Archive for May 2016

The Made-My-Wife-Cry Edition Tuesday, May 31, 2016

I Made iMovie Magic On The iPad Pro, by Lance Ulanoff, Mashable

iMovie could use a few changes, like something akin to a file system for project management, a better way of managing assets and a much smarter audio track system, but, overall, I am impressed. If you have a new iPad or even an iPad Pro and iMovie (which is free!), why wouldn’t you be doing all your video projects on the iPad?

As for my movie, I'm no Spielberg and Ken Burns would likely be appalled, but I'm happy with it. The quarter-century-late wedding video premiered to a tiny audience on Facebook. It made my wife cry. For me, that’s as good as an Academy Award.

By Design

The iPhone SE Is A Design Classic, by Henry Grabar, Slate

Its ageless style works two ways: It offers the anonymity of an old thing to new buyers, and it relieves any sense of datedness that might otherwise stick to a 4-year-old phone.

Why Can’t The Estonian President Buy A Song Off iTunes For His Latvian Wife?, by Cyrus Farivar, Ars Technica

"Take iTunes," President Ilves continued. "iTunes are based on credit cards. Credit cards are national. I cannot buy an iTunes record for my wife who has a Latvian credit card. I cannot buy her an iTunes record because I have an Estonian iTunes. This is true of virtually everything that is connected to digital services. And certainly this is why Estonia is at the forefront of the European Digital Single Market. As I like to say, it’s easier to ship a bottle of Portuguese wine from southern Portugal in the Algarve and sell it in northern Lapland, than it is for me to buy an iTunes record across the Estonian-Latvian border."


I Used This John Deere App While Mowing My Lawn And It Actually Helped, by John Brandon, Paste Magazine

Mowing your lawn is a springtime ritual. The grass grows, the blades get sharpened.

Now, there’s a new smartphone app that lets you track when you mow, how often, the total time you spend, and even where you mow on your freshly manicured lawn.


Quitting Your Job To Pursue Your Passion Is Bullshit, by Janelle Quibuyen

Being your own boss is tough as shit. You have no one to blame but yourself if things go awry. It's not always what it's cracked up to be. But what bothers me most is how we prop up the entrepreneurial class to be inherently brave and courageous. Let's set the record straight.

The Quiet Crisis Unfolding In Software Development, by Bill Jordan

This article is a very long-winded way to help you learn how to care for your software development employees with best results. If you properly care for your employees they will take care of you, leading to better product outcomes and higher career satisfaction for both you and them.

This is mostly a compilation of common sense but I felt it needed to be compiled in one place for all those low level software development managers out there. I wish it had existed my first day as a software development manager.


Early Computers As Objets D’art, by Kit Buchan, The Guardian

“Dials and buttons, knobs and switches; they’re very charming,” says James Ball, the digital art director behind a new photography series called Guide to Computing, which celebrates early computers. Ball, who works under the pseudonym Docubyte, began the project after developing a fascination and affection for such retro devices.

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I use the "Hide Others" menu item in Mac OS X often, so I'm glad that there is an equivalent function in Windows 10. (It is for minimizing, instead of hiding.)

But, having to shake the current window with my mouse makes this command the same level of silliness as shaking my iPad to undo.


Thanks for reading.

The Warmer-Stores Edition Monday, May 30, 2016

The Union Square Apple Store Message, by Jean-Louis Gassée, Monday Note

Warmer and less “mineral” than the stark minimalism of previous Apple Stores, my spouse sees touches of Angela Ahrendts’ Burberry past. Dame Angela joined Apple two years ago and, for the most part, stayed out of the limelight. She’s visible to store employees, though, via regular video messages and in-person visits. Liked and respected, avoiding therash moves that sunk her predecessor, she’s now affixed her signature on Apple.

The softer ambiance also helps with the Apple Store’s notorious acoustics: When the new Palo Alto store opened in the Fall of 2012, the hard glass, tile, and metal surfaces coupled with the elongated shapeconspired to make the back of the store louder (85db) than University Avenue traffic outside. No such problem in the new store, even on the very busy opening day.

Commerce Ministry Bats For Local Sourcing Waiver For Apple, by PTI

With the finance ministry rejecting waiver of mandatory local sourcing for Apple Inc to set up single-brand stores in India, the commerce ministry said that it will again push the case of the iPhone maker and a consensus decision should be reached soon.

At the same time, commerce and industry minister Nirmala Sitharaman said that she is not in favour of Apple's another proposal to import refurbished phones and sell in India.


Charm For iPhone Gives You Incredible Control Over Your Twitter Experience, by Alan Henry, Lifehacker

Think of it like Twitter lists, just for everything or anything you want, not just for people.


Three Ways To Solve Hard Programming Problems, by Julia Evans

So, you have a programming problem to solve that seems hard, and you have no software that does it right now. three ways to fix that.

Apps Have Become A Lousy Business For Many, by James Titcomb, Telegraph

Many of the start-ups that initially joined the rush are struggling, and the world of apps has become dominated by the same giants that own the web.


The Inside Story Of Apple's Forgotten Project To Change How We Explore The World From Our Computers, by Kif Leswing, Business Insider

Years before Google and Oculus started daydreaming about virtual reality, Apple already had a “VR” product on the market.

Apple called it QuickTime Virtual Reality, or QuickTime VR.

Lights, Camera, We’re Having A Baby!, by Bruce Feiler, New York Times

Consider the modern couple who have just learned they’re having a baby. How should they inform their friends and family? Write a note? So 1950s. Place a call? So 1970s. Send a mass email? So 1990s.

These days, when couples want to let their loved ones know they’re having a child, they often whip out their cellphones, shoot a video and post it on social media. Couples are putting their babies’ names in lights even before their babies have names.

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"Alexa, why isn't your Amazon Movies on Apple TV?"
"Hey Siri, same reason why your Apple Music isn't on the Echo."


Thanks for reading.

The Afraid-Of-Reality Edition Sunday, May 29, 2016

Tech Giant Apple Removes Lesbian Couple From International Advertisements, by 9News

“I am so embarrassed for the stupid French team from Apple, I am a French follower and am truly inspired by your beautiful family,” one user wrote.

“I don’t understand why people are so afraid to show reality,” another commented.

Walking With Cook

When I Met Apple’s CEO Tim Cook..., by Rajiv Makhni, Hindustan Times

The call came early morning. The Apple PR team wanted to meet me. Thinking it was a typical ‘we are about to launch a new product’ meeting, I agreed to catch up the next day. It was anything but typical. Apple CEO Tim Cook was coming for his first-ever visit to India (wow), he would be here for four days (very unusual), I was to spend three days with him travelling all over the country (double wow), I would be the only one doing so (stunned silence) and I would have to sign a non-disclosure agreement (standard practice).

That set in motion a chain of events that saw me travel to multiple cities, attend multiple events and have multiple conversations with the man who heads the most valuable company in the world.

Apple Sets Sights On Bigger Target In India, by Simon Mundy, Financial Times

Mr Cook’s visit has put the spotlight on what is now “the most important country in the smartphone market”, according to a Morgan Stanley report last month, which predicted that by next year sales in India would be second only to China and boast a higher growth rate.

But in some respects India is more challenging than any other big market on which Apple has set its sights.


GraphicConverter 10, by Agen G. N. Schmitz, TidBITS

Lemkesoft's GraphicConverter — the "Swiss Army knife" of graphics programs that can convert over 200 different graphic file formats into any of almost 80 graphic formats — has been updated to version 10.


This iPad Mini Is An Invisibility Cloak, by William Hoffman, Inverse

Researchers at University of Rochester have long been working to make invisibility cloaks a reality, and their latest attempt takes things digital using an iPad Mini and a standard camera.

How Restaurants Know What You Want To Eat Before You Do, by Nicole Torres, Boston Globe

Around 3 p.m. every day, Andy Husbands gets an e-mail telling him who’s about to come into his South End restaurant, Tremont 647. The chef-owner can see who made a reservation, when they last visited (and how much they spent), the people they eat with most often, what they tend to order, and whether they’re VIPs or celebrating an anniversary. He can call up a prediction of which menu items will be popular that night and how many walk-ins will show up. Then he shares the data with his staff so they know what to expect, too.

I Created Godwin's Law In 1990, But It Wasn't A Prediction - It Was A Warning, by Mike Godwin, International Business Times

Earlier this month, my email and social media alerts starting going off when friends let me know a pseudonymous number-cruncher had "proved" Godwin's Law.

This struck me as odd, given that I designed Godwin's Law a quarter-century ago in a way that (I hoped) would make it insusceptible to scientific proof or disproof—at least by anyone who interpreted Godwin's Law as a prediction.

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The worst thing to do on a Sunday night is to accidentally open up your work email client and discover you have that many emails waiting for you in the inbox.


Thanks for reading.

The We-Are-All-Going-To-Die Edition Saturday, May 28, 2016

Study Linking Tumors In Rats To Cellphones Raises A Host Of Questions, by Andrew Pollack, New York Times

Oddly enough, the incidence of tumors in females was minimal, barely different from the control group. It is not clear why the results would vary between the sexes, which is one reason some experts are questioning the findings.

Even for males, the differences between particular groups of rats and the control group were not statistically significant. Another anomaly was that the rats exposed to the radiation lived longer on the whole than animals in the control group. And schwannomas can occur all over the body, not just the heart, but the study did not find increased rates in other organs.

Buying An iPhone

How Many Hours Does An iPhone Cost?, by Dan Bilefsky, New York Times

The average Londoner would have to work 41.2 hours to earn enough to buy an iPhone 6, while a New Yorker can buy it in just 24, according to the UBS study. That’s because wages lag farther behind the staggeringly high cost of living in London than in New York; London doesn’t even crack the top 10 cities for average gross earnings

Apple Expands iPhone Trade Up Program To France, Italy, And Spain, by Joe Rossignol, MacRumors

Apple today expanded its "Trade Up with Installments" program for iPhone to France, Italy, and Spain, enabling customers to trade in an eligible older-generation iPhone, Android, or Windows Phone smartphone and put the value of that device towards a new iPhone based on a 24-month payment plan.


AirPort Extreme And Time Capsule Out Of Stock At U.S. Apple Stores, by Joe Rossignol, MacRumors

Apple may be complying with an FCC deadline of June 2, 2016 related to router software security rules gradually phased in since 2014, which would explain why the stock outage is limited to U.S. stores.

The Roll Review: iPhone App Takes Intelligent Charge Of Your Camera Roll, by Jackie Dove, Macworld

The Roll is designed to save you time and effort by automating the curation and organization of all the photos in your Camera Roll (The Roll—get it?), from scanning and tagging to quantitative quality ranking. The Roll offers a helping hand in deciding which ones to keep and ditch.

6 Road-trip Apps To Make The Miles Fly By, by Anick Jesdanun, Associated Press

Hitting the road this summer? Forget Yelp and those hotel booking apps -- they're useful, but boring. Instead, pack along these apps to liven things up along the way. You might even learn something.


Pimp My Code, Book 2: Swift And Dynamism, by Wil Shipley

There may be other use cases for lots of dynamic features, but honestly target/action is the only time I ever even think about them any more. Other forms of dynamic calls in Objective-C were pretty much obsolesced years ago, when ARC came along and the compiler was all, "Hey, you can't pass arbitrary C types to methods I can't analyze, because I don't know if I need to retain them or not!"

So if you want to blame anything, blame ARC, not Swift. It's still Lattner's bailiwick, so, you know, you don't even have to change who you're mad at.


Brilliant! This Zipper Warns You When Your Fly Is Down, by Mark Wilson, Fast Company

What does it do? The only thing that really matters in the day-to-day world of fashion: It texts you if your fly is down.

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So, what did I learn today?

One: Doing good science is difficult.

Two: Creating a good programming language is difficult.

Three: There is a "Extended Dance Mix" version of David Bowie's Underground on Apple Music.

That's all.


Thanks for reading. See you tomorrow, if I'm not dead from cancer.

The Pay-Footprint Edition Friday, May 27, 2016

Apple Is ‘Working Rapidly’ To Launch Apple Pay In More Countries In Asia And Europe, by Jon Russell, TechCrunch

Apple Pay may only be available in just six countries right now, but the iPhone maker is keen to extend the footprint of the digital payment service worldwide.

That’s according to Jennifer Bailey, VP of Apple Pay, who spoke to TechCrunch this week as the service expanded its presence in Singapore, where it now supports five major banks that cover over 80 percent of cards, following an initial launch in April. Apple Pay is also live in the U.S., Canada, the UK, Australia and China, but there are plans to do a lot more.

EMV Rules Ruining Apple Pay, by Evan Schuman, Computerworld

The problem here is that although POS systems know that an NFC transaction is contactless, those systems often do not know much or even anything beyond that. The POS has no idea if a biometric authentication was completed, so it needs to ask for the signature. The POS has no idea whether the shopper was shown an amount — and certainly not whether the shopper really thought about it — so it must show it again and demand a confirmation.

Dropbox In Your Kernel

Dropbox Gets All Up In Your Kernel With Project Infinite. Cue Uproar, by Gavin Clarke, The Register

Project Infinite employs kernel extensions that’ll move from it from accessing your system’s user space and into the kernel space. Tapping the kernel isn’t a new or unique idea but it is generally reserved for more mission-critical applications, such as security or antivirus.

Giving any piece of software access to the kernel is a huge step, as it gives a potential hacker unfettered access to your system’s memory and processes. Also, you’re potentially leaving yourself wide open to faults and failing in the software author’s code, as some users of certain antivirus software brands can attest to.

Apps For Your Body

This App Reminds You To Stop And De-stress, And Tells You How Well You’re Doing It, by Daniele Seiss, Washington Post

Dealing with excessive stress is an issue for a lot of people, compounded by the fact that we are not always aware when we are stressed. Wouldn’t it be great if we had our own bell of mindfulness to remind us to stop and breathe? And better yet, to show us how to breathe most effectively to reduce stress?

How You Really Can Beat Jet Lag Thanks To Apps And New Planes, by Clare Vooght, iNews

In recent months airlines including Qatar, Finnair and Singapore have been adding new planes with anti-jetlag features to their fleets – such as the A350 XWB from Airbus. The A350’s lighting mimics natural sunrises and sunsets to better regulate the body’s production of sleep hormone melatonin, and its cabin pressure is set at a more comfortable 6,000 feet (it’s usually much higher in older aircraft).

Meanwhile more and more travellers are using smartphone apps that offer tips and tailored schedules that promise to eliminate jet lag, based on scientifically proven remedies – from diet to sleeping times and light exposure.

Security Matters

Push For Encryption Law Falters Despite Apple Case Spotlight, by Dustin Volz, Mark Hosenball And Joseph Menn, Reuters

Draft legislation that Senators Richard Burr and Dianne Feinstein, the Republican and Democratic leaders of the Intelligence Committee, had circulated weeks ago likely will not be introduced this year and, even if it were, would stand no chance of advancing, the sources said.

Key among the problems was the lack of White House support for legislation in spite of a high-profile court showdown between the Justice Department and Apple Inc over the suspect iPhone, according to Congressional and Obama Administration officials and outside observers.

