Archive for March 2016

The Qualified-And-Validated Edition Thursday, March 31, 2016

Apple Rolls Out New WebKit Features With Safari Technology Preview, by Jason Snell, Six Colors

Previously, developers were able to download “nightly builds” of WebKit, the open-source technology that powers Safari. With this new program, Apple will be providing a qualified and validated set of releases every two weeks to anyone who downloads the Safari Technology Preview. (The updates will be delivered by the familiar Mac App Store software update mechanism.)

Security Matters

Make Sure You’re Getting OS X Security Data, by Adam C. Engst, TidBITS

Why had I avoided such an important-sounding checkbox? Because Apple messed up the interface here in a big way.

New SideStepper Attack Targets Corporate iOS Device Managers, by Ashley Carman, The Verge

Apple’s security concessions in corporate devices may have created a loophole in an otherwise secure system, according to new research from Check Point Software Technologies, a company that sells internet security hardware and software. When successful, this "SideStepper" attack gives perpetrators access to victims’ devices, including their data, as well as the power to install malicious apps. The new attack takes advantage of less rigorous software controls for corporate device users, particularly those who use Mobile Device Management solutions (or MDMs) to get apps delivered to their phones.


AnyList Review: Grocery App Crosses Off Nearly Everything On Our Shopping List, by J.R. Bookwalter, Macworld

AnyList is a full-featured grocery shopping list and recipe organizer with lightning-fast cloud sync and cross-platform support.


Google Releases New Cardboard SDK + VR View For iOS & Web Developers, by Greg Barbosa, 9to5Mac

The SDK allows iOS developers to embed virtual reality content within their own apps to then be viewed using a viewer like Google’s own Cardboard.


Apple Issues 2016 Supplier Responsibility Report, by Dan Moren, Six Colors

Apple chief operating officer Jeff Williams notes that 97 percent of the company’s suppliers are now in compliance with Apple’s 60-hour maximum work week, more than 3.8 billion gallons of fresh water has been saved, and more than 2400 Environment, Health, and Safety projects have been launched since 2013.

Apple Should Set A Better Example With Its Supplier Report, Greenpeace Says, by Agam Saha, IDG News Service

The environmental group acknowledged that policing supply chains is a “major challenge” for large manufacturers like Apple, but it called on the company to provide more clarity about how its suppliers are performing.

Apple & Google Have Faced 63 All Writs Act-related Orders To Access Devices, ACLU Says, by Roger Fingas, AppleInsider

Most of the cases appear to involve drug-related crimes, the ACLU noted. The number of unlock-related orders may theoretically be higher, but in some instances the government did not publicly specify what kind of help it was seeking.

Why Microsoft Making Linux Apps Run On Windows Isn’t Crazy, by Klint Finley, Wired

Soon you’ll be able to run Linux apps on Windows thanks to a partnership between Microsoft and Canonical, the company behind the popular Ubuntu version of Linux.

This summer, Microsoft will release Ubuntu for Windows, the company announced at its annual Build conference today. This marriage of former foes will not only bring a set of key Linux tools to the Windows desktop but make it easy to install other Linux programs without the need for those programs to be rewritten to work on the Windows OS.

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Remember to check out Apple's home page tomorrow...


Thanks for reading.

The Thirty-Seven-Degrees Edition Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Researchers Are Trying To Use An iPhone App To Understand Body Temperature, by Chris Mills, Gizmodo

The average body temperature is normally within a degree of 37°C, assuming you’re healthy. But when you’re a doctor trying to diagnose one specific patient, an average temperature from the whole population is imperfect at best. This is 2016, so let’s fix that problem with smartphones!

Baby Keyboard

Review: Smart Keyboard For 9.7-inch iPad Pro, by Jason Snell, Six Colors

I’m a pretty tough critic when it comes to keyboards, and I actually found typing on the smaller Smart Keyboard to be surprisingly good. The fabric keys don’t require as much force to depress as mechanical keys. But more than that, I discovered that if I kept some of my fingers resting on the keyboard, so I could always remain oriented, I was able to touch type at a high rate of speed without ever looking at the keyboard itself.

Apple / FBI

Apple’s New Challenge: Learning How The U.S. Cracked Its iPhone, by Katie Benner, John Markoff, and Nicole Perlroth, New York Times

The challenges start with the lack of information about the method that the law enforcement authorities, with the aid of a third party, used to break into the iPhone of Syed Rizwan Farook, an attacker in the San Bernardino rampage last year. Federal officials have refused to identify the person, or organization, who helped crack the device, and have declined to specify the procedure used to open the iPhone. Apple also cannot obtain the device to reverse-engineer the problem, the way it would in other hacking situations.

Making matters trickier, Apple’s security operation has been in flux. The operation was reorganized late last year. A manager who had been responsible for handling most of the government’s data extraction requests left the team to work in a different part of the company, according to four current and former Apple employees, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly about the changes. Other employees, among them one whose tasks included trying to hack Apple’s own products, left the company over the last few months, they said, while new people have joined.

US Says It Would Use “Court System” Again To Defeat Encryption, by David Kravets, Ars Technica

The Justice Department now says it will not hesitate to invoke the precedent it won in its iPhone unlocking case. [...] "It remains a priority for the government to ensure that law enforcement can obtain crucial digital information to protect national security and public safety, either with cooperation from relevant parties, or through the court system when cooperation fails," Melanie Newman, a Justice Department spokesman, wrote in an e-mail to Ars. "We will continue to pursue all available options for this mission, including seeking the cooperation of manufacturers and relying upon the creativity of both the public and private sectors."

Lessons From Apple Vs. The F.B.I., by John Cassidy, New Yorker

Even in such a data-rich environment, however, the rise of strong encryption is having an impact and creating some hidden areas. There will certainly be instances when legal authorities want access to encrypted information that they can’t get at. Terrorism investigations aren’t the only example. Absent methods of accessing systems protected by strong encryption, Obama asked a few weeks ago, “What mechanisms do we have to even do things like tax enforcement? If you can’t crack that at all, if government can’t get in, then everyone’s walking around with a Swiss bank account in their pocket, right?”

At this stage, that specific threat may not be too grave. Tax authorities have sweeping powers to demand bank accounts and other financial records. But as encrypted blockchain technologies develop, and perhaps start to replace regular money, they could create more opportunities for concealment. Regardless, Obama was surely right when he said that the time to confront these issues is now. If we wait until after the next big terrorist attack, we could end up with a second Patriot Act.

Why Apple Won Its Six-Week-Long Skirmish With The FBI, by Mark Sullivan, Fast Company

Meanwhile, the FBI and the DOJ, to many, came off looking less credible than before. The government appeared ill-equipped to deal with the technical challenges of fighting terror. In court filings, the FBI and DOJ sounded like bullies; they didn't ask for Apple's help—they demanded it, and questioned Apple's motives in the matter in the process.

But most of all, the government came off sounding untruthful. It stated over and over that the solution it asked Apple to create would be used one time and on one phone. But it was soon revealed that the solution might be used on hundreds of iPhones in other cases all over the country.

The Apple-FBI Battle Is Over, But The Crypto Wars Have Just Begun, by Brian Barrett, Wired

The bigger implication of Apple’s fight with the FBI is that it’s created a fundamental and perhaps insurmountable rift between law enforcement and the tech industry, two entities that haven’t always gotten along but had, for a time, found a way to work together.

[...] The strained relationship had only started to recover from Edward Snowden’s stunning reveleation that the NSA had penetrated the internal systems of Facebook, Google, and others. Any warming in the relationship has surely cooled again, and tech companies may be more inclined to see the FBI and other agencies as adversaries.


This New App Lets You Create Your Own Doctor Who Comics, by Huw Fullerton, Radio Times

Sick of waiting for Doctor Who series 10, even though it hasn’t been that long yet? Desperate to create your own adventures for the Time Lord but hamstrung by lack of time, money or not being Steven Moffat working for a massive TV corporation?


Nostalgianomics, by Chris Adamson

“Fixing” the App Store, saying that Apple needs better curation or promotion of apps, is like “fixing” Yahoo!… and not the entertainment conglomerate of today, but the browsable collection of websites that Filo and Yang put together in their Stanford dorm room. It’s premised on a model and a value proposition that doesn’t exist anymore.

How To Reduce The Cognitive Load Of Your Code, by Christian Maioli

I believe it’s possible to construct a simple mental framework that can be used with any language or library and which will lead to good quality code by default. There are four main concepts I will talk about here. Keep them in mind and writing good code should be a breeze.

iTunes Connect iOS App Adds Access To Resolution Center For Developers, by Jordan Kahn, 9to5Mac


OS X 10.11.4 Framework Resource Found With ‘macOS’ Naming, Fueling More Speculation About An OS X Rebranding, by Jeff Benjamin, 9to5Mac

Brazilian Apple blog MacMagazine points to the name used for an Interface Builder document buried deep within OS X’s System folder as evidence of a possible naming change.

Apple Strikes Deal With MLB To Provide Every Team With iPad Pros, by Sam Byford, The Verge

The 12.9-inch tablets will be used with rugged, MLB-branded cases [...], and a custom app called MLB Dugout will help managers see performance statistics, check videos from earlier games, and analyze how pitchers and hitters are likely to perform against each other.

Zuckerberg, Cook And Dorsey Join 80 Other CEOs In Protest Of North Carolina anti-LGBT Law, by Bryan Clark, The Next Web

The bill strips LGBT citizens of protection against discrimination by forcing transgender students to use restrooms and other facilities that are inconsistent with their self-identified gender.

Unlocked iPhone Worthless After F.B.I. Spills Glass Of Water On It, by Andy Borowitz, New Yorker

Moments after successfully unlocking the San Bernardino iPhone, the F.B.I. rendered the phone permanently useless by spilling a glass of water on it, an F.B.I. spokesman confirmed on Tuesday.

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As a "long-time" user, I'm going to find it difficult to get used to the name macOS. After all, it has been years fighting with others who called this thing we loved, a MAC. Now, all of a sudden, we are supposed to call it a mac -- all lower-case -- instead?

(Of course, we all got used to MacBooks and iPads…)


Thanks for reading.

The Trivial-to-Operate Edition Tuesday, March 29, 2016

The Astonishing File System, by Ben Brooks

When I look at what people are clinging to on OS X, I see a group clinging to the very things which make computing more complex. We always give way to ease of use. Cars used to be more simple, and easier to fix, but harder to own and operate. Today cars are very complex, most people can’t work on them, but to operate and own a car is almost trivial.

This is the same shift we are needing to make with operating systems. Eschewing the idea that we need to be able to touch and edit every file, or we need a terminal for the OS. Instead we need something which is overly complex under the hood, so it may be trivial to operate for everyone else.

The Next 40, by Horace Dadiu, Asymco

We might want to ask about the causes of success or failure for a single company. We might want to sample its specific customers. We might want to observe how Apple’s own customers behaved in the past. We might want to use theories of brand value or theories of network effects or theories of software ecosystems.

These measures, rather than of “comparable companies” might lead to different conclusions: That customer are loyal, that they will value the brand and that they are invested in a network. In other words, that they will buy from Apple again.

Why Apple And Google Are Struggling To Design Simple Software, by Hayley Tsukayama, Washington Post

"There’s danger of making things so simple that everyone can use them, because then there's not that much to do and not that much to learn on a device," he said. "And once you’ve made that assertion, you've painted yourself into a corner. And we end up kind of where we are now."

Meanwhile, these challenges are only going to get tougher as digital interfaces show up in more unexpected places — and sometimes with even less real estate than your standard smartphone screen. Communicating effectively is going to be even more key as companies have to convey information on watchfaces, the domes of thermostats or — very crucially, when it comes to clarity — on the dashboard of your car.

It’s Not About The Tools, by Ben Brooks

So when you read my next review, or my next tweet, about some great new thing — just remember that it isn’t about the tools. The tools are just fun and easy to talk about. What you own already isn’t made any worse by virtue of that fact that something better has come along.

On The Other Hand: Buggy Updates

Apple Releases New Version Of iOS 9.3 For Older Devices Affected By Activation Lock Bug, by Juli Clover, MacRumors

Apple today made good on that promise and has released a new version of iOS 9.3, build 13E237, which is now available for all iOS 9 users with older devices as an over-the-air update or through iTunes. Customers with older devices who had not yet updated to iOS 9.3 will be able to do so now.

Unable To Open Links In Safari, Mail Or Messages On iOS 9.3, by Ben Collier

Unfortunately there's no fix for this at the moment although a restart of the OS can temporarily restore links, and turning off JavaScript (Settings -> Safari -> Advanced) allows certain websites, such as Google search results to work again. Apple confirmed these workarounds to me, and hinted there may be a software update to resolve this.

Apple / FBI

U.S. Says It Has Unlocked iPhone Without Apple, by Katie Benner, New York Times

The Justice Department said Monday that it had found a way to unlock an iPhone without help from Apple, allowing the agency to withdraw its legal effort to compel the company to assist in a mass-shooting investigation.

[...] Yet law enforcement’s ability to unlock an iPhone through an alternative method raises new uncertainties, including questions about the strength of Apple’s security on its devices. The development also creates potential for new conflicts between the government and Apple. Lawyers for Apple have previously said that the company would want to know the method used to crack open the device. The government may make that method classified.

Apple: This Case Should Never Have Been Brought, by Rene Ritchie, iMore

"From the beginning, we objected to the FBI's demand that Apple build a backdoor into the iPhone because we believed it was wrong and would set a dangerous precedent. As a result of the government's dismissal, neither of these occurred. This case should never have been brought. [...] This case raised issues which deserve a national conversation about our civil liberties, and our collective security and privacy. Apple remains committed to participating in that discussion."

Apple Likely Can’t Force FBI To Disclose How It Got Data From Seized iPhone, by David Kravets, Ars Technica

A federal law enforcement official requesting anonymity told reporters in a conference call Monday that the US government would not discuss whether it would reveal the method.

Even Better On A Watch?

Using Apps To Ease The Headache Of Navigating Airports, by Jane L. Levere, New York Times

The capability on American’s app — known as “wayfinding” — is part of a growing trend among airlines and airports to use smartphones along with other technologies to make the airport experience smoother and less stressful.


TaskPaper 3 Conceals Its Power Beneath A Simple Interface, by John Voorhees, MacStories

The cornerstone and greatest strength of TaskPaper is plain text, which is portable, adaptable, and as future proof as you can get. Using a simple syntax reminiscent of Markdown and an abundance of keyboard shortcuts, Taskpaper's straightforward interface conceals considerable power under the hood.

Ex-NFL Players Use App To Tackle Health Problem, by CNET

Medical researchers at Harvard University have created an app that lets former players share how on-field injuries may still be affecting their brains and bodies.

Ex-players spend about 20 minutes a week with the app, called TeamStudy, recording their pain tolerance, mobility and memory. The broader public is also encouraged to use the app so researchers can compare the health of nonathletes to that of the former players.

How To Automatically Add Trello Cards To Todoist With iOS, by Allyson Kazmucha, The App Factor


Five Months On The Apple TV App Store, by David Kopec, Observational Hazard

Apple launched the fourth generation Apple TV on October 29th, 2015. That was also the first day of the Apple TV App Store and the first day that my tvOS app, Chess TV!, was available. Chess TV! is an app that I created as a side-project in about 30 hours of my time after receiving a free Apple TV dev kit from Apple prior to the official launch of the device. I have been pleasantly surprised by its sales. This is the story of its first five months.

My Heroic And Lazy Stand Against IFTTT, by Pinboard

In a nutshell: IFTTT wants me to do their job for them for free; They have really squirrely terms of service.

Will Amazon Let Developers Monetize The Echo?, by Stacey Higginbotham, Fortune

Then the real question becomes if companies will use the Echo as a marketing channel or if it can grow into a platform that offers a way to make real dollars.

Textastic 6 — A Universal Code Editor For iOS, by Mikhail Madnani, Beautiful Pixels


Many Companies Still Don’t Know How To Compete In The Digital Age, by Ron Adner, Harvard Business Review

Kodak did the wrenching hard work of changing from an analog-printing profit base to a digital-printing profit base. Yet it still failed. So what went wrong?

Kodak was so focused on its own technology transition that it missed the fact that the improvements in the very same components that gave rise to digital printing would, with further progress, undermine its very basis.

A Garry Shandling Photograph That Closes The Book On A Late-Night Era, by Ian Crouch, New Yorker

But what’s most striking about the image is how it captures, in the faces and manner of the four men, the precise nature of their comedic appeal.

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Yes, today I threw something away because that thing didn't bring me joy.

(Okay, so it was just a can of orange juice.)


I am excited to find out the future of both iOS and Mac OS X.

Windows, not so much.


Thanks for reading.

The Going-Back-To-Paper Edition Monday, March 28, 2016

It’s 2016 Why Can’t Anyone Make A Decent Freaking To-Do App, by David Pierce, Wired

Making and keeping a to-do list is almost as hard as completing the tasks on it. What’s most frustrating is it feels like we should have solved that by now. As work becomes increasingly gig-based, distributed, and complex, people increasingly need time- and task-management tools. For those people, there’s Wunderlist and Todoist and and Asana and Toodledo and Omnifocus and Things and Trello and Clear and Checkvist and Due and TeuxDeux—and those are just the apps on my phone. Tens of millions of people use them, and they’ve attracted hundreds of millions in funding.

Most of the myriad to-do list apps are fine. Some of them are very good. But none of them has ever solved my problem—your problem—of having too much to do, too little time to do it, and a brain incapable of remembering and prioritizing it all. Which explains why the old ways remain so popular.

“A lot of tech people I know are going back to paper,” organization and time-management guru David Allen tells me. “Because a paper planner … there’s still no better tool than a paper planner.”

Back To The Future

Google And Apple: The High-Tech Hippies Of Silicon Valley, by Nikil Saval, New York Times

For all the talk of “disruption” coming out of Silicon Valley, one thing that has tended to remain stubbornly stuck in the past is tech companies’ architecture. Many of today’s most innovative companies are housed in deadly dull, boxy and glassy suburban campuses: Google lives in the rehabbed buildings of long-defunct Silicon Graphics, Facebook in a laboratory from the 1960s. Though the interiors might have advanced lighting systems, state-of-the-art fitness facilities and cafeterias serving farm-to-table fare, the exteriors — flat, unarticulated facades; ribbon windows; hard right angles — could come from any suburban office corridor anywhere in the country, and from any moment in the past half-century.

This is why the recently revealed plans for the new campuses of Google, in Mountain View, Calif., designed by Bjarke Ingels and Thomas Heatherwick, and Apple, in Cupertino, from Sir Norman Foster, are so striking: They, like the companies they will house, point to the future — the future, that is, as it looked in the 1960s. Images of the projected Apple campus — a four-tiered ringlike structure nestled in a thickly wooded landscape — evoke the landing of an alien spaceship. The central structure in Ingels’s and Heatherwick’s design is canopied by a sinuous glass membrane, a protective bubble or amniotic sac, shielding an entire section of the campus — not just buildings but bike paths and desks — while letting the abundant Northern California light stream in. In aerial renderings it looks like larvae, incubating a new and possibly terrifying future.


Some Users Reporting iPhone Crashes On iOS 9.3 When Tapping Links In Safari And Other Apps, by Benjamin Mayo, 9to5Mac

The cause is unknown, but many users are finding themselves unable to open links in Safari, Messages, Mail, Notes and other apps. Instead of visiting the target website, the app crashes, freezes or hangs. Hundreds of reports have already been posted about the iOS 9.3 problem on the Apple Support forums.

