac, by Marco Tabini, Macworld

Ultimately, Dashlane is a great digital vault, particularly for users that need a little help navigating the sometimes complex world of security. It integrates well with all the apps you’re likely to use every day, offers a compelling sync offering, and automates many drudging tasks that, while crucial to good password hygiene, are often overlooked because of their menial nature.

Backblaze, The Cloud Backup Service, Will Now Loan You A Hard Drive Full Of Your Data, by Chris Welch, The Verge

Backblaze, my preferred cloud backup service for a few years now, is today making it a bit easier and cheaper to restore all of your data if your computer should ever crash or get lost / stolen. The company has always let subscribers ($5 per month) pay $189 to receive an external hard drive with a full copy of their backup. But maybe you don't need yet another external drive that'll just end up sitting around collecting dust. So now Backblaze is giving customers another option: send it back within 30 days for a full refund.

Matias Tactile Pro Keyboard Is A Step Back In Time That Moves Serious Typists Forward, by Dennis Sellers, Apple World Today

A serious typist will find the Tactile Pro quite a bargain when they factor in the increased productivity and decreased fatigue this outstanding keyboard provides. I can't believe I lived without this keyboard for so long.

Microsoft's News Pro App Combines Bing News And Social Media To Serve Up Your Headlines, by Dan Thorp-Lancaster, iMore

Microsoft has released a new app for iPhone that seeks to aggregate all of the news you're interested in under one roof. Called News Pro, the app is powered by Bing News and uses your interests as a guide to pick and choose stories from around the web for you to read. The app itself is somewhat similar in nature to Apple's own News app that launched with iOS 9. However, Microsoft's take is a bit different in that it pulls your interests in from social media accounts.

Go Live: You Can Now Broadcast On Periscope Using Your GoPro, by Aldrin Calimlim, AppAdvice

To enjoy Periscope’s GoPro integration, you’ll need an iPhone 5s or newer, running iOS 8.2 or later, and a GoPro Hero 4.


Welcoming Our New Swift 2.2 Overlords, by Erica Sadun

All hail Xcode Beta 7.3 and Swift 2.2. It’s here and there’s so much in there. Here’s a first take at some of the major 2.2 features.


Singalong To Siri, by BBC

"Siri, what is one trillion to the tenth power?"

On the face of things it's not immediately obvious how this mindboggling mathematics question could inspire sweet music.

Apple Update Now Available For Download, by Greg Tannen, New Yorker

Congratulations! You have chosen to update to the new Apple Operating System, Haleakalā.

No, don’t bother trying to spell it. It took us three tries, and we made the damn thing. Anyway, Haleakalā National Park is in Hawaii, which we thought was cool, and we’re doing this whole national-parks name thing . . . so, well, there you go. Haleakalā!

Will Today’s Kids Be Stumped By The Technology Of The Future?, by Kaveh Waddell, The Atlantic

We’ve become very good at using devices that we don’t understand. Today’s gadgets—smartphones, tablets, and everyday objects that are connected to the Internet—are inscrutable. They work, they’re slow, or they crash, but all the while, the average user has no idea what’s going on beneath the layers of glass, plastic, and metal. But that doesn’t seem to bother users, who are happy and confident as long as they can get the devices to do what they want.

“Being in the company of machines that are mysterious: That’s a new thing,” says Lucas. “And making peace with that mystery might be a fundamentally new part of the human experience.”

Proposed State Bans On Phone Encryption Make Zero Sense, by Andy Greenberg, Wired

They say, the most likely result of any state banning the sale of encrypted smartphones would be to make the devices of law-abiding residents’ more vulnerable, while still letting criminals obtain an encrypted phone with a quick trip across the state border or even a trivial software update.

Rumor Of The Day

Apple Plans To Offer Subscription Content Through News App, by Jessica Toonkel and Julia Love, Reuters

Apple Inc is working to make subscription content available through its News app, giving publishers with paywalls a new way to control who sees their articles, two sources familiar with the matter said. [...] By making paid content available through its News app, Apple would give publishers a way to maintain relationships with readers and perhaps attract new subscribers.

Bottom of the Page

If the two-year replacement-cycle still continues for me, seeing that the Singapore telco hasn't given up the two-year-contract-and-we-pretend-your-phone-is-very-cheap idea yet, the next iPhone will be the one I'm upgrading to.

Here's my wishlist:

1) Water-proofing the iPhone will be a welcoming feature. In particular, if Apple can make Touch ID to work even with wet fingers, I will be extremely happy. If the price to pay is the loss of the headphone jack, then so be it.

2) So long as there are no significant price increase: a pair of wireless earpods, please. Especially if the earpods have whole-day battery life, and, like the Apple Pencil, the earpods can be charged quickly by plugging into the lightning port for one or two minute for another few hours of battery life. (Okay, this may be asking too much.)

3) Instead of a pair of volume buttons, change it to a set of volume-up + play/pause + volume-down buttons. Just like the iPod nano. I may be among the minority, but I often listen to music and podcasts without headphones. A physical play/pause button on the phone itself will be useful for me. (Of course, given Apple's general direction of buttons-removal, this wishlist is unlikely to be fulfilled.)


Thanks for reading.

The Restored-Podcasts-App Edition Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Checking Out tvOS’ 9.1.1’s Restored Podcasts App, by Andrew Cunningham, Ars Technica

The app is straightforward; a phone app stretched out and rearranged to follow the standard Apple TV design guidelines. It's laid out in five "tabs," two of which are dedicated to the shows you've subscribed to. The Featured and Top Charts tabs focus on discoverability, offering up popular and Apple-curated podcasts to people looking for something new and the Search tab does what you'd expect.

Here, Just Run This Code

Why That Annoying Website Crashes Safari, Chrome, by Paul Wagenseil, Tom's Guide

CrashSafari exploits a known issue that lets four lines of JavaScript fill up a browser with more useless information than it can handle. Browsers that survive the process will display an endless amount of numbers in their address bars.

Apple Aware Of Crash Safari Code, Looking Into A Fix, by Rene Ritchie, iMore

There's a web page out there called Crash Safari that uses JavaScript to put your browser into a loop, crash it, and potentially crash your device as well. Apple is aware of the page — and more importantly, the code — and is looking into a fix.

We Have A Problem

How Apple Killed Off Ad Revenue From Our Company, And How It Can Happen To You, by Wes Cossick, Medium

This means that any usage spike for your app can completely eliminate your iAd revenue. Launch a new advertising campaign? Usage spike. Get some lucky press coverage? Usage spike. Your app gets featured? Usage spike. Your app simply goes through cycles like ours does? Usage spike. Soon enough, the usage spike you were celebrating just turned off your primary revenue stream. No notification, just gone. That’s really, really bad.

Apple's New iOS Center In Naples Raises Eyebrows, by Eric J. Lyman, USA Today

But the plans for the center were painted only in broad strokes. The company did not say when it would open. It says Apple will work with a "partner institution" in Naples but doesn't identify the partner. There is no indication how much money will be invested in the new center. And there is no explanation why Apple selected Naples, a city known for security problems, a lack of high-speed Internet connections and no major high-tech presence.


Moving Your iTunes Library To A New Mac, by J. D. Biersdorfer, New York Times

When AirPort Base Stations Don't Appear Over Ethernet, by Glenn Fleishman, Macworld

Rowmote Pro, For Your Mac Remote Controlling Needs, by Dan Moren, Six Colors

Back when I was still running Plex as an app on my Mac mini, I used Rowmote’s Apple-Remote-style interface a lot, but now I rely much more on the trackpad/keyboard option. It makes it easy to access modifier keys like Control, Option, and Command, whether you’re using the trackpad or the keyboard, and there’s a Function mode that lets you access other common keys, like the cursors, Page Up/Page Down, F-keys, and so on.

Yojimbo Is One Of The Best Info Gathering Apps For The Mac, by "Doctor Dave" Greenbaum, Apple World Today

For those users needing an information manager that takes full advantage of their Mac's unique capabilities, and who don't need access to that information on devices other than a Mac, Yojimbo is a great and obvious choice.

Can These Apps Stop You From ‘Drunk Texting’?, by Ryan Knutson, Wall Street Journal

Realizing that he was far from alone in the tipsy-texting phenomenon, he was inspired to build a free iPhone app, called the Drunk Text Savior. When users draft a text message or tweet via his app, the software analyzes the contents of the missive and advises the author not to press “send” if it contains too many misspellings or explicit language.

Reviewing Donald Rumsfeld’s Solitaire App As Rumsfeld Might, by Brian Barrett, Wired

Donald Rumsfeld made an app! Well, more specifically, app developers Snapdragon Studios and media agency Javelin made an app with Donald Rumsfeld’s input. It’s called Churchill’s Solitaire. Now, please recall that in 2002, Rumsfeld famously categorized the relation of the Iraq government to weapons of mass destruction in terms of “known knowns, known unknowns, and unknown unknowns,” so we’ve done him the same service. Here’s our takeaway from trying his app.


Touring Can’t Save Musicians In The Age Of Spotify, by Mike Errico, New York Times

Touring is, of course, the most ancient business model available to artists — and in many ways, it remains a vital part of their livelihood, even while the surrounding industry undergoes major upheaval to accommodate the new paradigm of streaming music. In response to the shift in revenue sources, standard recording contracts now intrude into the numerous nonrecording aspects of an artist’s career. But the advice given to the creative generators of this multibillion dollar industry is still one that would be recognizable to a medieval troubadour: Go on tour.

And yet from a business standpoint, it’s hard to find a model more unsustainable than one that relies on a single human body. This is why we have vice presidents, relief pitchers and sixth men. When applied to music’s seemingly limitless streaming future, the only scarce resource left is the artists themselves. You would think the industry would protect such an important piece of its business model, but in fact, the opposite is true.

Researchers Have Found A Major Problem With ‘The Little Mermaid’ And Other Disney Movies, by Jeff Guo, Washington Post

And yet, in one respect, “The Little Mermaid” represented a backward step in the princess genre. For a film centered on a young woman, there’s an awful lot of talking by men. In fact, this was the first Disney princess movie in which the men significantly outspoke the women.

And it started a trend. The plot of "The Little Mermaid," of course, involves Ariel literally losing her voice — but in the five Disney princess movies that followed, the women speak even less. On average in those films, men have three times as many lines as women.

Bottom of the Page

I still think that one of the biggest mistake in the evolution of the browser is Javascript.

(Thanks, Netscape!)


Thanks for reading.

The Leader-Of-The-Free-World Edition Monday, January 25, 2016

For Gadget Geek In The Oval Office, High Tech Has Its Limits, by Michael D. Shear, New York Times

Mr. Obama is the first true gadget geek to occupy the Oval Office, and yet his eagerness to take part in the personal technology revolution is hampered by the secrecy and security challenges that are daily requirements of his job.

What counts as must-have features for many people — high-definition cameras, powerful microphones, cloud-connected wireless radios and precise GPS location transmitters — are potential threats when the leader of the free world wants to carry them around.

Mr Obama's iPad has no camera, wi-fi, celluar, GPS, and microphones. I bet if Apple is to make such an iPad, it can be made even thinner than anything you see out there right now.

Kitchen In Your Pocket

Taco Bell's Slick New App Lets You Build The Franken-taco Of Your Dreams, by Chris Gayomali, Fast Company

"Like everything we do in digital and social, we wanted it to look like something your friend would post," says Jenkins. Images are big and bright, and the UI is largely swipe-based. Don't want cheese? Swipe left. Want to swap in chicken for ground beef in your Doritos Locos Taco? You can swipe through different protein options as if they were Tinder potentials.

But underneath the sheen of millennial-ness is a platform designed around customization, which is what's really at the heart of the application. The general idea behind the app is to "open up" Taco Bell's secret kitchen to the masses, allowing anyone to create whatever burrito/taco/nacho monstrosity their imaginations can dream up. Guacamole, bacon, jalapenos, Baja sauce, Doritos taco shells—all are at your gastronomical disposal.


Microsoft's Sway Makes Last Minute Presentations And Smart Tweets A Breeze, by Peter Moon, AFR

Executives and managers without the time or inclination to master high end Office products are a natural audience for simpler tools like Sway.

Carbo: Digital Storage And Editing For Handwritten Notes, by Jake Underwood, MacStories

"Handwriting in the digital age." It was such a claim, along with its feature in Apple's productivity sale, that drew my attention to Carbo. From reading the app's description, developers Creaceed seemed confident in the app's handwriting altering and organization. After spending some time with Carbo and thoroughly enjoying the experience, I now understand their confidence.

The Best Apps To Run A Startup From Your Phone, by Amy Westervelt, Wall Street Journal

There has been an explosion in mobile applications aimed at tackling everything from human resources and payroll to scheduling and finances. And that boom is making it easier than ever for small-business owners to keep tabs on their operation from anywhere they are.

Newsela Helps Students Improve Their Literacy By Reading The News, by Aldrin Calimlim, AppAdvice

With the app, students can access relevant news articles from renowned sources such as Associated Press, Scientific American, and the Washington Post. More interestingly, they can also adjust the wording of the articles to any of five reading levels by simply swiping upward or downward with two fingers, thereby aiding in their comprehension and competency enhancement while keeping them engaged in current events and other interesting nonfiction subjects.

Chatham Man Has A Better Way To Get Children To Sleep, by Jessica Nocera, The Daily Record

It’s no mystery that putting young children to sleep can be exhausting but Chatham resident, Brian Dwyre, father of three, has created a product that he believes will make it easier.

Coming from a family of entrepreneurs, Dwyre developed Kidioke Media, song books that play classic hits that also tell a story.

How Donald Rumsfeld, Of All People, Ended Up Developing A Solitaire App, by Dan Zak, Washington Post

Donald Rumsfeld has an app. No, it’s not called “Angry Kurds,” or “Find My WMD” (although wouldn’t that be something?). It is a game called “Churchill Solitaire.” It is free, and it is not easy.

“No, it’s not — it’s challenging! It’s strategic,” the former secretary of Defense said on the phone Sunday, while hustling to Union Station for a train to New York, where he planned to hawk the app on the “Today” show.


The Real Legacy Of Steve Jobs, by Sue Halpern, New York Review of Books

The magic Jobs was selling went beyond the products his company made: it infused the story he told about himself. Even as a multimillionaire, and then a billionaire, even after selling out friends and collaborators, even after being caught back-dating stock options, even after sending most of Apple’s cash offshore to avoid paying taxes, Jobs sold himself as an outsider, a principled rebel who had taken a stand against the dominant (what he saw as mindless, crass, imperfect) culture. You could, too, he suggested, if you allied yourself with Apple. It was this sleight of hand that allowed consumers to believe that to buy a consumer good was to do good—that it was a way to change the world. “The myths surrounding Apple is for a company that makes phones,” the journalist Joe Nocera tells Gibney. “A phone is not a mythical device. It makes you wonder less about Apple than about us.”

