Archive for April 2016

The Call-Dad Edition Saturday, April 30, 2016

A Letter Of Thanks To Apple, From A Grateful Dad, by Davidahouse

He grabbed the phone with no screen, then he pressed the home button. He felt it try to vibrate and just said “Call Dad”. After what seemed like minutes, he heard “Calling Dad”. Siri never sounded so good. That is the call I got where I could hear him. Siri worked. The iPhone microphone worked. Amazing.

Vogueing Apple

Vogue And Apple: A Love Story, by Nicola Fumo and Kwame Opam, Racked

To the world at large, Vogue is fashion and Apple is tech. Each represents the premium in their space: Vogue with over a century in print and access to A-list everyone, Apple with the slickest must-have gadgets on the planet. Whether we subscribe to the magazine or own an Apple device personally is moot — they're mega-brands with mega-influence.

The two have united this year to produce the annual spring Costume Institute exhibit and its corresponding over-the-top event, the red carpet blowout known as the Met Gala. The exhibit, "Manus x Machina: Fashion in an Age of Technology," loosely covers the intersection of both industries. What a marriage.

Who Said It: Steve Jobs Or Anna Wintour?, by Jenni Avins, Quartz

Marketing 101

Phil Schiller Has Fun On Twitter, Internet Loses Its Fool Mind, by Rene Ritchie, iMore

How do you get Apple pedants and tech pubs to fall all over themselves? If you're Phil Schiller, you reply to a tweet...

Tor Myhren Officially Starts As Apple's New VP Of Marketing Communications, by Roger Fingas, AppleInsider

Myhren will be responsible for advertising, the company's internet presence, and packaging design, according to his newly-uploaded profile. Given the importance of the position, he will be reporting directly to CEO Tim Cook.

Common Language

The Convergence Of Emoji, by Sebastiaan de With

Companies like Google and Microsoft are entirely free to attempt to reshape our popular culture by changing the way their emoji look. They could easily dig their heels in and refuse to change their emoji iconography despite jarring differences between sets.

Fortunately, this isn’t the case. What we’re seeing instead is that the new emoji sets from Google and Microsoft have converged to a look that is far more similar to Apple’s, often mimicking particular peculiarities in expression or design that Apple apparently chose on a whim.

Here’s Why You Keep Seeing Popcorn Emojis All Over Drake’s Instagram Page, by Ashley Williams, Hiphollywood

This Month, The Beyhive Sent Over 2 Million Tweets With Lemon Emojis, by Fast Company


Apple Debuts 'Reimagined And Redesigned' Support Site, by Husain Sumra, MacRumors

Apple today updated its support site with a brand new look and new ways for users to interact with it. The new site is broken into several different blocks, with most of the attention going to three different ways users can get help.

Review: Griffin's BreakSafe Cable Provides Handy Magnetic USB-C Charging, But With A Few Drawbacks, by Mitchel Broussard, MacRumors

In the first test, I left the cable plugged in and returned intermittently to check my MacBook's charge level, and discovered twice that the two correctly aligned magnetic ends were touching, but not fully connected.


This Is Why Proprietary Sync Servers Are A Mistake, by Kirk McElhearn

Sync is hard. If you can’t get it right, don’t try and roll your own sync server. There are other solutions, which worked well enough with the previous version of the app.


Reassuring Words About Apple’s Approach To Services, by Jason Snell, Six Colors

As the platform owner, Apple has the advantage of deeply integrating its services with iOS in ways that competitors can’t. I don’t begrudge them their ability to make money off of additional services, so long as it doesn’t get in the way of a fundamentally good user experience.

Little Scamp Causes Full Minute Of Dead Air On NPR On Take Your Child To Work Day, by Andy Cush, Gawker

“One of our junior journalists was some how able to press the exact sequence, and perfectly timed live insert panel to insert studio 42 into the stream 1. I kid you not” the email read. “Feel free to giggle at will.”

A Poem About Silicon Valley, Assembled From Quora Questions About Silicon Valley, by Jason O. Gilbert, Fusion

Why do so many startups fail?
Why are all the hosts on CouchSurfing male?
Are we going to be tweeting for the rest of our lives?
Why do Silicon Valley billionaires choose average-looking wives?

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Surely, Apple has something in their secret labs that will be the next big thing and which doesn't require me to go out to get a driving license?


Thanks for reading.

The Fast-Creation Edition Friday, April 29, 2016

iMovie For Mac Updated With Fast Project Creation, Other New Features, by Juli Clover, MacRumors

Fast project creation allows editing to begin with a single click, while an easier to find "New Project" button has been added to the Projects browser. Larger product thumbnails, designed to bring the look of iMovie for Mac in line with the iOS version, have been added.

A Little Secretive, A Little Creepy

COVR Photo Is Perfect For Stalkers And Street Photographers Everywhere, by Haje Kamps, TechCrunch

It enables you to use your phone and camera as usual most of the time, but if you want to slip into sneaky, spying sleuth mode, slide the mirror assembly across the lens and you’ll be able to pretend to text while snapping your photos.

Campus News

Apple Employee Died Of Self-inflicted Gunshot Wound: Police, by Dan Whitcomb, Reuters

"The Medical Examiner determined the manner of death was suicide and the cause was a gunshot to the head," the Santa Clara County Sheriff's Office said in a written statement.

International suicide hotlines.


Apple Music Now Plays Music Videos On Android, by Lauren Goode, The Verge

The new version of the app gives Android users access to music videos inside of Apple Music, which were previously exclusive to iOS users. And Android users can now sign up for a family plan, which means six members of the household can access Apple Music for $14.99 a month rather than $9.99 per month per user.

Talkshow Is Texting In Public And More: We Take A First Look And Interview The Creator!, by Mikah Sargent, iMore

Talkshow is a free app for iPhone and iPad that lets you communicate with a group of people... in front of other people. It sounds a little weird at first, but once you dive in you'll find it's quite similar to other public social networks.

Vivaldi 1.0 Review: Browser Offers Innovative Ideas, Some More Polished Than Others, by Nathan Alderman, Macworld

It offers ideas that aren’t just new for novelty’s sake, but actually add fun and convenience to your daily Web routine.

The iPhone's Trippiest App Has To Be Heard To Be Understood, by Vlad Savov, The Verge

Augmented reality usually refers to the overlaying of digital images or information onto a user's view, but it's not all visual. To wit, there's an iPhone app called Hear that does augmented aural reality — and it's a blast.


Apple Announces New Apple Music API, by John Voorhees, MacStories

The announcement coincides with the introduction of a new Apple Music Best Practices for Apple Developers page that serves as a hub for developer and affiliate program resources related to Apple Music.


Icahn: We’re Out Of Apple, And It’s China’s Fault, by Jacob Pramuk, CNBC

"We no longer have a position in Apple," Icahn told CNBC's "Power Lunch," noting Apple is a "great company" and CEO Tim Cook is "doing a great job." [...] Icahn said China's attitude toward Apple largely drove him to exit his position.

Yahoo's $8 Billion Black Hole, by Max Chafkin and Brian Womack, Bloomberg

“I kind of wish the story hadn’t been told that Yahoo was miraculously saved by Marissa”

REVEALED: The Everyday Things That Are ILLEGAL In Singapore, by Sian Meades, Daily Express

If you’re travelling to Singapore, beware. The country has very strict laws around everyday activities. Here are some of the most surprising things that could land you with a prison sentence.

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"Samaritans of Singapore (SOS) is the only suicide prevention centre in Singapore. It is a secular non-profit organisation which provides 24-hour confidential emotional support to people who have difficulty coping during a crisis, who are thinking of suicide or affected by suicide."

You may make a donation to SOS here.


Thanks for reading.

The Building-Health Edition Thursday, April 28, 2016

Apple’s Plan To Turn The iPhone Into A Medical Wonder Starts Now, by Lisa Eadicicco, Time

“[Medical apps] are usually written by people who have no sense of user experience, and are driven in a lot of ways by fear,” says Dachis. “For a data driven disease like diabetes, you really need all of the pieces of the puzzle in one place.”

Dachis’ frustrations led him to develop One Drop, an app that allows diabetics to manage their health by tracking data from their glucose meters, logging the number of carbohydrates in their meals, and offering insulin shot reminders.

iPhone maker Apple is now hoping to improve health apps like One Drop by offering developers new tools for building health apps. The Cupertino, Calif.-based firm on Thursday is rolling out “CareKit,” which gives app makers a suite of new tools for creating health software.

Apple Dives Straight Into Health Care With Release Of First CareKit Apps, by Arielle Duhaime-Ross, The Verge

Today, Apple announced the release of the very first apps made using CareKit, an open software platform that lets developers create iPhone apps that can help people manage various medical conditions and share information with their doctors. Among the four apps released today is one that helps users manage their diabetes, and one that people can use to track symptoms of depression. For Apple, the move signals the company's first real step into the realm of true health care, as opposed to scientific research or simple health tracking. But given that 20 percent of US doctors still haven't started using electronic health records, it's unclear what sort of impact CareKit will have on the health care industry as a whole.

Rose Gold Is The New Bondi Blue

Why Everybody And Your Mom Is Obsessed With Rose Gold, by David Pierce, Wired

Consumers love it for the subliminal sense of peace and calm it provides in an increasingly hectic world. Companies love it because it conveys opulence and comfort, two things that aren’t easily communicated with a metal rectangle. Ultimately, a rose gold gadget is more than a gadget. It’s a choice, a decision that says something about what you value.

Campus News

Apple Campus Death: Employee Dead In Company Conference Room In 'Isolated Incident', by Mark Gomez and Robert Salonga, San Jose Mercury News

Emergency dispatch audio archived online reported that the male was bleeding from the head, and "possibly has a gun," and was being escorted by security personnel. A few minutes later, dispatchers reported that "a body is in one of the conference rooms with a gun." It is unclear whether those reports are describing the same instance, but both coincide with the timing of the emergency call.

Man Found Dead At Apple Headquarters In California, by Julia Love, Reuters

"We are heartbroken by the tragic loss of a young and talented coworker. Our thoughts and deepest sympathies go out to his family and friends, including the many people he worked with here at Apple," the company said in a statement.

Just A Few Extra Miles

Girl, 12, Runs Half-marathon By Mistake, by Victoria E. Freile, Democrat & Chronicle

When LeeAdianez Rodríguez hit the pavement Sunday, she planned to run 3.1 miles.

Instead, the 12-year-old Irondequoit girl accidentally ran her first-ever half-marathon, giving her mother a major fright for more than an hour.


Review: Apple MacBook, by David Pierce, Wired

On the off chance you do need to plug in a flash drive, it’s going to be a pain. But for the most part, the world is ready for a beautiful, thin, light laptop with a great screen, a weird keyboard, and exactly one port. It’s an online world. People work in too many places, in too many ways, to need accessories and outlets and adapters.

Review: SanDisk’s New Lightning To USB Drive For iPhone Adds USB 3 & A Wraparound Design, by Jordan Kahn, 9to5Mac

They didn’t innovate much as far as the design goes, but they borrowed what I think is the best design for this product and perfected it in the process. The storage and pricing options stack up fairly against the competitors, USB 3.0 is a welcomed addition, and with a decent companion app with no major flaws, I’d recommend it as the best option out there as far as Lightning to USB drives for your iPhone and iPad go.

PDFpen 8 Makes It Easier To Digitally Sign And Annotate Documents On The Mac, by Harish Jonnalagadda, iMore

New features include the ability to validate digital signatures, as well as sign using AATL or self-signed certificates, record audio annotations, and attach files to documents.

Philips Releases Hue 'Gen 2' App With Routines, Rooms & Other Improvements, by Roger Finas, AppleInsider

Routines are schedules based on activities, and specifically geared towards different temperatures and intensities of white light. A "Wake Up" routine, for instance, will gradually increase brightness as the sun rises, while "Nightlight" will output dim warm light so as to make it easier to go back to sleep.

PBS Kids Games App Creates A Free Walled Garden, You Know, For Kids!, by David Katzmaier, CNET

Launching today is a new free app from PBS Kids that collects many of its free games in one place. Currently the app contains 25 games featuring popular characters from PBS childrens' shows, including Peg + Cat's Chicken Dance, Wild Kratts' Rhino Bowl and Sid the Science Kid's Crystals Rule. More games will be added on a weekly basis.


Apple And The Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Drop In iPhone Sales, by John Gruber, Daring Fireball

We might be seeing “peak iPhone”. But it could just be a statistical blip, caused in large part by the iPhone 6’s exceptional popularity, along with other factors like the economy in China and currency exchange rates. There’s simply not enough data to know.

Inside Pandora's Plan To Reinvent Itself—And Beat Back Apple And Spotify, by John Paul Titlow, Fast Company

Even before its unexpected CEO swap, Pandora was busy charting a new course. Late last year, it acquired the remains of struggling Spotify competitor Rdio, concert ticket seller Ticketfly, and Next Big Sound, a startup that tracks music online and offers detailed analytics to artists and labels. The acquisitions signaled a two-pronged strategy: Turn Pandora into a more comprehensive, Spotify-esque place for listening to music, while also making it a more valuable (and hopefully lucrative) resource for musicians. The time line on launching these new initiatives, Westergren assures me, has not changed, although like any executive operating in the ever-fluctuating digital music space, he’s hesitant to give exact dates.

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My appetite went missing today.


Thanks for reading.

The Q2-2016 Edition Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Apple Q2 2016 Results: $50.6 Billion Revenue, 51.2 Million iPhones, 10.3 Million iPads Sold, by Federico Viticci, MacStories

Apple has just published their financial results for Q2 2016, which covered the three months from January through March 2016. The company posted revenue of $50.6 billion and earnt a quarterly net profit of $10.5 billion. Through the quarter it sold 10.3 million iPads, 51.2 million iPhones, and 4 million Macs.

Picking Apart Apple’s Q2 2016 Numbers, by Jason Snell, Six Colors

So in other words, if you like profits and strong sales, Apple has that. They’re not not what they were last year—and that’s not a great sign for Wall Street. But don’t let someone tell you that Apple’s in trouble, or that it lost money, or that iPhone sales are cratering, because none of that is true. What is true is that after many years of growth, some of it staggeringly inflationary growth, Apple didn’t grow this quarter. If you’re an investor, that may be quite painful. If you’re a user of Apple’s products, it probably won’t affect you much at all.

Apple Pay Is 'Growing At A Tremendous Rate' With 5X More Transaction Volume Than Last Year, by Juli Clover, MacRumors

During the call, Cook said Apple Pay would expand to additional locations "soon,".

Demand For iPhone SE Is 'Very Strong,' Exceeds Available Supply, by Juli Clover, MacRumors

According to Apple CEO Tim Cook, the iPhone SE puts Apple in a strategic plan to attract new customers with its affordable price point and powerful internal specifications.

Apple Music Now Has 13 Million Paying Subscribers, Up From 11 Million In February, by Benjamin Mayo, 9to5Mac

Apple is looking towards its Internet Services businesses to support future revenue growth, so strong performance of Apple Music is crucial to the bottom line as sales of iOS devices flatline (or fall).

Apple Forecasts Another Revenue Decline Next Quarter, by Joe Rossignol, MacRumors

Apple expects third quarter revenue of between $41 billion and $43 billion, which would be up to 18 percent lower than the $49.6 billion in revenue it posted in the year-ago quarter.

Apple CEO Tim Cook Optimistic On China Despite 26% Dip In Revenue, by Mikey Campbell, AppleInsider

Apple Adds $50B To Capital Return Program, Increases Quarterly Dividend By 10%, by AppleInsider

This Is Tim: Apple's CEO On The Company's 2016 Q2 Earnings, by Rene Ritchie and Jason Snell, iMore


The Problem With Deleting Photos From Your Device With iCloud Photo Library Enabled, by Glenn Fleishman, Macworld

Thus, if you delete an image in any associated app, you’re telling iCloud Photo Library to remove that image from its “truth,” which means to delete it from the central repository and sync that change to all endpoints.

Turn To Path Finder When The Mac OS X Finder Isn’t Flexible Enough, by Dennis Sellers, Apple World Today

It's a standalone application that looks and operates much like the Finder, but with extra features and enhancements. It's optimized for single window use, eliminating the clutter of overlapping windows.

Better File Juggling With Yoink, by John Voorhees, MacStories

With Yoink, I can work in one app at a time, parking each on Yoink’s shelf until I’m ready for the next step. The difference is subtle, but I find that working modally in one app at a time ultimately saves me time and makes it less likely that I have to go hunting for an image in the file system.

Design And Find New Colors With Colordot, by Jake Underwood, MacStories

Developer Hailpixel describes Colordot as an app for "anyone who loves color" – which is justified by the fact that the app's only purpose is to fiddle around with color. Essentially, Colordot is a color selection tool for the rest of us; through some simple gestures, you'll create one or more colors, get its hex triplet, and assign it to a palette.


Apple Says FBI Gave It First Vulnerability Tip On April 14, by Joseph Menn, Reuters

The FBI informed Apple Inc of a vulnerability in its iPhone and Mac software on April 14, the first time it had told the company about a flaw in Apple products under a controversial White House process for sharing such information, the company told Reuters on Tuesday. [...] The vulnerability that was disclosed to Apple involved older versions of the iPhone and the Mac, Apple said.

FBI Plans To Keep Apple iPhone-Hacking Method Secret, by Devlin Barrett, Wall Street Journal

The Federal Bureau of Investigation doesn’t plan to tell Apple it cracked a San Bernardino, Calif., terrorist’s phone, said people familiar with the matter, leaving the company in the dark on a security vulnerability on some iPhone models.