Buggy Updates

iTunes 12.4 Applies Song Ratings To Albums And Destroys Smart Playlists, by Kirk McElhearn

When iTunes 12.2 was released, the app changed some song ratings to album ratings. This means that if you have smart playlists that look for, say, five-star songs, iTunes will add all the tracks from the album with the five-star rating to those playlists. After iTunes 12.2 was released, this happened occasionally; but with iTunes 12.4, my entire library was changed. Every single song rating in my library got changed to an album rating.


Workflow 1.5: App Store Automation, Trello And Ulysses Actions, Audio Metadata, Safari View Controller, And More, by Federico Viticci, MacStories

Nearly two years (and an Apple Design Award) later, Workflow is reaching version 1.5 today, an important milestone towards the road to 2.0. Unsurprisingly for the Workflow team, this release adds over 20 new actions and dozens of improvements. Some of them are new app actions based on URL schemes, while others introduce brand new system integrations (such as iTunes Store, App Store, and Safari View Controller) and web actions for the popular Trello team collaboration service. Workflow 1.5 is a packed release that is going to save heavy Workflow users a lot of time.

5 Mac Apps For Coffee-shop Computing, by Matt Elliott, CNET

When I'm working in a coffee shop, I need help staying focused and productive. I also want to keep my MacBook safe and its contents private during the occasional bathroom break or trip to the counter for a refill.

QuickShift Can Help Reduce Mac Desktop Clutter, by Dennis Sellers, Apple World Today

Once you have everything set up, QuickShift allows instance access to your most used folders via the status bar, a hot key, and/or the Services menu. You drag and drop files to the tool, then move or copy them as you need. You can create folders, subfolders, and hierarchies and organize them as you wish. You can even set up folder hierarchies with one line text.

Hands On: Alfred 3 (OS X), by William Gallagher, MacNN

What makes launchers survive is that they take the way you use them to launch apps and they extend that into other features.

Unfade Is An iOS App That Scans Your Old Printed Photos And Brings Them Back To Life, by Kevin Raposo, Know Techie

Unfade is an app that scans all of your old faded printed photos and revives them back to lie in a digital format.


Google Is Making The Same Mistake Now That Microsoft Did In The 90s, by Jason Snell, Macworld

Google has insisted on using the Material Design approach when creating iOS apps. Just as Word 6 inflicted Windows conventions on Mac users, Google’s iOS apps inflict Android on iOS users. [...]

I’m not saying either design is superior. If you’re on Android, you should expect apps to look like Android apps–Apple Music for Android uses Android’s icons for sharing and offering additional options, rather than the ones you’d see on iOS. And the reverse should be true too.

Google Doesn’t Owe Oracle A Cent For Using Java In Android, Jury Finds, by Klint Finley, Wired

Google’s use of the Oracle’s Java programming language in the Android operating system is legal, a federal jury found today in a verdict that could have major implications for the future of software development. [...] The ruling is good news for programmers in general, but the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) has argued that techies and the public have already lost because of the earlier decision that found that APIs are subject to copyright.

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Made my first Apple Pay payment today.


I wonder how many engineers at Apple are being assigned to make that gigantic screen in Apple Stores thinner and lighter.


Thanks for reading.

The Get-Data Edition Thursday, May 26, 2016

A Traveler’s Guide To Taking A Smartphone Abroad, by Brian X. Chen, New York Times

But while the idea of disconnecting from technology when abroad seems relaxing, the stress of visiting a foreign country without a smartphone connection can quickly counteract the benefits of a digital detox. After landing in an unfamiliar place, you may realize that an inability to look up mobile maps or places to eat on a phone can be crippling. Relying on a printed tourist guide may feel primitive and immediately inform muggers that you are holding lots of cash.

So what to do? There are two ways to take your cellphone abroad and get data — the frugal way and the pay-full-price way. The inexpensive method involves some tinkering and planning ahead, while the full-price way is easy but requires paying even more money to your carrier.

End Of Windows CE

Microsoft Won PC But Lost Mobile, What Now?, by Tom Warren, The Verge

Microsoft will never truly give up on Windows Phone, but it's a dream that has largely failed. Microsoft is now facing the reality that people don't need Windows on their phones. That's a reality that has always scared the software giant, and it's now finally time for the company to embrace it, move on, and make great software for iOS and Android devices. Microsoft has already started doing that, and if it continues then maybe its mobile mess won't seem so messy after all.

The Smartest Thing A Tech Company Can Do? Don’t Make A Phone, by Klint Finley, Wired

This new generation of companies, in other words, realizes the smartphone wars are over. The winners are clear. Microsoft knows it, too. Now it’s showing it understands where the real promise lies by deciding to move on.


Apple Releases Firmware Updates For Its 802.11n AirPort Base Stations, by Dennis Sellers, Apple World Today

According to Apple's release notes, it improves stability and performance for its AirPort Base Stations.

Why I'm Giving Up On Apple's Podcasts App, by Matt Elliott, CNET

Because I'm usually on Wi-Fi, I usually just stream podcast episodes. But when I have a car trip or a long dog walk ahead of me, I will download a few episodes to take with me. And what makes the Podcasts app for frustrating to me is the egg hunt it forces me to go on in order to find the episodes I've downloaded when I'm on a cellular connection.

Pixelmator For Mac Update Adds Magnetic Selection, Retouch Brushes Extension For Apple Photos App, More, by Benjamin Mayo, 9to5Mac

There’s a smarter Auto Selection tool and a brand new Magnetic Selection tool to accurately and quickly cutout objects from a scene in a photograph. There’s also a brand new Retouch extension for the native OS X Photos app, integrating refined brush-style edits into iCloud Photo Library.

ClipBuddy A Useful Tool For 'Power' Clippers On The Mac, by Dennis Sellers, Apple World Today

This multiple clipboard is designed to log all clipboard data. on OS X 10.6 or higher.

Who Needs Git When You Got ZFS?, by Zef Hemel

While called a file system, ZFS is also a volume manager, so also takes over the job of partitioning your disk as well. Why is ZFS cool? It includes protection against data corruption, built-in support for RAID, snapshots and copy-on-write clones, and flexible and efficient ways of transferring data, e.g. for backups.


13, Right Now, by Jessica Contrera, Washington Post

She slides into the car, and even before she buckles her seat belt, her phone is alight in her hands. A 13-year-old girl after a day of eighth grade.

She says hello. Her au pair asks, “Ready to go?”

She doesn’t respond, her thumb on Instagram. A Barbara Walters meme is on the screen. She scrolls, and another meme appears. Then another meme, and she closes the app. She opens BuzzFeed. There’s a story about Florida Gov. Rick Scott, which she scrolls past to get to a story about Janet Jackson, then “28 Things You’ll Understand If You’re Both British and American.” She closes it. She opens Instagram. She opens the NBA app. She shuts the screen off. She turns it back on. She opens Spotify. Opens Fitbit. She has 7,427 steps. Opens Instagram again. Opens Snapchat. She watches a sparkly rainbow flow from her friend’s mouth. She watches a YouTube star make pouty faces at the camera. She watches a tutorial on nail art. She feels the bump of the driveway and looks up. They’re home. Twelve minutes have passed.

Feds Spend Billions To Run Museum-ready Computer Systems, by Richardo Alonso-Zaldivar, AP

The government is squandering its technology budget maintaining museum-ready computer systems in critical areas from nuclear weapons to Social Security. They're still using floppy disks at the Pentagon. [...] Although lawmakers of both parties say they are frustrated, it's unclear whether Congress will act. Part of the problem is finding money to invest in a transition to new systems at agencies across the government.

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Is Microsoft also missing out on the Car?


Thanks for reading.

The Primary-Computer Edition Wednesday, May 25, 2016

For Students, The iPad Is The Ultimate Computer, by Christina Warren, Mashable

Educational apps like The Robot Factory and programming languages like Hopscotch go a long way towards dispelling the myth that the iPad is just for consumption.

Although that meme has dissipated quite a bit since the device’s release in 2010, there is still often an idea the device is best-suited for consuming, not creating.

And that’s just not true. Watching kindergarten and middle school students alike use the iPad, it was clear that to these kids this is their primary computer.

Osmo Coding Teaches Kids To Program Using Blocks And An iPad, by Dean Takahashi, VentureBeat

Osmo, the company that creates cool iPad apps that interact with physical objects, is now tackling one of the toughest tasks in modern education: teaching kids to program. For that purpose, it has created Osmo Coding.

Match Up

The Curse Of Culture, by Ben Thompson, Stratechery

Apple and Google are the most natural of partners. Neither has to lose for the other to win, and both have wasted far too much valuable time fighting a war that was never necessary.

Google I/O 2016 Includes Announcements With Apple Appeal, by Julio Ojeda-Zapata, TidBITS

Much of what Google announced during it two-hour keynote – like updates to its Android operating system – has little relevance to Apple users, but a few of the announcements intersect with the Apple world.


Twitter Gives Tweets More Room To Breathe, by John Voorhees, MacStories

The changes announced by Twitter, which go a long way toward addressing those constraints, will be rolled out over the coming months in Twitter’s own app and will be available to third-party Twitter clients.

ComiXology Unlimited Offers Access To Thousands Of Comics For $6 A Month, by John Callaham, iMore

ComiXology says the new Unlimited service will include books from Image, Dark Horse, IDW, Boom, Oni, Archie, Valiant, Fantagraphics and more.


Blue. No! Yellow!, by

What language was used to write the very first programs for the very first stored-program computer?

Binary machine language, of course.


Programmers Are Not Different, They Need Simple UIs., by antirez

I don’t want to ship junk, so I’ll continue to refine my designs before shipping. You should not accept junk, your neurons are better spent to learn general concepts. However in part it is inevitable: every system will have something that is not general that we need to learn in order to use it. Well, if that’s the deal, at least, let’s make the ad-hoc part a simple one, and if possible, something that is even fun to use.

In Desperate Pursuit Of The Zero-Stress Job, by Mike Scalise, New York Times

I was 26 and belly-flat on the platform of the uptown 6 train in New York. My messenger bag had flipped over my head. A constellation of trampled, blackened gum wads hovered inches from my face. My hands and feet: numb.

I hadn’t tripped. No one had pushed me. I’d been moving through the human flow of rush hour like everyone else, heading from my day job at an educational publisher to my night job writing copy for a marketing firm. I’d been double-jobbing it for a year while my wife was in graduate school, balancing two sets of deadlines and workloads, coming home close to midnight for most of each week.

As strangers helped me to a nearby bench, then pointed out the line of blood running from my elbow, I knew what had happened. I’d been warned.


Apple Rehires Prominent Security Pro As Encryption Fight Boils, by Joseph Menn, Reuters

Jon Callas, who co-founded several well-respected secure communications companies including PGP Corp, Silent Circle and Blackphone, rejoined Apple in May, an Apple spokesman said.

Callas had worked at Apple in the 1990s and again between 2009 and 2011, when he designed an encryption system to protect data stored on a Macintosh computer.

India Said To Require Local Sourcing By Apple To Open Stores, by Siddhartha Singh and Saritha Rai, Bloomberg

India’s finance minister has ratified a decision that Apple Inc. must meet local sourcing rules to open its own stores, according to people familiar with the matter, dealing what may be a fatal blow to the iPhone maker’s effort to open retail outlets in the country.

Why Are There Violent Rabbits In The Margins Of Medieval Manuscripts?, by Jon Kaneko-James

Since rabbits and hares were signs of cowardice, innocence, helplessness, and passive but willing sexuality (lots of medieval sexual imagery involves wolves jumping on rabbits), the idea of them getting their revenge amused medieval artists as much as it amuses me. All told, they are pretty helpless animals whose only hope of survival is to breed fast and run away, a trait that wasn’t particularly successful in the Medieval era – a significant proportion of the French economy was based on eating and skinning rabbits.

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The only medieval killer rabbit I know is from Monty Python.


Don't forget your towel.


Thanks for reading.

The Political-Undertones Edition Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Apple’s Rules For Video Games Are Still Causing Problems In The App Store, by Nick Statt, The Verge

Apple, which last week rejected a mobile game called Liyla and The Shadows of War for its political undertones, has decided to approve it after all.


Using Apple Music’s “A-List” To Find New Music, by Jim Dalrymple, The Loop

Whatever your listening habits, you can find new music on Apple Music using the curated stations or the “A-List” playlists.


Skype Causing More Headaches For Mac Podcasters, by Chip Sudderth, Six Colors

Hobbyist and professional podcasters alike depend on Microsoft’s Skype for mustering panels and interviewing guests, even as they curse it under their breath for its occasional lack of stability and call quality. Skype is ubiquitous because it’s widely cross-platform, relatively easy to install and use, and free—but it may be time for Mac podcasters in particular to pursue more options.

Hey Siri

My Name Is Siri. I Really Can’t Wait Until Some Other App Controls Your iPhone., by Siri Bulusu, Washington Post

“Siri, set my alarm for seven in the morning,” said my friend Keith as we walked home after a night out.

“Why would I set your alarm?” I shrugged. “Set it yourself.”

He looked up from his phone and laughed.


Multi-Angle Movie Maker GroupClip Launches On iOS, by Tim Hardwick, MacRumors

Collaborative video creation app GroupClip launched on iOS yesterday, allowing users to record the same event on multiple devices and combine clips in the cloud to produce multi-angle movies.

TuneIn To Radio Stations Worldwide, Plus Sports And Audiobooks, by Josh Centers, TidBITS

TuneIn isn’t the first company to do this, but a few things set it apart from the alternatives: the interface is straightforward and clean, there’s no pressure to sign up for an account or hand over personal information, and it integrates sources outside of traditional radio, like computer-generated music stations and podcasts.


Tim Cook Rules Out Apple Becoming A Mobile Carrier, Saying It Lacks The Expertise, by Ben Lovejoy, 9to5Mac

As part of an interview at Startup Fest Europe in Amsterdam today, Tim Cook has ruled out the possibility of Apple becoming a mobile carrier or MVNO (Mobile Virtual Network Operator).

The Dark Art Of Mastering Music, by Jordan Kisner, Pitchfork

The consensus seemed to be that Death Magnetic was a good record that sounded like shit. That the whole thing was drastically over-compressed, eliminating any sort of dynamic range. That it had been ruined in mastering. Eventually, more than 12,000 fans signed a petition in protest of the “unlistenable” product, and a mass mail-back-a-thon of CDs commenced. The whole episode provoked a series of questions, not just about what had gone wrong with Death Magnetic but about the craft in question: What is mastering, exactly? How does it work? Beyond the engineers themselves, almost no one seems to know.

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Not only do we not know when we will die, we -- most likely -- will also not know how we die.

This should give me anxiety when I was younger, but, strangely, I am rather calm now.


Thanks for reading.

The Design-Ethicist Edition Monday, May 23, 2016

How Technology Hijacks People’s Minds, by Tristan Harris, Medium

I’m an expert on how technology hijacks our psychological vulnerabilities. That’s why I spent the last three years as Google’s Design Ethicist caring about how to design things in a way that defends a billion people’s minds from getting hijacked.

When using technology, we often focus optimistically on all the things it does for us. But I want you to show you where it might do the opposite.

Where does technology exploit our minds’ weaknesses?

