Archive for February 2016

The Note-The-Irony Edition Monday, February 29, 2016

What Apple Did And Didn't Do When China Knocked On Its Backdoor, by Bill Powell, Newsweek

Note the irony: China’s security audit was done, by all accounts, to ensure that Apple had not already built a backdoor into its products that the U.S. government could use to its advantage in China. (Apple has never publicly confirmed or denied the security audit). But now, in the wake of the controversy over the San Bernardino attacker’s phone, the mere fact that Beijing did a security audit has raised suspicions that Apple jumped to Beijing’s tune in a way it defiantly refuses to do in the U.S.

But there’s little evidence that this is true. Some critics have pounced on the security audit and concluded that Apple “gave” the Chinese government its “source code" and therefore, in theory, gave Beijing ideas about how it can build its own backdoor into Apple’s products. But this is almost certainly wrong. As John Kheit, a writer at the all-Apple, all-the-time website the Mac Observer, puts it, “Showing the source code in no way reveals the magic encryption keys generated by the source code and maintained in secret on people’s individual devices.”


Apple Breaks Mac Ethernet Port With Security Update, Issues Fix, by AppleInsider

For those unable to connect to a wireless network (likely the same people who noticed their Ethernet was non-functional) the company offers instructions on how to restore the latest kernel extension version manually.


Hackathon Be Gone, by Brain Food

How do we foster a healthier and more collaborative environment that isn’t slanted towards commercial interests? How do we reward effort, innovation, or showmanship fairly?


Google AMP Is Less About Beating Facebook At News, More About Gobbling Up The Mobile Web, by Mark Bergen, Re/code

AMP is a central part of Google’s maniacal mission to clean up the mobile Web and boost search revenue on mobile.

The Promise Of Artificial Intelligence Unfolds In Small Steps, by Steve Lohr, New York Times

IBM’s early struggles with Watson point to the sobering fact that commercializing new technology, however promising, typically comes in short steps rather than giant leaps.

Bottom of the Page

I have not liked Apple's naming scheme for the iPhone so far (the S and the non-S, the plus and the non-plus), and I definitely have not warmed up to the SE suffix either.


Thanks for reading.

The Excited-To-Learn Edition Sunday, February 28, 2016

Do Kids Learn More When They Trade In Composition Books For iPads?, by Donna St. George, Washington Post

Darryl Joyner, who helps lead Arlington’s technology initiative, says while there’s no “direct line” between test scores and digital devices or any other tool, research shows engagement is linked to performance. “The big thing I’m seeing is students excited to learn,” he said.

Debra Mahone, who coordinates technology efforts and other interventions in high-poverty schools in Prince George’s County, says after iPads and Chromebooks arrived in select schools in 2010, educators observed students being more interested in coming to classes and teachers more excited about instruction. When it comes to teacher practice and student engagement, she says, “we think they make a huge difference.”

Agree To Disagree

Apple’s Privacy Fight Tests Relationship With White House, by Michael D. Shear and Katie Benner, New York Times

Either way, what started as a cordial two-hour discussion about combating Islamic extremism ended with the White House and Mr. Cook agreeing to disagree — foreshadowing a bitter battle between a president long enamored of Apple products and Silicon Valley and a tech titan who has spoken enthusiastically of Mr. Obama.

Although the president and Mr. Cook are not personal friends, associates say they have developed a relationship of professional admiration and mutual self-interest. At the least, the two share similar traits: discipline, a cerebral nature and impatience with office drama. Now they find themselves in roles no one ever imagined, as the central antagonists in the raging debate between personal privacy and the nation’s security.

Most Software Already Has A “Golden Key” Backdoor: The System Update, by Leif Ryge, Ars Technica

Many software projects have only begun attempting to verify the authenticity of their updates in recent years. But even among projects that have been trying to do it for decades, most still have single points of devastating failure.

While It Defies U.S. Government, Apple Abides By China's Orders — And Reaps Big Rewards, by David Pierson, Los Angeles Times

Apple, one of only a handful of U.S. tech giants that have flourished in China, said the move was necessary to improve services for its growing Chinese user base. It added that all data on the servers were encrypted and inaccessible to China Telecom.

[...] "Whatever data is on Chinese servers is susceptible to confiscation or even cryptanalysis," a sort of code cracking, said Jonathan Zdziarski, a leading expert in iPhone security.


So My iMac’s Ethernet Port Stopped Working…, by Jason Snell, Six Colors

Korg Gadget Review, by Craig Grannell, Stuff

Purely as a sound box for live musicians (there’s support for external controllers), Gadget is worth the outlay. But Gadget is far more than that. You can record live, or tap the piano roll to get notes down with precision.

Three Apps To Help Cyclists Keep Pedal To Metal, by Stephanie Kanowitz, Washington Post

In D.C., the country’s fittest city, cycling studios are the Starbucks of boutique gyms: You can find one on almost every corner. Some, like Flywheel (1927 Florida Ave. NW), provide stationary bikes with monitors that track riders’ speeds, but most don’t, even though it’s a sought-after metric. Here are three apps that help you see just how fast you’re going whether you’re on a stationary bike or outdoors.


Enumerating The Ways I Love Swift, by Casey Liss

It’s stunning how powerful support for these paradigms makes enumerations.


This Is The Exclusive Apple Merchandise You Can Only Get At Its Silicon Valley Campus, by Matt Weinberger, Business Insider

But in addition to the standard selection of Apple gadgets, it’s the only place anywhere on Earth where you can buy a special selection of official Apple merchandise.

Why You Can't Trust GPS In China, by Geoff Manaugh, Travel+Leisure

To make a long story short, when used in China, Apple’s maps are subject to “a varying offset [of] 100-600m which makes annotations display incorrectly on the map.” In other words, everything there—roads, nightclubs, clothing stores—appears to be 100-600 meters away from its actual, terrestrial position. The effect of this is that, if you check the GPS coordinates of your friends, as blogger Jon Pasden writes, “you’ll likely see they’re standing in a river or some place 500 meters away even if they’re standing right next to you.”

Rumor of the Day

Apple To Debut New iPad, 4-Inch iPhone On March 21, Day Before FBI Hearing, by John Paczkowski, BuzzFeed

Sources in position to know tell BuzzFeed News Apple has settled on March 21st as the day it will show off a handful of new products — a few days after the tentative March 15 date we reported earlier. It’s worth noting that the event date is one day prior to the company’s March 22 showdown with the government over a motion that would compel Apple to help hack an iPhone used by one of the San Bernardino terrorists.

Bottom of the Page

So, what did I do today? I've had mee soto for breakfast, and then spend quite a few minutes going through Twitter and RSS feeds while drinking my kopi. I went to the barber, and can now go without a comb for yet another two to three months. I've stared at my to-do list, and have no idea how to configure it to reflect my new projects. And now, I'm getting ready for dinner, and soon I'll be nodding off while getting old.

So, how's your Sunday?


Thanks for reading.

The Never-Leaves-Your-Devices Edition Saturday, February 27, 2016

Developer Insight: Michael Fey, 1Password, by William Gallagher, MacNN

"It is a bit of a change for us: we've gone from 1Password as a product where we say we don't have your data, you decide if you're going to sync your data, but otherwise your data never leaves your device, to 1Password for Teams -- where we technically do have your data, in terms of the fact that it's hosted on servers that we control -- but you know we've designed everything with security first. We do everything here with a security focus.

"Security is not something we tack on after the fact. Like, the number of discussions that were had before development even started on 1Password for Teams is staggering, about how do we need to do to make this secure, what if we run into this problem, how are we going to protect against this, what is, you know, what is the best way to provide this solution. We've taken extraordinary steps to ensure that yes, the encrypted bits do live on our servers, but you are the only person that ever has the keys to that, and those keys never leave your devices. We never transmit any decrypted data whatsoever."

Your iPhone Knows More Than You May Want Apple, Feds Or Anyone To Know, by Phil Rossenthal, Chicago Tribune

No matter which side of the fight you pick, it may give you pause how much of your information you want to share no matter what brand of smartphone you use.

A lot of the data stays on the device unless you actively approve it being shared. But the utility of apps such as GPS maps showing the fastest route home or the best restaurant within walking distance wears down resistance.

More Than Notes, We Need Touch ID Protection For Every App, by Rene Ritchie, iMore


Going Deeper With Apple Notes, by David Spark, MacSparky

Then I stated using Apple Notes and the strangest thing happened. I liked it. Not only is Apple Notes a contender, Apple has continued to refine the product.

Airfoil Extends And Enhances Audio Streaming, by John Voorhees, MacStories

Airfoil acts as a hub, routing audio from your Mac to anything connected to your local network. Between technologies like AirPlay and Bluetooth, I initially wondered what purpose Airfoil served. It wasn't until I got eight devices streaming at once in perfect sync that I started to see some of the interesting possibilities.

Be Clever And Think Outside Of The Blackbox To Solve These Puzzles, by Christine Chan, AppAdvice

Blackbox - think outside the box by Ryan McLeod is a new kind of puzzle game that has you thinking of creative new ways to solve puzzles without ever touching the screen. If you’re tired of the same old puzzle games on iOS, then Blackbox is something refreshing and different.


​Why Microsoft's Xamarin Purchase Is A Blunder, by Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols, ZDNet

Mono has always sounded like a good idea, but the reality has never lived up to its universal application, common code base promises. Once more, come to think of it, this sounds a lot like Java.


Photos Show Apple Preparing To Build Store Inside New World Trade Center Hub, by Mark Gurman, 9to5Mac

The store will apparently span two floors and may reach close to 10,000 square feet on each floor, according to the source. Of course, Apple Stores have repair and business operations enclosed within its spaces, so the actual shopping area for customers would be smaller. Given that construction has not yet begun, it seems unlikely that the store would open until the end of this year at the very earliest.

Apple’s $120M Jury Verdict Against Samsung Destroyed On Appeal, by Joe Mullin, Ars Technica

Apple's second high-profile patent win against Samsung was appealed, just as the first was. And in an opinion published today, a panel of appeals judges entirely wiped out Apple's victory and its $120 million verdict.

Apple Directors Reelected, Outside Proposals Rejected At Annual Shareholder Meeting, by AppleInsider

Rumor Of The Day

Apple Likely To Drop The ‘5’, Call New 4-inch Model The ‘iPhone SE’, by Mark Gurman, 9to5Mac

Now, we are hearing that Apple appears to be going all in on the special edition factor: sources say that Apple has decided to drop the “5” from the device’s name and simply call it the “iPhone SE.” This will mark the first iPhone upgrade without a number in its name and would logically remove it from a yearly update cycle.

Bottom of the Page

In the previous decade, Apple migrated from classic Mac OS to OS X, while Microsoft stopped everything to secure Windows XP. And we all were relieved that our computers were then protected against the bad guys.

Then in this decade, everyone has to stop work again to secure our computers, this time round, against the good guys.

What a world.


Thanks for reading.

The Formal-Legal-Response Edition Friday, February 26, 2016

Apple Tells Court It Would Have To Create “GovtOS” To Comply With Ruling, by Cyrus Farivar, Ars Technica

On Thursday, Apple filed its formal legal response to the standoff between it and the Department of Justice.


Theodore Boutrous, an Apple lawyer, wrote: "Apple is a private company that does not own or possess the phone at issue, has no connection to the data that may or may not exist on the phone, and is not related in any way to the events giving rise to the investigation. This case is nothing like New York Telephone Co., where there was probable cause to believe that the phone company’s own facilities were 'being employed to facilitate a criminal enterprise on a continuing basis.'"


In its court filing, Apple also argues that the government’s interpretation of the All Writs Act goes too far, fails the previous Supreme Court three-part test, and violates Apple’s First and Fifth Amendment rights.

Apple Says iPhone Tech The U.S. Wants Will Be Slow And Costly To Build, by Dina Bass and Joshua Brustein, Bloomberg

In addition to the six to 10 engineers and as long as four weeks of work to create new code in a “hypersecure isolation room,” the company said it would require multiple stages of testing, quality assurance, potentially re-coding, documentation -- then deploying the new operating system on the device at an Apple facility and supervising the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s use of the system.


Then there’s the question of what would happen with the software once it has been used. Apple would have a choice: destroy the code and be ready to re-create it -- at a similar expense of resources and time -- in the event of similar investigations in the future, or hold onto it and defend the highly sensitive code against potential attacks from hackers or governments. Neither option is attractive. And by Apple’s account, the destruction of the code would be nearly impossible, especially given that it would have to preserve some documentation of its creation for use in any future legal proceedings.

In Apple Case, Addressing The Legal Status Of Code, by Steve Lohr, New York Times

Apple elaborates on that essential notion by saying that its code is expressing its corporate viewpoint on consumer security and privacy. If it loses this case, Apple suggests, the company would be forced to have its code change its digital tune – and corporate message.

“Apple goes pretty far by saying its software has a viewpoint,” said Ryan Calo, an assistant professor at the University of Washington School of Law. “That’s pretty novel here. But this case is unprecedented, so we shouldn’t be surprised by novel defenses.”

Tech Companies To Unite In Support Of Apple, by Deepa Seetharaman and Jack Nicas, Wall Street Journal

Several tech companies, including Google parent Alphabet Inc., Facebook Inc. and Microsoft Corp., plan to file a joint motion supporting Apple Inc. in its court fight against the Justice Department over unlocking an alleged terrorist’s iPhone, according to people familiar with the companies’ plans.

At least one other tech company plans to be included in a joint amicus brief next week generally supporting Apple’s position that unlocking the iPhone would undermine tech firms’ efforts to protect their users’ digital security, these people said. Twitter Inc. also plans to support Apple in a motion, though it is unclear if it will join the combined filing, another person familiar said.

Apple Fight Puts Obama In A Bind, by Cory Bennett, The Hill

“On the one hand, they don’t want to be seen as opposing the FBI in a major terrorism case,” he said. “But on the other hand, they don’t want to go out and give more ammunition to the idea that they’re selling out privacy.”

“They’re caught in a bind.”

Obama Administration, FBI Must Act To Restore US Government's Credibility In Apple's Encryption Debate, by Daniel Eran Dilger, AppleInsider

And if the U.S. can achieve its goals via a court order, clearly any other country Apple does business in can also demand access to the same capabilities, without even needing to establish any sort of democratically-originated legal basis in law.

That alone is reason enough for Comey to immediately dial down the FBI's rhetoric and withdraw the demands for a back door from Apple, made without the consultation of Congress having the opportunity to fully debate the issues involved without the fervent, rushed emotionalism this public smear campaign is attempting to leverage.

The UK's Proposed Spy Law Would Force Apple To Secretly Hack Its Phones Too, by Danny O'Brien, Electronic Frontier Foundation

The newly proposed British spying law, the Investigatory Powers Bill (IPB), already includes methods that would permit the British government to order companies like Apple to re-engineer their own technology, just as the FBI is demanding. Worse, if the law passes, each of these methods would be accompanied by a gag order.

Click Further

Apple Changed Its Site’s Code So The Word “Click” Doesn’t Look Like…, by Josh Constine, TechCrunch

If you squint, you can see how the word “click” might look inappropriate. But Apple’s too prim and proper for that. So when it wanted the tagline for its new desktop operating system El Capitan to be “There’s more to love with every click”, it made a tiny, hilarious tweak to its website’s CSS code.

Thank You

Your Letters Helped Challenger Shuttle Engineer Shed 30 Years Of Guilt, by Howard Berkes, NPR

"We honor [the Challenger astronauts] not through bearing the burden of their loss, but by constantly reminding each other to remain vigilant," the statement read. "And to listen to those like Mr. Ebeling who have the courage to speak up so that our astronauts can safely carry out their missions."

After hearing that, Ebeling clapped long and hard, and shouted, "Bravo!"


Snapheal For Mac OS X Lets You Have Fun Repairing And Enhancing Photos, by Dennis Sellers, Apple World Today

Macphun's Snapheal, a photo app for Mac OS X, is functional, practical and fun. It performs complex image edits, object cloning, removals and more -- and does them quickly.

Office 365 Gets A Load Of Fresh Features Across Windows, Mac And Mobile, by Darren Allan, TechRadar

Microsoft has been busy beavering away with Office 365 this month, and has just published a blog post detailing the changes to the online suite in February, with work having been done on the desktop (Windows and Mac) software along with mobile apps.

New App Pearl Guides Users To Restaurants Serving Oysters, by Matthew Odam, Austin360

The longtime seafood lover, who was raised on the East Coast and has several family members in Austin, left his world in finance to start Pearl, an app that educates users on the wide array of oysters and shows them where to find the bivalves at restaurants in more than a half dozen cities in America.


Apple Rolls Out Redesigned Payments And Financial Reports View In iTunes Connect For Developers, by Benjamin Mayo, 9to5Mac

Apple is rolling out a small but useful improvement to developers today. It has overhauled the Payments and Financial Reports section of iTunes Connect with a modern interface and new design that combines all relevant financial numbers into one table. This screen was long overdue for a redesign, until today featuring ugly iOS 5 era buttons and textured backgrounds. The new look reflects Apple’s modern design philosophy: flat, white and clean.

With The Apple Newsstand Gone, Some PDF-based App Publishing Platforms Will Likely Call It Quits, by D.B. Hebbard, Talking New Media

“We’re proud that we have been able to help so many people build great magazine apps,” said Len Wright of Appzine Machine, “but Apple’s decision to shutdown the Apple Newsstand, coupled with the lack of capital and resources we needed to adapt to these changes ultimately has forced our hands to shut the company down.”


Government Enlists Tech Giants To Fight ISIS Messaging, by Jim Acosta, CNN

At a meeting conducted at the Justice Department on Wednesday, executives from Apple, Twitter, Snapchat, Facebook, and MTV offered their input to top counter intelligence officials, according to an industry source familiar with the meeting. A listing of private companies that attended also included Buzzfeed, though the company later said its representation was limited to a reporter and not a meeting participant.

Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff Wants Tim Cook’s Help Fighting A Georgia Bill That Could Discriminate Against Gays, by Eugene Kim, Business Insider

Benioff, well-known for his social activism, has already helped successfully turn over a similar bill in Indiana last year. At the time, a number of tech companies, including Apple, joined Benioff to fight the cause, and now he wants Cook’s support again.