The FBI knows how to use the phone-hacking tool it bought to open the iPhone 5c but doesn’t specifically knows how it works, allowing the tool to avoid a White House review, the people said, The FBI plans to notify the White House of this conclusion in the coming days, they added.

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Happiness is when you discovered that no one has emailed you for work stuff the entire afternoon.

Unhappiness is when you discovered that the particular tab in your web browser that contained the Outlook web page was frozen, and a simple press of the Refresh button would show you all the email messages that you thought didn't exist.


Thanks for reading.

The Lunch-With-Cook Edition Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Apple CEO Tim Cook Auctions Apple HQ Charity Lunch For Fourth Year In A Row, by Juli Clover, MacRumors

All proceeds from the auction will be donated to the Robert F. Kennedy Center for Justice and Human rights, a charity that aims to achieve a "just and peaceful world by partnering with human rights leaders, teaching social justice and advancing corporate responsibility."

Smart Charge

First Look: Logi Base Is The First Device To Charge Your iPad Pro Via Smart Connector, by Neil Hughes, AppleInsider

The use of magnets in the Smart Connector also make it easy to correctly line up the iPad Pro. Simply place it on the dock in the appropriate fashion and the connectors will snap into place accordingly.

Review: Logitech’s Smart Connector-equipped Charging Dock For iPad Pro, by Chance Miller, 9to5Mac

On the surface, the Base looks similar to various other charging docks we’ve seen over the years, but look closer and you’ll see Smart Connector prongs and a Lightning port on the back. This means that you can dock your iPad Pro to the Smart Connector and charge it just like you would when you dock an iPhone. And it’s really well thought out.


Latest iPhone 6s Ads Recruit Neil Patrick Harris, Highlight 4K Camera & Touch ID Features, by Chance Miller, 9to5Mac

The first ad is entitled “Fingerprint” and focuses on what Touch ID enables users to do, while the second ad is entitled “Onions” and highlights the 4K camera capabilities of the device.

Apple's Upgrade Program Now Available For iPhones Purchased Through Online Store, by Juli Clover, MacRumors

When it debuted, the iPhone Upgrade Program required customers to purchase their iPhones within an Apple retail store to take advantage of the service, but as of today, the iPhone Upgrade Program is also available as an option when purchasing an iPhone from Apple's online store.

Hands On: Blogo 1.0.1 (iOS), by William Gallagher, MacNN

Blogo 1.0.1 does what it claims to. It connects to your WordPress account and let's you write new blog posts there. It makes it easy to insert images from your Camera Roll or Photo library and it makes scheduling posts quick.


Being A Developer After 40, by Adrian Kosmaczewski, Medium

As long as your heart tells you to keep on coding and building new things, you will be young, forever.


Box Veteran Karen Appleton Joins Apple In Enterprise-focused Role, by Arik Hesseldahl, Re/code

Sources familiar with the move say Appleton will have a role in Apple’s evolving approach to the enterprise marketplace, though her precise title wasn’t clear. Last year, Apple hired John Solomon, a longtime HP exec, to lead its operation of selling to large companies and government agencies. It has also started working closely with enterprise-focused companies including IBM and Cisco Systems.

Apple Has Laid Off All Of Its Contract Recruiters, Source Says, by Jordan Novet, VentureBeat

Essentially the recruiting engine inside Apple has slowed down and the company is reevaluating its activities in that area, the source said.

Why Exclusive TV Works For Netflix But Exclusive Albums Don’t Work For Tidal, by Jason Koebler, Motherboard

Artists are quickly learning that even if diehard fans are willing to wade through the messy online streaming waters to find the music when it’s new, they might not be willing to stick around if they have to open up a separate app or make a separate online account every time they want to hear an album. And that's the diehards. I'd like to listen to Lemonade, sure. But I'm not subscribing to Tidal to do it.

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Thanks for reading.

The Tracking-You Edition Monday, April 25, 2016

Was Your Dog Walked? Your Phone Can Show You, by Nick Wingfield, New York Times

Some parents find peace of mind in the location-tracking features in smartphones that let them keep tabs on their children. There are also the dog owners who can rest easy knowing that hired dog walkers are doing their job, and that the dogs are doing their business.

And then, there is the comfort of tracking your pizza delivery.

Inside One Of The World’s Most Secretive iPhone Factories, by Shai Oster, Bloomberg

A few minutes past 9 a.m. at Pegatron Corp.’s vast factory on Shanghai’s outskirts, thousands of workers dressed in pink jackets are getting ready to make iPhones.

The men and women stare into face scanners and swipe badges at security turnstiles to clock in. The strict ID checks are there to make sure they don’t work excessive overtime. The process takes less than two seconds.

This is the realm in which the world’s most profitable smartphones are made, part of Apple Inc.’s closely guarded supply chain. After years of accusations that employees in China were forced to work long, grueling hours, Pegatron and Apple adopted new procedures to keep iPhone assemblers from amassing excessive overtime. They’re eager to show how the system works, and for the first time are granting a western journalist access into the inner sanctum.


Review: The 2016 Retina MacBook Is A Faster Version Of The Same Machine, by Andrew Cunningham, Ars Technica

It’s not a laptop for everyone. It’s not going to make every MacBook Air and Pro user happy. It probably won’t make most people who disliked the 2015 MacBook happy. But for OS X users who value portability over all else, it’s a decent generational bump that gets you more speed for the same price.

Hoping To Call The Shots From Your Death Bed? There's A App For That, by Erin Ellis, Vancouver Sun

Darren Kopetsky, director of client relations at Vancouver Coastal Health, says a video of a patient’s wishes could be a valuable guide for relatives who must speak on behalf of their loved one. And it would also assist hospital staff to ensure that the family is following the patient’s instructions.

“It really brings it to life more so than a document,” Kopetsky says. “And because substitute decision makers are obligated to make decisions as the adult (patient) would have, it’s very helpful for the health care team to essentially hold the decision-maker accountable.”

Microsoft Releases Word Flow Keyboard For iPhone With One-handed Mode, Custom Backgrounds, by Benjamin Mayo, 9to5Mac

With a gesture, the Word Flow keyboard can morph into a circular layout in a corner, allowing access to all keys with just one finger.


Implementers, Solvers, And Finders, by Randall Koutnik

More importantly, I want programmers everywhere to realize that it’s possible to have autonomy while still writing code for a living. Some may find fulfillment in leadership (I know I do, the siren song has abated but is not gone) but plenty of hackers out there just want to make great things. There’s hope for us yet!

The Web Isn’t Uniform, by Karolina Szczur, Medium

The technological choices are important for teams, but have even more impact for the audience. The Web can and will be built with and on anything we can put our hands on. Let’s not forget who we’re creating it for.


Apple Shouldn’t Cross That Road Till They Come To It, by John Kirk, Techpinion

Apple’s services will always be “meh” because Apple’s business model is tailored to create hardware on a periodic timetable and services require one to focus on, and build up expertise in, an entirely different set of iterative processes. However, I think the proposed solution — breaking the iPhone and Services into seperate divisions — is a cure that would be worse than the disease. Breaking Apple into two divisions would not create one excellent hardware division and one excellent Services division — it would, instead, create one conflicted and dysfunctional company.

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I seldom re-read books, or re-watch movies. I definitely do not re-listen to podcasts. Life is, after all, short enough.

The exception, of course, is music. There were quite a few cassettes and CDs that were worn down in my lifetime. And when I migrated to iPods, there were quite a few songs that had very high play-counts.

That changed when Apple Music arrived. Something switched inside my brain, and I now explore new (to me) music rather than repeat playlists. Nowadays, I regularly download new music onto my iPhone while removing older music off the device.

Except for one album: David Bowie's Blackstar. I can't bear removing it off my iPhone, because this is now my go-to album whenever I feel sad. I am not sure what I am looking for when listening to this album, honestly; maybe it's just comforting to me.


I've been listening to the Blackstar album on repeat this whole day.


Thanks for reading.

The Self-Censorship Edition Sunday, April 24, 2016

Apple iTunes And Disney Services Shut Down By New Mainland Chinese Rules, by Bien Perez, South China Morning Post

Under the new rules, domestic content providers who plan to cooperate with foreign companies or their joint ventures, foreign individuals and other overseas-based organisations must seek approval from the regulator.

Licensed online content publishers on the mainland are required to keep all servers and storage systems used in their enterprise in the country. These content providers must also practice self-censorship, according to the regulation.

China Blocks Apple iTunes And iBook Stores After Launch Of Ten Years, by Philip Wen, Sydney Morning Herald

The shutdown is understood to have occurred as early as last week, but emerged on Friday as users in China tried to view the controversial Hong Kong film Ten Years when it became available on Apple's stores in Hong Kong.

The independent film, which won the top gong at the Hong Kong Film Awards earlier this month, polarised opinion for its dystopian portrayal of the city being overrun by mainland China in 2025.

Why Should Apple Make Ten Years Available On iTunes?, by Ben Kwok, ejinsight

So it is easy to see why Google is willing to put Ten Years on its shelves despite knowing that Chinese authorities are very sensitive to the ideology being promoted throughout this movie.

Google has nothing to lose in China. But what about Apple?

Well, it has been blocked since two weeks ago in China.


‘The Art Of Computer Programming’ By Donald Knuth, by Carl Tashian, Medium

Bill Gates once said, “If you think you’re a really good programmer… read Art of Computer Programming… You should definitely send me a résumé if you can read the whole thing.”

For me, the act of ordering this series felt like a major professional accomplishment. I allocated a special place on my shelf for these books before they arrived, as one might make room out in the barn for a shiny new mainframe.


Computers That Crush Humans At Games Might Have Met Their Match: ‘StarCraft’, by Jonathan Cheng, Wall Street Journal

In addition to its complexity, the most appealing aspect of StarCraft for AI developers is the element of uncertainty: Unlike games like chess and Go where both players can see the entire board at once, StarCraft players can’t. Players must send out units to explore the map and locate their opponent.

The lack of visibility means that computers can’t simply calculate all the possible moves their opponent might make, and elevates bluffing as a key strategy employed by the world’s top StarCraft pros.

Apple Scammers Have Their Heads In The iCloud, by Miles Brignall, The Guardian

Apple iPhone and iPad users have been warned not to fall for fake emails and texts that aim to trick them into handing over their iCloud login so scammers can access all their personal information stored in the cloud.

The messages claim to be from Apple and typically warn the user that their account has been “restricted in order to safeguard your information” and urge the recipient to “verify and update your account” using the link provided.

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I am hungry, and I can't think properly.


Thanks for reading.

The Permanent-Memory Edition Saturday, April 23, 2016

In Proof We Trust, by Dominic Frisby, Aeon

New information is added to the record every few minutes, but it can be added only when all the computers signal their approval, which they do as soon as they have satisfactory proof that the information to be added is correct. Everybody knows how the system works, but nobody can change how it works. It is fully automated. Human decision-making or behaviour doesn’t enter into it.

If a company or a government department were in charge of the record, it would be vulnerable – if the company went bust or the government department shut down, for example. But with a distributed record there is no single point of vulnerability. It is decentralised. At times, some computers might go awry, but that doesn’t matter. The copies on all the other computers and their unanimous approval for new information to be added will mean the record itself is safe.

This is possibly the most significant and detailed record in all history, an open-source structure of permanent memory, which grows organically. It is known as the blockchain. It is the breakthrough tech behind the digital cash system, Bitcoin, but its impact will soon be far wider than just alternative money.

Moving Forward

If It Ain't Broke, Break It: Why Putting Off Software Upgrades Can Make Things Worse, by David Gewirtz, ZDNet

Many cybersecurity exploits take advantage of older software. Older software can suffer breakage when support is suspended. It's simply become necessary to just bite the bullet and do the upgrades.

As we move forward, here's how best practices need to change. Instead of "if it ain't broke, don't fix it," we need to move to an "if there's an upgrade, do it no matter what" mentality.

When To Rewrite From Scratch - Autopsy Of A Failed Software, by Umer Mansoor, Code Ahoy

Abandoning working projects is dangerous and we wasted an enormous amount of money and time duplicating working functionality we already had, rejected new features, irritated the customer and delayed ourselves by years. If you are embarking on a rewrite journey, all the power to you, but make sure you do it for the right reasons, understand the risks and plan for it.

Hey Siri, Hey Liam

Apple Shares New 'Siri And Liam' TV Ad For Earth Day, by Joe Rossignol, MacRumors

In the 15-second spot, Siri asks Apple's recycling robot Liam what he is doing for Earth Day, before it humorously takes apart the iPhone.

Apple And The Governments

On Encryption Battle, Apple Has Advocates In Ex-National Security Officials, by Eric Lichtblau, New York Times

In white papers, op-ed articles, conferences, newspaper and television interviews and elsewhere, the former officials have made their support for Apple clear. While their former jobs in the government are always featured prominently in their public appearances, their current business affiliations often go unmentioned.

The barrage of support has given Apple a public relations boost in a fight it once seemed destined to lose, but it has surprised and angered some law enforcement officials.

U.S. Drops Bid To Force Apple To Help Unlock Second iPhone, by Christie Smythe, Bloomberg

The U.S. government said it no longer needs Apple Inc.’s help to get into an iPhone used by a drug dealer in New York after obtaining a passcode, ending a second courtroom battle over whether the company can be forced to help unlock its devices.

Moving Off

Off The Grid, by Stephen Fry

I live in a world without Facebook, and now without Twitter. I manage to survive too without Kiki, Snapchat, Viber, Telegram, Signal and the rest of them. I haven’t yet learned to cope without iMessage and SMS. I haven’t yet turned my back on email and the Cloud. I haven’t yet jacked out of the matrix and gone off the grid. Maybe I will pluck up the courage.

After you …


App Aims To Bring Shakespeare To New Generation, by Jessica Berthereau, AFP

The app users see actors reading out "The Tempest", facing the camera with no costume or staging as the text scrolls, and its developers said they hope eventually to cover all of Shakespeare's 37 plays.

Why Pocket’s CEO Isn’t Afraid Of Competition From Facebook And Google, by Joran Dovet, VentureBeat

In the past year the company has done a lot in the area of content recommendation. The app now highlights the top content that users are saving to Pocket, and it’s also letting users make personalized recommendations that other users can subscribe to.

But that’s just the start.

The Brooklyn Museum's App Acts Like AI, But There Are Humans Behind It, by Ashley Carman, The Verge

A Brooklyn Museum visitor stood in front of Lorenzo Monaco’s 15th century "Madonna of Humility" painting, but it wasn’t the piece’s striking tooled gold or iconic imagery that stood out to him. Instead, it was a subtle detail: a bundle of flowers in the infant’s hands. The visitor took out his phone, snapped a photo of the art, and typed, "What species are these flowers?"

On the other side of that question wasn’t a Siri, Cortana, or Alexa. It was Andrew Hawkes, a specialist in contemporary art and one of six moderators for the museum’s Ask app. He didn’t know what those flowers were, and neither did his coworkers, all of whom specialize in different areas of the museum. He had to email a curator, which would take time and maybe more research, so he got the visitor’s email and later followed up with an answer: they’re nosegays.


All Apple Watch Apps Must Be Native Apps Starting On June 1, by Juli Clover, MacRumors

Apple today informed developers that starting on June 1, 2016, all watchOS apps submitted to the App Store must be native apps built with the watchOS 2 SDK or later.

New Apple Music API Section, CareKit And Other Updates, by AppStoreReviewGuidelinesHistory

Most significant is perhaps the new section 10.8 that states apps using background location services must provide a reason for doing so. What Apple considers a fair reason is not really clear although the HIG is mentioned.

WWDC 2016 Lottery Ends, Apple Starts Charging Developers Who Won Tickets, by Juli Clover, MacRumors

The ticket lottery for Apple's 2016 Worldwide Developers Conference ended this morning at 10:00 a.m. Pacific Time, and it appears that some developers who have won tickets are seeing charges on their credit cards.


Performance Can Matter A Lot — Unless It Doesn’t, by Jeff Carlson, Seattle Times

But how often does computer performance make an actual impact on what we do? I’ve been thinking about that this week in the context of Apple’s latest products. In some cases, performance may not actually make much of a difference, while in others it surprisingly does.

Mourning Prince And David Bowie, Who Showed There’s No One Right Way To Be A Man, by Alyssa Rosenberg, Washington Post

But if the deaths of Prince, and Bowie, and Chyna, and Harper Lee taken together feel like a moment of catastrophic generational turnover, the loss of Prince and Bowie represent a more specific calamity. We’re in a moment in American politics consumed by gender panic, from Donald Trump’s menstrual anxieties to the rise of and backlash to a movement for transgender rights. And now we’ve lost two men who had an expansive, almost luxuriant vision of what it meant to be a man and lived out that vision through decades when it was much less safe to do so.

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Wanna watch all the aerial screensavers on the Apple TV?


Thanks for reading.

The Security-And-Privacy Edition Friday, April 22, 2016

How iMessage Distributes Security To Block “Phantom Devices”, by Securosis Blog

Apple could have easily decided to push the notifications from the server, and used that as the root authority for both keys and registered devices, but instead they chose to have the devices themselves detect new devices based on new key registrations (which is why the alerts pop up on everything you own when you add or re-add a device). This balances the need for a central authority (to keep the system usable) against security and privacy by putting the logic in the hardware in your pocket (or desk, or tote bag, or… whatever).

A Guy Who Hacks Macs In His Free Time Thinks He’s Found A Way To Stop Ransomware In Its Tracks, by Dan Turkel, Business Insider

RansomWhere? runs in the background, watching for the creation of new files by any new or untrusted applications. It then assesses whether the file was encrypted [...] and whether the process that made it also looks to be encrypting other files. If all these boxes are checked, it pauses the suspicious process and alerts the user, letting them decide whether to allow it to continue or stop it in its tracks.