Future Of Personal Computing

How British Airways Is Using The iPad To Modernise Air Travel, by Thomas McMullan, Alphr

As an airline, how do you modernise? How do you go about improving processes that have been in place since the 1980s? How do you give your passengers a sense that they are in control of their flight, when the contemporary demands of air travel mean they must be more coordinated than ever before?

The iPad’s Meandering Road To The Future Of Personal Computing, by Jean-Louis Gassée, Monday Note

Apple engineers should have no trouble adding “brawn” to iOS…but this muscular descendent might not be the best fit for iPhones. This raises a question: Will the iOS be forked into iPad and iPhone variants? The resulting OS lineup would be watchOS, iOS for iPhones, iOS for iPads, OS X (or macOS), and let’s not forget tvOS. Yes, they’d be related, but even in the best families, siblings fight.

Apple’s software life could become complicated, with consequences for its culture, its organization, and its agility.

State Offers Laptops As Trade-in For School iPads, by Bonnie Washuk, Lewiston-Auburn Sun Journal

After hearing students and teachers overwhelmingly say iPad computers are used to play games in class, while laptops are better for schoolwork, Auburn and other districts are sending iPads packing and returning to laptops.

The Maine Department of Education and Apple are offering Maine schools a “Refresh” swap offer at no additional cost.

Payment Wave

ANZ, Retailers Mum On Apple Pay Takeup, by Madeleine Heffernan, Sydney Morning Herald

Mike Ebstein, founder of payments consultant MWE Consulting, said Apply Pay was "sexy" but its arrival was less dramatic here than in the US or much of Europe because contactless card payments already accounted for an estimated 70 per cent of all face-to-face card transactions. ​> "It's simply tapping your phone instead of tapping your card," he said. "Having said that, I think it will gain traction. The bottom line is that mobiles and smartphones are ubiquitous, and the younger you are, the more central it is to your lifestyle.

Cashless Britain Advances As Contactless And Debit Cards Thrive, by Patrick Collinson, The Guardian

Britain has passed another milestone on the path to a cashless society, with 2015 the first year that cash was used for fewer than half of all payments by consumers.


Airmail 3 Review, by John Voorhees, MacStories

If you work on both platforms regularly, deal with a lot of email or email accounts, and want to customize your email client to match the way you work, the combination of Airmail 3 for Mac and Airmail 1.1 for iOS is a terrific choice and one to which I am now fully committed.


Tips For Beginning Systems And Software Engineers, by Ilya Sher

From time to time I’m toying with the idea to give a lecture to newcomers in the IT industry (systems or software engineers). Here are some of the points that I would include in it.


A Clever Tweak To How Apples Are Sold Is Making Everyone Eat More Of Them, by Roberto A. Ferdman, Washington Post

Amid decades of stagnant growth, apple distributors have started pushing packaged, pre-sliced apples out into the market. And it has proven to be a pretty successful strategy.

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Yes, I prefer to eat sliced apples over whole apples. Call me lazy, but life is short to have to slowly eat around the core. (But I also believe that sliced apples should come with the skin still attached.)

And no, I prefer my bananas to come with the skin attached. I am not that lazy.



I hate apps that hide the clock (and the status bar) in the iPhone, especially now that the status bar can be transparent.


Thanks for reading.

The Opening-Day Edition Sunday, May 22, 2016

Jony Ive Visits Apple Store In Union Square On Opening Day, by Jordan Novet, VentureBeat

Hundreds of people today lined up around the block of Apple’s new retail store in the tourist-heavy Union Square neighborhood in San Francisco in order to see it for themselves on opening day. When the tall glass sliding doors finally opened just after 10 a.m., employees greeted customers by cheering, clapping their hands, and passing out commemorative postcards and T-shirts.

One thing that wasn’t included in the press release about the opening of the new store was the special guest who would be on hand: Apple fan favorite Jony Ive. The technology company’s chief design officer was mingling with people in the crowd on the second floor near the new Genius Grove.

Time-Lapse Video: New Apple Store's 42-Foot Sliding Glass Doors Open, by Brock Keeling, Curbed

For safety reasons, they open slowly.

Apple CEO Tim Cook Talks About His Plan To Open Apple Stores And Sell Used iPhones In India, by Mark Bergen, Recode

A big hurdle for Apple — regulatory approval — also came up. Local manufacturers have moved to block Apple's used-iPhone plan. Cook confirmed that Apple plans to open retail stores there once it gets the government's nod.

"We have not been been given the green light," he said in the interview.


Rhapsody's VR App Is A Hub For Live Music Videos, by Edgar Alvarez, Engadget

The tech world is obsessed with virtual reality. It should come as no surprise, then, that music-streaming service Rhapsody wants a piece of it as well. The company took a step forward today by introducing Rhapsody VR, an iOS and Android app that offers access to 360-degree videos from music concerts.


To Write Better Code, Read Virginia Woolf, by J. Bradford Hipps, New York Times

But if anything can be treated as a plug-in, it’s learning how to code. It took me 18 months to become proficient as a developer. This isn’t to pretend software development is easy — those were long months, and I never touched the heights of my truly gifted peers. But in my experience, programming lends itself to concentrated self-study in a way that, say, “To the Lighthouse” or “Notes Toward a Supreme Fiction” do not. To learn how to write code, you need a few good books. To enter the mind of an artist, you need a human guide.


A Response To The Yellowstone Bison Incident From An Actual Wildlife Biologist, by Imogene Davis, The Outbound

By thinking that we are allowed to interfere with wildlife if our intentions are good, or that it’s okay to break the rules in certain circumstances, we hurt wildlife. As a wildlife biologist, I spend very little time interacting with animals, and that is because human-wildlife interactions are never good for the animal.

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Why would Apple need a 42-foot-tall door at the Apple Store? I know! The Apple double-decker bus is coming.


Thanks for reading.

The Bricked-iPads Edition Saturday, May 21, 2016

Apple Pulls iOS 9.3.2 For 9.7 Inch iPad Pro Following Reports Of Bricked Devices With ‘Error 56’ Issue, by Benjamin Mayo, 9to5Mac

Apple has today pulled iOS 9.3.2 for the 9.7 inch iPad Pro, following reports that users were seeing their iPads bricked after updating to the latest iOS release on Monday. The bug does not affect the larger, 12.9 inch iPad Pro. After updating, users seeing the bug would be prompted to Connect to iTunes on the iPad display. However, aside from an Error 56 debug message, the device could not be restored through iTunes or DFU.

Show My Friends

The Teenager Obsessed With Retro Apple Tech, by Zoe Kleinman, BBC

"Originally my goal was to get them, work on them, play retro games and learn the history," Alex said.

"Then I realised, showing my friends, that they'd never seen them. Dad and I got this vision to start a museum and that's been our goal."


How To Make Your iPhone Or iPad Charge Faster, by Allyson Kazmucha, The App Factor

When tested, Airplane Mode also worked to make my iPhone charge faster as well. This is because Airplane mode turns off all cellular radios, WiFi, and Bluetooth. That means connected devices, bad service, and incoming notifications that light up the screen don’t slow your iPhone or iPad from charging.

Sharing iTunes Store Purchases, by J. D. Biersdorfer, New York Times

Family Sharing allows up to six people with separate Apple ID accounts to share one another’s iTunes, iBooks and App Store purchases as part of a “family group.”

Going Paperless Still Requires Bringing Order To Digital Chaos, by Jeff Carlson, Seattle Times

But, although the clutter has reduced, the amount of digital information has increased and become more complicated. The advantage of going paperless is to be able to quickly search that data and find what I need. When it’s all on a hard drive as bits, retrieving records is simple.

But what about all of the other data that’s arriving or being created digitally? Plenty of apps and solutions help organize information. Although I don’t yet have a system I like, I’ve realized it’s time to start bringing order to it all as my needs have changed for how I deal with it.

Dragon Anywhere Review: Much More Powerful Than Siri Dictation, by David Sparks, Macworld

With Dragon Anywhere, you can dictate for long stretches of time without getting shut down. Just press the app’s big green button and start dictating without worrying about it quitting midsentence.


Project Ara Lives: Google’s Modular Phone Is Ready For You Now, by David Pierce, Wired

It’s been more than a year since Google showed Ara to the public, and a lot has changed. The mission hasn’t: Build a smartphone out of interchangeable parts that you can swap on the fly to make your phone exactly what you want right this second. Add a wide-angle camera module for your hike. Swap it for a telephoto—and add a larger battery—for the soccer game. Replace the screen with an E Ink display for reading on a long flight. The idea is, the ability to swap modules would lengthen the life of a smartphone—devices can last five years instead of two—and lessen the waste accrued in the rush to upgrade.

It’s the how, not the what, that was problematic. Today, Rafa Camargo, Ara’s technical project lead, wants to show me what he’s made. He picks the black phone up from the white table in front of him, flips it over, and taps the power button. It turns on. Next, he picks up a camera module from the table, pops it into the phone, opens the camera app, and quickly takes a crisp photo. “There’s your camera, live,” Camargo says.

OneCore To Rule Them All: How Windows Everywhere Finally Happened, by Peter Bright, Ars Technica

The Windows 10 Anniversary update, due later this summer, represents a major landmark for Microsoft. As well as being a significant update for Windows 10 on the desktop and Windows 10 Mobile on phones, the release is also coming to the Xbox One. For the first time, the Xbox One will be running essentially the same operating system as desktop Windows. Critically, it will also be able to run many of the same applications as desktop Windows.

In a lot of ways, this represents the realization of a vision that Microsoft has been promoting for more than 20 years: Windows Everywhere. Always important to Microsoft's ambitions for Windows as a platform, the Windows Everywhere ideal has a renewed significance with Windows 10 and CEO Satya Nadella's promise that Windows 10 will have one billion users within the first three years of its availability. The purpose of that promise is to send a message to developers that Windows is a big platform, a platform that they should still think about and create software for.

How Technology Is Changing Our Hands, by Darian Leader, The Guardian

What if, rather than focusing on the new promises or discontents of contemporary civilisation, we see today’s changes as first and foremost changes in what human beings do with their hands? The digital age may have transformed many aspects of our experience, but its most obvious yet neglected feature is that it allows people to keep their hands busy in a variety of unprecedented ways.

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Now that Apple does public beta testing of operating systems, I would have thought incidents such as an OS updates bricking devices shouldn't be happening?


Thanks for reading.

The Bloody-ROI Edition Friday, May 20, 2016

When It Comes To Accessibility, Apple Continues To Lead In Awareness And Innovation, by Steven Aquino, TechCrunch

On a personal level, Apple’s dedication to accessibility is a huge reason why I’m a fan of the company. Products like the iPhone are not only cool, but as a person with disabilities, it’s clear to me Apple cares about the experience I have.

Given Apple’s stature as the biggest company in the world, sitting on a war chest of unfathomable size, that they do this work in spite of “the bloody ROI” is truly admirable. In many ways, Apple’s efforts in accessibility captures the essence of being at the intersection of technology and liberal arts. I like to think Steve Jobs would be proud of how Apple has continued to push humanity and technology forward.

Global Accessibility Awareness Day: Apple And Other Companies Commit To Help Make Computers Easier To Use For Disabled People, by Andrew Griffin, The Independent

Apple – which has been praised for its efforts to increase accessibility in the past – runs special workshops for people who want to make use of its tools. Those include special events focusing on vision, hearing and motoring skills across its platforms, including Mac, iPad and iPhone.

Some of those same workshops also highlight third-party technology. The company is running events for technology like the Skoog 2, for instance – a tactile cube that lets people play music on an iPad or iPhone – and focusing on other accessories like braille displays that allow people to navigate their iOS devices using touch, if they are visually impaired.

Frozen With Video

Workaround For Freezing Macs With OS X 10.11.5 And OS X 10.11.4?, by Paul Horowitz, OS X Daily

The freezing issue is difficult to reproduce in any consistently reliable way, but one thing that tends to be commonplace is that Safari is in use when the freezes occur, often viewing web video or a site with embedded web video content in some form. We received a user tip a week ago from a reader who mentioned that disabling WebGL in Safari had basically stopped the incidence of their iMac 5K freezing at random.

A Strange iPhone Bug Is Asking People To Change Their Passcode Within 60 Minutes, by Alex Health, TechInsider

One morning I got a strange message on my iPhone. It said: "Passcode Requirement: You must change your iPhone unlock passcode within 60 minutes." [...] The combination of the message's vagueness and countdown timer alarmed me. Why did I need to change my passcode? And why did I have to do so within a given amount of time?

One With The Community

Apple Just Revealed The Future Of Its Retail Stores, by Nick Statt, The Verge

The numerous figures are meant to impress. They illustrate both the scale of the store and the absurd lengths Apple is willing to go to design real-world retail destinations that inspire awe. As the new West Coast flagship store, this location, designed in partnership with UK firm Fosters and Partners, certainly checks those boxes. Speaking today at a press preview of the location, Apple's retail VP Angela Ahrendts says the new outlet sets the standard for the future of Apple retail. The company wants its stores to be integrated into the community, as a kind of town square for anyone and everyone. "The over-arching vision of the future of Apple retail ... is what do we want Apple's role in the community to be," Ahrendts says. "The store becomes one with the community."

My Thoughts On Apple’s New Retail Store Strategy, by Jim Dalrymple, The Loop

As I sat listening to Angela Ahrendts, Apple’s senior vice president of retail and online stores, it became clear very quickly that Apple kept its attention to detail in the design of the location, but completely rethought how it functioned.

Remembering Apple Store At 15, And Marveling Its Changes, by Joe Wilcox, Beta News

Fifteen years ago today, the first Apple Store opened at Tysons Corner Center in McLean, Va. I was there, covering the event for CNET News. Four days earlier, then CEO Steve Jobs briefed journalists—bloggers, bwahaha, no—across the way at upper-scale Tysons Galleria. Most of us thought his scheme was kind of nuts, as did analysts, and news stories reflected the sentiment. Recession gripped the country and rival Gateway was in process of shuttering more than 400 retail shops. Timing was madness.

But companies that take big risks during economic downturns are most likely to reap rewards later. Retail would be Apple's third walk across the tightrope during 2001. The others: iTunes (January); OS X (March); iPod (October). I've said before that these four are foundation for all the company's successes that followed, including iPhone. But 15 years ago, battling the Wintel duopoly with less than 2 percent global PC market share, Jobs figuratively walked a tightrope across the Grand Canyon carrying original Macintoshes in each arm.

What Technology Retailers Should Learn From Apple Stores, by Adam Simon, RetailWeek

Retailers today could learn from the tech giant’s gamble on innovation.

Political Statement

Apple Says Game About Palestinian Child Isn’t A Game, by Kyle Orland, Ars Technica

The creator of a game about a Palestinian child struggling to survive with her family in the 2014 Gaza strip says the title has been rejected from the games section of the iOS App Store because, as he puts it, "it has a political statement."

Liyla and the Shadows of War is currently listed on Google Play as an Adventure game, and it includes "challenging decision, events and puzzles awaiting for you [sic]" according to its online press kit. But Palestinian creator Rasheed Abueideh tweeted a rejection message in which Apple said the game was "not appropriate in the games category" and that it would be "more appropriate to categorize your app in News or Reference for example."

