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.

Bottom of the Page

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.