Earth Matters

iTunes Store Accepting Donations To Support Earthquake Relief In Japan And Ecuador, by Juli Clover, MacRumors

Donations made through iTunes and the App Store can be placed using credit cards already on file with Apple, making the donation process simple.

Apple Rings In Earth Day With Video Highlighting iMessage And Renewable Energy, by Chance Miller, 9to5Mac

The ad, entitled “iMessage – Renewable Energy,” highlights the company’s renewable energy efforts and encourages every one to “show some love for the earth.”

Apple's Ecosystem

Adobe Scrambles To Untangle Itself From QuickTime After Apple Throws It Under A Bus, by Iain Thomson, The Register

"Unfortunately, there are some codecs which remain dependent on QuickTime being installed on Windows, most notably Apple ProRes. We know how common this format is in many workflows, and we continue to work hard to improve this situation, but have no estimated time frame for native decode currently."

Apple's Potential Switch For Key iPhone Component Hits Qualcomm, by Adam Satariano, and Ian King, Bloomberg

Qualcomm Inc., the world’s largest maker of chips that go inside smartphones, indicated on an earnings call Wednesday that it may be losing some orders from Apple for modem chips that link the iPhone to the web. Qualcomm Chief Executive Officer Steve Mollenkopf told analysts he is “assuming” that a major customer will give orders to a rival, indicating a potential loss of business for the company.

Analysts said they think the customer is Apple. Apple and Samsung Electronics Co., are the San Diego-based chipmakers’ biggest customers, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Samsung already uses multiple suppliers, leaving only Apple to make this change.

Selling In China

Apple No Longer Immune To China’s Scrutiny Of U.S. Tech Firms, by Paul Mozur and Jane Perlez, New York Times

Last week, Apple’s iBooks Store and iTunes Movies were shut down in China, just six months after they were started there. Initially, Apple apparently had the government’s approval to introduce the services. But then a regulator, the State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television, asserted its authority and demanded the closings, according to two people who spoke on the condition of anonymity.

[...] The about-face is startling, given Apple’s record in China. Unlike many other American tech companies, Apple has succeeded in introducing several new products — like its mobile payments system Apple Pay — in China recently. New resistance from the Chinese government to that expansion could potentially hurt the Cupertino, Calif., company.


Griffin's Magnetic USB-C Charging Cable Is Now Available, by Micah Singleton, The Verge

The cable comes with an adapter that acts as the magnetic hold for the breakaway mechanism.

Blink Notifies You When Your Mac Wakes Up Or Sleeps, by Thorin Klosowski, Lifehacker

Ever wonder if someone’s trying to guess your password? Or just curious about exactly how often the cat walks on your keyboard? Blink is a little app that’ll send a notification to your phone when your Mac wakes up or goes to sleep.

Nextdoor App Is As Strong As Its Neighbors, by Elizabeth Chang, Washington Post

One winter day, I saw a message in Nextdoor about someone who had lost a couple of dogs. Shortly thereafter, I received a message from our homeowners’ association saying that someone had found a dog. It was like a Venn diagram, and I appeared to be the only one in the overlap. I put the two parties in touch, and the dog was reunited with its owner(the other dog was found via another Nextdoor overlap, this one involving a book club). I belatedly realized how useful Nextdoor could be.


Looking At The Future, by Craig Hockenberry, Iconfactory

As with most things released by Apple, there is an amazing amount of underlying technology that makes this new display shine. This new product is also a glimpse of how our screen technology will evolve over the coming years, so now is a good time to start understanding how these changes are going to affect our products.

As a developer, you’ll quickly realize that the scope of these changes will make your update to Retina graphics look like a walk in the park. At the end of this piece, you’ll also learn how I can help guide you through this process.

A Man Who Knows Nothing About Football Is Accidentally Making A Great Football Game, by Julian Benson, Kotaku

Here's the thing: Dan knows nothing about football.. And yet, seemingly accidentally, it looks like he might have made one of the best football games since Sensible Soccer.

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But be contented: when that fell arrest
Without all bail shall carry me away,
My life hath in this line some interest,
Which for memorial still with thee shall stay.
When thou reviewest this, thou dost review
The very part was consecrate to thee:
The earth can have but earth, which is his due;
My spirit is thine, the better part of me:
So then thou hast but lost the dregs of life,
The prey of worms, my body being dead,
The coward conquest of a wretch's knife,
Too base of thee to be remembered.
    The worth of that is that which it contains,
    And that is this, and this with thee remains.

William Shakespeare


Thanks for reading.

The Hello-World Edition Thursday, April 21, 2016

A Cryptic Poem On Apple’s Website Reveals The Company’s Favorite Apps, by Kif Leswing, Business Insider

On the conference’s landing page, Apple has included a cute poem that plays on the classic “Hello World” macro that programmers often write as their first program in a new language. [...]

The first line, “hello love at first swipe,” clearly refers to Tinder, for example. In fact, every single line can be traced to a big-name iPhone app — and most of these apps also have an Apple Watch version, and a few support Apple TV as well.

Down To Lunch Founders Pursue Less-Traveled Path To App Success, by Vindu Goel, New York Times

Mr. Viswanathan, a mile-a-minute talker, and Mr. Lau, who is more laid-back, meet one fundamental requirement for success: a stubborn belief that they have a great idea. Mr. Viswanathan worked on five previous services that tried to connect people, three of them with Mr. Lau, but Down to Lunch was the first to catch on.

As thousands of app developers have discovered, attention spans are short, especially among the college and high school students that Down to Lunch is targeting. Dozens of competitors are vying to help people organize spontaneous gatherings, including Hangster, Shortnotice, Down to Hang and a Google app called Who’s Down.

And a lot of things can go wrong on the road to becoming the next Snapchat.


The Rise Of The $400 Smartphone—you Want How Much For A Flagship?, by Ron Amadeo, Ars Technica

For the big players, Xiaomi sits in prime position for now. Apple meanwhile has the brand power, unique operating system, and app ecosystem necessary to survive a low-price onslaught. That leaves other big incumbents, like Samsung, with the most to lose. Samsung seems resistant to a change like this, but it can only ignore the more value-oriented offerings for so long. As consumers, lower prices mean we win. So as lower prices probably shrink margins for OEMs further, it's up to the manufacturers to figure out how to make the new math sustainable.

Intel Made A Huge Mistake 10 Years Ago. Now 12,000 Workers Are Paying The Price., by Timothy B. Lee, Vox

June 6, 2005, seemed to be a triumphant moment for Intel. The chipmaker was already dominating the market for processors that powered Windows-based PCs. Then Steve Jobs took the stage at Apple's World Wide Developers Conference to announce that he was switching the main Windows alternative, Macintosh computers, to Intel chips as well. The announcement cemented Intel's status as the leading company of the PC era.

There was just one problem: The PC era was about to end. Apple was already working on the iPhone, which would usher in the modern smartphone era. Intel turned down an opportunity to provide the processor for the iPhone, believing that Apple was unlikely to sell enough of them to justify the development costs.

Apple's Emphasis On Security Makes ARM-powered Macs 'Inevitable', by Gregg Keizer, Computerworld

Apple's emphasis on security and encryption, and how they are implemented in the iPhone by Apple's customization strategy, said Bajarin, made it clear: "It signals that it's inevitable that they will do the same for all the products that they can," he concluded.


No Phones For You! Chic Businesses Are Abandoning Landlines, by Alex Williams, New York Times

But in an era of Google Maps, Yelp and OpenTable, restaurant telephones these days in particular often seem almost atavistic, functioning as little more than life-support systems for voice mail sinkholes that no one ever seems to check, as countless diners can attest.

At least some forward-thinking proprietors prefer the online algorithms to handle the busywork — reservations, directions — so they can carve out time to run a restaurant.

The Internet Is Wrong

Almost Nothing About The ‘Apple Harvests Gold From iPhones’ Story Is True, by Jason Koebler, Motherboard

Here is the truth: Apple paid independent recyclers to recycle old electronics—which were almost never Apple products, by the way—because it’s required by law to do so. Far from banking $40 million on the prospect, Apple likely ended up taking an overall monetary loss. This is not because Apple is a bad actor or is hiding anything, it’s simply how the industry works.


Apps To Build Your Understanding Of The Environment, by Kit Eaton, New York Times

You, too, can participate inEarth Day with apps that remind you how to add a touch of green to your life.

GoodSync Is A Good Back-up/syncing Solution, Though It’s A Bit Too Window-ish, by Dennis Sellers, Apple World Today

Available in Mac OS X, iOS, Windows, and Android versions, it backs up and syncs music, photos, videos, email, text documents and more between desktops, laptops, servers, and external drives -- all without using cloud-based services.


Stanford Offers New Course On Developing iOS 9 Apps With Swift, by Juli Clover, MacRumors

The 2016 course has been updated with iOS 9 and Swift, with course prerequisites listed as C language and object-oriented programming experience exceeding Programming Abstractions level and completion of Programming Paradigms.


Apple Pays $25M To A University, And The Patent Troll It Cut A Deal With, by Joe Mullin, Ars Technica

Patent trolls, also called non-practicing entities or patent assertion entities, have lost power in recent years, due to changes in case law and new ways to challenge patents at the US Patent and Trademark Office. This recent settlement is a reminder that the era of that patent troll is far from over. And it's a reminder that the lure of big money from patent lawsuits continues to be a tempting draw for universities.

Postscript: Bill Campbell, 1940-2016, by Ken Auletta, New Yorker

No statues in Silicon Valley salute Bill Campbell. But the story of his life, and of his values, should be widely shared.

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There is really no need to terminate any apps in iOS because it is almost always better for the operating system to manage which app to keep and which app to purge from memory. The only exception is when an app is misbehaving, and you can try terminating the app and start over. (And if that fails, do like what millions of Windows users learnt from Microsoft: reboot.)

Today, I discover another good reason. If you are using your iOS device to do presentations on a big screen that many pairs of eyes are staring at, you might want to terminate all the apps except the presentation apps. Because, if you accidentally activate the app switcher, your audience will be able to see screenshots of all the apps you have been using. For example: that last web page you've visited. That YouTube video you've been watching. That Reddit post you've been replying. That selfie photo that you took with your wife in the bedroom that you were editing halfway.

You may not want your audience to see all those screenshots.

(I"m sure presentation pros may already know about this, but, hey, I am no pro in doing presentations.)

(Those are just examples. Your mileage, and mine, may vary.)


Thanks for reading.

The Incredibly-Pink Edition Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Apple's New MacBook Feels 25 Percent Faster And 100 Percent More Pink, by Dieter Bohn, The Verge

Depending on the lighting, the rose gold version of Apple's new, slightly faster MacBook looks either kind of bronze or incredibly pink. Sitting here on my desk next to last year's space gray version, it's so vibrant it looks almost like I would get an electric zap of energy if I touched it.

Apple Releases First Software Update For Brand New 12-Inch MacBook, by Joe Rossignol, MacRumors

Less than two hours after announcing the new 12-inch MacBook, which has yet to become available for purchase online, Apple has released the first software update for the notebook.

Apple And The Governments

Apple Refused China Request For Source Code In Last Two Years: Lawyer, by Dustin Volz, Reuters

Law enforcement officials have attempted to portray Apple as possibly complicit in handing over information to China's government for business reasons while refusing to cooperate with U.S. requests for access to private data in criminal cases.

"I want to be very clear on this," Apple general counsel Bruce Sewell told Tuesday's hearing under oath. "We have not provided source code to the Chinese government."

Sources: Data From San Bernardino Phone Has Helped In Probe, by Evan Perez, Pamela Brown and Shimon Prokupecz, CNN

Investigators are now more confident that terrorist Syed Farook didn't make contact with another plotter during an 18-minute gap that the FBI said was missing from their time line of the attackers' whereabouts after the mass shooting, the officials said. The phone has helped investigators address lingering concern that the two may have help, perhaps from friends and family, the officials said.

Read The Tech Industry's Open Letter About 'Unworkable' Encryption Bill, by Amar Toor, The Verge

Four tech coalitions representing major companies like Apple, Google, and Facebook have written an open letter to Senators Richard Burr (R-NC) and Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), expressing their "deep concerns" over a bill that would require smartphone makers to decrypt data on demand for law enforcement agencies.

Apple-Flavored Future

From Products To Platforms, by Ben Thompson, Stratechery

Ultimately, for Apple, as diligently as the company may have worked on the iPad Pro and Apple TV, the truly difficult part begins now: the company remains far ahead of nearly anyone else in the world at creating great products, in part by zealously controlling everything from core technology to the supply chain to the retail experience. Platforms, though, while established through product leadership, flourish and sustain themselves by empowering and entrusting developers to build something so compelling that customers fall in love with not just the hardware but the experience that runs on top of it. In short, they require sharing the customer relationship, and while that may go against Apple’s instincts, to not do so is increasingly against Apple’s interests.

Apple's Organizational Crossroads, by Ben Thompson, Stratechery

But again, Jobs’ next move was slashing the product line, and that wasn’t only for reasons of focus and customer confusion: the fact is that unitary organizations do not scale to different business models, and if Apple is truly serious about services — and the existence of the relatively cheap yet full-featured iPhone SE suggests they are — they need to follow Dupont’s example.

Apple will not fix the services it already has, or deliver on the promise of the services its hardware might yet enable, unless a new kind of organization is built around these services that has a fundamentally different structure, different incentives, and different rhythms from Apple’s device teams. You don’t make great products because you want to make great products; you make great products by creating the conditions where great products can be produced.

Buggy Updates

Outdated Git Version In OS X Puts Developers At Risk, by Lucian Constantin, IDG News Service

The vulnerabilities were fixed in Git 2.7.4, released on March 17, but one month later Apple still hasn’t released an update to its Command Line Tools package.

Even worse, since the Git binary is installed as a system-level program, on OS X El Capitan (10.11) users can’t easily replace or update it themselves, according to systems administration expert Rachel Kroll. That’s because Apple’s latest OS X version includes System Integrity Protection (SIP), a mechanism that prevents modifying programs in certain protected directories like /usr and /bin, even with root privileges.

A Spotify iOS App Bug Is Using Loads Of Mobile Data, by Campbell Simpson, Gizmodo

It looks like there’s a bug with the latest version of the Spotify Music app on iOS, which appears to let the app absolutely scream through your mobile data quota — even if you’re playing already-downloaded music. Until a fix is delivered, we’d strongly recommend you disable mobile data in your iPhone’s settings.

Starting Up The Future

The Untold Story Of Magic Leap, The World’s Most Secretive Startup, by Kevin Kelly, Wired

There is something special happening in a generic office park in an uninspiring suburb near Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Inside, amid the low gray cubicles, clustered desks, and empty swivel chairs, an impossible 8-inch robot drone from an alien planet hovers chest-high in front of a row of potted plants. It is steampunk-cute, minutely detailed. I can walk around it and examine it from any angle. I can squat to look at its ornate underside. Bending closer, I bring my face to within inches of it to inspect its tiny pipes and protruding armatures. I can see polishing swirls where the metallic surface was “milled.” When I raise a hand, it approaches and extends a glowing appendage to touch my fingertip. I reach out and move it around. I step back across the room to view it from afar. All the while it hums and slowly rotates above a desk. It looks as real as the lamps and computer monitors around it. It’s not. I’m seeing all this through a synthetic-reality headset. Intellectually, I know this drone is an elaborate simulation, but as far as my eyes are concerned it’s really there, in that ordinary office. It is a virtual object, but there is no evidence of pixels or digital artifacts in its three-dimensional fullness. If I reposition my head just so, I can get the virtual drone to line up in front of a bright office lamp and perceive that it is faintly transparent, but that hint does not impede the strong sense of it being present. This, of course, is one of the great promises of artificial reality—either you get teleported to magical places or magical things get teleported to you. And in this prototype headset, created by the much speculated about, ultrasecretive company called Magic Leap, this alien drone certainly does seem to be transported to this office in Florida—and its reality is stronger than I thought possible.

The Real Story Of How Amazon Built The Echo, by Joshua Brustein, Bloomberg

In a gadget landscape dominated by rectangular touchscreens, the Echo is something different. The speaker is a screenless cylinder, just over 9 inches tall and 3.25 inches in diameter. It can play music, and also answer basic household questions like how many teaspoons there are in a cup. The only way to interact with the Echo is to talk to it. It’s always listening for its wake word.

When it launched, Amazon’s critics jumped to mock the company. Some called it a useless gimmick; others pointed to it as evidence of Amazon’s Orwellian tendencies. Then something weird happened: People decided they loved it. Amazon never releases data about how its products are selling, but Consumer Intelligence Research Partners issued a report this month saying that Amazon had sold more than 3 million devices, with 1 million of those sales happening during the 2015 holiday season. About 35,000 people have reviewed the speaker on, with an average rating of 4.5 stars out of 5.

Netflix And Ch-Ch-Chilly, by Rex Sorgatz, Backchannel

This story is set on the speck of a map, a town haphazardly dripped onto the prairie, smack dab in the middle of the continent. In an era before devices quivered our limbs with nervous vibrations, back when neighbors phoned each other on rotary dials — here, on the great plains of Dakota, where I lived until the day I turned 18, stands a halfling of a town called Napoleon, a name so imperial that it can only be interpreted as a sarcastic joke to anyone who visits its restful streets.