Want To Play With This Toy? You’ll Need An App For That, by Donna Ferguson, The Guardian

An iPad loom for friendship bracelets, a wireless electronics kit you can activate with a tweet, and a hi-tech Scalextric race track you can play with via your smartphone.

These are just a few of the traditional toys that have undergone a technological makeover to appeal to “digital natives” – or “children” as they are known outside the booming £3bn toy industry. The new toys are being shown at the annual Toy Fair at Kensington Olympia in west London, which begins today.

Europe’s Top Digital-Privacy Watchdog Zeros In On U.S. Tech Giants, by Mark Scott, New York Times

From here, Ms. Falque-Pierrotin has emerged as one of the most important watchdogs for how companies like Facebook and Google handle the billions of digital bits of personal data — like names, dates and contacts — routinely collected on Europeans. Since 2011, she has been France’s top privacy regulator, and for the last two years, she has led a group of European data-protection officials. In those posts, Ms. Falque-Pierrotin has regularly agitated companies to better safeguard people’s data.

Bottom of the Page

Today, let's try listing some stuff... Here are the third-party apps on my iPhone that I use practically every single day.

Getting stuff done - I jot down stuff in Drafts, so that stuff can quickly got moved over to either Todoist, my to-dos app, or Evernote, my notes app.

Reading - I read articles in Instapaper, tweets in Tweetbot, and RSS posts in Reeder.

Listening - I listen to audiobooks in Audible and podcasts in Downcast.

And I use Launch Center Pro, mostly to avoid needing to press on that home button. (My first iPhone has a broken home button by the time I upgraded to the next iPhone.)


Thanks for reading.

The Safest-Passwords Edition Sunday, January 24, 2016

Apps To Manage Passwords So They Are Harder To Crack Than ‘Password’, by Brian X. Chen, New York Times

In my shame and embarrassment, I put together a guide of best practices for passwords and tested some tools that would help manage them. Here’s what it boils down to: To have the safest passwords protecting your digital life, each password should be unique and complex. But since memorizing 70 unique and complex passwords is nearly impossible, we also need password manager programs to keep track of them all.

New Ways Of Making Money

The Way You Buy And Use Apps Is About To Change Big Time, by Brain Barrett, Wired

Turning apps into money has always seemed like a fairly straightforward proposition. Sell the app, get the money. Or better yet, give the app away, and sell upgrades inside it. But while the basics remain largely the same, the alchemy that goes into it has changed significantly. How you buy apps, and where, and what kind, is going to change a lot in the next few years. It’s already started.

Podcast Pioneers: Where Audiences Choose To Listen To The Ads, by Corey Layton, AdAge

There's a revolution taking place, and the traditional media giants have yet to realize it. Podcasts are transforming advertising. Podcast producers have become pioneers in creating a different commercial model, where audiences are choosing to not skip the ads, but in some cases rewind to hear them again.

A New Twist On Mobile Ads, by Paresh Dave, Los Angeles Times

In the fast-changing world of mobile advertising, staples like banner ads, pop-ups and ads disguised as news stories aren't cutting it anymore.

The latest crop of ads reads like novels, mimics the levels of a video game and lets Snoopy hitch a ride on selfies.

Dealt With It

The Dao Of The Shell, by Matt Gemmell

I was compelled to really think about it recently when I resumed my seemingly endless search for an email program I can live with. I’ve never met a GUI email client I didn’t passionately detest within a week. Fussy interactions, lack of keyboard navigation and control, idiosyncratic structure and terminology, trying to do too much or too little… the genre is a minefield of thwarted hope.

Back at university, I dealt with email on the command-line. I didn’t do email, or check email, or manage my email: I dealt with it. In; read; reply or delete; out. On to the next thing. It was Enough, with a capital ‘E’. There’s not nearly enough Enough in the world today.


How To Reset Apple's Thunderbolt Display, by Joe Rossignol, MacRumors

Apple's Thunderbolt Display, for myriad reasons, may not display an image from your Mac, recognize USB peripherals, connect to Ethernet, or power on whatsoever.

In many cases, the display is not broken. Before contacting Apple, follow these troubleshooting steps to see if you can reset your Thunderbolt Display.

Send Hyper A Text, And It Can Book Your Next Business Trip, by Jelisa Castrodale, Road Warrior Voices

Trying to book a business trip can be a nightmare of scheduling conflicts, corporate travel policies and opposing personal preferences. But a new startup called Hyper wants to simplify travel planning down to just a few text messages.

5 Best iPhone Apps To Help You Learn Guitar, by Luke Peters,


The Story Behind F.lux, The Night Owl's Color-Shifting Sleep App Of Choice, by Matthew Braga, Motherboard

Initially, Lorna and Michael didn’t completely understand what it was their program did. They knew that making the colour adjustments made their displays easier to read and use later into the night, and that other people might appreciate this too.

"We really thought six months after that, that we were done. We had done this app that was pretty baked. And we didn't really think it was that hard," Michael recalled. "Now we have this joke that, everyone thinks this problem is easy until they spend a year or two on it, and then they think it's the hardest problem they've ever worked on."

Looking For Signs That Apple’s Runaway Growth Is Waning, by Katie Benner, New York Times

With sales increases of Apple’s prime product, the iPhone, projected to decelerate, and no clear new blockbuster device on the horizon, the era of the company’s producing 50 or 60 percent annual revenue growth may be on the wane. When Apple reports earnings on Tuesday, investors will be scouring the results for signs of how fast that downshift is happening.

Bottom of the Page

Both my Apple Music downloads as well as App Store downloads slowed down significantly on my iPhone. I have no idea why.

Have you tried turning it off and on again? Yes, I have.


Thanks for reading.

The Natural-To-Hold Edition Saturday, January 23, 2016

The Apple iPad Pro Review, by Joshua Ho, Brandon Chester and Ryan Smith, Anandtech

Overall, the iPad Pro has proven to be a very different experience for me than previous iPads. The design is definitely familiar, with the same industrial design and general feel as previous iPads scaled up to a 12.9” form factor. However, the change in size is something that feels like it should have been done from the start. Of course, there are people that will carry tablets in cargo pockets that want something closer to a 7” display and people that carry tablets in purses that want a ~10” display, but if you’re like me and the only way you can realistically carry a tablet is in a backpack then the 12.9” size makes far more sense.

It’s also noteworthy that despite this increased size I didn’t really notice that it had gotten significantly harder to handle in the hands than an iPad Air 2. This is likely helped by avoiding placing heavy batteries at the edges of the tablet, which reduces the moment of inertia and associated hand or arm strain from holding the tablet for hours on end. This is especially important when considering the Apple Pencil which makes it pretty natural to hold the tablet with one hand and draw with the other for hours on end.

Delusions Of Grandeur, by Rob Rhyne

In barely three years, design consideration for iOS has gone from two sizes to twelve. When account for orientation, twenty-four distinct layouts are required. Twenty-four to account for devices which support iOS 9. Madness.

Consider technologies like CloudKit, HomeKit, and CarPlay in addition to nearly continuous updates and improvements to familiar frameworks. Earlier this month, Apple announced an iOS 9.3 public preview. The updates are non-stop. Gone are the days when WWDC contained all the new shiny.

Were that not enough, Apple also introduced a new programming language—swift—in 2014. swift received a major update in 2015 and was open-sourced along with public plans for the next major revision.

Still think Apple isn’t innovating enough under Tim Cook? Don’t let an app developer hear that talk—they want a vacation, and the end of 2015 showed no signs of relief.

Getting The Display Right

Making The Screen Easier To Read, by J. D. Biersdorfer, New York Times

Between the settings you can adjust in most web browsers and the accessibility features built into the computer’s operating system, you should be able to make low-contrast type more readable.

Overcome The OS X Dock Getting Stuck On A Second Monitor, by Topher Kessler, MacIssues

This issue usually happens because of a configuration bug in the Dock, and the easiest workaround is to simply spur a change to the Dock’s configuration so it is reloaded and works properly.

Filming Snowzilla

Make An Epic “Snow-Lapse” With The Phone Or Camera You Already Own, by Charles Wood, Medium

We’ve all seen them. The magical time-lapse videos of snow piling up in an an instant. Now you can make a “Snow-Lapse” with one of the many cameras likely laying around your home.


Embracing Apple's Ugly Hump: Design Dud, Utility Triumph, by Lance Ulanoff, Mashable

Still, the overall design represents Apple's most inelegant solution to a design problem. Surely Jony Ive must have looked to the sky and cried out, "Why?!"

And yet none of that really matters because the Smart Battery Case is an awesomely useful product.

Four Alternatives To iCloud Photos On The Apple TV, by Josh Centers, TidBITS

If you’re looking for an app solely to store and display photos on your Apple TV, I recommend Slidez. It’s simple, you can add photos from a browser, and it’s the only one that can display Live Photos.

However, Slidez isn’t a good general photo management solution due to its lack of sharing and collaboration. For that, I recommend Storehouse, which is a complete solution with a slick Apple TV app. However, it doesn’t have a desktop solution other than its anemic Web app.

MailButler Adds New Tools To Apple Mail, by John Voorhees, MacStories

Like many of Apple's stock Mac apps, Mail gets the job done without many bells and whistles. That leaves gaps for third-party developers to fill with their own apps and plugins. MailButler does just that – it's a plugin for Apple Mail from Berlin-based Feingeist Software that adds six tools to Mail that are especially useful if you send a lot of email.

NetSpot Packs Multiple Wireless Troubleshooting Tools In One App, by Erik Eckel, TechRepbulic

The application's Pro version adds commercial licensing, additional Wi-Fi analysis visualizations, support for wireless networks possessing more than five access points, and the ability to detect hidden networks, among other features.

This New App Takes Your iPhone Videos To The Next Level, by Kate Dwyer, Teen Vogue

A “video diary” would no longer be a lethargic teen talking into a camera — it could be a teen narrating her experiences as she shows them to you, having captured them throughout the day. For bloggers who attend fashion shows, reporters on the street covering protests, and aspiring film directors in high school, KnowMe could be a great platform to showcase and share their work. “Kids are speaking the language of video already,” Andrew says. And now, with his app, we can all become visual storytellers.

It Changes With Your Day: How Massive Attack's New App Will Transform How We Listen To Music Forever, by TristanCork, Western Daily Press

Existing technology on the iPhone 5s already gathers information on the time of day, where in the world the phone is – be it a city or countryside – whether the phone's owner is travelling, walking or running and even, through the iPhone 'health app' their heartbeat and, to a certain extent, their mood.

And so the band's Fantom app takes all that information and remixes the four songs depending on the information it gathers – someone listening to it will hear a very different version of the same song if they are running in the morning to when they are relaxing at home in the evening, for instance.


I Have No Idea What I’m Doing (But) I’m A Programmer, by Kamil Lelonek

Why learning through trial and error is the best way to waste your time and client’s money?


Apple Renews Its Partnership With (RED), by Dennis Sellers, Apple World Today

With UNAIDS data showing that mother-to-child transmission of HIV could be effectively ended as early as 2020, Apple, América Móvil, Bank of America, Belvedere, GAP, SAP, Starbucks and The Coca-Cola Company have renewed their partnerships with (RED) in support of reaching this goal, with NetJets, Salesforce and Tradeshift also announcing new partnerships with (RED) — the AIDS organization founded by Bono and Bobby Shriver — to fight AIDS.

Calling Humans The “Weakest Link” In Computer Security Is Dangerous And Unhelpful, by Josephine Wolff, Slate

Of course, it’s completely true that many computer security incidents involve human users making bad decisions—opening emails or downloading files despite warning signs; using obvious, easily guessable passwords; ignoring warning signals from their browser or operating system. But that’s no reason for technologists to feel smug about their accomplishments. In fact, just the opposite: These sorts of mistakes are evidence that the technology is failing its human users, not the other way around.

Rumors Of The Day

Apple Readies ’iPhone 5se’, Not ‘6c’, For March/April With Curved Edges & Live Photos, by Mark Gurman, 9to5Mac

The new device is internally codenamed “N69,” but the launch name will likely be the “iPhone 5se.” The “se” suffix has been described in two ways by Apple employees: as a “special edition” variation of the vintage 4-inch iPhone screen size and as an “enhanced” version of the iPhone 5s. Indeed, the upcoming “5se” features a design similar to 2013’s flagship but upgraded internals, software, and hardware features that blend the old design with modern technologies from the past two iPhone upgrades.

Apple To Update Apple Watch In mid-March With New Bands, OS + Full Redesign In Fall, by Mark Gurman, 9to5Mac

The new lineup will be similar to the September 2015 Apple Watch revision, bringing a series of new band color options to the Apple Watch lineup. We are also told that entirely new bands made out of new materials are in development in addition to partnerships with firms beyond Hermes.

Bottom of the Page

I need a programming framework that keeps up with all the new stuff Apple is doing, and giving me a lazy way out by providing me with decent defaults.

Too much to ask?


Thanks for reading.

The ... Edition Friday, January 22, 2016

Why Do People Keep Coming To This Couple’s Home Looking For Lost Phones?, by Kashmir Hill, Fusion

It started the first month that Christina Lee and Michael Saba started living together. An angry family came knocking at their door demanding the return of a stolen phone. Two months later, a group of friends came with the same request. One month, it happened four times. The visitors, who show up in the morning, afternoon, and in the middle of the night, sometimes accompanied by police officers, always say the same thing: their phone-tracking apps are telling them that their smartphones are in this house in a suburb of Atlanta.

But the phones aren’t there, Lee and Saba always protest, mystified at being fingered by these apps more than a dozen times since February 2015. “I’m sorry you came all this way. This happens a lot,” they’d explain. Most of the people believe them, but about a quarter of them remain suspicious, convinced that the technology is reliable and that Lee and Saba are lying.


Apple Takes 50% Off Popular Productivity Apps In New iOS App Store Campaign, by AppleInsider

In its latest iOS App Store promotion, Apple is for a limited time knocking 50 percent off a selection of 14 productivity titles like PCalc, task manager Things, second screen solution Duet Display and more.

10 Ways To Use Your iPhone More Efficiently Than You Are, by Hayley Tsukayama, Washington Post

Nothing here is secret information. But these are all things that save me time and that I'm happy to share with other iPhone users. So, without further ado, here are the top iOS tips that make my life easier.

Ask The iTunes Guy: Understanding iCloud Storage, Issues With Songs Ratings, by Kirk McElhearn, Macworld

Apple gives you 5GB iCloud storage for free, but do you know what you can do with it? Does it have anything to do with music in the cloud, or on your iPhone or iPad? I ponder this question, along with a question about the needlessly complex issue of rating songs and albums in iTunes.