This Hacked Together 118 GB Floppy Disk Is Just Too Brilliant, by Eric Limer, Popular Mechanics

If you haven't guessed already, that's not a typical disk or a typical drive. Instead of the little pancake of magnetic tape that most floppy disks have inside, thess disks are actually just mostly empty pieces of plastic that have been modified to fit normal SD cards.

Rumor Of The Day

Apple To Launch 9.7-inch iPad Pro, Not Air 3; Smart Keyboard & Apple Pencil Support Likely, by Mark Gurman, 9to5Mac

Apple will further differentiate the next-generation 9.7-inch iPad from its predecessor by making it part of the new iPad Pro line, according to sources. Much like the MacBook Pro comes in 13-inch and 15-inch sizes, the iPad Pro will soon come in 9.7-inch and 12.9-inch variations. This trend follows Apple not calling its 12-inch MacBook a new Air despite developing the product as an apparent successor to the MacBook Air.

Bottom of the Page

I do wish that, just like the MacBook, iPhone, and Apple Watch, there is a line of computers simply called Macintosh, and a line of tablet computers simply called iPad. No modifiers.


Thanks for reading.

The Wiretapping-Laws Edition Thursday, February 25, 2016

Apple Is Said To Be Trying To Make It Harder To Hack iPhones, by Matt Apuzzo and Katie Benner, New York Times

If Apple succeeds in upgrading its security — and experts say it almost surely will — the company will create a significant technical challenge for law enforcement agencies, even if the Obama administration wins its fight over access to data stored on an iPhone used by one of the killers in last year’s San Bernardino, Calif., rampage. If the Federal Bureau of Investigation wanted to get into a phone in the future, it would need a new way to do so. That would most likely prompt a new cycle of court fights and, yet again, more technical fixes by Apple.

The only way out of this scenario, experts say, is for Congress to get involved. Federal wiretapping laws require traditional phone carriers to make their data accessible to law enforcement agencies. But tech companies like Apple and Google are not covered, and they have strongly resisted legislation that would place similar requirements on them.

Apple CEO Tim Cook Says iPhone-Cracking Software ‘Equivalent Of Cancer’, by Enjoli Francis, ABC

"If a court can ask us to write this piece of software, think about what else they could ask us to write -- maybe it's an operating system for surveillance, maybe the ability for the law enforcement to turn on the camera," Cook said. "I don't know where this stops. But I do know that this is not what should be happening in this country."

The Apple Case Will Grope Its Way Into Your Future, by Farhad Manjoo, New York Times

But if Apple is forced to break its own security to get inside a phone that it had promised users was inviolable, the supposed safety of the always-watching future starts to fall apart. If every device can monitor you, and if they can all be tapped by law enforcement officials under court order, can anyone ever have a truly private conversation? Are we building a world in which there’s no longer any room for keeping secrets?

I Got Hacked Mid-air While Writing An Apple-FBI Story, by Steven Petrow, USA Today

“That’s why this story is so important to everyone,” he told me. “It’s about everyone’s privacy.”

Then he headed down the escalator and I headed out the front door. I may have been wearing my jacket, but I felt as exposed as if I’d been stark naked.

Life Extension

Tips And Myths About Extending Smartphone Battery Life, by Brian X. Chen, New York Times

The results showed that some conventional beliefs about extending battery life — like turning off Wi-Fi or shutting down all your phone’s apps — produced negligible or even harmful results. The Wirecutter also found plenty of helpful practices to get more use out of your battery, like playing music stored directly on the device (instead of streaming it) or tweaking email configurations.

The Wirecutter tested a range of recent Apple and Android smartphones with the latest operating systems in tightly controlled environments. Your phone’s results will vary depending on the phone model, cellular carrier, location and other factors, but the general results should hold. Here are eight tips and seven myths busted by our findings.


tvOS App Store Gains 'Not On This Apple TV' Category, by Sam Oliver, AppleInsider

Avid app buyers now have an easier way to identify purchased apps that are available for their Apple TV but which have not yet been downloaded to that device, as Apple has added an iOS-like "Not on this Apple TV" category to the App Store.

The Ultimate Guide To iOS Password Managers: Everything You Need To Know!, by The App Factor

As we store more and more of our information digitally, it becomes more important than ever to make sure it’s safe-guarded. Part of that security should always consist of strong and unique passwords. Password manager apps are available not only on the iPhone and iPad, but on Macs and PCs as well. (No, putting your passwords in the Notes app is never acceptable, so stop it.)

Password manager apps aren’t hard to use, and once you get started, they actually offer you more convenience than any other way of maintaining and storing passwords. Not convinced? Let me help you understand…

PhotoWall+ Review: Every iOS Device Can Be The Life Of This Apple TV Party, by Macworld

PhotoWall+ is an app for the fourth-generation Apple TV that works in tandem with a free, universal companion app for iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch called PhotoWall+ Cam. After creating a new photo wall (or opening an existing one) on the Apple TV, iOS devices will be able to add new or existing images to the television screen for all to see.

Quiver 3: A Digital Notebook Built For Developers, by Timothy Reavis, iDownloadBlog


Apple Shares Videos From Apple TV Tech Talks On Building Apps For tvOS, by Juli Clover, MacRumors

Not all developers were able to attend as Apple distributed tickets via a lottery system, but as of today, the videos from the Tech Talks are available on Apple's developer website.

Inside The Apple And IBM Partnership To Help Enterprise Customers Build More iOS Apps, by Chris O'Brien, VentureBeat

Apple and IBM announced a partnership around enterprise solutions back in July 2014. While Apple has seen its mobile gadgets — like the iPhone and iPad — used in the workplace by individuals who’ve purchase them, there has still remained the bigger challenge of getting large enterprises to adopt them on the kind of massive scale that might turn around the slumping sales of Apple’s tablet.

IBM is deep, deep in the enterprise. So while the partnership is entirely logical, it’s also still remarkable to see the historic rivals working shoulder to shoulder. Seeing IBM executives stand in front of a sign at MWC that reads “IBM MobileFirst for iOS” takes some adjustment.

Microsoft At Last Buys .NET-for-iOS, Android Vendor Xamarin, by Peter Bright, Ars Technica

Microsoft will buy Xamarin, maker of .NET tooling that can build apps for iOS, Android, and OS X, for an undisclosed sum.

What Microsoft’s Xamarin Purchase Says About The Cloud Computing Fight, by Quentin Hardy, New York Times

Rumor Of The Day

Apple Plans Siri For Mac As Tentpole Feature For This Fall’s OS X 10.12 Launch, by Mark Gurman, 9to5Mac

Apple had been testing versions of OS X internally with Siri integration since at least 2012, but sources now say that Apple has a clear vision for Siri on the Mac along with a polished user-interface and is nearly ready to launch the feature publicly. Apple is expected to introduce OS X 10.12 in June at its annual Worldwide Developers Conference.

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Why isn't Assistive Touch part of the Today's Widget or as a button in Control Center? I thought this will be a perfect fit, isn't it?

(Of course, the Today's widget and the Control Center may be turned off at various places in iOS, so the current implementation should also be available still.)r


Thanks for reading.

The Overstepping-Authority Edition Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Apple-FBI Fight Asks: Is Code Protected As Free Speech?, by Adam Satariano, Bloomberg

Free speech will be a secondary argument in Apple’s response to the government this week, said an Apple executive who asked not to be named because the company’s filing isn’t yet public. The company’s central case is that the government is overstepping its authority under the All Writs Act, a centuries-old law that courts have interpreted to give wide latitude to law enforcement agencies to get customer information from companies. Apple is arguing that the government is exceeding the limits of the law by requiring it to write new software that undermines its security protocols. Apple also may urge the courts to tell Congress to settle the dispute. The company has already asked that a commission be created to craft recommendations for striking a balance between law enforcement and privacy.

The Real Reason Half Of America Supports The FBI Over Apple, by Brian Fung, Washington Post

Opinions about technology turn out to be very malleable, and in more ways than just how a survey question is phrased or how big the sample is. But how do we evaluate that?

Apple's Fight With U.S. Could Speed Development Of Government-proof Devices, by Joseph Menn and Julia Love, Reuters

But even a government victory could have unintended consequences for law enforcement, potentially prompting a wave of investment by U.S. tech companies in security systems that even their own engineers can't access, said Jonathan Zittrain, co-founder of Harvard University's Berkman Center for Internet & Society.

"A success for the government in this case may further spur Apple and others to develop devices that the makers aren't privileged to crack," he said.

Apple Vs. FBI: “Just This Once”?, by Julian Sanchez, Just Security

Little wonder, then, that Comey and the FBI keep stressing that they’re seeking very narrow and limited relief, in just this one case. If that were true, then unlikely as it is that any useful data will be recovered from this phone, it would seem awfully unreasonable for Apple not to offer its voluntary assistance, this one time. Once you realize that it’s very obviously not true, and consider even just the most immediate and unambiguous near-term consequences — leaving aside the prospect of tech companies more broadly being forced to sign other sorts of exploit code — it starts to look much more like the Justice Department is the one making unreasonable demands.

The Case For Using iTunes, Not iCloud, To Back Up Your iPhone, by Andrew Cunningham, Ars Technica

For people who prefer full control over their data, the easiest option is to stop using iCloud and use iTunes instead. This, too, is not news, and in some ways is a regression to the days before iOS 5 when you needed to use a computer to activate, update, and back up your phone at all. But there are multiple benefits to doing local backups, so while the topic is on everyone’s mind we’ll show you how to do it (in case you don’t know) and what you get from it (in case you don’t know everything).

How Do You Like Thee?

Facebook Enhances Everyone’s Like With Love, Haha, Wow, Sad, Angry Buttons, by Josh Constine, TechCrunch

Humanity has been boiled down to six emotions. Today after tests in a few countries, Facebook is rolling out its augmented Like button “Reactions” to all users.


Smart Keyboard Update Improves Connection Stability With iPad Pro, by Rene Ritchie, iMore

Next time you start using the Smart Keyboard on your iPad Pro, you'll get an accessory update. That's a way for Apple to push updates through the Smart Connector and into the keyboard. You can choose to apply the update immediately or defer it to later.

A Cautionary Tale About Contacts And Backups, by TJ Luoma, MacStories

So if you want to backup your contacts and keep the group information, then you need to export as “Contacts Archive” and get a dot-abbu backup, but you can only use that to replace your entire contacts database, which means that you will lose any information you have added since you exported the dot-abbu file.

ResearchKit-powered Asthma Health Study Arrives In The UK And Ireland, by Joseph Keller, iMore

Asthma Health, the ResearchKit-powered asthma study from Mount Sinai's Icahn School of Medicine, is now available for download and use in both the UK and Ireland. One of the initial crop of ResearchKit apps launched in March 2015, Asthma Health tracks symptom patterns and potential triggers, which allows researchers to develop new, more personalized treatments for asthma.

Anonymous Therapy App Will Help You Fix Your Relationship Issues By Text, by Hattie Gladwell,

Relationup is an app created specifically to help assist with urgent relationship issues while also offering users further private conversations with mental health professionals.

Todoist Gets 3D Touch, Native Apple Watch App, Safari Plug-in + Updates For Mac & More, by Jordan Kahn, 9to5Mac

Popular productivity app Todoist is giving its six million users a huge update today with a completely rewritten app for iOS alongside a new Safari plug-in and notable updates for Apple Watch and Mac.

Pocket Wants You To Read Ads Later Too, by Josh Constine, TechCrunch

People love Pocket. Its 22 million registered users have saved over 2 billion articles. But there comes a time in every startup’s life when it must ween itself off venture capital and become a sustainable business. Today, after 9 years without ads, Pocket begins experimenting with sponsored content in its Recommended feed.

Funnster App Makes Planning Social Events Easy And Fun, by Steven Sande, Apple World Today


Twitter’s Fabric App Brings Real-Time Analytics And Crash Reporting To The iPhone, by John Voorhees, MacStories

Over the past few years, Twitter has created and acquired an impressive array of mobile developer tools that it offers under the umbrella brand of Fabric. Today, Twitter released an iPhone companion app for Fabric that puts two of its most popular tools in your pocket – analytics and crash reporting. I have been testing Fabric, the iOS app, with two iOS apps provided by Twitter for the last few days and I'm impressed with its ability to sift through, organize, and display large quantities of data in an effective and meaningful way on an iPhone.

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I cut my lip today, and I was leaving blood stains on all the cups I used today.

I hope nobody minded.


Thanks for reading.

The Twelve-Other-iPhones Edition Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Justice Department Seeks To Force Apple To Extract Data From About 12 Other iPhones, by Devlin Barrett, Wall Street Journal

The Justice Department is pursuing court orders to force Apple Inc. to help investigators extract data from iPhones in about a dozen undisclosed cases around the country, in disputes similar to the current battle over a terrorist’s locked phone, according to people familiar with the matter.

The other phones are at issue in cases where prosecutors have sought, as in the San Bernardino, Calif., terror case, to use an 18th-century law called the All Writs Act to compel the company to help them bypass the passcode security feature of phones that may hold evidence, these people said.

For Apple, A Search For A Moral High Ground In A Heated Debate, by Andrew Ross Sorkin, New York Times

At what point is there a moral obligation for a company to help law enforcement, regardless of the business or privacy risk, in the event of a terrorist attack, or any crime?

Narrow Focus May Aid F.B.I. In Apple Case, by Katie Benner and Matt Apuzzo, New York Times

The limited nature of the request has helped the government portray this case as a one-time demand, without ramifications beyond the case at hand.

Apple Seems To Be Losing PR Battle Over Unlocking iPhone, by Dawn Chmielewski, Re/code

Apple appears to be losing the public perception battle in its dispute with the Department of Justice, with the majority of those surveyed by Pew Research saying the company should unlock the iPhone used by one of the shooters in the San Bernardino terrorist attack.

Apple In China, Part I: What Does Beijing Actually Ask Of Technology Companies?, by Samm Sacks, Lawfare

Only Apple and the Chinese government know for sure the nature of their relationship, and what Apple is willing and obligated to provide. But in the absence of that information, a close reading of China’s applicable laws and regulations is the best guide to understanding the obligations that foreign technology companies take on in exchange for access to China’s market. These laws and regulations leave plenty of room for interpretation and negotiation by individual companies.

To lend some needed factual basis to the ongoing debate, the following is a primer for understanding the legal and regulatory environment companies like Apple face in China.

Figuring Out The NeXT

What Comes After Apps, by Christopher Mims, Wall Street Journal

The good news is that this is tech, so pretty much everyone has an idea of how to disrupt apps. Some of them might even work.

What’s Next In Computing?, by Chris Dixon

The computing industry progresses in two mostly independent cycles: financial and product cycles. There has been a lot of handwringing lately about where we are in the financial cycle. Financial markets get a lot of attention. They tend to fluctuate unpredictably and sometimes wildly. The product cycle by comparison gets relatively little attention, even though it is what actually drives the computing industry forward. We can try to understand and predict the product cycle by studying the past and extrapolating into the future.


All The Useful iPhone Landscape Features You May Have Forgotten, by Thorin Klosowski, Lifehacker

Back when it launched, Apple made a big deal out of the fact you could turn your iPhone sideways and get a different view of an app. These days, many of us keep rotation lock on and don’t switch to landscape mode unless we’re watching videos. If that sounds like you, you’re missing out on some useful features.

Apple Partners With ‘The 1975’ For First Live Streaming Beats 1 Concert, by Chance Miller, 9to5Mac

The concert was confirmed on Twitter by the band and will be streamed live on Apple Music this Thursday, February 25th at 9AM PT/12PM ET.

Apple TV Universal Search Gains Watch ABC, Disney Channel And More, by Husain Sumra, MacRumors

Calibre: How I Put Epub Books On My Kindle,by Jason Snell, Six Colors

I like reading books on my Kindle, but one of the drawbacks of the Kindle platform is that it doesn’t support the epub book format. Instead, Kindle supports the Mobipocket format and its Kindle-specific AZW successors. So when I get an epub book I’d like to read, I need to convert that book before I can load it on my Kindle.

For this (and many other ebook related tasks), I use the free tool Calibre. It’s a program that’s hard to love, because it’s a cross-platform open-source project and it really shows in the interface. While Calibre fancies itself a sort of iTunes for ebooks, I don’t use it as a catalog. Instead, I use it to convert books into different formats.

Fluid Browser For Mac Is A Multitasker’s Dream, by Sarah Perez, TechCrunch

The Fluid browser works just like any other normal browser, except that it’s floating on top of all other windows and can even be adjusted to be transparent.


IBM Bringing Swift To The Cloud For Simpler Development Of Enterprise Apps, by Joe Rossignol, MacRumors

IBM has announced that it is bringing Apple's Swift development language to the cloud to simplify end-to-end development of enterprise apps. Swift will be available as a server-side language on IBM Cloud, and today's phase of the rollout includes a preview of a Swift runtime and a Swift Package Catalog.


Apple Stores Ready Pair Of Improvements To In-store Genius Bar Support Services, by Mark Gurman, 9to5Mac

Starting in the coming months, Genius Bar technicians will be able to extend the length of a pre-booked appointment at the point of service, allowing the Genius Bar appointment to continue without the 10 or 15 minute constraint. [...] Apple is also preparing improvements to walk-in appointments, those not pre-booked online or via the Apple Store application.

Apple Halved Transaction Fee To Get Apple Pay Into China, Report Says, by Roger Fingas, AppleInsider

Whereas Apple is thought to claim about 0.15 percent per transaction in the U.S., the equivalent fee is approximately 0.07 percent in China, sources informed Caixin. American merchants can sometimes pay up to 2 percent in overall fees for a card transaction, but in China, the total can be as low as 0.38 percent — making an extra 0.15 percent a comparatively large burden.

A Cancer Survivor Designs The Cards She Wishes She’d Received From Friends And Family, by Kristin Hohenadel, Slate

“The most difficult part of my illness wasn’t losing my hair, or being erroneously called ‘sir’ by Starbucks baristas, or sickness from chemo,” McDowell writes on her website. “It was the loneliness and isolation I felt when many of my close friends and family members disappeared because they didn’t know what to say, or said the absolute wrong thing without realizing it.”

The 38-year-old designer has been cancer-free ever since. But the emotional impact of the experience lingered, inspiring her to design a newly launched series of Empathy Cards—emotionally direct greeting cards that say the things she wanted to hear when she was ill.