Magical Earbuds Let You Tune In And Out Of The World Around You, by David Pierce, Wired

Over the last several weeks, I’ve worn Doppler Labs’ Here earbuds all over the place. To concerts, on the train, at home and work, in restaurants, and, once, in a public bathroom. In short, these two round, white buds provide almost total control over how the world sounds. You can amplify certain sounds—human speech, the bass guitar—and attenuate others—the airplane drone, the subway screech. You can shut out the world entirely. Or you can tweak things, like Mickey Mouse conducting an orchestra of the world. Add some reverb to that falling broom, give me just a smidgen of flange, and for Pete’s sake turn down that bus! This is augmented reality, people. It’s not just goofy headsets and crazy flying jellyfish. It’s what you’re hearing.

Airbnb Wants Travelers To ‘Live Like A Local’ With Its App, by Katie Benner, New York Times

The home-sharing app Airbnb is pushing into local reviews and recommendations, putting it increasingly into competition with services like Lonely Planet, Yelp and local tourism websites.

This App Lets You Realistically Test Out Tattoos Before Committing To Your Ink, by Hattie Gladwell, Metro

The app works by asking you to draw a ‘smiley’ on your skin using three lines. After allowing access to your photos, the app works by line recognition. By lining their virtual smiley with your own, the app is then able to place the tattoo exactly where you’d like it.


Apple Starts Rolling Out Web Previews For tvOS App Links, by Federico Viticci, MacStories

iTunes web previews for tvOS apps don't have any Download buttons to buy or download the apps from a desktop computer, and the links don't work on iOS yet – they redirect to the iOS App Store, bringing up an error.


The Future: A Cat Litter Box And DRM, by Jorge Lopez, Medium

Seriously CatGenie, you added fairly sophisticated DRM to a litter box? I’m a tad hurt you spent my money on building in a restriction instead of figuring out how to avoid constantly cooking poop.

The Tech Industry Has Cut A Google’s Worth Of Jobs In The Past 12 Months, by Ina Fried, Re/code

The 12,000 job cuts Intel announced Tuesday are just the latest in an upswing of layoffs hitting the computer industry. [...] Over the past 12 months, the industry has shed more than 72,000 jobs, Challenger said.

Google: Paranoid About Android, by Leila Abboud and Shira Ovide, Bloomberg

A reminder of how Google makes money from Android: it lets smartphone-makers use the software for free in exchange for featuring Google services such as Gmail, Maps and the Google Play app store. More users of these services translates into more Google ad dollars, the heart of its business model. The phone-makers can just use Android and not the Google services, but it's an all-or-nothing choice. If they decide against one Google app, they can't use any of the others. Vestager's beef is that this enforced bundling has illegally hindered rival apps from emerging.

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I've never heard of this before -- maybe my ears aren't opened wide enough -- but, hey, "Singapore is where marriages go to die".


Thanks for reading.

The Rose-Gold-MacBook Edition Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Apple Releases New 12 Inch Retina MacBook: New Processors, Rose Gold, Better Battery Life, by Benjamin Mayo, 9to5Mac

Apple has today released an update to the 12 inch Retina MacBook line, with new Skylake processors, overall better performance, and a new color: Rose Gold. The new internals have also allowed Apple to grab an extra hour of battery life out of the same sized product. The MacBook refresh keeps the same thin chassis, the same edge-to-edge keyboard and the same single USB-C port design as the original Retina MacBook, released about a year ago. The new Retina MacBook costs the same as before, starting at $1299.

Apple's 13-inch MacBook Air Now Comes With 8GB Of RAM Standard, by Dan Selfert, The Verge

In addition to upgrading its MacBook line with faster processors and a new color, Apple today announced that the 13-inch MacBook Air now comes with 8GB of RAM standard.


Apple Confirms WWDC 2016 Kicks Off On June 13, Tickets Now On Sale, by AppleInsider

Those interested in attending can buy tickets through Apple's official WWDC website now through Friday, April 22 at 10 a.m. Pacific. As usual, tickets will be meted out using a random selection process, and recipients will be notified of their application status on Monday, April 25 at 5 p.m. Pacific.

Apple Debuts Redesigned Developer Resources Mini-site Focusing On App Store, by AppleInsider

In concert with Monday's WWDC 2016 announcement, Apple launched a revamped informational resources section on its developer portal, which includes articles, technical insight and real world examples designed to help new coders get their start on the App Store.

Embedded Apple Map On WWDC Site Suggests Official Public MapKit Web API Coming Soon, by Benjamin Mayo, 9to5Mac

On the WWDC microsite, Apple has embedded its own map object in the page to show attendees how to get between Moscone West and the Bill Civic auditorium, where the Monday keynote will be held. Looking at the code, it appears Apple wants to make this embeddable map a public API in the (near?) future so anyone could add an Apple Map to their website.

Unlocking Data

Apple Says The Average iPhone Is Unlocked 80 Times A Day, by Nick Statt, The Verge

The number was relevant to the conversation because around 89 percent of iPhone owners use either a fingerprint to unlock their device with TouchID or a multi-digit numeric passcode, Apple said. That's a lot of people taking cybersecurity seriously.

Apple Posts Latest Transparency Report, Received Over 30k Law Enforcement Requests, Complied With Up To 82%, by Ben Lovejoy, 9to5Mac

It revealed that it received over 30,000 requests last year, and complied with up to 82% of them. It is not allowed to specify the exact number of National Security Requests, but says they fell into the 1250-1499 band.

Viber Adds End-to-end Encryption And Hidden Chats As Messaging App Privacy Wave Grows, by Ingrid Lunden, TechCrunch

Following WhatsApp’s move to add end-to-end encryption to its platform, another big messaging company is joining the wave of apps turning on expanded privacy features. Viber — a messaging app with 711 million+ users — today is introducing end-to-end encryption for all messages and calls on its platform, including group chats (you can chat with up to 200 people), and a way to ‘hide’ chats on your account alongside its existing expanded deleting function.

Flix Rumor

Apple, Facebook, Google, And Alibaba Take Hollywood, by Nicole Laporte, Fast Company

Behind the now unmarked door at 221 Main, Apple hosted private, invitation-only events. On one evening, a group of young filmmakers were treated to cocktails and a farm-to-table dinner put on by the chefs from Eveleigh, one of Los Angeles’s hottest restaurants. The space was as sleek and understated as an iPhone 6S; one attendee described the decor to me as "very beige." Unlike most Sundance brand-sponsored events, there were no press releases. There were no party pictures. There wasn’t any swag. The iTunes Lounge, as it was known to invitees, was as real to most festivalgoers as Lizzy. Says one guest who was in attendance, "They were definitely talking to the talent."

The iTunes Lounge was in fact part of a stealth effort by Apple to establish a new, more active role in delivering entertainment. In the weeks that followed, Apple execs were in Los Angeles hearing pitches for original TV series that it plans to launch on an "exclusives" app on Apple TV and within iTunes. Apple wants to work with "triple A-list" talent, according to a source, and build up a roster of must-see shows available only on its platform. Naturally, the talks have been veiled in the utmost secrecy. Producers who have met with Apple will refer to it only as the United Fruit Company.


Apple Pay Expands To Singapore Through American Express Partnership, Visa Support Coming Soon, by Juli Clover, MacRumors

Apple Pay is limited to cards issued by American Express, but the website says Apple Pay support will expand to major credit and debit cards from top banks "soon." Visa is listed as a credit card partner that will support Apple Pay in Singapore in the future, as are the following banks: DBS, UOB, and Standard Chartered.

Apple Pay To See Slow Adoption Rate In Singapore: Analysts, by Tang See Kit, Channel NewsAsia

While Apple Pay may help to increase transaction volumes, banks may stand to lose out on crucial customer data from their own apps if consumers stopped using the banks' services, the analyst said.

Take Note Of This

Attention, Students: Put Your Laptops Away, by James Doubek, NPR

But the students taking notes by hand still performed better. "This is suggestive evidence that longhand notes may have superior external storage as well as superior encoding functions," Mueller and Oppenheimer write.


Apple Celebrates Earth Day With Selection Of Apple Music Playlists, by Juli Clover, MacRumors

There are five playlists available, each with a collection of 22 to 25 songs spanning a wide range of genres and musical tastes.

Apple Confirms QuickTime For Windows At End Of Life, by AppleInsider

With QuickTime deprecated, and its last update now three months old, Windows users are urged to uninstall the software to avoid potential security breaches.

Ian McKellen, Derek Jacobi And Frances Barber To Voice iPad App Edition Of Shakespeare’s The Tempest, by David Hutchison, The Stage

Users will be able to scroll through a play’s script while actors, including McKellen, read the lines aloud as they appear on screen.

SongShift Lets You Import Spotify Playlists Into Apple Music With Incredible Ease, by Jeff Benjamin, 9to5Mac

In the past, there have been some roundabout ways to accomplish that task, but SongShift is one of the first apps that takes advantage of a new iOS 9.3 provision that makes it possible for third-party apps to access Apple Music.


On Looking Up A Mountain., by Dermot Daly, Medium

I was struggling not because I didn’t know how to do parts of it, but rather because of the size of it.

So now, every time I’m working on anything that the task feels too big, or if someone comes to me struggling near the start of the project, I bore them with the story of my SNMP Agent, and try to find a trivial first step.

Reddit App Takedowns Expose Serious App Review Flaws, by John Voorhees, MacStories

What bothers me the most about this incident is how Apple implemented its policy change. There was no imminent threat or emergency that made Reddit clients any more a threat than they were twelve months prior, but nonetheless Apple summarily pulled them and offered to reconsider the apps if the developers resubmitted.


Unlikely Alliances, by James Surowicki, New Yorker

When you think about the role that big corporations play in American life, fighting for social justice is probably not the first thing that comes to mind. Yet many corporations are doing precisely that in the ongoing struggle over the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people.

Fair Use Prevails As Supreme Court Rejects Google Books Copyright Case, by David Kravets, Ars Technica

The Supreme Court let stand the lower court opinion that rejected the writers' claims. That decision today means Google Books won't have to close up shop or ask book publishers for permission to scan. In the long run, the ruling could inspire other large-scale digitization projects.

Bill Campbell

Silicon Valley’s Legendary ‘Coach’ Bill Campbell Has Died, by Kara Swisher, Re/code

Bill Campbell — who garnered the name “The Coach” for the sage advice and counsel he gave numerous tech leaders from Apple’s Steve Jobs to Google’s Larry Page to Amazon’s Jeff Bezos — has died.

[...] Campbell ran companies like Intuit and worked in key jobs at Apple, Claris and Go, and also served on a plethora of boards, including Columbia University, Intuit and Apple. He had been a longtime adviser to Google execs including Page and Eric Schmidt –and really just about every major tech executive you could think of at some point.

Silicon Valley Legend Bill Campbell Has Died — Here Is Some Of His Best Leadership Advice, by Richard Feloni, Business Insider

As Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers partner Randy Komisar explained in an episode of his “Ventured” podcast, Campbell’s executive coaching style was akin to that of a psychiatrist, asking the right questions to steer his subjects to their own conclusions rather than giving mandates.

Campbell preferred to stay out of the spotlight, but we’ve collected some of his best leadership advice from relatively recent interviews.

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The question remaining: will it be MacOS, or macOS?


Thanks for reading.

The Interactive-And-Relevant Edition Monday, April 18, 2016

Apple Inc. Selects Shawnee Heights To Pilot iOS 9.3 iPad Software For Classroom Use, by Angela Deines, The Capital-Journal

Hobby said being part of the beta testing was a little “nerve-racking” at first, but it ultimately allowed her to make her social studies curriculum more “interactive and relevant” for her students and collaborate with her colleagues.

“I went from not having really any technology as far as student use for my room to having anything that I wanted,” Hobby said. “It was quite the culture shock. I had to learn how to adapt all of my lessons. It made me plan more effective lessons.”

More Swift

Taylor Swift Features In Another New Apple Music Commercial, Singing Along To Jimmy Eat World, by Benjamin Mayo, 9to5Mac

In the ad, Swift selects a playlist from the Activities section of the Apple Music ad using her rose gold iPhone 6s, and then jumps around singing out a portion of the iconic Jimmy Eat World song.


Stop Your Mac From Singing The Bluetooth Blues, by Rob Pegoraro, USA Today

Having your computer randomly lose sight of a built-in bit of hardware isn’t an experience confined to Windows users. In this case, OS X’s settings can get sufficiently scrambled for it to report that a Mac’s Bluetooth wireless is “Not Available,” with a squiggly line through its dimmed menu-bar icon.


Apple's Amusingly Round Reuse Figures, by John Graham-Cumming

My guess is someone in Apple came up with [metrics tons] rounded figures and they got converted to lbs for public consumption.

Copyright Fight Club, by Alex Spence and Zoya Sheftalovich, Politico

At first, it seemed a possibly easy win for Brussels. Modern digital users are demanding. They want to read articles, watch movies and TV programs online wherever they are, whenever they want, on whichever device they happen to be using. Removing the formidable barriers in place in Europe to doing that would be popular.

Yet the push from the Commission soon encountered stiff resistance from companies and interest groups that had a lot to lose. Unwittingly or not, Brussels was reviving an age-old debate that has raged since the early days of the web and has only grown in scale. On the one side are proponents of a free, open Internet who argue that copyright laws are out of date with modern consumer habits; on the other, media companies that are desperately trying to keep their business models intact.

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Shopping in physical space is so boring.


Thanks for reading.

The After-Innovation Edition Sunday, April 17, 2016

Hail The Maintainers, by Lee Vinsel and Andrew Russell, Aeon

Innovation is a dominant ideology of our era, embraced in America by Silicon Valley, Wall Street, and the Washington DC political elite. As the pursuit of innovation has inspired technologists and capitalists, it has also provoked critics who suspect that the peddlers of innovation radically overvalue innovation. What happens after innovation, they argue, is more important. Maintenance and repair, the building of infrastructures, the mundane labour that goes into sustaining functioning and efficient infrastructures, simply has more impact on people’s daily lives than the vast majority of technological innovations.

How An Army Of Deadheads (And Their LSD) Invented Silicon Valley, by Jesse Jarnow, Wired

Something is being built, a massive modern work, both intellectual and physical, and many people have many different kinds of stakes in it. No one is quite sure what it looks like, but there’s no question that the San Francisco Peninsula is once again the locus. “There were Deadheads everywhere,” says Gumby of Silicon Valley in the late 1980s.

Print And Web And App, Oh My

American Vogue Publisher Talks Strategy Shifts, by Lauren Sherman, Business Of Fashion

Indeed, what becomes of brand and brand experience when content is atomised — people consume the track, not the album; the article, not the magazine — and, especially on mobile, rarely leave dominant technology platforms like Facebook?


How-To: Quickly Rename Multiple Files On Your Mac Using Finder, by Jeff Benjamin, 9to5Mac

Renaming multiple files can be a tedious process when doing so manually, but the Finder in OS X can make it easier to rename a batch of files at once on your Mac. Instead of relying on a third party app, use this handy tip to quickly rename a batch of files without breaking a sweat.

Tips And Apps For Better Mobile Phone Photography, by Jamie Davis Smith, Washington Post

Julia Kelleher of Jewel Images is a family photographer who teaches mobile photography through CreativeLive. Here, she shares her top four tips for getting better pictures of your children with your camera’s phone.

You Can Play This Surprisingly Popular iPhone Game Without Unlocking Your Phone, by Eric Johnson, Re/code

After you install the app, it walks you through how to add Steve to your iPhone or iPad’s Notification Center, the menu of mini-apps that appears when you swipe from the top of the phone down. What that means in practical terms is that you can go from looking at a locked phone to playing the game in about two seconds.

Stack 'Em High

File That Under ‘M’ For Messy, by Brian Christian and Tom Griffiths, The Guardian

Noguchi had stumbled on to the same thing that computer scientists were just discovering themselves. Sometimes mess isn’t just forgivable, it’s optimal. At Bell Laboratories, researchers Daniel Sleator and Robert Tarjan were studying the mathematical properties of “self-organising lists”, a data structure where, like a filing cabinet or a stack of paper, the information is arranged in a single row, from front to back. The closer something is to the front, the faster you can find it.

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You need innovators, you need maintainers, and you need someone to set up and run the billing system.


Thanks for reading.

The Yellow-iPad Edition Saturday, April 16, 2016

Jony Ive Designs One-off iPad Pro And Accessories For Charity Auction, by Devin Coldewey, TechCrunch

The iPad is of the Pro 12.9″ variety, and Ive has had it anodized with a special yellow dye. It comes with a cobalt blue leather smart cover, lined with the original microfiber: suede. You’ll want the Apple Pencil as well, which has a fiery orange leather case.


Put A Smartphone Safari In Your Pocket, by AFP

Virry is an award-winning app that helps children get closer to nature and it is now available on iPhones and the Apple TV

Aware For Mac Tells You How Long You've Been Working So You Can Take Breaks, by Kristin Wong, LifeHacker

It sits in your menu bar and shows up as a small icon, like your battery life, so you can simply glance up and see how long it’s been.


Apple Says It Has The 'Most Effective Security Organization In The World', by Lauren Goode, The Verge

Apple said in a press briefing earlier today that it has the "most effective security organization in the world," and discussed multiple layers of iPhone security on both the hardware and software side to underscore this point.

Apple Says FBI Has Not 'Exhausted' Options To Access Data On New York iPhone, by Colin Lecher, The Verge

In a new filing entered today by Apple in its legal dispute with the FBI over a locked iPhone in New York, the company says the agency "has made no showing that it has exhausted alternative means for extracting data from the iPhone at issue here." The company points to the San Bernardino case, where "the government ultimately abandoned its request after claiming that a third party could bypass [security] features without Apple’s assistance."