One Week With Apple’s CarPlay, by Ron Amadeo, Ars Technica

CarPlay is a great way to get a top-shelf software experience while driving, especially when compared to the almost universally awful options from car manufacturers. It's hard to overstate how bad most car companies are at making software. CarPlay brings competent, modern design to the car along with all your phone data, up-to-date maps, and tons of music apps. It integrates beautifully with the car, taking over the screen, steering wheel controls, and even turning down the HVAC system when issuing a voice command.

The experience here is so much better than what car manufacturers ship, we have a hard time believing any iPhone owner with access to CarPlay would choose to ignore it. Access to CarPlay is the hard part, though. You'll either need to buy a brand new CarPlay-capable car or go through the complicated process of gutting your existing system and installing an aftermarket receiver. We don't really see a way to fix this problem, but it's a big barrier for most users. There are also a few edge cases where CarPlay won't integrate seamlessly with the car—namely models where navigation directions can be shown directly in front of the driver via a heads-up display or digital instrument panel, but those directions won't be sourced from CarPlay.

iPhone Users Can Save Enough On This NYT Subscription To Buy A New Pair Of Beats, by Christina Warren, Mashable

The New York Times is experimenting with its digital subscription pricing — at least if you have an iPhone.


Another Apple TV Ad Touts Apps As 'The Future Of Television', by Aldrin Calimlim, AppAdvice

Apple has just debuted a brand new ad for the fourth-generation Apple TV. Unsurprisingly, the new ad continues the company’s trend of promoting the set-top box’s ability to run a variety of apps.

Google Reportedly Paid Apple $1B In 2014 To Remain Default Search Engine On iOS, by Jon Russell, TechCrunch

There’s always been plenty of speculation around how much Google pays Apple to include its search services inside iOS devices, and we finally have some clarity over that figure. Information raised as part of an ongoing legal case between Oracle and Google shows the search firm compensated Apple to the tune of $1 billion in 2014.

Apple India Head Quits, Hunt On For New Business Head, by Anirban Sen, Times of India

Apple has launched a hunt for a new head for its India business, following the exit of long-time country manager and former AOL executive Maneesh Dhir, under whose watch sales from India grew from a mere $100 million to over $1 billion, according to three people directly familiar with the developments.

Bottom of the Page

I wish the Macbook I using now will be the last laptop that I'll buy. I wish by the time I need to replace this current Macbook, I can switch to an iPad and do all the things I wanted to do on the tablet.

For this happen, one of the following need to happen. One: Apple ported Xcode over to iOS, and I can create apps for my own use on iOS. Or two: I lost interest in doing programming.


Thanks for reading.

The January-Music Edition Thursday, January 21, 2016

Apple Updates GarageBand For iPad Pro, Intros New Music Memos App, by Andrew Cunningham, Ars Technica

Apple says that Music Memos was "inspired" by iOS' simple built-in Voice Memos tool, but with a few added features to make it more useful to musicians trying to capture quick song ideas. Like Voice Memos, Music Memos captures sound with your iPhone or iPad's built-in mic, but for guitar and piano music, the software can detect the chords you're playing and add a basic drum-and-bass backing track to give you an idea of how it will sound with fuller instrumentation. You can use tags and star ratings to organize your library of song snippets, add notes to each individual recording, and share them via iCloud to other iDevices and Macs where they can be opened up in GarageBand or Logic Pro.

Hands On With Apple’s New Music Memos For iOS, GarageBand 2.1, by Jim Dlarymple, The Loop

The brilliance of the app is that Apple built-in a drummer and bass into the app. Simply tap on those instruments and you can hear your song idea with a full band. Like Drummer in GarageBand or Logic, you can choose a different type of drummer, go half time, or any number of other options.

Since Music Memos analyzed the audio track you recorded, it follows along with you, even if you sped up or slowed down during the recording.

I Wrote And Published A Song In 30 Minutes With Apple's Music Memos, by Serneity Caldwell, iMore

After only an hour with it, I'm pretty confident that it's going to delight true musicians. But for music dabblers like myself, it might actually spur more regular tune creation than you previously thought possible.

Apple’s New GarageBand For iOS Is An Electronic Musician’s Dream, by Lucas Matney, TechCrunch

Apple launched a huge new update to GarageBand for iOS that has a lot more appeal to novices (like myself) and will undoubtedly be much more popular with electronic musicians thanks to the addition of Audio Units and a new feature for crafting beats.

The real star of the show here is a feature called Live Loops which gives you a brand new way of producing tracks that’s more conducive to the task of building electronic jams. The grid-based interface allows users to highlight different cells to create stellar-sounding samples that you can customize endlessly. What results is a drum machine-style experience that’s kind of a blast to poke around with and is something that I bet you’ll see getting busted out at more parties in the future than you might expect.

Apple Updates Logic Pro X & MainStage 3 Mac Apps With Performance Improvements, New Features, by Chance Miller, 9to5Mac

Logic Pro X now supports a new multithreading threading feature that significantly improves performance when processing multiple live channels. Previewing Apple Loops and performing region edits is also much quicker. 30 plug-ins have also been updated and redesigned to support Retina displays and improve usability. [...] MainStage 3 has been updated with its own share of enhancements. Like Logic Pro, 27 plugins have been enhanced with Retina display support and improved usability. Alchemy has also been significantly enhanced with 11 new spectral effects and Apple Loops support.

Greg Kurstin “Hello” From The Inside, by Apple

For anyone familiar with Kurstin’s track record, his hand in Adele’s repeat success was no surprise. A multi–Grammy Award nominee, Kurstin is known in the industry as an “artist whisperer” who brings out the best in performers like Sia, Beck, Katy Perry, Foster the People, and many more. He does it by bringing a unique set of producing skills to his sessions — world-class ability as an instrumentalist, deep understanding of music and song structure, and a highly effective writing and producing process that runs through Logic Pro X.

Building Apps

Apple To Create First European iOS Development Center, by Rich McCormick, The Verge

Apple is opening a dedicated iOS app Development Center in Italy, the company announced today, offering a curriculum designed to train the next generation of app developers. The center, to be located in Naples, will support teachers and offer a specialized curriculum provided by Apple itself and aims to give students practical skills that will help them make apps for the company's iOS devices. Apple says it also plans to expand this new program to other countries in the future.

Apple Says It Has Helped Create Over A Million European Jobs, by Jonny Evans, Computerworld

It is interesting to note the claims on job creation come as European tax authorities continue to consider how much tax the company owes in the region. Apple claims to have helped create well over a million jobs across Europe.

Why Apple

Why Apple Defends Encryption, by Rich Mogull, TidBITS

Now is the time when we get to decide if we have a right to privacy and security, and the limits of our government for the digital age. It won’t happen because of public statements by tech leaders. No, it’s up to us to make our opinions about online privacy and security known to our elected representatives, in order to determine the limits of policing (and protecting) by consent.

Why Apple Assembles In China, by John Gruber, Daring Fireball

The U.S. can’t compete with China on wages. It can’t compete on the size of the labor force. China has had a decades-long push in its education system to train these workers; the U.S. has not. And the U.S. doesn’t have the facilities or the proximity to the Asian component manufacturers.

Keeping Track

New 'Music Tracker' App Monitors Your Apple Music Library For Changes And Raises Privacy Concerns, by Juli Clover, MacRumors

Music Tracker, from developer Ben Dodson, is a new app designed to keep an eye on changes made to the music library on your iOS device. After downloading, the app scans a user's music library and then tracks all changes that are introduced, including new song additions, deletions, and metadata changes to details like the title, artist, album, and genre of owned tracks. Whenever a change is discovered, a notification is sent.

While this is useful for those who like to monitor content and changes made manually to a music library to keep personal logs, it's perhaps best suited to Apple Music subscribers. There are instances where content available through the Apple Music service is deleted or changed due to licensing issues with record labels, and this app will allow users to keep track of potential deletions to replace missing music.


4 Reasons Why You Should Run Your Own Mac Server, And 4 Reasons Why You Shouldn't, by Jason Snell, Macworld

I think I’ve had a Mac running as a server in my house continuously for nearly 20 years. Over the years, the hardware has changed—at least four times, so far as I can remember—and the tasks required of it have changed dramatically, too. But despite all that change, the presence of a server in my house has always been useful.

Then again, running a Mac server isn’t for everyone—and these days, network-attached storage (NAS) devices can provide most of the functionality of a computer at a lower cost and reduced complexity. What I’m saying is, it’s complicated.

Launcher With Notification Center Widget Adds More Magic, by Sandy Stachowiak, AppAdvice

If you regularly use Launcher with Notification Center Widget to perform actions with a tap, then an update today, Jan. 20, giving you more options will make you happy. For making calls, sending emails, opening websites, checking the weather, and much more, quickly and easily, this launcher now gives you more magic items.

Remote Buddy Display: Control Your Mac From Your Apple TV Using The Siri Remote, by Graham Spencer, MacStories

Remote Buddy Display is an app that enables you to wirelessly mirror your Mac onto your TV. What differentiates it from AirPlay Mirroring, built into OS X, is that you can also control your Mac, using just the Apple TV's Siri Remote. Provided you have installed Remote Buddy onto your Mac, you can take control of your Mac via your Apple TV simply by launching the Remote Buddy Display app on your Apple TV.

What makes this compelling is that the touchpad on the Siri Remote actually works incredibly well at moving around your Mac's cursor. Sure, the surface area of the touchpad is a little small, but it's certainly usable – and accurate.

CloudMagic Is The Mac Email App I've Been Waiting For, by Vlad Savov, The Verge

The things that make any writing application successful are consistent and predictable. You prefer clarity over clutter, intuitiveness over irritation, and speed over sluggishness. On each of those sliding scales, CloudMagic’s Mac app veers strongly to the positive side.

Adobe Now Lets You Make Your Voice Heard On Your iPhone, by Aldrin Calimlim, AppAdvice

Adobe Voice (formerly Ginger) helps you create animated video presentations in mere minutes, using story templates or beginning from scratch.

Facebook Sports Stadium Lets You Enjoy Your Favorite Sports With Friends, by Rich Edmonds, iMore

This new feature enables users of the official Facebook app to experience sports in real-time with friends from around the world.


Developer Insight: Ken Case, The Omni Group, by William Gallagher, MacNN

"We've been thinking about and working towards just how to bring more of the power of the desktop to iOS, particularly now that there is the iPad Pro. We're thinking about how do we take advantage of that larger screen. We're thinking about how, if this is Apple's vision of the future of computing, how do we get that future to be as powerful and flexible as what we have currently on our desktops with Macintosh?"

Swift Named Parameters, by Use Your Loaf

The rules for naming parameters in Swift functions and methods have changed for the better over the last few releases but still seem to cause confusion. Here is my quick summary updated for Swift 2.1.

Building A Simple App With The Windows Bridge For iOS, by Nick Gerard, Microsoft

Welcome to the first in a series of hands-on blog posts for the Windows Bridge for iOS. The Windows Bridge for iOS is an open-source project that allows you to create Universal Windows Platform (UWP) apps that can run on Windows 10 devices using iOS APIs and Objective-C code.


iOS Cookie Theft Bug Allowed Hackers To Impersonate Users, by Dan Goodin, Ars Technica

You Say You Want A Diverse Workforce, by L.V. Anderson, Slate

Let’s say you’re a CEO, and your staff is overwhelmingly white—especially in the upper ranks. You want to make the company more diverse. So you take active steps: You bring in a consultant to conduct diversity training; you require managers to consider performance reviews and tests to prevent them from only promoting their cronies; you add a sentence about diversity to the corporate mission statement and another to the jobs page on the website. You’ve educated your staff, reformed the promotion process, and made your commitment to diversity explicit.

Congratulations! You’ve probably made things worse.

Ordering Food By iPad Leads To Healthier Choice, by MedicalXpress

Imagine you are in a restaurant and you can choose between a healthy fruit salad or a high-calorie chocolate mousse. If you order orally, chances are high that you will go for the high-calorie chocolate mousse. However, if you order a dish via button pressing, for instance, you are more likely to opt for the fruit salad.

Inside Facebook’s Ambitious Plan To Connect The Whole World, by Jessi Hempel, Wired

For Zuckerberg, is more than just a business initiative or a philanthropic endeavor: He considers connecting people to be his life’s work, the legacy for which he hopes to one day be remembered, and this effort is at its core.

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I don't believe in after-life. I believe once I am dead, I am dead. There's no longer a self. There's no longer a me to know there is no longer a self. There will be nothing. Free. And void.


Thanks for reading.

The Gold-12-Inch Edition Wednesday, January 20, 2016

My Love Of MacBook, by Jim Dalrymple, The Loop

One of my favorite Macs ever is the gold 12-inch MacBook. This computer shows that Apple’s forward thinking design is not limited to iPhone and iPad. It also maintains Apple’s vision of giving consumers what they need before they even know they need it.

Going To Schools

iOS 9.3 And Education, by Fraser Speirs, MacStories

While Apple isn't cutting the price of iPads for schools, there are four major new features and programmes coming in iOS 9.3 that will make iPads easier to share and easier to deploy. iOS administrators everywhere should be directing their gifts of beer and muffin baskets to the Chromebook education team at Google this time around.

Apple's Diversity

Apple's US Diversity Barely Improved Last Year, by Amar Toor, The Verge

Apple's US workforce is slightly more diverse than it was last year, but the company remains overwhelmingly white and male, according to its latest EEO-1 Federal Employer Information report. The report, released over the weekend, shows that 30 percent of Apple's US employees are women, compared to 29 percent in its previous report. About 8.6 percent of its workforce is black, inching up from 8 percent in 2014, and 11.7 percent is hispanic or Latino, compared to 11.5 percent. Among executives, senior officials, and managers, nearly 83 percent are male, and 83.5 percent are white.

Apple Says It Cares About Diversity. Facts Say Otherwise., by Emily Peck, Huffington Post

And how exactly has the iPhone maker demonstrated its commitment? Mostly by spending money to help girls get into the tech field and creating a diversity webpage. Those are both fine things to do, but even the company's own data shows it hasn't been enough to move the needle.


Cracked The TV

Deeper With ESPN’s John Skipper On Apple, Sling And Sports Rights, by Amol Sharma And Shalini Ramachandran, Wall Street Journal

"They are creating a significantly advantageous operating system and a great television experience and that television experience is fabulous for sports. We are big proponents of believing it would be a fabulous place to sell some subscriptions. We have ongoing conversations. They have been frustrated by their ability to construct something which works for them with programmers. We continue to try to work with them."