Bottom of the Page

I sure hope the self-driving cars of today are not the updated version of the flying cars in the 1960s.


Thanks for reading.

The Over-And-Over-Again Edition Monday, February 22, 2016

Answers To Your Questions About Apple And Security, by Apple

Yes, it is certainly possible to create an entirely new operating system to undermine our security features as the government wants. But it’s something we believe is too dangerous to do. The only way to guarantee that such a powerful tool isn’t abused and doesn’t fall into the wrong hands is to never create it.

The digital world is very different from the physical world. In the physical world you can destroy something and it’s gone. But in the digital world, the technique, once created, could be used over and over again, on any number of devices.

In Employee Email, Apple CEO Tim Cook Calls For Commission On Interaction Of Technology And Intelligence Gathering, by Matthew Panzarino, TechCrunch

Early this morning, Apple CEO Tim Cook sent an email out to employees about the FBI’s request to unlock an iPhone with the subject line ‘Thank you for your support’. The email outlines some responses to Cook’s open letter last week and paints the issue of Apple’s refusal to cooperate as one of civil liberties.

In the email, Cook calls for the FBI order to be dropped, and outlines some arguments.

Apple Moves To Shift Battle Over Unlocking iPhone To Capitol Hill, by Katie Benner, New York Times

The best way forward, the company said, would be for the government to, “as some in Congress have proposed, form a commission or other panel of experts on intelligence, technology and civil liberties to discuss the implications for law enforcement, national security, privacy and personal freedoms.”

Apple said that it would “gladly participate in such an effort.”

If the Justice Department does not withdraw its demands, Apple has until Friday to file a formal brief opposing the order, which was issued on Tuesday by Magistrate Judge Sheri Pym of the United States District Court for the Central District of California.

Apple Still Holds The Keys To Its Cloud Service, But Reluctantly, by Mike Issac, New York Times

But while company executives have embraced the notion that Apple is no longer able to intervene for law enforcement when investigators want access to an iPhone, it has repeatedly cooperated with court orders for access to online services like its iCloud.

That may sound like hypocrisy, but to people familiar with how Apple’s products and services work, it is simply a matter of technology.

What If San Bernardino Suspect Had Used An Android Instead Of An iPhone?, by Mark Bergen, Re/code

Therein lies Google’s predicament. It’s been the target of frequent fusillades from Apple — the iPhone company wants to protect your data; Google wants to sell it. Even if Google wanted to take a principled stand, like Apple is now, the company’s lack of tight control over its handset world would complicate that.


Wellness App Aims To Improve Workplace Nutrition, by Stephanie Strom, New York Times

With an app and a website, Zipongo, a small digital start-up, is aimed at helping employees navigate a company’s cafeteria menu to find choices that best meet a set of preferences and health goals set by the workers themselves.

But Zipongo also extends its reach to takeout meals and the home kitchen, offering recipes, shopping lists and discounts on grocery items like fruits and vegetables.

PhotoScissors For OS X Offers Quick, Easy Photo Cropping, Smoothing, by Dennis Sellers, Apple World Today

Sometimes you need to quickly and easily clean the background of a photograph. PhotoScissors by TeoreX is a good tool for doing this.


Pirated iOS App Store’s Client Successfully Evaded Apple iOS Code Review, by Claud Xiao, Palo Alto Networks

We recently identified an app that demonstrated new ways of successfully evading Apple’s code review. [...] ZergHelper appears to have gotten by Apple’s app review process by performing different behaviors for users from different physical locations on earth. For users outside of China, it would act as what it claimed: an English studying app. However, when accessing the app from China, its real features would appear.


Wearables Drive The Component Technology Innovation, by Brian Ballard, TechCrunch

In 2016 we are seeing the tide turn. Manufacturers across the entire mobile industry supply chain are introducing new products directly targeted for wearables. Processors are getting smaller and more power efficient and performance is tuned for the unique needs of the category. The entire industry of flexible electronics, batteries and displays are being driven largely by the needs of the next-generation wearables.

Mobile Phones Are 'Cooking' Men's Sperm, by The Telegraph

Fertility experts are warning man that using a mobile for as little as an hour a day is "cooking sperm" and lowering level significantly.

The new study shows that having a mobile phone close to the testicles - or within a foot or two of the body - can lower sperm levels so much that conceiving could be difficult.

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Both parties -- Apple and the FBI -- need to figure out a way to allow each other to take a step back while saving faces. Apple has made the first move. Let's see if the FBI and the federal government can follow suit.


Thanks for reading.

The Protect-Our-Privacy Edition Sunday, February 21, 2016

In The Government Vs. Apple, Who Wears The Black Hat?, by Robert Levine, New York Times

What we really need is a robust public conversation around strong privacy laws that would apply to the government and private companies alike and clear limits on what should be done with data. Important choices about the future of technology and privacy should be made by the American people and their representatives, not by Silicon Valley, where even the noblest intentions are mixed with huge financial stakes. If the government wants the power to compel companies to undermine their own security systems, it should go to Congress and ask for it.


But the current choice is between a government that doesn’t seem to recognize limits to its own power to access personal information and a technology company that does. It’s a bad choice, but an obvious one. While nobody elected Mr. Cook to protect our privacy, we should be glad someone is.

Lessons Learned Launching A Side Project In 48 Hours, by Per Harald Borgen, Medium

Launching a side project can drag on forever, at least if you have a full time job. My friend Andreas and I know this all too well, as we’ve discussing ideas forever, but never really launched anything together.

So in order to break out of the procrastination, we decided to set off an entire weekend in our calendars in order to build and launch a product idea Andreas had been thinking about a year.

When Tech Lets You Skip Every Line, Who’s Left Standing In Them?, by Lauren Smiley, Backchannel

The line is where two very American impulses collide — one of the quickly eroding vision of an even playing field, the other of money buying better service. (What is being rich if not jumping every one of life’s metaphorical and physical lines?) And while jumping the line face-to-face in the physical world is the surest way to a dogfight, why do we mostly accept the digital equivalent without comment?

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Something is wrong with a multiplayer game that I am playing on my iPhone: I can't 'join' the 'room'.

What's wrong?

It could be the game server. It could be Game Center. It could be my AirPort. It could be the ISP. I have no idea where to even figure out stuff.

I'm old. I think I should give up now.


Thanks for reading.

The Back-Door-To-Back-Door-Debate Edition Saturday, February 20, 2016

Apple: Terrorist’s Apple ID Password Changed In Government Custody, Blocking Access, by John Paczkowski and Chris Geidner, BuzzFeed

The Apple ID password linked to the iPhone belonging to one of the San Bernardino terrorists was changed less than 24 hours after the government took possession of the device, senior Apple executives said Friday. If that hadn’t happened, Apple said, a backup of the information the government was seeking may have been accessible.

Legal Heavyweights Olson, Boutrous Tapped To Help Apple In Encryption Fight, by Sara Randazzo, Dow Jones

Apple Inc. has hired legal heavyweights Theodore Olson and Theodore Boutrous to fight a court order that it assist the Federal Bureau of Investigation in unlocking an iPhone as part of the investigation into the San Bernardino, Calif., terror attack.

Mr. Olson, a former Solicitor General, is best known for representing George W. Bush in the contested 2000 election against former Vice President Al Gore that was ultimately decided by the Supreme Court. In 2009, Mr. Olson, a conservative, joined with with his opposing counsel in Bush v. Gore, David Boies, to challenge a California ban on gay marriage.

The Dangerous All Writs Act Precedent In The Apple Encryption Case, by Amy Davidson, New Yorker

But the legal precedent that may be set here matters. By using All Writs, the government is attempting to circumvent the constitutionally serious character of the many questions about encryption and privacy. It is demanding, in effect, that the courts build a back door to the back-door debate.

Apple, FBI, And The Burden Of Forensic Methodology, by Zdziarski's Blog of Things

Not only is Apple being ordered to compromise their own devices; they’re being ordered to give that golden key to the government, in a very roundabout sneaky way. What FBI has requested will inevitably force Apple’s methods out into the open, where they can be ingested by government agencies looking to do the same thing. They will also be exposed to private forensics companies, who are notorious for reverse engineering and stealing other people’s intellectual property. Should Apple comply in providing a tool, it will inevitably end up abused and in the wrong hands.

But will this case ever need to see a court room? Absolutely, they’ve already admitted they’re following leads and looking at (or at lest for) other people. If a relative or anyone else involved is prosecuted, these tools will come up in court. Outside of this one case, you’re no doubt aware of the precedent this sets, and the likelihood this tool won’t be used once, but many times, each having to establish courtroom acceptance in different jurisdictions, different defense challenges, giving the software to more parties for analysis and reproducible results, and so on.

What Is The Secure Enclave?, by Mike Ash

The Secure Enclave adds an additional line of defense against attacks by implementing core security and cryptography features in a separate CPU within Apple's hardware. This separate CPU runs special software and is walled off from the rest of the system, placing it outside the control of the main OS, including the kernel. The Secure Enclave implements device passcode verification, file encryption, Touch ID recognition, and Apple Pay, and enforces security restrictions such as the escalating delays applied after excessive incorrect passcode attempts.


Ask The iTunes Guy: Your Questions About Playlists, by Kirk McElhearn, Macworld

Playlists are one of iTunes’ most useful features, but they can be confounding. In this week’s column, I look at three questions about playlists. I discuss why playlists in folders are suddenly not staying in alphabetical order; I explain how to make a playlist to find all the songs and albums that you have “love” in iTunes; and I show how you can add the same song more than once to a playlist, to hear your favorites more often.

Firefox 2.0 For iOS Released With Convenient New Features Aimed At iPhone Strengths, by Ian Paul, Macworld

The highlights of the new version include 3D Touch features, Spotlight search support, and an actual password manager.

How To Control Your Mac’s Volume, App By App, by John Brownlee, Cult Of Mac

Ever been annoyed by one Mac app blurting out sound at a volume that’s too low, while the next is too high? Well, shocker! There’s an app for that.

SanDisk Connect: Another Way To Skip The Apple Storage Tax, by Robin Harris, ZDNet

For iOS users with lots of photo/video content, it is an easy way to expand storage and/or backup on the go. I often buy Apple's minimum memory devices because of the irritating storage pricing.


Apple Extends MacBook Pro Repair Extension Program For Video Issues, by Dennis Sellers, Apple World Today

Apparently, only a small percentage of all of the MacBook Pros made during that period are affected with the problem, which manifests itself as distorted or missing video and random restarts. The devices include 15-inch and 17-inch MacBook Pros manufactured in 2011, and 15-inch Retina MacBook Pros from mid 2012 to early 2013.

Podcasts Face Advertising Hurdles, by Steven Perlberg, Wall Street Journal

But while the popularity of podcasts is on the rise, many big-name advertisers are still wary about committing serious portions of their marketing budgets toward the medium.

Harper Lee, Elusive Author Of ‘To Kill A Mockingbird,’ Is Dead At 89, by Emily Langer, Washington Post

“You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view,” Atticus Finch tells his daughter, Scout, in one of the most memorable passages of the classic novel “To Kill a Mockingbird” — “until you climb into his skin and walk around in it.”

Few people in the world could claim to really understand Harper Lee, the novel’s elusive author, who died Feb. 19 at 89 in Monroeville, Ala.

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Why can't I back up my iPhone directly to Time Capsules?


Thanks for reading.

The A-Year-In-The-Making Edition Friday, February 19, 2016

Apple’s Line In The Sand Was Over A Year In The Making, by Matt Apuzzo, Joseph Goldstein And Eric Lichtblau, New York Times

Time and again after the introduction of the iPhone nearly a decade ago, the Justice Department asked Apple for help opening a locked phone. And nearly without fail, the company agreed.

Then last fall, the company changed its mind. In a routine drug case in a Brooklyn federal court, prosecutors sought a court order demanding that Apple unlock a methamphetamine dealer’s iPhone 5S running old, easy-to-unlock software. The company acknowledged that it could open the phone, as it had before. But this time, it pushed back.

“We’re being forced to become an agent of law enforcement,” the company’s lawyer, Marc Zwillinger, protested in court.

That stance foreshadowed this week’s showdown between the Obama administration and Apple over the locked iPhone belonging to one of the suspects in the San Bernardino, Calif., shooting rampage. By the time of Mr. Zwillinger’s statement, Apple and the government had been at odds for more than a year, since the debut of Apple’s new encrypted operating system, iOS 8, in late 2014.

Not A Slippery Slope, But A Jump Off The Cliff, by Nicholas Weaver, Lawfare

The same logic behind what the FBI seeks could just as easily apply to a mandate forcing Microsoft, Google, Apple, and others to push malicious code to a device through automatic updates when the device isn't yet in law enforcement's hand. So the precedent the FBI seeks doesn't represent just "create and install malcode for this device in Law Enforcement possession" but rather "create and install malcode for this device".

How Tim Cook, In iPhone Battle, Became A Bulwark For Digital Privacy, by Katie Benner and Nicole Perlroth, New York Times

He was proud that Apple sold physical products — phones, tablets and laptops — and did not traffic in the intimate, digital details of its customers’ lives.

That stance crystallized on Tuesday when Mr. Cook huddled for hours with lawyers and others at Apple’s headquarters to figure out how to respond to a federal court order requiring the company to let the United States government break into the iPhone of one of the gunmen in a San Bernardino, Calif., mass shooting. Late Tuesday, Mr. Cook took the fight public with a letter to customers that he personally signed.

The Conscription Of Apple's Software Engineers, by Conor Friedersoorf, The Atlantic

The federal government is empowered to compel individuals and corporations to hand over data in their possession upon the presentation of a valid search warrant. Is the FBI also empowered to compel Americans to write and execute malware? [...] A federal judge is effectively ordering these unnamed people to write code that would indisputably harm their company and that would, in their view, harm America. They are being conscripted to take actions that they believe to be immoral, that would breach the trust of millions, and that could harm countless innocents. They have been ordered to do intellectual labor that violates their consciences.

Upgrade Your iPhone Passcode To Defeat The Fbi’s Backdoor Strategy, by Micah Lee, The Intercept

By choosing a strong passcode, the FBI shouldn’t be able to unlock your encrypted phone, even if it installs a backdoored version of iOS on it. Not unless it has hundreds of years to spare.

Facebook, Twitter Voice Support For Apple's Stance On Encryption by Daniel Eran Dilger, AppleInsider

Twitter chief executive Jack Dorsey tweeted "we stand with Tim Cook and Apple," while Facebook expressed it would "fight aggressively" against any government actions to "weaken the security" of consumer products.

Apple Gets An Extension In iPhone Unlock Case, Response Now Due February 26th, by Matthew Panzarino, TechCrunch

Apple has received an extension in the timeline that it has to reply to a court order to modify an iPhone for the FBI. The deadline, originally Tuesday, has been pushed out to Friday, February 26th, TechCrunch has learned.

Old Phone, New Phone

Apple Apologizes And Updates iOS To Restore iPhones Disabled By Error 53, by Matthew Panzarino, TechCrunch

Today, Apple is issuing an updated version of iOS 9.2.1 for users that update their iPhones via iTunes only. This update will restore phones ‘bricked’ or disabled by Error 53 and will prevent future iPhones that have had their home button (or the cable) replaced by third-party repair centers from being disabled. Note that this is a patched version of iOS 9.2.1, previously issued, not a brand-new version of iOS.

Apple Launches iPhone ‘Trade Up With Installments’ Plan From $15/mo, Yet Another Way To Buy A New iPhone In The US, by Benjamin Mayo, 9to5Mac

What the ‘Trade Up With Installments’ offers is a reduction of that monthly fee, in exchange for a trade-in of your existing smartphone. For example, you can trade in your current iPhone 6 to get a new iPhone 6s with a 2-year payment plan of $15/mo. What’s interesting is that you can trade in an Android device, not just iPhones — Apple will give up to $300 in trade-in value for Android handsets.

Inside The Phones

The Most Important Apple Executive You’ve Never Heard Of, by Brad Stone, Adam Satariano, and Gwen Ackerman, Bloomberg

A little over a year ago, Apple had a problem: The iPad Pro was behind schedule. Elements of the hardware, software, and accompanying stylus weren’t going to be ready for a release in the spring. Chief Executive Officer Tim Cook and his top lieutenants had to delay the unveiling until the fall. That gave most of Apple’s engineers more time. It gave a little-known executive named Johny Srouji much less.

Srouji is the senior vice president for hardware technologies at Apple. He runs the division that makes processor chips, the silicon brains inside the iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch, and Apple TV. The original plan was to introduce the iPad Pro with Apple’s tablet chip, the A8X, the same processor that powered the iPad Air 2, introduced in 2014. But delaying until fall meant that the Pro would make its debut alongside the iPhone 6s, which was going to use a newer, faster phone chip called the A9.


Journaling Vs. Blogging, by Watts Martin, Coyote Tracks

There’s something oddly comforting about taking ten or fifteen minutes at night to write down my impressions of the day, even if I’m the only one who’s going to read them later.

Airfoil 5.0, by Agen G. N. Schmitz, TidBITS

Rogue Amoeba has released Airfoil 5.0, a significant update to the wireless audio broadcasting app that brings a number of new features, including support for sending audio to a Bluetooth speaker or headset, as well as multiple Bluetooth devices simultaneously.

Microsoft's Translator App Plays Catch-up With Google, by Lance Whitney, CNET

Released Thursday, the version of Microsoft Translator for the iPhone, iPad and Apple Watch now includes optical character recognition, or OCR. That means the app can translate text that's in an image. You could use your iPhone to snap a photo of a sign or menu, and the app would overlay a translation of the text.

PayPal Overhauls Its Mobile App, by Sarah Perez, TechCrunch

With the redesign, PayPal is focused on offering a more extensible framework under the hood that will allow it to add new features in the months to come, while also offering a simplified experience for users who want easier ways to make peer-to-peer payments, pay in stores, order food, manage their account settings, and more.

Finding Ways To Get Live TV On A Mac, by J. D. Biersdorfer, New York Times

Mac-friendly television tuners on USB sticks have become hard to find, especially since Elgato, one of the major manufacturers, stopped selling the devices in North America last year.