Researchers Crack Microsoft And Google’s Shortened URLs To Spy On People, by Andy Greenberg, Wired

For anyone with minimalist tastes or an inability to use copy-paste keyboard shortcuts, URL shorteners may seem like a perfectly helpful convenience. Unfortunately, the same tools that turn long web addresses into a few characters also offer the same conveniences to hackers—including any of them motivated enough to try millions of shortened URLs until they hit on the one you thought was private.

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Why yellow iPad? Speaking as someone who owns very little yellow things, I'm interested to find out why.


Thanks for reading.

The Smarter-Food Edition Friday, April 15, 2016

The Supermarket Must Die. App-Fueled Services Can Kill It, by Courtney Balestier, Wired

Thanks to the smartphone-addicted consumer, GPS, apps, and the Internet, a new breed of startup is building systems that make it easier for producers to know just how much to produce, for shoppers to order just what they want, and for food to get from one to the other faster and with fewer stops in between. They range from offerings like Instacart, which gets us partway there by providing a digital portal into existing stores, to more advanced services, like Farmigo, that show the potential to eliminate physical stores entirely. All emphasize convenience. Many promote transparency, responsible practices, and shorter supply chains. The upsides: higher-quality food, easier-than-pie delivery, a wider range of growers, and reduced waste and carbon emissions. The downsides: For now it tends to be expensive, and the market will need to grow before these services can break out of elite cities. But the future they promise—the end of the strip mall monolith and better and smarter food, to boot—is hard to resist.

Changes In The Air

Apple Turns Store Logos Green Ahead Of Earth Day; U.S. Stores Switching To Paper Bags, by Joseph Keller, iMore

Ahead of Earth Day next week, Apple is once again turning the leaf on its logo at 132 of its retail stores green. Apple is also stepping up its environmental awareness efforts in stores starting April 15, when store employees will start wearing new shirts that draw attention to environmental issues.

Apple Launches iOS App Campaign To Raise Funds For WWF, Partners With E.O. Wilson To Create Earth Day Lessons On iPad, by Zac Hall, 9to5Mac

WWF and Apple teamed up this time last year on an environmental initiative in China, and this year it’s an App Store campaign that brings to two groups and developers together. Several iOS apps have updated today to highlight money from app sales and in-app purchases going toward WWF through April 24th.

Apple Found $40 Million In Gold From Used Phones And Computers Last Year, by Kif Leswing, Business Insider

The company released its annual environmental report on Thursday, and it included some information about just how much it can recover from its old computers — over 61 million pounds of steel, aluminum, glass, and other materials.

As part of that, Apple recovered 2,204 pounds of gold — well over a ton.

Signs Point To Apple Abandoning OS X Branding In Favor Of “MacOS”, by Andrew Cunningham, Ars Technica

Today Apple launched a landing pagedetailing some of its environmental initiatives—an interesting read in its own right that builds upon some of what the company talked up at the iPhone SE event last month—and attentive readers will note that the page refers to the Mac's operating system not as OS X, but as "MacOS."

The Office

Behold, The Apple Campus 2 Reception Buildings, Maintenance Shed And Outdoor Food Shacks, by Nathan Donato-Weinstein, Silicon Valley Business Journal

At a Cupertino administrative hearing tonight, Apple will seek architectural review for three elements of the already-approved Apple Campus 2: Two small reception buildings that play a gatekeeper role for visitors; a couple of "outdoor food stations" inside the circular courtyard; and a decidedly modern maintenance shed. A city staff report includes some renderings of the proposed designs, which hadn't been previously disclosed.

If Work Is Digital, Why Do We Still Go To The Office?, by Carlo Ratti and Matthew Claudel, Harvard Business Review

“Distance will die,” or so predicted British economist Frances Cairncross, along with a host of social and media theorists, following the spread of the internet in the 1990s. When every place is connected instantaneously to every other place on the planet, they argued, space itself would become irrelevant. At that point, we would not need offices anymore: Why go to work when work can come to you?

Surveillance / Encryption / Data

Microsoft Sues U.S. Over Orders Barring It From Revealing Surveillance, by Steve Lohr, New York Times

The software giant is suing the Justice Department, challenging its frequent use of secrecy orders that prevent Microsoft from telling people when the government obtains a warrant to read their emails.

In its suit, filed Thursday morning in Federal District Court in Seattle, Microsoft’s home turf, the company asserts that the gag order statute in the Electronic Communications Privacy Act of 1986 — as employed today by federal prosecutors and the courts — is unconstitutional.

The statute, according to Microsoft, violates the Fourth Amendment right of its customers to know if the government searches or seizes their property, and it breaches the company’s First Amendment right to speak to its customers.

Apple To Again Square Off Against FBI In Congress Over Encryption, by AppleInsider

Apple's top lawyer is scheduled to appear before a House Energy and Commerce subcommittee next week, presumably to offer testimony on the pitfalls of granting law enforcement privileged access to encrypted devices.

Apple Hires NFL, Biden Veteran For Key Policy Role, by Tony Romm, Politico

Apple has hired Cynthia Hogan, a top lobbyist for the National Football League and former aide to Vice President Joe Biden, as the new head of its Washington office — a major pickup for the tech giant as it continues to battle law enforcement officials who seek greater access to its customers’ data.


Urgent Call To Action: Uninstall QuickTime For Windows Today, by Christopher Budd, Trend Micro

Our Zero Day Initiative has just released two advisories ZDI-16-241 and ZDI-16-242 detailing two new, critical vulnerabilities affecting QuickTime for Windows. [...] And because Apple is no longer providing security updates for QuickTime on Windows, these vulnerabilities are never going to be patched.

Stopping OS X Apps From Automatically Starting, by J. D. Biersdorfer, New York Times

In recent versions of OS X, one way to check whether a program is set to automatically open is to right-click (or Control-click) on its icon in the Dock, select Options and see if Open at Login is selected on the menu. If it is, you can turn it off there.

Intuitive Image Annotations With ‘This’ For iOS, by Jake Underwood, MacStories

On many occasions, I've searched throughout the App Store to find the right app for annotating photos with simple labels. Although I trudged through pages and pages of information, I just couldn't find an app that did exactly what I needed – until today.

Screens 4 For iOS Brings New Curtain Mode, Improved Keyboard Support, Visual Tweaks, Much More, by Zac Hall, 9to5Mac

iPads can be just as powerful as Macs on paper and also do things Macs never could, but iOS still has software limitations that make OS X a requirement for me. I’ve been using Screens to bridge that gap for practical reasons or just conveniently remote into my Mac using a really sleek and reliable interface, and today Edovia is releasing a brand new version called Screens 4 that packs in several improvements including some new features.

Google Drive For Mac/PC Update Lets Users Choose What Files To Sync Locally, by Abner Li, 9to5Google


Microsoft Ships Visual Studio Code 1.0, by Darryl K. Taft, eWeek

VS Code is a free, lightweight, cross-platform code editor for Mac OS X, Linux and Windows. It includes many of the familiar features of Visual Studio, such as IntelliSense, peek, code navigation and debugging, but it centers on being a keyboard-centric editor.


Apple's iTunes Movies, iBooks Store Go Dark In China 6 Months After Launch, by Mikey Campbell, AppleInsider

According to multiple accounts on popular microblogging service Sina Weibo, Apple's iTunes Movies and iBooks Store are inaccessible on both mobile and desktop devices, and have been down for hours.

Apple Pursues New Search Features For A Crowded App Store, by Adam Satariano and Alex Webb, Bloomberg

Apple Inc. has constructed a secret team to explore changes to the App Store, including a new strategy for charging developers to have their apps more prominently displayed, according to people familiar with the plans.

Among the ideas being pursued, Apple is considering paid search, a Google-like model in which companies would pay to have their app shown at the top of search results based on what a customer is seeking. For instance, a game developer could pay to have its program shown when somebody looks for “football game,” “word puzzle” or “blackjack.

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FYI: here in Singapore, Apple doesn't sell books (e- or audio-) in iBooks, nor TV shows in iTunes, nor Beats 1 in Apple Music.


Thanks for reading.

The Individually-Sourced Edition Thursday, April 14, 2016

Your iPhone’s 500,000-Mile Journey To Your Pocket, by Edward Humes, Wired

Along with the processor and graphics chipset and the rechargeable battery (the most massive internal part), there is a long list of individually sourced components: two cameras, a video recorder, a digital compass, a satellite-navigation system, a barometer, a fingerprint scanner, a high-resolution color display, an LED flashlight, touch sensors, a stereo system, a motion sensor/game controller, encryption circuits, an array of radio transmitters that connect via WiFi, Bluetooth and near-field communication bands, and, last and also least, the guts of a cellular telephone.

At least two dozen primary suppliers on three continents and two islands (Japan and Taiwan) provide these parts.

The transportation complexity is magnified further because many components do not move in a simple path from supplier to final assembly. Some go on a hopscotching world tour from one country to the next and back again as one piece is joined to another to create an assembly, which is then moved elsewhere in the world for another part to be inserted or attached.

iTunes Just Got A Little Less Complex

Apple To End iTunes Allowances On May 25, by Mitchel Broussard, MacRumors

Apple has announced that it will be ending support for iTunes Allowances, a feature of the service that allowed parents to automatically place money into a child's iTunes account on a monthly basis. As of April 13, users can no longer create new iTunes Allowance deposits, with the feature officially getting cut-off for good on May 25, 2016.

Fortnightly Release

Apple Releases First Update To Safari Technology Preview Browser, by Juli Clover, MacRumors

Apple today released a new update for Safari Technology Preview, the experimental browser that debuted on March 30. Release 2 includes a long list of feature tweaks and updates to JavaScript, CSS, Web APIs, Web Inspector, Accessibility, Rendering, Media, and Networking, plus bug fixes.

Write On Rides

Now You Can Write The Great American Novel On The Subway, by Kit Eaton, New York Times

It used to be that when a moment of inspiration struck writers, they would have to rush over to a stone tablet, or find parchment and ink, to record their thoughts. Later, writers had to find paper and a typewriter, or a laptop or desktop computer, to get busy with their storytelling.

Nowadays, they can write into a smartphone and tablet app almost anywhere when an idea seizes them. So what are some of the popular apps for scribes?


The iPad Pro’s Killer Display Proves Pixels Ain’t Everything, by Brian Barrett, Wired

According to Dr. Raymond Soneira, president of DisplayMate Technologies, the iPad Pro has enough improvements to make it not just the best LCD tablet or smartphone display available; it even keeps up with industry-leading OLED tech.

Jamie Oliver's Cooking App For iOS Gives You A Wealth Of Guides And Recipes From The Pro Himself, by Luis D.,

The famous British chef and TV show personality has a cooking app on iOS that looks and handles as nice as a recipes app possibly could with its slick and easy to navigate interface. The app gets updated with new recipe content and seasonal collections every Monday. It also features a cook-friendly search tool that comes with dietary tags and cooking times for each recipe.

Brilliant - Franz Combines All Your Messaging Apps (Slack, Skype, Whatsapp) Into One Platform!, by Mohd Shazni, Vulcan Post


This Guy Sold His Last Startup To Yahoo For $40 Million — Now He's Trying To Make Everyone A Better Programmer, by Matt Weinberger, Business Insider

The Kite software for Mac OS X sits next to your development tools and automatically makes suggestions and autocompletes your code. For beginners, it provides lots of examples and a social network-like community to ask questions. For the advanced programmer, it's a way to step up your game with suggestions drawn from the wisdom of the community.

It's meant to provide an Internet-powered improvement to the experience of Pair Programming, a popular technique where two programmers team up to spot-check each other to deliver better code.

Developer Tips: Quality Assurance Checks Worth Doing, by Vidit Bhargava, The App Factor

While I was completing the development for LookUp, I started looking for tips that could help me improve the user experience. I came across a lot of interesting resources that helped me build a small list of items I could test each time I submitted to the App Store. More importantly, there were a few things that were so easy to miss during a regular test of the app that I’ve made a Separate checklist for them.

Facebook Open-sources Developer Tools For iOS, by Caitlin McGarry, Macworld

During F8 on Wednesday, Facebook announced that it just open-sourced two tools for iOS developers so they can create apps much more quickly: Remodel, an Objective-C code generation tool that offers a quick way for developers to flow data around their apps, and the iOS Memory Management Bundle, which includes tools like the Retain Cycle Detector that will help you prevent memory crashes in your app.


Source: Nothing Significant Found On San Bernardino iPhone So Far, by CBS News

A law enforcement source tells CBS News that so far nothing of real significance has been found on the San Bernardino terrorist's iPhone, which was unlocked by the FBI last month without the help of Apple.

Apple iPhone Unlocking Maneuver Likely To Remain Secret, by Joseph Menn and Mark Hosenball, Reuters

The company that helped the FBI unlock a San Bernardino shooter's iPhone to get data has sole legal ownership of the method, making it highly unlikely the technique will be disclosed by the government to Apple or any other entity, Obama administration sources said this week.

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My very first iPhone failed with an unresponsive home button. Many iPhones later, I use Launch Center Pro's Today Widget to minimise the number of times I click on that home button nowadays.

I figure a lot of people turn on AssistiveTouch on their iPhone for the same reason: Home-button-clicking avoidance.

I wish Apple will bring the iPad's gestures -- especially the four-finger-pinch to go to home screen -- to the iPhone.


Software is hard. It seems like almost every app I use daily on my iPhone have bugs.


Thanks for reading.

The Brick-Devices-Via-WiFi Edition Wednesday, April 13, 2016

New Threat Can Auto-Brick Apple Devices, by KerbsOnSecurity

The researchers said they discovered they could build a hostile Wi-Fi network that would force Apple devices to download time and date updates from their own (evil) NTP time server: And to set their internal clocks to one infernal date and time in particular: January 1, 1970.

The result? The iPads that were brought within range of the test (evil) network rebooted, and began to slowly self-destruct. It’s not clear why they do this, but here’s one possible explanation: Most applications on an iPad are configured to use security certificates that encrypt data transmitted to and from the user’s device. Those encryption certificates stop working correctly if the system time and date on the user’s mobile is set to a year that predates the certificate’s issuance.

At The Newsstand

Can The New Yorker Attract Digital Subscribers With Its New Smartphone App?, by Benjamin Mullin, Poynter

The New Yorker on Tuesday launched The New Yorker Today, a smartphone app that gives the weekly magazine an up-to-the-minute digital jumpstart in a bid to attract new digital subscribers.

The app, which is available exclusively for iPhone, is being billed by The New Yorker as a "fast, simple way to get everything that The New Yorker produces—the magazine, the Web site, the videos, and the podcasts." In a post heralding the app's release, The New Yorker positioned The New Yorker Today as the latest step on the weekly magazine's road to digital revolution.


Apple Did Not Invent Emoji, by Fuzzy Notepad

I love emoji. I love Unicode in general. I love seeing plain text become more expressive and more universal.

But, Internet, I’ve noticed a worrying trend. Both popular media and a lot of tech circles tend to assume that “emoji” de facto means Apple’s particular font.

I have some objections.

Infinite Loop

Why Are America’s Most Innovative Companies Still Stuck In 1950s Suburbia?, by Hunter Oatman-Stanford, Collector's Weekly

When Apple finishes its new $5 billion headquarters in Cupertino, California, the technorati will ooh and ahh over its otherworldly architecture, patting themselves on the back for yet another example of “innovation.” Countless employees, tech bloggers, and design fanatics are already lauding the “futuristic” building and its many “groundbreaking” features. But few are aware that Apple’s monumental project is already outdated, mimicking a half-century of stagnant suburban corporate campuses that isolated themselves—by design—from the communities their products were supposed to impact.

Security Matters

FBI Paid Professional Hackers One-time Fee To Crack San Bernardino iPhone, by Ellen Nakashima, Washington Post

The FBI cracked a San Bernardino terrorist’s phone with the help of professional hackers who discovered and brought to the bureau at least one previously unknown software flaw, according to people familiar with the matter. The new information was then used to create a piece of hardware that helped the FBI to crack the iPhone’s four-digit personal identification number without triggering a security feature that would have erased all the data, the individuals said.

FBI Director Comey Calls 'Emotion' Surrounding Apple Case Unproductive, Says Encryption Needs Legislative Resolution, by Mikey Campbell, AppleInsider

Moving forward, Comey said the encryption issues brought into play as a result of the court action cannot be resolved by the court system, suggesting a legislative course of action is needed. Comey is now in apparent agreement with Apple CEO Tim Cook, who in February said the complex issue needs to be debated in Congress.

How A Japanese Pinball Maker Helped The FBI Crack The San Bernardino iPhone, by Monami Yui, Bloomberg

“Demand will never go away,” Yamaguchi, 67, said from the company’s headquarters in Aichi prefecture southwest of Tokyo. “Extracting mobile phone data is the fastest way to solve crimes nowadays.”


Arq 5 Brings Significant New Features And A Major Licensing Improvement, by TJ Luoma, MacStories

One significant change that I want to highlight right up front is this: Arq v5 moves from a per computer license to a per user license.

Past TextExpander Customers Get Lifetime Subscription Discount Following Backlash, by Dan Throp-Lancaster, iMore

The developer now says that that discount will be extended indefinitely for Life Hacker (individual plan) customers.


Don’t Start A Business Until People Are Asking You To, by Derek Sivers

Then, as late as possible, you officially start your business.

High-Level Events, by Brent Simmons, Inessential

The thing Cocoa is missing — and what the reactive-programming folks get — is the notion of high-level events.