Accidental Siri

Someone Is Using Siri & Apple Music To Make Money From Random Song Names, by Jon Bottarini, Medium

From the looks of it, someone out there is creating basic, 1–2 minute long songs with obscure and commonly searched titles, in hopes that someone out there will mistakenly ask Siri to play the song. [...] It seems like a case of people try to toy with Apple’s Siri feature and bank off the fact that people, like me, are going to accidentally stumble upon the mass-produced songs — and then get paid a royalty for each song play.


Alfred 3.0 Brings More Flexibility To Workflows, Better Text Expansion, And A Multimedia Clipboard, by Andy Orin, Lifehacker

OS X: Alfred, one of our favorite app launchers, just updated with a ton of useful new features. As it’s name suggests, Alfred is like a butler for your Mac, and he just got a new tuxedo.

Hocus Focus Automatically Hides Your Inactive Windows, by Preshit Deorukhkar, Beautiful Pixels

Hocus Focus keeps an eye on all open windows on your Mac and if there are any inactive windows in the background that haven’t gained your attention for a set period of time, it automatically hides them for you.


Developers Report Trouble Registering 9.7" iPad Pros For Testing, by Roger Fingas, AppleInsider

Some developers are experiencing trouble registering 9.7-inch iPad Pros with their official Apple developer accounts, according to complaints on the company's forums.


For World’s Newest Scrabble Stars, SHORT Tops SHORTER, by Drew Hinshaw and Joe Parkinson, New York Times

By relentlessly studying short words, this country of 500 languages has risen to dominate English’s top lexical contest.

Last November, for the final of Scrabble’s 32-round World Championship in Australia, Nigeria’s winningest wordsmith, Wellington Jighere, defeated Britain’s Lewis Mackay, in a victory that led morning news broadcasts in his homeland half a world away.

This 54-year-old Custodian Just Graduated From The College He Cleaned At Night, by Colbuy Itkowitz, Washington Post

The only work he could find was as a night custodian at a local college. It was about a 50 percent pay cut, the work wasn’t stimulating, but the benefits were good. He decided he would take advantage of every free benefit the school offered so it would feel like he was making more money.

So Vaudreuil starting taking undergraduate classes tuition free at Worcester Polytechnic Institute in Massachusetts by day, and cleaning up after his classmates by night.

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Genius Grove - another one of those Apple marketing names that I will need quite a bit of time to get used to.


Thanks for reading.

The Unlock-With-Passcode Edition Thursday, May 19, 2016

New Touch ID Rules: Why You Have To Enter Your Passcode When You Wake Up, by Glenn Fleishman, Macworld

When iOS 9 was released, Apple updated its list of cases in which iOS asks for a passcode even when Touch ID is enabled. A previously undocumented requirement asks for a passcode in a very particular set of circumstances: When the iPhone or iPad hasn’t been unlocked with its passcode in the previous six days, and Touch ID hasn’t been used to unlock it within the last eight hours. It’s a rolling timeout, so each time Touch ID unlocks a device, a new eight-hour timer starts to tick down until the passcode is required. If you wondered why you were being seemingly randomly prompted for your passcode (or more complicated password), this is likely the reason.

Missing Music

This Video Proves That Apple Actually Is Deleting Music Files Off Some People’s Hard Drives, by Leon Neyfakh, Slate

As you can see in this extremely clear and persuasive video he posted on YouTube, there are many songs in his collection that iTunes has “matched” to tracks that exist in its cloud-based Apple Music library. This would be more or less OK if Etropolsky could still listen to the MP3s that, in many cases, he imported to his computer years before Apple Music even existed. But as Etropolsky demonstrates, those files are not on his hard drive anymore: Using the TimeMachine feature on his computer, he makes it clear that this was not the case just a few months ago.

Mobile Internet Space

Didi Chuxing Boss Discusses Apple Deal, China's Market And Growth Strategies, by Eunice Yoon, CNBC

"We are both in the mobile internet space. So how do we serve our passengers, our drivers better? How do they [Apple] serve their users better? This is already a common ground...We also share a huge overlap in customer base. Our driver and passengers use iPhones and iPads a lot so I think it's very intuitive."

While Liu refused to comment on specific areas of collaboration, such as car technology or Apple Pay, she said "there are a lot of things that can happen.


Dos And Donts For Managing Data On External Hard Drives, by Topher Kessler, MacIssues

When looking for a device to handle your data, you will be confronted with a number of possibilities, including a plethora of brands, single-drive and multi-drive setups, connection technologies, formats, network storage, and more. So how do you choose?

This Guy's App Could Turn Our Old iPhones Into Thousands And Thousands Of Surveillance Cameras, by Mike Pearl, Vice

Back in the dial-up days of the neolithic internet, staring at choppy, blurry webcam footage of people living their average, boring lives was an exciting and transgressive facet of online life. App developer Rob Banagale was a fan. "In the 1990s the earliest webcams were some of the coolest things about the internet," he says.

His new app, Perch Live is definitely another app for people who love staring at 24/7 webcams. But Banagale says Perch Live comes with a "twist": It's meant to place those sorts of all-day-every-day webcams pretty much everywhere on Earth.

Alien Skin Exposure X Review: Film Emulation App Offers New Organizing Tools, by Jackie Dove, Macworld

Exposure X delivers a vast variety of old-time film looks and keeps the interface simple in the process and using the app as a plug in to Photoshop or Lightroom simply allows you to launch it independently from—rather than integrating it into—the host app.

'WhoApp' Provides Users With Detailed Unknown Caller Information For Free, by Mitchel Broussard, MacRumors

WhoApp promises to recognize calls from telemarketers, wrong numbers, and potential scammers by returning information about the unknown dialer's name, picture, address, and even a Google Street View image of their location.

Adobe Debuts iOS Compatible Spark Visual Storytelling Solution, by Dennis Sellers, Apple World Today

Adobe has served up Adobe Spark, an integrated web and mobile solution for creating and sharing visual stories. The free service — part of Creative Cloud — lets you create visual content that engages audiences across multiple channels and looks great on any device, says Bryan Lamkin, executive vice president and general manager, Digital Media at Adobe.


Do Startups Have A Drinking Problem?, by Sarah Jane Coffey, Backchannel

As a non-drinker, I’ve been hesitant to say anything too loudly, too boldly lest someone label me an abolitionist. I’m not. Truly. But the longer I work in startups, the more I hear from those around me that they are uncomfortable, too. I hear concerns from more drinkers than non, and those concerns are becoming more and more frequent. Friends and colleagues who enjoy having a glass of wine or beer from the office fridge mention they are uncomfortable that there are events that feel like getting drunk is a company mandate. If they’re not drinking hard enough, they’re not dedicated. Is it okay not to feel comfortable, or safe, when their colleagues are drunk around them?


The Print Shop And The Origins Of Emoji, by Adrienne Lafrance, The Atlantic

Once upon a time, long before there were smartphones or emoji, computer graphics were crude, pixelated, and often came screeching out of a dot matrix printer.

Those who wished to use their computers to express themselves visually and without text had limited imagery. Three decades ago, there was no crying cat. There was no smiling poo. There was no suggestive eggplant. But in these otherwise dark ages, we had The Print Shop, a cultural phenomenon that infused an otherwise text-based world with images—part of a long tradition that can be traced from the rare emoticons of the 19th century to Zapf Dingbats to The Print Shop to emoji.

Manhattan Office Workers Stick To Battling It Out In Post-it Window War, by Rick Rojas, The Star

The creations are the result of a friendly back and forth between the firms, mostly advertising and marketing companies, on opposite sides of Canal Street.

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Thanks to Apple, I spend an extra second this morning figuring how to pronounce the X in DirectX.


Thanks for reading.

The Not-User-Error Edition Wednesday, May 18, 2016

New Version Of iTunes Addresses The Music Deletion Issue, by Sarah Perez, TechCrunch

The iTunes update that aims to correct this problem is version 12.4, released just yesterday, TechCrunch has confirmed with sources familiar with the matter.

What’s odd is that Apple has not been able to cause music deletions to happen in internal testing. Without being able to reproduce the problem, it’s unclear at this time if the fix being shipped will actually solve this issue for good. It’s also unclear whether the issue is tied to Apple Music’s subscription service, as suspected, or if it could affect regular iTunes users as well.

Why Apple Music Is So Bad When The iPhone Is So Good, by Om Malik, New Yorker

Apple is phenomenally successful, but like Microsoft, which stumbled when Google’s Internet-only, advertising-based businesses took off, it may find it difficult to adapt success to new terrain. A former Apple executive told me that, because Apple’s power structure is built around hardware, no one really wants to work on its services business, even though they generate more than Facebook’s annual revenues. In other words, good product people view services as a place where careers go to stagnate.

Apple Sent Two Men To My House. No, They Weren’t Assassins., by James Pinkstone

In the days leading up to our face-to-face encounter, they’d earned more of my trust when they acknowledged that A), they’d read the phone transcripts, and although they maintained that she was mistaken, they did not dispute my account of what Amber had told me, and B), they, too, were convinced this was not user error. Before allowing them into my home, though, I’d laid out some conditions. Their research would be strictly limited to Apple Music, iTunes, and my iTunes library, and I would always be in the room to watch them work. Any information gleaned would be used solely for iTunes and Apple Music troubleshooting. If I had a document on my desktop called “Zapruder Film Unedited,” for example, they would still leave it alone. They agreed, both on the phone and in person, so we began.

How To Work With The Sidebar In iTunes 12.4, by Kirk McElhearn

At first glance, it looks a lot like the sidebar that was in iTunes back in the day, but there are some differences. Here’s how to work with the sidebar in iTunes 12.4.

Apple Comments On 'Error 56', Looking Into Reports Of Affected iPads, by Rene Ritchie, iMore

"We're looking into a small number of reports that some iPad units are receiving an error when updating the software," an Apple spokesperson told iMore. "Those unable to restore their device through iTunes should contact Apple support."

City Of Dreams

India Wanted More Of Apple’s Love, But All It’s Getting Is A Boring App Development Centre, by Madhura Karnik, Quartz

Meanwhile, Cook is likely to meet Indian prime minister Narendra Modi later this week. So more announcements might be just around the corner.

Apple Looks To India For Growth, by Newley Purnell and Daisuke Wakabayashi, Wall Street Journal

“I sort of view India as where China was seven to 10 years ago,” Mr. Cook told analysts last month.

The reality is much tougher. Indian consumers have significantly less disposable income than Chinese. Per capita economic output in India today is 31% less than in China a decade ago.

Tim Cook Starts Day With Visit To Mumbai’s Siddhivinayak Temple, by Nandagopal Rajan, Indian Express

Apple CEO Tim Cook kicked off his much anticipated tour of India with a pre-dawn visit to the Shree Siddhivinayak Temple at Prabhadevi in Mumbai. His cultural experience at the temple comes before a morning of business meetings in the country’s commercial capital.


The Tiny Hands Review Of The iPhone SE, by Adrianne Jeffries, Motherboard

There still isn’t much choice when it comes to size for top-shelf smartphones. I’m crossing my fingers that the success of the SE turns the hypetrain the other way.

You'll Never Forget Someone You Meet With Remember App, by Sandy Stachowiak, AppAdvice

Add a note that your hairstylist loves animals, your business contact is a Chicago Bears fan, or a favorite bartender listens to Aerosmith. This way, you will not only have their name, but their interest right at your fingertips for a terrific conversation starter.

Instagram 6 (For iPhone), by Michael Muchmore, PC Magazine

The combination of its massive social footprint (and backing from Facebook), along with simple yet powerful photo editing, results in a top-notch experience.


Apple Updates TestFlight For iOS With ‘More Robust Support’ For watchOS Beta Apps, by Zac Hall, 9to5Mac

Version 1.4.0 hit the App Store today and includes what Apple describes as ‘more robust support’ for watchOS beta apps for testing on Apple Watch.

Soon We Won’t Program Computers. We’ll Train Them Like Dogs, by Edward C. Monaghan, Wired

But whether you like this state of affairs or hate it—whether you’re a member of the coding elite or someone who barely feels competent to futz with the settings on your phone—don’t get used to it. Our machines are starting to speak a different language now, one that even the best coders can’t fully understand.


Romain Jacquet-Lagrèze Photographs Hong Kong During 'The Blue Moment', by Linda Poon, The Atlantic

Most photographers swear by the “golden hour”—the hour just after sunrise, or the one right before sunset, when the lighting is just right. But when Hong Kong-based photographer Romain Jacquet-Lagrèze tried to capture his home at sunset, the light washed out most of the city’s colors.

So he watched the sun go down, and that’s when he discovered that the city really lights up during what he’s dubbed the “blue moment.”

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So, I was in the train, going home, listening to an audiobook, when I started wondering: the sky outside looked darker than usual, what time is it?

And the very next sentence in the audiobook went something like this: Mary remembered the kitchen clock downstairs showing her it was just after seven o'clock...

(And, just to add a little color: this was a story with some supernatural elements.)

I looked at the sky outside, muttered to myself that the time sounds about right, and didn't bother to take out my iPhone to check the time.


Speaking of commutes: there need to be a new category in Apple's App Store called games that can be played with one hand. (I'm sure those marketing geniuses in Cupertino can think of a better label than that.) After all, when you are in a crowded train going more than 70 kilometers per hours and your one hand is holding on to something for dear life, games that can be played with one hand are the only games you can play.


Thanks for reading.

The Return-of-the-Sidebar Edition Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Apple Releases iTunes 12.4 With Design Tweaks, by Juli Clover, MacRumors

Today's update may also include safeguards to protect users from an issue that could cause music stored in iTunes to be deleted. The deletion problem affected a small number of users and while Apple was not able to recreate the bug, the company promised "additional safeguards."

Apple Simplifies Navigation With iTunes 12.4, by Kirk McElhearn, Macworld

This update addresses many of the criticisms I’ve had regarding iTunes 12 since its inception. Bringing back the sidebar, simplifying the navigation of media libraries and views, and the Back and Forward buttons help make iTunes simpler and more intuitive. The playlist functions are a bit hidden, and it would be nice to see color again in the sidebar, but the changes in iTunes 12.4 make this app more usable.

Apple Updates iTunes With A 'Simpler' Design That Doesn't Really Help, by Jacob Kastrenakes, The Verge

But the update doesn't address the core issue with iTunes' navigation, and perhaps even makes it worse: it's still weirdly difficult to find the section you're looking for — as in, your music library, your video library, or the App Store.

Some Minor Changes In iTunes 12.4, by Kirk McElhearn

How I Got Those iTunes Deletion Bug Blues..., by Steven Sande, Apple World Today

I fired up Time Machine, which I "restarted" when I got my new 27-inch 5K Retina iMac late last year. Zipping back to the day in November when I did the first backup, I found...nothing. That is, my iTunes Library file was a few kilobytes in size, and there were just a handful of tunes in a folder. Gulp.

Special Edition Bluetooth

Apple Releases iOS 9.3.2 With Support For Simultaneous Night Shift/Low Power Mode Usage, by Juli Clover, MacRumors

iOS 9.3.2, as a minor 9.x.x update, focuses mainly on under-the-hood performance improvements and bug fixes rather than outward-facing changes. One of the biggest bug fixes resolves an ongoing issue that caused Bluetooth accessories to experience audio quality issues when paired with an iPhone SE.

iOS 9.3.2 Bricking Some 9.7-inch iPad Pro Devices With 'Error 56' Message, by Juli Clover, MacRumors

Attempting to restore through iTunes doesn't appear to resolve the issue.