Understanding Night Shift’s Impact On Accessibility, by Steven Aquino, MacStories

Broadly speaking, Night Shift is interesting accessibility-wise because of the way the appearance (brightness and/or resolution) of an iPhone or iPad's screen can influence readability.

Inside The Artificial Universe That Creates Itself, by Roc Morin, The Atlantic

A team of programmers has built a self-generating cosmos, and even they don’t know what’s hiding in its vast reaches.

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I am so sleepy.


Thanks for reading.

The Slippery-Slope Edition Thursday, February 18, 2016

How Apple Will Fight The DOJ In iPhone Backdoor Crypto Case, by Cyrus Farivar and David Kravets, Ars Technica

First, Apple probably will argue that it is, in fact, removed from the case at hand and should not be forced to assist. "Long ago when Apple put that phone in its stream of commerce, it gave up any proprietary interests on that phone," she said.


Bridy also added that Apple will likely argue that being compelled to create new specialized software is, in fact, burdensome. That’s quite different from pen registers in New York Telephone, which, according to the Supreme Court, the telco "regularly employs such devices without court order for the purposes of checking billing operations, detecting fraud, and preventing violations of law."

White House Plays With Words, Says Department Of Justice Isn’t Asking Apple To Create A Backdoor, by Romain Dillet, TechCrunch

The entire point of Cook’s letter is that this case is a slippery slope.

Why The FBI's Request To Apple Will Affect Civil Rights For A Generation, by Rich Mogull, Macworld

What matters is if we have a right to the security and privacy of our devices, and of our communications, which are also under assault. If we have the right to tools to defend ourselves from the government and criminals alike. Yes, these tools will be sometimes used for the worst of crimes, but they’re also fundamental to our civil rights, freedom of discourse, and our ability to protect our digital lives from the less impactful, but far more frequent criminal attacks.

This situation was engineered by the FBI and Department of Justice for the maximum impact and chances of success. Apple is fighting, and as a security professional it’s my obligation to support their position, and stronger security.

Why Tim Cook Is Right To Call Court-ordered iPhone Hack A “Backdoor”, by Dan Goodin, Ars Technica

It would be one thing for the court to order Apple to brute force this one device and turn over the data stored on it. It's altogether something else to require that Apple turn over powerful exploit software and claim that whatever digital locks are included can't be undone by a determined adversary. That's why it's no exaggeration for Cook to call Tuesday's order chilling and to warn that its prospects for abuse of such a backdoor are high.

Why Tim Cook Is Wrong: A Privacy Advocate's View, by Trevor Pott, The Register

If it is known that Apple's phones can, in fact, be attacked in this fashion then the pressure is on to create devices which cannot be attacked in this fashion. Apple can only turn over the data if it is actually possible to do so. If it isn't, then the judge can make all the orders they want, but they can't alter reality with a gavel.

The Optics Of Apple’s Encryption Fight, by Kaveh Waddell, The Atlantic

If Cook’s intervention gets a swath of the public curious about the encryption that protects their own data from hackers and criminals, the government could end up looking overeager to find ways of accessing private information. But Apple may have a hard time going at it alone.

Apple Vs. The FBI, by Will Oremus, Slate

But a controversy can help Apple differentiate its products on privacy grounds. The more heinous the crimes of the iPhone user that Apple is protecting, the more it underscores the inviolability of the company’s commitment to privacy and security. Viewed in that light, Google’s silence on Wednesday is the best outcome Apple could have hoped for.

You may think that this is an overly cynical reading of Cook’s evidently genuine defense of Apple’s right to provide its users with ironclad security. I don’t see it that way. I think Cook believes and means what he’s saying. I also think he’s fortunate to run a company whose business interests, on this particular issue, align with his convictions. Because the next time privacy activists hold a big rally, they’re going to do it in front of their local Apple Store.

Coalition Of Big Tech Companies Backs Apple In FBI Back Door Fight (Ever So Slightly), by Mark Bergen, Re/code

The group said in a statement that tech companies should “not be required to build” back doors to user information, but then notes that companies are obliged to balance user privacy with the need to cooperate with law enforcement. The statement does not mention Apple nor its CEO Tim Cook.

The careful wording is consistent with the statement released Wednesday afternoon from Google CEO Sundar Pichai, the only high-profile tech exec to issue public remarks.

Apple’s Stance Highlights A More Confrontational Tech Industry, by Farhad Manjoo, New York Times

Yet it’s worth noting that even if Apple ultimately loses this case, it has plenty of technical means to close a backdoor over time. “If they’re anywhere near worth their salt as engineers, I bet they’re rethinking their threat model as we speak,” said Jonathan Zdziarski, a digital forensic expert who studies the iPhone and its vulnerabilities.

Regular Programming

Apple Focuses On 3D Touch, Live Photos In Latest iPhone 6s Ads, by AppleInsider

Apple on Wednesday released a pair of iPhone commercials touting the time-saving benefits of 3D Touch and the new Live Photos image format, two features exclusive to the company's latest generation iPhone 6s handsets.

Apple And Fashion: A Love Story For The Digital Ages, by Rob Haskell, Vogue

“In what we do,” observes Cook, “design is crucial, as it is in fashion.”


How I Use Siri To Assist My Life, by Rene Ritchie, iMore

Apple shipped Siri in 2011 as the built-in personal assistant for iPhone. Since then, Siri has spread to iPad, Apple Watch, and most recently, Apple TV. It's also spread through my life. Even with its Pixar-like personality and ever increasing skill set, I'm surprised surprising how much.

Skype Launches 25-Person Group Video Calling On iOS And Android, by Mitchel Broussard, MacRumors

The new feature will allow as many as 25 participants in a single Skype video chat, with 1080p video quality, and access to both front and back cameras.

ComicBlitz Now Has An iPhone App, by Michael Kozlowski, Good E-Reader

The service offers more than 3,000 comics from 17 publishers, such as Dynamite, Valiant, Aspen, Action Lab, Zenescope and Alterna. Darby Pop, Markosia, TPub and children’s publisher Capstone are all now available as well.

Review: Mophie's Latest Powerstation Batteries Pack Power And App Integration Into A Slim Design, by Eric Slivka, MacRumors

And as usual, the design of the latest Powerstation lineup is great, with a solid aluminum body that's slim enough to easily fit the smaller ones in a pocket and the larger ones in a purse or skinny computer bag. That said, the Powerstation lineup is quite expensive compared to some other options on the market, so you may want to take that into consideration when making your purchasing decision.

LINE's Foodie Camera Will Help Make Your Food Photos Great, by Joseph Keller, iMore

Foodie is meant to help you share great shots of your meals, providing a number of filters to make your food look more appetizing.


Apple Now Supports Video App Previews For tvOS, by iClarified

To capture footage of your tvOS app, connect your Apple TV to your Mac using a USB-C to USB cable, and use QuickTime Player as a video recorder.

How To Get Hired At A Startup When You Don't Know Anyone, by Shane Engineer


Appeals Court Says Apple’s Settlement In E-book Price-fixing Case Can Stand, by Megan Geuss, Ars Technica

Objector-Appellant John Bradley, a consumer who purchased e-books, appealed the District Court’s decision to approve the $450 million settlement that Apple agreed to. Bradley challenged "the fairness, reasonableness, and adequacy of the Settlement,” arguing that Apple should pay more for its alleged role in the scheme.

The Second Circuit Court of Appeals rejected that argument, however, saying that the District Court was right in deciding that $450 million was a reasonable amount.

Apple Joins With China's UnionPay To Introduce Mobile Payments, by Bloomberg

Customers of 19 lenders, including Industrial & Commercial Bank of China Ltd. and Agricultural Bank of China Ltd., will be able to use Apple Pay through UnionPay’s point-of-sales network across the country, UnionPay said Thursday in a statement. Users can sign up by adding their bank card information into the Wallet application on Apple devices, the Shanghai-based company said.

Where Your iPhone Goes To Die (And Be Reborn), by Tim Culpan, Bloomberg

At a dedicated factory with 24-hour security in an undisclosed location in Hong Kong, iPhones are being carefully and meticulously destroyed.

The plant is one of a handful around the world, chosen by Apple Inc. to grind up and recycle its iconic phones. And just as the companies that manufacture the handsets are subject to strict standards and secrecy, the same applies in reverse for their disassembly, right down to weighing the shreds, to make sure nothing is lost.

Yahoo Closes Online Magazines, A Costly Experiment By Marissa Mayer, by Vindu Goel, New York Times

Marissa Mayer, the embattled chief executive of Yahoo, is gutting one of her signature projects: A cluster of digital magazines devoted to topics like food, autos, real estate, travel and technology.

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I wonder if the sales of iPads-without-Touch-ID will plummet in the next few weeks. (The two models are iPad Air 1 and iPad Mini 2.)

I wonder if Apple will accelerate its plan to put Touch ID on Macs. (And maybe even TVs.)

I wonder if shut-down-and-move-the-whole-company-to-Canada is a possibility in Tim Cook's plan. (Buy Blackberry?)


Thanks for reading.

The Build-A-Backdoor Edition Wednesday, February 17, 2016

A Message To Our Customers, by Tim Cook, Apple

We have great respect for the professionals at the FBI, and we believe their intentions are good. Up to this point, we have done everything that is both within our power and within the law to help them. But now the U.S. government has asked us for something we simply do not have, and something we consider too dangerous to create. They have asked us to build a backdoor to the iPhone.


The government suggests this tool could only be used once, on one phone. But that’s simply not true. Once created, the technique could be used over and over again, on any number of devices. In the physical world, it would be the equivalent of a master key, capable of opening hundreds of millions of locks — from restaurants and banks to stores and homes. No reasonable person would find that acceptable.


We are challenging the FBI’s demands with the deepest respect for American democracy and a love of our country. We believe it would be in the best interest of everyone to step back and consider the implications.

While we believe the FBI’s intentions are good, it would be wrong for the government to force us to build a backdoor into our products. And ultimately, we fear that this demand would undermine the very freedoms and liberty our government is meant to protect.

EFF To Support Apple In Encryption Battle, by Electronic Frontier Foundation

We are supporting Apple here because the government is doing more than simply asking for Apple’s assistance. For the first time, the government is requesting Apple write brand new code that eliminates key features of iPhone security—security features that protect us all. Essentially, the government is asking Apple to create a master key so that it can open a single phone. And once that master key is created, we're certain that our government will ask for it again and again, for other phones, and turn this power against any software or device that has the audacity to offer strong security.

Here's Why The FBI Forcing Apple To Break Into An iPhone Is A Big Deal, by Natalie DiBlasio and Elizabeth Weise, USA Today

There are two things that make this order very dangerous, Opsahl said. The first is the question it raises about who can make this type of demand. If the U.S. government can force Apple to do this, why can't the Chinese or Russian governments?

The second is that while the government is requesting a program to allow it to break into this one, specific iPhone, once the program is created it will essentially be a master key. It would be possible for the government to take this key, modify it and use it on other phones. That risks a lot, that the government will have this power and it will not be misused, he said.

Apple Can Comply With The FBI Court Order, by Dan Guido, Trails Of Bits Blog

I believe it is technically feasible for Apple to comply with all of the FBI’s requests in this case. On the iPhone 5C, the passcode delay and device erasure are implemented in software and Apple can add support for peripheral devices that facilitate PIN code entry. In order to limit the risk of abuse, Apple can lock the customized version of iOS to only work on the specific recovered iPhone and perform all recovery on their own, without sharing the firmware image with the FBI.


Quick Tip: Adjust Startup Sound Volume, by Dan Moren, Six Colors

So here’s the fix: unplug the speakers and wait until you see the option for internal speakers. Then adjust the volume using the slider at the bottom, which will control how loud the startup chime is—if you don’t want a startup chime at all, just lower the volume all the way or select Mute.

Screen Sharing From The Messages App: A Handy Yet Under-used Feature, by Anthony Bouchard, iDownloadBlog

In this tutorial, we’ll be showing you how to start a screen sharing session with an individual you’re messaging via the Messages app on your Mac.

Moving Music Between iPads, by J. D. Biersdorfer, New York Times

1Password For Families Lets You Manage Passwords For Your Entire Clan, by Joseph Keller, iMore

With 1Password for Families, each family member gets their own copy of 1Password, and all 1Password apps come free with the subscription. The person in charge of the shared family vault can use the Admin Console to manage members and sharing, just like with 1Password for Teams.

Boxer Pro (For iPhone), by Jill Duffy, PC Magazine

Email is a persistent pain for many people. Finding an email app that gives you the tools you need to better manage your particular inbox can make all the difference. If you like to have a lot of control over how your app works, including the ability to customize swipe gestures, you should check out Boxer. With its fast notifications, plentiful customization options, and integrated calendar and contacts list, this iPhone app has a lot to offer.

Monthly: Simple, Quick Budgeting, by Jake Underwood, MacStories

Monthly is a money-tracking app aimed at helping you budget and manage your expenses.

The above sentence is notably simple – I wanted to write it that way so that you can understand the philosophy behind Monthly before you even launch it. You'll find that Monthly funnels itself into one area and doesn't budge; for most apps, the reality behind that fact is a kiss of death. But Monthly, in all of its simplicity and speed, stands on its own as an app that does its one job incredibly well.

Dropshare 4 Is A Great Alternative To File Sharing Services, by John Voorhees, MacStories

Recently, Timo Josten released Dropshare 4 for Mac, an app that helps you create your own file sharing by connecting to services like Amazon S3, Rackspace Cloud Files, or your own server. I was skeptical about whether setting up Dropshare with one of these services would be worth the trouble, but I knew Amazon S3 has a generous free tier, so I thought I would give it and Dropshare for iOS a shot. The setup process was much easier than I anticipated and now with Dropshare I'm spending less, and can do more, with the files I share.

Disk Drill Pro 2 Review: Last Line Of Defense For Mac Data Recovery, by J.R. Bookwalter, Macworld

Disk Drill Pro 2 is one such Mac utility for scanning, recovering, restoring, and protecting OS X files and volume partitions. Also available in free Basic and commercial Enterprise editions, the software provides comprehensive data recovery from any type of disk media, including USB flash drives and memory cards.


Google Just Open-sourced A Tool For Testing iOS Apps, by Jordan Novet, VentureBeat

Google announced today that it has open-sourced EarlGrey, a piece of software that developers can use to more easily build and run user interface tests on source code for iOS apps. Written in Objective-C, EarlGrey is available now on GitHub under an open-source Apache license.


Apple Plans $12 Billion Bond Sale For Buybacks And Dividends, by Liz Moyer, New York Times

Apple announced plans on Tuesday to sell up to $12 billion in bonds to pay for share buybacks and dividends, as blue-chip companies test investors’ appetite for debt after two weeks of turbulent markets.

Apple Is Borrowing Money To Fund Eco-friendly Projects, by Kif Leswing, Business Insider

Green bonds are intended to make it easier for investors to identify environmentally friendly projects. Apple’s debt will follow a set of voluntary guidelines called the Green Bond Principles.

We Need A Better PC, by DC

Is that too much to ask?

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I'm just a layperson, and is just trying to understand the security issues with this court order imposed on Apple. But, to me, it doesn't seem like I should be too worried... right?


Thanks for reading.

The Problem-Acknowledged Edition Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Apple Officially Acknowledges iPhone Bricking ‘1970 Date’ Bug, Says Upcoming Software Update Will Fix, by Benjamin Mayo, 9to5Mac

Apple has officially acknowledged the problem on its Apple Support website. The company says it will release an upcoming software update to prevent this issue from affecting iOS devices in the future.

What “Error 53” Means For The Future Of Apple Repairs, by Josh Centers, TidBITS

Sadly, it seems that the era of repairing your own Apple devices continues to wane; if you can repair an Apple device yourself, it’s likely either because it’s an older model or a design accident. And as Apple struggles to maintain its revenue growth in the face of slowing sales, the company will try to extract money wherever it can, with repairs and service plans as another means to that goal (ask any auto dealer).

Instagramming Your Food

They’re Just Like Us! Bon Appétit Shot Its Latest Food Pics On An iPhone, by Liz Stinson, Wired

Thank the tools at hand—literally. The phone you’re clutching is about as capable of capturing those barbacoa tacos as most basic point-and-shoots on the market. It’s still no substitute for a multi-thousand-dollar DSLR, but with the right lighting and post-production know-how, your phone’s camera can definitely hold its own. For proof, check out Bon Appétit’s March issue. As part of its culture issue, the food magazine asked its photographers to swap out their fancy DSLR cameras for the iPhone. Almost every photo in the feature well (aka the big, visual stories in the middle of the magazine), was shot on an iPhone 6s.

Around The World

Apple Confirms Opening Of Development Centre In Hyderabad, by Times Of India

"We are looking forward to opening a new development office in Hyderabad that will be home to over 150 Apple employees supporting maps development. The office will also have space for many contractors who will support our ambitious efforts locally.


The company also said that it will also expand the programme to other countries around the world.

Apple Pay Is Launching In China On Thursday, Payment Partner Leaks, by C. Custer, TechInAsia

That information comes via the public WeChat account of China Guangfa Bank credit cards. Since those cards, like all UnionPay cards, will be able to connect with Apple Pay, the bank’s WeChat account is dispensing information about Apple Pay, and the available menu options include a query about when Apple Pay will be available. If you select that option, the account will tell you it’s coming to China on February 18, at 5:00 am. It also says you’ll need iOS 9.2 or later or Watch OS 2.1 or later to be able to use it.


How To Create Email Groups In iOS, by Glenn Fleishman, Macworld


Apple Got Into The TV Business So It Could Make TV Commercials For Apple Music, by Peter Kafka, Re/code

Apple has already been financing video content it uses to market Apple Music — “to extend Apple Music,” in the words of an insider. And it’s doing that with the Dre show. Full stop.

Microsoft "Evaluating Options" For The Office For Mac And iOS Accreditation Program, by Steven Sande, Apple World Today

“Microsoft remains committed to IT Pros on the Mac platform and we recognize that the Accreditation Program has historically proved an important venue. We’re in the process of evaluating options for 2016, but don’t have anything to share at this time. We will keep you posted as we learn more.”