Apple TV Designer Ben Keighran Is Leaving, by Peter Kafka, Re/code

Keighran wouldn’t comment on Apple projects that haven’t seen the light of day, beyond acknowledging that “we looked at many different ways of delivering an awesome TV experience.” He said the decision to leave Apple was “really difficult. I’ve totally fallen in love with the people, the culture, the product.”


Security Update 2016-001 (Mavericks And Yosemite), by Agen G. N. Schmitz, TidBITS

The update improves memory handling with libxslt (the library used to perform XSL transformations on XML documents) to avoid a type confusion that could allow a maliciously crafted to execute arbitrary code.

Hermes Apple Watch Edition Hits Online Store On Friday, by AppleInsider

Four months after announcing a special Apple Watch edition created in collaboration with French fashion house Hermes, Apple is taking the device out of limited availability and will begin online sales starting Friday.

iMovie For Mac Updated To Version 10.1.1, by Dennis Sellers, Apple World Today

How I Quickly Fixed A Weird Siri Remote Problem, by Rob Lefebvre, Cult Of Mac

So if your Siri Remote Menu button has gone wonky, be sure to power cycle your Apple TV and see if it helps. Chances are a complete power cycle will help other wonkiness, as well, with both your Siri Remote and Apple TV itself.

How Email To 2Do Has Improved My Daily Email Workflow, by Federico Viticci, MacStories

The gist of the idea hasn't changed in the past two months: Email to 2Do is an email client built into 2Do that doesn't display an email-like interface to the user. Its sole job is to connect to your email inbox and monitor new messages as they arrive. If they match rules assigned by you in the Settings, they will be saved as tasks in the inbox or another designated list.

Mindly For Mac OS X, by MacTech

It help keep your “inner universe” organized by giving a structure to your thoughts, ideas, plans and projects.

You Have A Jack Lets You Decide When Messages Can Be Opened, by Sandy Stachowiak, AppAdvice

Well, a new app plays off of that feeling of eagerness by letting you send and receive text messages that cannot be read until a certain time. You have a Jack lets you choose the date and time for your messages to be opened.

SoundBow Draws Up Creative Music For iPhone Users, by Colin barry, KnowTechie

SoundBow is a drawing based music instrument with a clean and simple visual interface. Create music by drawing curves over the screen.


Profiling Your Swift Compilation Times, by

I had a problem. The new iOS application that I’m working on – written 100% in Swift – was noticeably taking much longer to compile than should, given its size (~200 files). More concerning, it was suddenly a lot slower than only a couple of weeks prior. I needed to get to the root of the problem as soon as possible, before it got any worse.


Apple Seeks DIPP Nod To Open Own Stores In India, by Varun Jain and Rasul Bailay, India Times

The Apple stores famed for their ambience and unparalleled customer experience may soon come up in your city. Apple India has filed an application to open its own Apple branded stores in India with the department of industrial policy and promotion (DIPP), a person with direct knowledge of the matter said.

How Donald Trump Got Everything Wrong About Apple In One Sentence, by Arik Hesseldahl, Re/code

It’s hard to quantify exactly how much Trump gets wrong with that one statement, and how little power he will have, if elected, to do what he says. If he means what he says, he is ignorant about how many American workers, both at Apple and other companies, participate in the creation of “Apple’s computers and things,” including its Mac line of personal computers as well as the iPhone, iPad and Apple Watch. The company’s products are, if anything, an example of the engine of American technical supremacy chugging along at a job-creating pace that is the envy of the world.

The Promise And Confusion Of USB Type-C, by Bob O'Donnell, Techpinions

The real problem is there are no simple means of demarcation or labelling for different varieties of USB Type-C. One of the goals of the standard was to produce a much smaller connector that would fit on smaller devices—leaving little room for any type of icon.

Why Google Quit China—and Why It’s Heading Back, by kaveh Waddell, The Atlantic

Google’s move to pull the plug in China is an extreme example of the kinds of decisions Internet companies operating abroad are often up against: If they want to do business, they have to abide by local laws, which can include restrictions on speech. And since the United States has some of the most permissive freedom-of-speech laws in the world, American companies must adapt in order to do business even in parts of the world that are culturally very similar to the U.S.

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There are rules created by gods, and they arrive through tablets or word-of-mouth.

Then there are rules created by human, which is why I cannot simply kill people I hate, or run naked in the streets, just because.

And then there are rules created by me. For example, I've more-or-less pre-planned what my lunch will be on the different days of my work week. By taking the decision-making process out of my head, I can spend more time figuring out what to write here at the bottom of the page.


Thanks for reading.

The Basic-Checks Edition Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Apple, Samsung And Sony Face Child Labour Claims, by Jane Wakefield, BBC

Human rights organisation Amnesty has accused Apple, Samsung and Sony, among others, of failing to do basic checks to ensure minerals used in their products are not mined by children.

Money Money Money

As More Pay By Smartphone, Banks Scramble To Keep Up, by Steve Lohr, New York Times

Americans in their 20s and early 30s, analysts say, offer a glimpse of tomorrow’s banking market. “Their relationship with the financial system is very different — it’s an electronic one, on their smartphones,” said Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody’s Analytics. “That can and will be very disruptive to the banking system.”

Money is pouring into so-called fintech start-ups. And major technology companies — Apple, Google, Amazon, Facebook and Samsung — are all entering consumer banking, typically starting with digital payment apps.

App Store Prices Increasing In Canada, Mexico And More Thanks To Exchange Rates, by Joseph Keller, iMore

Apple will soon be increasing the prices of paid apps and in-app purchases in a handful of countries due to exchange rate changes. App Stores affected by the change will be those in Canada, Israel, Mexico, New Zealand, Russia, Singapore, and South Africa. Those using in-app subscriptions in Russia and South Africa will need to resubscribe.

Companion To Your Phone

CarPlay Offers Limited, Glitchy iPhone/Auto Integration, by Julio Ojeda-Zapata, TidBITS

Buy the car you need based on other considerations, and if CarPlay happens to be included, it’s a nice bonus. Honestly, that’s a little depressing — I was secretly hoping that CarPlay would be so good that it would be something to seek out in a new car, or even a reason to want to buy a new car in general. Instead, I’ll just keep mounting my iPhone on my dash for now and we’ll see how many more miles I can get on the Mazda 5.

Apple's CarPlay Wins Autoblog 2016 Technology Of The Year Award, by Daniel Eran Dilger, AppleInsider

"Apple's CarPlay represents the impact technology is having on our connected lives and brings an experience that is easy to use and enhances the lives of consumers who use this product," stated Stephen Rouse, Autoblog Director of Product and Technology.

More Cloudy

Should You Pay For Additional iCloud Storage?, by Jim Lynch, CIO

So for me, it's well worth paying Apple a few bucks each month for additional iCloud storage. I don't think the price is all that bad, though no doubt there may be cheaper options out there. But for me iCloud's cheap cost and excellent integration with all of my Macs and iOS devices really makes it a no-brainer.

How To Back Up An iPhone To iCloud, by Susan Walker,


VLC For Apple TV Review: Goodbye Format Woes, by Jon L. Jacobi, TechHive

None of those annoyances matter much when all of a sudden your Apple TV box can play virtually any file from any of your devices without any cash outlay on your part. That’s a nice upgrade right there. In fact, Apple ought to thank the VLC folks for so drastically expanding the capabilities of its box. Since it probably won't: Thanks VLC folks!

Hands On: Pigment 1.0 (iOS), by Amber Neely, MacNN

Coloring in Pigment can be done one of two ways. You can freestyle, which allows you to color outside of the lines if you should so choose, or you can quickly tap an area first and Pigment will allow you to only color inside that specific area, which is perfect for control freaks like us.

Everything Old Is New Again, Including "You Don't Know Jack", by Bob LeVitus, Houston Chronicle

The Jackbox Party Pack features the same YDKJ comedy trivia game loved in the 90s, but now modernized and updated. In addition to letting players use any mobile phone, tablet, or laptop as their game controller, it also includes hundreds of new questions as well as four new multiplayer games, two of which were even more fun than YDKJ.


Stop Telling Kids That Programming Is A ‘Foreign Language’, by Forrest Brazeal

When we teach kids that coding == foreign languages, we make computer science even harder by “othering” it.

Being A Deaf Developer, by Hollie Kay, Cruft

Accessibility is considered a niche discipline. It shouldn’t be. Disabled people are considered by developers to be a tiny minority. We aren’t. Equal access is a right.


Apple, A Critic Of Rivals’ Ad Efforts, Is Pulling Back From Its Own Ad Business, by Daisuke Wakabayashi, Wall Street Journal

“I am not surprised that Apple made this decision because it would have been hard to grow iAd into a significant business unless Apple dramatically lowered its standards on user privacy, ad targeting and data transparency [for advertisers],” said Eswar Priyadarshan, a co-founder of Quattro Wireless, which was acquired by Apple in 2010 to start the iAd business. He left Apple in 2014 to become CEO of Tasteful, a healthy food app.

Who, What, Why: How Common Are Upside-down Rainbows?, by BBC

The first thing to clarify is that upside-down rainbows are not, in fact, rainbows.

How To Declutter Your Life By Not Giving A Fuck, by Henry Oliver, Idealog

But she not only stopped giving a fuck about her job, she stopped giving a fuck about all sorts of things: basketball, being a morning person, Taylor Swift, reading the New Yorker, going to the gym, the threat of a nuclear Iran, and, most importantly, what other people thought of her.

She stopped hanging out with people she didn’t actually like. She stopped going to her friends’ toddlers’ birthday parties. She stopped watching season two of True Detective after the first episode. She didn’t give a fuck. And by stopping giving a fuck about these things, she realised she had more time, energy and money (her working definition of a ‘fuck’) to dedicate to the things and people in life that she did care about.

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The sad thing about Apple's iAd isn't that it is not working, but that Apple doesn't seem to be even trying.


Thanks for reading.

The Tight-Lipped Edition Monday, January 18, 2016

These Are The Signs Apple Is Working On The Next Major Computing Platform, by Steve Kovach, Business Insider

As always, Apple is tight lipped about what it’s cooking up in its research and development labs. But a recent series of acquisitions and hires shows the company is at least experimenting with augmented reality.

Apple's Purchase Of Emotient Fuels Artificial Intelligence Boom In Silicon Valley, by Phillip Molnar, Gary Robbins and David Pierson, Los Angeles Times

Facebook is working on a virtual personal assistant that can read people's faces and decide whether or not to let them in your home.

Google is investing in the technology to power self-driving cars, identify people on its photo service and build a better messaging app.

Now Apple is adding to its artificial intelligence arsenal. The iPhone maker purchased Emotient, a San Diego maker of facial expression recognition software that can detect emotions to assist advertisers, retailers, doctors and many other professions.

Privacy Vs Gamers

Apple Demands Widow Get Court Order To Access Dead Husband's Password, by Rosa Marchitelli, CBC

A Victoria widow is outraged over Apple's demand that she obtain a court order to retrieve her dead husband's password so she can play games on an iPad.

"I thought it was ridiculous. I could get the pensions, I could get benefits, I could get all kinds of things from the federal government and the other government. But from Apple, I couldn't even get a silly password. It's nonsense," 72-year-old Peggy Bush told Go Public.


Fileloupe For OS X Is A Convenient Photo Browser/video player/PDF Viewer, by Dennis Sellers, Apple World Today

Harnessing the power of Apple's Quick Look technology, Fileloupe offers users one of the fastest ways to browse, view and share photos, videos, PDFs and documents.

Roundup: The Best Mac Email Clients For Push Gmail, by Marty Edwards, AppleInsider

The Logic Pros: 3 Overlooked Tricks To Keep Your Logic Sessions Tidy And Efficient, by Justin Kahn, 9to5Mac

WhatsApp Gets Rid Of Annual Subscription Fee, by Harish Jonnalagadda, iMore


Four Things Working At Facebook Has Taught Me About Design Critique, by Tanner Christensen, Medium

Critique is a team effort, not a one person show. Critique truly becomes valuable when we come together with the intent of understanding, identifying opportunity, exploring, and building up those we work with.


How Slate, The Washington Post, Bloomberg Fight Ad Blocking, by Lucia Moses, Digiday

If no panacea to combat ad blocking has emerged, that hasn’t stopped publishers from trying a variety of approaches, from ridding their sites of intrusive ads to demanding people disable their ad blockers. At Digiday’s WTF Ad Blocking event on Thursday, several of them from Slate to Forbes to The Huffington Post shared how they’re attacking the problem.

Teletext Time Travel, by Russ J Graham, Transdiffusion

Previously, it was possible – difficult but possible – to recover teletext from SVHS recordings, but they’re as rare as hen’s teeth as the format never really caught on. The data was captured by ordinary VHS but was never clear enough to get anything but a very few correct characters in amongst a massive amount of nonsense.

Technology is changing that.

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CoverFlow is the first big feature on iTunes (and then, Finder) that I really didn't care about. On hindsight, this may well be the first sign of the shift of iTunes from something I enjoyed using to something that I don't.

I'm mostly a textual person, I think. I prefer outlines over fishbone diagrams. I make lists, not doodles. I liked the hierarical lists when iTunes and iPods first arrived on the scene. Lists of songs, lists of artists, lists of albums. It was simple and delightful for me.

Now, everything changed. Everything are now pages of pictures and pictures. I miss those simple lists of stuff. And I don't kinow where everything is. (For example, some albums on Apple Music don't end up under the Album page because they end up in the Compilations page.)


Thanks for reading.

The Not-Updated Edition Sunday, January 17, 2016

Apple Acknowledges Issue Causing Battery Percentage Indicator Not To Update On iPhone 6s & 6s Plus, by Chance Miller, 9to5Mac

After a plethora of complaints, Apple this week has posted a new support document acknowledging an issue with the iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus that causes the battery percentage indicator in the status bar not to update as the battery itself drains. This means that the battery percentage icon could display that you have much more battery life left than you actually do.


An App Dressed Me For A Week. The Results Were Shockingly Good., by Washington Post

In the opening scene of the cult classic, Cher Horowitz — a well-meaning yet oblivious clotheshorse played by Alicia Silverstone —gets dressed with the help of a computer program that digitizes her entire wardrobe. Sitting at her clunky PC, Cher flips through articles of clothing until she lands on a match. (A plaid skirt with a polka-dot top? As if!)

Cluise, a free iOS and Android app that catalogues your clothing and makes five outfit recommendations based on real-time weather data, is a sleeker, modern adaptation of Cher’s sartorial system.

Eat, Swipe And Leave – The New Smartphone Apps For Diners, by Emma Lunn, The Guardian

The “air signature” gesture used by diners to get the bill could soon disappear as a raft of smartphone apps promise a “pay-at-table” revolution.