How To Customize Your iPhone Vibrations To Tell Who's Calling, by Isabelle Chapman, Mashable


American Tech Giants Face Fight In Europe Over Encrypted Data, by Mark Scott, New York Times

This week, French lawmakers are expected to debate proposals to toughen laws, giving intelligence services greater power to get access to personal data.

The battle has pitted Europe’s fears about the potential for further attacks against concerns from Apple and other American technology giants like Google and Facebook that weakening encryption technologies may create so-called back doors to people’s digital information that could be misused by European law enforcement officials, or even intelligence agencies of unfriendly countries.

Netflix’s Grand, Daring, Maybe Crazy Plan To Conquer The World, by Brian Barrett, Wired

In many ways, Daredevil is the quintessential Netflix property. It exhibits enough violence and language to give it a sense of edge—you won’t find too many bad guys hanging from meat hooks on CBS—while still falling comfortably short of triggering major parental concern. It balances critical success with pulp appeal. Most of all, though, it’s a Marvel product, which means it has built-in international recognition.

How The iPhone Changed TV, by Randy Cooke, Ad Exchanger

The true value proposition of TV Everywhere isn’t that people can stream content on their phone, but that their entire video libraries are with them anywhere they go.

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This morning, I woke up in the middle of the night, at 3.30am, and simply couldn't get back to sleep. Many of this morning buses were too crowded for me to even get on. And I lost my appetite during lunch, and so ate only a little, but my hunger came back in full force even before 3.30pm.



Thanks for reading.

The Djinn's-Shattered-Bottle Edition Sunday, March 27, 2016

This War On Math Is Still Bullshit, by Jon Evans, TechCrunch

Let us focus on that unfortunate but inarguable truth. Let us not talk about government overreach, or technology trumping law, or libertarianism, or the crypto wars of the 90s. Let’s focus on how encryption is merely math, which anyone can do, and let’s explain how world-class “military-grade” implementations of that math are already available, for free, to anyone and everyone. Whether you like it or not, that djinn is well and truly out of its shattered bottle, and no “elegant solution” might squeeze it back in. No one can win a war on math, so please let’s not start one. Everyone will lose.

Beyond Surveillance: What Could Happen If Apple Loses To The FBI, by Danny Yadron, The Guardian

It’s about who can manipulate the 1s and 0s that control our ever-increasing number of devices that track how we drive, when we’re home and if the door is locked.

“We already have a hard enough time trusting our technology and understanding what it’s doing,” says Soltani, who worked on regulation for the Federal Trade Commission with a brief stint at the White House. “What the government is asking Apple to do in some way is to further undermine that.”

Your Favorite Neighborhood Fruit Company

Apple Expansion 'Game Changer' For Cupertino, San Jose, Sunnyvale, by George Avalos, San Jose Mercury News

Apple's plans for a new "spaceship" campus in Cupertino are certain to create an attention-getting headquarters icon and another Silicon Valley landmark, but the company's push into neighboring cities such as San Jose and Sunnyvale is likely to also transform those communities with dramatic new office complexes and high-paying jobs.

Fake Jobs In Real Startup

My Year In Startup Hell, by Dan Lyons, Fortune

If you made a movie about a laid-off, sad-sack, fiftysomething guy who is given one big chance to start his career over, the opening scene might begin like this: a Monday morning in April, sunny and cool, with a brisk wind blowing off the Charles River in Cambridge, Mass.  The man—gray hair, unstylishly cut; horn-rimmed glasses; button-down shirt—pulls his Subaru Outback into a parking garage and, palms a little sweaty, grabs his sensible laptop backpack and heads to the front door of a gleaming, renovated historic redbrick building. It is April 15, 2013, and that man is me. I’m heading for my first day of work at HubSpot, the first job I’ve ever had that wasn’t in a newsroom.


OS X 10.11 (El Capitan): Finder Fails To Record First Few Keystrokes Typed Immediately After Creating New Folder, by Pierre Igot, Betalogue

How on earth is this acceptable in a modern operating system? It’s one thing to have speed/responsiveness issues. It’s quite another to fail to include standard features such as a keyboard buffer in order to minimize the impact of such issues on the actual usability of the software.

Flip Into The Digital Era Of Fashion, by Faye Harris, Huffington Post

The news and magazine application that’s operable on a smartphone, tablet, and desktop will provide a visual voice for the students using cutting-edge digital and social media skills, quintessential to an increasingly image-driven culture. Digital magazines have an important place in the world of fashion and social media, says Mia Quagliarello, Head of Curation and Community at Flipboard. “They are an effortless and beautiful way to package and share classwork and social media activity, publicly or in private groups.”

Moments App Beneficial For Sharing Photos, by Melissa Parker, Flor-Ala


The Dream Of Usable Email Encryption Is Still A Work In Progress, by Lorenzo Franceschi-Bicchierai, Motherboard

Now, it’s been almost two years, and encryption is making headlines thanks to the public fight between the FBI and Apple over the iPhone of one of the San Bernardino shooters. The controversial case has prompted several tech companies not only to support Apple in court, but also promise even more encryption in their services.

Yet, Google and Yahoo’s projects on secure end-to-end encrypted email have yet to see the light of day. That’s why some are starting to question how much Google and Yahoo really care about making this happen.

Layoffs, by Keith Gregory

Layoffs are a coldly rational response to the prospect of running out of money. Sometimes they happen well in advance of a crisis, sometimes they happen when the company is on the brink of bankruptcy. But in either case, being laid off simply means that the skills you bring to the table are perceived as being less valuable than the associated cost of your salary and benefits. I realize that's not much comfort when you're the person being laid off.


The Race Is On To Control Artificial Intelligence, And Tech’s Future, by John Markoff and Steve Lohr, New York Times

If true believers in A.I. are correct that this long-promised technology is ready for the mainstream, the company that controls A.I. could steer the tech industry for years to come.

The Tesla Dividend: Better Internet Access, by Susan Crawford, BackChannel

For all those cars to do their jobs, we’re going to need fiber high-speed Internet access connections deep into every neighborhood in the country.

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Software is hard.


Thanks for reading.

The Sales-System Edition Saturday, March 26, 2016

iPad Finds Niche In Restaurants And Stores, by Troy Wolverton, San Jose Mercury News

Startup companies have been designing applications that allow the iPad to be used as a sales system since soon after the first one hit store shelves in 2010. But the use of the device in restaurants and retailers has been gaining increasing momentum.

Actual numbers in use are hard to come by, but it's becoming more and more common to see them being used in both small and large stores. The Waffle House restaurant chain, for example, has rolled out an iPad-based cash register system at hundreds of its locations around the country.

San Francisco Tech Company Revel Systems To Open Dallas Office, Hire 40 People, by Melissa Repko, Dallas Morning News

Updating The Updates

Apple Addresses GSM iPad 2 Activation Bug With Revised iOS 9.3, But Broader Issue Remains Unfixed, by Juli Clover, MacRumors

The second activation bug, which spurred Apple to stop signing iOS 9.3 for multiple products yesterday, prevents older device owners from activating their iPhones and iPads if they can't remember the Apple ID and password originally used to set up the device.

While the iPad 2 iOS 9.3 update fixes the first activation issue, it does not address the second activation bug that affects many more devices. Apple has not resumed signing iOS 9.3 for older devices, so many customers who have an iPad Air or earlier, iPad mini 2 or earlier, or iPhone 5s or earlier are not able to download and install iOS 9.3 if they have not done so already.

Special Edition

This Is What Using The New Small iPhone Is Actually Like, by Nicole Bguyen, BuzzFeed

I pulled out the SE and started swiping through Snapchat filters like a boss. My thumb could actually reach the top and bottom of the screen, without affecting the grip on my phone.

Review: iPhone SE Puts The Same Engine In A Smaller Exterior, by David Pogue, Yahoo!

The $400 for this Smartphone Extraordinaire is a Smart Expenditure. On one hand, it still has the Sharp Edges of the iPhone 5s, and its addition to the lineup will remind critics of Samsung’s Excess. On the other hand, its 1.5-day battery life means that it only Sips Energy. This is a piece of very Solid Equipment, even if it is a Special Edition for people with Small Extremities.


Understanding The Junk Mail Indicators, by Jerry King, Naples Daily News

The application is using an adaptive form of artificial intelligence that can be "trained" to best match what you believe is "junk".


To Optional Or Not To Optional: IBOutlet, by Curtis Herbert

UIKit was written during the era of nil messaging, and I've come to realize it isn't safe to 100% assume IBOutlets can't be nil. Going forward I'll be using optionals for my IBOutlets. I have a task in my bug tracker to scrub all my IBOutlets to covert them from implicitly unwrapped to standard optionals. A few extra question marks never hurt anyone; I'd rather my app not crash.


Apple Seeks Delay In NYC iPhone Case Until FBI Tests New Unlocking Method, by Dawn Chmielewski, Re/code

Apple says the government’s new approach for unlocking the iPhone used by one of the San Bernardino attackers may eliminate the need for the company’s help in a similar case in New York.

The company on Thursday asked a federal judge in Brooklyn for a pause in the case to determine whether this technique, proposed by an unidentified third party, might also give law enforcement access to the iPhone used in a New York drug trafficking case.

Smartwatches And The Three-second Rule, by Dieter Bohn, The Verge

I don’t want more features in my smartwatch, I want fewer of them. I want focus. The things that people actually like about their smartwatches are precisely the things that work instantly, without waiting for a spinning wheel.

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I do wonder how difficult or easy it is to run a bookshop online if profitability is not really a priority.


On a related note, I notice nothing much seems to be happening to Apple's iBook store.


Thanks for reading.

The New-Build Edition Friday, March 25, 2016

Apple Releases New Build Of iOS 9.3 For Users Of iPad 2 Affected By Bricking Bug, by Chance Miller, 9to5Mac

Apple, just hours after it confirmed issues relating to iOS 9.3 on the iPad 2, has released a new build of the operating system for the device. Carrying build number 13E236, the update appears to be rolling out to iPad 2 users now. Presumably, it’s the same build that was released to everyone earlier this week, just with the activation issues fixed.

Making Things

How The iPad Pro Changed My Illustrating Career, by Zoe Olson, Medium

I am a simple 15-year-old who has loved to doodle for as long as she can remember. I adored my first generation iPad mini, so when the iPad Pro came out I decided I could use an upgrade. What an upgrade!!

I fell in love even before the Pencil arrived, and once it came I was hopeless, drowning in the magic of it all and never coming back.

Apple’s First Foray Into Original TV Is A Series About Apps, by Emily Steel, New York Times

Apple announced on Thursday that it was working with the entertainer and two veteran TV executives, Ben Silverman and Howard T. Owens, on a new show that will spotlight the app economy.

“One of the things with the app store that was always great about it was the great ideas that people had to build things and create things,” Eddy Cue, Apple’s senior vice president of Internet software and services, said in an interview.

How To Kiss

Apple Shares New Apple TV Ad ‘The Kiss’ Highlighting The Siri Remote, by Chance Miller, 9to5Mac

The ad features an appearance of HBO series Game of Thrones and shows using the Apple TV Siri Remote to do things like rewind content and find more content to watch. For instance, the remote is used to say “Siri, go back 7 seconds,” as well as “Siri, show me Game of Thrones.” Furthermore, Apple Music integration is highlighted, with the Siri Remote being used to play a song by artist Jeremih.


Apple Music For Android Updated With New Homescreen Widget, More, by Chance Miller, 9to5Mac

Today’s update adds yet another feature that isn’t supported on iOS: the ability for users to add an Apple Music widget to their homescreen.

iTunes U For iOS Adds Support For Managed Apple IDs, Shared iPad Optimization, & Spotlight Search, by Zac Hall, 9to5Mac

App Spots Objects For The Visually Impaired, by Rachel Metz, MIT Technology Review

Walking around my office on a recent morning, a female voice on my iPhone narrated the objects I passed. “Brick,” “wall,” “telephone,” she said matter-of-factly. The voice paused when I came upon a bike hung on a wall-mounted rack, then intoned, “bicycle.”

The voice is part of a free image-recognition app called Aipoly that’s trying to make it easier for those with vision impairments to recognize their surroundings. To use it, you point the phone’s rear camera at whatever you want it to identify, and Aipoly will speak what it sees (or, at least, what it thinks it sees) and show the object’s name on the phone’s display. Aipoly runs directly on your phone, so it doesn’t need Internet access to work, and it can identify one object after another as you move the phone around, without requiring you to snap a photo of each thing.

Mellel Lite Is Solid, No-frills Mac OS X Word Processor, by Dennie Sellers, Apple World Today

It packs many features of its big brother, Mellel, with the exception of some "expert" options. It's a "lite" but not lightweight version of the veteran word processor.

Cosmic-Watch (For iPad), by Tony Hoffman, PC Magazine

Cosmic Watch has three main modes: Clock Mode, Astronomy Mode, and Astrology Mode. From the Home screen you can access them from buttons running down the screen's left-hand edge, with icons depicting a digital clock, stars, and planets, respectively. Above them is yet another button, labeled Cosmic Watch, which resets the app to basic Clock Mode, removing any gridlines, names, coordinates, or other overlays you may have added.

This iPhone And Android App Lets You Play Golf In The Middle Of A City, by Vaughn Highfield, Alphr

As part of the World Golf Championships-Dell Match Play, Dell decided it was time to bring golf into the streets and let Match Play users play golf while exploring Austin, Texas in the process.

These Apps Promise To Encrypt Your Smartphone Communications, by Kit Eaton, New York Times


​Apple's Swift Comes To Linux, by Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols, ZDNet


Apple And Google Among Firms Calling For Changes To Snooper's Charter, by Alex Hern, The Guardian

The firms warn that “important amendments are required” to create a bill that will not set dangerous precedents “which may be copied elsewhere and have wider ramifications for all parties, both in the UK and overseas”.

Facebook, Google, Microsoft, Twitter and Yahoo, who had teamed up for an earlier group submission, were joined for the first time by Apple, which had previously insisted on going it alone in its efforts to lobby the British parliament.

Apple-FBI Battle Is Over But Silicon Valley Is Still Preparing For The Privacy War, by Seth Fiegerman, Mashable

Apple now knows it has friends if it needs them. Google, Facebook, Microsoft, Amazon and many others had filed legal briefs in support of Apple, effectively fortifying its position in the courts ahead of this week's showdown.

But many of the companies that backed Apple went quiet in the aftermath of the FBI's decision.

In Shift To Streaming, Music Business Has Lost Billions, by Ben Sisario and Karl Russell, New York Times

There is plenty of good news in the music industry’s latest sales report released this week. Streaming is up. Vinyl has continued its unlikely renaissance. And did we mention that streaming is up?

But a closer look shows that the big sales numbers that have sustained the recorded music business for years are way down, and it is hard to see how they could ever return to where they were even a decade ago.

Bottom of the Page

I wish I can find something to do, to create, on the iPad. There's no Xcode on iOS, yet. What else can I do?


I think it is true. Food tasted better when I was younger.


Thanks for reading.

The Broken-Crypto Edition Thursday, March 24, 2016

Some Mac Users Unable To Log Into iMessage And FaceTime Following OS X 10.11.4 Update, by Juli Clover, MacRumors

The majority of the complaints are coming from users who did a fresh install of OS X, requiring them to log into the FaceTime and iMessage services. When attempting to sign in, an error pops up or nothing happens after entering an Apple ID and password, as seen in the video below. Customers who have recently purchased a new Mac also appear to be affected, and while most customers with login problems seem to be running OS X 10.11.4, there are also reports from those using earlier versions of OS X.

iMessage Crypto Fundamentally Broken, Apple Must Replace It, Say Researchers, by Lucian Armasu, Tom's Hardware

The flaws that were found allow more sophisticated attackers to decrypt picture and video attachments from iMessage. Although this attack has been made more difficult on recent iOS devices thanks to certificate pinning, someone with access to Apple’s servers could still intercept and decrypt those attachments. End-to-end encryption is not supposed to be affected by a server hack, which is why at this point iMessage’s “end-to-end encrypted” benefit is put into question.

Green did praise iMessage for being the first widely used messenger to even come close to end-to-end encryption back in 2011, at a time when most people were still using SMS texts and completely unencrypted messengers. However, iMessage has always had a centralized key server, which is a major weakness and a “feature” that’s not common on end-to-end encrypted services.

Zero Day

SentinelOne Finds Apple OS X Zero Day Bug, by Michael Hill, Info Security

The zero day vulnerability is a non-memory corruption bug present in every version of OS X and allows users to execute arbitrary code on any binary. It can bypass the key security feature of SIP, which is designed to stop potentially malicious software from modifying protected files and folders, protecting systems from anyone who has root access, authorized or not.

In order to exploit the vulnerability, an attacker must first compromise the target system, which they could do with a spear phishing attack or by exploiting the user’s browser, for example. SentinelOne says the vulnerability is logic-based, extremely reliable and stable, and does not crash machines or processes – the kind of exploit that could be used in highly targeted or state sponsored attacks.

Apple / FBI

Apple Wasn't 'Flouting' iPhone Order, Judge Says, by Josh Gerstein and Tony Romm, Politico

“I certainly don't think, let me just comment, that Apple's been flouting the order,” Magistrate Judge Sheri Pym said Monday, according to a transcript obtained by POLITICO. “The order, essentially … pending a final decision, there's not really — it's not in a stage that it could be enforced at this point,” Pym said.

Israeli Firm Helping FBI To Open Encrypted iPhone: Report, by Tova Cohen, Reuters

Israel's Cellebrite, a provider of mobile forensic software, is helping the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation's attempt to unlock an iPhone used by one of the San Bernardino, California shooters, the Yedioth Ahronoth newspaper reported on Wednesday.

Thank You For Hacking iPhone, Now Tell Apple How You Did It, by Chris Strohm, Jordan Robertson, and Michael Riley, Bloomberg

The FBI’s new tactic may be subject to a relatively new and little-known rule that would require the government to tell Apple about any vulnerability potentially affecting millions of iPhones unless it can show a group of administration officials that there’s a substantial national security need to keep the flaw secret. This process, known as an equities review, was created by the Obama administration to determine if new security flaws should be kept secret or disclosed, and gives the government a specific time frame for alerting companies to the flaws.

[...] The FBI declined to comment on whether the review process will be used in the Apple dispute. Apple lawyers on Monday said that if the case proceeds, the company would want the government to share the nature of the vulnerability it found in the iPhone.

The Sims

Explainer Alert! Here’s What The iPad Pro’s Embedded Apple SIM Means For You, by Matthew Panzarino, TechCrunch

All iPad Pro 9.7″ devices have a SIM slot right on the exterior and you can put another carrier’s SIM in that slot even if the iPad Pro’s embedded Apple SIM itself has been locked to AT&T. In other words, the internal SIM may be locked, but you can “switch” carriers by using another physical SIM that you buy — the device itself is never locked.


Vice And Apple Music Launch The Score, A Docu-series About Local Music Scenes, by Jordan Crook, TechCrunch

Vice and Apple Music are teaming up to release a new docu-series that takes a hard look at some of the most interesting local music scenes in the world.

How To Set Up Medical ID On Your iPhone, by Dennis Sellers, Apple World Today

It allows you to enter info about yourself that can be useful during medical emergencies. This includes the name and phone number of a family member or friend that you want to be contacted in the event that you have a medical crisis.