Wanna Be Startin' Somethin': A History Of The Windows Start Menu, by Tom Warren, The Verge

Microsoft’s Start menu is a big deal. It’s the first thing many people think of when they think of Windows, or even Microsoft. The simple Start menu has existed for more than 20 years now. It started off as a way to make Windows easier to use, and now it’s the center of how we interact with Windows on a daily basis. Whether it’s launching apps, searching for documents, or simply shutting down your PC, you probably use the Start menu more than you think.

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Everytime I visited Macworld's website, my Mac ended up being muted in anger.


Thanks for reading.

The PR-Problem Edition Monday, February 15, 2016

Apple’s Elephant In The Room, by Alexandra Mintsopulos, Medium

There is a massive disconnect between the enthusiasts and Apple’s broader customer base on the perception of Apple’s software quality. That is a PR problem for Apple to solve, not a software one.

iPad: The Last Frontier, by Jean-Louis Gassée, Monday Note

With its control over software and hardware, Apple is positioned to evolve the tablet genre. The iPad mini seems destined to stay a pure tablet, but more muscular members of the family will steal business from laptops, Apple’s and others’. “It’s better to cannibalise oneself than let others do it” has, rightly, been Apple’s position.

As the first iPad Pro shows, we’re not there yet — the iPad is still best used as a tablet, the Mac isn’t going away any time soon. Some of us are habituated to our Macs, but habits aside there are graphics and video apps and hardware configurations— large screens as an example — that require more power than the Apple-designed AX processors can offer.


Airmail Might Be The Perfect Email App For Your iPhone, by Mat Smith, Engadget

Airmail's appeal on the iPhone is simply how much freedom you have to customize the app. This is particularly true for things that I constantly do.

6 Essential Tips For Working Smarter With Slack, by Jason Snell, Macworld

The chat app Slack can replace meetings, reduce email, and blend productivity with silly GIFs, all day long.


Why Use A Paintbrush When You Can Make Mind-Bending Art With Code?, by Sam Lubell, Wired

Computer code underpins many aspect of our lives. Usually we know exactly what we want that code to do—but what if we didn’t? This is the question posed by Los Angeles software artist Casey Reas, who employs code to form abstract, bewildering, and literally unexpected creations.


Why Is The UK Still Printing Its Laws On Vellum?, by BBC

"In many circles there's still a real discomfort around digital archiving, and a lack of belief that digital can survive into the future," explains Jenny Mitcham, digital archivist at the Borthwick Institute for Archives at the University of York.

The whole concept of digital storage is a relatively new innovation, and the path by which it could survive through the years is not clear.

"We don't have the ability to look back and say we know for a fact in 200 years time we'll still have this stuff," reasons Mitcham. "We can't prove that fact without a time machine."

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Just like Steve Jobs famously demostrated the iPhone by following a carefully crafted script that avoided known bugs, I have changed my own behavior to avoid triggering the nastier aspects of Apple's software.

For example, I've deleted all my own music from iTunes and only listen to streams from Apple Music. This was because when I previously had mixed in my own music, adding new music to "My Music" and downloading music for offline listening became unreliable.

I've also stopped creating my own playlists in Apple Music, and only listen to albums nowadays. That's because I can't understand the UI to manage playlists, especially for offline listening.

I wonder if Apple's own internal metrics did logged these bugs for me, or is Apple classifying me as a happy customer.


Did something bad happened to the Mac App Store again? A few of the apps that I was using refused to launch today. Deleting them and re-downloading them from the App Store seemed to solve the problem for now.


Thanks for reading.

The Superior-Alternatives Edition Sunday, February 14, 2016

All The Best Apps On My iPhone Made By Google And Microsoft, by Dora Spenlow, The Marshall Town

On the whole, the iOS experience on the iPhone is a terrific one and I do use many iOS features constantly, like Apple Pay, iCloud and plenty more. But where apps are concerned, I only use Apple’s apps when I have no other choice because the alternatives are far superior.

The silver lining: this is still better than a platform where the only good apps are first-party apps.

Creating A Computer Voice That People Like, by John Markoff, New York Times

Most software designers acknowledge that they are still faced with crossing the “uncanny valley,” in which voices that are almost human-sounding are actually disturbing or jarring. The phrase was coined by the Japanese roboticist Masahiro Mori in 1970. He observed that as graphical animations became more humanlike, there was a point at which they would become creepy and weird before improving to become indistinguishable from videos of humans.

The same is true for speech.


Giving Your Boo Your Password Is Dumb. Do This Instead, by Brian Barrett, Wired

It’s increasingly easy to share an account, while keeping your personal information to yourself. Better still? In most cases this also means that you’re able to maintain your own profile. After all, just because you share one heart doesn’t mean you also share an appreciation for third-wave ska on Spotify.

Below are all the popular digital services we could find that allow you to enlist as individuals, rather than as password pals. Do it for your relationship. Do it for your playlists. But most of all, do it for your security.

Serato’s New App Will Automatically DJ For You, by Mike Davies, Lessthan3


10 Philosophies For Engineers, by Software Engineering Daily

Software engineering is full of lies and people who will try to take advantage of you.


Bits Are Beating Atoms: The Google, Facebook, Apple And Amazon Shuffle, by Peter Yared, VentureBeat

It is incredibly difficult to keep moving more atoms at a massive scale. Google and Facebook’s bits are virtually free of earthly bounds, while Apple and Amazon’s atoms are increasingly shackled by reality.

Music Can’t Last Forever, Not Even On The Internet, by Klint Finley, Wired

The trouble is that, even as music has become more durable, it has—paradoxically—also become more ephemeral. Your physical records don’t evaporate if the store you bought it from closes shop or the record label that published them goes out of business. If a streaming music company goes under, a stockpile of important cultural artifacts could go with it.

Apple To Open First Offshore Technology Development Centre In India, by V L Srinivasan, ZDNet

Who Killed Nokia? Nokia Did, by Quy Huy and Timo Vuori, Insead

Nokia people weakened Nokia people and thus made the company increasingly vulnerable to competitive forces. When fear permeated all levels, the lower rungs of the organisation turned inward to protect resources, themselves and their units, giving little away, fearing harm to their personal careers.

The Fall… And Rise And Rise And Rise Of Chat Networks, by Monty Munford, Ars Technica

But, for this rising chat network tide that is lifting all the boats at Viber, Palringo, Hike, KakoaTalk, Line, WeChat, Kik, and countless emulators and imitators that haven't even been founded yet, the future looks very, very bright indeed. We have come a long way from CB radio, and in the argot of those subversive CB days, that’s a big 10-4!

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I thought I've seen 'em all: the signboards on the local highways here that warn of traffic conditions ahead. I've seen warnings about traffic jams, about lane closures due to tree prunings or plant waterings, about accidents.

But tonight, while travelling home, I saw a new one: "Man Walking On Lane 1 After SLE Exit."


Thanks for reading.

The Not-Charged Edition Saturday, February 13, 2016

Apple Initiates Replacement Program For MacBook USB-C Charging Cables, by Mikey Campbell, AppleInsider

As noted by Apple, a "limited number" of MacBook USB-C charging cables shipped through June 2015 have a design flaw that causes a attached laptop to not charge or charge intermittently when connected to a power source.

Coming Soon: New Refresh

Apple Execs Eddy Cue & Craig Federighi Talk Apple Music, App Store & More In New Interview, by Greg Barbosa, 9to5Mac

Starting with discussions internally two years ago, Cue re-iterates that iTunes was designed at a time when everything was synced with cables. He quickly touches on the idea that when Apple was introducing Apple Music, they played with building it “all in the cloud” because “Apple Music’s all in the cloud”, but by doing so it might have limited users from uploading their music into the cloud without a tool like iTunes. Cue finalizes his statements explaining, “we’ve got a new refresh, with the new version of OS X coming out next month, that makes it even easier to use in the music space.”

Apple Music Tops 11 Million Subscribers; iCloud Reaches 782 Million, by Sarah Perez, TechCrunch

It was revealed that Apple’s iCloud service now reaches 782 million users; Apple’s iMessage users send 200,000 messages per second; Apple Pay has processed billions of dollars in payments; the App Store and iTunes see 750 million transactions every week; and Siri handles billions of requests per week.

Yet Another File-Deleting Installer

Warning: Bug In Adobe Creative Cloud Deletes Mac User Data Without Warning, by Dan Goodin, Ars Technica

The deletions happen whenever Mac users log in to the Adobe service after the update has been installed, according to officials from Backblaze, a data backup service whose users are being disproportionately inconvenienced by the bug. Upon sign in, a script activated by Creative Cloud deletes the contents in the alphabetically first folder in a Mac's root directory. Backblaze users are being especially hit by the bug because the backup service relies on data stored in a hidden root folder called .bzvol.


OS X Hidden Treasures: Quick Look, by Adam C. Engst, TidBITS

Quick Look offers a fast preview of what’s inside a file, most notably in the Finder and third-party file transfer apps. It works with many common file types, such as text files, images, audio, video, PDFs, Microsoft Office files, and even fonts.

We’ll explain how to use Quick Look, in which apps you can use it, and how to use it from the command line (which is also helpful for troubleshooting). Then we’ll share some of our favorite Quick Look plug-ins to extend Quick Look’s capabilities and make it even more useful.

How To Live With A 16GB iPhone Or iPad (And Not Lose Your Mind), by Adrian Kingsley-Hughes, ZDNet

With a little bit of thought and planning, you can make it so that 16 gigabytes of storage is adequate. And I want you to know that I feel your pain. I am usually too thrifty to hand Apple hundreds of dollars in exchange for a few bucks worth of storage chips.

Hands On: MindNode 2.2.2 For OS X And 4.2.2 For iOS, by William Gallagher, MacNN

Most of the time if we turn to a mind map it is because what we're doing is so complicated or we've thought it out so poorly that we need to really chew over everything. Sometimes after we've chewed, though, we realise there are only a couple of bits we need or want to actually do something about. So now we can mark those as tasks.

How To View iPhone System Info, Launch Apps, And More In Notification Center, by Allyson Kazmucha, The App Factor

Not only can you use Orby to make calls and send messages faster, you can also view iPhone system info such as memory and storage, launch apps, and even perform conversions.

Slack Adds Support For iOS Document Providers, New Emoji Picker, by Federico Viticci, MacStories


Transitioning From Objective C To Swift In 4 Steps – Without Rewriting The Existing Code, by Gregely Orosz, Code Voyagers

There are many resources talking about how to decide whether to use Swift for a new project or not, and best practices for writing Swift. However if you’re working on a pretty large Objective C codebase, you will probably find this article useful. If not – one day you might bump into a codebase where you want to start using Swift: this article presents some advice on how to get started doing so.

Sendbird Looks To Help Developers Add Chat Functions To Any App, by Matthew Lynley, TechCrunch

“We’ve been building this for a couple times when we were building our social game, we had to build this chat functionality every time,” Kim said. “We felt like it was re-inventing the wheel every time. Even though chat is really important, as a startup you have limited resources. You want your product guys and engineers focusing on what matters most. ”

Watch Apps Worth Making, by David Smith

There seems to be only three kinds of apps that make sense given the current hardware and software on the Apple Watch.

Notifications, complications, and sensors.


Apple: Dear Judge, Please Tell Us If Gov’t Can Compel Us To Unlock An iPhone, by Cyrus Farivar, Ars Technica

In a new letter, Apple has asked a judge to finally rule in a case where the government is trying to force the company to unlock a seized iPhone 5S running iOS 7. Currently, United States Magistrate Judge James Orenstein has been sitting on the case for nearly three months.

Harvard Study Says Apple's Tim Cook Was Right: Encryption Bans, Backdoors Wouldn't Work, by Daniel Eran Dilger, AppleInsider

Efforts by the FBI and certain lawmakers seeking to ban Apple and other U.S. companies from selling products with real encryption will not be effective, note researchers in a study citing 865 encryption products already available in 55 countries—two thirds of which originate outside the U.S.

The Age Of Indie Fitness Apps Is Over, by Lauren Goode, The Verge

And as with all acquisitions, the initial promise is that nothing will change — that app will still be your workout buddy, even if it’s upgrading to a much bigger house in a fancier neighborhood. But eventually, things change. It can be as subtle as a logo: the grande jete-ing silhouette in the MyFitnessPal app now has an Under Armour logo hovering over its head. But it can be as significant as ads for services like Munchery now appearing in your food diary, or a deal on sneakers popping up in your workout log. Your runner’s high is being monetized.

There’s also your data to consider. That free fitness app you signed up for a couple years ago, the one that needed you to enter your gender, height, weight, birthday, and general health and fitness goals in order for you to use it? That information is now owned by another, larger company. All of them will hurry to say that the data, when used to inform business decisions, is completely anonymized or non-identifiable. But it’s still there. Your height and weight are part of the borg now.

Rumor Of The Day

Dr. Dre Filming Apple's First Scripted Television Series, by Michael O'Connell and Lesley Goldberg, Hollywood Reporter

Multiple sources say the 50-year-old mogul is starring in and executive producing his own six-episode vehicle, dubbed Vital Signs, and the production is being bankrolled by Apple. The series likely will be distributed via Apple Music, the company's subscription streaming site, but it's not clear if Apple TV, the iTunes store or other Apple platforms (or even a traditional television distributor) will be involved.

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Instead of spending on expensive flowers and expensive dinners tomorrow, why not celebrate Renri instead? Just bake a cake and sing a Happy Birthday song. Or if you are really traditional-minded, eat some seven-kinds-of-vegetables-in-a-soup and blow up some fireworks.


Thanks for reading.

The Wait-For-A-Fix Edition Friday, February 12, 2016

Sparkle Updated Vulnerability: What You Need To Know!, by Rene Ritchie and Nick Arnott, iMore

People who have a vulnerable app that uses Sparkle may want to disable automatic updates in the app, and wait for an update with a fix to be available, then install directly from the developer's website.

This iOS Date Trick Will Brick Any Device, by Chance Miller, 9to5Mac

An interesting bug relating to the date and time system in iOS has emerged recently. Several users have discovered that if you change your iOS device’s date to January 1st, 1970, your device will be permanently bricked.

Error 53 Follow Up

Apple Slapped With Class Action Suit Over Touch ID-related 'Error 53' Code, by Mikey Campbell, AppleInsider

Filed with the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, the pending suit alleges Apple has "gone too far" in its attempts to control the iPhone hardware platform, saying the "Error 53" message some users are seeing as a result of unauthorized repairs warrants redress.

Competition Watchdog Investigates Apple iPhone-killing Error 53 Bug, by Stephen Hutcheon, Sydney Morning Herald

The Australian Consumer and Competition Commission (ACCC) is investigating Apple to determine whether a security measure that can transform an otherwise healthy and fully functioning iPhone into a thousand-dollar paperweight contravenes consumer protection and competition laws.

Watching Videos

Vertical Video Is Becoming More Popular, But There’s No Consensus On The Best Way To Make It, by Joseph Lichterman, NiemanLab

As mobile consumption continues to grow, news outlets — especially those publishing on Snapchat Discover — are turning to vertical video, a format that was once widely derided, to optimize their content for viewing on phones.

Les Moonves Says Talks With Apple Have Stopped, by Brian Stelter, CNN

When asked whether 2016 is the year that Apple will enter the marketplace with a streaming TV service, Moonves said, "You'll have to ask Apple that. I don't know that."

His comments are in line with recent news reports that Apple decided to take a step back from its TV efforts.


Sleep++ 2.0 Brings Improved Sleep Analysis To Apple Watch App, by Federico Viticci, MacStories

Sleep ++ is receiving a major 2.0 update today that brings improved sleep analysis, better communication with HealthKit, and a redesigned night detail screen with more information about the quality of each night and the ability to trim minutes.

HeartWatch 2 Review, by Jake Underwood, MacStories

Now in version 2.0, HeartWatch looks to be a more all-encompassing aggregator of your heart information. After spending some time with the newest version of the app, I can highly suggest HeartWatch – not only for its capabilities but also for its potential.

Bound Is A Dropbox-Connected Audiobook Player, by John Voorhees, MacStories

Bound starts from the premise that with the advent of cloud storage services like Dropbox, loading your audiobooks onto your iPhone shouldn't require a Mac. Tap on the plus button in the upper righthand corner of the main screen, link your Dropbox account, and then start choosing audiobooks to download to Bound – that's all it takes to get started.

How To Get The News You Want On The iPad: Hands On With News360, by James Kendrick, ZDNet

If you regularly spend time on the iPad following the news of the day, you should check out the free News360 app. It does a great job polling the web to get you the news articles that will interest you, and with a touch user interface (UI) that is nicely implemented.

The Latest Microsoft Garage Project, Fetch!, Recognizes Dog Breeds, by Dave Shanahan, WinBeta

Fetch! is an iPhone app that identifies dog breeds from photos from your iPhone camera, photo collection or dog photos you find online through Bing.


Apple Updates TestFlight App With Support For iOS 9.3 And watchOS 2.2, by Aldrin Calimlim, AppAdvice

Along with the usual round of stability and performance improvements, the latest update to TestFlight adds support for iOS 9.3 for iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad, and watchOS 2.2 for Apple Watch.

Startups Selling To Other Startups: A House Of Cards?, by Bastiaan Janmaat, TechCrunch

“Don’t put all your eggs in one basket,” the saying goes. Well, if you’re running a startup that sells to other startups, you might be putting all your eggs in one blender.


US And Brussels In Dispute Over Apple Tax Investigations, by Arthur Beesley, Irish Times

Political tension is escalating between Washington and Brussels over EU state-aid inquiries into Apple’s tax arrangements in Ireland and the affairs of other US groups in Europe.

With a ruling from Brussels in the Apple case expected some time after the election, US treasury secretary Jack Lew has called on the European Commission to reconsider the inquiries. A letter from Mr Lew to commission chief Jean-Claude Juncker opens up a new political front in the US campaign against the investigations as previous public criticism was confined to top treasury officials.

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In a world where atoms and, especially, bits can move all over the globe easily and quickly, a lot of old ways of doing things just doesn't make sense. Including taxes.

The earlier we realize and embrace this, the better it will be.


Thanks for reading.

The People-Are-Adapting Edition Thursday, February 11, 2016

Y'all Have A Texas Accent? Siri (And The World) Might Be Slowly Killing It, by Tom Dart, The Guardian

Apple has refined and developed Siri since the tech giant bought it from a small startup in 2010. It is improving fast. But while voice-recognition programs will continue to evolve when hearing non-standard speech such as regional accents, a question that neither human nor machine can answer for certain is whether they will need to. People are adapting to virtual assistants, as well as the other way round.