Performance Improvements and Security Updates

Apple Releases OS X 10.11.5 El Capitan With Bug Fixes And Performance Improvements, by Juli Clover, MacRumors

No obvious feature changes were discovered in the beta, and according to Apple's release notes, OS X 10.11.5 includes bug fixes, performance improvements, and security updates.

Apple Releases tvOS 9.2.1 Update For Fourth-Generation Apple TV, by Juli Clover, MacRumors

As a minor 9.x.x update, tvOS 9.2.1 focuses on bug fixes and performance updates to address issues discovered since the release of tvOS 9.2, and no major outward-facing changes were discovered during the beta testing process.

Apple Releases watchOS 2.2.1 For Apple Watch With Various Bug Fixes And Security Improvements, by Benjamin Mayo, 9to5Mac

The release notes indicate the OTA update (weighing in at around 30 MB) includes various bug fixes and security updates.

Special Edition Reviews

The iPhone SE Review, by Brandon Chester, AnandTech

While I’ve used the iPhone SE as my daily driver for a month, I expect that I’ll be going back to the Nexus 5X and iPhone 6s. The smaller display is just not for me, but when Apple can sell thirty million two-year-old 4-inch smartphones in a year there’s clearly demand for a smaller smartphone with high end specs. The iPhone SE delivers that, and I think users who have been holding on to an iPhone 5 or 5s should seriously consider it, because it’s the phone that they’ve been waiting for.

The iPhone SE: A Modern iPhone In A Classic Case, by Julio Ojeda-Zapata, TidBITS

Of course, everyone has different needs. But, on balance, I think Apple has done a good job of producing a smaller iPhone that is competitive with its larger siblings and therefore appealing to a wide range of possible purchasers. In other words, the iPhone SE is a winner.

The GIFs You Are Searching For

Google's Gboard Doesn't Send Your Keystrokes, But It Does Leak Chicken And Noodles, by Glenn Fleishman, Macworld

All the traffic was encrypted with one odd exception. Gboard can provide suggestions for GIFs to insert, too, including animated ones. When I tapped the “restaurants near me” suggestion in Gboard’s search area, Gboard requested one image in the clear: I believe it’s an American-style Chinese dish of fried glazed chicken and crispy noodles on top of vegetables. [...] That’s a leak of information outside of encryption that someone on an open network, such as Wi-Fi at a coffeeshop, could intercept, and discern some information about your habits.

SEO For Gboard? How Google’s New Keyboard Search For iOS Ranks Content, by Danny Sullivan, Search Engine Land

Rajan Patel, a principal engineer at Google who oversees mobile search, including Gboard, told Search Engine Land that Gboard’s rankings are largely based off the same algorithms used to generate Google’s mobile search results. However, anyone comparing searches from within a mobile browser like Chrome or Safari to Gboard matches will likely find differences for a variety of reasons. [...] For one, Patel said that Gboard may give preference to moving direct answers higher, if it has confidence about these. For example, a Knowledge Graph answer about a company might come midway in mobile results but move to the first listing with Gboard.

Dong Dong Chiang

Apple’s GarageBand Picks Up Traditional Chinese Sounds And Instruments In New Update, by Lucas Matney, TechCrunch

Today, Apple’s GarageBand music creation software is gaining an update on iOS and Mac that will more tightly integrating traditional Chinese instruments and sounds into the program.

The update, which is available now as a free update to existing users, adds over 300 loops built with several different Chinese instruments and styles in mind, adding guzheng, dizi, yangqin and Peking Opera to GarageBand’s library of Chinese musical content.

Watch Tim Cook Jam On The New Chinese Version Of GarageBand, by Sam Byford, The Verge

"As a musician I'm always looking for ways to take my music in new directions and GarageBand has been such a great tool for me to experiment and add new elements to my songs on-the-go," says Singaporean Mandopop star JJ Lin in a statement. "I love how the latest update to GarageBand adds traditional Chinese instruments along with brand new loops so I can play around with mixing traditional and modern sounds to create completely new styles."

RDF Inside

How Intel Missed The iPhone Revolution, by Jon Stokes, TechCrunch

Intel missed out on the mobile CPU market because that market is a high-volume, low-margin business, and Intel is a high-volume, high-margin company that can’t afford to offer low-margin versions of its products without killing its existing cash cow.

The other thing you should take away from this is, if your entire business is build on using your monopoly status to squeeze partners, starve competitors, and fatten your own margins at the expense of everyone else, then that won’t go unnoticed. Incumbents in any new space you try to enter will be leery of partnering with you lest they find themselves subject to the same tactics.

Intel Culture Just Ate 12,000 Jobs, by Jean-Louis Gassée, Monday Note

I’ve heard tentative explanations that center on financial self-preservation, that retooling its fabs for the Ax would have been too costly for Intel. I’m unconvinced… Self-deception is probably a more apt word. That’s what cultures do, living right below the surface of what we persist in calling our consciousness, invisibly shaping our perceptions, creating our own Reality Distortion Fields.

Money Ruins Everything

Bookslut Was Born In An Era Of Internet Freedom. Today's Web Has Killed It, by Jessa Crispin, The Guardian

I miss the internet. I know that, technically, the internet still exists. It’s the Facebook-, Twitter-filtered series of algorithms designed to put cat videos, think pieces, and advertisements in front of you. But I get nostalgic for the days before money invaded the internet – the early 2000s, in particular, when I created the literary blog and webzine

Back then, nothing you did mattered. And that gave you freedom. Back then, the online book culture was run mostly by enthusiasts and amateurs, people who were creating blogs and webzines simply for the pleasure of it, rather than to build a career or a brand. I know that nostalgia is a stupid emotion, but still I regret the day money found the internet. Once advertisers showed up, offering to pay us to do the thing we were doing just for fun, it was very hard to say no. Or understand exactly what the trade-offs would be.

Your Media Business Will Not Be Saved, by Joshua Topolsky, Huffington Post

Compelling voices and stories, real and raw talent, new ideas that actually serve or delight an audience, brands that have meaning and ballast; these are things that matter in the next age of media. Thinking of your platform as an actual platform, not a delivery method. Knowing you’re more than just your words. Thinking of your business as a product and storytelling business, not a headline and body-copy business. Thinking of your audience as finite and building a sustainable business model around that audience — that’s going to matter. Thinking about your 10 year plan and not a billion dollar valuation — that’s going to matter.

But before we realign around all those Real Things, it will be very bloody. Bloody, and violent, and depressing. Content makers will die. They’ll be bought up. They’ll be split apart. Their TV networks will fail. Their partnerships will end. In fact, this is already happening.


FileMaker 15 Review: Evolutionary Release With A New Licensing Program, by William Porter, Macworld

With version 15, the FileMaker platform gets better, and it was pretty good already. But in terms of features, FileMaker 15 is an evolutionary rather than revolutionary release. Many existing users may not feel the need to rush to upgrade, and both new and current users may find the new licensing options a bit confusing.

Adobe Adds Automatic Pattern Generation Tool To Capture CC For iOS, by Jan Manon, AppleInsider

Adobe recently updated its Capture CC app for iOS with a new tool that transforms images or real-world objects into geometric and organic patterns, offering users an automated alternative to what was once a tedious manual workflow.

A Developer Made An iPhone Keyboard App To Honor His Frenchie, by Salvador Rodriguez, Motherboard

“I have a pug myself (called Batman, The Batpug), who is quite famous with around 150,000 followers across all his social networks,” said Paul Hayes, the London-based developer of Pugmoji. “I wanted to be able to send his little face as an emoji sticker, so I asked if other people would like a Pug emoji/sticker keyboard as well. Around 10,000 people responded saying yes! So I thought I'd build one.”


Holy ****, by Gus Mueller

And then seven hours later it was approved.


China Quietly Targets U.S. Tech Companies In Security Reviews, by Paul Mozur and Jane Perlez, New York Times

Chinese authorities are quietly scrutinizing technology products sold in China by Apple and other big foreign companies, focusing on whether they pose potential security threats to the country and its consumers and opening up a new front in an already tense relationship with Washington over digital security.

[...] The Chinese reviews stand out because they are being applied more broadly, including to American consumer software and gadgets popular in China, the people briefed on the reviews said. And because Chinese officials have not disclosed the nature of the checks, both the United States government and American tech companies fear that the reviews could be used to extract tech knowledge as well as ensure that the United States was not using the products to spy.

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Facts of Corporate Life #823: To think up, every three months, of a new password that has at least one numerical character and doesn't repeat any of the previous passwords in the past three years.

Facts of Corporate Life #1032: When you tried to log in to the email system in the morning, and your password is rejected, the first thought is not 'oh, I typed my password wrongly,' but 'have I been fired?'.


Now that we have a reboot of Doom on Windows, can we also have a reboot of Marathon on Mac?


Thanks for reading.

The Charm-Offensive Edition Monday, May 16, 2016

Apple's Tim Cook Arrives In China For A Charm Offensive, by Eunice Yoon and Haze Fan, CNBC

Apple chief executive Tim Cook met some of China's hottest app developers and used a Didi Chuxing car to visit Apple's store in the popular shopping district Wangfujing on Monday, after arriving in Beijing for a charm offensive.

At the Apple store, Cook attended a seminar hosted by Didi Chuxing's President Jean Lui, also known as Liu Qing, and attended by the founders and CEOs of some of China's top app providers, including Groupon-like Meituan, picture-editing app MeituPic, news content provider, culinary app DayDayCook and game developer Tap4Fun.

Tim Cook Seeks Slice Of China Goodwill, by Charles Clover, Financial Times

Beijing is a favoured destination for the chief executive officers of US tech companies that are on the outs with China’s leadership, for high-profile shows of good will in as public a way as possible.

Not Enough Information

Apple Bans Benign iOS Spyware Detection, Security Info App, by Darren Pauli, The Register

"Currently, there is no publicly available infrastructure to support iOS diagnostic analysis," Apple wrote. "Therefore your app may report inaccurate information which could mislead or confuse your users."


MacFamilyTree 8 Grows On You (In A Good Way), by Dennis Sellers, Apple World Today

MacFamilyTree lets you explore your personal family history and discover your origins, your ancestors and how your family has evolved over the course of time. Version 8 assists you entering your data and researching your family tree, offers dozens of printable and configurable charts and reports, and publishes your family tree as a book or web site with a few clicks.

iPads Feel Right At Home At Elvis' Graceland, by Rick Limpert, Atlanta Examiner

Amid the gold records, the white jumpsuits and "The Jungle Room," there is something else visitors will find as they walk the hallowed walls and shag carpet ofGraceland in Memphis. They will find iPads everywhere as each visitor now receives an iPad to borrow before they enter the gates of Graceland for their tour and it's a very nice touch.

Art Text 3.0, by Agen G. N. Schmitz, TidBITS

The latest version adds a 3D rendering engine for creating 3D text and logo, plus the capability to convert 2D text or shapes to 3D.


Social Media Finds New Role As News And Entertainment Curator, by John Herrman, New York Times

Last week’s debate surrounding Trending Topics gave users and critics a chance to analyze the Facebook platform, which has established significant reach, in new ways. Social networks like Facebook have been widely seen as impartial systems that reflect users’ ideas, preferences and relationship back at them. But suddenly, the companies were viewed not just as tech companies, which the public is broadly endeared to, or as media companies, which are regarded with deep skepticism by much of the public, but also as something in between.

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How long more do we have to wait before we can create iPhone and iPad apps using Hypercards or Javascript or BASIC?


Thanks for reading.

The Disney-Squabbles Edition Sunday, May 15, 2016

Why Disney Infinity Was Cancelled, by Rob Keyes, Screenrant

Despite Disney Infinity utilizing Disney-owned properties, there were a significant number of mind-boggling obstacles with licensing that caused all sorts of restrictions. In that respect, the business sort of killed its own business. Brands couldn’t exactly overlap with ease, so Marvel, Lucasfilm and other Disney IPs each presented their own squabbles.

Apple Pay A Wake-up Call To Canada's Banks — And Toronto's Economy, by Jennifer Wells, The Star

The arrival of Apple Pay reminds us that banking in the modern age is an inherently intangible industry. Pricewaterhouse Coopers used that language in a report two years ago as it explored how banking is “almost uniquely suitable for digitization and online delivery.” This has enabled emerging economies to bypass the bricks and mortar, or “branch-and-mainframe” phase of banking. It has also driven advanced-economy banks in the wake of the financial crisis to introduce “more radical adjustments and innovations to their service offerings and operating models than their counterparts elsewhere.”

When Websites Won’t Take No For An Answer, by Natasha Singer, New York Times

Harry Brignull, a user-experience consultant in Britain who helps websites and apps develop consumer-friendly features, has a professional bone to pick with sites that seem to maneuver people into signing up for services they might not actually want.

He even has a name for the exploitative techniques: “dark patterns.” To him, these are debased versions of the typical sign-up, sharing, shopping, checkout and download processes that are standard practice online.

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I see software bugs everywhere.


Thanks for reading.

The Reducing-Confusion Edition Saturday, May 14, 2016

Apple Confirms Reports Of Potential Bug In iTunes; Safeguard Patch Expected Next Week, by Serenity Caldwell, iMore

Apple on Friday confirmed to iMore that a very small number of users have reported seeing issues with iTunes removing their locally-stored music library. The company has yet to be able to reproduce the error, but plans to release an update to iTunes next week in hopes of fixing this issue and reducing customer confusion.

How To Find Which Files iTunes Has Deleted, by Kirk McElhearn

So don’t worry about this iTunes file deletion problem; it doesn’t seem to be widespread, but it’s not reassuring that Apple has no idea what’s going on. If you want to check your own library, use Backup Loupe. You may even find some files that you accidentally deleted.

Typing On Glass

iOS Is Still Keeping Other Keyboards From Greatness, by Katherine Boehret, The Verge

Apple has a lot of reasons for not sharing the iOS dictation function with third-party keyboard extensions. But if they're not going to share, they need to ease the process of navigating through several keyboards — especially when you have your hands full.

On The Limitations Of iOS Custom Keyboards, by Federico Viticci, MacStories

The way we communicate and work on iOS has grown beyond typing. Despite their limitations, custom keyboards have shown remarkable innovations over the past two years. With more privacy controls and some API improvements by Apple, they have the potential to work better and look nicer going forward.

With Gboard, Google Unveils A Great iPhone Keyboard, by Josh Centers, TidBITS

Gboard is one of Google’s most exciting products in a while, embedding Google Search at the lowest accessible level of iOS and providing an excellent keyboard at the same time. More so than any other iOS keyboard I’ve seen, it fulfills the promise of third-party keyboards, which usually hamper their single great idea with an otherwise thoroughly mediocre keyboarding experience.

The Most Useful, Niche, And Wonderfully Weird iPhone Keyboards, by Thorin Klosowski, Lifehacker

iPhone custom keyboards were a welcome surprise back when they first launched, but over time, it seems like most people abandoned them. That doesn’t mean there aren’t some useful keyboards out there though, and it turns out the more weird and niche they are, the better.