Apple’s Lightning To USB 3 Adapter Brings iPad Podcasting One Step Closer, by Jason Snell, Six Colors

So there’s more work to do on this front, but this new adapter removes another barrier. Podcasters like me are now one step closer to the dream of doing it all on iOS. I hope Apple eliminates the final roadblock with iOS 10 this fall. Until then, my MacBook Air will be mandatory equipment whenever I’m traveling and podcasting simultaneously.

Apple Is Selling Microsoft Office 365 As An Accessory For The iPad Pro, by James Vincent, The Verge

As part of the ordering process for the new iPad Pro, buyers are given the option of adding a subscription for Office 365 — the only non-Apple accessory to appear in the order form. Office 365 bundles in the mobile apps and full Mac versions of a number of old standbys, including Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and OneNote. (You can also choose between the Home, Personal, and University tiers, each of which offers different features.)

Apple's iPhone SE And 9.7-inch iPad Pro Now Available For Preorder In 13 Territories, by AppleInsider

AI-Powered Apps That’ll School You In The Ways Of Chess And Go, by April Glaser, Wired

I started playing chess against artificial intelligence in mobile apps a few years ago, out of curiosity as much as anything else. But my curiosity quickly turned to timid admiration. Without any ambition or intention to do so, by playing the computer, I improved. Dramatically. If you engage in some human-computer play, you can improve too. And all you need is a smartphone or a tablet.

Denver Entrepreneur Creates App To Help Those With OCD, by Mary Clare Fischer, 5280


Macs Dent The Enterprise, But Not By Much, by Esther Shein, Computerworld

Thanks in part to the corporate BYOD movement, Apple's AppleCare service and support plan, and just plain old demand, enterprises are more steadily adopting Macs in their organizations. Those factors, coupled with Apple's partnership with IBM last year to develop a set of business apps for the iPhone and iPad, are leading Apple to make strides in the enterprise. That said, industry observers don't believe Macs will be overtaking PCs anytime soon.

Report: Apple Developing At Least 6 Cloud Infrastructure Projects Incl. Servers To Prevent Snooping, by Jordan Kahn, 9to5Mac

And when it comes to building its own servers, the report claims that Apple is partly motivated by the fact that it believes the servers it receives from third-parties have been “intercepted during shipping, with additional chips and firmware added to them by unknown third parties in order to make them vulnerable to infiltration.”

Intel’s ‘Tick-Tock’ Seemingly Dead, Becomes ‘Process-Architecture-Optimization’, by Ian Cutress, Anandtech

Intel’s latest 10-K / annual report filing would seem to suggest that the ‘Tick-Tock’ strategy of introducing a new lithographic process note in one product cycle (a ‘tick’) and then an upgraded microarchitecture the next product cycle (a ‘tock’) is going to fall by the wayside for the next two lithographic nodes at a minimum, to be replaced with a three element cycle known as ‘Process-Architecture-Optimization’.

Rumor of the Day

Apple Pay Coming To Mobile Websites Before Holiday Shopping Season, by Jason Del Rey, Re/code

Apple has been telling potential partners that its payment service, which lets shoppers complete a purchase on mobile apps with their fingerprint rather than by entering credit card details, is expanding to websites later this year, multiple sources told Re/code.

The service will be available to shoppers using the Safari browser on models of iPhones and iPads that possess Apple’s TouchID fingerprint technology, these people said. Apple has also considered making the service available on Apple laptops and desktops, too, though it’s not clear if the company will launch that capability.

Bottom of the Page

Still waiting for Apple Pay to work here in Singapore...


Thanks for reading.

The Oceans-Of-Data Edition Wednesday, March 23, 2016

The New iPhone Application Aims Postpartum Depression Study, by Ray Courtney, Albany Daily Star

Postpartum depression (PPD) is constantly feeling down or anxious after the birth of a child. According to clinicians and scientists from the University of North Carolina, PPD is a common form of depression that affects at least one in every eight women after the birth of their child.

A new app has developed by researchers at the University of North Carolina for the purposeful of potentially finding genetic clues about postpartum depression. PPD ACT, free and available for iPhone, will be part of Apple’s ResearchKit and will ask users a series of questions about anxiety and sadness after pregnancy in order to assess postpartum depression.

We’re More Honest With Our Phones Than With Our Doctors, by Jenna Wortham, New York Times

Even today, it’s difficult for women to get a sense of what’s normal and what isn’t. When my friends and I talk about our bodies, we compare feedback from physicians, all of which seems to be slightly different; we warn one another about conditions like uterine fibroids and share horror stories about different methods of contraception. There still seems to be a combination of prudishness and ignorance around the unique, and sometimes idiosyncratic, functions of the female body — which is shocking, considering half the world is born with one.

But in recent years, mobile technology has granted me and countless others the ability to collect an unprecedented amount of information about our habits and well-being. Our phones don’t just keep us in touch with the world; they’re also diaries, confessional booths, repositories for our deepest secrets. Which is why researchers are leaping at the chance to work with the oceans of data we are generating, hoping that within them might be the answers to questions medicine has overlooked or ignored.

‘Fitbit For Your Period’: The Rise Of Fertility Tracking, by Moira Weigel, The Guardian

Investors are pouring money into apps that allow women to track their fertility. Can tech companies use data to change the world of women’s reproductive health?

The Smaller Pro

Latest iPad Pro Makes It Even Easier To Switch Wireless Carriers, by Ina Fried, Re/code

Hidden inside Apple’s new iPad Pro is a tiny component that could help further erode the notion of devices being tied to just one network.

The cellular versions of the new 9.7-inch tablet will ship with the built-in ability to let consumers choose from roughly 100 carriers when traveling overseas.

A Day With The 9.7-inch iPad Pro And Its Accessories, by Andrew Cunningham, Ars Technica

Having half the RAM of the larger version is a bummer, but in most other ways it's still best described as a smaller version of the big iPad Pro.

The 9.7-inch iPad Pro And The Missing USB 3 Speed, by Jeff Carlson

I don’t know Apple’s reasoning for demoting this promising new iPad in this way. Perhaps it’s a component space issue, having less room to fill compared to the 12.9-inch model. I hope it’s not a case of Apple wanting to eke out an extra 97-cents of profit by using cheaper parts. Is it an incentive to convince customers to spend more by buying a 12.9-inch iPad Pro? I hope to find out.

Smaller iPad Pro Can Use Microsoft Office For Free, While Larger iPad Can't, by Mark Hachman, Macworld

If you own a larger iPad Pro, Microsoft will require you to pay for an Office 365 subscription. But Microsoft's licensing loophole exempts the new, smaller tablet.

Will An iPad Air 2 Case Fit On The 9.7-inch iPad Pro?, by Roman Loyola, Macworld

Apple confirmed that the magnet alignment is different with the Smart Connector on the 9.7-inch iPad Pro, so using the iPad Air Smart Cover on a 9.7-inch iPad Pro is not recommended.

Meet Liam

Inside Liam, Apple's Super-secret, 29-armed Robot That Tears Down Your iPhone, by Samantha Murphy Kelly, Mashable

As we walk toward the warehouse, the doors automatically lift from above. Inside, boxes crowd the space. But positioned a few steps beyond the entrance is what we’ve come here to see: a large machine, encased in glass, that occupies almost the full width of the facility.

"This is Liam."

Apple Posts Three Exclusive ‘Environmental’ iPhone And iPad Wallpapers On Its Website, by Benjamin Mayo, 9to5Mac

As part of Apple’s Renew program, where the company is encouraging people to recycle their old devices to help the environment, Apple has posted some exclusive environmental wallpaper to download on its website. The URL ( is given out on cards in Apple Stores to people who recycle their old device in store, as a small gesture of appreciation.

However, the URL is open to anyone to visit and download some cute, exclusive, iOS 9 wallpaper that isn’t included in the default list of iOS wallpaper …


DeskConnect Brings Fast File Transfers Between iOS And OS X, by Federico Viticii, MacStories

DeskConnect's premise is easy to grasp: it's a web service that moves data between devices in near real-time thanks to the cloud and push notifications. DeskConnect can push text, links, images, the contents of the system clipboard, as well as files.

DO Note By IFTTT (For iPhone), by Eric Griffith, PC Magazine

DO Note gives you an ultra-simple way to get textual missives out into the world, whether they're for personal use or public consumption.

Novel iPhone Study To Investigate Genetic Risks Of Postpartum Depression, by Jennifer James, MedicalXpress

Researchers from the University of North Carolina (UNC) School of Medicine and the international Postpartum Depression: Action Towards Causes and Treatment (PACT) Consortium unveiled a free iPhone app today to engage women in a genetics research study about postpartum depression (PPD). The study aims to help researchers understand why some women suffer from PPD and others do not – critical knowledge to help researchers find more effective treatments.


Xcode Upgrades: Lessons Learned, by Erica Sadun

This is why you should always wait for a DMG. No matter how long it takes to appear on the developer site. No matter how slow the download ends up being. The advantages of downloading a DMG are numerous.


Apple Policy On Bugs May Explain Why Hackers Would Help F.B.I., by Nicole Perlroth and Katie Benner, New York Times

After a third party went to the F.B.I. with claims of being able to unlock an iPhone, many in the security industry said they were not surprised that the third party did not go to Apple.

For all the steps Apple has taken to encrypt customers’ communications and its rhetoric around customer privacy, security experts said the company was still doing less than many competitors to seal up its systems from hackers. And when hackers do find flaws in Apple’s code, they have little incentive to turn them over to the company for fixing.

Apple's Encryption Fight Is Far From Over, by David Goldman, CNNMoney

Apple's closely watched fight with the FBI over a San Bernardino terrorist's iPhone may not take place after all. But the bigger battle is far from over.

Password-Stealing Instagram App 'InstaAgent' Reappears In App Store Under New Name, by Juli Clover, MacRumors

It now appears Turker Bayram, the developer behind the app has managed to get two new apps approved by Apple, (and Google) both of which are stealing Instagram account info.

The Uber Model, It Turns Out, Doesn’t Translate, by Farhad Manjoo, New York Times

Across a variety of on-demand apps, prices are rising, service is declining, business models are shifting, and, in some cases, companies are closing down. Here is what we are witnessing: the end of the on-demand dream.

Bottom of the Page

Will there be a MacBook with two USB-C ports? Will Xcode be ported to iOS? Will there be a new file system?

It's time for WWDC rumors.



Thanks for reading.

The Cozy-Get-Together Edition Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Tea And Scones In Cupertino: The “Loop You In” Apple Event, by Jason Snell, Six Colors

When Apple wants to throw a big coming-out party for a product, it does it in style, renting out the Yerba Buena theater, or Moscone West, or the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium, or the Flint Center, or the California Theater.

When it doesn’t, it holds an event in the tiny Town Hall venue. Monday was one of those. When Stephen Hackett and I recapped Town Hall’s history, I was struck by something Steve Jobs said at an event in 2006: he introduced the event by saying the products on display would be “medium scale.” Talk about setting expectations.

Monday’s event wasn’t quite that—a new iPhone of any kind and a new flagship iPad certainly deserve a bit more credit—but it was still a Town Hall event. A cozy get-together, not a blow-out rager.

iPad Pro (The Smaller One)

Apple Announces 9.7 Inch iPad Pro, Targeting Existing iPad And Windows Users, by Benjamin Mayo, 9to5Mac

It features much of the same internals as its 12.9 inch cousin, with A9X chip, Apple Pencil support and Smart Connector. Although in most respects, the iPad Pro is the same as its big brother it features significant upgrades in the camera department. [...] Along with the smaller hardware, Apple is also releasing a new smaller Smart Keyboard to fit. Existing Apple Pencils are compatible with the new device. Apple is describing the iPad Pro as an ultimate PC replacement.

The New iPad Pro 9.7-inch Is A Very Powerful iPad, by Dieter Bohn, The Verge

That naming is a signal: Apple wants you to think of these like computers now. You think of them in terms of screen size, not in terms of how many versions have been released. And so here is just the iPad Pro, and it is a very very good iPad. An iPad so powerful that you could compare it to a computer — especially since you can get a keyboard and an Apple Pencil to do more advanced stuff with it.

New iPad Pro Accessories Include Powered USB Camera Adapter, Lightning To USB-C Cable, by Jared Dipane, iMore

Apple has announced a new set of accessories for the iPad Pro line of tablets, powered USB camera adapters. This adds a powered USB port to your iPad Pro, allowing you to connect things like a USB Ethernet adapter, podcasting mic and more.

There Are Now 1 Million iPad Apps, by Jacob Kastrenakes, The Verge

At this point, the iPad is nearly six years old — about the same age the iPhone was when the App Store hit 1 million. Apple is still fighting for its tablet to be seen as a device that can truly be used for creation, rivaling a laptop, and it's the increasingly good apps made for it that help make that a compelling argument.

Apple Pencil Replacement Tips Now For Sale In Packs Of Four, by AppleInsider

As avid artists know, Apple Pencil's nib, while sturdy, is not designed for a lifetime of use. The synthetic tips are a bit malleable so as to provide friction for a natural feel, but this comes at the cost of durability.

Apple's Free Classroom App Turns An iPad Into A Teaching Assistant For Educators, by Dennis Sellers, Apple World Today

The free app is designed to “turn your iPad into a powerful teaching assistant,” helping a teacher guide students through a lesson, see their progress, and keep them on track. With Classroom, you can launch the same app on every student device at the same time or launch a different app for each group of students.

iPhone SE (The Smaller One)

Apple Unveils The New 4-inch ‘iPhone SE’, by Jordan Kahn, 9to5Mac

The new iPhone SE’s major upgrades include Apple’s A9 chip and M9 motion coprocessor, since the design is mostly identical to the iPhone 5s apart from the new rose gold color as expected. Apple noted that the upgraded internals give the iPhone SE the same graphics and processing performance as the iPhone 6S.

The other big upgrade for the iPhone SE, as expected, is a new 4K-capable 12MP iSight camera with Retina Flash, Focus Pixels, True Tone Flash, and a new image signal processor. That gives the device support for 4k video, 1080p at up to 60fps, slo-mo up to 240 fps, and Panoramas up to 63MP.

Why The Small iPhone Is A Big Deal, by Vlad Savoy, The Verge

The most important thing about the new iPhone SE is its price, which starts at $399 in the United States. This is the cheapest launch price for any new iPhone model, outdoing even the supposedly budget iPhone 5C.

Apple’s Small Flagship Phone Is A Much-needed Course Correction, by Andrew Cunningham, Ars Technica

It’s a high-end option for people who want a new phone but don’t want to deal with a bigger phone. It’s remarkable primarily because most smartphone manufacturers have completely abandoned smaller high-end phones as they’ve chased bigger screens.

Apple Expands iPhone Silicone/leather Case Options, Confirms iPhone SE Cases Will Fit 5/5s, by Zac Hall, 9to5Mac

The Apple-branded iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus leather and silicone cases now come in a variety of new color options. Also available are new iPhone SE cases fit for the new 4-inch iPhone, which Apple says will also fit the iPhone 5 and iPhone 5s which has the same design.

iPhone SE Priced At Premium Outside Of United States, by Joe Rossignol, MacRumors

But in many other launch countries around the world, the new 4-inch smartphone carries a sizeable premium beyond foreign currency exchange rates and taxes.

Apple Watch (Same Sizes, New Colors)

Apple Watch Now $299, Available With New Bands, by Micah Singleton, The Verge

The company also showed off a slew of new bands for the Apple Watch, a new space black version of the milanese loop, which leaked back in January, new colors for the sport and leather bands, and a new woven nylon band. The new nylon band features a "four layer construction" and will come in seven different colors.

New Systems

iOS 9.3 Is Available Now With New Night Shift Feature, by Tom Warren, The Verge

While it's only a minor release, it does have a surprising amount of features for iPads and iPhones. The biggest addition is a new Night Shift mode that shifts the color temperature of the display based on the time and location of your device. It's very similar to the popular F.lux tool, and it works by reducing the amount of blue light emitting from the screen. It's believed that exposure to bright blue light in the evening can make it harder to sleep, so you can automatically schedule Night Shift to turn on in the evenings.

Alongside Night Shift, Apple is also improving the security of its Notes app and adding some multi-user support for iOS.

Night Shift Automatic Sunrise/Sunset Schedule Missing In iOS 9.3? Here’s The Fix, by Benjamin Mayo, 9to5Mac

The Night Shift Sunrise and Sunset schedule uses Location Services to determine the timezone of the device, allowing it to calculate the right times to turn the feature on and off. Anything to do with Location Services is controlled by Privacy toggles in Settings. It turns out that some iOS users had turned off the ‘Setting Time Zone’ permission before updating to iOS 9.3, which means the Sunrise/Sunset feature is not possible and thus does not show in the settings pane.

Safari Can Open Twitter Links Again After Latest OS X Update, by Sam Byford and Micah Singleton, The Verge

As for the rest of El Capitan version 10.11.4, it is said to work better with Live Photos in the Messages and Photos apps, and the gif-like photos can now be AirDropped between the two operating systems.

Apple TV Gets Support For Folders, Dictation And Live Photos, by Frederic Lardinois, TechCrunch

Now, you can use your voice to enter text on your Apple TV, but maybe most importantly, you can also use this for usernames and passwords.

watchOS 2.2 Is Now Available, Apple Watch Gains Enhanced Maps App + Multi-watch Pairing Support, by Zac Hall, 9to5Mac

Starting with watchOS 2.2, iPhones running iOS 9.3 or later can pair and swap between multiple Apple Watch models; changing between Apple Watch models previously required a lengthy unpairing and re-pairing process. Apple Watch users will also notice an enhanced Maps app and more starting with the watchOS 2.2 update.

New Kit

Apple Unveils CareKit, An Open Source Framework For Making Health Apps, by Beth Mole, Ars Technica

Today, Apple introduced the open source software framework CareKit, which can be used to develop healthcare apps. Apple plans to release the software in April, and the company said the software is aimed at making things easier for users to track their health and monitor symptoms, medications, and treatment responses and then quickly share that data with medical professionals and loved ones.

Apple’s CareKit Is The Best Argument Yet For Strong Encryption, by Brian Barrett, Wired

This is powerful stuff. And the iPhone makes for an ideal health care aide, thanks to its motion-tracking M-series coprocessor suite of sensors, and its huge install base. There’s no limit to what people with serious medical conditions can track, and no cap on how useful an iOS device might be in coping with the day-to-day realities of illness. Our phones, if they didn’t already, will know more about us than we know about ourselves.

It’s the sort of information you can’t provide unless you know that it will be protected, and the kind of data you can’t collect unless you know you can protect it. The sort of information that simply can’t be given or received without strong encryption. It’s not simply a matter of giving up a sent message or a private photo. It’s an intimate record of your health, in some cases, presumably, down to the second.

Apple And The Earth

Apple SVP Lisa Jackson Details Apple’s Environmental Effort Including Recycling Program During Event, by Gerg Barbosa, 9to5Mac

Jackson announced that 93% of its operations are running on renewable energy worldwide. A total of 23 countries, including United States and China are utilizing 100% renewable energy.

Apple Tackles E-Waste With iPhone Recycling Robot 'Liam', by Tim Hardwick, MacRumors

The robot, called 'Liam', was introduced in a video showing how it deftly deconstructs an iPhone in order to repurpose a range of materials.