App Changes

Day One 2: Journal App Users Unhappy With Pricing And Sync Options, by Jim Lynch, CIO

Like some other users, I'm taking a pass on Day One 2. I'm not comfortable with journal data being held on the developer's servers. Perhaps I'm being paranoid, but I will only use iCloud sync since I have more trust in Apple than I do in anybody else.

Twitter’s Algorithmic Timeline Option, by Federico Viticci, MacStories

For now, the feature will be opt-in, meaning you'll have to visit the Settings of the Twitter app and, if available, you'll be able to turn on the option. "In the coming weeks", the feature will become opt-out (it'll be on by default) but you'll still be able to turn it off from the Settings.

Murphy's Law Is Still Alive, Though

Moore’s Law Really Is Dead This Time, by Peter Bright, Ars Technica

Rather than focus on the technology used in the chips, the new roadmap will take an approach it describes as "More than Moore." The growth of smartphones and Internet of Things, for example, means that a diverse array of sensors and low power processors are now of great importance to chip companies. The highly integrated chips used in these devices mean that it's desirable to build processors that aren't just logic and cache, but which also include RAM, power regulation, analog components for GPS, cellular, and Wi-Fi radios, or even microelectromechanical components such as gyroscopes and accelerometers.


I Have Multiple Apple IDs. What Happens If I Delete One?, by Glenn Fleishman, Macworld

You can’t delete an Apple ID without losing associated purchases.

Quartz’s New App Wants To Text You The News, by Sean O'Kane, The Verge

For a brief moment during development, the first app from Quartz — the four-year-old business news publication owned by The Atlantic — was going to be completely blank when you opened it up. "The whole thing was just notifications," Zach Seward, Quartz's executive editor and VP of product, tells The Verge. "The thought was that this would tell you, like, this is an app meant to be consumed entirely outside the square icon."


Friction Between Programming Professionals And Beginners, by Tom Dalling, Programming For Beginers

In this article I want to talk about negative aspects of the programming community, regarding beginner programmers. This is a touchy topic. I will try to explain both sides to the best of my ability, but I’m not endorsing either side. My only hope is that some readers will gain more empathy for the people they are communicating with, and hopefully use that knowledge to make friendlier communities.


Apple's In-house CDN Efforts Spell Trouble For Akamai As Infrastructure Biz Warns Of Losses, by AppleInsider

Seminal internet infrastructure provider Akamai has cautioned investors that traffic from its two biggest clients — Apple and Microsoft — will decline in the year ahead, thanks to what chief executive Tom Leighton called their "DIY efforts."

New Bill Aims To Stop States From Banning Encrypted iPhones, by Jeff Byrnes, AppAdvice

The legislation, introduced by U.S. Reps. Ted Lieu, D-CA, and Blake Farenthold, R-Texas is called the Encrypt Act of 2016, short for Ensuring National Constitutional Rights of Your Private Telecommunications. What it would do, in a nutshell, is preempt state and local government encryption laws. It would make such encryption a federal mandate, which still leaves open the possibility of new national-level laws requiring back doors.

Burger King Has Its 'iPad Moment,' Announces Two Hot Dog SKUs, by Ross Miller, The Verge

Last night, Burger King announced one the biggest changes to its product lineup since chicken: a hot dog — two different SKUs of hot dogs, to be exact. Yes, we now live in a world in which hotdogs have SKUs, and tech is everything, even our lunch.

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The local Burger King here in Singapore has already been selling hot dogs for quite a while. I am not quite impressed, but my daughter loves it.


Singaporeans don't seem to enjoy hot dogs very much. Fast-food restaurants that have hot dogs as one of the main menu items never did survived down here. And even though we have all sort of food from around the world adapted for sale in street markets (pasar malam), hot dogs never made it. So I am surprised Burger King kept the hot dogs on the menu for so long.


Come to think of it, there isn't any good New-York-style pizza in Singapore either, as far as I notice.


Thanks for reading.

The Repsectful-Balance Edition Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Monetizing While Staying The “Good Guys”: The Tao Of Red Herring, by Erica Sadun

Between its respectful balance of free-and-paid elements, and its commitment to ensuring high-quality puzzles, Blue Ox has evolved from a one-man effort to nearly a dozen employees servicing a core family of applications. If you’re starting your own games business, there are a lot worse business models you could follow and few that get it right more than this.

War Stories: What It’s Really Like Working On AAA Games At Ubisoft, by Maxime Beaudoin, BackChannel

I was never as happy at Ubisoft as during those two projects. I worked with very talented and motivated individuals. Because of the smaller team sizes, I had my say on the creative side of things. This was a nice change — being more of a technical guy, I could never do that before. And I absolutely loved it. When you work on a small project, your contribution is huge. So is your ownership. And your motivation.

One of my former colleagues nailed it when he said that I tasted the forbidden fruit. Once you’ve have that feeling, you can never go back.


Apple Stores Now Offering Belkin Screen Protector Application, by Juli Clover, MacRumors

As of today, Apple Stores across the United States and around the world are offering a new system that allows Apple Store employees to apply Belkin-branded screen protectors for iPhone 6, 6s, 6 Plus, and 6s Plus customers.

iCloud Photo Library Requires Copying Images To The Photos For OS X App, by Glenn Fleishman, Macworld

Photos lets you reference images as well as duplicating them into its library, but it won't upload them to iCloud.

Finding A Replacement For Free iTunes Radio, by J. D. Biersdorfer, New York Times

Withings' New Hy-Result In-app Software Could Replace Your Physician, by Joe White, AppAdvice

In order to make its assessments, Hy-Result “combines blood pressure data with information about the individual user to determine interventions that will best deliver results.” This begins with simple questions based on the user’s medical history, and continues with Health Mate’s request to take six blood pressure readings over a five-day period using either the Withings Wireless Blood Pressure Monitor or through inputting the data manually.

1Password 6 For Mac Review: Enterprise Features And Lots Of Small Improvements, by Marco Tabini, Macworld

While 1Password remains my favorite digital vault, I must say that the product is falling behind its competitors in some aspects; for example, several other password managers now support the ability to automatically change passwords on many popular sites—something that can greatly increase security by reducing the effort it takes to keep all your logins fresh and cryptographically sound, and that is not yet possible with AgileBits’s app.

Its great feature set, longevity, and ability to rely on multiple synchronization services, however, still make this app one of the very best of its kind. Here’s to hoping that, now that the folks at Agile Bits have had an opportunity to complete their work on its enterprise features, they will once more turn to improvements that have a more direct impact on helping users get a handle on their digital lives.

Adobe Bridge CC 6.2 Brings New Speed And Features, by Michael Zhang, PetaPixel

CloudMagic Is A Great Cross-platform Email App, by Mihăiță Bamburic, BetaNews

Sonos To Officially Launch Apple Music Support On Feb. 10, by Dan Thorp-Lancaster, iMore


Apple Should Not Be Too Excited Over India, by James Crabtree, Financial Times

The trickiest dilemma Apple faces in India, in common with other potentially lucrative frontier markets such as Indonesia, is far simpler: price.

Microsoft Officially Acquires Zikera’s Groove App For iOS, by Mark Coppock, WinBeat

When Microsoft rebranded the Xbox Music service to Groove Music, some people thought that perhaps the Redmond company had purchased Groove, an iOS music player that specialized in intelligent music discovery. At the time, no such acquisition was in the works. However, it looks like everything has come full-circle, as Microsoft is indeed acquiring Groove.

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I am using an iPhone 6. There are days when I feel that the screen size is just right, and days when I feel that the screen size is too large, but never days when I feel that the screen size is too small.

What this means, I believe, is that if Apple does come up with a state-of-the-art iPhone with a smaller screen, I will seriously consider switching to a smaller size. Either that, or I will have many days where I can't make up my mind on which phone to upgrade to.


Thanks for reading.

The Inventing-A-New-Experience Edition Tuesday, February 9, 2016

One Year In: Why A Die-Hard Mechanical Watch Lover Can't Get The Apple Watch Off His Wrist (And Why That Matters), by Jack Forster, Hodinkee

For people who love mechanical watches, the Apple Watch is both unimportant and important. It’s unimportant because what it offers really is totally different from the pleasure you get from a great tool watch with an amazing history, like the Sub or the Speedmaster, or the connection you get to a fusion of aesthetics, mechanics, and craftsmanship from something like a Patek or Lange. But that’s also why it’s important. And it's also why, even for luxury watchmaking, it is a little dangerous. Apple’s actually succeeded in doing with the Apple Watch what they did with the iPhone: inventing a new experience.

Apple Music Launches In Taiwan, Now In 113 Countries, by Jordan Kahn, TidBITS

And Beats 1 is also launching alongside Apple Music in the region (which isn’t always the case) and like other markets is available free to listen for all with or without a subscription. The Taiwan version of Apple Music and radio features, like other local markets, will include curated content from local artists that you wouldn’t normally see much on the service outside of the area.

How To Figure Out What's Wrong

The Mysterious Case Of The Undead iMac, by Jason Snell, Six Colors

Yes, there’s a bizarre error code called “corpse notify.” Whatever. At least I now knew something! It appeared that a process (in this case, one with id 57024) was getting in the way of my shutdown. Hooray! Now to open Activity Monitor and see which process that…

…oh, right. My computer’s locked up and shutting down. I can’t look at the process ID. And process IDs change from boot to boot.

So The iPhone Does Allow You To Take A Not-So-Great Photo

Tim Cook's Tweeted Super Bowl 50 Photo Attracts Hecklers, by Jeff Brynes, AppAdvice

Apple CEO Tim Cook came under fire after the end of Super Bowl 50 last night. His terrible transgression? He tweeted a photograph that was blurry and out of focus.

Super Bowl Confidential: The Secret Story Behind Apple’s “Lemmings”, by Ken Segall's Observatory

And there you have it. What was arguably the worst high-visibility ad in the history of Apple wasn’t even created for Apple originally. It was a recycled idea lifted from a failed GE advertising pitch.

For Some Cord Cutters, Streaming Super Bowl Was A Nonstarter, by Brian X. Chen, New York Times

Watching the Super Bowl over the weekend turned out to be a not-so-superb experience for some owners of streaming devices like the Apple TV and Google’s Chromecast.


Three Alternatives To The iPad Pro’s Smart Keyboard, by Julio Ojeda-Zapata, TidBITS

The problem? The Smart Keyboard is, for many, an acquired taste, with chiclet-like buttons that can feel clunky to use, and a lack of iPad-specific function keys typically found on third-party products. The Smart Keyboard lacks backlit keys as well, and it can feel a bit flimsy, though it actually works pretty well on a lap.

Fortunately, third-party hardware makers have stepped in with an assortment of iPad Pro-compatible keyboards and keyboard cases in a variety of shapes, sizes and configurations. Three of these have stood out in my testing.

ChronoSync Simplifies The Process Of Syncing Between Mac, by Dennis Sellers, Apple World Today

If you have multiple Macs -- as many of us do -- you should certainly look into ChronoSync. The [...]utility offers a way to synchronize or backup files and folders. You can synchronize between folders on your Mac, other Macs, PCs, external drives or anything you can mount on your Mac.

Swiping For BFFs: Dating-style Apps Are Breaking Into The Friendship Market, by Jessica Contrera, Washington Post

Welcome to the future of friendship-finding, or so say hopeful app-makers. There’s Squad, Spotafriend, BeFriend, MetjUp. Hey! VINA, launched last month, is an app specifically for women looking for friends. It’s up and running in New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco, with plans to expand to other cities in the coming weeks.

Instagram Adds Official Support For Multiple Accounts On iOS, by Greg Barbosa, 9to5Mac


When Your Client Demands Swift, by Erica Sadun

If someone is pushing hard for Swift for full apps or critical production code, make sure they know the commitment they’re buying into with associated migration and core refactoring costs, such. Otherwise, Objective-C is still, and will continue, delivering product.

Apple Rejects The Binding Of Isaac: Rebirth Because Of 'Violence Towards Children', by Owen S. Good, Polygon

Fans of The Binding of Isaac: Rebirth rushed to its defense in Rodriguez's tweet thread, calling out other examples of benign video games with children characters and violence. Apple has rejected some games on dubious grounds before, and has also faced criticism for some of the apps that do get listed, including games pirated by overseas shops and apps that are outright offensive.


Apple Under Pressure As Lawyers Pledge Action Over 'Error 53' Codes, by Miles Brignall, The Guardian

At least one firm of US lawyers said it hopes to bring a class action against the technology giant on behalf of victims whose £500 phones have been rendered worthless by an Apple software upgrade.

In the UK, a barrister told the Guardian that Apple’s “reckless” policy of effectively killing people’s iPhones following the software upgrade could potentially be viewed as an offence under the Criminal Damage Act 1971. The act makes it an offence to intentionally destroy the property of another.

Wired Is Launching An Ad-Free Website To Appease Ad Blockers, by Joshua Brustein, Bloomberg

More than 1 in 5 people who visit Wired Magazine’s website use ad-blocking software. Starting in the next few weeks, the magazine will give those readers a choice: stop blocking ads, pay to look at a version of the site that is unsullied by advertisements, or go away. It’s the kind of move that was widely predicted last fall after Apple allowed ad-blocking in the new version of its mobile software, but most publishers have shied away from it so far.

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So, two days of Chinese New Year feasting resulted in one big tummy and one sleepy me. (Two steamboats in two days!)


Thanks for reading.

The Overnight-Shift Edition Monday, February 8, 2016

We Are Hopelessly Hooked, by Jacob Weisberg, New York Review of Books

Our transformation into device people has happened with unprecedented suddenness. The first touchscreen-operated iPhones went on sale in June 2007, followed by the first Android-powered phones the following year. Smartphones went from 10 percent to 40 percent market penetration faster than any other consumer technology in history. In the United States, adoption hit 50 percent only three years ago. Yet today, not carrying a smartphone indicates eccentricity, social marginalization, or old age.

What does it mean to shift overnight from a society in which people walk down the street looking around to one in which people walk down the street looking at machines? We wouldn’t be always clutching smartphones if we didn’t believe they made us safer, more productive, less bored, and were useful in all of the ways that a computer in your pocket can be useful. At the same time, smartphone owners describe feeling “frustrated” and “distracted.” In a 2015 Pew survey, 70 percent of respondents said their phones made them feel freer, while 30 percent said they felt like a leash. Nearly half of eighteen-to-twenty-nine-year-olds said they used their phones to “avoid others around you.”


Reasons To Love TextEdit, A Secret Powerhouse Of Rich Text, by Glenn Fleishman, Macworld

Poor little TextEdit! Despite having a rich history—starting life as Edit in the Next’s NextStep operating system before becoming a feature in Mac OS X—the app gets little regard. But it deserves our attention. It’s the best and simplest place to go in OS X for converting among text formats and has features that are still missing in Pages 5 after they disappeared in the bump up from Pages 4 (’09).

HazeOver 1.6 Review: Dim Those Background Windows So You Can Focus On The Task At Hand, by Kirk McElhearn, Macworld

HazeOver helps you deal with multiple windows by masking the ones that are in the background, putting a sort of translucent curtain behind your frontmost window. Instead of seeing multiple windows with their text and graphics distracting you from your task at hand, HazeOver lets you focus on the app and window you're working in. You can dim your Twitter client, your email app, and Messages, so their changes don't catch your eye when you're browsing the web or writing in a word processor.


Apple Sneaks Into Several Super Bowl 50 Commercials, by Daniel Eran Dilger, AppleInsider

Apple didn't buy airtime during America's National Football League 2016 Super Bowl, but some of its products did turn up playing a cameo role in a variety of commercials.

Roasting Toaster Fridges, by Jean-Louis Gassée, Monday Note

Is this the beginning of a new trajectory towards the Toaster-Fridge singularity? The mix of keyboards, trackpads, screen-touch interactions, and styli seems to want to converge into something coherent. After using my iPad Pro for a while, I find myself reaching for the screen on my MacBook – and I read online that I’m not alone.

But it’s a work in progress. Looking at Apple’s proven ability to design “desktop-class” Ax processors, the company’s preference to cannibalize itself (rather than giving others the opportunity), and the respective ages and abundance-of-bugs in OS X (old) and iOS (fresh), one senses a promise for the evolution of a hybrid device.

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May you have a wonderful start to the Year of the Monkey.


Thanks for reading.

The A-Hundred-Miracles Edition Sunday, February 7, 2016

Stop Watch, by Brent Simmons, Inessential

Here’s the thing, though: the Apple Watch contains a hundred miracles of engineering and design, surely, but serious problems with software and services can turn even the most incredible hardware into something you just sit on your desk and ignore.

Supercharged Search Scopes, by Daniel Jalkut, Indiestack

This expresses the predicate for what I really wanted my search scope to be, but which Xcode wouldn’t allow me to configure. Opening Xcode and selecting the “Yummy Sources” search now allows me to search for results in RSCommon, but NOT in YuckySources. We’re golden!

Autocorrect And The Tao Of Texting, by Mary Phillips-Sandy, New York Times

Of all Internet memes, one of the most enduring involves autocorrect, the smartphone gremlin that can turn text exchanges into a game of chance. There are websites and books devoted to autocorrect’s mishaps, not to mention shirts, mugs and calendars printed with popular autocorrected messages.

This stuff is funny, sure, but after years of scrolling past “no ducking way” posts, I’ve come to believe that autocorrect actually has useful things to tell us — if only we’d listen.

Tech Successes Of The Likes Of Apple, Alphabet And Microsoft Show Capitalism Works - But It Needs To Behave, by Hamish McRae, Independent

But even those of us who celebrate the benefits the business community of west-coast America has brought the rest of us, would like to see more evidence of Google’s 2000 slogan “don’t be evil” spread around global capitalism. Evil is too strong, but capitalism does have to be better behaved.

Twitter Says Your Timeline Isn't Changing, by Jon Fingas, Engadget

Twitter chief Jack Dorsey has piped up to say that there's no truth to the rumors of a Facebook-like feed arriving next week. It was "never planned," he says. In fact, Dorsey adds that the company hopes to make Twitter "feel more, not less, live" -- he knows full well that you want that steady stream of updates.