Tablet Motivations

Apple’s New Classroom Experiment, by Daisuke Wakabayashi, Wall Street Journal

Fourth-grade teacher Blanca Rivera wasn’t thrilled when she heard that Apple Inc. would provide each of her 31 students an iPad. She thought the tablet computers were “just for games,” and wondered how they would help students learn.

Eight months into the school year, her students use iPads to create presentations about angles, produce videos about the water cycle, and assemble digital books about fractions. During exams taken on the iPad, Ms. Rivera can monitor their progress and note questions that confuse them. When she notices students daydreaming, she sends short messages to their iPads saying “focus.”

“It really enhances their learning and it motivates them to learn,” said Ms. Rivera of the iPads.

Tech In The Classroom: We’re Doing It Wrong, by Bryan Clark, The Next Web

But the problem isn’t for hardware manufacturers to fix, although it’s nice when they do. Instead, educators need to find novel ways to integrate technology into (often decades old) curricula while legislators work on getting low-income homes connected.


Three Ways To Get Great Audio While Filming On Your iPhone, by Serenity Caldwell, iMore

The iPhone microphone isn't too shabby at close distances, but when you're trying to film in a crowded room, it's not quite enough. Here are a few of my favorite ways to avoid tinny or terrible sound when shooting iPhone video.

This AI-Powered Camera App Picks Your Very Best Photos, by Darren Orf, Gizmodo

With the help of an AI called EyeEm Vision, The Roll analyses your photos, rates them on a 0-100 scale and adds keywords for easy search (much like Google Photos). EyeEm says it’s currently using thousands of different tags and of course the best thing about AI is that the app is always learning, so more will likely be added as more people use the app.


The Clever UX Behind Hopscotch's Programming iPhone App For Kids, by Meg Miller, Fast Company

Hopscotch has been eyeing mobile for years, says Leavitt, but the challenges always seemed to outweigh the benefits. Optimizing the new programming language the company created for the iPad wasn't a matter of merely shrinking the program to fit a smaller screen. User behavior for the iPhone is different from the iPad—we often navigate our phones with one hand and are accustomed to specific apps—and coding, even in a block-based interface, takes up a lot of screen space. The company had to completely overhaul their original iPad app.


After Three Weeks In China, It's Clear Beijing Is Silicon Valley's Only True Competitor, by Cyriac Roeding, Recode

In Beijing, entrepreneurship feels like a raw — and sometimes more authentic — form of Silicon Valley. We can learn a lot from China. (Or perhaps "relearn" might be the more appropriate term.)

Let’s keep the inner Silicon Valley spirit alive, and be focused on creating awesome things out of almost nothing. That’s entrepreneurship. Let’s beware of getting perked out and distracted by stuff that doesn’t matter.

Do You Speak Singlish?, by Gwee Li Sui, New York Times

Singlish is a patchwork patois of Singapore’s state languages — English, Malay, Mandarin and Tamil — as well as Hokkien, Cantonese, Bengali and a few other tongues. Its syntax is drawn partly from Chinese, partly from South Asian languages.

“Steady poon pee pee,” from the Hokkien, means to be so poised as to deserve an admiring whistle. A snooty person is “yaya papaya”: with yaya perhaps originating from yang-yang (god of gods in ancient Malay) or jâjâ (father in old Javanese), and the “papaya” thrown in for the derisive rhyme. “Blur like sotong” means to be clueless: Sotong is Malay for squid.

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Many bugs are difficult to fix. Bugs that can't be easily reproduced are even more difficult.


Thanks for reading.

The Wipe-Out Edition Friday, May 13, 2016

An iTunes Bug, Not Apple Music, May Be To Blame For Disappearing Music Libraries, by Serenity Caldwell, iMore

Based on several Apple Support threads, it appears that the most recent version of iTunes 12.3.3 contains a database error that affects a small number of users, and can potentially wipe out their music collection after the update. The error has been mentioned a few times, primarily on the Windows side, in the weeks since the 12.3.3 update, but appears to be rare enough that it hasn't previously received major press. Apple did put out a support document shortly after the 12.3.3 update that walks you through some fixes if you find that your local copies of music are missing.

A Billion Here, A Billion There

Apple Invests $1 Billion In Chinese Ride-hailing Service Didi Chuxing, by Julia Love, Reuters

Apple Inc said on Thursday it has invested $1 billion in Chinese ride-hailing service Didi Chuxing, a move that Apple Chief Executive Tim Cook said would help the company better understand the critical Chinese market.

The tech giant's rare investment gives it a stake in two burgeoning waves of technology - the sharing economy and car technology - as the iPhone business that propelled it to record profitability shows signs of maturing.

Apple Takes Billion Dollar Detour To Fix Troubles In China, by Alex Frangos and Dan Gallagher, Wall Street Journal

Other major ​Didi ​investors, including Chinese Internet giants Alibaba and Tencent, have backed Didi partly to ensure their affiliated ​electronic-payment services, Alipay and Tenpay are embedded on the Didi app. Apple conceivably could now get Apple Pay onto Didi’s app, but that would make it a third alternative. [...]

​The bigger motivation may be that Apple thinks it gains credibility with Beijing after regulators recently blocked it from selling books and movies on its iTunes store. ​Apple will join state-owned or state-friendly entities who are Didi investors, such as China’s sovereign-wealth fund, China Investment Corp., and Ping An Insurance.

That Tactile Feeling

Restoring An Apple Extended Keyboard II, by Stephen Radford

I couldn't be happier with the AEK II even if I do have little to compare it to. It's absolutely wonderful to type on and the cream alps switches are give a really nice tactile feedback without being clicky (I still want a clicky Model M). The ratcheted caps lock key that stays down when it's on is so quaint and almost makes me want to turn it on and off instead of using shift.

It's by no means perfect though. It's very loud so probably not ideal if you work in a busy office. I also can't tell if my model has a broken enter switch on the number pad or if that's a quirk of using an ISO layout keyboard via the iMate. Oh, and one of the pegs that originally held this weird overlay thing over the function keys has snapped off.


2016 MacBook Review: A Laptop With A Point Of View, by Jason Snell, Six Colors

A good tool is designed with purpose, a point of view, and an intended user. The MacBook may be a good tool for you, if you use a computer in a way that fits Apple’s vision. This is a light, thin device that provides a decent (but not more) amount of computing power in a traditional computer interface.

A Guide To Apple Pro Apps For Professional Audio And Video Production, by Erik Eckel, TechRepublic

Audio and video production professionals can leverage several Apple pro-level applications to aid in creating, editing, producing, and polishing first-rate audio and video programming. From video editing to audio recording, Apple's suite of pro apps offers powerful tools for producing compelling productions.

Hands On: Gboard 1.0.0 (iPhone), by William Gallagher, MacNN

It speeds up typing on the iPhone, and the gliding, swiping feature is appealing. Plus if you do a lot of Google searches yet not enough that you pop off to Safari, this helps.

RemoteCam Lets You Wirelessly Trigger Your iPhone Camera With Flick Of The Wrist, by Gannon Burgett, Yahoo!

One of the first Apple Watch features to be shown off on stage at WWDC was the ability to remotely trigger your iPhone’s camera with a simple tap of your wrist. As convenient as the feature is, what the stock Camera app uses to achieve this is fairly basic in nature, with limited control.

If you want to beef up the remote triggering capabilities of your Apple Watch, a new app called RemoteCam might be what you need instead.

Noodler: An App That Generates Noodle Soup, by Kara Elder, Washington Post

After opening the app, the user “consults the oracle.” With a tap on the bottom of the screen, a new combination of broth, noodles and toppings populates, accompanied by a cute illustrated bowl of the prophesied recipe. If the user clicks on the illustration, buttons pop up offering options to cook the recipe, add to favorites or go back. Selecting “cook” brings up even more choices: broth recipes, descriptions of the chosen noodle, and how to make or where to buy various toppings.


Flirting With Humanity, by Moira Weigel, New Republic

The search for an artificial intelligence smart enough to love.

Get Ready For The World To Be Covered In Electronic Ink, by David Pierce, Wired

Everywhere you see paper, imagine a world where it’s replaced by a tiny screen that draws almost no power, looks like paper, and is fully interactive. That world is coming, it’s coming in black and white, and it’s coming faster than you think.

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Interesting day, indeed. Just make sure there isn't too much excitment over in your iTunes library.


Thanks for reading.

The Accelerated-Pace Edition Thursday, May 12, 2016

Apple Shortens App Review Times In Push To Boost Service Sales, by Alex Webb, Bloomberg

Apple Inc. has cut the approval time for new submissions to its App Store from more than a week to less than two days, part of a broader push to increase revenue from services including mobile applications.

The accelerated pace allows app developers to fix bugs faster, try out new features more regularly and better react to market changes, while building developer loyalty to Apple’s iOS mobile operating system. The mean approval time has fallen from 8.8 days a year ago to 1.95 days in the past two weeks, according to, which analyzes user-submitted data. In December, the average was more than five days.

Temporal View

Now I Get It: Snapchat, by David Pogue

For nonteenagers, the whole concept is a little bizarre. Why would you take photos and videos knowing that they’ll disappear after one viewing? Isn’t the whole purpose of photos and videos to capture cherished memories to be viewed years from now?

Here’s my theory: Deep down, Snapchat’s appeal has to do with teenage insecurity.

For Typist and Writers

The iPad Pro Is A Better iPad Than A Laptop, by Jason Snell, Macworld

My preferred method of writing on the iPad Pro is very old school: I type on an external Bluetooth keyboard (Apple’s Magic Keyboard works great, but you can take your pick) with a simple stand to prop up my iPad. I can readjust the keyboard as I need to, and the iPad stays right where it is.

Selling Music

Apple Says It Isn't Going To Stop Selling Music Downloads, by Peter Kafka, Recode

"Not true," said Apple rep Tom Neumayr.

Neumayr wouldn't expand on that comment, except to make it clear that he was responding to both timelines proposed in today's story from Digital Music News.

Taylor Swift Dances Like No One's Watching In Newest Apple Music Ad, by Mitchel Broussard, MacRumors

The new commercial plays out in a way similar to Swift's previous ad, which saw her lip syncing to Jimmy Eat World as she prepared for a night out. This time, however, she dances around her living room alone to the tune of The Darkness' "I Believe In A Thing Called Love."


How To Use Apple News, by LJPUK

Here is how to use Apple News, it's how I use it daily and gotten the most out of it. I’ve broken the article up by TAB I.e. the row at the bottom of the app once launched.

Corel AfterShot Pro 3 Update Sharpens Competition With Adobe’s Lightroom Photo Manager, by Jackie Dove, Macworld

Not only can it integrate directly with Photoshop, if you choose, but its file-based system lets you avoid importing images into a catalog—a quick, lightweight advantage for some users.

The Gravitas Is The Heavyweight Of iDevice Docks, by Dennis Sellers, Apple World Today

If you want a sturdy dock with some serious extras, the Gravitas is a heavyweight contender.

Google Translate For iOS Gains Offline Mode And Word Lens Visual Translation For Chinese, by Abner Li, 9to5Mac

The offline mode supports 52 languages, including the just announced Filipino language pack.

Microsoft Is Sunsetting Sunrise, The Mobile Calendar App It Bought Last Year, by Tony Haile, Recode

Microsoft confirmed Wednesday that it is ending support of Sunrise, shifting its engineering team to work on the mobile calendar within the iOS and Android versions of Outlook.


Stakes Are High In Oracle V. Google, But The Public Has Already Lost Big, by Electronic Frontier Foundation

After all, there is a real cost to defending fair use. It takes time, money, lawyers, and thanks to the outrageous penalties associated with copyright infringement, comes with a substantial risk. Beyond all those known costs, wedging a layer of copyright permissions culture into API compatibility comes with serious unknowable costs, too: how many developers will abandon ideas for competitive software because the legal risks are too great?


Apple R&D Reveals A Pivot Is Coming, by Neil Cybart, Above Avalon

Apple has likely spent upwards of a few billion dollars on Project Titan so far when including real estate and stock-based compensation. When considering that Apple will likely be spending upwards of $14 billion per year on R&D by 2017 or 2018, Project Titan could easily end up being a $10-$15 billion project before Apple even ships a product. This is uncharted territory not just for Apple, but for the entire auto industry.

Apple Unable To Restore Missing Teen's iPhone, Lawyer Says; Other Boy's Family Seeks Further Testing, by Kate Jacobson and Adam Sacasa, Sun Sentinel

A team of engineers at Apple couldn't extract information from an iPhone belonging to one of the two teens who went missing last summer, but one of the families is still pushing for further testing.

How Typography Can Save Your Life, by Lena Groeger, Propublica

So why do we use all caps instead of bold or italic or even highlighted? Because back when lawyers used typewriters, the only simple way to emphasize anything was to use ALL CAPS. And while today our fancy post-typewriter machines could certainly render the text in other “conspicuous” ways, tradition is hard to break. Just ask the weather service.

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Sunsetting Sunrise - the event that all headline writers have been waiting for all these months.


Thanks for reading.

The Few-And-Crude Edition Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Lost Calendar Events, Change Notifications, And iCloud, by Michael Tsai

In conclusion, iCloud Calendar is not as reliable as I thought it was. This is probably not the type of reliability problem that would show up in Apple’s statistics. Indeed, I did not report it to Apple because I did not know how to do so in a useful way. Contacting Apple’s support didn’t seem like a productive avenue, and since my Mac is more than three years old it’s no longer covered by Apple Care, anyway. So I’m hoping this was just a fluke that won’t happen again. More generally, Apple seems to be trying to get rid of the notion of files, but the tools for dealing with non-file-based data are few and crude. And this all becomes more complicated when the data is shared among multiple users.

Pay First

Apple Pay-led Surge In ANZ Card Customers Drives Rival Banks To Renegotiate, by James Eyers, Sydney Morning Hearld

ANZ Banking Group says its recent deal with Apple to provide Apple Pay in Australia has sparked a surge in applications for credit cards and deposit accounts, which has forced the other major banks to re-enter negotiations with the technology giant.

Canadian Banks Got Slightly Better Deal On Apple Pay: Source, by Barbara Shecter, Financial Post

A landmark deal by Canadian banks to embrace Apple Inc.’s mobile wallet payment system Tuesday came on slightly more favourable terms than U.S. financial services firms received, according to a source familiar with the arrangement. [...] The source characterized the arrangement as more in line with the lower fees paid to Apple in Australia and the United Kingdom.

How I Tried, Failed, And Eventually Learned To Use Apple Pay, by Claire Neary, The Globe And Mail

Moments later a young man arrived and asked if he could see my phone. He took a look at the Wallet app, then held my phone, backside down, against the payment terminal’s screen for a couple of seconds. An image of my credit card in the Apple wallet popped up, with a picture of a fingerprint below it that said “Pay with Touch ID.” This was a good sign. “Now put your finger on the home screen button,” the manager said. I got excited and pressed the button with my thumb and of course, the app closed and displayed the home screen of my phone. “No, don’t press it, just touch it,” he said patiently, holding my phone to the terminal until the payment screen popped up again. This time I held my thumb against the button as gently as I could. The image of the finger print on the screen gradually filled in, my phone vibrated, and the price of my bagel – $2.30 – appeared on the screen. The manager, the cashier and I shared a moment of gleeful satisfaction. “Thank you both!” I said, trying to hide from the three people in line as I left.