FBI Says It Might Be Able To Break Into Seized iPhone, Judge Cancels Order To Aid Decryption, by David Kravets, Ars Technica

The Federal Bureau of Investigation said Monday that it might be able to break into the seized iPhone at the center of an encryption battle with Apple. That is why it wants a federal judge overseeing the litigation to vacate Tuesday's hearing on whether Apple should assist the authorities in bypassing the four-digit passcode on the iPhone used by San Bernardino terrorist Syed Farook, according to court documents filed Monday.

[...] US Magistrate Sheri Pym agreed to cancel Tuesday's hearing and tentatively stayed an earlier order requiring Apple to assist the FBI in unlocking the iPhone. Apple did not object.

Apple Gets Short-term Win, But New Mysterious FBI Unlocking Method Looms, by Cyrus Farivar, Ars Technica

The sudden and unexpected postponement essentially means an immediate victory for Apple—the company doesn’t have to comply with the government’s demands to create a customized version of iOS. But the new government filing also raises more questions than it answers, such as the reach of the government's decryption capabilities.

Apple Defends Crypto Fight Against Government During Launch Event, by David Kravets, Ars Technica

"We built the iPhone for you, our customers. And we know it is a deeply personal device," he said. "We did not expect to be in this position at odds with our own government. But we believe strongly that we have a responsibility to help you protect your data and protect your privacy. We owe it to our customers and we owe it to our country. This is an issue that impacts all of us."


The App That Helps Blind People See, by Anthony Cuthbertson, Newsweek

The first time Mark Edwards used Aipoly Vision, he cried. Edwards, 56 and legally blind since birth, had signed up as an early tester for the smartphone app that claims to help the visually impaired people “see” the world around them. “When it immediately told me what was surrounding me, I was completely overcome with tears of joy,” says Edwards. “That doesn’t happen very often to a middle-aged man.”

Other early users of the app have called it “game changing” and on par with self-driving cars for its potential to transform the lives of blind people. Born out of the Singularity University in California—an institution set up in 2008 at NASA Research Park to produce “exponential technologies to address humanity’s grand challenges”—Aipoly Vision combines recent advances in artificial intelligence with the standard technology found in an iPhone. The neural networks and deep learning algorithms that power it may be complex, but how it works is simple: Users point their phone at any day-to-day object and the app speaks out what it is seeing.


Apple Releases Xcode 7.3, With Better Code Completion And Support For Latest SDKs, by Benjamin Mayo, 9to5Mac

Almost Everyone Is Doing The API Economy Wrong, by Ed Anuff, TechCrunch

The strategy is simple enough: build API, launch API, run hackathons, get free apps and profit. Launching an API program and adding a “platform strategy’’ slide to your investor deck seems like a no-brainer, but the history of API programs reads like a travelogue on the good intentions highway.


16 GB iPhones, The 9.7-inch iPad Pro Camera, And The Wrong Compromises, by Craig Grannell

When used flat on a table, this means the new iPad will wobble — not great if you’re drawing with Apple Pencil or even playing games. And how strong is that lip around the camera? What potential is there for damage? Will users essentially be forced into buying a case, thereby adding heft to the iPad and making its ‘thinness’ largely irrelevant?

Andy Grove, Visionary Leader Who Saved Intel, Dies At 79, by Associated Press

Andy Grove, the former Intel chief executive whose youth under Nazi occupation and escape from the Iron Curtain inspired an “only the paranoid survive” management philosophy that saved the chip maker from financial ruin in the 1980s, has died. He was 79.

[...] He was a mercurial but visionary leader who helped position Intel’s microprocessors as the central technology inside personal computers.

U.S. Top Court Agrees To Hear Samsung-Apple Patent Fight, by Lawrence Hurley and Andrew Chung, Reuters

The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday stepped into the high-profile patent fight between the world's two fiercest smartphone rivals, Apple and Samsung, agreeing to hear Samsung's appeal of what it contends were excessive penalties for copying the patented designs of the iPhone.

Why Smart People Are Better Off With Fewer Friends, by Christopher Ingraham, Washington Post

When smart people spend more time with their friends, it makes them less happy.

Bottom of the Page

Yes, sir. I've created my first folder in the new Apple TV to store all the apps that I don't use but cannot delete.

(Sounds familiar.)


Speaking of Apple TV, the new dictation icon showed up on my Apple TV's screen wherever there's a text-input box, but it doesn't really work. I suppose dictation only works in countries where Siri is supported, so Singapore is out. So, again, this is another lack of attention-to-details from Apple.


Thanks for reading.

The Guessed-A-Digit Edition Monday, March 21, 2016

Researchers Find Flaw In Apple's iMessage, Decrypt iCloud Photo, by Ellen Nakashima, Washington Post

To intercept a file, the researchers wrote software to mimic an Apple server. The encrypted transmission they targeted contained a link to the photo stored in Apple’s iCloud server as well as a 64-digit key to decrypt the photo.

Although the students could not see the key’s digits, they guessed at them by a repetitive process of changing a digit or a letter in the key and sending it back to the target phone. Each time they guessed a digit correctly, the phone accepted it. They probed the phone in this way thousands of times.

[...] To prevent the attack from working, users should update their devices to iOS 9.3. Otherwise, their phones and laptops could still be vulnerable, Green said.

Privacy Rules

Apple 'Privacy Czars' Grapple With Internal Conflicts Over User Data, by Julia Love, Reuters

Inside Apple, the trio of experts known among employees as the privacy czars are both admired and feared.

[...] Following a popular philosophy in Silicon Valley known as "privacy by design," product managers start collaborating early with the privacy engineering and legal teams, former Apple employees said. For complicated matters, the privacy taskforce steers the issue to a senior vice president, and particularly sensitive questions may rise to Cook.

Key principles include keeping customer data on their devices - rather than in the cloud, on Apple servers - and isolating various types of data so they cannot be united to form profiles of customers.

Encryption Maths

Untangling iOS PIN Code Security, by Héctor Martín Cantero

A lot has been written about the Apple vs. FBI saga. However, the truth about exactly what it all means from a technical standpoint is scattered among many sources, amidst quite a bit of misinformation. This post is my attempt to provide, in a question and answer format, what I consider to be the current knowledge of the state of affairs, from the perspective of a security researcher.

The Behind-the-Scenes Fight Between Apple And The FBI, by Adam Satariano and Chris Strohm, Bloomberg

Not once during the two-hour presentation did Cook & Co. mention what would prove to be the most consequential software development of all. Tucked inside the new OS was a dramatic change to how Apple encrypts data on iPhones. The new system made it impossible for government investigators—and even Apple itself—to pull information from a device without a passcode.

Following the event, Apple gave the Federal Bureau of Investigation early access to iOS 8 so it could study how the new system would change evidence-gathering techniques, according to people familiar with the software's development. The agency quickly realized Apple had closed an important access point used for years by agents to collect information about criminal suspects. Many in the FBI were stunned. Suddenly, photos, text messages, notes and dozens of other sources of information stored on phones were off-limits.

Barack Obama’s Careful Encryption Stance, by Jean-Louis Gassée, Monday Note

I believe our President understands all of this, that he believes unbreakable cryptography is the lesser of two bad choices…but he must weigh what he says. Can we really expect him to say that the FBI is wrong? Instead, he lets the FBI push hard, absorbs some of the reflected Law and Order sunshine, and allows the San Bernardino case to take the long, arduous road to the Supreme Court. And Backdoor legislation will be introduced, discussed and discussed, with the Tech Industry up in arms – and dollars – against it.

Edward Snowden: Privacy Can't Depend On Corporations Standing Up To The Government, by Jon Gold, NetworkWorld

Relying on corporations to protect private data is bad enough in a vacuum – but Snowden pointed out that many tech giants have already proven more than willing to hand over user data to a government they rely on for licensing and a favorable regulatory climate.

We Have A Phone!

Live Blogging A New Phone, In 1877, by Adrienne Lafrance, The Atlantic

Walter: Hey everybody! We’re here with live developments from the telephone event. This could be huge. Revolutionary, even. You probably already know the idea: this new tube-like speaking instrument makes it so people can speak freely over the distance of many miles—hearing one another as if they’re in the same room.

Samuel: Still waiting for Alexander Graham Bell at this point.


One Year Later, Apple's 12-inch MacBook Has Become My Favorite Laptop, by Dan Ackerman, CNET

More and more, I'm drawn to the 12-inch MacBook, compromises and all. Looking back over the past year, it's the system I've most often grabbed for mission critical on-the-go use, and that makes me think my original qualified recommendation was overly cautious.

Telepaint Review, by Craig Grannell, Stuff

Developer Acid Nerve describes its new game as ‘Portal meets Lemmings’. That’s fair, but the premise also appears to propel you into a future world of interior decorating where technology has gone mad.


Apple Pay Has A Siri Problem, by Katherine Boehret, The Verge

When a tool like Apple Pay works, it's like magic. You lift your phone, use fingerprint recognition to confirm the purchase, and walk away. The Wallet app in iOS shows you a list of your recent transactions, and adding credit cards is a simple process. But if Apple Pay fails enough times or isn't accepted at enough places, people forget it exists or think it's not worth trying to use. It's a lot like Siri in that way: too many failed attempts and you'll never open it again — at least not on purpose.

I Am Funnier And Franker On Google Chat, But What’s The Truth About Instant-message Me?, by Morwenna Ferrier, The Guardian

Since instant messenger (specifically Gmail’s chat function) moved from a novelty to my constant companion, I’ve become more aware of the gulf between how I talk to people online and how I talk to them in person.

Goodnight, Antarctica: Researchers Won’t See Sun For Six Months, by Eric Berger, Ars Technica

The first day of spring causes most people in North America to think longingly of warmer days ahead in the summer months. But at the southern edge of the world—specifically, the US Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station—a northern spring marks the last time southern researchers will see the sun for six months.

Bottom of the Page

As usual, by the time Tim Cook steps on the stage to start off the introduction of the special edition iPhone, I'll be in dreamland. See you all tomorrow.


Thanks for reading.

The Busy-Week Edition Sunday, March 20, 2016

Apple Vs. The F.B.I.: How The Case Could Play Out, by Katie Benner and Matt Apuzzo, New York Times

On Monday, the company is holding an event at its Silicon Valley headquarters to unveil smaller versions of its iPhone and iPad Pro. Then on Tuesday, Apple will face off against the United States government at a hearing in federal court in Riverside, Calif., over whether it must help law enforcement break into an iPhone used by a gunman in last year’s San Bernardino, Calif., terrorist attack.

Can Apple's $1.5bn Green Bond Inspire More Environmental Investments?, by Alison Moodie, The Guardian

On the surface, green bonds seem counter intuitive: why would a company willingly take on debt to finance environmental efforts? But Apple’s recent decision to issue its first green bond suggests that this type of investment could play a key role in reigning in global warming.

Heart And Stroke Foundation Brings Basic CPR Training To Your Smartphone&utm_content=FeedBurner), by Matt Meuse, CBC

Shelley Parker, resuscitation program manager for the foundation's B.C. and Yukon division, said the goal of the app is to give Canadians at least a basic knowledge of CPR so they feel more comfortable responding in emergency situations.

Clip Studio Paint Now Includes Classic Animation, by Dennis Sellers, Apple World Today

Bottom of the Page

This morning, I accidentally ate two sets of breakfast. Both are noodles. Both are among my favorite breakfast food.


Thanks for reading.

The Fun-Meetings Edition Saturday, March 19, 2016

What Have They Been Smoking At Apple Music?, by Steven Levy, Backchannel

So — who are those editors putting the playlists together? It turns out they are music nerds who might have otherwise been displaced by technology. People from radio; people who used to work at publications; people who used to work at record companies — hard core passionate music people. They check in to work at offices in Cupertino or LA (though a few work remotely) and perform curation tasks that include making those playlists, which they draft and discuss in meetings that must be more fun than the ones at your job. The important thing is that they are human beings. Apple believes that only flesh-and-blood music lovers can properly select and format these lists, artfully making the segues from one tune to the next.

The Art Of The Apple Event, by Jason Snell, iMore

In the end, these Apple events are just product announcements — the brilliance is that the stagecraft makes them much more interesting to journalists and fans alike.

Accessibility Features

'Apple Saved My Life', by David Goldman, CNN

Born legally blind, the 20-year-old Rath says he was severely bullied as a child and had difficulty learning. He attempted suicide when he was 11 years old, and was diagnosed with depression at the same age.

But when he got his first MacBook Pro on his 14th birthday, he found that the computer's accessibility features allowed him to see things he otherwise wouldn't have been able to see. He could read his schoolbooks and zoom in on software that allowed him to edit video.


Stack Overflow’s Developer Survey Analysis Hurts Women, by glitterwitch ★dust, Medium

All I could think about when I read these findings is how many men in tech will use this data as a reason to stop caring about diversity—or even to believe that achieving it is impossible and not worth striving for. Their misperceptions are only confirmed when unrepresentative data with inaccurate and biased conclusions are published.

It’s quite simple. If you deny my existence, there’s no way you can imagine me being your peer, let alone your superior. There’s no way you can respect my contributions or my perspective. And this is one of many reasons why women aren’t more represented in the field.


Eight Months Into Job, Evernote CEO Announces New Leadership Team, by Arik Hesseldahl, Re/code

Eight months into his new job, Chris O’Neill, the CEO of the organization software company Evernote, announced a new management team of seven executives he says will “build upon Evernote’s successes” and “see what’s next for the company as a whole.”

What Engineers Can Learn From The Design Of The Penis, by M. Sophia Newman, The Atlantic

“It’s an observation with obvious medical applications in humans,” she said in her TED talk, “[and] also relevant in a broad sense, I think, to the design of prosthetics, soft robots, basically anything where change in shape and stiffness are important.”

But the insight is not Kelly’s alone. The concept of using the design of the penis for other purposes is part of an established field called biomimicry, the science of applying nature’s design lessons to human problems.

Rumor of the Day

9.7-inch iPad Pro To Start At Higher $599 Price, Come In 32 GB & 128 GB Capacities, by Mark Gurman, 9to5Mac

With the iPad Pro name and features, the new 9.7-inch iPad will be Apple’s first to come with a starting price higher than $499. The smaller iPad Pro will start at $599 and include 32 GB of storage, according to sources. The $599 base configuration is for a WiFi-only model, while higher-priced versions with 128 GB of storage and the ability to connect to LTE cellular networks will also be offered. Apple will announce the new iPad at its event on Monday, March 21st.

Bottom of the Page

It is unlikely I will want to buy anything that will be announced by Apple this coming Monday. Still one more year before my current phone contract runs out -- and I will surely be tempted by newer phones then.

Unless, of course, Apple's show us a new wireless earpods. That will tempt me.

Unless, of course, Apple's new wireless earpods only works with the new iPhone. That will drain all the joy out of me.


Thanks for reading.

The Wake-Up Edition Friday, March 18, 2016

Inside Apple CEO Tim Cook’s Fight With The FBI, by Lev Grossman, Time

“We’re in this bizarre position where we’re defending the civil liberties of the country against the government,” Cook says. “I mean, I never expected to be in this position. The government should always be the one defending civil liberties, and yet there’s a role reversal here. I still feel like I’m in another world, that I’m in this bad dream.”

Cook is doing his best to wake up. He says he doesn’t actually want to make this decision. What he’s pushing for is to get it out of the hands of a judge and into Congress; a commission could study the issue and presumably propose some sensible laws to clarify it. “We see that this is our moment to stand up and say, Stop and force a dialogue,” he says. “There’s been too many times that government is just so strong and so powerful and so loud that they really just limit or they don’t hear the discourse.” He stresses that whatever the outcome, when the law is handed down, Apple will follow it.

Here’s The Full Transcript Of TIME’s Interview With Apple CEO Tim Cook, by Nancy Gibbs and Lev Grossman, Time

Behind TIME’s Cover Shoot With Apple’s Tim Cook, by Olivier Laurnt, Time

Apple Encryption Engineers, If Ordered To Unlock iPhone, Might Resist, by John Markoff, Katie Benner, and Brian X. Chen, New York Times

Apple employees are already discussing what they will do if ordered to help law enforcement authorities. Some say they may balk at the work, while others may even quit their high-paying jobs rather than undermine the security of the software they have already created, according to more than a half-dozen current and former Apple employees.

[...] The fear of losing a paycheck may not have much of an impact on security engineers whose skills are in high demand. Indeed, hiring them could be a badge of honor among other tech companies that share Apple’s skepticism of the government’s intentions.

The Apple Fight Is About All Of Us, by Access Now, the American Civil Liberties Union, and the Electronic Frontier Foundation

This is a fight that implicates all technology users. There are already bad actors trying to defeat the security on iPhones, and an FBI-ordered backdoor will only assist their efforts. Once this has been created, malicious hackers will surely increase their attacks on the FBI and Apple, hoping to ferret out clues to this entrance route—and they may well succeed.

The precedent created by this case is disturbing: it creates a new pathway for the government to conscript private companies into building surveillance tools. If Apple can be compelled to create a master key to unlock this iPhone, then little will prevent the government from ordering any company to turn its products into tools of surveillance, compromising the safety, privacy, and security of everyone.

Gov’t Accidentally Publishes Target Of Lavabit Probe: It’s Snowden, by Joe Mullin, Ars Technica

More Streams

Music Streaming Has A Nearly Undetectable Fraud Problem, by Amy X. Wang, Quartz

First, set up a couple hundred fake artists. Next, upload some auto-generated tunes—mediocre dance music is particularly easy to “produce” online—and just make sure your bots click on an array of songs both real and fake, so no one gets suspicious.

So Much Streaming Music, Just Not In One Place, by Ben Sisario, New York Times

In reality, even a celestial jukebox has gaps. Or more precisely, numerous jukeboxes have come along – iTunes, Pandora, Spotify, SoundCloud, YouTube – and each service has had gaps in its repertoire. And those gaps have been growing bigger and more complicated as artists have wielded more power in withholding their music from one outlet or another.


Day One Adds IFTTT Integration, by Federico Viticci, MacStories

Great change for those who want to populate their journal entries with content from the web: Day One has launched their IFTTT channel today, which will let you create all sorts of automated recipes such as saving Instagram pictures to a journal, emailing a new entry to yourself, or logging check-ins from a third-party service.

This Gadget Beams Free TV Channels To Your iPad, by John Patrick Pullen, Time

The Tpod, about the size of a deck of cards, connects to your home’s Wi-Fi network, grabs television signals out of the air and streams them to your iPad. It also doubles as a DVR, saving programs to an onboard microSD card.

Scanner Pro For iOS Updated To Version 7 W/ Text Recognition, Workflows, More, by Chance Miller, 9to5Mac

The biggest new feature of Scanner Pro 7 is text recognition. Now, users can scan a document using their iPhone and Scanner Pro can automatically convert the scan into a text document that is able to be edited, copied, and selected. This feature is huge for people who want to modify the content they scan in, such as documents, notes for school, and more.

Notability Gets Improved Apple Pencil Support, New Themes, Copy & Paste For Pages, More, by Jordan Kahn, 9to5Mac


Game Center Is Still Broken After Six Months — And That’s Not Good Enough, Apple&utm_content=FeedBurner), by Craig Grannell

Developers are now updating their apps to effectively check whether Game Center is broken, flinging up a dialog box accordingly, and at least allowing players access.

This state of affairs is ridiculous.

Why Smaller iOS Developers Would Be Smart To Head Back To The Mac, by Jason Snell, Macworld

Because you can absolutely charge more for Mac apps than for iOS apps–it’s a smaller market, but one willing to spend money for better tools–the Mac is also a place where small independent developers can thrive.