Rumor Of The Day

Rose Gold Coming To iPhone 5se Like iPhone 6s, Not ‘Bright Pink’, Plus Next iPads & MacBooks, by Mark Gurman, 9to5Mac

Apple is said to be aiming to keep its hardware colors consistent across iOS devices. In fact, there are Rose Gold variations of the upcoming iPad Air 3 floating around Apple’s campus. Apple is also considering bringing that gold hue over to the next versions of the 12-inch MacBook and the iPad mini, according to sources, but those are unlikely to arrive at next month’s event.

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I don't understand why people are still calling Apple a hardware company, because a hardware company will not work in today's world. Creative Labs had cannot compete with the iPod, because part of its solution depended on the slow-moving pie-in-the-sky Microsoft media player strategy. The PC makers are getting rid of their PC-making businesses because, frankly, relying on both Microsoft and Intel for left them no room to be good. And Samsung has to walk a fine line to add new feature while not offending Google.

Apple is not a hardware company. It is a computer, phone, and watch company. Apple cannot affrod to be a hardware company, and we should judge the standard of Apple's products as computers, phones, and watches. We can praise the hardware quality to the sky, but if the software is not up to par, the product cannot be good.


Dinner on Chinese New Year’s Eve.

— HC (@myapplemenu) February 7, 2016




Thanks for reading.

The Error-Fifty-Three Edition Saturday, February 6, 2016

‘Error 53’ Fury Mounts As Apple Software Update Threatens To Kill Your iPhone 6, by Miles Brignall, The Guardian

Thousands of iPhone 6 users claim they have been left holding almost worthless phones because Apple’s latest operating system permanently disables the handset if it detects that a repair has been carried out by a non-Apple technician.

Relatively few people outside the tech world are aware of the so-called “error 53” problem, but if it happens to you you’ll know about it. And according to one specialist journalist, it “will kill your iPhone”.

Apple: 'Error 53' Is Not A Bug, It's A Feature, by Adrian Kingsley-Hughes, ZDnet

"We take customer security very seriously and Error 53 is the result of security checks designed to protect our customers. iOS checks that the Touch ID sensor in your iPhone or iPad correctly matches your device's other components. If iOS finds a mismatch, the check fails and Touch ID, including for Apple Pay use, is disabled. This security measure is necessary to protect your device and prevent a fraudulent Touch ID sensor from being used. If a customer encounters Error 53, we encourage them to contact Apple Support."

‘Error 53’, by John Gruber, Daring Fireball

If the sensor can’t be trusted, clearly the whole phone should not be bricked — it should simply disable Touch ID and Apple Pay. And, obviously, it should inform the user why. Putting up an alert that just says “Error 53” is almost comically bad.

Apple Is Killing Some iPhones Repaired By Third Parties. But There’s Sort Of A Good Reason., by Lily Hay Newman, Slate

Apple doesn't have to leave Touch ID security this way. It could detect hardware changes and require extensive user reauthentication. It could offer third parties some type of parts-vetting process. It could give customers more leeway to choose what risks they want to take.

Hardware Bug Fix

Apple Launches Repair Program For Late 2013 Mac Pro Video Issues, by Joe Rossignol, MacRumors

Apple has determined that graphics cards in some late 2013 Mac Pros, manufactured between February 8, 2015 and April 11, 2015, may cause distorted video, no video, system instability, freezing, restarts, shut downs, or may prevent system start up.

One Word: Ergonomics

iPads For Writing? The Promise And The Pain, by Watts Martin, Coyote Tracks

But for a primary computer? As a writer of long-form works? The iPad may not only slow you down, it may cause you some pain. And not metaphorically.


OS X Hidden Treasures: Services, by Josh Centers, TidBITS

Services are an excellent way to tie apps together in OS X, and they’re one of OX X’s hidden treasures, a feature that too few people think about and that suffers from Apple’s benign neglect. Nonetheless, services can make you more efficient with the apps you’re already using.

Moving Files To A Mac From A PC, by J. D. Biersdorfer, New York Times

"How can I transfer files from a 10-year-old Dell PC to a MacBook Pro?"


Apple Adds Server API To CloudKit, Unlocking New Developer Possibilities For The iCloud Service, by Benjamin Mayo, 9to5Mac

Apple has quietly added a server-side API to CloudKit, following an announcement on the developer news blog. This will enable developers to add a lot of functionality to apps powered by CloudKit, enabling developers to interact with the iCloud CloudKit database outside of user interaction with iOS, Mac or web apps. The web service API enables developers to run independent code on servers that can add, delete and modify records in the CloudKit stack.

Many Controllers Make Light Work, by Soroush Khanlou

I make a lot of hay about how to break view controllers up and how view controllers are basically evil, but today I’m going to approach the problem in a slightly different way. Instead of rejecting view controllers, what if we embraced them? We could make lots and lots of small view controllers, instead of lots of lots of small plain objects. After all, Apple gives us good ways to compose view controllers. What if we “leaned in” to view controllers? What benefits could we gain from such a setup?

Interviewing, Applying And Getting Your First Job In iOS, by Orta Therox

When I was at the beginning of my career, my first developer job application was to a design agency who were doing Mac development too. It was pretty nerve-wracking to apply for my first programming job, and I came into the interview with no idea what to expect. I had just graduated from university and was at the first few steps of my career, I'd call this being a junior. It was a time period where I would need mentoring, and supervision in order to grow. [...]

Now that I'm both further on in my career, and involved with so many juniors in NYC, I'm meeting with a lot of people who are in the same position I was then and I get a lot of questions asking what they can do to prepare. This post attempts at being a comprehensive collection of recommendations. It is subjective, of course, and strongly biased towards my experiences.


Fake Flash Player Update Delivers Scareware To Mac OS X Users, by Catalin Cimpanu, Softpedia

There's a fake Flash Player update scam doing the rounds on the Internet, tricking users into installing a legitimate update, but also bundling the Adobe Flash Player package with scareware.

Why Can’t Apple Figure Out Television?, by Alan Walk, Slate

It was doomed because the companies that Apple wanted to compete against to pipe content into consumers’ homes—Comcast, Verizon, Time Warner Cable, and others—own the Internet. Or at least the valuable “last mile” connecting the vast telecommunications networks to their subscribers’ homes.

Centriphone - An iPhone Video Experiment, by Nicolas Vuignier, YouTube

After almost two years of tinkering and tweaking I finally achieved the result I was looking for. No iPhones were harmed during the making of this video (I still use it everyday)

Rumor Of The Day

Twitter To Introduce Algorithmic Timeline As Soon As Next Week, by Alex Kantrowitz, BuzzFeed

The timeline will reorder tweets based on what Twitter’s algorithm thinks people most want to see, a departure from the current feed’s reverse chronological order.

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I think I can get used to a Mac OS X machine with a screen size as small as an iPad mini. I bet Apple can make it totally light, even with the attached keyboard.

Can't wait.


Thanks for reading.

The Return-To-Growth Edition Friday, February 5, 2016

Tim Cook Holds Company-wide Town Hall, Talks iPhone Dependence, Benefits, Pipeline & India, by Mark Gurman, 9to5Mac

Multiple sources in attendance at the event said that Cook as well as newly appointed Chief Operating Officer Jeff Williams each spoke and made announcements and teases related to new employee benefits, future iPad growth, Apple Watch sales, future retail stores in China, Apple Campus 2, and the future product pipeline.


In response to the slowdown in iPad sales, Cook said he expects iPad revenue growth to return by the end of 2016. Cook noted that he is especially bullish on the iPad line.

Airport Delays

Apple And Cisco Acknowledge That 2.4GHz Wi-Fi Is Too Unreliable And Crowded, by Owen Williams, The Next Web

Instead, “Cisco and Apple strongly [recommend] a 5 GHz-only (802.11a/n/ac) wireless network for Apple devices” as a “best practice” approach. So much so that Apple won’t even provide advice on the 2.4GHz standard for businesses.

Tunes For The Rest Of Us

Finding New Music With Apple Music, by Jim Dalrymple, The Loop

I stopped using the “Play More Like This” feature in the radio stations. I just let Apple’s algorithm choose the songs for me without any intervention. I don’t know why, but overall, the station does much better without me messing with it.

Sour Note, by Joe Steel

Going down this rabbit hole of fuckery just made me realize how much I absolutely loathe the Music app. What was once a major strength of Apple — a simple-to-use music player and digital storefront — turned into the kind of garbage software that runs on cable company set-top-boxes.

Ask The iTunes Guy: Apple Music Library, New Releases, Audiobooks, And More, by Kirk McElhearn, Macworld

It’s time for another grab-bag edition of this column. This week’s questions include one about adding music to an Apple Music library, getting information about all the new releases in a given genre, viewing lots of audiobooks from Audible and the iTunes Store, and more.


Apple Updates Final Cut Pro X, Compressor And Motion With New Features, by AppleInsider

Flagship non-linear editor Final Cut Pro X reached version 10.2.3 with today's update, bringing both user-facing interface changes and extended backend processing support for newly released file types and equipment. For example, a 4K export preset has been introduced to create video files for Apple's own devices.

Apple TV Universal Search Feature Expands To FOX NOW, FXNOW, And NAT GEO, by Juli Clover, MacRumors

Universal search across iTunes, HBO GO, HBO NOW, Hulu, Netflix, PBS, PBS Kids, Showtime, Showtime Anytime, FOX NOW, FXNOW, and NAT GEO is limited to Apple TV users who are located in the United States.

Apple Rolls Out iPhone Screen Protector Installation Service In Japan, by Aldrin Calimlim, AppAdvice

Previously, Apple store employees weren’t allowed to install any screen protectors. But with the service, they are now enabled to install screen protectors on customers’ iPhones using special tools and supplies from Belkin, with which Apple has partnered for the service.

You Don't Need Mad Skills To Make Mad Music With PlayGround, by Aldrin Calimlim, AppAdvice

Don’t expect to see realistic or skeuomorphic representations of musical instruments, like those found in Apple’s GarageBand. There are none of those in PlayGround, thank you very much.

Rather, what you’ll be seeing lots of in PlayGround are different colored template objects in a multitouch and evolutive graphic interface that you can swipe and tap to create music.

Make Unique Cards In Digital Scrapbooking With Handmade Scraps, by Sandy Stachowiak, AppAdvice


How I, A Designer, Learned To Code And Released An App In 4 Months, by Zoltán Hosszú, Medium

Okay, I’ll be honest with you right away. The title is a little misleading. I started learning Swift 4 months ago and I knew some coding before that. But I have never created a native app for any platform. Thinking about it now, I had no idea what I was up against…

For you to understand the how I did it, first I must tell you the why.

The Software Engineer’s Guide To Asserting Dominance In The Workplace, by Daniel Wu, Medium

As a software engineer, changing jobs is a way of life. Every day, beautiful recruiters from top tech companies reach out to you on LinkedIn with new opportunities, and each new job equals higher pay and an opportunity to reinvent yourself for the better — as long as you know how to. Here is a handy first-week guide to becoming the alpha of your new workplace.


Apple Discourages Supreme Court From Hearing Samsung Patent Petition, Calls Case 'Legally Unexceptional', by Neil Hughes, AppleInsider

"Samsung's effort to make this case seem certworthy depends on a made-up narrative in which Samsung, not Apple, is the innovator, despite the overwhelming evidence that Samsung copied the iPhone's innovative design," Apple's attorneys wrote in the filing.

'Mac Is Key For Any Modern Enterprise' -- SAP, by Jonny Evans, Computerworld

“Offering Mac is key for any modern enterprise,” Thomas Saueressig, SVP, Global Head of IT Services, SAP says on Apple’s recently updated Mac in Business Website, and there’s plenty of evidence that proves this case.

Better Aging

You Won’t Be Happiest Until You Turn 65 Years Old, by Aamna Mohdin, Quartz

But things appeared less rosy for those aged 45-59, who reported the lowest levels of life satisfaction.

Clearing The Body's Retired Cells Slows Aging And Extends Life, by Ed Yong, The Atlantic

I'm looking at a picture of two mice. The one on the right looks healthy. The one on the left has graying fur, a hunched back, and an eye that's been whitened by cataracts. “People ask: What the hell did you do to the mouse on the left?” says Nathaniel David. “We didn't do anything.” Time did that. The left mouse is just old. The one on the right was born at the same time and is genetically identical. It looks spry because scientists have been subjecting it to an unusual treatment: For several months, they cleared retired cells from its body.

Rumor Of The Day

NFL Streaming Rights: Apple, Google, Amazon, Verizon Are In The Mix, by Todd Spangler, Variety

The National Football League is shopping digital rights for “Thursday Night Football” games — and tech giants Apple,, Google and Verizon’s Go90 are each expected to try to get in on the action, according to industry sources.

Bottom of the Page

Okay, twenty more years, and I will be happy. Wish me luck.


Thanks for reading.

The Lots-Of-Disappointments Edition Thursday, February 4, 2016

Apple’s Apps Need Work, by Walt Mossberg, The Verge

None of these things is insurmountable. And perhaps Apple is right that bugs do get quashed and that some of what I’m observing is due to my own setup. But I’m convinced there’s something broader going on here. Lots of small software disappointments and aggravations, adding up gradually over time, are putting the sterling experience of using Apple hardware at risk.

About Walt Mossberg And Apple’s App Problem, by Jim Dalrymple, The Loop

I understand that Apple has a lot of balls in the air, but they have clearly taken their eye off some of them.

Apple’s App Problem, by John Gruber, Daring Fireball

My little iCloud Photo Library syncing hiccup was not a huge deal — I was even lucky insofar as the two videos that couldn’t be found were meaningless. And I managed to find a solution. But it feels emblematic of the sort of nagging software problems people are struggling with in Apple’s apps. Not even the bug itself that led to these five items being unable to upload, but rather the fact that Photos knew about the problem but wouldn’t tell me the details I needed to fix it without my resorting to the very much non-obvious trick of creating a Smart Group to identify them. For me at least, “silent failure” is a big part of the problem — almost everything related to the whole discoveryd/mDNSresponder fiasco last year was about things that just silently stopped working.

Maybe we expect too much from Apple’s software. But Apple’s hardware doesn’t have little problems like this.

Microsoft Has Mastered What Apple Can't Seem To Do: Gmail On iOS, by Kif Leswing, Business Insider

For what it's worth, I don't buy it. I use Microsoft Outlook on the iPhone, and it works perfectly fine with Gmail. Outlook is snappy and modern, complete with threaded messaging, email snoozing, and sophisticated filtering that ensures that what lands in my inbox is an actual message from another human. It's what I want from Apple's built-in app.

New Fiction

What Apps Next? Publishers And Developers Embrace 'Unprintable' Fiction, by Richard Lea, The Guardian

Developers and authors explain how they are experimenting with technology to publish ‘unprintable’ books – including a love story told through Google street view and a prison break with swappable recipes.

New OS

A Netbook, An iPad Pro And The Surface Walk Into A Bar, by Ben Bajarin, Re/code

Desktop operating systems like Windows and OS X are for the professionals. Mobile operating systems are for the masses. The promise of something like the iPad and the iPad Pro — and where Android can go on tablets, or laptops or even desktops — is to empower the masses to do more than they can on their smartphones, with a computing paradigm that focuses on simplicity but still yields sophisticated results.

How Far Can The iPad Fall?, by Jason Snell, Macworld

But I have to admit, that’s my optimism talking. I’ve come to love the iPad and I don’t think Apple will abandon it. In fact, the company now seems committed to improving it at a pitch that was lacking during its first few years of existence. Perhaps this couple of years in the doldrums will end up being the thing that turns the iPad around.

Or perhaps I’m kidding myself, and in the end the iPad will be small niche product, an outsized iPhone accessory. As someone who loves his iPad, the idea that I might be part of a tiny enthusiastic minority in a largely uncaring world is heartbreaking. But looking at the numbers, it’s entirely possible that this darkest of narratives is, in fact, the right one.


Apple Music For Android Updated With Ability To Save Music To SD Cards For Offline Listening, by Greg Barbosa, 9to5Mac

Apple has some good news for all of the Apple Music users on Android. The company has just released an update to Apple Music in the Google Play Store that allows users to download songs to an SD card so that they may store even more music for offline listening.

Apple Expands Flyover And Other Maps Features To New Locations, by Aldrin Calimlim, AppAdvice

Apple's Back To School Promotion Offers Free Beats Headphones With Mac Purchase In Australia, by Joseph Keller, iMore

How To Unlearn Misspellings And Sync Your User Dictionary In OS X, by Adam C. Engst, TidBITS

Don’t you hate it when you accidentally tell OS X’s spelling checker to learn a misspelled word, rather than correcting it? Let me show you how to fix that.

Silencing Noisy Web Pages, by J. D. Biersdorfer, New York Times

The most recent version of the Safari browser for OS X 10.11 (El Capitan) includes controls that let you quickly mute audio coming from any open tab in the program’s window.

Day One 2 Review, by Jake Underwood, MacStories

Day One, the well-known journaling app by Bloom Built, was an unmistakable success. On both iOS and Mac, it amassed multiple awards for both its design and quality of the experience. Through positive reviews and loyal users, Day One rose to the top of the charts and received recognition from Apple's App Store team.

Although one might think that Bloom Built would be content to sit back and let the success continue, Day One 2 shows that this assumption is far from the truth. Through some added features and fresh coat of paint, Day One 2, launching today, is definitely an improvement – but with today's App Store littered with text editors, can Day One still hold its place and purpose?

How To Import Your Day One Classic Journal To Day One 2.0, by Bradley Chambers, The Sweet Setup

How To Make Gorgeous Landscape Panoramas With Adobe Lightroom’s New Boundary Warp, by Jackie Dove, Macworld

The object is to protect parts of a stitched image that would otherwise be cut off with a typical rectangular crop. Lightroom’s Photo Merge feature simplifies the process of photo stitching, and the new Boundary Warp offers a greater degree of control than in the past.

Elmedia Player Pro Review: Better, Stronger, Faster Than QuickTime Player, by J.R. Bookwalter, Macworld

The better solution is to skip Cupertino’s media player altogether and download an application built for playing virtually any media you throw at it and can also be upgraded with even more powerful features whenever the need arises.