Minister Orders Investigation Into Game Promoting Killing Of Aboriginal Australians by SBS

Communications minister Mitch Fifield has asked his department to investigate the circumstances under which a game that encourages players to bludgeon Aboriginal Australians to death was offered for sale on major online sites.

Netflix’s VPN Ban Isn’t Good For Anyone—Especially Netflix, by Julia Greenberg, Wired

The real question isn’t whether Netflix is available in 190 countries. The question is when all 190 countries will get the same Netflix.

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Started yet another Xcode project. I think I may have a problem.


Thanks for reading.

The Music-Paywall Edition Saturday, January 16, 2016

iTunes Radio Will Soon Cost Money, by Brendan Klinkenberg, BuzzFeed

iTunes Radio, Apple’s Pandora-style internet radio service, is going behind the $10 per month Apple Music paywall on January 29th. Apple announced the move on Friday in an email to customers.

Fourth-gen Apple TVs Spontaneously Awaken, Power On Their HDTVs, Users Complain, by Roger Fingas, AppleInsider

Some owners of the fourth-generation Apple TV are complaining that the device is spontaneously waking up itself and/or connected TVs, an inconvenience that could burn unnecessary electricity and could potentially cause screen burn-in for people with plasma sets.

Apple's Board Calls Diversity Proposal 'Unduly Burdensome And Not Necessary', by Sara Ashley O'Brien, CNN

The proposal, submitted by Apple shareholder Antonio Avian Maldonado, would require an accelerated recruitment policy to change the company's organizational makeup.

The board rejected it, saying it is "unduly burdensome and not necessary," according to a proxy statement published on January 6 ahead of its February shareholder meeting.


Pointers: Be Brave, And Use MailDrop, by William Gallagher, MacNN

The reason for covering it today is that it went wrong on us sending from one El Capitan Mac to another -- and it turns out that it's fine. Even when it doesn't work, what happens instead is fine.

Tripnary Lets You Search For Travel Destinations Based On Your Budget, by Joe White, AppAdvice

The app allows iOS users to search out hotels and destinations based firmly on their budget, making it easier to find an affordable holiday from your iPhone handset.

Hands On: Star Walk HD 7.1.0 (iPad), by William Gallagher, MacNN

We've long used it and had a good time simply turning around while holding our iPads and seeing the stars, constellations, planets and satellites displayed as if there weren't an atmosphere or indeed an entire planet between us and them. Today, though, we used it in earnest for the first time as we actively sought out the International Space Station. Its orbit took it over us twice this morning and so yes, we did it. We stood outside at 7am holding an iPad Pro up over our heads.

Wmail Is A Free OS X Desktop App For Inbox By Gmail, by Thorin Klosowski, Lifehacker


Generating Ideas At Apple, by Alan Cannistraro, Medium

The creative process is mythicized in our culture. There is a sense that ideas are flashes of genius that people have, all at once. But many of history’s best ideas were generated from a process of brainstorming, experimentation, and iteration. This is one of the most important things I took away from my time at Apple. Apple never magically visualized a product; they developed their ideas over time.

Apple Announces It Will Discontinue iAd App Network For Developers On June 30th, by Benjamin Mayo, 9to5Mac

On its developer news blog, Apple has announced that it is closing the iAd App Network on June 30th. Targeted at smaller publishers, the iAd App Network let developers pay reduced rates to feature advertisements for their own App Store apps across the iAd publisher network.

The news follows a report from Buzzfeed that Apple is closing iAd campaign sales and converting all inventory to automated system. Apple says that if developers want to keep advertising on iAd until that time, they have to make a campaign from scratch using iAd Workbench. New apps will not be accepted into the iAd App Network Program.


How To Preserve Your Work Before The Internet Eats It, by Kirsten Hare, Poynter

When he first started his career as a journalist, Kevin Vaughan carefully clipped each story, scribbled the date on top and tucked it into a file folder. That turned, eventually, to grabbing the day's paper and tossing it in a closet.

"It was like that for a long, long time."

By the time Vaughan started working at the Rocky Mountain News, the paper had an electronic archive. You couldn't see just how the story appeared that day, but you could read the text. And Vaughan saved less and less. He grabbed copies of his coverage of the Columbine shootings. He saved big packages. And he assumed his work would always exist online.

Wikipedia Just Turned 15 Years Old. Will It Survive 15 More?, by Andrew Lih, Washington Post

However, Wikipedia, now an online digital “teenager,” faces big questions about its identity and future direction. While its volunteer community emerged alongside blogs and MySpace – two “open web” platforms that have dramatically declined in the last decade – the encyclopedia continues to be relevant, timely and useful, even if its text-heavy front page looks old-fashioned compared to today’s social media start-ups.

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Thanks for reading.

The Obvious-Work-Around Edition Friday, January 15, 2016

How Malware Developers Could Bypass Mac’s Gatekeeper Without Really Trying, by Dan Goodin, Ars Technica

In September, Ars reported a drop-dead simple exploit that completely bypassed an OS X security feature known as Gatekeeper. Apple shipped a fix, but now the security researcher who discovered the original vulnerability said he found an equally obvious work-around.

Patrick Wardle said the security fix consisted of blacklisting a small number of known files he privately reported to Apple that could be repackaged to install malicious software on Macs, even when Gatekeeper is set to its most restrictive setting. Wardle was able to revive his attack with little effort by finding a new Apple trusted file that hadn't been blocked by the Apple update. In other words, it was precisely the same attack as before, except it used a new, previously unblocked Apple-trusted file. Notably, that file was offered by security company Kaspersky Lab. Late on Thursday, Apple released an update blocking that file, too.

Internet Of Stupid Things

Nest Thermostat Glitch Leaves Users In The Cold, by Nick Bilton, New York Times

The Nest Learning Thermostat is dead to me, literally. Last week, my once-beloved “smart” thermostat suffered from a mysterious software bug that drained its battery and sent our home into a chill in the middle of the night.


Pendo Is A Beautiful, Thoughtful Way To Be More Organized, by Jeff Brynes, AppAdvice

Busy people are often looking for ways to make productivity easier. Dictating notes is a pretty common task, but what if you could dictate something and have it automatically converted into a Calendar event or contact? With Pendo – Write Notes, List To-Dos, Plan Calendar & Share Ideas, you can do exactly that and more.

The App That Never Forgets A Wild Night Out: Upshot Creates Shared Photo Albums Among Friends - And Deletes It A Week Later, by Stacy Liberatore, Daily Mail


Apple Reminds Developers To Start Using The Renewed Security Certificate, by Rich Edmonds, iMore

Apple has sent out a reminder to developers to update their dated security certifications for Apple Wallet, Safari push notifications or Safari extensions by February 14. The new Apple trusted certificate will expire in February 2023 and developers are strongly urged to include their renewed intermediate certificate, as well as their website push certificate in new Safari Push Notification package signatures by the aforementioned date.

Response To Apple's Announcement, by f.lux

Today we call on Apple to allow us to release f.lux on iOS, to open up access to the features announced this week, and to support our goal of furthering research in sleep and chronobiology.


Apple’s Slowing iPhone Sales Take Bite Out Of Suppliers’ Revenues, by Eva Dou, Wall Street Journal

Companies that make parts for Apple Inc. are warning of lower first-half revenue this year, in a sign of slowing sales of the latest iPhones.

Apple May Be On Hook For $8 Billion In Taxes After Europe Probe, by Adam Stariano, Bloomberg

The world’s largest company could owe more than $8 billion in back taxes as a result of a European Commission investigation into its tax policies, according to an analysis by Bloomberg Intelligence. Apple, which has said it will appeal an adverse ruling, is being scrutinized by regulators who have accused the iPhone maker of using subsidiaries in Ireland to avoid paying taxes on revenue generated outside the U.S.

Pew Report: Your Privacy For A Price? It Depends, by Michelle Quinn, San Jose Mercury News

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Young enough to want to stay up late to watch some TV. Old enough to start falling asleep at 9.30pm.


Thanks for reading.

The Automated-Platform Edition Thursday, January 14, 2016

Apple Steps Back From Its iAd Advertising Business, by John Paczkowski, BuzzFeed

Multiple sources familiar with the company’s plans tell BuzzFeed News that Apple is getting out of the advertising-sales business and shifting to a more automated platform.

While iAd itself isn’t going anywhere, Apple’s direct involvement in the selling and creation of iAd units is ending. “It’s just not something we’re good at,” one source told BuzzFeed News. And so Apple is leaving the creation, selling, and management of iAds to the folks who do it best: the publishers.

Execs Tell Us The Writing Had Been On The Wall For Apple’s Big Advertising Experiment iAd For Some Time, by Lara O'Reilly, Business Insider

The managing director of one digital ad agency told Business Insider: “Advertising sales is a brash, loud, in-your-face type activity. Pretty much the antithesis of Apple. No wonder if they’ve struggled with it.”

A director-level exec at a global media agency who asked not to be named shared the story told to him a former member of the iAd sales team: “[They] said the writing has been on the wall for some time. Paranoia is sort of part of their overall culture, but for the iAd team, it was heightened.”

Why Apple Is Killing Off Its Advertising Business, by Kia Kokalitcheva, Fortune

Despite its early potential and buzz, iAd never really took off for Apple, largely because of the company’s tight controls over ad creatives, high prices (it eventually slashed minimum asking price and upped developers’ cuts, but alas), and refusal to share data with partners.

Gesture Me This

iOS Gestures You May Not Have Known, by Jason Snell, Six Colors

There are some amazing multitouch gestures out there that are non-obvious, and the only way they spread is by word of mouth. I’ve mentioned a few on Upgrade lately and am not especially surprised when I hear from people that they were complete surprises. So I thought I’d share a few of the ones I’ve discovered with you here—and I asked people on Twitter to chime in, as well, which they did.


Why Ulysses Is My App For Notes And Writing, by Ben Brooks, The Brooks Review

But I do love Ulysses, and because of that I tend to use it whenever I can use it. And I am happier with the setup, even if it isn’t ideal, because I get to use a tool I love.

So far, this consolidation to Ulysses, Procreate, and Notability for all my note taking needs has worked out wonderfully. I still use paper most of the time for notes, but when it comes to needing digital notes, I now know right where everything is.

Millie Marotta's Adult Colouring Books Are Now An iPad App, by Mimi Launder, Digital Arts

Users can buy packs of drawings on top of the five free illustrations included, allowing them to amass a personal image collection - rather than having to stick to a pre-selection as they would with Millie’s physical books.

Millie tells us that another possibility offered by the app is the ability to colour-in images multiple times in differing ways.

Interact: A Powerful Contact Group Manager, by Jake Underwood, MacStories

With these tools, Interact makes it very easy to send a document out to a group of people or share an image with family members. There are other ways to do this, but for sending information to a group, Interact is a fast and effective solution.

Outlook For iPhone And iPad Adds Skype Integration, by John Callaham, iMore

How To Remove Temporary Items & Bloated /Private/var/folders/ In Mac OS X The Safe Way, by OS X Daily


The Past, Present And Future Of Sketch, by Geoff Teehan, Medium

I think there are many things that we want to do with our product. Maybe in the last year, progress hasn’t been as fast as I would have hoped. But, as we discussed, that is inevitable when you’re bringing new people on and truly taking the time to get them integrated and up to speed. There are also certain parts of the application that were written by me many years ago that need tweaking because what we’re building now is much larger in scope than what we had originally designed. It takes time to clean up that legacy and I think we’ve been good in the past year about cleaning some of that up, but there’s still more to do and of course that takes time and focus. I’m more focused on that internal issue than the external competition.

Living Room Engagement, by Daniel Jalkut, Bitsplitting

Although I didn’t come away from the tech talks with a clear inspiration for a “killer app,” I did think a bit about the high-level classes of app that are likely to be successful on Apple TV.

When To Join A Startup, by Tom Blomfield


Nvidia Blames Apple For Bug That Exposes Porn Browsing In Chrome’s Incognito Mode, by Emil Protalinski, VentureBeat

“This issue is related to memory management in the Apple OS, not NVIDIA graphics drivers,” a Nvidia spokesperson told VentureBeat. “The NVIDIA driver adheres to policies set by the operating system and our driver is working as expected. We have not seen this issue on Windows, where all application-specific data is cleared before memory is released to other applications.”

This Is What I'm Still Using My Apple Watch For, by Serenity Caldwell, iMore

Apple Takes A Step Toward Officially Allowing Users To Hide Stock Apps, by Brent Dirks, AppAdvice

It requires using Apple Configurator 2.2 beta. If you don’t know, that software is only available to the business and education markets for mass configuration of iOS devices.

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I'm not sure why many people are predicting the next Apple Watch will have a camera.

But this simple addition of a camera will turn the nerdy product entirely into a creepy product. If wearing a camera on your face is already such a big social problem, now imagine a camera on your wrist that you can twist and turn and aim towards all sorts of directions.


Thanks for reading.

The Unbreakable-Encryption Edition Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Apple’s Tim Cook Lashes Out At White House Officials For Being Wishy-Washy On Encryption, by Jenna McLaughlin, The Intercept

Apple CEO Tim Cook lashed out at the high-level delegation of Obama administration officials who came calling on tech leaders in San Jose last week, criticizing the White House for a lack of leadership and asking the administration to issue a strong public statement defending the use of unbreakable encryption.

The White House should come out and say “no backdoors,” Cook said. That would mean overruling repeated requests from FBI director James Comey and other administration officials that tech companies build some sort of special access for law enforcement into otherwise unbreakable encryption. Technologists agree that any such measure could be exploited by others.

Content Content Content

Reuters TV Finds Value Not Just In Making Its Content Free, But In Giving It Away To Other Publishers, by Laura Hazard Owen, Nieman Lab

In a little less than a year, Reuters has completely changed the strategy around its news video product, Reuters TV. It’s gone from charging for its iOS app to not just giving its content away for free across many platforms, but also letting other publishers use that content on their own sites and in their own apps.

That strategy is paying off in terms of recognition — Apple calls the Reuters TV app one of its “essentials” — and uptake.

Out Of Many, NPR One: The App That Wants To Be The “Netflix Of Listening” Gets More Local, by Shan Wang, Nieman Lab

The newest update to the app, released Thursday, moves it another step in the direction of becoming a one-stop shop for all audio content, from local content to podcasts outside the NPR world.


VLC Media Player Brings Its Multi-format Playback To The Apple TV, by Joseph Keller, iMore

VLC, the popular, versatile media player, is now available on the Apple TV. VLC can play a wide variety of audio and video files and automatically find storage devices attached to your network.

Easy Audio Converter 4.0.9 Released For OS X, by MacTech

It lets you quickly and simply convert any music or sound file to all popular formats. The app provides full iTunes integration and lets you edit the album, artist and track information.