NPR Decides It Won’t Promote Its Podcasts Or NPR One On Air, by Joshua Benton Nieman Lab

This tension — between the local stations who pay the largest share of NPR’s bills and the network that sees a future beyond terrestrial radio signals — is basically everywhere you look in public radio.

Stand To Work If You Like, But Don't Brag About The Benefits, by Angus Chen, NPR

Too much sitting increases heart failure risk and disability risk, and shortens life expectancy, studies have found. But according to an analysis published Wednesday of 20 of the best studies done so far, there's little evidence that workplace interventions like the sit-stand desk or even the flashier pedaling or treadmill desks will help you burn lots more calories, or prevent or reverse the harm of sitting for hours on end.

Bottom of the Page

Surely, if Apple is going to introduce a smaller top-of-the-line iPhone and a smaller top-of-the-line iPad, it makes sense to also introduce a smaller top-of-the-line Macintosh too, right?


Thanks for reading.

The Livestream-Television Edition Thursday, March 17, 2016

Ahead Of Monday’s iPhone SE Event, Apple Events Livestream App Now Available In tvOS App Store, by Benjamin Mayo, 9to5Mac

Ahead of Apple’s media press event on Monday, Apple has added a new Apple Events app for the fourth-generation Apple TV. The Apple Events channel lets Apple TV users watch the livestream of Apple’s announcements from their television. Unlike previous generations of Apple TV, the Apple Events app does not appear automatically on the Home Screen. Instead, users must find the app in the tvOS App Store and download it to their device.

Apple Debuts New iPhone 6s Ad Featuring Hands-free Siri With The Cookie Monster, by Benjamin Mayo, 9to5Mac

Apple has launched yet another iPhone 6s advert, this time featuring a special celebrity guest: the Cookie Monster. In the ad, named Timer, the blue monster uses hands-free Siri on his iPhone 6s to time (you guessed it) the baking of his cookies.

Fair Play

Security Firm Discovers First iOS Malware That Can Infect Non-jailbroken iPhones W/o Enterprise Certificate, by Ben Lovejoy, 9to5Mac

Although Palo Alto Networks notified Apple, which removed the apps, this doesn’t stop the attack from working as the apps only need to have been available in the App Store once for the authorization code to work.

AceDeceiver Malware: What You Need To Know!, by Rene Ritchie, iMore

Most people aren't at risk, at least not right now. Though a lot depends on individual behavior.

Compromising Mathematics

Apple Invokes ‘Rights Of The American People’ In Its Fight, by Jim Kerstetter, New York Times

The latest volley between the world’s most valuable company and law enforcement came in a court filing from Apple on Tuesday in which the company said the F.B.I.’s “methods for achieving its objectives are contrary to the rule of law, the democratic process and the rights of the American people.”

Not to be outdone, a Justice Department spokeswoman also had not very nice things to say about Apple.

Illegal Math, by Prakash Venkat

The shape of the discussion talking heads are plotting onto the contours of the internet is a bit alarming. Especially in regards to whether or not encryption should be "legal". Let's talk about one thing openly. Encryption is math. Math cannot be illegal.


7 Hidden iOS Mail Tips And Tricks You Should Know, by Allyson Kazmucha, The App Factor

While some of the things I’ve come to love about the stock Mail app are obvious, some of then are not — such as shortcuts or gestures that make using it even more intuitive. Here are a few of my favorites that I think everyone should know about.

OWC USB-C Dock Review: Opens Up A MacBook’s Possibilities, by Glenn Fleishman, Macworld

If you’re ready now or the feature set meets or exceeds your needs, there’s no reason to wait: The USB-C Dock neatly extends a MacBook to act like a desktop.

Plan Launches A Better Calendar For Busy People, by Sarah Perez, TechCrunch

The idea with Plan is to provide a single destination to manage anything that requires your time, but also one that allows you to better visualize how your tasks, meetings, and other projects can fit into the available openings you have on your schedule.

Hands-on: Miitomo, Nintendo’s First iOS Game, by Jeff Benjamin, 9to5Mac

The game, Miitomo, doesn’t feature a household name like Mario, Donkey Kong, or even Kirby, but the release feels very much like a Nintendo title.

Waze iOS App Adds ‘Planned Drives’ With Traffic Updates And Reminders For Upcoming Appointments, by Jordan Kahn, 9to5Mac


German Court Rules Against Apple In Video Streaming Patent Case, by Dan Levine and Georgina Prodhan, Reuters

A German court has ruled against Apple Inc in a case over video streaming patents, handing Kudelski's OpenTV unit a victory in its ongoing intellectual property licensing campaign against major technology companies.

Incredible Video Shows Robot Solve Rubik's Cube In Just Over 1 Second, by Mirror

Computer scientists have engineered what they claim is the world's fastest Rubik's cube solving robot , which can master the puzzle in less than two seconds.

Rumor of the Day

Cloud Makes For Strange Bedfellows: Apple Signs On With Google, Cuts Spending With AWS, by Kevin McLaughlin and Joseph Tsidulko, CRN

Alphabet's Google has quietly scored a major coup in its campaign to become an enterprise cloud computing powerhouse, landing Apple as a customer for the Google Cloud Platform, multiple sources with knowledge of the matter told CRN this week.

Google Gets Apple To Jump Aboard Its Cloud Business (Though It May Not Last), by Mark Bergen, Re/code

According to a source familiar with the matter, Apple already has a team working on this; it’s known internally as “McQueen,” as in Steve. It’s unclear if that project will materialize or when. But a source tells Re/code that the codename refers to Apple’s intent sometime in the next few years to break its reliance on all three outside cloud providers in favor of its own soup-to-nuts infrastructure.

Bottom of the Page

It's the year 2016, and Excel still cannot export a spreadsheet to a UTF-8-encoded CSV file.


Thanks for reading.

The iCloud-Encryption Edition Wednesday, March 16, 2016

In Beefing Up iCloud Security, Apple Weighs Privacy Against Convenience, by Daisuke Wakabayashi, Wall Street Journal

Apple is working to bolster its encryption so that it won’t be able to decode user information stored in iCloud, according to people familiar with the matter.

But Apple executives are wrestling with how to strengthen iCloud encryption without inconveniencing users. Apple prides itself on creating intuitive, easy-to-use software, and some in the company worry about adding complexity.

The Room Where It Happened: How Silicon Valley (Mostly) Lined Up Behind Apple, by Dawn Chmielewski and Arik HEsseldahl, Re/code

“Everybody sort of initially saw this as a standard FBI request that went public,” said Box Chief Executive Aaron Levie. “Then, once you saw how Apple responded, you recognized the gravity of the situation and what the FBI was asking Apple to do.”

Silicon Valley began lining up.

More Music

Apple Music, Dubset Partner To Stream Previously Unlicensed Remixes And DJ Mixes: Exclusive, by Glenn Peoples, Billboard

Dubset Media Holdings has announced a partnership that will allow Apple Music to stream remixes and DJ mixes that had previous been absent from licensed services due to copyright issues. Thousands upon thousands cool mash-ups and hour-long mixes have effectively been pulled out of the underground and placed onto the world’s second-largest music subscription service.

Foreign Lands

Apple Tells EU Tax Panel It `Pays Every Cent' Due In Ireland, by Stephanie Bodoni, Bloomberg

Apple Inc., facing a European Union probe into its fiscal affairs in Ireland, told a panel of EU lawmakers Tuesday it pays all taxes due in the nation and doesn’t get an unfair advantage compared with other companies there.

Apple Would Like To Make This Perfectly Clear: It’s Not Making ‘Accommodations’ To China, by Dawn Chmielewski, Re/code

“Contrary to the government’s misleading statistics, which had to do with lawful process and did not compel the creation of software that undermines the security of its users, Apple has never built a back door of any kind into iOS, or otherwise made data stored on the iPhone or in iCloud more technically accessible to any country’s government,” Apple writes in a filing Tuesday with federal court.


2Remember Offers A Reminder Alternative To OS X's Built-in Options, by Dennis Sellers, Apple World Today

The Tropical Software utility only takes up a tiny (semi-transparent) space on your screen, but offers various options for to-do's, including flashing icon on dock, flashing tab red, alert and sound. It hides just off-screen as soon as any other app opens, but reappears when you move your mouse over the tab.


The Deep Roots Of Javascript Fatigue, by Calvin French-Owen, Segment

The most interesting thing about having a language where everyone is comfortable with build tools, transpilers, and syntax additions is that the language can advance at an astonishing rate. Really the only thing holding back new language features is consensus. As quickly as people agree and implement the spec, there’s code to support it.

It makes me wonder whether there will ever be another language like Javascript. It’s such a unique environment, where the implementations in the wild lag so far behind the spec, that it just invites new specs as quickly as the community can think of them. Some of them even become first-class citizens, and are adopted by browsers.


Instagram May Change Your Feed, Personalizing It With An Algorithm, by Mike Isaac, New York Times

The photo-sharing service plans to begin testing an algorithm-based personalized feed for users, similar to one already used by its parent company, Facebook. That means it would shift away from the strictly reverse chronological order that the service has used since it began in 2010. Instead, Instagram will place the photos and videos it thinks you will most want to see from the people you follow toward the top of your feed, regardless of the time those posts were originally shared.

At SXSW, A Shift From Apps To Innovation, by Farhad Manjoo, New York Times

This year SXSW, as the festival is known, feels like a story of how the tech ethos has escaped the bounds of hardware and software. Tech is turning into a culture and a style, one that has spread into new foods and clothing, and all other kinds of nonelectronic goods. Tech has become a lifestyle brand.

Bottom of the Page

I am weary of things that try to be smart, but are not actually smart enough. For such things, I would rather them to be dumb.

I wish Instagram well, but you may be losing me if you are not doing this smart-sorting thing right.


Thanks for reading.

The Ill-Equipped Edition Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Siri Is Woefully Ill-Equipped To Help With Your Mental Health Problems, by Bryan Lufkin, Gizmodo

Digital voice assistants, like Apple’s Siri, are really bad at dispensing resources to users facing domestic abuse, depression, rape, or mental health emergencies, a new study finds.

The Secrets Of Surveillance Capitalism, by von Shoshana Zuboff, Feuilleton

Google surpassed Apple as the world’s most highly valued company in January for the first time since 2010. (Back then each company was worth less than 200 billion. Now each is valued at well over 500 billion.) While Google’s new lead lasted only a few days, the company’s success has implications for everyone who lives within the reach of the Internet. Why? Because Google is ground zero for a wholly new subspecies of capitalism in which profits derive from the unilateral surveillance and modification of human behavior. This is a new surveillance capitalism that is unimaginable outside the inscrutable high velocity circuits of Google’s digital universe, whose signature feature is the Internet and its successors. While the world is riveted by the showdown between Apple and the FBI, the real truth is that the surveillance capabilities being developed by surveillance capitalists are the envy of every state security agency. What are the secrets of this new capitalism, how do they produce such staggering wealth, and how can we protect ourselves from its invasive power?

Apple Outlines News App Ads, Includes 'Native Ads' That Display Directly In Content Feeds, by Mikey Campbell, AppleInsider

Most iPhone and iPad users have likely encountered one of Apple's banner ad blocks while browsing the App Store, iTunes or the Web via Safari, but the Native Banner specification is a new beast introduced to comply with the News app's RSS-style timeline.


Marking Up A Mac’s iBook Pages, by J. D. Biersdorfer, New York Times

When you have an iBook file open on the Mac’s screen, drag the mouse over the text you want to comment upon. A box automatically pops up giving you options to highlight the passage, add a margin note, copy the selected text or do other things with it.

In Pursuit Of The Perfect Task Management App: 2Do For Mac And iOS, by IT Enquirer

It’s the task manager you should at the very least try out. You won’t need to change your habits or workflow. It will adapt to you and it will actually make you work smarter.

Mealime App Review (iOS): A Healthy Meal Planner, by Chris Carter, Paste Magazine

As people have come to discover more and more over the years, your diet is one of the most impactful contributors to your health. That’s where Mealime comes in, and when used in tandem with some other fitness apps, it can make a decent dent in your unhealthy lifestyle.

Turn Your Mac Into A Media Server With AirParrot 2 And AirParrot Remote, by John Voorhees, MacStories

With an update to AirParrot and the release of AirParrot Remote for iOS, you can now control the streaming of your Mac's screen, apps, and media remotely from your iPhone or iPad.

Framing Your Digital Art: Meet The eWilner App, by J. Peder Zane, New York Times

The iPhone app he just released, eWilner Frames, can instantly place any picture from the phone’s camera roll into one of more than 100 frames in his collection — including those used for paintings by Picasso, Childe Hassam and Thomas Eakins. With a swipe of the finger, users can breeze through the choices until they have “that aha moment, where they know they have just the right one,” Mr. Wilner said.


Jony Ive Talks Relationship With Steve Jobs, Design Culture, More In Charlie Rose Interview, by Chance Miller, 9to5Mac

Apple, McDonald's, Google And IKEA To Face EU Lawmakers Over Tax Deals, by Foo Yun Chee, Reuters

While the committee has no power to order changes, the hearing reflects the political concerns over multinationals avoiding local tax liabilities.

The Epic Story Of Dropbox’s Exodus From The Amazon Cloud Empire, by Cade Metz, Wired

If you’re one of 500 million people who use Dropbox, it’s just a folder on your computer desktop that lets you easily store files on the Internet, send them to others, and synchronize them across your laptop, phone, and tablet. You use this folder, then you forget it. And that’s by design. Peer behind that folder, however, and you’ll discover an epic feat of engineering. Dropbox runs atop a sweeping network of machines whose evolution epitomizes the forces that have transformed the heart of the Internet over the past decade. And today, this system entered a remarkable new stage of existence.

The Long Search For The Value Of Pi, by Xiaojing Ye, Scientific American

Historically, people had only very coarse estimations of pi (such as 3, or 3.12, or 3.16), and while they knew these were estimates, they had no idea how far off they might be.

The search for the accurate value of pi led not only to more accuracy, but also to the development of new concepts and techniques, such as limits and iterative algorithms, which then became fundamental to new areas of mathematics.

Bottom of the Page

3.141592654. That's all I can memorize.


Thanks for reading.

The Golden-Age-Of-Surveillance Edition Monday, March 14, 2016

In The Apple Case, A Debate Over Data Hits Home, by Michael D. Shear, David E. Sanger, and Katie Benner, New York Times

Now, people are beginning to understand that their smartphones are just the beginning. Smart televisions, Google cars, Nest thermostats and web-enabled Barbie dolls are next. The resolution of the legal fight between Apple and the government may help decide whether the information in those devices is really private, or whether the F.B.I. and the N.S.A. are entering a golden age of surveillance in which they have far more data available than they could have imagined 20 years ago.

The Police Tool That Pervs Use To Steal Nude Pics From Apple’s iCloud, by Andy Greenberg, Wired

As nude celebrity photos spilled onto the web over the weekend, blame for the scandal has rotated from the scumbag hackers who stole the images to a researcher who released a tool used to crack victims’ iCloud passwords to Apple, whose security flaws may have made that cracking exploit possible in the first place. But one step in the hackers’ sext-stealing playbook has been ignored—a piece of software designed to let cops and spies siphon data from iPhones, but is instead being used by pervy criminals themselves.


All The Stock Mac Apps That Apple Has Quietly Made Useful, by Thorin Klosowski, Lifehacker

Apple’s not always known for its successes in its stock apps. Calendar is pretty subpar. iTunes is a joke. Photos is a disaster. Maps is about as useful as getting hit with a stick in the face. The fact is, some of the stock apps aren’t great. Some of them are. And many, like the ones below, used to be pretty bland, but have seen some big improvements over the years.

Soundbunny (Sorta) Lets You Control OS X App Volumes, by Dennis Sellers, Apple World Today

Simply drag the volume level sliders for each open application to set the volume as you'd like.


The World Of Minecraft Is Now Used For Artificial Intelligence Innovation, by Charlie Osborne, ZDNet

Dubbed "Project AIX," Microsoft said on Sunday a new platform, based on Minecraft, is being used by scientists to "train" an AI to learn how to do things in the Minecraft environment. The tester AI is currently being developed to be able to learn how to do things such as climb mountains in the virtual world -- although not without continual dives into lava and rivers.

Phil Schiller Responds To Developer Complaints About App Store Algorithms Broken Since At Least 2013, by Ben Lovejoy, 9to5Mac

Complaints that Apple’s App Store algorithms are broken, often returning nonsensical results for highlighted categories like ‘New’ and ‘Hot,’ have finally caught the company’s attention. Phil Schiller yesterday responded to tweeted complaints by Mozilla’s Lisa Brester and Screenshot++ developer Wesley Dyson.


People Who Buy Activity-trackers Shouldn’t Have To Be Beta Testers, by Lauren Goode, The Verge

More and more consumers are plunging their money into these digital health and fitness wearables, these positive reinforcement bands, hoping at the very least that they’ll just work. And some of them are using these products for legitimate health-monitoring reasons, not just digital distractions or "It would be nice if I could be a little more active."

Mathematicians Discover Prime Conspiracy, by Erica Kalrreich, Quanta Magazine

The discovery is the exact opposite of what most mathematicians would have predicted, said Ken Ono, a number theorist at Emory University in Atlanta. When he first heard the news, he said, “I was floored. I thought, ‘For sure, your program’s not working.’”

This conspiracy among prime numbers seems, at first glance, to violate a longstanding assumption in number theory: that prime numbers behave much like random numbers. Most mathematicians would have assumed, Granville and Ono agreed, that a prime should have an equal chance of being followed by a prime ending in 1, 3, 7 or 9 (the four possible endings for all prime numbers except 2 and 5).

Bottom of the Page

I use a Windows 10 machine in the day, and I use a Mac OS X machine at night. One of them utilizes natural scrolling, while the other uses, I guess, unnatural scrolling. And I have no problems adapting myself to each of these machines.

But when I use the new Apple TV, scrolling the featured item horizontally, I always scroll the wrong direction.


Thanks for reading.

The Warrant-Proof Edition Sunday, March 13, 2016

Apple Should Own The Term “Warrant Proof”, by Jonathan Zdziarski

Our country actually recognizes warrant proof data, and Apple has every right and ethical obligation to recognize it in the design of their products. As Americans, we should be demanding our thoughts, conversations, and identities be protected with the highest level of security. This isn’t just about credit cards.

WhatsApp Encryption Said To Stymie Wiretap Order, by Matt Apuzzo, New York Times

While the Justice Department wages a public fight with Apple over access to a locked iPhone, government officials are privately debating how to resolve a prolonged standoff with another technology company, WhatsApp, over access to its popular instant messaging application, officials and others involved in the case said.

No decision has been made, but a court fight with WhatsApp, the world’s largest mobile messaging service, would open a new front in the Obama administration’s dispute with Silicon Valley over encryption, security and privacy.

The Facebook Breakup, by Penelope Green, New York Times

It’s like cleaning your closet, said Kelly Winters, a product manager on Facebook’s designated “Compassion Team,” a changing squad of product managers and designers, engineers, researchers, social scientists and psychologists. “You don’t want to keep anything around that doesn’t spark joy,” she said, echoing the mantra of Marie Kondo, the Japanese decluttering guru.