Apple Updates iWork For iOS & OS X With Bug Fixes And Performance Improvements, by Zac Hall, 9to5Mac

Pages, Keynote, and Numbers for iPhone, iPad, and Mac have all received new versions with bug fixes and performance improvements.

Apple News Format Gains New Features For Publishers Including Custom Cover Images, by Benjamin Mayo, 9to5Mac

Apple is rolling out some iterative improvements to Apple News for publishers taking advantage of its Apple News Format to post articles. Apple is adding Map and Place components, to let authors pictographically display relevant locations — complete with pins to highlight POI.

First Click: Mailplane Is The Plainest Of All Mac Email Apps, That’s Why It’s Great, by Thomas Ricker, The Verge

What led me to pay $25 for Mailplane way back in 2009 is the same reason I still use it today: support for multiple Google accounts.

Gemini 2, by Agen G. N. Schmitz, TidBITS

In addition to detecting identical duplicates in archives, folders, apps, documents, videos, images, and audio files on your Mac, Gemini 2 can now find "similars" — files that are not 100 percent identical, but which could be considered redundant (such as photos shot from slightly different angles, or different file formats of the same song).

WhatsApp Launches Native Desktop App For Windows And Mac, by Ken Yeung, VentureBeat

After installing the app, you’ll have to scan a QR code using the WhatsApp app on your mobile device — the feature will be under “Settings” > “WhatsApp Web”. If the QR code is recognized, you’ll be authenticated on the desktop. WhatsApp for desktop connects to your phone to sync messages so potentially quite a bit of data will constantly be transmitted, depending on usage of course. The company advises that you connect your phone to Wi-Fi.

'Disney Infinity' Game Series Officially Discontinued By Disney, by Juli Clover, MacRumors

Disney today announced the end of its Disney Infinity line of games and accompanying figurines, which are being discontinued as of today. Disney Infinity games, such as the one available on the Apple TV and iOS devices, will officially no longer be updated and the studio that developed the games is being shuttered.


Apple CareKit: Everything You Need To Know About The Medical Care Framework, by Christian de Looper, Wareable

The benefits for patients are clear - there's no extra tech needed. Simply use the iPhone to track progress, keep a list of what you need to do and even let your doctors see your progress.

But the benefits don't stop there.

Should Apple Remove Sandboxing From The Mac App Store?, by CIO

Can you imagine what some users would say if Apple announced that it was removing app sandboxing from the Mac App Store to increase its software sales profits? I can only imagine the hue and cry that would come from some outraged users angry that Apple was putting money ahead of security.

But it’s clear that Apple needs to improve what features sandboxed apps can offer Mac users. This would go a long way toward improving relationships with Mac developers and would encourage more of them to remain in the Mac App Store. It might also help get some of the developers that have left the store to come back over time.

The Plan To Ban Work Emails Out Of Hours, by Hugh Schofield, BBC

Should governments step in to regulate work emails and so rescue harassed staff from the perils of digital burnout? The answer in France appears to be "Yes". President Francois Hollande's Socialist Party is about to vote through a measure that will give employees for the first time a "right to disconnect".


Three Years In San Francisco, by Mikeindustries

It doesn’t take long for your perceptions of large tech companies to change once you begin working at one. I knew there would be a ton of smart people at Twitter, but I didn’t realize it would be pretty much everyone at the company. I also thought that everyone who had secured a position that involved managing people or products had demonstrated experience successfully managing people or products, and that was just not true in many cases.

Let’s talk about product management first and then we’ll get to people management.

Worried? You’re Not Alone, by Roni Caryn Rabin, New York Times

I’m a worrier. Deadlines, my children, all the time they spend online — you name it, it’s on my list of worries. I even worry when I’m not worried. What am I forgetting to worry about?

Turns out I’m not alone.

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One of the things that I've stopped worrying is death. I think I've managed to convince myself that I am satisfied with what I already have all these years. However, I still, of course, worry about the pain and suffering that may accompany my death.


I don't know why iOS insists on auto-correcting "father" and "mother" to "Father" and "Mother" on my iPhone.

Does Siri know something that I don't?


Thanks for reading.

The Focus-On-Mobility Edition Tuesday, May 10, 2016

FileMaker 15 Debuts With Focus On Mobility, Ease Of Use, And Security, by Eric Slivka, MacRumors

Mobility is a key focus of FileMaker 15, with the FileMaker Go iOS app gaining support for Touch ID and 3D Touch Quick Actions, improving security and ease of access for custom apps within FileMaker Go. New support for app extensions in FileMaker Go also makes it easy to move files within projects to other apps for editing.

Healthcare Digital Order

The Real Reason Apple Made The Apple Watch, by Tim Bajarin, Time

The late Apple CEO Steve Jobs developed pancreatic cancer in 2004. He then spent a great deal of time with doctors and the healthcare system until his death in 2011. While that personal health journey had a great impact on Jobs personally, it turns out that it affected Apple’s top management, too. During this time, Jobs discovered how disjointed the healthcare system can be. He took on the task of trying to bring some digital order to various aspects of the healthcare system, especially the connection between patients, their data, and their healthcare providers.

If you look at Apple’s current health initiatives, many are focused on helping people record data of all types and get it securely to their healthcare providers. Apple also has projects related to healthcare records, management and interaction between the doctor and patient with a goal of making the patient-doctor relationship more fruitful and less frustrating.


Apple Launches Red Cross Donations Via iTunes To Help Victims Of Fort McMurray Forest Fires, by Roger Fingas, AppleInsider

People shopping on Apple's Canadian iTunes storefront can now donate to relief for victims of the forest fires in Fort McMurray, Alberta, which have burned for several days and forced the evacuation of over 100,000 people, destroying 20 percent of the homes in the area.

This App Can Tell You If Your iPhone Has Been Secretly Hacked, by William Turton, Gizmodo

A new application, System and Security Info, developed in part by German security researcher Stefan Esser, will tell users if their phone has been jailbroken, which could help people discover if they're being secretly spied on.

Monitor Your Blood Pressure At Home With QardioArm, by Karen Freeman, AppAdvice

The app connects with the native Health app on your iPhone. Each measurement is stored automatically, so you can look at your history at any time in the Qardio app. You can also send this data to your doctor, which might save you some trips to his or her office.


Apple Begins Issuing WWDC Scholarships To Winning Applicants, by Chance Miller, 9to5Mac

Apple today has started issuing WWDC scholarships to winning applicants. While the company has not yet sent out emails to winners, those who submitted an application can check to see if they’ve received one by logging into their account and looking under the “Events” heading.

Swift For Windows Arrives At Last, But As An Unofficial Port, by InfoWorld

But don't expect much in the way of Windows-specific integration. For instance, if you want to use any of the platform libraries for windowing or UIs, you'll have to build all that yourself. It's possible but requires extensive knowledge of the Win32 API.


Neil Patrick Harris (And Siri) Star In Apple’s New iPhone 6s ‘Thank You Speech’ Ad, by Zac Hall, 9to5Mac

The new commercial features NPH using the ‘Hey Siri’ voice command to read a legendary thank you speech from the Notes app … all completely hands-free.

Apple, Google And Mobile Carriers Asked About Security Fixes, by Todd Shields, Bloomberg

The Federal Communications Commission and Federal Trade Commission both issued statements Monday saying they want to know more about how and when vulnerabilities are being patched as consumers and businesses face hacking threats related to their increased reliance on mobile broadband.

Parents' Smartphones Harming Children's Ability To Hold Conversation, Say Teachers, by Ben Farmer, Telegraph

Almost a third of children starting school are not ready for the classroom, with many lacking social skills, having speech problems or not toilet trained, the survey of senior primary school staff has found.

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iOS 9: Reads Thank-You speech written by humans.
iOS 10: Composes Thank-You speech for humans.
iOS 11: Sings Thank-You-For-All-The-Fishes speech to all humans.


Thanks for reading.

The Beaten-Out Edition Monday, May 9, 2016

Apple Destroyed My Will To Collect Music, by Leon Neyfakh, Slate

On a basic level, I don’t have a music collection anymore because Apple made it too hard and frustrating to maintain one. And though I certainly deserve some of the blame myself, I can’t help but feel that iTunes has beaten out of me impulses I once cherished, like wanting to download every new mixtape by Lil’ Wayne as soon as it came out, or feeling compelled to own every Smashing Pumpkins album, even though it’s been years since I wanted to listen to them. By making it so difficult to manage my digital music library, iTunes has even closed me off to certain artists I’m confident I would have otherwise loved—for instance, Lil’ B, the ultraprolific rapper who has put out thousands of songs that aren’t available on any streaming service and can’t be bought from the iTunes store.


Second Oracle V. Google Trial Could Lead To Huge Headaches For Developers, by Joe Mullin, Ars Technica

If owners of those APIs can use copyright law to control how programming is done, there will be a sea change in industry practices. For many developers, especially of open source software, this will be a change for the worse.


A Podcasting Divergence, by Federico Viticci, MacStories

If you're a Leading Content Professional and you think that's what you want, more power (and money) to you. I understand and respect what you're doing. But the great thing about the free and decentralized web is that the aforementioned web platforms are optional and they're alternatives to an existing open field where independent makers can do whatever they want.

Her Secret History: I Discovered My Mother’s Digital Life After Her Death, by Kate Brannen, The Guardian

A few months later, my father gave me her laptop. I needed a new computer and was grateful to have it. But its contents – photos from trips, a draft of her thesis from divinity school, Van Morrison albums in her iTunes – kept pulling me down rabbit holes. Whenever I sat down to do some work, I’d find myself lost in her files, searching for ways to feel close to her again.

Her computer activity was like a breadcrumb trail through her inner life: her interests, her hopes and her plans for the future, even those that would never come true.

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Not only have I stopped 'collecting', or buying, music, I have even stopped listening to my previously-purchased music. There are a few albums that I do like to listen to but which are not available on Apple Music -- but mixing them into the mix is too troublesome for me.


Thanks for reading.

The Let-Podcasting-Be Edition Sunday, May 8, 2016

Podcasts Surge, But Producers Fear Apple Isn’t Listening, by John Herrman, New York Times

Interviews with over two dozen podcasters and people inside Apple reveal a variety of complaints. The podcasters say that they are relegated to wooing a single Apple employee for the best promotion. That sharing on social media is cumbersome. And that for podcasters to make money, they need more information about their listeners, and Apple is in a unique position to provide it. The problems, they say, could even open up an opportunity for a competitor. [...] Late last month, Apple brought seven leading podcast professionals to the company’s campus in Cupertino, Calif., to air their case to a room full of employees, according to two people who were there. The people would speak only on the condition of anonymity because they had signed nondisclosure agreements. The company made no promises, the people said, but several pressing issues for podcasters were discussed in frank terms.

[...] The question for podcasters — and for Apple — is about what comes next. Apple has at least two obvious choices: to rush to accommodate an industry that is quickly outgrowing its origins, or to let podcasting be, at the risk of losing its claim over a medium that owes its very name to the company. Even podcasters are conflicted; a hands-off Apple retains some appeal. “Some would argue that it could have advanced in certain ways,” said Andy Bowers, chief content officer of Slate’s Panoply podcast network. But since 2005, he said, “they’ve provided a remarkably level playing field.”

Apple’s Actual Role In Podcasting: Be Careful What You Wish For, by Marco Arment

Big publishers think this is barbaric. I think it’s beautiful.

Big publishers think this is holding back the medium. I think it protects the medium.

Technology Immersion

More Work For Mom: Technology, Social Media Present New Challenges, by Elizabeth Behrman, Tribune-Review

This Mother's Day celebrates a generation of moms who are raising children in a world awash in technology and social media. Child development experts say they don't know the long-term impact of technology immersion, only that it's up to parents to control how and when children get a smartphone or sign on to Facebook.


Red Stamp App Lets You Send Awesome Last-minute Mother’s Day Cards: Our Cool Free App Of The Week, by Cool Mom Tech

We’ve been talking about the easy-to-use, tasteful, and free Red Stamp app for a few years, though today it’s worth a reminder, so that you can be sure to send your mom, grandma, or favorite mom-like person a beautiful and heartfelt message for Mother’s Day.

What Do Consumers Want? Look At Their Selfies, by Courtney Rubin, New York Times

Allison Shragal, 28, of Chicago, isn’t a model, or Internet famous — she’s an administrative assistant for a general contracting company. But almost every day companies pay her to snap photos of herself engaging in routine activities — brushing her teeth, eating breakfast, cleaning the bathroom.

If Ms. Shragal takes enough selfies with her smartphone and uploads them to a special app, she has “an extra $20 to go get my nails done,” she said.


It's The Attack Of The One-letter Programming Languages, by Peter Wayner, Computerworld

They may not be for every job -- many are aimed at specialized tasks -- but that doesn’t mean these one-letter languages comprise a gallery of misfits. Each offers compelling ideas that could do the trick in solving a particular problem you need fixed. These languages all embody the crisp, simple nature of their names. K?


Just How Much Power Do Your Electronics Use When They Are ‘Off’?, by Tatiana Schlossberg, New York Times

In the name of scientific inquiry, I tested about 30 appliances from friends’ houses as well as my own by plugging the devices into a Kill-a-Watt power meter, which can track how much power (in watts) is being drawn at any given moment.

Huawei Just Copied The iPhone—Down To The Last Screw, by Kyle Wiens, Wired

Look, I realize artists steal. But the best artists steal only the best ideas. Huawei copied a really stupid idea, and did so for a really stupid reason: Because it looked right.

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Netscape plug-ins. Java applets. Javascript. VBScript. Active Desktop. IFrame. QuickTime. Flash. XHTML, HTML4. Ajax. HTML5.

And yet, except for tabs, the browser's user-interface remained more-or-less unchanged on the desktop.


Thanks for reading.

The Mother's-Day-Video Edition Saturday, May 7, 2016

New Apple Site Lets Users Create Custom 'Shot On iPhone' Mother's Day Video, by Juli Clover, MacRumors

The simple site [...] opens with an upload image link, which allows users to upload a photo. The photo is then inserted into a customized version of Apple's Mother's Day video and can be uploaded directly to Facebook.

Stormy Update

Tweetbot 4.3 Introduces ‘Topics’ For Easier Tweetstorm Creation, by Federico Viticci, MacStories

Topics simplify the process of chaining tweets together with an intuitive interface that makes it look like Twitter rolled out support for topics. Under the hood, Tapbots is still leveraging the aforementioned @reply workaround, but they've been clever enough to completely abstract that from the UI, building what is, quite possibly, one of the most ingenious Tweetbot features to date.

Just Amazing

No Ordinary Fairy Tales, by Kelsey Curtis, Kingston Whig-Standard

Byers said the iPads have been "just amazing" and have really contributed to having her students work independently.

Each student used modelling clay to create artwork for their story. Then the students took photographs of their art on the iPads and loaded them onto Book Creator.

Highland Teachers Go Back To Class For #Learning, by Nancy Coltun Webster, Chicago Tribune

In workshop settings and working mainly in pairs, the 19 student ambassadors guided their adult students and offered simple explanations and demonstrations.