Samba 4.3.4 Has Been Released For GNU/Linux And Mac OS X, Fixes 14 Bugs, by Marius Nestor, Softpedia

Skype To Bring Free Group Calling To iPhones, iPads, Other Mobile Devices, by Roger Fingas, AppleInsider


AgileCloudKit: iCloud Sync Gets Its Wings, by Agilebits

At the last WWDC, Apple announced some changes to CloudKit, the technology that enables an app to sync with iCloud. As many of you know, it was previously impossible for non-Mac App Store apps to sync with iCloud. The changes that Apple made to CloudKit have opened up some really exciting possibilities, and today, we’re happy to announce that we have been able to implement iCloud sync in the AgileBits Store version of 1Password.

FileMaker Launches SDK For Building Native iOS Apps, by Mikey Campbell, AppleInsider

Apple subsidiary FileMaker on Tuesday announced the FileMaker iOS App SDK, a set of coding tools that offer developers the means to build native iPhone and iPad apps.

Towards An Understanding Of Technical Debt, by Laughing Meme

All code is technical debt. All code is, to varying degrees, an incorrect bet on what the future will look like. You can address issues that are damaging to productivity, operability and morale, but only way to “fix technical debt” is “rm -rf”.


This One Photo Perfectly Sums Up How Frustrating It Is To Wear The Apple Watch, by Steve Kovach, Tech Insider

Apple was supposed to fix this problem in a new software update that came out last fall. The update let developers store their apps directly on the watch, which in theory helps them run faster. But that hasn't been the case in my experience. It still takes a really long time for the apps to load data. Part of this could be because developers haven't really taken the Apple Watch as seriously as they take the iPhone.

The Post-Mobile Era, by Ben Bajarin, Re/code

The smartphone has laid the foundation on which the future will be built, and will eventually give birth to that which displaces it. As we embrace the post-mobile era, it is time to shift our attention from the smartphone hardware itself to all the new things the smartphone will enable as the most pervasive form of personal computing in the history of our industry.

This Is What Today’s Popular Websites Look Like On The 1st Generation iPhone, by Luc Luxton, Medium

I received a 1st generation iPhone as birthday gift last year from a good friend of mine and I really haven’t done much with it. I started wondering if the phone could be used day to do if needed and if so, what the experience would be like today.

So, I thought it might be fun to have a look at what the most popular websites today look like on that incredibly revolutionary device.

Mapping Hundreds Of Power Disruptions Caused By ... Squirrels, by John Metcalfe, The Atlantic

Cyber Squirrel has created a map, based on news reports, showing places where squirrels have gotten caught in power equipment and disrupted electrical service.

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When I was in university, I couldn't wait to start work-life. Back then, I've had signed up for more classes -- closer to the imposed limits -- for every semester, so that I could graduate earlier. Looking back, I do wish I had slowed down just a little and smell the roses.

Right now, I can't wait to be retired, because, well, that's when I can really start up all my 'personal' projects. I guess I just need to make sure I am smelling enough roses today too.


Thanks for reading.

The Darned-Sweet Edition Tuesday, January 12, 2016

How The iMac Broke My 18-month PC Upgrade Cycle, by David Gewritz, ZDNet

Yes, I still hate the Finder. But the rest of the Mac is pretty darned sweet. And it does its job. Yes, the machine was expensive (wallet-bleedingly so), but if you figure that I might get twice (or more) the life out of this machine than I have all the main machines I've used in the past, the Mac actually becomes substantially more cost-effective than those previous Windows-only machines.

I Tracked Every Moment Of My Life With An Apple Watch, And It Drove Me Nuts, by Shane Ferro, Huffington Post

I have come to believe that there is real value in tracking yourself if you have a stated goal and a stated timespan. You can't do it forever. It becomes an albatross around the neck that you then resent.

Updates Are Coming

Apple Previews iOS 9.3 With Night Shift, Health And News Improvements, New Education Features, by Federico Viticci, MacStories

First, Apple appears to have listened to user requests following the shutdown of f.lux sideloading and they're introducing Night Shift in iOS 9.3 – a system feature that will automatically shift the color of the display after sunset to be warmer and easier on the eyes.

Notes, which received a major upgrade with iOS 9 last year, will be updated to support password and Touch ID authentication for notes that contain sensitive personal data. Based on a screenshot from Apple's webpage, it appears that users will be able to secure individual notes in the app, which will also receive new sorting capabilities (one of my few complaints about Notes in iOS 9).

With tvOS 9.2, Apple TV Adds Podcasts App, Folders, Bluetooth Keyboard Support, New App Switcher And More, by Benjamin Mayo, 9to5Mac

With the new Apple TV tvOS 9.2 beta, Apple has added a whole host of new features to the tvOS platform. This includes support for pairing Bluetooth keyboards, Folders organisation for apps on the home screen, a new App Switcher UI and a native Apple Podcasts app.

You Can Now Pair Multiple Apple Watches To An iPhone, But Why?, by Nate Swanner, The Next Web

For developers, this is a solid feature. If you’ve got a 38mm and 42mm Apple Watch you want to physically test a glance on, this is cool.


Printing A Paper Backup Of Your iCloud Contacts, by J.D. Biersdorfer, New York Times

At the bottom-left corner of the Contacts page, click the gear-shaped Settings icon. In the menu that opens, choose Print to send a copy of your iCloud address book to the printer.

1Password 6.2 For iOS Brings Watchtower, 3D Touch, And Better Search, by Federico Viticci, MacStories

Perhaps more notably, Watchtower, previously launched in the Mac app, is now available in 1Password for iOS as well. Watchtower is a service run by AgileBits that periodically checks for possible vulnerabilities on web services where you have an account. If a vulnerability is reported, Watchtower will show a red banner in the item's detail view in 1Password with a link to a webpage where you can read what was reported and how you should take action.

Pythonista 2.0 Brings Action Extension, iPad Pro Support, Code Editor Improvements, And More, by Federico Viticci, MacStories

A Python interpreter for iPhone and iPad that could natively integrate with iOS system features, Pythonista opened up a new world to me, demonstrating how I could automate tedious tasks on iOS devices via scripting.

Build Custom Virtual Audio Devices From Hardware And Software With Loopback, by Joseph Keller, iMore

Loopback is a powerful new audio routing app for Mac that lets you turn both apps and physical components into a single virtual audio device. Not only can you create combined audio sources that are available system-wide, you can also create virtual pass-through devices to send audio between apps.

Default Folder X 5.0, by Agen G. N. Schmitz, TidBITS

In addition to bringing full compatibility with OS X 10.11 El Capitan (and erasing the previous version’s requirement to turn off System Integrity Protection), Default Folder X 5.0 adds support for tabbed Finder windows in its Finder-click feature.

Wahoo 7 Minute Workout On Apple TV Plays Nice With Tickr X Heart Rate Monitor, by Michael Sawh, Wareable

Where things do get interesting is that you can pair the Wahoo Tickr X heart rate monitor chest strap to Apple's streaming set-top box via Bluetooth to record and analyse your performance.

Channels App Adds Live TV To The Apple TV’s Capabilities, by Glenn Fleishman, TidBITS

The tvOS Channels app tunes into over-the-air (OTA) broadcast digital television on an Apple TV as easily as Netflix or Hulu as long as you have the right networked tuning hardware.


Apple Expands App Analytics Feature To tvOS Apps, by Chance Miller, 9to5Mac

Apple today has announced that its App Analytics feature now supports tvOS apps. This means that developers can get more detail on how users are responding to and using their apps on the fourth-gen Apple TV. Developers can see how many views their App Store product page is receiving, track marketing campaign, get app usage information, and track in-app purchase success.


Apple Details CarPlay Partners By Year And Model On New Webpage, by Chance Miller, 9to5Mac

The Two Apples, by Neil Cybart, Above Avalon

There are two Apples: AAPL, the stock, and Apple, the company. While it would seem logical that one is merely a reflection of the other, in reality, the two are guided by vastly different parameters. Over the long run, Apple and AAPL will likely be at odds with each other due to the very nature of Apple's long-term mission of making products that people love. It is the classic Wall Street vs. Silicon Valley battle, and 2015 was likely just a taste of what is to come.

No, Apple Is Not Working To Make It Easier To Switch From iPhone To Android, by Ina Fried, Re/code

“There is no truth to this rumor,” an Apple representative told Re/code. “We are entirely focused on switching users from Android to iPhone, and that is going great.”

iPads At The Orchestra: Boston Symphony’s ‘Casual Friday’ Series Okays Tech, Jeans, by Nidhi Subbaraman, BetaBoston

The Boston Symphony Orchestra’s standard pre-concert announcement is familiar to theater and movie-goers: Turn your devices off before the concert begins.

But for three Fridays in the coming months, the BSO will break tradition and hand out iPads that visitors are invited to refer to during the evening.

Antivirus Software Could Make Your Company More Vulnerable, by Lucian Constantin, IDG News Service

According to vulnerability researchers who have analyzed antivirus programs in the past, such attacks are quite likely, and may already have occurred. Some of them have tried to sound the alarm about the ease of finding and exploiting critical flaws in endpoint antivirus products for years.

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I am not a fan of having different behavior between a tap and a long press in some of the iOS apps I am using. (Microsoft Outlook, Instapaper, etc)

I already have this ingrained habit of pressing on a button, think for just a bit, and then either release (so as to register a click) or to slide away (cancel the potential click). This habit fails miserably in these iOS apps.

Look, we've tried this (long-press to bring up contextual menu) in the classic Mac OS days. Didn't really work, did it?


Today I learnt that the term 'fluid' can refer to both liquids and gases.


Thanks for reading.

The Back-Soon Edition Monday, January 11, 2016

David Bowie Asks Iman If They Should Just Do Lasagna Again, by The Onion

“Okay, love you,” said the glamrock pioneer, noted for boldly reinventing himself countless times in the span of his life and career, as he opened the front door to his home. “Back soon.”

"It's Only Forever, Not Long At All"

take a split-second to remember him as a goblin king surrounded by muppets, I swear to god it will help

— Josh A. Cagan (@joshacagan) January 11, 2016

Lower Than Reality

Apple News App Is Off To A Rocky Start, by Jack Marshall and Steven Perlberg, Wall Street Journal

The company mistakenly has been underestimating the number of readers using the News app since its launch, and passing that inaccurate information on to publishers.


Eddy Cue, Apple’s senior vice president of Internet Software and Services, said the company missed the error as it focused on other aspects of the product. The company didn’t explain how the problem occurred or say exactly when it might be rectified. “We’re in the process of fixing that now, but our numbers are lower than reality,” he said. “We don’t know what the right number is,” but he added that it was better to undercount than overcount traffic.


Apple’s Music Streaming Subscribers Top 10m, by Matthew Garrahan and Tim Bradshaw, Financial Times

The rapid growth of Apple Music, which launched in more than 100 countries in June, raises the stakes in streaming, a form of distribution that offers hope to the music industry after more than a decade in the doldrums.

Why I Carry A Newton, by Egg Freckles

When you turn on a smartphone you are presented with a grid of applications that represent tasks your phone can do. When you turn on a Newton you are presented with your content. On a Newton their is no workflow to follow to get back to your writing because you are already there. There is no file system past a simple index. No open or save dialog boxes because what you write and read is always in front of you. A pad of paper never gets in your way because there is nothing between you and the content. In this respect a Newton is the same as a pad of paper.

Bill Ford Isn’t Scared Of Apple, by Steven Levy, Medium

Making cars will remain a big part of Ford, but the company is committed to an additional but vital business model, a high-tech effort based on “smart mobility.” This approach not only doesn’t focus on selling vehicles, but even embraces some instances where potential car owners might forgo a Ford, or any other vehicle, in their driveway. Part of the vision would even point people to public transit. Sounds like a sea change to me.

You Don’t Need More Free Time, by Cristobal Young, New York Times

But the situation, I believe, is more complicated than that. As I discovered in a study that I published with my colleague Chaeyoon Lim in the journal Sociological Science, it’s not just that we have a shortage of free time; it’s also that our free time, in order to be satisfying, often must align with that of our friends and loved ones. We face a problem, in other words, of coordination. Work-life balance is not something that you can solve on your own.

Rumor Of The Day

Apple’s Android Switching Plan, by Christopher Williams, The Telegraph

Apple is under pressure from mobile operators to make it easier for customers to switch between the iPhone and smartphones that use Google’s Android software, amid mounting fears over its dominance. According to a senior industry source, Apple has privately agreed to develop a simple tool to help consumers shift data such as contacts, music and photos if they move to Android.

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The Corporate-Evolution Edition Sunday, January 10, 2016

Angela Ahrendts: The Woman Aiming To Make Apple A Luxury Brand, by Andrew Anthony, The Guardian

What sets Apple apart from its competitors, runs the consensus opinion, is the elegance and simplicity of the way its products look. But perhaps in Apple’s natural history, the design phase too has been replaced by a new stage of corporate evolution: the marketing stage.

Certainly, the news that Angela Ahrendts, Apple’s vice-president of retail and online stores, is, for the second year running, the tech giant’s highest paid executive suggests that her expertise in marketing is what’s being rewarded. And what a pleasant reward it is too.

Music Revolution

15 Years Of iTunes: A Look At Apple’s Media App And Its Influence On An Industry, by Kirk McElhearn, Macworld

On a chilly, rainy day in San Francisco 15 years ago, Steve Jobs took the stage at the 2001 Macworld Expo to present new Apple products. After talking about boring technicalities of new hardware and software, Jobs switched registers. He introduced Apple’s digital hub concept, then started talking about a revolution.

“There is a music revolution happening right now.”

Headphone Makers Quietly Prepare For The iPhone 7, by Vlad Savov, The Verge

The people who don't seem to be particularly perturbed by this potential development are headphone makers themselves. I've spoken with many of them during this year's CES and none feel threatened by or unprepared for Apple's rumored removal of the headphone jack. There are two reasons for this: one is that almost every headphone manufacturer, major or minor, has some sort of wireless product to offer prospective iPhone 7 owners. Only the truly premium, audiophile-class vendors — whose products aren't intended to be used with mobile devices anyway — don't have a Bluetooth variant to offer. The big names like Sennheiser and Audio-Technica are already working on entire portfolios of high-end wireless headphones, and others like Bose have been developing the technology for years. Nothing new on this front.


Hyphen: An EPUB Reader For Everyone, by Jake Underwood, MacStories

Hyphen, an eBook reader for EPUB files, attempts to bridge the gap between the power user and consumer. At its heart, it's a simple reader - but combined with its sharing and word selection strengths, it should be a contender as a host for your next eBook.

Downcast For Mac Gains Performance Increases, Easier Switching Between Episodes And More, by Jared Dipane, iMore

Bottom of the Page

I'm afraid to open my Todo app to see what's up for tomorrow.