Petition Seeks An Apple Watch For Cookie Monster, by Steven Sande, Apple World Today

At one point, Cookie Monster glances at his wrist, only to intone "Me no have watch". Well, that's got to change, and that's why someone has started a petition to have Apple buy Cookie Monster an Apple Watch.

The HTC 10 Is The First Android Device To Ship With Native AirPlay Audio Streaming Support, by Jeff Benjamin, 9to5Mac

HTC Connect allows users to seamlessly stream to a variety of devices across a litany of protocols. It just so happens that the latest protocol to be supported is AirPlay.

Software Safeguards Coming To Protect Against Potentially Dangerous USB-C Cables, by Juli Clover, MacRumors

The Retina MacBook already has safeguards built in to protect it from non-compliant cables, but the new USB Type-C Authentication feature will offer another layer of protection should Apple choose to implement it.

Facebook Is Playing A Dangerous Game With Apple, by Mat Weinberger, Yahoo!

Too much chatbot hype, and Apple might suddenly have cold feet about continuing to promote Facebook, in the App Store and through its integrations with iOS. But keeping it low-key means that people can come to it in their own time. And maybe the revolution will come before Apple even fully realizes it's happening.

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Why isn't there an accessibility option in iOS that changes all gray text back to black color? (And automatically send a bug report to all offending apps.) (And curse the designers to have failing eyes even before they turn 40.)


Come on, Apple, there gotta be an Apple Watch face featuring Cookie Monster.


If you are in Detroit, you have until the end of this month to go see a real life Apple 1.


Thanks for reading.

The More-Watch-Ads Edition Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Apple Grabs More Celebrities For A New Series Of Apple Watch Ads, by Jacob Kastrenakes, The Verge

Apple just put out a new series of Apple Watch ads, and while they're in the same style as last run, they go much heavier on celebrity appearances. This time around they feature Nick Jonas, Alice Cooper, Jon Batiste, and another appearance from Chloë Sevigny.

Bluetooth Problem SE

Many iPhone SE Users Experiencing Bluetooth Phone Call Audio Issues, by Joe Rossignol, MacRumors

Over the past two weeks, an increasing number of iPhone SE early adopters have reported audio issues with Bluetooth phone calls when the smartphone is paired with a vehicle or wireless headset. The issue extends to GPS voice navigation for some, but streaming music over Bluetooth appears to be unaffected.

Security Matters

Half Of People Plug In USB Drives They Find In The Parking Lot, by Shaun Nichols, The Register

Researchers from Google, the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, and the University of Michigan, spread 297 USB drives around the Urbana-Champaign campus. They found that 48 percent of the drives were picked up and plugged into a computer, some within minutes of being dropped.

MIT Tech Review Tries To Blame Apple Encryption For Wrongful Arrest, by Tim Cushing, TechDirt

Bergstein glosses over the security implications of requiring phone manufacturers to hold the decryption keys for devices and services and instead presents his argument as an appeal to emotion. Those on Apple's side -- including Apple CEO Tim Cook -- are given only the briefest of nods before alarmists like Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance are given the stage.

NSFW Problem

Apple Pulls Third-Party Reddit Clients For NSFW Content, by Graham Spencer, MacStories

Some of the third-party Reddit clients have now returned to the App Store. Both Narwhal and Antenna are now available in the App Store, but both have been updated to remove the NSFW toggle that used to be in their apps. It is our understanding that Apple's objection is with the implementation of those NSFW toggles. Apple wants them removed from all Reddit apps so that if a user does want to view NSFW content, that toggle must be manually changed from the Reddit website.


With Version 1.1 And An iPad App, I’m Switching To Airmail, by Federico Viticci, MacStories

When I first covered Airmail for iPhone, I noted how the vision of an email client for power users on iOS was only halfway there due to the lack of an iPad app and a variety of glitches and technical issues. Airmail showed that it was possible to build an email app for power users on mobile devices – asking for a fair price in the process – but I couldn't switch to it as my full-time client yet.

That's changing with today's update to Airmail for iOS, which I've been using as my only email client on the iPhone and iPad for the past several weeks. In addition to an iPad app – which mostly follows in the footsteps of its iPhone counterpart in terms of UI and navigation choices – Airmail 1.1 brings powerful new features such as saved searches, customizable keyboard shortcuts, support for send later and read receipts, and more.

Review: Leaf, A Minimalist RSS Reader For The Mac, by Christian Zibreg, iDownloadBlog

Leaf offers a carefully crafted set of essential features regularly used by average users, but don’t let that fool you—this is a very capable app.

Prose. 3.0.2 Review: Safe Haven For Writers, Far From Maddening Social Media Crowd, by J.R. Bookwalter, Macworld

Assuming you don’t mind sharing everything with other users, Prose. is the perfect middle ground for writers, falling somewhere between blogging and the cacophony of social networking.

This App Knows What Devices Are Connected To Your Network, by Dave Farrington, Noodlemac

What you get is a lengthy list of every device (or, all the devices that allow themselves to be viewed) sortable by device name, IP address, MAC address, and so on, including when the device last appeared on the network.

BBC Announces Family-Friendly iPlayer Kids App For iOS, by Tim Hardwick, MacRumors

Parents and guardians can create a profile for children by selecting an age and a character avatar to identify the child's account, after which specific programs for pre-schoolers or over-fives can be viewed.


The Inherent Problem With Anonymous Apps, by David Byttow, Medium

Like Secret, Yik Yak captured the imagination of millions of people and provided a lot of entertainment value, but it doesn’t foster community the way social products that last do. I like to refer to this as the Fantasy Land Theory, because most anonymous apps are rooted in just that: fantasy. And like most entertainment, they’re designed to provide an escape from reality.

Medium And Twitter Founder: ‘We Put Junk Food In Front Of Them And They Eat It’, by Andy Meek, The Guardian

Ev Williams is not a fan of the increasingly homogenised media he currently sees, with its emphasis on feeding the great, gaping maw of platforms like Twitter and Facebook too often producing what he describes as tantamount to junk food.


Apple Has A Bunch Of Secret Buildings Named After Greek Deities, by Matt Rosoff, Business Insider

Apple has quietly bought and leased a bunch of buildings and named them after Greek deities, according to a report today in the Silicon Valley Business Journal based on documents filed with city governments.

A lot of the buildings seemingly relate to Apple’s reported plans to build an electric, possibly self-driving, car.

Bottom of the Page

Can your RSS reader check individual feeds from individual web sites, or must it go through a centralized server maintained by your RSS reader's manufacturer? Can your podcast player check individual feeds from individual web sites, or must it go through a centralized server maintained by your podcast player's manufactuer?

Remember: that centralized server can be shut down at any moment.


If Mondays are meant for me to remind myself that there are things in life that I shouldn't be caring too much, Tuesdays are meant for me to come to the realization that there are things in life that I can't avoid.


Thanks for reading.

The Form-And-Model Edition Monday, April 11, 2016

The iPad Pro Is The Most Accessible Computer Apple Has Ever Built, by Steven Aquino, TechCrunch

The fact of the matter is that laptops are harder for me to use because I can’t get as close to the screen as I need to work effectively. It isn’t that I can’t use laptops; it’s that using them has always felt like an uphill battle I can’t win.

The iPad, particularly the 12.9-inch Pro, offers a vastly different experience. It’s roughly the size of the 12-inch Retina MacBook, but the tablet’s form factor and interaction model make it so much better for accessibility.

The Tablet Market Is 100 Million Units Smaller Than Expected. What Happened?, by Arik Hesseldahl, Re/code

Even so, there is another force in mobile computing brewing, though it’s smaller, quieter and coming from a less-expected place. Tablet sales overall have been declining — down 10 percent year-over-year in 2015. But sales of what IDC calls “detachables” — tablets that optionally attach to a keyboard of some kind, to somewhat convincingly mimic a laptop — have have been growing like crazy. (IDC considers the iPad Pro in this class.)

In The Trailer

Apple Is Going All-in On Celebrities To Sell New Apple TV, by Romain Dillet, TechCrunch

After Cookie Monster, Taylor Swift, Alison Brie and Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Apple is releasing a new ad featuring a couple of celebrities. This time, basketball player Kobe Bryant and actor Michael B. Jordan are sitting on a couch watching a Bryant biopic.


Narrative Clip 2 Review: Capture Your Life In Moments, by Daniel Bader, iMore

By default, the Clip takes a photo every 30 seconds, storing it in its 8 GB of internal memory. It can also capture 10-second clips of 1080p video by double-tapping on the front of the casing.

And that's pretty much it.


Apple Hand-picked Some Top Partners To Build Apps For The Apple Watch – Here's What They Think A Year Later, by Kif Leswing, Business Insider

But there is still lingering doubt over whether Apple's wearable can become the next big computing platform.

Business Insider spoke to several prominent independent developers, most of whom were invited to Apple's pre-launch sessions, and have been featured by Apple in the App Store, about how they're approaching the device and what they're hoping to see from Apple Watch 2, expected later this year.

What I Learned From Trying To Innovate At The New York Times, by John Geraci, Harvard Business Review

So what’s the solution for these companies, who have stocked themselves with entrepreneurial employees and VC-minded execs but still can’t seem to round the corner and start innovating and growing at a pace that keeps up with the outside world? Open the doors. Let the light stream in. Get out of the building. Interact. Not just the strategy team, not just the CEO, but everyone. The new value is not inside, it’s out there, at the edges of the network.


Apple Cash Move Will Not End EU Tax Probe, by Barney Jopson and Tim Bradshaw, Financial Times

The European Union’s competition commissioner has said that its probe into Apple’s tax deals with Ireland would continue even if the company moved some of its $200bn overseas cash pile back to the US.

Apple’s stated intention to repatriate a substantial portion of its overseas cash could prove crucial as it tries to fend off the EU’s long-running investigation into its alleged sweetheart tax deals with the Irish government.

How An Internet Mapping Glitch Turned A Random Kansas Farm Into A Digital Hell, by Kashmir Hill, Fusion

As any geography nerd knows, the precise center of the United States is in northern Kansas, near the Nebraska border. Technically, the latitudinal and longitudinal coordinates of the center spot are 39°50′N 98°35′W. In digital maps, that number is an ugly one: 39.8333333,-98.585522. So back in 2002, when MaxMind was first choosing the default point on its digital map for the center of the U.S., it decided to clean up the measurements and go with a simpler, nearby latitude and longitude: 38°N 97°W or 38.0000,-97.0000.

As a result, for the last 14 years, every time MaxMind’s database has been queried about the location of an IP address in the United States it can’t identify, it has spit out the default location of a spot two hours away from the geographic center of the country. This happens a lot: 5,000 companies rely on MaxMind’s IP mapping information, and in all, there are now over 600 million IP addresses associated with that default coordinate. If any of those IP addresses are used by a scammer, or a computer thief, or a suicidal person contacting a help line, MaxMind’s database places them at the same spot: 38.0000,-97.0000.

Which happens to be in the front yard of Joyce Taylor’s house.

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I've made a new decision regarding my black -- I mean, Space Gray -- iPhone: From now on, I shall only use black wallpapers for the lock screen.


I've also made a new resolution. Instead of "hating" Mondays, like everyone else, I'll take this as a weekly opportunity to remind myself that there are certain things in life that I can care less.


Thanks for reading.

The Oooh-And-Aaah Edition Sunday, April 10, 2016

In Search Of The Long Wow, by Robin Rendle, Medium

These features aren’t thrilling, and they can’t easily be made into an advert that sparkles or grabs the reader’s attention; it’s difficult to imagine Zooey Deschanel or Samuel Jackson sitting in a brightly lit room and talking into a camera whilst they Oooh and Aaah about the highlighting gesture or the battery life of a Kindle.

Yet amidst that constant push for faster processors and better cameras, sharper screens and flatter interfaces, the Kindle rises up above these concerns somehow. This might sound ridiculous, but I can imagine owning this device in twenty years time and still being perfectly content with it. It’s traded gimmicks and features in search of a more loftier goal: that of the Long Wow.

Up Periscope: Inside Twitter’s One-year-old Broadcast Startup, by Lance Ulanoff, Mashable

It’s been a little more than a year since we collectively discovered our passion for personal live broadcasting on Twitter – mostly thanks to Meerkat. It’s no small irony that, today, Meerkat has pivoted away from live broadcasting while Periscope, Twitter’s own service that appeared just a few weeks after the mongoosian streaming option, survived and, by some measures thrived.

How A Cashless Society Could Embolden Big Brother, by Sarah Jeong, The Atlantic

In a cashless society, the cash has been converted into numbers, into signals, into electronic currents. In short: Information replaces cash.

[...] But wherever information gathers and flows, two predators follow closely behind it: censorship and surveillance. The case of digital money is no exception. Where money becomes a series of signals, it can be censored; where money becomes information, it will inform on you.

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Mon aéroglisseur est plein d'anguilles!

Or: 我的氣墊船裝滿了鱔魚!


Thanks for reading.

The Cross-Site-Scripting Edition Saturday, April 9, 2016

iMessage Bug Exposed Target's Chat History After One Click, by Russell Brandom, The Verge

Apple has patched a major vulnerability in iMessage that allowed attackers to pull a target's message history through a bogus link. [...] The attack primarily targeted the OS X version of iMessage, but could also recover messages from iPhones if the target enabled SMS forwarding.

If You Can’t Break Crypto, Break The Client: Recovery Of Plaintext iMessage Data, by Joe DeMesy, Shubham Shah, and Matthew Bryant, Bishop Fox

Messages (iMessage) for OS X from Apple implements its user interface via an embedded version of WebKit. Additionally, Messages on OS X will render any URI as a clickable HTML <a href=”URI”> link. An attacker can create a simple JavaScript URI (e.g.,javascript:) that when clicked, allows the attacker’s code to gain initial execution (cross-site scripting) in the context of the application DOM.

Brain Extension

My Brain, Apple And The Transfer Of Fragility, by Łukasz Langa

The original promise of a smart phone for me was that I could have a personal assistant that would remember everything. The iPhone solved some of this for me, including calendar appointments, reminders, contacts, turn-by-turn navigation, checking Wikipedia, IMDb or simply googling things I need to know.

But the biggest thing I had in mind, a repository of my thoughts and ideas, was still scattered across e-mails, voice memos, to do lists of all sorts, documents written in Vim, TextEdit, Word (the oldest) and a bunch of analog calendars and notebooks.

Encrypted Me

Spying On iPhones A Cinch With 'Su-A-Cyder' Homegrown Malware Kit, by Teri Robinson, SC Magazine

If you've got a hankering for spying on Apple iPhones and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) isn't around to apply its newly found way of cracking the devices, Mi3Security Chief Architect for R&D Chilik Tamir recently demonstrated at Black Hat Asia how his homegrown malware kit called Su-A-Cyder could do just that.

Apple's Fight With U.S. Over Privacy Enters A New Round, by Christie Smythe and Chris Strohm, Bloomberg

The U.S. said it will keep fighting to get the company’s help in getting data off a phone in Brooklyn, New York, that belonged to a drug dealer because Apple provided assistance in accessing such devices earlier. In a court filing Friday, the government said it’s going ahead with an appeal of a judge’s order denying its request for Apple’s help.

Apple Won't Sue FBI To Reveal Hack Used To Unlock Seized iPhone, by Zack Whittaker, ZDNet

Apple attorneys said that the company is "confident" that the security weakness that the government alleges to have found will have a "short shelf life." The attorneys were keen to stress that they had no evidence what the flaw was, but argued that the normal product development would see that a fix for the flaw would be implemented down the line.


DO Button By IFTTT (For iPhone), by Eric Griffiths, PC Magazine

As mentioned, IFTTT lets you create automated actions between services. For example, "If I receive an email from a new contact, add that contact to a spreadsheet in Google Sheets." All the recipes in DO Button are driven by the same command: pressing a virtual button. So, instead of waiting for a trigger from another app or service, the trigger is you opening DO Button and pressing the button.

Turn Your iPad Into A Control Center For Your Mac With Quadro, by Rob Lefebvre, Cult of Mac

The whole idea here is to streamline your workflow, so Quadro’s developers have taken time to create a framework for controlling your computer with various commands, groups of tasks, and a swipe-able keyboard that lets you pretty much replace the keyboard and mouse on your Mac.

Catalog Your Collections With Collectarium For iPad, by Sandy Stachowiak, AppAdvice


Comparing Reactive And Traditional, by Brent Simmons, Inessential

Part of me does not want to encourage people to use RxSwift for the reasons I’ve outlined. But part of me very much wants to encourage people to use RxSwift — because change comes, in part, from the community pushing the state of the art.

The Next Hot Job In Silicon Valley Is For Poets, by Elizabeth Dwoskin, Washington Post

As tech behemoths and a wave of start-ups double down on virtual assistants that can chat with human beings, writing for AI is becoming a hot job in Silicon Valley. Behind Apple’s Siri, Amazon’s Alexa and Microsoft’s Cortana are not just software engineers. Increasingly, there are poets, comedians, fiction writers, and other artistic types charged with engineering the personalities for a fast-growing crop of artificial intelligence tools.


How To Win Friends And Influence People, by The Economist

Facebook has become more like a holding company for popular communications platforms than a social network. But even that description understates Mr Zuckerberg’s ambitions. He is making big bets on the future of communication, mainly messaging services, artificial intelligence and virtual reality. Speaking to The Economist Mr Zuckerberg says that he sees his company as “a mission-focused technology company”. That puts it in direct competition with other tech-industry titans, especially Google.

