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.