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.

Bottom of the Page

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.