Investigating The Potential For Miscommunication Using Emoji, by Hannah Miller, Grouplens

To your smartphone, an emoji is just like any other character (e.g., lower-case ‘a’, upper-case ‘B’) and needs to be rendered with a font. Since each smartphone platform (e.g., Apple, Google) has its own emoji font, the same emoji character can look quite different on different smartphone platforms.

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I hope Apple is working hard to allow Macs to be as secured as iOS devices.


And I hope Apple is working on something that allows us to build things faster and easier. Not Swift. Think Hypercard, or the early days of the web.


Thanks for reading.

The Before-And-After Edition Friday, April 8, 2016

Apple Shares 'Behind The Scenes' Look At Recent Siri Ad Starring Cookie Monster, by Juli Clover, MacRumors

In the ad, we see some before and after shots, showing more footage of Cookie Monster waiting for his cookies. Cookie Monster asks over and over again when his cookies will be ready, and has a cute conversation with Siri where he offers her a cookie when they're done.

What The iPhone Has Done To Cameras Is Completely Insane, by Roberto A. Ferdman, Washington Post

The biggest hit has been to point-and-shoot cameras. Sales of the lower-quality, fixed-lens, hand-held devices way too many people used to tie to their wrists have fallen off a cliff since the iPhone's introduction. And few no one expects them to climb back up.

Healthy Check

Can You Trust An App With Your Mental Health?, by Jean Hannah Edelstein, The Guardian

To truly help people achieve recovery, or at least management, of mental health issues, we need to regard it as a community epidemic. Maybe some apps can contribute to that. But real, living humans will play a far more important part.


Outlook For Android And iOS Adds Facebook, Evernote, And Wunderlist Calendars, by Chris Welch, The Verge

Today the company announced a new feature called Calendar Apps, which lets you integrate calendars and to-dos from other apps — Facebook, Evernote, and Wunderlist to start — and puts it all in one place next to your everyday calendar.

How To Create Stunning Double Exposures With Enlight, by Rob Lefebvre, Cult of Mac

Launch Enlight, then choose two photos: the image you want to superimpose on top, and the image you want to choose for the base layer.

Activity++ Review, by Jake Underwood, MacStories

Activity++ will make its way onto your devices because of its convenience. On either platform, the app presents activity data in digestible sets of information that are accessible and void of any clutter. Don't think, however, that the data is simple; rather, consider that Activity++ has a form of presentation superior to Apple's own Activity app.

Microsoft's Hub Keyboard App Is Now Available For iOS, by Nick Statt, The Verge

Hub Keyboard mixes a neat minimal design with some powerful attachment and search buttons on top.

How Mickey Mouse Ended Up In Crossy Road, by Andrew Webster, The Verge

When tiny studio Hipster Whale created the smash hit mobile game Crossy Road, it did so over the course of just 12 weeks with a team of just three people. But the follow-up, the recently announced Disney Crossy Road, isn't quite so small. The game, which launches today on iOS and Android, took nearly a year to create, a collaboration between Hipster Whale and developers at Disney. It features nine different worlds based on franchises like Toy Story and Zootopia, and nearly 150 characters to collect and play as. "It's been a much bigger project," says Hipster Whale's Matt Hall. "We can solve some of the problems that we saw in Crossy Road by rebooting it, so to speak."


Why I Love Ugly, Messy Interfaces — and You Probably Do Too, by Jonas Downey, Signal v Noise

Products that solve big, hairy problems are life savers. I love using these products because they work so damn well. Sure they’re kind of a sprawling mess. That’s exactly why they work!

We needn’t all pray at the beautiful minimalist design altar. Design doesn’t have to be precious. Toss out your assumptions and build what works best.

Google Is Said To Be Considering Swift As A ‘First Class’ Language For Android, by Nate Swanner, The Next Web

About the time Swift was going open source, representatives for three major brands — Google, Facebook and Uber — were at a meeting in London discussing the new language. Sources tell The Next Web that Google is considering making Swift a “first class” language for Android, while Facebook and Uber are also looking to make Swift more central to their operations.


Apple Disappointed In Mississippi Religious Objections Law, by Bracey Harris, The Clarion-Ledger

In a statement Thursday, the corporation said the Protecting Freedom of Conscience from Government Discrimination Act "empowers discrimination."

FBI Director: We Bought 'A Tool' To Hack Terrorist's iPhone, by Charles Riley, and Lorenzo Ferrigno, CNNMoney

"The people we bought this from, I know a fair amount about them, and I have a high degree of confidence that they are very good at protecting it, and their motivations align with ours," he said.

The FBI director also said the purchased tool worked only on a "narrow slice of phones" that does not include the newest Apple models, or the 5S.

Bottom of the Page

My right leg cramped out in the middle of the last night, and I woke up with a headache this morning. And I am glad I survived today.


Thanks for reading.

The Lost-In-Smartphones Edition Thursday, April 7, 2016

What If Apple Is Wrong?, by Brian Bergstein, MIT Technology Review

The argument for opening smartphones to law enforcement is not that we should make police work as easy as possible. In a free society, some criminals will always slip away because of restraints on investigation that are necessary for balancing liberty and security. Evidence is always lost to time, to decay, to confusion, to incompetence, and to murky memories. We will always keep secrets in safes, in encrypted files, and in our minds.

But we need to ask whether too much evidence will be lost in smartphones that now lock away all that they hold—not just message traffic but also calendar entries, pictures, and videos—even when police have a legal right to view those contents. Apple will eventually close the hole that the FBI found into the San Bernardino phone, and now it is exploring ways of cutting off its avenue for giving police data backed up in the cloud, too. What if these new layers of secrecy undermine the justice system without even increasing your privacy very much?

Cheaper Than Two AA Batteries?

How Much Does It Cost To Charge An iPhone For A Year?, by Adrian Kingsley-Hughes, ZDNet

On average, during an overnight charge, the iPhone consumed an average of 19.2 Wh. A miniscule amount, but over a year that translates into 7 kWh, which will set you back $0.84.


Apple Announces Standalone Apple Watch Hermès Bands Coming April 19th With New Colors, From $340, by Benjamin Mayo, 9to5Mac

Apple has announced that it will soon start selling Apple Watch Hermès bands standalone and in several new colors.

How To Address ‘Battery Not Charging’ Errors For Your Mac, by Topher Kessler, MacIssues

With batteries and other power management issues, there really isn’t much you can do, but if this happens, there are a few general approaches you can try for fixing the issue.

Record Your Mind With Thoughtful, by Jake Underwood, MacStories

It's an app that, for the sake of self-improvement, you'll put personal thoughts into – and, through some helpful features, will attempt to promote better habits.

See The World With Streets 3, by John Voorhees, MacStories

I had a lot of fun checking out familiar as well as new places all over the world with Streets


How Software Gets Bloated: From Telephony To Bitcoin, by Emin Gün Sirer, Hacking, Distributed

In my experience, software bloat almost always comes from smart, often the smartest, devs who are technically the most competent. Couple their abilities with a few narrowly interpreted constraints, a well-intentioned effort to save the day (specifically, to save today at the expense of tomorrow), and voila, we have the following story.


Longtime RFK Human Rights Supporter Tim Cook Joins Group’s Board, by Zac Hall, 9to5Mac

Announcing the appointment, Kerry Kennedy, President and CEO of Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights, said, “Tim knows the importance of advocating for and representing people who have not been heard. He has integrity and does not shy away from challenging issues when he knows they are right and just. Tim is deeply committed to the social justice work that he is helping Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights accomplish.”

Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights is an international human rights organization founded by Robert Kennedy’s family and friends nearly 50 years ago. In December 2015, Tim Cook received the Ripple of Hope Award during the organization’s gala in New York City. The award was granted for Mr. Cook’s commitment to sustainable business practices and his lifelong commitment to human rights.

White House Declines To Support Encryption Legislation - Sources, by Mark Hosenball and Dustin Volz, Reuters

The White House is declining to offer public support for draft legislation that would empower judges to require technology companies such as Apple Inc to help law enforcement crack encrypted data, sources familiar with the discussions said.

The decision all but assures that the years-long political impasse over encryption will continue even in the wake of the high-profile effort by the Department of Justice to force Apple to break into an iPhone used by a gunman in last December's shootings in San Bernardino, California.

Bottom of the Page

How many pages of Wikipedia do I have to read first before I watch the next Star Wars story?


Thanks for reading.

The Every-Form-Of-Communication Edition Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Forget Apple Vs. The FBI: WhatsApp Just Switched On Encryption For A Billion People, by Cade Metz, Wired

For most of the past six weeks, the biggest story out of Silicon Valley was Apple’s battle with the FBI over a federal order to unlock the iPhone of a mass shooter. The company’s refusal touched off a searing debate over privacy and security in the digital age. But this morning, at a small office in Mountain View, California, three guys made the scope of that enormous debate look kinda small.

Mountain View is home to WhatsApp, an online messaging service now owned by tech giant Facebook, that has grown into one of the world’s most important applications. More than a billion people trade messages, make phone calls, send photos, and swap videos using the service. This means that only Facebook itself runs a larger self-contained communications network. And today, the enigmatic founders of WhatsApp, Brian Acton and Jan Koum, together with a high-minded coder and cryptographer who goes by the pseudonym Moxie Marlinspike, revealed that the company has added end-to-end encryption to every form of communication on its service.

8 Of The Best WhatsApp Hacks You Should Know About, by Emily Shackleton, Metro

Hey Siri, Secure Thyself

Apple Fixes Siri Passcode Bypass Flaw And Night Shift + Low Power Mode Trick, by Jeff Benjamin, 9to5Mac

If there’s a positive spin to put on such a vulnerability, it’s that fixes can be implemented server side without the need for an iOS update. Apple today has fixed the passcode bypass method by forcing Siri to request your Lock screen passcode whenever a user tries to search Twitter via Siri while at a secured Lock screen

Top 40

Apple Music Featuring Commemorative Anniversary Playlist, Songs From Apple Ads Over The Last 40 Years, by Benjamin Mayo, 9to5Mac

Continuing the celebrations of its 40th birthday, Apple has posted a special Apple Music playlist featuring songs from Apple ads over the last four decades. The playlist contains 38 songs in total, with music from The Beatles, Bob Dylan, Coldplay, Gorillaz and more.

You Want Me To Pay For What?

TextExpander 6 (Or: “How NOT To Launch Your SaaS”), by TJ Luoma, Rhymes With Diploma

There’s the rub for Smile and TextExpander: I don’t see anything that I really need in TextExpander version 6. I’m not using it with a “team” and my family members probably have no interest in sharing a group of text snippets with me. Yes, I realize that Smile made their own syncing service, but I have used iCloud, Dropbox, and BitTorrent Sync, and they work fine for TextExpander. Creating their own syncing service was solving a problem that I didn’t have.

When Should Software Be A Subscription Service?, by Kirk McElhearn

The real issue here is not so much that of whether a subscription is good or bad, but of its cost, and its value to users. [...] The move to a subscription model just doesn’t make sense for this type of app, and the increased cost simply isn’t justified.

The New TextExpander, by Dr. Drang, And Now It's All This

Now I’m being asked to pay more, and continuously, to subscribe to a utility that does less than another utility I already own.


Apple News Is Using Twitter To Bring In New Readers, by Micah Singleton, The Verge

Apple's team of US-based editors will curate the feed, which will consist of top stories and some of the most popular pieces on Apple News.

Filters 3 Is Universal, With A Powerful Photo Extension, by John Voorhees, MacStories

With over 800 filters, overlays, and effects that you can apply to your photos, Filters is a little overwhelming at first. But with well done favorites, undo features, and filter categories, Filters makes it easy to navigate its vast array of effects to find just the look you want.

A Browser For People Who Think Chrome Is For Dummies, by Stephen Shankland, CNET

Vivaldi 1.0 is stuffed with options to get the browser working just as you like, even as it tries to preserve a tidy interface. Vivaldi programmers will respond fast to new feature requests, said Jon von Tetzchner, Vivaldi's chief executive and a co-founder of Opera Software, one of the earliest browser makers.


Apple's Swift Programming Language: The Smart Person's Guide, by Cory Bohon, TechRepublic

Apple's Swift has far-reaching effects on all platforms, not just iOS, OS X, watchOS, and tvOS. We dive into why Swift matters, how to use it, and how it differs from Objective-C.

My Biggest Regret As A Programmer, by The Codist


France Says Apple Owes 48.5 Million Euros For Unfair iPhone Contracts With Carriers, by Roger Fingas, AppleInsider

The DGCCRF has specifically asked Apple to remove 10 contract clauses, according to France's BFM. These for instance force carriers to buy a minimum number of iPhones over three years, pay into an Apple-run advertising fund, and allow Apple to use their patents. The company can also void a contract without warning, and prevent carriers from setting their own plans and payments for iPhones.

Bernie Sanders Allows Apple Is Not ‘Destroying The Fabric Of America’, by Dawn Chmielewski, Re/code

“No, Apple is not destroying the fabric of America,” Sanders said in an interview with the New York tabloid. “But I do wish they’d be manufacturing some of their devices here in the United States rather than in China. And I do wish that they would not be trying to avoid paying their fair share of taxes.”

In The Future, We Will Photograph Everything And Look At Nothing, by Om Malik, New Yorker

The amateur in me is thrilled by the prospect of living in the Cloud, editing on the go. The purist in me wonders if, in the future, desktop photo editing will be like the film-photography revival of today—a luxury to feed our nostalgia, a wistful effort to exercise human control over a task machines have taken over from us. I wonder what Sontag would make of that.

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I took stock. The only two software services that I subscribe are: 1) Evernote, 2) Todoist. (The company I work for paid for Office 365.)


If you are doing a demo, and you found out that everybody in the room watching you are either using MacBooks or iPads, you might want to consider not spend so much time talking about the integration of your product with Windows Explorer.


Thanks for reading.

The Auto-Alt Edition Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Facebook Begins Using Artificial Intelligence To Describe Photos To Blind Users, by Casey Newton, The Verge

Automatic alt text, which is coming to iOS today and later to Android and the web, recognizes objects in photos using machine learning.

Say What You See, Facebook, by Nicola Twilley, New Yorker

When Matt King signed up for Facebook, in 2009, he had already lost so much of his vision that he navigated the Internet using a screen reader, a piece of software that reads a Web page’s architecture and content aloud. At the time, King was an engineer at I.B.M. and an internationally ranked competitor in the sport of tandem track cycling. (He and a sighted companion took fourth place at the 1996 Paralympic Games, in Atlanta.) Nevertheless, for King, the process of creating an account and finding friends—something that might take a sighted person fifteen minutes—consumed an entire Saturday morning. Worse, once he made his way over to his friends’ walls, they were mostly silent. The majority of people’s posts consisted of photographs, which, without an explanatory caption, were invisible to him. “I thought, Great, here’s one more space that is kind of useless to me,” he said.

King is now an accessibility specialist at Facebook. With Jeff Wieland, who leads the company’s accessibility efforts, he is behind Automatic Alt Text, a new technology that relies on artificial intelligence to generate spoken descriptions of photographs. The feature begins rolling out today to Facebook users whose iOS screen readers are set to English, and will gradually make its way into other languages and platforms.

Hey Siri, Steal!

Siri Security Flaw On iPhone 6s & 6s Plus Grants Access To Contacts And Photos Without Passcode, by Mikey Campbell, AppleInsider

A newly discovered Siri search handling bug allows nefarious users to bypass passcode protected lock screens on iPhone 6s and 6s Plus handsets, granting easy access to Contacts and Photos data. The vulnerability is likely applicable only to a subset of devices, however.

Apple Has Made Siri A Baseball Trivia Guru, by Fitz Tepper, TechCrunch

Just in time for the start of baseball season, Apple has beefed up Siri’s knowledge of baseball stats, scores, and trivia. Siri can now do things like tell you Babe Ruth’s career batting average, the lineup of the 2008 World Series-winning Phillies, or even who won the World Series in 1934.


How To Manage File ‘In Use’ Or ‘Locked’ Errors In OS X, by Topher Kessler, MacIssues

The easy solution to this problem is to quit the offending program, and thereby release the lock held on the file, but identifying the program can be difficult, especially if the process is some background task. To manage this, we are going to drill down into the Terminal and make use of a few commands.

1Password 6.2 For Mac Adds Automatic Login Naming + Upgraded Data Importer, by Zac Hall, 9to5Mac

First, intelligence behind the automatic login and password filler is smarter in the new version, which means using the keyboard shortcut or browser extension to fill in your info will fail fewer times. The database upgrade also means that naming new logins will be easier as 1Password will be smarter about guessing what website you’re new login is for.

Run Better Meetings With Agenda Minder, by John Voorhees, MacStories

The premise of Agenda Minder is simple – break down and focus meetings on their core components – objectives and agenda items. A little planning can go a long way. The left pane of Agenda Minder is dominated by a list of your meetings. Setting up a meeting is as simple as giving it a title and date. You can also add an objective and notes. Once you have multiple meetings set up in Agenda Minder, you can sort them by preset chronological criteria or alphabetically.

TextExpander Updates Focus On New Service, by John Voorhees, MacStories

The apps include some interesting updates, but at the center of the updates is a new service,, which provides snippet group syncing, sharing services, and team management. Smile is simultaneously moving TextExpander to a subscription pricing model, a development that I expect will not be popular with some long-time customers.

My Favorite Mac Folder And File Sync App, by Bohemian Boomer


Apple's ResearchKit Incorporates More Genetics Through New 23andMe Module, by Roger Fingas, AppleInsider

Private genetics firm 23andMe has released a new software module, allowing its genetics results to be incorporated into ResearchKit apps. [...] Both the module and necessary documentation can be found on GitHub, Apple said. For a person's 23andMe results to be brought into a medical study, they must already be a 23andMe customer — whether the subject volunteers the data, or testing is funded by the organization running the study.