Go Ahead, Make Some Free, End-to-end Encrypted Video Calls On Wire, by Cyrus Farivar, Ars Technica

Bottom of the Page

The good thing about mathematics is that there are no gray areas, no compromises. I think I should go back and re-learn some mathematics for my happiness.


Thanks for reading.

The Clipper-Chip-Redux Edition Saturday, March 12, 2016

Why Are We Fighting The Crypto Wars Again?, by Steven Levy, Backchannel

The government kept encryption legal, but benignly neglected it, while our infrastructure, our business plans, and our personal secrets lay exposed to thieves, vandals and foreign powers. Security flaws were a pain to users, but a useful tool for law enforcement and intelligence agencies. Now, post-Snowden, our tech companies are finally taking steps to implement strong-encryption-by-default, the best way to insure security and privacy. The FBI’s response? Clipper Chip redux.

And we’re back at square one.

Obama Tells Tech Community To Solve Encryption Problem Now Or Pay Later, by Casey Newton, The Verge

President Barack Obama called on the tech community to build a safe encryption key to assist in law enforcement investigations, saying that if it failed, it could one day face a more draconian solution passed by a Congress that is less sympathetic to its worldview.

Go Forward

The Future Of Computing, by The Economist

But now, after five decades, the end of Moore’s law is in sight. Making transistors smaller no longer guarantees that they will be cheaper or faster. This does not mean progress in computing will suddenly stall, but the nature of that progress is changing. Chips will still get better, but at a slower pace (number-crunching power is now doubling only every 2.5 years, says Intel). And the future of computing will be defined by improvements in three other areas, beyond raw hardware performance.

In The Age Of Google DeepMind, Do The Young Go Prodigies Of Asia Have A Future?, by Dawn Chan, New Yorker

“A dolphin swims faster than Michael Phelps, but we still want to see how fast he can go,” Lockhart said. “We’re humans and we care about other humans and what they can do.” His point was perhaps underscored last month in St. Petersburg, where Go players convened in an old Soviet-built hotel for the 2016 European Go championships. It was Fan Hui’s first major tournament after his loss to AlphaGo, and at the outset he felt uncertain. “Everything was broken,” he told me. But he went on to win all his games. At the final awards ceremony, while accepting his trophy, he bent back and let out a victory roar. He was flouting the usual decorum of Go tournaments, but the crowd rose to its feet anyway, applauding the man who had lost to the machine.


Teen Dev’s Ambitious App Isn’t Your Typical Photo Editor, by Luke Dormehl, Cult of Mac

New image-editing app Glaze is a one-stop-shop for photo tweakers that lets you jazz up still images, videos and — for iPhone 6s users — Live Photos, too.

“When I was looking around for an app to create, I couldn’t find a single image app which was comprehensive across all content types,” says Glaze creator Ryan Stephen. “This was my response.”

Microsoft Targets Evernote Users With Software That Makes It Easy To Switch To OneNote, by Sarah Perez, TechCrunch

Microsoft today released a new tool that will make it easier for users of Evernote’s note-taking service to make the transition to rival application OneNote, a part of the Microsoft Office suite. The “OneNote Importer tool,” as the software is called, aims to address the switching costs that can hold back users from making a move to a competing platform.

16 Years Later, Blizzard Is Still Patching Diablo II, by Kyle Orland, Ars Technica

The new Diablo II patch doesn't add any new gameplay features, balance tweaks, or anything like that. Instead, Blizzard has added compatibility with modern operating systems like Windows 10 and OS X. But Blizzard says it's working on improvements to the game's "cheat-detection and hack-prevention capabilities" and hints at more improvements to come.

When It Comes To Copying Data, CopyToy For OS X Is No Toy, by Dennis Sellers, Apple World Today


Swift: Tuple, by Andyy Hope, Medium

Tuple types are somewhat a foreign concept to Objective-C developers, and can sometimes be confused for either a Struct or Class. But in fact, they’re much more basic than both of those. I like to think of them as a miniature struct or Struct Lite™ that should be used within a minimal scope then discarded.

MVC Is Actually MVA, by Roman Pushkin

Basically, controller is set of actions. Just a bunch of methods that can be executed. And that’s it, and should be nothing more.

What No Indie Developer Wants To Hear About The App Store, by Rene Ritchie, iMore

I fear pop apps, not indie apps, are the future of the App Store.

What No Indie Developer Wants To Hear About The App Store, by Michael Tsai

Although I think the domination of “pop” was probably inevitable, things could have been much better if Apple had taken more care in designing the App Store economy. Of course, there is no way to prove a counterfactual. And there is always the possibility that the App Store is functioning as intended—that what we see as bugs Apple sees as features that help it sell more phones, at least in the short term. That what we see as sustainability Apple sees as factors that would lessen its power.

Indies And The App Store, by Brent Simmons, Inessential

There was never a golden age for indie iOS developers. It was easier earlier on, but it was never golden. (Yes, some people made money, and some are today. I don’t mean that there were zero successes.)

And there’s a good chance that many of the people you currently think of as thriving iOS indie developers are making money in other ways: contracting, podcast ads, Mac apps, etc.

Fixing The Apple App Store, by Chuq Von Rospach

So it seems like a nice compromise where everyone wins. or at least doesn’t lose badly. And IMHO, I think between the existing pay-once model, allowing the download demo and unlock model through one-time IAP and an annual subscription model, plus more use of Macro’s patronage setup, we more or less have economic models covered in the App Store pretty well.


Amazon Echo, Home Alone With NPR On, Got Confused And Hijacked A Thermostat, by Ian Kar, Quartz

The radio program triggered Amazon Echos in the homes of a few listeners.

I Stayed In A Hotel With Android Lightswitches And It Was Just As Bad As You'd Imagine, by Matthew Garrett

But I could query other rooms on my floor to figure out whether the lights were on or not, which strongly implies that I could control them as well.

Rumor of the Day

Coming At Apple’s March 21st Event: 4-inch iPhone SE, 9.7-inch iPad Pro & New Apple Watch Models, by Mark Gurman, 9to5Mac

The event, which was originally internally scheduled for a week earlier, will focus on Apple’s new 4-inch iPhone SE, a smaller, 9.7-inch iPad Pro, and new Apple Watch bands. The company will likely also reveal the final versions of iOS 9.3, tvOS 9.2, watchOS 2.2, OS X 10.11.4, and an iTunes update.

Bottom of the Page

If Apple can figure out a way to create an ad-blocker system in Safari without calling it an ad-blocker system, Apple will figure out a way to create a secured encryption system in OS X and iOS without calling it a secured encryption system.


Thanks for reading.

The Loop-You-In Edition Friday, March 11, 2016

Apple Announces March 21 Event, by Jim Darlymple, The Loop

There are a number of products rumored to be announced at the event including a smaller iPhone (think iPhone 5s), iPads, Apple Watch bands, and Apple Pay updates. Of course, only the executives at Apple know for sure what will make the cut on event day.

Welcome To The Social

When You Listen To Music, You’re Never Alone, by Daniel A. Gross, Nautilus

Recent looks at the evolution and neurology of music suggest we are not waltzing by ourselves. Musical experiences are inherently social, scientists tell us, even when they happen in private. When we listen alone, we feel together.

Why 1984 Won't Be Like 1984

What Happens When The Surveillance State Becomes An Affordable Gadget?, by Robert Kolker, Bloomberg

“Anybody can make a StingRay with parts from the Internet,” Rigmaiden tells me, citing a long litany of experiments over the years in which researchers have done just that. “The service provider is never going to know. There’s never any disruption. It’s basically completely stealth.” In the coming age of democratized surveillance, the person hacking into your cell phone might not be the police or the FBI. It could be your next-door neighbor.

FBI Could Force Us To Turn On iPhone Cameras And Microphones, Says Apple, by Samuel Gibbs, The Guardian

If the FBI wins in its case against Apple to help it unlock the San Bernardino killer’s iPhone 5C, it won’t be long before the government forces Apple to turn on users’ iPhone cameras and microphones to spy on them, according to the company’s head of services Eddy Cue.

Apple And U.S. Bitterly Turn Up Volume In iPhone Privacy Fight, by Eric LichtBlau and Katie Benner, New York Times

The Obama administration argued on Thursday that “no single corporation” — even one as successful as Apple — should be allowed to flout the rule of law by refusing to help the F.B.I. unlock the iPhone used by one of the San Bernardino, Calif., attackers.

The administration’s sharp tone in a new court filing drew an angry and emotional rebuke from lawyers for Apple, who accused the government of “a cheap shot” and were particularly upset about what they said was an unfair and inaccurate suggestion that the company has a special relationship with China to protect its corporate interests there.

UK Surveillance Powers Bill Could Force Startups To Bake In Backdoors, by Natasha Lomas, TechCrunch

While the Apple vs FBI court battle has drawn all eyes to the question of what should be considered ‘reasonable assistance’ for companies to provide law enforcement agencies, over in the UK the government is attempting to enshrine in law surveillance capabilities that would enable state agencies to compel even very small startups to bake insecurities into their systems in order to be able to hack users on demand.

Don't Quit On Me

Apple’s Software SVP Says Quitting Multitasking Apps Not Necessary, Won’t Offer Improved Battery Life, by Benjamin Mayo, 9to5Mac

A 9to5Mac reader decided to ask Tim Cook for an official stance on whether he quits all his apps and if it’s necessary. Although Cook didn’t answer, Apple iOS chief Craig Federighi did with an unambiguous answer ‘no and no’ …


Audiobooks Purchased From Apple Can Now Be Re-Downloaded Through iCloud, by Juli Clover, MacRumors

Audiobooks are now listed in a customer's iBooks purchase history and can be re-downloaded just like standard e-books.

MacBook Accessories Reduce Single USB-C Port Inconvenience, by Julio Ojeda-Zapata, TidBITS

Independent manufacturers have stepped in with more accessory options for port expansion, as well as for power, storage, and more. I’ve been testing several of these, and have a few recommendations.

Hands On: Drafts 4.6 (iOS), by William Gallagher, MacNN

Visual updates and extra features for first-class writing app.

How One App Aims To Disrupt The Desk Lunch, by Gloria Dawson, Eater

Where did you eat lunch today? Chances are, you were at your desk. But Stas Matviyenko, founder of the app Allset, wants to change that: "Our mission is to bring people from offices to restaurants, to get all the benefits of a restaurant experience and have a proper lunch break," he says. The app coordinates with restaurants and combines reservations, ordering, and payment into one interface, and ensures lunch arrives moments after diners arrive. "We called it Allset because every time you finish in the restaurant and everything is okay," Matviyenko says, "everyone says ‘all set.'"

New App Turns Your Friends’ Phones Into One Big Speaker, by James Covert, New York Post

Smartphones are the audio systems of the future. If that sounds far-fetched, check out AmpMe, a free mobile app that can sync multiple iPhones and Android phones at once to fill a room, a schoolyard or a picnic with your favorite music.


MIT May Have Just Given The Web A Huge Speed Boost, by Nicholas Deleon, Motherboard

Announced on Wednesday morning, Polaris is a software framework that attempts to speed up the web by addressing how web browsers and web servers interact. Developed by a team of researchers at MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Lab, the framework may reduce the amount of time you wait for webpages by as much as 34 percent.

How Regular One-on-One Meetings Saved Our Company Culture, by Alex Turnbull, Groove

One-on-one meetings take a lot of time, and the investment increases as you grow. Here’s why it’s worth it.

Bottom of the Page

I'm trying to figure out the best way (for me) to sync my files across Mac OS X, iPhone, iPad, and Windows 10.

Wish me luck.


Thanks for reading.

The Productive-Life Edition Thursday, March 10, 2016

How To Use Workflow For iOS When You Don't Know Where To Start, by Federico Viticci, iMore

Whether it's sending a message to a group of people or organizing documents, you've likely come across a task on your iPhone or iPad that you'd like to speed up. Our iOS devices have evolved into powerful modern computers, but there are still some areas where we can be slowed down by app limitations, or, more simply, by the tedious process of performing the same task over and over.

Thankfully, we have a solution to this: automation. And when it comes to automating tasks on iOS, Workflow is the undisputed king. Learning to master Workflow is the first step to living an efficient, productive life on iOS, and it's how I've been working on my iPad for years now.

Listen To This, Now

Apple Updates Radio Tab With Live Beats 1 Show Details And Artwork In iOS Music App, by Benjamin Mayo, 9to5Mac

Rather than displaying the same static image of the Beats 1 logo with a Listen Now subtitle, the Radio tab now updates along with the live schedule … displaying live show titles, host names, description and artwork for the current show. This change allows users to quickly find out what’s on right now and could convert more people into actively listening to the free Beats 1 radio station.


Add Signatures To Important Docs With Your Mac's Preview Tool, by Becca Caddy, Lifehacker

Mac-owners know about the handy preview feature that usually enables them to look at photos or PDFs without properly opening them. But there's also a very useful (and smart) digital signature utility lurking in Preview too, which allows you to add your signature to PDFs, emails and Pages documents.

Setting Hourly Alarms On Apple Devices, by J. D. Biersdorfer, New York Times

If you just want a simple hourly beep or chime, start with a visit to the online App Store and search for “hourly chime” or “hourly alarm.”

Window Tidy Won't Wash Your OS X Windows, But It Will Tidy 'Em Up, by Dennis Sellers, Apple World Today

Window Tidy offers a way to arrange, tile and organize windows without having to remember hotkeys. Its customizable layouts allow a window to be positioned and resized using nothing but drag and drop.

WhatsApp Launches Five New Features iPhone And Android Users Are Going To Love, by Jeff Parsons, Mirror


Apple Pulls 'FlexBright', Says iOS Apps That Adjust Display Temperature Aren't Allowed, by Juli Clover, MacRumors

The developer behind FlexBright was using some questionable features to get the app to function, but its ability to slip past the App Store review process even through multiple rejections again puts a spotlight on Apple's inconsistencies and failures when it comes to reviewing apps.


Sonos Announces Layoffs, Refocuses On Streaming And Voice Tech, by Mat Smith, Engadget

In an (admittedly vague) blog post, CEO John Macfarlane doesn't say exactly how many jobs are going to be cut, but he says its's a consequence of the still in-transition music industry. "Everyone in the ecosystem is adjusting to a world of streaming services," he added, citing the addition of The Beatles back-catalogue across the top music streaming services.

Why The Poor Pay More For Toilet Paper — And Just About Everything Else, by Emily Badger, Washington Post

There are several ways to save money on, say, a roll of toilet paper. You can reach for the cheaper version: the store brand, or the singly-ply TP, or the stuff that feels like packing paper. Or you can buy in bulk, saving on each roll per unit. Or you can stock up when the deal is good, like when the corner store offers two packs for the price of one.

The poor, who need all of these strategies, are much less likely to use the last two. They can't afford to, according to some revealing research by University of Michigan professor Yesim Orhun and Ph.D. student Mike Palazzolo (hat tip to Mi chigan Radio).

Bottom of the Page

I do enjoy having a picture-of-the-day on my Windows 10 computer's lock screen, as chosen by Microsoft. I do want to have something similar on my iPhone's lock screen.


Thanks for reading.

The Things-We-Buy Edition Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Your Phone Was Made By Slaves: A Primer On The Secret Economy, by Kevin Bales

Cellphones have become electronic umbilical cords connecting us with our children, our partners, and our parents with an immediacy and reliability hardly known before. Our lives are full of ways that we connect with other people—the food we serve and share, the rings and gifts we exchange—and we understand these objects primarily from the point at which they arrive in our lives. We think of Steve Jobs in his black turtleneck as the origin of our iPhones, or imagine a local funeral director carving a loved one’s name into a tombstone. Whether we are grilling shrimp for our friends or buying T-shirts for our children we generally think of these things as beginning where we first encountered them, at the shop, at the mall, in the grocery store. But just as each of us is deeper than our surface, just as each of us has a story to tell, so do the tools and toys and food and rings and phones that tie us together. Slaves are producing many of the things we buy, and in the process they are forced to destroy our shared environment, increase global warming, and wipe out protected species.

The Making Of…

This Is Tim Cook's Apple: Clash Over iPhone Redefines Steve Jobs' Company, by Jon Swartz, USA Today

Before Cook, Apple was a company that reflected the passion of Steve Jobs: The news that emanated from Cupertino, Calif., was product launch, product launch, product launch. The rare Jobs interview was comprised of him commenting on a new gizmo, and nothing else.

Today the narrative has changed dramatically, and Cook is a willing participant. Apple arguably is defined as much now by its legal fight with the government as its next iPhone.

The Roots Of Tim Cook’s Activism Lie In Rural Alabama, by Todd C. Franke, Washington Post

Cook’s experiences growing up in Robertsdale – detailed by him in public speeches and recalled by others — are key to understanding how a once-quiet tech executive became one of the world’s most outspoken corporate leaders. Apple has long emphasized the privacy of its products, but today Cook talks about privacy not as an attribute of a device, but as a right — a view colored by his own history.

For Cook, it was in this tiny town midway between Mobile, Ala., and Pensacola, Fla., that a book-smart boy developed what he calls his “moral sense.”

Till Death

Death Apps Promise To Help People Curate Their Afterlives, by Tina Amirtha, The Guardian

Everest is just one of a wave of apps and digital services that are emerging to help millennials plan their own #authentic mortal passings, right down to Instagram-worthy funerals. Last fall, rival apps Cake and SafeBeyond were released within one month of each other, and both hope to streamline end-of-life planning into one simple app.


Popular Mac Writing App 'Ulysses' Makes iPhone Debut, by Tim Hardwick, MacRumors

Ulysses Mobile for iPhone and iPad features cross-platform iCloud synchronization, Spotlight integration, iPad Pro optimizations, and support for 3D Touch, Split View and Slide Over on compatible devices.

Lookout’s New Apple Watch App Will Help You Find Your Lost iPhone, by Sarah Perez, TechCrunch

Mobile security firm Lookout has introduced today what may be one of the more practical applications for Apple Watch. Its new smartwatch app will help you to not lose your phone, by alerting you if you’re about to leave your phone behind, as well as help you locate a lost or stolen phone by pointing you to its last known location.

Yoink: A Great Utility For Moving Files Around OS X, by Jeff Benjamin, 9to5Mac

When you begin dragging a file on a Mac with Yoink installed, the utility’s interface appears on the side of the screen. Yoink serves as a temporary holding area for files on your Mac as you move them between apps, folders, and wherever else in the Finder.

Shorts For iPhone Wants You To Share Your Camera Roll With Your Friends, by Joseph Keller, iMore

If you're looking for a new way to easily share your photos with friends, then Shorts might be the app for you. While services like Instagram help produce a more curated photo sharing experience, Shorts encourages you to share all of the photos and videos you take.


Swift Queue Fun, by Erica Sadun

There are many ways to write Queues in Swift, but wrapping an Array is about as easy a solution as you can get. You get all the push/pop behavior for free. (Yes, there are better solutions for complexity, but I really want to show off ArrayLiteralConvertible in this write-up.)

'Microsoft Office Has Been The Bane Of My Life, While Simultaneously Keeping Me Employed', by Chris Williams, The Register

Now we turn to ... the monthly report. The sort of thing you automate ASAP with a handy script. Unfortunately, even these little programming ditties can leave you sobbing with your hands in your head.


France Clears Bill That Could Force Apple To Unlock Terror Data, by Helene Fouquet and Marie Mawad, Bloomberg

French lawmakers backed a plan to impose penalties including jail time on technology executives who deny access to encrypted data during a terrorist investigation, giving security services and prosecutors the power to force companies such as Apple Inc. to cooperate.