Thanks for reading.

The Remarkable-Rendezvous Edition Saturday, January 9, 2016

Silicon Valley Appears Open To Helping US Spy Agencies After Terrorism Summit, by Danny Yadron and Julia Carrie Wong, The Guardian

Technology giants appeared to be open to helping the US government combat Islamic State during an extraordinary closed-door summit on Friday that brought together America’s most senior counter-terrorism officials with some of Silicon Valley’s most powerful executives.

The remarkable rendezvous between Apple, Facebook, Twitter, Microsoft and others and a delegation from the White House revealed a willingness on the part of tech firms to work with the government, and indicated that the Obama administration appears to have concluded it can’t combat terrorists online on its own.

Don't Get Caught Without Your Pencil

Keeping The Apple Pencil Handy, by iPad Insight

I’ve done a bit of research into different Pencil carrying options, and here are a few of my favourites.

The Year Previous And The Year To Come

Apple In 2015: The Six Colors Report Card, by Jason Snell, Six Colors

Judging by our panel’s responses, Apple had a good year when it came to its hardware, but software and cloud services were more of a mixed bag, and developer relations and home-tech initiatives were not so great. Among the key product categories, the panel generally thought it was a good year for iOS, an okay year for the Mac and the new Apple TV, and a rough start for the Apple Watch.

The Realist’s Guide To CES 2016, by The Wirecutter

Most of these things are not ready for prime time, and many of them never will be (or even if they do get there, they’ll be highly unlikely to find a real audience), but we’ve tried to identify the products that look poised to have actual impact.


Relocating Old iPhoto Events In Photos For OS X, by J. D. Biersdorfer, New York Times

While certain changes from the iPhoto-to-Photos conversion cannot be reversed, you can at least dig out and move your old iPhoto Events groups from their new location and put them with the rest of your albums.

Peel Turns Your Apple Watch Into A Universal Remote Control, by Sarah Perez, TechCrunch

The Pronto 360-degree IR blaster is what turns the iPhone, and now the Apple Watch, into a smart universal remote control.

Peach Is A Simple, Charming Approach To Social Networking, by Dan Thorp-Lancaster, iMore

Acting as a sort of mix between a social network and messaging platform, the app encourages users to stick with small interactions by sharing a quick picture, GIF, video and more by using and discovering keywords.

AnyTrans For Mac OS X Can Now Transfer App Data, Game Progress, by MacTech

The app was specifically created to clone all types of items including contacts, photos, music, messages, notes, calendar, even customized settings like wallpaper, iCloud account, sounds, and more.

Movesum Step-tracking App Connects How You Move With What You Eat, by Aldrin Calimlim, AppAdvice

Movesum is essentially a step tracker, joining the likes of Pedometer++ and Moves in the plethora of step-counting apps available on the App Store. But Movesum is different from most of its ilk in that it has a decidedly simple interface and a key feature that relates step activity to food intake.

Just Drop A Pin And Get The Headlines With Omniscient News, by Sandy Stachowiak, AppAdvice

Workarounds For Safari Not Opening Short Links From Twitter, by OS X Daily


How I Build A Side Project, by Nina Patkai

Building a side project was lots of fun, and by sharing my process, I am hoping to inspire at least one person to build something new.

Vague Warning Messages Help Keep Developer Minds Sharp By Forcing Them To Work Out Where The Problem Is., by Text From Xcode


Why Amazon's Data Centers Are Hidden In Spy Country, by Ingrid Burrington, The Atlantic

To explain why a region surrounded mostly by farmland and a scattering of American Civil War monuments is a central point of Internet infrastructure, we have to go back to where a lot of significant moments in Internet history take place: the Cold War.

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I've started using Todoist for my... well, to-dos.

Good: I like having the different customizable views.

Not so good: The desktop apps are basically, in my opinion, web views.

Really not so good: I have a lot of to-dos.


Thanks for reading.

The Paying-Off Edition Friday, January 8, 2016

Five Years Later, Thunderbolt Is Finally Gaining Some Traction In PCs, by Andrew Cunninham, Ars Technica

We've been talking to the PC companies at CES about this sudden turnaround, and their answers have all been in more or less the same vein. The increased speed of Thunderbolt 3 combined with all the benefits of USB Type-C (including driving displays via Alternate Mode and charging laptops via Power Delivery) has finally made Thunderbolt convenient enough to be worth the trouble.


In other words, it might be a little irritating for users of the current Thunderbolt port to buy new cables or adapters, but it seems like Intel’s decision to tie Thunderbolt to the ascendant and popular USB Type-C port is paying off nicely.

Why Apple’s Claim Of Adding 1.9 Million Jobs Includes Plumbers And Baristas Along With Developers, by Todd C. Frankel, Washington Post

That number includes what are called spillover jobs and indirect jobs. That means marketing and HR positions at app companies, for example. It also includes the people in Apple’s U.S. supply chain and the construction workers building its new headquarters campus. They are part of the 1.9 million.

Perhaps most surprisingly, the Apple figure also counts many plumbers and Chipotle servers and even food delivery people. Tailors. Dry cleaners. Teachers, too. The justification is these jobs also would not exist without the salaries derived from Apple or its app store. But it’s also unlikely that anyone associates an auto mechanic’s job with the impact from Apple's app store.


Ask The iTunes Guy: iCloud Music Library, Unwanted Downloads, Apple Music Subscriptions, And More, by Kirk McElhearn, Macworld

Just because it’s a new year doesn’t mean that iTunes problems and questions have gone away. If anything, I get more emails around the holiday season as lots of people get new iPhones, iPads, and iPods. In this week’s column, I look at an issue with iCloud Music Library and unwanted downloads to iOS devices. I explain what happens when an Apple Music subscription ends. I tell you how to see play counts in your playlists. And more.

Hands On: Due 2.2 (iOS), by William Gallagher, MacNN

If you're missing tasks you've got to do, or have things that are time-sensitive, try adding this to your current To Do app, and we think you'll be pleased.


Screen Recorder For iOS Vidyo Gets Yanked From App Store, by Sarah Perez, TechCrunch

What made the app clever – but also contraband – was how it used AirPlay. The app let you record your screen by acting like it was using AirPlay Mirroring – users would select Vidyo as the AirPlay source to start the mirroring process, which then triggered the screen recording and, optionally, the audio. When you finished your recording, you would stop AirPlay and the video of your screen recording would be saved to your photo gallery.


Apple Buys Artificial-Intelligence Startup Emotient, by Rolfe Winkler, Daisuke Wakabayashi and Elizabeth Dwoskin, Wall Street Journal

It isn’t clear what Apple plans to do with Emotient’s technology, which was primarily sold to advertisers to help assess viewer reactions to their ads. Doctors also have tested it to interpret signs of pain among patients unable to express themselves, and a retailer used it to monitor shoppers’ facial expressions in store aisles, the company had said.

Global Publishing And Consulting Company In Framingham Could Be Up For Sale, by Universal Hub

Former IDG exec Colin Crawford reports that IDG has retained Goldman Sachs as a prelude to selling itself off - ideally in one piece.

Bottom of the Page

Just because they have even coined the term Imposter Syndrome doesn't mean I am not full of shit.


Thanks for reading.

The All-That-Bandwidth Edition Thursday, January 7, 2016

Netflix Expands To 130 New Countries, Including India, Russia And South Korea, by John Callaham, iMore

Netflix is now available nearly everywhere in the world, with one big exception. Company CEO Reed Hastings revealed during his CES 2016 keynote speech that the streaming video service has gone live in 130 new countries, including India, Russia and South Korea.

The Counterintuitive Tech Behind Netflix’s Worldwide Launch, by Cade Metz, Wired

For most Internet services, expanding into foreign markets isn’t very hard. Somebody translates a few app menus into a new language, and that’s that. But Netflix is different. To stream TV shows and movies into foreign countries, it must negotiate a whole new set of rights with those that own the content. And it must deal with all that extra bandwidth. Here in North America, Netflix accounts for about 35 percent of all Internet traffic—far more than any other service, including YouTube—and when it expands into a foreign market, it can top 20 percent of all traffic in as little as 18 months, according to Sandvine, an outfit that tracks Internet usage across the globe.


Be More Productive With Citrus – Motivational Task Manager, by Sandy Stachowiak, AppAdvice

One of the nicest parts of Citrus is the design. Your categories and tasks are easily viewable with a pie chart as well as a list. You can tap on either that section of the chart or the specific item for more detail or to make edits. And, marking tasks complete or deleting them can be done simply by swiping. There is also a calendar view that shows you how well you are doing with completing your items and how many points you have received.

Blurring Photos For iOS Wallpaper, by David Sparks, Macsparky

The idea occurred to me while I was holding my iPhone so I used Pixelmator as my weapon of choice. I already had the image in my photos library so I loaded it from there and selected the blur tool. The gallery at the bottom of this post walks you through the steps and the image below shows the final product.


Evernote’s 5% Problem Offers A Cautionary Lesson To Tech Companies, by Chris O'Brien, VentureBeat

But for startups on the rise, it’s a good idea to hit the pause button if you ever find yourself saying in public that you have a hard time explaining what your company does.

If you lose sight of the core experience and fall prey to the 5 percent problem, you likely won’t find the road back out.


The Triumph Of Email, by Adrienne Lafrance, The Atlantic

Over the course of about half a century, email went from being obscure and specialized, to mega-popular and beloved, to derided and barely tolerated. With email’s reputation now cratering, service providers offer tools to help you hit “inbox zero,” while startups promise to kill email altogether. It’s even become fashionable in tech circles to brag about how little a person uses email anymore.

Email wasn’t always like this. We weren’t always like this. What happened?

Judge Says Monkey Cannot Own Copyright To Famous Selfies, by David Kravets, Ars Technica

"I'm not the person to weigh into this," Orrick said from the bench in San Francisco federal court. "This is an issue for Congress and the president. If they think animals should have the right of copyright they're free, I think, under the Constitution, to do that."

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Apple TV (the new app-y version) was launched here in Singapore without any way, it seems to me, for potential customers to find out what kind of apps are available in Singapore before making the purchase.

And today, Netflix was launched in Singapore without any (official) way for me to find out what kind of shows are available before I subscribe.

In Netflix's defence, there is a one month trial. Still, it's a business trend that I don't really like.

(I don't know if Netflix is already doing this, but it should also tell me whether a particular show is censored for Singapore.)


Thanks for reading.

The New-Year-Watch Edition Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Apple Celebrates The Chinese New Year With Exclusive Apple Watch Sport Styles, by Joseph Keller, iMore

Apple will be carrying two exclusive versions of the Apple Watch Sportfor a limited time in select countries to celebrate the Chinese New Year. Until February 22, customers in China, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Singapore, and Taiwan can get their hands on two exclusive styles of the aluminum version of the watch.

Apple Watch Launches In Malaysia, Coming To Portugal And Czech Republic On January 29, by Juli Clover, MacRumors

The Apple Watch originally launched on April 24 in Australia, Canada, China, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Japan, the UK, and the United States, but availability has since expanded to more than 30 countries.

Of Playlists And Timelines

The Year Of The Playlist, by Original Fuzz

Say what you will about the user experience in the Apple Music app. I agree it's a mess, but I think that Apple nailed the core job of a streaming service: I want to be able to listen to whatever I want–anytime, anywhere–but most of the time I don't want to think about or spend time figuring out what to listen to.

Who Controls Your Facebook Feed, by Will Oremus, Slate

I had a rare chance recently to spend time with Facebook’s news feed team at their Menlo Park, California, headquarters and see what it actually looks like when they make one of those infamous, market-moving “tweaks” to the algorithm—why they do it, how they do it, and how they decide whether it worked. A glimpse into its inner workings sheds light not only on the mechanisms of Facebook’s news feed, but on the limitations of machine learning, the pitfalls of data-driven decision making, and the moves Facebook is increasingly making to collect and address feedback from individual human users, including a growing panel of testers that are becoming Facebook’s equivalent of the Nielsen family.

Speaking of Timelines...

On Twitter Going Beyond 140 Characters, by Federico Viticci, MacStories

But, it's also undeniable that people have been demanding ways to share longer text messages appended to a tweet and have been relying on undesirable workarounds such as unsearchable, unselectable text (textshots) and chained replies that are hard to follow (tweetstorms). Tweetstorms aren't going away (and I can see how they can makesome sense as one shares multiple thoughts on the spur of the moment), but note some important aspects from Jack's message: text search and highlights. Both of these aren't possible when text is shared as a static image (not to mention the accessibility downsides for users who require the ability to zoom and have text read aloud by software).

Twitter’s Reported Plans To Remove Twitter’s Defining Feature Are Terrible, by Peter Bright, Ars Technica

But we already have places to write long tweets.

Twitter Isn’t Raising The Character Limit. It’s Becoming A Walled Garden., by Will Oremus, Slate

If I’m right about what’s really going on here, this move will not fundamentally alter how Twitter looks or feels, nor how people use it. Rather, it will change where online content is hosted, who controls it, and who is in a position to monetize it.

App Store Money

Apple Announces ‘Biggest Ever’ Holiday Season For App Store Sales, Over $1.1bn Sales In 2 Weeks, by Benjamin Mayo, 9to5Mac

Apple has announced that the App Store had its best ever holiday season in 2015, setting records for Christmas and New Year’s Day. January 1st 2016 saw $144 million of App Store spending, the best day in App Store history. It beat the previous record set just a week earlier on Christmas Day.


How To Avoid A Surprising Bill Due To Wi-Fi Assist, by Glenn Fleishman, Macworld

I’d recommend most people disable Wi-Fi Assist, which Apple turns on in iOS 9 by default. Go to Settings > Cellular, and scroll what can be way way way down at the bottom to find Wi-Fi Assist, and tap it off.

If you find your iPhone or cellular-enabled iPad has connection problems on Wi-Fi networks after disabling it, you can turn it back or switch intentionally to a cellular network.

Even If You Die, LastPass 4.0 Has You Covered, by Joe White, AppAdvice

Perhaps the biggest change made in LastPass 4.0 is the app’s Emergency Access feature, which aims to help users future-proof their password vault against their very own death.

Achieving Personal Goals With Streaks, by John Voorhees, MacStories

An app isn't going to magically make you eat better or wake up early to work on your next big project, but through a system of reminders and tracking, Streaks creates a sense of personal accountability that I find helps a lot.

Allowance & Chores Bot Review: Manage Your Kids’ Tasks And Money On Your iOS Device, by Rob Rob Griffiths, Macworld

No longer do I fear allowance weekends and we are closer than ever to being cash free. The kids love the spending flexibility Allowance & Chores Bot provides and we love not having to deal with actual currency.