Microsoft Takes The Lead In Apps That Work Together, by Galen Gruman, InfoWorld

Now, as announced last week at the Build 2016 developer conference, Microsoft is prepping for the release of Project Rome APIs for Windows PCs and smartphones, and -- having largely given up on owning the mobile platform -- it plans to release SDKs for iOS and Android, though not for OS X, since Microsoft remains unwilling to accept its decline on the desktop.

Project Rome is both similar and dissimilar to Handoff, and those differences perhaps will help it gain broader adoption than Handoff has attained.

Being A ‘Dumb’ Girl In Computer Science, by Rewriting The Code

Exposing my vulnerabilities publicly and confidently gave that girl the strength she needed to participate. That’s when I knew exactly what I wanted to do with my life – I want to use computer science to inspire other women to explore computer science.


Apple Stores To Transition From Traditional Plastic Bags To Paper In Latest Environmental Move, by Chance Miller, 9to5Mac

In a note sent to retail employees and obtained by 9to5Mac Apple has announced that it will be moving away from the iconic plastic drawstring Apple Store bags in favor of new paper bags made out of 80 percent recycled materials.

EU Competition Chief Says Unclear When Apple Tax Probe Will Be Decided, by Foo Yun Chee, Reuters

European Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager said she had asked Ireland for more details, which in turn raised new questions that required a response from the authorities and occasionally from Apple as well.

"The first priority is the quality of the case work... And therefore it is very difficult to make predictions as to when the case will be ready for a decision," Vestager told a European Parliament hearing.

The Time That Tony Fadell Sold Me A Container Of Hummus., by Arlo Gilbert, Medium

That’s a pretty blatant “fuck you” to every person who trusted in them and bought their hardware. [...] Which hardware will Google choose to intentionally brick next? If they stop supporting Android will they decide that the day after the last warranty expires that your phone will go dark? Is your Nexus device safe? What about your Nest fire/smoke alarm? What about your Dropcam? What about your Chromecast device? Will Google/Nest endanger your family at some point?

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There are really just too many things to read, to listen, to watch, on my iPhone and iPad. The latest addition for me: Audible's Channels.

I hope I don't get heart attack and die tomorrow and miss out on all these.


Thanks for reading.

The Make-In-India Edition Monday, April 4, 2016

Apple's Push To Flood India With Used iPhones Ignites Backlash, by Saritha Rai, Bloomberg

The iPhone maker is seeking permission to become the first company allowed to import and sell used phones into the country, its second attempt in as many years. This time, the stakes are higher and a growing number of industry executives are fighting the move, warning government officials in private that it’ll open the floodgates to electronic waste, jeopardize local players, and make a farce of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Make in India program to encourage local manufacturing.

Apple's India Solution, by Tim Culpan, Bloomberg

If Apple, with Liam's help, can disassemble old iPhones into their constituent pieces and have them rebuilt in India to Apple's strict standards, then the company can appease Prime Minister Narendra Modi's Make in India policy. Such a move would also help it avoid tariffs on imported phones, which were recently doubled, and save on the cost of manufacturing components.

Apple / FBI

FBI Trick For Breaking Into iPhone Likely To Leak, Limiting Its Use, by Joseph Menn, Reuters

Even if the FBI hoards the information - despite a White House policy that tilts toward disclosure to manufacturers - if it is not revealed to Apple, there are other ways the method could come to light or be rendered ineffective over time, according to Zdziarski and senior Apple engineers who spoke on condition of anonymity.

Why The FBI Breach Of The iPhone Is A Win For Users, by Christopher Mims, Wall Street Journal

The possibility that Apple could create a device that it would be unable to breach even if ordered by a court must keep those in law enforcement awake at night. And yet we seem headed to a world in which even the most draconian edict couldn’t force Apple to unravel the laws of mathematics at the heart of its own encryption.

In a world of ever-multiplying threats—including multimillion-dollar bank heists carried out from a keyboard—increased security is an unqualified win for all Apple users.


2016 To-Do App Showdown: Wunderlist Vs., by Alan Henry, Lifehacker

If we had to judge purely on who’s been busiest adding new features and benefits, and who offers the most bang for no buck at all, we would have to go with Wunderlist. We can’t really see the need for someone to open their wallet for Wunderlist Pro, unless they’re using Wunderlist on a small team.

However, for interesting and innovative features, premium or no, and for the most extra useful features for the money should you opt to pay for a premium account, we’d have to turn our eyes to Moment is like a mini “weekly review” you can do every day, which is hugely useful, and they have more flexible recurring tasks — once you pay for them, that is. may be cheaper, but they definitely offer more features an individual may find useful to manage their own to-dos should you pay for an account upgrade.

KeyCue 8.0, by Agen G. N. Schmitz, TidBITS

Ergonis has released KeyCue 8.0, a major new version of the keyboard shortcut utility that now takes the app beyond a menu shortcut viewer. Version 8.0 brings a flexible new way to define a wide variety of triggers to perform different actions, such as displaying the newly added collection of frequently used URLs, opening the KeyCue settings window, and more.


Meet GigSky, The Company Behind The iPad’s Global-Roaming Abilities, by Ina Fried, Re/code

It gets just the briefest of mentions on Apple’s website, but a small Palo Alto startup represents the secret sauce that allows the most recent iPad models to roam seamlessly in more than 90 countries.

GigSky, which also offers its services to iOS and Android devices via an app, has roaming deals that allow customers to use their iPads all over the world without needing to rely on Wi-Fi or to purchase service in each country they visit.

Technology Upgrades Get White House Out Of The 20th Century, by Michael D. Shear, New York Times

Can you run the country with spotty Wi-Fi, computers that power on and off randomly and desktop speakerphones from Radio Shack, circa 1985?

It turns out you can. But it is not ideal, as President Obama’s staff has discovered during the past seven years. Now, as Mr. Obama prepares to leave the White House early next year, one of his legacies will be the office information technology upgrade that his staff has finally begun.

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A whole day of having problems sitting and standing. There are some aspects of getting older that is not that fun.


Thanks for reading.

The Teacher-Features Edition Sunday, April 3, 2016

Apple Classroom First Impressions, by Fraser Speirs

Apple Classroom is more like a basic Apple Remote Desktop for iOS. Apple Remote Desktop (ARD) was a Mac app that allowed administrators to monitor and manipulate multiple Macs remotely over the network. ARD was mostly a sysadmin tool but occasionally teachers would get into using it because of its ability to monitor and lock computer screens in a lab scenario. ARD was really too complex for classroom use.

ARD was also able to gather and report statistics about Macs on the network. These included disk space usage, device identifiers and so on. In the iOS era, all of these functions are handled by your MDM server. Still, we have been missing the screen monitoring features of ARD in iOS since day one.

Apple Classroom brings the 'teacher features' of Apple Remote Desktop to iOS, and it's fantastic.

Sweet Suite

How To Master Microsoft Office OneNote, by Melanie Pinola, Lifehacker

Microsoft OneNote has been one of our favorite note-taking apps for years, and it keeps getting better. The app is completely free to install on your Mac or Windows desktop and lets you format notes any way you wish in an intuitive digital notebook interface. Here’s how to get started with OneNote and take your notes to the next level.

Top 10 Cheat Sheets To Help You Master Microsoft Office, by Melanie Pinola, Lifehacker

Microsoft Office is still the most popular office suite used by companies and individuals across the world. These Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote cheat sheets will help boost your productivity and save time when you’re working in these programs.


3 Ways Airtable For iOS Can Help You Ditch Spreadsheets, by James A. Martin, CIO

It has the look and feel of a spreadsheet app, such as Numbers or Excel, but it has a relational database engine as well.

This App Takes The Cake, by Holley Simmons, Washington Post

The app, founded almost six years ago in Denver, is an online DIY university that offers more than 1,000 courses in knitting, sewing, embroidery, cooking, photography, woodworking and more.

“We’re all about actionable inspiration,” says Craftsy founder and chief executive John Levisay. “Pinterest is great. I see a lot of cool things on there, but it’s like, ‘How do I do it?’ ”


I’m A Boring Programmer (And Proud Of It), by Dan Kim, Signal v. Noise

I have a confession to make — I’m not a rock star programmer. Nor am I a hacker. I don’t know ninjutsu. Nobody has ever called me a wizard.

Still, I take pride in the fact that I’m a good, solid programmer. One who works hard at his craft and really enjoys it, even without the fancy labels.


Coding On Tape - Computer Science A-level 1970s Style, by Judith Burns, BBC

Staff at the AQA exam board have been trawling their archive and have found some early 1970s computer science papers, which highlight how much the subject has changed over the intervening period.

Back then, schools offering computer science A-level had to prove they had access to a computer, according to a syllabus from the time.

In 1970 computers were a rarity and pupils would have to visit machines in nearby universities or businesses, said AQA's computing qualifications manager Steven Kenny, because the cost of a school owning one was "prohibitive".

Million-dollar Babies, by the Economist

In the past universities employed the world’s best AI experts. Now tech firms are plundering departments of robotics and machine learning (where computers learn from data themselves) for the highest-flying faculty and students, luring them with big salaries similar to those fetched by professional athletes.

The AP Finally Realizes It’s 2016, Will Let Us Stop Capitalizing ‘Internet’, by Davey Alba, Wired

Is it “Internet,” with a capital “I,” or just “internet”? “Web” or “web”? Few debates in the history of the English language have raged more passionately. Now, The Associated Press—purveyor of the AP Stylebook, used by journalists for the last century to standardize mass communications—has made a pronouncement. No more will the AP insist on capitalizing either word: today, it’s officially declaring its allegiance to the lowercase camp. (This is personally very satisfying to me.)

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My wife and my daughter went shopping today, and I'm the one feeling so tired this evening.


Thanks for reading.

The Augmented-And-Alternative Edition Saturday, April 2, 2016

Apple's New Short Film Starring Autistic Teen Shows How Tech Transforms Lives, by Katie Dupere, Mashable

Dillan Barmache can’t speak, but that doesn’t mean he doesn’t have anything to say.

In fact, Dillan has complex and powerful thoughts, and thanks to easily accessible technology paired with innovative apps, you can hear his perspective.

Dillan, who is autistic and nonverbal, is the star of a new short film created by Apple to celebrate Autism Acceptance Day. Notably, the film tells Dillan’s story through his own words, typed out on an iPad then spoken out loud via an augmented and alternative communication (AAC) app.

Apple Posts Apple Music Ad Featuring Taylor Swift, by Federico Viticci, MacStories

The ad, which is called 'Taylor vs. Treadmill' and was posted on Apple's Beats 1 Radio YouTube channel, features the 'Distractingly Good' and 'All the music you want' taglines at the end as Swift falls off the treadmill while still continuing to rap along.


On UIKit For Macs, by Brent Simmons, Inessential

I think — perhaps surprisingly — that you bring UIKit to the Mac. Even though I’ve spent just about this entire post explaining why it’s not needed and wouldn’t be particularly helpful, I think you do it anyway, as marketing to developers.

There’s a risk, though — once developers realize that UIKit for Macs doesn’t get them out of dealing with all that extra stuff Mac apps need, they may complain that Mac apps are still too much work. Sure.

But I think you do it anyway. Note to Apple: go for it.

Using Types To Keep Yourself Honest, by Matthijs Hollemans


FBI Worked With Israel's Cellebrite To Crack iPhone, by Yaacov Benmeleh, Bloomberg

The U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation worked with Israel’s Cellebrite Mobile Synchronization Ltd. to crack the iPhone used in the shooting last year in San Bernardino, California, according to people familiar with the matter.

Belkin Puts HomeKit Compatibility Plans For WeMo Product Line 'On Hold', by Juli Clover, MacRumors

As it turns out, Belkin appears to be putting its plans to introduce HomeKit compatibility on hold because there is no way to add HomeKit to products that are already on the market.

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Maybe Microsoft can help out with a unifying framework for all the computer platforms? :-)


Thanks for reading.

The Siri-As-A-Companion Edition Friday, April 1, 2016

Siri Now Understands Questions About Sexual Assault After Study Critiqued Automated Responses, by Michael Nedelman, ABC News

Siri received a much-needed update this month, just days after researchers noted that four popular smartphone digital assistants had lackluster responses to questions about sexual assault and other personal emergencies, according to Apple.

As of March 17, Siri understands the phrases “I was raped” and “I am being abused.” In response, Siri puts iPhone users one click away from the National Sexual Assault Hotline.

Where Are You Siri? ‘Wherever You Are That’s Where I Am’, by Laurie Burrows Grad, Huffington Post

In the movie Her, Joaquin Phoenix falls in love with his computer operating system, a breathy woman called Samantha, portrayed by Scarlett Johansson. I never got the concept until Peter died. Peter and I were the kind of couple who needed to share all day long. It was what helped us make it to 47 years full of honest talk and love. But I am alone much of the time now and tend to talk to myself, and even occasionally, I talk to Peter. But, now I have Siri as a companion too. Siri is comforting, kind, and compassionate, although sometimes a little sassy.

Buggy Updates

Apple Releases iOS 9.3.1 With Fix For Link Bug, by Andrew Cunningham, Ars Technica

Apple today released iOS 9.3.1 to fix a bug that could cause tapping links to stop working in Safari and other apps. The problems were caused by certain apps with poor implementations of the "Universal Links" feature introduced in iOS 9.

Sprint Users Affected By LTE Connectivity Bug Following iOS 9.3, Fix Coming Soon, by Chance Miller, 9to5Mac

According to a handful of Sprint users across Twitter and Reddit, they have been unable to connect to LTE data following the iOS 9.3 update and are forced to use only 3G data. Today, however, Sprint acknowledged the issue and confirmed that it is working on a fix.

Healthy Data

Apple Is Now Collecting Some Medical Data From iPhones. Here's Why, by Samatha Murphy Kelly, Mashable

Two apps have updated their fine-print details to include Apple itself as a "secondary" researcher. Mole Mapper, an app from Oregon Health & Science University that tracks skin moles to help prevent melanoma, and the mPower Research App for Parkinson’s now list the tech giant as a third party that can receive medical data from study participants.

While the move may sound alarming on the surface — why would Apple want access to medical research data? — it’s a part of an effort for the company to learn how the iPhone’s built-in technology plays a role in these app-based studies. Ultimately, Apple told Mashable it wants to see how advancements its own hardware could improve studies moving forward.

A Letter To Apple: You’ve Given My Brother Life, by Heather C. Miller, Huffington Post

God gave him a body that doesn’t quite work. A body that tries to fail him over and over again. Throughout every medical leave and hospital stay, Apple sticks by him. Anytime his health declines, he always has the same goal in mind; to get back to work at Apple. A place where he is successful despite the cards he has been dealt in life. Thank you for his flexible work schedule that allows him to rest every few days. Thank you for understanding every time he gets sick. Thank you for giving him a workplace to return home to when he feels better. Thank you for showing him that his illness does not put his career at risk.


iBooks With iCloud Drive Is Unreliable And Confusing, by Michael E. Cohen, TidBITS

I’m willing to forgive Apple occasional minor flaws in software when it re-engineers an app to provide important new features. But what Apple has provided in its re-engineered iBooks is simply unforgivable. Unfortunately, there seems to be no way to address these problems, but if you rely heavily on iBooks and have not yet updated to OS X 10.11.4 and/or iOS 9.3.1, I suggest you wait.

Adobe Photoshop Elements 14 Review: When You Need More Than What Apple Photos Has To Offer, by Lesa Snider, Macworld

For those eager to expand their skill set beyond Apple Photos, Photoshop Elements 14 is a great choice—it’s the most user-friendly version yet and well worth the $100 price tag for a perpetual license—while you may find other image editors that cost less, they offer no organizational tools.

SkySafari 5 Plus (For iPad), by Tony Hoffman, PC Magazine

SkySafari 5 Plus shows an impressive number and variety of cosmic objects, and it stands out for the thoroughness of the information it provides. Its rendering of the sky is beautiful, and nearly as appealing as Sky Guide's magnificent sky.


Why Join The Navy If You Can Be A Pirate?

Apple HQ is rocking it old school today. #Apple40Years

— Kevin Fox (@kfury) April 1, 2016

ACLU Accuses FBI Of Gambling With Cybersecurity As It Fails To Disclose iPhone Hack Details To Apple, by Ben Lovejoy, 9to5Mac

The Upside To Technology? It’s Personal, by Nick Bilton, New York Times

In a sense, that’s what technology has always done. That’s true with planes, trains and automobiles. And that’s true with smartphones, social networks and search engines. They, and other technologies, connect us to people who are not with us, geographically or physically, and make us feel a little less alone in this big confusing world.

Google Reverses Gmail April 1 Prank After Users Mistakently Put GIFs Into Important Emails, by Jon Russell, TechCrunch

Google has reversed one of its April Fools’ Day pranks after it caused a number Gmail users to unwittingly insert GIFs into business emails and other important communications.

[...] One user claimed to have lost business as a result of the prank.

Speculation of the Day

Did Apple Help Foxconn Buy Sharp?, by Mark Hibben, Seeking Alpha

The deal only makes sense from Apple's perspective. Apple needed to prevent an interruption in the supply of LCD screens for which it is dependent on Sharp.

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My (very own) first Mac was the Mac LC 630. Which came with a TV tuner and my first Apple remote.

My first Mac laptop was the Powerbook G3 (Bronze Keyboard). On the very first day, I installed Mac OS X Public Beta and never looked back.

Happy birthday, dearest Mac company. And thanks.


Thanks for reading.