How To Survive An Acquisition, by Charity.WTF

I have so, so many feelings. But this isn’t about my feelings now. This is about what I wish I had known when we got acquired.


Apple To Receive Award For Preserving Historic New York City Buildings, by Jacob Kastrenakes, The Verge

Apple has some of the most beautiful stores in New York City, and a big part of that is because many have been placed inside incredible buildings dating back to the early 1900s. Next month, The New York Landmarks Conservancy — a nonprofit that promotes the preservation of landmark buildings — will recognize Apple for its role in preserving the spaces that it's placed stores in.

PSA: If You Don't Want To Fry Your New MacBook, Pay Attention To The Quality Of Your USB Cables, by Sam Oliver, AppleInsider

Everything went swimmingly for more than a hundred reviews, until Leung found a cable that was totally miswired from the factory: in addition to having the wrong resistor, the company had hooked the ground pin on one end to the power pin on the other. The net result was a dead Chromebook Pixel and two fried USB power delivery analyzers.

A Letter To An Ungrateful World From Google, Apple, Facebook Et Al, by Robert Shrimsley, Financial Times

You are paying tax because you have no better ideas how to use the money. We do.

The Explorers Club Once Served Mammoth At A Meal. Or Did It?, by James Gorman, New York Times

Sadly, as with so many great stories, this one was too good to be true, as a group of Yale researchers reported Wednesday in the journal PLOS One. Fortunately, the tale they uncovered, using the most modern research techniques, has some of its own surprises.

Bottom of the Page

I do think that there is a place for the iPad -- something that is much more powerful than a phone, but much less simpler than a desktop/laptop. It's just that the iPad is not there yet, and Apple need to work harder.

For example, the whole sandboxed apps model is great, but there's much more need to be there in order for this to be useful.


For never was a story of more woe than this of Juliet and her Romeo.

— Dave Hinkle (@davehinkle) February 3, 2016


Thanks for reading.

The Vulnerable-To-Cracks Edition Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Aberystwyth Man Wins Apple Watch Warranty Court Battle, by BBC

The technology giant said work to fix the watch was not covered by warranty, despite its official claim it was scratch-resistant.

Mr Cross won a case against the company for breach of the Sale of Goods Act. Apple has been asked to comment.

Apple Removes ‘Impact Resistant’ Claim From Apple Watch After Losing Court Case Over Cracked Screen, by Ben Lovejoy, 9to5Mac

Torture tests demonstrated that the Watch is pretty tough, but not immune to damage. The sapphire screens used on the more expensive stainless steel and Edition models is far more scratch-resistant than the Sport model, but just as vulnerable to cracks.

Art Of Communication

On Your Cute Release Notes, by Ben Brooks, The Brooks Review

You release notes are not a blog post, or a press release. They are a matter of fact conveyance of information to your dedicated users.

I don’t want marketing, I want information.

'How Dashlane Compromised My Privacy On Twitter', by David Bisson, Graham Cluley

I am disappointed that Dashlane exposed my email address on Twitter and took so long to fix the problem, but that's the full extent of it. I intend to keep using Dashlane, and in the worst case, I'll probably just need to keep an eye peeled for spam messages.

I only hope that this serves as a lesson to support representatives everywhere to take extra caution when handling customers' information. Email addresses might be easily tracked online, but at the end of the day, companies like Dashlane still have a responsibility to respect users' privacy and strive to keep them confidential.

Fast Read

Facebook And Twitter: Users Process Mobile Content Faster, by Jeffrey Graham, Fidji Simo, AdvertisingAge

Twitter eye-tracking research has found that across all demographics, people consume content faster on mobile devices than on desktop computers. Facebook testing confirmed this finding: On average, people consume mobile content on Facebook faster than on a desktop (1.7 seconds vs. 2.5 seconds).


Belkin’s Smart Switch Lets You Use Your Phone To Control Dumb Appliances, by Michael McCole, Wired

Belkin’s Wemo Switch is a simple product: any device you plug into it can be turned on or off from your Android or iOS device, no matter where you are. In your home, outside on the lawn, across town, or across the world. [...] Once you look beyond the obvious lighting applications, WeMo gets even more interesting.

You'll No Longer Be In The Dark With ProCamera's New Low-light Photography Mode, by Aldrin Calimlim, AppAdvice

LowLight Plus is a sort of super-powered successor to the old Night mode that’s well-suited to capturing photos in low-light conditions, whether outdoors or indoors. “In addition to a dedicated tripod mode, it also gives users the power to reduce noise in their photos with hand-held photography,” Cocologics explains. “By automatically combining multiple photos, it surmounts both hardware and software limitations to create superior low-light photos.”

Parallels Brings Server-based Desktop Apps To iPhone And Android In First Big Update Since Company Split, by James Risley, Geekwire

No one wants to work on their phone, but sometimes you just have to get something done while on the go. And the latest version of Parallels Remote Application Server allows for just that, running desktop applications on virtual machines and beaming those down to your phone or tablet.

Instagram Update Gives Older iPhones 3D Touch-like Functionality, by Rob Attrell, Mobilesyrup

Today, the iOS Instagram app was updated to give older iPhone users something they have been sorely missing since September, the ability to emulate 3D Touch gestures with a long press.

AirMood For iOS – A Minimalistic Breathing Tool To Help Relieve Stress, by MacTrast

AirMood is designed to guide users through various breathing techniques that can help them become more mindful, relaxed or energized and powerful. The app also includes an Apple Watch app for quick breathing sessions, and it also supplies reminders to help users stay on track with their breathing goals.

Amazon Updates Its Kindle App With Interactive Magazines For iPad, Support For iPad Pro, by iClarified


Activist Engineering, by Matthew Bischoff

We’re better than this. As software engineers and designers, we’re in the room when decisions are shaped, and the only ones who have the power to actually execute them. It’s our responsibility not to forsake the people who trust the apps we make with our silence. To stand up and refuse to implement unethical systems and dark patterns. And even more, to educate stakeholders on the real human costs of their business decisions: the time, attention, money, and trust of their customers.

Apple Releases Xcode 7.2.1 With Bug Fixes And Performance Improvements, by Chance Miller, 9to5Mac


Apple's €850 Million Irish Data Centre Is On Hold After Locals Said It Will Threaten Bats And Badgers, by Sam Shead, Business Insider

A local planning group is reviewing complaints about the data centre which has pushed back Apple's schedule for the site.

Apple Acquired Firmware Security Company LegbaCore Last November, by Husain Sumra, MacRumors

While LegbaCore is a security consultancy firm that doesn't own any specific technology, it's likely Apple will use Kovah and Kallenberg's talent and knowledge to help improve firmware and software security in future iterations of Apple's various hardware and software products.

Zagg To Buy iPhone Battery Case Maker Mophie For $100 Million, by Ina Fried, Re/code

Mophie, the accessory maker best known for its iPhone battery cases, is being bought for at least $100 million by rival Zagg.

Microsoft Steps Up AI Push With Swiftkey Deal, by Tim Bradshaw and Murad Ahmed, Financial Times

Swiftkey soared to the top of the app store charts a few years ago due to its uncannily accurate predictive technology, which uses artificial intelligence to suggest the next word a user is about to type based on analysis of their writing style. Alongside “autocorrect that actually works”, Swiftkey says that its technology learns slang, nicknames and even which emojis its users prefer.

Last-gasp Safe Harbor “Political Deal” Struck Between Europe And US, by Kelly Fiveash, Ars Technica

An eleventh-hour data transfer "political agreement" has been reached between US and European Union officials, just as privacy watchdogs in the 28-member-state bloc were circling tech giants with the threat of enforcement action.

Coffee Break

The Science Behind A Good Cup Of Coffee, by Beth Mole, Ars Technica

So far, there’s little to no data on the health impact of drinking one type of coffee over another. In studies linking coffee to lowered risks of disease and death, researchers mostly clumped all coffee types together, even decaffeinated coffee, in some cases. But, there is a fair amount of data on individual components of coffee that are flavorful and beneficial—and how to squeeze as much them as possible into your mug. Here’s what the science says.

Taste Coffee Like A Pro With This Gorgeous Flavor Wheel, by Margaret Rhodes, Wired

Coffee, like wine, can be hard to characterize. Sure, it’s easy enough to identify bitter, or sweet, or even herbal flavors—but professionals in the coffee biz rely on a more nuanced lexicon to classify beans. It’s not enough to characterize a coffee’s taste as “green”; terms like “peapod,” “hay-like,” and “fresh” are all preferred descriptors. And to further complicate the already complicated task of classifying taste, those professionals all need to agree on what each word in that lexicon means, palate-wise.

Rumor Of The Day

Apple To Debut New iPad, Smaller iPhone At March 15 Event, by John Paczkowski, BuzzFeed

Sources in position to know tell BuzzFeed News the company has chosen March 15 as the date it will show off a handful of new products.

Among the devices Apple plans to unveil are the next generation version of the iPad Air and a new smaller iPhone. Approximately the same size as the iPhone 5s, this smaller iPhone will feature a 4-inch display and a faster chip. Also on board: Support for Apple Pay, the company’s mobile payment service. A selection of new Apple Watch bands is also expected.

Apple, Don’t Make The Smaller iPhone A Second-class Device, by Kirk McElhearn, Macworld

Please, Apple, let us have more choice and pick a smaller iPhone if we prefer that size. As Tim Cook said, “We put a lot of thinking into screen size and believe we’ve picked the right one.” I think he was right.

Bottom of the Page

Will we also see a price drop for Apple Watches? Will we see lower-priced iPhones? The economy is probably going south again, so perhaps it's time for Apple to invest in a larger market share?


Thanks for reading.

The Exchange-Rate-Pressures Edition Tuesday, February 2, 2016

What Are Currency Effects And Why Are They Eating Tech Companies’ Earnings?, by Noah Kulwin, Re/code

If you’ve been paying attention to the earnings reports from Apple, Microsoft, Facebook and virtually every major tech firm, “currency effects” are a common refrain for why revenue might not be as strong as it otherwise would be. For example, Tim Cook said that Apple lost $5 billion in revenue because of exchange rate pressures.

The explanation for why a strong dollar is bad for earnings is pretty simple: If you make money internationally, you’re going to lose some value in your sales when you reprice your earnings in dollars. Then again, tech companies don’t say that they have “inflated” profits when the dollar is weak.

Falling Down

Facebook Hired Me At 18. But My Story Isn’t As Perfect As It Sounds., by Michael Sayman, MTV

I have the opportunity to share the imperfect story. To share what it's like to succeed in a world where everything is falling down around you.


Two Issues With iCloud Photo Sharing, by Glenn Fleishman, Macworld

Copy Files Back Into A Photos For Mac Library, by Jason Snell, Six Colors

The Sun Never Sets On The Times: How And Why The British Paper Built Its New Weekly International App, by Joseph Lichterman, Nieman Lab

“We’re pursuing the idea of editions everywhere,” Petrie said. “An edition is something that can be finished. When you’ve read it, you feel up-to-date; you’ve been told what you need to know for the day or the week. The weekly app takes that idea as well. This idea will appear in more and more of our products as time goes on because it’s resonated so well with our readership.”

Adobe Voice 2.0 Review: Presentation App For iPhone Delivers Sophisticated Animated Videos, by Jackie Dove, Macworld

The newly released universal iOS app guides you through each step of creating a unique and appealing animated video presentation, complete with audio-visual elements, images, icons, and critically, your own voice.

Zapier Launches Multi-Step Zaps For Richer Web Automation, by Federico Viticci, MacStories

Today, Zapier – the power-user (and paid) alternative to IFTTT – is launching multi-step zaps (the equivalent of recipes in IFTTT), which I was able to test for the past week. I've long preferred Zapier to IFTTT for the additional controls that it offers when building complex web automations. Zapier lets you assign filters to actions, you can parse data from email messages with a dedicated Zapier Parser service, and, generally speaking, everything is built with an eye for people who, like me, want to tweak as much as possible. Multi-step zaps fit squarely into this strategy and they're, by far, the most powerful solution I've tried to chain multiple web services together and save time.

Password Management App Enpass Goes 5.0 With New Design And Features, by Aldrin Calimlim, AppAdvice

One of these is integration with Spotlight, allowing you to search items in your Enpass keychain right from the home screen of your iOS device. Just go to the leftmost page of the home screen or simply swipe down on the home screen to access the Spotlight search bar. Type your search keywords and tap on your desired search result to see the details of the corresponding item in Enpass.


Apple's Swift Language Project Gains Continuous Integration, by Roger Fingas, AppleInsider

Apple on Monday officially launched continuous integration for Swift, enabling checks on the project's health, and integrated testing within pull requests before any commits are made.

The Joy Of Shortcuts, by Allen Pike

Our industry, the software industry, builds things that are so ephemeral, so fragile. Sometimes software grows, it changes, and it has a long life. Other times it doesn’t, and it’s swept away. Either way, though, these minor calamities help us sort out what kind of things we want to build. Do you want to build bold experiments, take shortcuts, and see where your customers take you? Or do you want to build solid foundations, sturdily engineered, and hunker down for the long haul?

Swifty Configuration For iOS, by Chester Twomey, Coding Velocity

For the last several months I've had the opportunity to jump head first into Swift development for iOS. Something I immediately noticed was how cumbersome it felt to configure an application for multiple environments. Some solutions I found required including different .plist files based on environment you were deploying to. This required that you duplicate configuration if a property was different in only 1 environment (ie analytics). Another form of configuration was conditional compilation, I didn't really like this either as it was more restrictive than objective c's conditional compilation. I have quite a bit of experience with Java Spring webapps and have come to admire Java configuration as a convenient way to contain configuration. So armed with this I attempted the same in Swift.


Apple Urges FCC To Recognize Made For iPhone Hearing Aids, by Serhat Kurt, MacReports

Apple’s recent filling with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) shows that the company is urging the FCC should “recognize solutions such as the MFi hearing aid platform as alternatives for hearing aid compatibility compliance”. The FCC file shows that Apple argues that iPhone complies with FCC’s current HAC rules, and MFI should be recognized as an alternative for hearing aid compatibility compliance.

Evernote Will Shut Down Market, Its E-Commerce Effort, On Wednesday, by Ingrid Lunden, TechCrunch

Some more news from Evernote — the note-taking app and startup of the same name — that speaks to the company’s current rough patch: today it announced that as of Wednesday at 6pm Pacific, it will shutter Market, the e-commerce platform where it sold Evernote swag and Evernote-integrated office products, in an attempt to create another revenue stream around its more dedicated users.

The Augmented-Reality Enterprise Opportunity, by Tom Mainelli, Re/code

Just like the typewriter gave way to the personal computer, for some workers an AR device will replace the sometimes awkward use of a notebook, tablet or smartphone.

Bottom of the Page

I think I have successfully moved my to-do system out of Evernote into Todoist.

Next: to figure out whether I want to move all my note-taking to somewhere else.


Thanks for reading.

The Focus-On-Portraits Edition Monday, February 1, 2016

Apple Drafts More Everyday People For New Shot On iPhone Campaign, by Josh Raab and Olivier Laurent, Time

While the previous campaign included a variety of photographic subjects – from landscapes to extreme close-ups – this time, Apple has put the focus on portraits, most of them photographed in subtle, everyday moments.

Apple Updating 'Shot On iPhone' Ad Campaign With iPhone 6s Photos, by Aldrin Calimlim, AppAdvice

Spectacular photos shot on iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus are the focus of Apple’s latest worldwide marketing push for its latest handsets. The move is essentially an update to the company’s “Shot on iPhone” ad campaign, which was launched last year with photos taken with the iPhone 6 and the iPhone 6 Plus.

Live Interactive

I Just Tried An Amazing Live Sports App And I'm Convinced It's The Future Of TV, by Tim Stenovac, Tech Insider

Experiences like this are possible now because connected devices, like the new Apple TV and game consoles, have real processing power. They also allow for interactivity that wasn't possible with traditional TV.


Back To School: How To Back Up Your Kid's iPad, by Adam Turner, Sydney Morning Herald

Lots of schools insist that students bring an iPad to class, but teachers don't always explain the best way to backup school work. It's important to have a digital insurance policy should a tech disaster strike the night before an assignment is due.

Airmail Lands On iOS, Lets You Customize Your Email Experience, by Harish Jonnalagadda, iMore

Popular Mac email app Airmail is now available for iOS, offering a wide array of features including the ability to snooze emails, interactive notifications, filters, multiple account support, customizable swipe actions, Apple Watch support, and so much more.

Australian Develops New App To Connect Solo Travellers, by Alyshia Gates, SBS

An Australian adventurer has developed a new app, set to solve the problems of people travelling solo, and he's got the backing of the world's biggest social network.

Doculus Makes Handling Documents On An iPhone Feel Fast And Natural, by Phone Arena

The most critical information of any document is summarized, reducing the time needed to digest it.

When iTunes Accounts Intermingle: How To Separate The Data, by Glenn Fleishman, Macworld


Why Mobile First Is Outdated, by Paul Adams, Medium

For me, obsessing about specific devices was a bad path (they change too frequently), obsessing about iOS versus Android OS was a bad path (they are both important) and obsessing about phone versus tablet was a bad path (they have merged into one larger category of portable screen and continue to evolve all the time). Information via screens not devices — this is the key idea.


New Technologies Give Government Ample Means To Track Suspects, Study Finds, by David E. Sanger, New York Times

A study in which current and former intelligence officials participated concludes that the warning is wildly overblown, and that a raft of new technologies — like television sets with microphones and web-connected cars — are creating ample opportunities for the government to track suspects, many of them worrying.

Microsoft Plumbs Ocean’s Depths To Test Underwater Data Center, by John Markoff, New York Times

Today’s data centers, which power everything from streaming video to social networking and email, contain thousands of computer servers generating lots of heat. When there is too much heat, the servers crash.

Putting the gear under cold ocean water could fix the problem. It may also answer the exponentially growing energy demands of the computing world because Microsoft is considering pairing the system either with a turbine or a tidal energy system to generate electricity.

Bottom of the Page

With a whole bunch of new business models for creating and distributing television programs, the television, suddenly, seems to be new and exciting again.

I wonder how people felt about television back in the 1950/60s.


Test patterns and National Anthems used to be staples of my television experience when I came home from school.


Thanks for reading.