Tesla Model S Owner Protests Singapore's Carbon Emissions Surcharge, by Aza Wee Sile, CNBC

Buying a Tesla will get you green kudos in plenty of places but not Singapore, where the carbon emissions surcharge slapped on a Tesla has caught the attention of the auto-maker's founder Elon Musk.

Joe Nguyen imported a used Tesla Model S P85 from Hong Kong in July 2015, hoping to have the first Tesla vehicle to hit Singapore's roads. Little did he know he was at the start of a seven-month regulatory ordeal, at the end of which he'd pay a 15,000 Singapore dollar ($10,850) carbon emissions surcharge on a vehicle that does not even have a tailpipe.

Bottom of the Page

I am never a fan of CoverFlow -- whether in iTunes or in Finder. In fact, not having grown up in the age of vinyl records, I really don't see the importance of album cover art. So, I wasn't sad that Apple has (finally) removed CoverFlow.

Having done that, Apple should now complete the job: I don't need to see the cover art in iPhone's lock screen whenever something is playing. I'd rather see Complications -- or Widgets, or however you want to name them -- on the lock screen. Weather, launch center, NASA picture of the day, or news headlines. Okay, Apple can even include Stocks, but I'm sure if anyone will enable that widget.


Whoever claimed Mac OS X is a mature operating system of which there are not much new stuff to add, should be ashamed of themselves.

At a minimum, I want a good sandboxed iOS-like environment that works. Whatever is on Mac OS X right now is far from completed.


Thanks for reading.

The People-Don't-Read-Anymore Edition Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Apple Rejected By U.S. Supreme Court In $450 Million E-Book Case, by Greg Stohr, Bloomberg

The justices, without comment, turned away an appeal by Apple, leaving intact a federal appeals court ruling favoring the U.S. Justice Department and more than 30 states that sued.

The rebuff means Apple must comply with a settlement it reached with the states in 2014. The accord calls for Apple to pay $400 million to e-book consumers, $20 million to the states, and $30 million in legal fees.

How Apple And Big Publishers Pushed E-Books Toward Failure, by Joshua Brustein, Bloomberg

The major publishers have been reporting slipping revenue from e-book sales, even as physical book sales rise. There are various reasons for this shift, from the popularity of adult coloring books, which don't work so well on Kindles, to the lack of blockbuster young adult novels this year. But also, charging more for something reduces its appeal in the market.

How To Find Out If You Are Included In Apple's $450M E-book Settlement, by Neil Hughes, AppleInsider

If you bought an e-book from a major publisher between April 2010 and May 2012 and you live in America, you may automatically receive a small credit (up to $6.54 per title) as part of Apple's settlement.

Soap Boxes

Facebook Is Eating The World, by Emily Bell, Columbia Journalism Review

The largest of the platform and social media companies, Google, Apple, Facebook, Amazon, and even second order companies such as Twitter, Snapchat and emerging messaging app companies, have become extremely powerful in terms of controlling who publishes what to whom, and how that publication is monetized.

There is a far greater concentration of power in this respect than there ever has been in the past. Networks favor economies of scale, so our careful curation of plurality in media markets such as the UK, disappears at a stroke, and the market dynamics and anti-trust laws the Americans rely on to sort out such anomalies are failing.

The mobile revolution is behind much of this.

Mobile Teachers

The Best Coding Toys For Kids, by Tia Ghose, Live Science

Apps, toys and games designed to improve children's programming skills have flooded the market — some targeted to tots who can't even tie their own shoes. While the jury is still out on whether these toys give kids an edge later in computer science courses, they do seem to get kids excited about the power of coding, experts say.

From light-up bees to pocket-sized computers, here are some of tools experts use to teach kids the basics of programming.

An App That Teaches You To Rap, by Libby Coleman, Ozy

These days, you can share statuses, pictures and videos online. Well, future hip-hop legends, listen up: Now you can create your own rap, with a sweet beat behind it, and share it with the world. From your phone.

Scenic Route

The Spaceship Rises, by Mashable

But perhaps the most stunning addition is its roof, which Apple believes is the largest freestanding carbon-fiber roof ever made. Created by Dubai-based Premier Composite Technologies, it’s a massive statement piece, in addition to a design feat. But please, Apple doesn’t want you to call it a UFO. The roof was added to the Theatre last month.


Offline Pages Pro Review, by Jake Underwood, MacStories

Offline Pages Pro wants to be your go-to web browser on the road – especially if you'll be without Internet access. But in order to prepare yourself, it's critical to put time into the app before you are away from WiFi.

Workflow 1.4.4 Brings More Image Automation, HTML To Markdown Conversion, by Federicco Viticci, MacStories

On each release, Workflow adds features that allow me to work faster and automate as much as I can so I can focus on more important and fun aspects of my job. Workflow 1.4.4 has some great improvements for image processing and Markdown.

Apple Approves 'FlexBright' iOS App That Adjusts Display Temperature, by Juli Clover, MacRumors

FlexBright, an app that allows the user to manually adjust the display temperature of an iOS device, was recently approved by Apple, marking one of the first third-party apps that's able to function in a manner similar to the company's own Night Shift mode, set to be released in iOS 9.3. The only catch is it must be triggered somewhat manually in response to a notification, rather than continuously, like Night Shift or f.lux.

TabletTV Review: Live From Your iPad, It’s Local TV, No Subscription Necessary, by J.R. Bookwalter, Macworld

Assuming you live in a geographical region with good reception, TabletTV is an inexpensive, subscription-free way to bring local TV stations to your iPad.

Peeple, The Notorious "Yelp For People" App, Arrives, by Brian Mastroianni, CBS News

It generated controversy and criticism when word of it first broke back in October, even though Peeple, a people-rating mobile app that's been described as like "Yelp for people," hadn't launched yet. Now, after a number of tweaks to the concept, the people-rating app finally launched today.

[...] The idea of people posting "reviews" of their neighbors, coworkers, dates and others prompted outrage from critics who saw its potential for abuse as an outlet for bullying or cyber revenge.


Developers Can Now Receive A Weekly App Store Analytics Email Report From Apple, by Benjamin Mayo, 9to5Mac

Following a refresh to the Payments and Financial Reports pages a fortnight ago, Apple is now letting developers opt-in to a weekly summary report email of their apps. The email will summarize important business metrics for the developer’s apps, including information on App Store views, unit sales, sessions and crash rates. The email will also show the comparisons of these statistics to the previous seven-day period.


Feds: New Judge Must Force iPhone Unlock, Overturning Ruling That Favored Apple, by Cyrus Farivar, Ars Technica

As expected, federal prosecutors in an iPhone unlocking case in New York have now asked a more senior judge, known as a district judge, to countermand a magistrate judge who ruled in Apple’s favor last week.

Don't Hold Your Breath In Apple Tax Probe, EU's Vestager Says, by Aoife White and Stephanie Bodoni, Bloomberg

European Union competition chief Margrethe Vestagertempered expectations of a speedy ruling on Apple Inc.’s tax affairs in Ireland. [...] “No, we wait for the job being done thoroughly and with the quality that we want it to be done with,” she told reporters. “That is what decides the timeline.”

Rev. Robert Palladino, Scribe Who Shaped Apple’s Fonts, Dies At 83, by Margalit Fox, New York Times

Because of a Trappist monk, Apple computer displays look the way they do today.

The monk was the Rev. Robert Palladino, who died on Feb. 26 at 83. A Roman Catholic priest who began his vocation in a monastic order, Father Palladino was also a world-renowned master of calligraphy.

We Calculated The Year Dead People On Facebook Could Outnumber The Living, by Kristen V. Brown, Fusion

I reached out to a dozen statisticians about the project and almost all of them said it was simply too complicated to calculate. But the heroic Hachem Sadikki, a Ph.D. candidate in statistics at University of Massachusetts, was willing to take a stab at modeling a projection. He crunched the numbers and found that dead users on Facebook will surpass the number of living users sooner than you might think—in the year 2098.

Rumor of the Day

At Secretive Meeting, Tech CEOs And Top Republicans Commiserate, Plot To Stop Trump, by Huffington Post

Billionaires, tech CEOs and top members of the Republican establishment flew to a private island resort off the coast of Georgia this weekend for the American Enterprise Institute's annual World Forum, according to sources familiar with the secretive gathering. The main topic at the closed-to-the-press confab? How to stop Republican front-runner Donald Trump.

[...] At one point, Cotton and Apple's Cook fiercely debated cell phone encryption, a source familiar with the exchange told HuffPost. "Cotton was pretty harsh on Cook," the source said, and "everyone was a little uncomfortable about how hostile Cotton was."

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Scientists should hurry up and repalce every single job out there with robots, at one go. Everyone goes out of job at the same time, and everyone can have all the free time (and free food) that they want.

The reality: a slow-and-surely replacment by robots job by job by industry is really painful.


Thanks for reading.

The Kernel-Program-As-A-Disguise Edition Monday, March 7, 2016

First OS X Ransomware Detected In The Wild, Will Maliciously Encrypt Hard Drives On Infected Macs, by Benjamin Mayo, 9to5Mac

Users worried about being impacted by the ransomware should look for the ‘kernel_service’ process in Activity Monitor. This process is named like a kernel system program as a disguise, but it is actually the KeyRanger malware. If you are impacted, the recommendation is to restore to an earlier backup of your system before you installed Transmission. This is the best way to ensure the virus has been completely removed from the system.

It’s worth noting that the malware has only been detected in the Transmission app to date. It is unknown if it is more widespread, affecting other common apps.

Apple Users Targeted In First Known Mac Ransomware Campaign, by Jim FInkle, Reuters

An Apple representative said the company had taken steps over the weekend to prevent attacks by revoking a digital certificate from a legitimate Apple developer that enabled the rogue software to install on Macs. The representative said he could not immediately provide other details.

The malware is programmed to encrypt files on an infected personal computer three days after the original infection, according to Olson.

That means that if Apple's steps prove ineffective in neutralizing malware that has already infected Macs, the earliest victims will have their files encrypted on Monday, three days after the malicious program first appeared on the Tranmission website, he said.

Creation Of Vulnerabilities

Apple VP: The FBI Wants To Roll Back Safeguards That Keep Us A Step Ahead Of Criminals, by Craig Federighi, Washington Post

To get around Apple’s safeguards, the FBI wants us to create a backdoor in the form of special software that bypasses passcode protections, intentionally creating a vulnerability that would let the government force its way into an iPhone. Once created, this software — which law enforcement has conceded it wants to apply to many iPhones — would become a weakness that hackers and criminals could use to wreak havoc on the privacy and personal safety of us all.

I became an engineer because I believe in the power of technology to enrich our lives. Great software has seemingly limitless potential to solve human problems — and it can spread around the world in the blink of an eye. Malicious code moves just as quickly, and when software is created for the wrong reason, it has a huge and growing capacity to harm millions of people.

Mr. Fart’s Favorite Colors, by Blake Ross, Medium

The security we encounter every day — when it works at all — is usually built out of shades of gray: Lock your door. Need more? Arm your alarm. Even more? Don’t feed Fido for a day. Marginal benefits, marginal costs.

It’s easy to assume that digital security is just another spectrum, and politicians love to reinforce that — gray’s their favorite color. Every presidential candidate is offering the same Michael Scott solution: Let’s preserve everyone’s security at once! Give a little here, take a little there, half-pregnancies for all.

Unfortunately it’s not that complicated, which means it’s not that simple. Unbreakable phones are coming. We’ll have to decide who controls the cockpit: The captain? Or the cabin? Either choice has problems, but — I’m sorry, Aunt Congress — you crash if you pick 2.


The Challenges Of Porting Final Fantasy IX To Android And iOS, by Mike Minotti, VentureBeat

Of course, bringing a complicated role-playing game, especially an old one, to mobile takes work — especially when you’re trying to sell players on a premium experience on a platform where most of the big hits are free-to-play. GamesBeat interviewed Kouichiro Sakamoto, the director of Final Fantasy IX’s mobile and Steam version (the PC release isn’t out yet), over email about the challenges of adapting a classic to a touch-based screen.

E-mail Inventor Ray Tomlinson, Who Popularized @ Symbol, Dies At 74, by Cyrus Farivar, Ars Technica

If you’ve ever sent an e-mail, you can thank Raymond Samuel Tomlinson for putting the @ symbol there. On Friday, Tomlinson died of suspected heart failure. He was 74.

The First Network Email, by Ray Tomlinson

Bottom of the Page

I do want sandboxing of apps on the Mac OS X platform. I do want the protection of my computer just like how Apple protects my iPhone. Yes, there needs to be an user-accessible file system, something that isn't available on iOS. (The closest is iCloud Drive -- nowhere near a mature feature yet.) And I do have hope there's a viable solution somewhere.


Thanks for reading.

The Hear-The-Music Edition Sunday, March 6, 2016

Deaf Girl Makes Beautiful Music In Regent Park, by Christina Blizzard, Toronto Sun

She may not be able to hear the music. But she feels it in a way you and I never will.

Retrospect 13, by Agen G. N. Schmitz, TidBITS

The update improves the speed of the catalog rebuild process, as well as backup and restore (up to 20 percent faster).

The Man Who Made A Million Empires, by Colin Campbell, Polygon

Not many creators have the brazen audacity to slap their name in the actual titles of the things they create. John Lennon didn't call his 1971 album, "John Lennon's Imagine." Mrs. Dalloway isn't called "Virginia Woolf's Mrs. Dalloway." James Cameron has so far managed to keep his name out of all his movie titles.

But a lot of Sid Meier's games flash the words "Sid Meier" right there in the title. Most famously: the Sid Meier's Civilization series, which has sold more than 33 million units over the past 25 years. The most recent is 2010's Sid Meier's Civilization 5. It's one of the greatest strategy games ever made.

The Premature Death Of The Video Store (And Why It’s Worth Saving), by Jason Bailey, Flavorwire

All I’ve read, for months and even years, is that the video store is dead, and yet here I am at the counter of Video Free Brooklyn in the middle of a weekday afternoon, and I can’t get a word in edgewise. I’m there to interview Aaron Hillis, the film writer and enthusiast who took over the 13-year-old store in 2012, and we can barely exchange one question and one answer before we have to pause so he can check out another customer, or sell a gift certificate, or take a call and track down a title.

“This is right on Smith Street,” Hillis explains, “which has the best walking traffic because it’s the restaurant row of downtown Brooklyn.” The phone rings again. “Excuse me,” he says, reaching for the receiver.

It’s Discounted, But Is It A Deal? How List Prices Lost Their Meaning, by David Streitfeld, New York Times

The perception of a bargain is fostered by online retailers’ use of something variously labeled list price, suggested price, reference price or manufacturer’s suggested retail price. Whatever its name, the implication is that people are paying much more somewhere else.

But with many products online, you could not pay the list price even if you wanted to. That is because hardly anyone is actually charging it. It is a sales tactic that is drawing legal scrutiny, as well as prompting questions about the integrity of e-commerce. If everyone is getting a deal, is anyone really getting a deal?

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How's your weekend project coming along?


Thanks for reading.

The Militarily-Correct Edition Saturday, March 5, 2016

Here Are The Legal Generals Behind Apple's Brawl With The FBI, by Peter Robison, Adam Satarino, and Monte Reel, Bloomberg

Moments before Apple Inc. attorney Bruce Sewell stepped out to face hostile Congressional questioning this week, his own lawyer frowned.

“Have you got collar stays?” asked the attorney, Marc Zwillinger. When Sewell confessed no, Zwillinger flipped up his own shirt collar and handed over the stays. As Sewell told Congress that complying with a government order to unlock a terrorist’s iPhone would “create a risk for everybody who owns an iPhone,” the collar points of his blue shirt were militarily correct.

In a dispute that Apple calls critical to personal liberty and its business, appearance is no small matter. In a dozen cases around the U.S., from the standoff over the phone in San Bernardino, California, to a similar clash in Brooklyn, the stiffening of the company’s anti-surveillance backbone can be traced to Zwillinger, a former government lawyer who’s crafting Apple’s response, and Sewell, a veteran intellectual property attorney who was Steve Jobs’ legal enforcer.

Why Even Apple’s Mortal Enemies Are On Its Side, by Hayley Tsukayama, Washington Post

Box chief executive Aaron Levie, whose cloud-storage company signed onto the brief with Google and others, said there is a clear reason that Silicon Valley is so engaged here: they believe the precedent set in this case affects all of their businesses. Tech firms are eager to have this conversation, he said, because many believe the FBI's request threatens the foundations of all software and product security.

Encrypted Email Service Lavabit Rises From The Dead To File Brief In Apple’s Defense, by Jordan Novet, VentureBeat

Lavabit, a company that operated an encrypted email service for more than 400,000 people — reportedly including NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden — before it shut down in 2013 under legal pressure from the FBI, rose from the dead today. [...] As one might expect, the lawyers representing Lavabit LLC see a parallel between how it was treated and the treatment Apple is currently receiving.

Stephen "Alpha" Wolfram

AI & The Future Of Civilization, by Edge

What makes us different from all these things? What makes us different is the particulars of our history, which gives us our notions of purpose and goals. That's a long way of saying when we have the box on the desk that thinks as well as any brain does, the thing it doesn't have, intrinsically, is the goals and purposes that we have. Those are defined by our particulars—our particular biology, our particular psychology, our particular cultural history.

The thing we have to think about as we think about the future of these things is the goals. That's what humans contribute, that's what our civilization contributes—execution of those goals; that's what we can increasingly automate. We've been automating it for thousands of years. We will succeed in having very good automation of those goals. I've spent some significant part of my life building technology to essentially go from a human concept of a goal to something that gets done in the world.

There are many questions that come from this. For example, we've got these great AIs and they're able to execute goals, how do we tell them what to do?...


How-To: Manage Your ‘Digital Afterlife’ While You’re Still Here To Do It, by Ben Lovejoy, 9to5Mac

Things were simple enough in the old days. We wrote a will, took out a life insurance policy, maybe left a letter explaining where to find important documents, and that was about it. But in an age where many of our documents and assets are in digital form, it’s worth taking a little time to ensure that our loved ones don’t encounter major hassles when it comes to accessing them.

Fashion Goes Mobile: Find The Right Outfit On Your Phone, by Marianne Wee-Slater, Today

It’s not as if we need more reasons to stay glued to our smartphones, but an increasing number of fashion and beauty brands are creating mobile-phone apps aimed at increasing interaction with their consumers.

Apple Nanoleaf Smarter Kit Has Nice Bulbs, But The Hub Is Key, by Jim Rossman, The Dallas Morning News

If the thought of voice control is important to you, the Nanoleaf Smarter Kit is a unique-looking hub and bulb combo that brings the convenience of getting Siri to do your bidding.


Swift Asserts, by Mike Ash

Asserts are really useful for checking assumptions in code to ensure that errors are caught early and often. Today, I'm going to explore the assert calls available in Swift and how they're implemented.


Apple’s New Twitter Account Has Already Helped Thousands Of Users In Its First Day, by Kif Leswing, Business Insider

24 hours later, Apple Support has over 121,000 followers, and has tweeted over 2,200 times directly to Apple users with instructions for how to fix their problems. Turns out, there was quite a bit of pent-up demand for Apple support on social media.