Turn Sheet Music Into An Easy-to-learn Game With The One Smart Piano, by Caitlin McGarry, Macworld

Learning how to play an instrument is a tough slog, but the makers of a new digital piano are making it easier by lighting the way—literally.


Swift Development Realities, by Erica Sadun

You can’t properly develop in Swift without preparing for refactors. The two core realities of adopting Swift right now are writing tests and documenting the hell out of everything. Allocating time and building tests and comments are part and parcel of getting ready for the next big flood.

How I Learned To Stop Worrying And Love The Cubicle, by Forrest Brazeal

I’ll admit that working in a cube farm can feel a little soul-crushing at times. The daily commute eats into my free time and the break room keeps running out of hot chocolate packets. But every time I have to work remotely for one reason or another, it’s not long before I get the itch to go back to the office. Why would I prefer my cubicle over the carefree, location-independent lifestyle, you ask? Let’s look at three common gripes about cubicle work and see how they compare to the supposed advantages of working from home.


Apple Stores To Expand Into Latin America, Flagship Store Planned For Mexico City, by Steve Sande, Apple World Today

Apple only has two stores in Latin America at this point, both in Brazil. The bulk of sales of Apple devices in the vast region come from third-party retail partners and online stores.

Apple Files Permit To Build Second Data Center Cluster In Reno, by AppleInsider

Veteran Mac Developer Circus Ponies Shuts Down, by Steven Sande, Apple World Today

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Having a to-do list application that attemps to gamify your doing of to-dos sounds great...

... until you found yourself being too confident yesterday in scheduling tasks for yourself to do after work today

... and you find yourself having to stay late in office today

... and reach home quite late

... and you are super tired

... and the tasks you've scheduled for yourself turn out to be not so important after all.


Thanks for reading.

The Abandon-Encrypted-Files Edition Tuesday, January 5, 2016

What To Do If You Forget Your Mac’s Password, by How To Geek

Can’t remember your Mac’s password? Don’t worry. With the default settings, you can simply try logging into your Mac. Fail enough times and you’ll be able to reset your password with your Apple ID. But this won’t always work.

If you haven’t enabled FileVault disk encryption, there’s an easy password-reset tool you can access. If you have enabled FileVault disk encryption and are willing to abandon your encrypted files, you can just reinstall Mac OS X and start over again.

Backups and password managers. This is how I hope I don't lose my files.

Tolerance From The Top Down: What Coming Out Taught Me About My Company, by Mark Curry, The Huffington Post

It is imperative that executives and business owners, particularly those who are part of the LGBT community, conscientiously create an LBGT-friendly environment in corporate America. For that to happen, it is incumbent upon all executives, but especially LGBT executives to lead.


Griffin’s BreakSafe Is The MagSafe USB-C Adapter That Apple’s MacBook Needs, by Chance Miller, 9to5Mac

The company has unveiled a new six-foot BreakSafe Magnetic USB-C Power Cable that brings the laptop-saving magnetic technology to the 12-inch MacBook. The BreakSafe cable comes in two parts. The first part is a 12.8mm small plug that you insert into the USB-C port on the MacBook. The second part is the 6-foot cable that connects magnetically to the 12.8mm dongle and features a USB-C connection on the other side.

Honeywell Introduces A New Lyric Thermostat With Apple HomeKit Support, by Brent Dirks, AppAdvice

Heating and air conditioning stalwart Honeywell has just unveiled its second-generation Lyric that is compatible with Apple’s smart home protocol.

Aipoly Vision Is An Amazing App For Visually Impaired iOS Users, by Joe White, AppAdvice

Inside the app users can toggle between Aipoly Vision’s two main functions: object recognition, and color recognition. After choosing which mode you’d like to use, the app then allows iOS device owners to point their iPhone or iPad at an object and receive either a guess at the name of the object, or the color which lies beneath the application’s crosshair.


Fun With Swift, by Joe Armstrong

My immediate reaction was “Golly – Swift might just be usable” and I was hooked. I’d also read that Swift was a functional language which again piqued my interest.

In the next week or so I found that Swift was certainly not a pure functional language but that it was whole lot better than Objective-C. Above all it had a REPL and I could program outside Xcode (which I hate). I can use my dear and very old friend emacs whose commands are located somewhere near the base of my spine.


Lawsuit Accuses Apple Of Stealing Heart Sensor Technology, by MacNN

The key element of the case hinges on whether Apple misled Valencell about a partnership, and specifically whether it used some key light-guiding discoveries from the company that increase the accuracy of its photoplethysmography (PPG) heart rate detection.

Waste Not, Want Not: Why French Diners Are Learning To Love Their Leftovers, by Kim Willsher, The Guardian

The French have never done “le doggy bag’’. They eat what is on their restaurant plate or it goes straight in the bin.

Until now, that is. This year, we can expect to see more Gallic diners clutching what is left of their steak-frites in colourful bags as they leave their favourite eaterie, because a law that came into effect on 1 January now forces restaurants to provide containers for uneaten grub as part of a campaign to cut food waste.

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Today I learnt that I too can catch a cold even when I am half a planet away from CES. :-)


Thanks for reading.

The Very-Obvious-Audio Edition Monday, January 4, 2016

Unhand Me! – Preventing Unwanted iOS Device Handling, by Jake Underwood, MacStories

Unhand Me! aims to deter thieves by using voice and sound to draw attention to your iPhone or iPad once picked up. In addition to the very obvious audio, the app also pushes a notification to a specified device. From here, you can turn off the alarm or take the necessary action.

How To Run “Headless” Virtual Machines In OS X, by Topher Kessler, MacIssues

If you run multiple operating systems on your Mac in virtual machines, then you likely use either Virtual Box, VMWare Fusion, or Parallels Desktop. For the most part, when you set up a VM on your Mac with any of these solutions, it will run as a window that shows you the graphical view of the virtualized OS. However, if you use your VMs for servers instead of running desktop applications, then you can use a small trick to run them in the background, and thereby save both a little processing power and some desktop clutter.


Apple Raises iPhone Prices In Germany Over New Content Levy, by Frank Jordans, Associated Press

Apple raised the prices for hand-held devices in Germany at the start of the year, following a deal between the tech industry and content producers that will benefit a range of creative professionals including musicians, actors and pornographic filmmakers. [...] Apple Inc., Samsung and others agreed last month to pay about 5-7 euros ($5.50-$7.70) for each smartphone or tablet imported to Germany.

Ford Is Bringing CarPlay To All 2017 Models, by Harish Jonnalagadda, iMore

Ford has announced the Sync 3 infotainment platform, adding support for CarPlay and Android Auto. The carmaker has announced that all 2017 models — starting with the Escape — will come with the infotainment unit as standard, and that 2016 models will be able to upgrade to the system later this year.

Periodic Table's Seventh Row Finally Filled As Four New Elements Are Added, by The Guardian

Four new elements have been added to the periodic table, finally completing the table’s seventh row and rendering science textbooks around the world instantly out of date.

Congratulations, science.

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I miss the good old days when I know what iTunes is doing when syncing stuff between my computer and its pod.


Thanks for reading.

The Constantly-Juggle Edition Sunday, January 3, 2016

App Makers Reach Out To The Teenager On Mobile, by Conor Dougherty, New York Times

But even though these services all have the same core functions — find friends, post pictures, send messages — teenagers juggle them constantly, developing arcane customs for what to post where and ditching one app for another the moment it becomes uncool.

That churn leaves an opening for upstarts like Wishbone, which is about a year old and already has about three million monthly users. Since July it has ranked among the top 30 most-downloaded social media apps in Apple’s App Store, according to App Annie, a data and analytics company. But staying there will be tough. Mobile apps are a hit or miss business in which a handful of top players get most of the users and money.

Apple TV Universal Search Integration Expands To PBS And PBS Kids, Suggests API Now Open, by Mikey Campbell, AppleInsider

Bill Gates: The Billionaire Book Critic, by Katherine Rosman, New York Times

Evan Thomas, the best-selling biographer of Robert F. Kennedy and Dwight D. Eisenhower and the author of a half-dozen other books, has seen those books reviewed over the years by The New Yorker, The Washington Post and The Atlantic. But with the recent publication of his latest work, “Being Nixon: A Man Divided,” he experienced for the first time a new phenomenon: the Bill Gates bump.

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On Mac OS X, when I want to listen to "My Music", I click on the left-most tab. On iPhone, when I want to listen to "My Music", I tap on the right-most tab.


Thanks for reading.

The Hand-Gestures Edition Saturday, January 2, 2016

Researchers Use Apple Watch To Pilot Drone, Control HomeKit Hue Lamps Via Hand Gestures, by Daniel Eran Dilger, AppleInsider

Engineering students at Taiwan's National Chung Hsing University demonstrated a clever use of the motion sensors in Apple Watch to interpret hand gestures, enabling them to remotely control real world devices akin to the science fiction fantasy depicted in Star Wars.

DOJ Urges Supreme Court To Deny Apple’s E-book Appeal, by Andrew Albanese, Publishers Weekly

“The verdict against [Apple] rests on the unexceptionable proposition that [Apple] was not entitled to accomplish its entry into a market by organizing a horizontal price-fixing conspiracy among that market’s suppliers,” DOJ attorneys argue. “[Apple] was not a hapless actor that unwittingly became enmeshed with some form of alleged collusion, but in fact orchestrated the publishers’ conspiracy, and actively relied on their collusion to achieve its business ends.”

Concluding that there is no “obvious and exceptional showing of error” at the lower courts, nor a conflict with Supreme Court precedent or any other court of appeals decision, DOJ attorneys argue that no further review is warranted.


Shields Down, by Rands In Repose

Every moment as a leader is an opportunity to either strengthen or weaken shields. Every single moment.

NSNotificationCenter Is Probably An Anti-Pattern, by Jared sinclair

I think NSNotificationCenter is best suited for events whose origin is so far outside the scope of local control flow that it would be awkward or even silly to use anything else. [...] In practice I have a hard time justifying the use of NSNotificationCenter for anything besides events vended by the OS.


I Have Five Digital ‘Personal Assistants’ And Still Can’t Get Anything Done, by Hayley Tsukayama, Washington Post

The idea of an assistant is appealing but hard to implement, said Dennis Mortensen, chief executive of, a company that makes an artificial intelligence assistant that you can copy on your emails to set up appointments. The most popular assistants out there, Mortensen said, are really "enablers" rather than programs that help you. They give you information so you can do things, but don't actually do much for you.

Not only did I find that out, but I also noticed in the process that you're giving up a lot of information. These things need to know your schedules, your habits, your favorite contacts and more to work well. That's about as much, in fact, as you'd have to give to an actual personal assistant — something that may make many uncomfortable.

Artificial Intelligence Finally Entered Our Everyday World, by Cade Metz, Wired

All of this seems like science fiction. But 2015 is the year artificial intelligence technology took off in a big way in the real world. DuLight and the Google chatbot may be experiments, but Facebook’s face recognition, Microsoft’s Skype translation, and Google’s Android voice recognition are very real—and available to all. Google is also using this technology to drive its Internet search engine, the linchpin of its online empire. Twitter is using it to identify pornography, which gives people the opportunity to block it. Baidu uses it to target advertisements and identify malware.

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Podcasting is not the same medium as radio. We listen to podcasts by subscribing, not by remembering to tune in every week on the same day for the next episode. Podcast producers that pad a self-imposed fixed schedule with reruns and clip shows, as well as podcast client creators that tailor their user-interface towards notifications and selections of new episodes to listen to are not letting go the old and embracing the new.

In my humble opinion, of course. :-)


Thanks for reading.

The Internal-Ad-Agency Edition Friday, January 1, 2016

The Great Apple Advertising Experiment, by Ken Segall

Tor’s hiring comes with the quieter announcement that longtime in-house creative leader Hiroki Asai is “retiring.” I really liked Hiroki. He’s a good guy and a talented designer. But he isn’t exactly entering his golden years. So … retiring? Far more believable is the idea that an in-house agency needs the leadership of an accomplished agency guy.

If you want to see where all of this is leading, you also have to look at it from Tor’s point of view. Tor is a global player in the agency world. He thrives on creating big, breakthrough ad campaigns. He wouldn’t accept a job at Apple if it involved anything less. So, yes, it sure looks like Apple is building internal ad agency.

A Proxy War: Apple Ad-blocking Software Scares Publishers But Rival Google Is Target, by Alex Hern, The Guardian

Ad blocking has been around for almost as long as the web, and yet most people still view most ads. If the sky is falling, it has taken a long time to hit the ground.


Digging Deeper For Missing Mac Mail Messages, by J. D. Biersdorfer, New York Times

Depending on the version of El Capitan your Mac is running, the mail accounts in question and where you check messages, you may have a few other troubleshooting steps available if the Rebuild command under the Mailbox menu has not helped.

Jot Down Your New Year’s Resolutions With Everlist, by Sandy Stachowiak, AppAdvice

Everlist is a task list manager that brings a gorgeous interface, smart icons for to-dos, and easy management of your lists.


Write Code Every Day, by Ville Hellman, Medium

Nearly 2 years ago now I read a fantastic article by John Resig titled “Write Code Every Day” in which he describes a scenario where he’s not happy with the progress he is making on his side projects. To remedy this he decided to write code every single day and open source it. I can’t recommend reading through his original article enough.

I can admit I've not managed this, not even close, but what I have done is attempted it several times with slight adjustments, thought about it a lot and more importantly managed to get a whole lot more done than I had before.

This is what I've learnt about it.

Why Go Still Foils The Computers, by Chistopher Chabris, Wall Street Journal

With top technology firms racing to build more intelligence into their products, computer Go research has considerable symbolic value. Go is a deeper game than chess, and mastering it is thought to require more humanlike skills of pattern recognition and intuitive judgment.


Why You May Have ‘ 46 Years Of Friendships’ On Facebook, by Deepa Seetharaman, Wall Street Journal

But the likely cause is something called the Unix Epoch. Unix is a computer operating system that underpins most servers and mobile devices. It keeps time by counting up from Jan. 1, 1970, at midnight Greenwich Mean Time. A server error or bug may have reset the clock for Facebook’s feature that alerts users of friendship anniversaries. The GMT timetable is likely why many Americans are seeing this notification on New Year’s Eve.

Nullarbor Links, by Atlas Obscura

The world's longest golf course stretches across 1,365 km of featureless Australian outback with each hole sitting miles and miles apart from each other, often in different towns.

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I think I need to figure out what will be a good replacement for Evernote. The most wonderful feature of Evernote is the cross-platform-ness. And by cross-platform, Evernote do mean cross-platform: I use the service on all of the following platforms: Mac OS X, iOS, and Windows. Unfortunately, it's all the other features that I am not so impressed.


Thanks for reading.