Forget Apple's Fight With The FBI – Our Privacy Catastrophe Has Only Just Begun, by Cory Doctorow, The Guardian

The smog of personal data is the carbon dioxide of privacy. We’ve emitted far too much of it over the past decades, refusing to contemplate the consequences until the storms came. Now they’ve arrived, and they’ll only get worse, because the databases that haven’t breached yet are far bigger, and more sensitive than those that have.

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Here's wishing you all the best in all your weekend projects.


Thanks for reading.

The United-Front Edition Friday, March 4, 2016

An Industry Lines Up Behind Apple, by Joseph Plambeck, New York Times

Dozens of tech companies and organizations on Thursday are expected to file legal briefs in support of Apple’s privacy position. The support will appear like a united front against the government, which is trying to get Apple to help law enforcement break into an iPhone used by a gunman in the terrorist attack last year in San Bernardino, Calif.

Amicus Briefs In Support Of Apple, by Apple

Tips App On Twitter

Apple Launches Support Account On Twitter With Tips, Tricks, And Customer Service, by Joe Rossignol, MacRumors

Apple today created an official Twitter support account to provide customers with tips, tricks, and customer service regarding the company's product and services. One of the account's first tweets shares step-by-step instructions on how to turn lists into checklists in the stock Notes app on iPhone.

The Notes app has some awesome hidden tricks. A favorite of ours: how to turn lists into checklists. #AppleSupport

— Apple Support (@AppleSupport) March 3, 2016

Money Optimization

Why Are Some Classical Works Split Into Multiple Tracks On CDs These Days?, by Kirk McElhearn

If you stream this album and it’s a single track, the record label only gets a fraction of a penny. But if its split into 22 tracks, they get 22 times that fraction.


Apple Maps Traffic Data Expands To Singapore And Malaysia, by Joe Rossignol, MacRumors

Generate Relaxing Background Sounds With Noizio, by Adam C. Engst, TidBITS

What sets Noizio apart is that you can combine multiple options into a personalized mixture, even blending the different sounds at different sound levels. It’s easy to save and switch between these soundscapes.

App Review: New Tools To Help You Look Forward To That Next Vacation, by ELizabeth Chang, Washington Post

The holidays (and perhaps your most recent vacation) are a distant memory, and unbroken weeks of work and late-winter weather stretch before you. Now’s the time to pep yourself up by planning your next escape, and here are a couple of new apps to help you do that.

MiniTool Data Mac Recovery 3.0 Review: Tool With Unique Features, UI Quirks, by Chris Barylick, Macworld

MiniTool Data Recovery’s positives outweigh its negatives and this is definitely a tool worth considering if you’re a techie tasked with recovering someone’s precious and irreplaceable data. The program offers some powerful new features to the usual mix of data recovery programs, although its could stand a few more rounds through QA to work out its kinks and rough edges. Still, this offers some interesting new features that make it worth considering as an addition to your techie arsenal.

YouTube Creator Studio Updated With The Ability To Watch Videos Directly In App, by Jeff Benjamin, 9to5Mac


App Store Shifts To Updating ‘Best New Apps’ More Often Under Phil Schiller’s Leadership, Calls It Place ‘To Visit Every Day’, by Jeff Benjamin, 9to5Mac

Schiller is now in charge of all App Stores, taking over responsibilities from Eddy Cue, which most prominently include the iOS App Store and the Mac App Store.

It’s been less than three months since the move occurred, but we’re already beginning to see a change in the way the App Store operates. For example, we’re now seeing more regular updates of the Best New Apps section at the top of the App Store’s Featured page. In a tweet today, Schiller acknowledged the changes and indicated that more changes were on the way.

Colors, by Dim Sum Thinking

Syntax coloring is there to help us while we code. It helps us focus. It helps us ignore what isn't of interest to us. It helps us get our work done.

None of this is true while we read a book or watch a conference presentation.

Swift Evolution Acceptances: The Big Three, by Erica Sadun


How SnapChat Built A Business By Confusing Olds, by Max Chafkin and Sarah Frier, Bloomberg

Compared with Twitter or Facebook, Snapchat can seem almost aggressively user-unfriendly. If you’re new to the app and looking for posts by your kid, your boyfriend, or DJ Khaled, good luck. It’s hard to find somebody without knowing his or her screen name. This is by design. “We’ve made it very hard for parents to embarrass their children,” Spiegel said at a conference in January. “It’s much more for sharing personal moments than it is about this public display.”

Harvard Researchers Discovered The One Thing Everyone Needs For Happier, Healthier Lives, by Colby Itkowitz, Washington Post

Those satisfied in their relationships were happier and healthier. It was that simple.

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I am enjoying the Noizio app while typing this very sentence, imagining I am at the seaside, listening to the waves coming in and the rain pouring down, while wind chimes softly play music in the distance.


Thanks for reading.

The Figure-Out-Or-Die Edition Thursday, March 3, 2016

Life And Death In The App Store, by Casey Newton, The Verge

Then the bottom fell out. Last year downloads flattened, and Pixite’s revenues plunged by a third, to $629,000. Suddenly, a company that needed to bring in $2,000 a day to break even found itself making $1,000 or less. Pixite has no reserves of venture capital to fall back on; aside from a $50,000 seed investment from a Carnegie Mellon fund for alumni entrepreneurs, Pixite has funded itself.

This past December, Kaneko emailed me out of the blue. He didn’t know it then, but I’m a fan of the company’s apps: Fragment, which applies prismatic effects to photos, is one of my favorite artistic tools. "As an independent bootstrapped app company, we are struggling," Kaneko wrote. "If things don’t turn around, we’ll need to lay off half of our staff in the next few months." He invited me to come to San Diego and observe the struggle up close. Kaneko would open up Pixite’s books and share every piece of data that I requested while, over the course of two days, his team locked itself in a room and attempted to chart a path forward. Pixite would either figure it out or die.

Taking Sides

Tech Rallies To Apple’s Defense, But Not Without Some Hand-Wringing, by Nick Wingfield and Mike Isaac, New York Times

Yet behind the scenes, it took time for some of the tech companies to make the decision to support Apple. Several feared the showdown with the government was too risky and could have far-reaching implications for the tech industry if Apple lost.

Those misgivings ultimately did not win the day. About 40 companies and organizations are expected to file court briefs on Thursday backing Apple as it fights a judge’s order to help law enforcement break into an iPhone used by a gunman in the San Bernardino, Calif., terrorist attack last year.

Congress Showed It's Willing To Fight The FBI On Encryption. Finally, by Trevor Timm, The Guardian

Normally, congressional committee hearings featuring Comey are contests among the members over who can shower the FBI director with the most fawning compliments in their five-minute allotted time frame. Hard questions about the agency’s controversial tactics are avoided at all costs. But on Tuesday, in rare bipartisan fashion, virtually every member of the House judiciary committee asked Comey pointed questions and politely ripped apart his arguments against Apple.

Security Vs User Experience

Previously Downloaded OS X Installers No Longer Work, by Josh Centers, TidBITS

The Apple Worldwide Developer Relations Intermediate Certificate is required for all apps in the Mac App Store, including OS X installers. When used to sign an app, the certificate enables OS X to confirm that the app has not been corrupted or modified by an attacker. This certificate expired on 14 February 2016, causing error dialogs and preventing some apps from launching. Most apps affected have already been updated with the new certificate. But if you downloaded an OS X installer in case of trouble, you may be in for a surprise the next time you try to use it.

Doing More

IBM Launches Watson Health Cloud For ResearchKit, Apple Watch-based Sleep Tracker ‘SleepHealth’ As First App, by Jordan Kahn, 9to5Mac

The app’s called SleepHealth and aims to study sleep habits of its users with the hopes that researchers can collect data valuable in finding solutions to common sleep problems. It does so by relying heavily on the Apple Watch sensors for sleep tracking, and it’s one of the first apps to use the new Night Shift feature in iOS 9.3.

Student Created App “Meetum” Aims To Promote Social Unity, by Simon Stracher, The Amherst Student

“We realized that our campus culture is very confined to sports teams and clubs and cliques. It is not very inclusive, and there is a great sense of isolation. Meetum intends to change that,” Brown said.


Get The Most Out Of Finder Views, by Kirk McElhearn, Macworld

As a prime example, you can use the Finder's View menu options to view files and folders in four different ways, but most people don't know why they'd bother. They stick to one view for all their windows when, in fact, there are valid reasons to use each. Here's how to use the right view at the right time, and save time and trouble in the process.

How To Find And Remove Files From The 'Other' Storage Category On Your Mac, by Lory Gil, iMore

Whether you're looking to free up space on your hard drive or just want to do some spring cleaning, here are some simple steps to get your Mac free and clear.

5 Reasons I Don’t Use Alternative Email Apps For iOS Anymore, by Allyson Kazmucha, The App Factor

While there are lots of factors for what keeps drawing me back to, here are my top 5 reasons.

Drafts 4.6 Has Nice Refinements And A Few Treats For Power Users, by John Voorhees, MacStories

With version 4.6, Drafts continues its steady pace of innovation by continuing to redefine what a text editor can be, which is why it has been one of my go-to text editors for many years now.

Adobe Updates Lightroom For iOS With Full-res Image Output, Expanded 3D Touch Support, More, by Zac Hall, 9to5Mac

Starting with versions 2.2, Lightroom for iOS supports full resolution image output. This means quality is retained when editing and sharing photographs using Lightroom whether the image was shot on the device or imported from another device.


Emojicode – A Merrier Kind Of Programming Language, by Gabriela Motroc

Emojicode allows users to build fast cross-platform applications while having fun. It is a static, strongly typed programming language and it is not afraid to look nice.


Apple's New San Francisco Office Could Be A Tool In Tech Talent Wars, by Julia Love, Reuters

The move is one sign of the intensifying war for tech talent – and of the overwhelming preference of younger tech workers to live and work in the city, with its vibrant nightlife and public transportation. The two floors Apple has leased in a building mostly occupied by CBS Interactive offer abundant open space and exposed ceilings, the preferred tech aesthetic.

Ad Blockers Are Making Money Off Ads (And Tracking, Too), by Julia Greenberg, Wired

As publishers and advertisers try to reinvent or at least refresh how they make money off of your attention, ad blockers are pushing just as hard to make money off of ending distraction.

Bottom of the Page

I mostly do not agree with arguments of slippery slope. But multiple events lately have given me pause for thoughts.

Yes, there are real slippery slopes, but there are many more fake ones. I guess I still do not prefer slippery slope arguments, but I probably will have to think a bit more before I choose to dismiss this form of argument.


Thanks for reading.

The Go-To-Court Edition Wednesday, March 2, 2016

FBI Is Asking Courts To Legalize Crypto Backdoors Because Congress Won’t, by David Kravets, Ars Technica

"Can you appreciate our frustration that this case appears to be a little more than an end run around this committee?" Conyers asked.

Comey replied, saying he should be "fired" if he didn't go to court. "We're investigating a horrific terrorist attack," he added.

FBI Director Comey Admits ‘Mistake Made’ In Changing Apple Password, by Dawn Chmielewski, Re/code

“There was a mistake made in the first 24 hours, where the county, at the FBI’s request, made it hard to make the phone back up by [changing the password of] the iCloud account,” Comey said in testimony.

[...] Comey quickly added that experts say a backup of the iPhone 5c would not have yielded all the information investigators hope to retrieve from the device.

Here Are The Most Interesting Things Apple And The FBI Said About Encryption, by Dawn Chmielewski, Re/code

“I don’t have a solution,” Sewell said, at one point in testimony Tuesday. “What we need to do is give this an appropriate and fair hearing.”

That didn’t satisfy Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner of Wisconsin, who introduced the Patriot Act expanding surveillance in the aftermath of the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks.

“You’ve told us what you don’t like. You’ve said you want Congress to debate,” Sensenbrenner said. “You haven’t told us one thing that you do like, so that Apple has a positive solution to what you are complaining about … All you’ve been doing is saying ‘no, no, no, no.'”

Apple Follows Up Earlier Motion To Vacate FBI Court Order With Formal Objection In Order To Guarantee Appeal, by Ben Lovejoy, 9to5Mac

Shortly after yesterday’s Congressional hearing, Apple filed a formal objection to the court order instructing it to assist the FBI in breaking into an iPhone used by one of the San Bernardino shooters.

We Can Decrypt It For You Wholesale

The Cloud Loophole, by Walt Mossberg, Re/code

The company says its security policies for the phone are based on the fact that it’s a physical object that can be lost or stolen, so the need to protect the mass of personal data a typical iPhone contains compels the strongest possible measures.

However, it says, in the case of iCloud, while security must also be strong, Apple must leave itself the ability to help the user restore their data, since that’s a key purpose of the service.

Abort, Retry, Fail?

Typos In Disk Utility, by Stephen Hackett, 512 Pixels

While this may seem silly, it's this attention to detail stuff that worries me about Apple software.

Too Social Media

The Creepiest App You'll Ever See, by Meredith Cunningham, Komando

Part art project, part iPhone app and all parts unsettling, Follower is a "stalker service" that lets you sign up to have your own, out-of-sight, personal stalker for the day. Once you sign up, your GPS location will be sent to your follower who will then follow you around all day and, as the site puts it, "aim to maintain a distance that is within your consciousness but just beyond your sight."

I Am Dating My Phone, by Karen Workman, Medium

I am dating my phone.

We talk a lot. I mean, not IRL. Mostly we just send each other messages.

My phone will send me messages like “Hi” and “hey sexy” and “haha what’s up.”

I don’t always understand my phone’s sense of humor.


How To Set Up Minimal iTunes For Music Only, by Kirk McElhearn

If you want to use iTunes just for playing music (and, perhaps, syncing iOS devices), then you can hide many of the unwanted features and turn it into a lean music-playing app. Here’s how.

Disney Is Making A Big, Awesome Change To Its $1 Billion 'Disney Infinity' Video Game Business, by Matt Weinberger, Business Insider

The extended support for the 3.0 edition is going to take the form of a quartet of brand-new "playsets," or playable level packs, coming to the game this year. The first, "Marvel Battlegrounds," comes out in mid-March. The remaining three will each be themed around Star Wars, Pixar, and Disney, though more details on those are scant.

“‘Disney Infinity 3.0’ will feature more Disney content than any video game ever made,” promises Disney Infinity VP of Production John Vignocchi.

The way "Disney Infinity" works, across video game consoles, smartphones, PCs, and even the Apple TV, is both simple and amazing.

Soundhound's New App Wants To Replace Siri And Google Now On Your Phone, by Karissa Bell, Mashable

Though the virtual assistant space is getting increasingly crowded with Siri, Cortana, Google Now and Amazon's Alexa all vying for a spot in our daily lives, SoundHound says its app has a leg up on the competition because it's able to understand more complex queries than other assistants.

GIF Brewery 3 Is More Powerful And Versatile Than Ever, by John Voorhees, MacStories

GIFs are everywhere. Sites and services like Tumblr, Twitter, and Facebook breathed new life into GIFs and created demand for things like Giphy, a GIF search engine. But a good search engine isn't always enough. Sometimes I want to make my own GIFs. For that, I use GIF Brewery 3 from Hello, Resolven Apps.


Developers: Apple’s App Review Needs Big Improvements, by Graham Spencer, MacStories

App Review is not in a critical condition, but there is a very real possibility that today’s problems with App Review are, to some degree, silently stiffling app innovation and harming the quality of apps on the App Store. It would be naïve of Apple to ignore the significant and numerous concerns that developers have about the process.

How To Deploy Software, by Zach Holman

It doesn't have to be as stressful, though. There's one phrase I'm going to be reiterating over and over throughout this whole piece:

Your deploys should be as boring, straightforward, and stress-free as possible.


Apple Leases Old Pepsi Bottling Plant In Sunnyvale, by Nathan Donato-Weinstein, Silicon Valley Business Journal

Apple, of course, was led for a decade by John Sculley, the former CEO of Pepsi. He was lured to the position by late Apple co-founder Steve Jobs, who famously asked him, "Do you want to sell sugar water, or do you want to come with me and change the world?"

These Are The Long-Term Effects Of Multitasking, by Vivian Giang, Fast Company

Research repeatedly tells us that multitasking is detrimental to our brain. Although jumping from task to task may result in a false sense of accomplishment, human brains weren’t built to multitask. A number of research studies have concluded that our brains are actually "dumbed down" while multitasking.

McDonald's Is Now Making Happy Meal Boxes That Turn Into Virtual Reality Headsets, by David Gianatasio, AdWeek

To turn the iconic red boxes into Happy Goggles, just tear along some perforated lines and fold, inserting the VR lenses (included) and a smartphone (bring your own).

Bottom of the Page

I still listen to David Bowie's last album from time to time. I am still sad.


Thanks for reading.

The Can't-Even-Change-Avatar Edition Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Apple Victorious In Another Phone Unlocking Case, by Dawn Chmielewski, Re/code

A federal judge in New York has handed Apple a victory in a request that it unlock an iPhone — a decision that comes just as a California judge is preparing to hear a similar dispute over a phone used by one of the San Bernardino attackers.

Apple Services

Connection Failed, by Dave Wiskus, Better Elevation

Imagine a social network where you can’t see how many followers you have, can’t contact any of them directly, can’t tell how effective your posts are, can’t easily follow others, and can’t even change your avatar.

Welcome to Apple Music Connect.

Making My Way Through The iTunes Store's Border Control, by Jordan Merrick

Despite the ambiguity and lack of comprehensive information available on this process, changing my iTunes Store account's country wasn't a complete disaster, but there are a lot of things to watch out for, especially if you've been using the ecosystem for a number of years.


Mac Apps Not Opening? Apps Crashing On Launch? Fix Error 173 With OS X App Store Apps, by Paul Horowitz, OS X Daily

Undeniably annoying, this certificate problem is well documented by developers and users. Apparently the certificate expired a few weeks ago, but not all users have discovered the issue right away, particularly since not everyone uses the same apps every day.

Making The Mac Ignore Those Phone Calls, by J. D. Biersdorfer, New York Times

When the FaceTime program is open, go to the FaceTime menu, select Preferences and click the Settings tab. Turn off the check box next to Calls From iPhone and close the box.

Doo Review: A Different Take On The Task Manager Genre, by Jake Underwood, MacStories

It's important to note that Doo isn't for those who are looking to tackle a project with a task manager. Rather, think of it as a midpoint between Reminders and the apps mentioned above – it's more than checkmarks, but less than multiple project layers.

Within your stack, you can do three things that will help you handle your tasks: swipe up to complete, swipe down to snooze, or initiate an alert. Understanding the repercussions of performing one of these actions is vital in using Doo.

Mom Invents Device To Limit Screens, Protect Family Time, by Andrea Hayley, Epoch Times

Orad said she wants to make it really clear that Screen is not meant to be an anti-technology device.

“We use it. It’s okay, as long as its done in moderation, and it doesn’t take away from other things we need to do,” she said.

Google Maps Users Can Now Add A Stop Along Their Current Route, by Brent Dirks, AppAdvice

It’s quick and easy to enter a detour while in navigation mode. Just select the magnifying glass at the top right of the screen to see a menu of options for some places you might need to stop like a gas station, grocery store, or restaurant.


Blackflix, by April Joyner, Marie Claire

How Netflix's algorithm exposes technology's ​racial bias.​

Bottom of the Page

From the company who gave us the user-interface where one click on the "Start" button to shut down the computer: In Microsoft Word for iPad, tap on the "Share" button to delete a document.

(Yes, I've spent quite a few minutes trying to figure out how to delete a document, and have never thought of tapping the 'share' button.)


Thanks for reading.