Carly Zuklin and Kylie Tratta introduced a roomful of adults to iMovie. The girls said they use iMovie for science projects or videos for some assignments. The videos are posted to the school's YouTube Channel and Twitter feed for other students to view. Students can also make public service announcements to be broadcast to the school.


PDFpen 8 And PDFpen Pro 8 Review: Corporate-grade PDF Handling At A Small-business Price, by Glenn Fleishman, Macworld

PDFpen now supports validating signatures signed by Acrobat and other software, as well as adding such verification itself.

Forget Amazon’s Echo: Lexi Lets You Speak To Alexa Through Your Phone, by The Next Web

What’s particularly nifty about Lexi is that the app supports a wide range of the Echo’s functionalities like placing orders, remotely controlling your smart home devices as well as install and turn skills from the Alexa App.


My Tablet Has Stickers, by Steven Sinofsky, Learning By Shipping

When I received my new 9.7” iPad Pro I decided to break tablet tradition and personalize it with stickers, just as I’ve done on laptops (and my Surfaces) for years. I did so because I began with the mindset that this iPad would replace my laptop(s) for full time use (here laptop means my Surface(s), Yoga, MacBook, and desktops). It has been almost a month and that is exactly what happened. My sticker investment paid off. I don’t feel like I’m forcing myself into this mode of working, but rather I am more productive, futz way less with my “computer”, and find many things easier. Work is different, but better.

You Can Soon Have A (Tiny) Office In One Of Britain’s Red Phone Boxes, by Corinne Purtill, Quartz

A New York-based start-up called BarWorks is converting 20 of Britain’s rarely-used pay phone kiosks into tiny shared offices. Users who unlock the booths via a mobile app will find inside a wifi-equipped office with a desk, seat, power sockets, a printer and scanner, and a coffee and tea machine.

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A few achievements, a couple of hobbies, some moments, some memories. One single lifetime.

A few heartaches, some moments of lostness, some moments of sadness. Within some of the hours.

Life is short. Days are long.


Thanks for reading.

The High-Level-Meet Edition Friday, May 6, 2016

Apple's Tim Cook To Visit China For Government Meetings - Source, by Matthew Miller, Reuters

Apple Inc Chief Executive Tim Cook plans to visit Beijing later this month to meet high-level government officials, at a time when it is facing some setbacks in its most important overseas market, a source familiar with the matter said.

[...] From weakening smartphone sales to the loss of an iPhone trademark dispute and the suspension of some of its online entertainment services, the U.S. technology giant has been facing a flurry of problems in recent weeks in its second-largest market after the United States.

Disney Chairman Bob Iger Meets Chinese President Xi Jingping Ahead Of Shanghai Theme Park Opening, by Patrick Brzeski, Hollywood Reporter

Xi comments about the importance of bilateral cooperation come amid a backdrop of growing tension between China and western media and entertainment interests. Over the past few months, Xi has given a succession of speeches to China's tech and media giants, emphasizing — or ordering — strict adherence to the Communist Party line, while also arguing for the elevation of "China's core socialist values" over Western cultural interference.

Music When Studying

Apple Music’s New Student Membership Option Discounts The Service By 50%, by Sarah Perez, TechCrunch

Apple today launched a new plan to boost subscribers to its streaming music service and competitor to Spotify, SoundCloud, Tidal and others. It’s introducing an Apple Music student plan which will discount the service by 50 percent for those who are enrolled in an eligible college or university.

5 Music Genres You Didn’t Know You Could Study To, by Hunter Frederick, Stony Brook Independent

To paraphrase a popular show, finals are coming, and oh boy, are they coming fast. People are divided on whether or not studying to music is efficient or helpful, but I personally find that the right stuff puts me on track to have a productive night of diving nose-first into a textbook. Here are some genre gems I found that I’m willing to bet you may not have considered studying to.

Widgets For Today

With Launcher 2.0, I’m Rethinking My Notification Center Widgets, by Federico Viticci, MacStories

But at version 2.0, I have to recognize that developer Greg Gardner has grown Launcher in intelligent ways, avoiding the nitty gritty of URL schemes while augmenting the classic launcher idea with options such as multiple widgets, support for custom icons, iCloud backup and restore, or location and time triggers. Launcher has found its raison d'être as a widget, and if you're willing to take the time to set it up, it's now one of the apps that can save you a lot of time automating common tasks on iOS.

Missing Tunes

No, Apple Music Is Not Deleting Tracks Off Your Hard Drive — Unless You Tell It To, by Serenity Caldwell, iMore

Whatever the case, Apple Music was never designed to delete Pinkstone's source library, and it won't delete yours. That's simply not how the service works on your primary Mac. But if you're not aware of how iCloud Music Library stores copies of tracks, you may delete your local copies to save space, thinking you can get them back — and get screwed as a result.

Apple Music Is Probably Not Deleting Your Music By Itself, by Jason Snell, Six Colors

While there might be a bug at work that actively deletes files, my guess is that this is more of a case where a user moves his or her files to the Trash without actually realizing it. And my prime suspect is this dialog box.

Car Talk

Apple Hired A Google Inventor Who Had Been Working On Electric-vehicle Charging, by Elijah Nouvelage, Reuters

Adelberger has had quite the career: Having trained as an astrophysicist at Harvey Mudd College and the California Institute of Technology, his 194 published research papers have been cited over 2,000 times. He’s most recently been working on energy storage and reducing the costs of charging electric vehicles, according to his LinkedIn page.

Real Estate For Autonomous Car Facilities Gains Movement In Silicon Valley, by Eliot Brown, Wall Street Journal

Apple Inc., Google parent Alphabet Inc. and several car makers are seeking large expanses of real estate in the San Francisco Bay Area for their autonomous-car operations, a top landlord in the area said Thursday, illustrating Silicon Valley’s growing importance in the auto industry.


Annotable Is The Most Versatile Image Annotation Tool For iOS Yet, by Federico Viticci, MacStories

Annotable is the result of focused execution, and it shows in the attention placed in the available options and smaller details. In terms of sheer quantity, Annotable offers common tools such as shapes, arrows, lines, and text comments, but it also adds freehand drawing to the mix.

Hands On: Microsoft Word Flow Keyboard (iOS), by William Gallagher, MacNN

Rather than tapping on one letter then tapping on the next, you tap on the first and just swipe across to roughly the next letter, the swipe down, back, up, left, right, all over the place. Make sure your finger vaguely crosses all the letters, and the Flow keyboard will work it out. When it works, it is borderline telepathy. When it doesn't, it is exasperating, because correcting mistakes is a chore.

Netflix Launches 'Cellular Data Controls' To Adjust Video Quality On Data-Capped Smartphones, Mitchel Broussard, MacRumors

Streaming company Netflix today introduced a new set of "cellular data controls" that will give its customers control over the quality of video streaming on cellular networks so as to avoid overcharge fees with data-capped plans.


The Golden Age Of Reading The News, by Adrienne Lafrance, The Atlantic

People used to say no one would ever actually read anything substantial on their cellphones. Back when it seemed normal to hold up an awkwardly large, inky sheet of paper in front of your face, the screens on mobile devices appeared tiny and, frankly, kind of absurd.

My, how the tables have turned.

Apple Announces New Enterprise-focused SAP Partnership To Boost iPhone & iPad Usage For Work, by Zac Hall, 9to5Mac

The Apple and SAP partnership follows an ongoing effort betweenApple and IBM to create specific iOS apps for various industries and deploy iOS technology in the field. Apple’s latest effort will include an SDK, or software developer kit, in partnership with SAP that will let developers create business-specific apps plus offer resources for learning how to utilize iOS technology.

The Subtle Design Features That Make Cities Feel More Hostile, by Ella Morton, Atlas Obscura

Hostile architecture, also known as defensive architecture, exists on a spectrum. At one end are the overt design features that are obvious to anyone walking by—like spikes and fences. At the other end, says Petty, are the design elements in which “the hostile function is often embedded under a socially palatable function.”

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Singapore does have a lot of hostile architecture, too.


Thanks for reading.

The Tightly-Curated Edition Thursday, May 5, 2016

The Trials Of Packaging A Product For The Apple Store, by Mark Wilson, Fast Company

"It’s a pain in the ass," Marc Barros says with a laugh. This week, Barros's products will appear on the coveted shelves of Apple’s U.S. retail stores. Originally funded through two successful Kickstarter campaigns that started in 2014, the Moment lenses and cases—created for the prosumer iPhone photographer—caught the attention of Apple earlier this year.

It may have seemed like a big win for a small company. But the practicalities of taking an e-commerce business to Apple's tightly curated retail stores—in only a month’s time—was a harrowing gamble for Barros's 15-person team. Here’s why.

Online Apple Store Now Has Category For Accessibility Accessories, Confirming Earlier Rumors, by Ben Lovejoy, 9to5Mac

Apple currently offers a total of 15 products, addressing the three areas of vision, physical & motor skills, and learning & literacy.

Dangerous To Not Fight

Adult Coloring Books Face Threat From App Rivals Colorfy, Recolor And More, by Paresh Dave, Los Angeles Times

Coloring book enthusiasts insist they’d never abandon the pad and paper. But the concern is that, like Brown, people will become accustomed to the on-demand, dynamic enchantment of apps and ditch the old medium. That’s what has happened as other throwback trends enjoy revivals — for instance how young adults subscribe to Netflix, not cable, to watch Nickelodeon shows from their past.

The issue reflects a spreading realization: It’s dangerous for companies entrenched in making physical products or selling goods at bricks-and-mortar shops to not fight for online spending — and vice versa.

Designing Music

Apple Music’s iOS 10 Overhaul Detailed: Black & White UI, ‘Huge Artwork’, Lyrics Integration, by Mark Gurman, 9to5Mac

The new user-interface ditches the current colorful and translucent look in favor of a simpler design that emphasizes black and white backgrounds and text. For instance, the user interface in the albums view will no longer change in appearance based on the color of a particular album’s art. While the new interface will eschew color in the user-interface, album artwork will become “huge” and a larger part of the interface in order to avoid a dull black and white look, according to people who have seen the updated Apple Music service.

Apple Music And Coherent Product Design And Marketing, by John Gruber, Daring Fireball

A big aspect of iOS’s success, from day one in June 2007, is that it emphasized smaller focused apps that do less over larger monolithic apps that do more. The monolithic style leads to desktop iTunes — a single app for managing your personal music collection, buying music from the iTunes Store, buying and playing TV and movies, podcasts, iOS app purchases, and device syncing and backups. The iOS style leads to dedicated separate apps for music playback, video playback, podcasts, and store purchases. Maybe there’s a way to design “all your music in one app” that is completely clear, convenient, and obvious. But the bottom line is that a music app shouldn’t be confusing. I think that’s held Apple Music back.

Apple Stole My Music. No, Seriously., by Jamesspinkstone, Vellum

If Apple Music saw a file it didn’t recognize—which came up often, since I’m a freelance composer and have many music files that I created myself—it would then download it to Apple’s database, delete it from my hard drive, and serve it back to me when I wanted to listen, just like it would with my other music files it had deleted.


MacBook 2016 Review: All Of The Possibilities, All Of The Realities, by Lauren Goode, The Verge

For Apple laptop lovers, obsessed with a certain design aesthetic, who are willing to ignore the inconvenience of a single port, and who aren’t put off by the price, the new MacBook won’t be a tough sell. At all. Sometimes when we buy a new consumer product, we buy into the possibilities of the product rather than its capabilities, and this is one of those times. But for most people? I’d wait to see what’s coming down the pipeline.

OutlineEdit Packs Power Into A Simple Outliner, by John Voorhees, MacStories

OutlineEdit’s strength lies in its use of keyboard shortcuts. Every major editing command has a keyboard shortcut, which makes makes manipulating outlines lightning fast.

Procreate For Cartooning On The iPad Pro, by Michael E. Cohen, TidBITS

Unlike some graphics apps in my iPad artist’s arsenal that attempt to provide the wide range of features that Photoshop refugees desire, Procreate is sharply focused on the act of drawing.

MacCheck Is New Problem-solving And Diagnostic Utility For The Mac (And It’s Free), by Dennis Sellers, Apple World Today

Micromat, the company behind the TechTool Pro line of software, has released a new troubleshooting utility called MacCheck. The new product can perform a series of critical tests on Mac systems running OS X 10.6 or higher, helping to isolate what might be wrong with a particular computer.

The Smartphone Way To Inner Calm, by Kit Eaton, New York Times

Our busy modern lifestyles have a million wicked tricks for increasing stress, including the repeated pings and buzzes of our smartphones. But with the right app, a smartphone can actually be a tool to help reduce stress and find calm.

AirMap For iOS Lets Drone Pilots Easily Avoid … Incidents, by Tim Moynihan, Wired

AirMap gathers real-time aerospace data and provides a communication pipeline between drone pilots, airline pilots, and airports. It already has software integrated into the systems of higher-end drones from 3DR, DJI, and Yuneec, but the company’s new app takes care of a crucial part of the communication puzzle. It lets drone operators view aerospace information, report when and where they’re going to fly, and feed that information to certain airports to avoid accidents.


Supporting IPv6-only Networks, by Apple

Starting June 1, 2016 all apps submitted to the App Store must support IPv6-only networking. Most apps will not require any changes because IPv6 is already supported by NSURLSession and CFNetwork APIs.

This Is Why Most Mobile Development Projects Fail, by Clean Swift

You now know the reality. You, the mobile developer, is actually both the frontend and backend developer. And this double responsibilities is the major reason why most mobile development projects fail.

You also saw it wasn’t possible to separate these roles because of the heavy coupling between storyboards and code.

What can you do to fix the situation, to improve the likelihood of a successful project?

Apple Issues Xcode Security Update, by SC Magazine


tvOS At 6 Months: Where Are The Apps?, by Josh Centers, TidBITS

When he introduced the fourth-generation Apple TV, Tim Cook proclaimed that the future of TV is apps. That’s an entirely sensible position, but as we can see, political issues that weren’t present for the iPhone are hampering Cook’s predicted future.

LAPD Hacked Into iPhone Of Slain Wife Of 'Shield' Actor, Documents Show, by Matt Hamilton and Richard Winton, Los Angeles Times

LAPD detectives found an alternative way to bypass the security features on the white iPhone 5S belonging to April Jace, whom the actor is accused of killing at their South L.A. home in 2014, according to a search warrant filed in Los Angeles County Superior Court.

The bypass occurred earlier this year, during the same period that the FBI was demanding that Apple unlock the iPhone 5C of San Bernardino shooter Syed Rizwan Farook. The FBI eventually said it found another method for unlocking the phone without using Apple.

Cupertino's Mayor: Apple 'Abuses Us' By Not Paying Taxes, by Nellie Bowles, The Guardian

Getting local politicians to battle Apple is hard, Chang said. He recently proposed that Apple – which is building a massive new campus its own employees nicknamed the Death Star, or more favorably, The Spaceship – should give $100m to improve city infrastructure. To move on the proposal, Chang only needed to get a single vote ‘yes’ among the three other eligible council members. He failed to get that vote.

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Dear iOS: Please stop reminding me that your location service may not be that accurate because I've turned off Wi-Fi. In particular: Please do not pop up a dialog box to remind me when I am launching the Camera app to take a photo.


1996: Armchair advice on how Apple can save itself.
2006: Armchair advice on how Apple can add telephone capabilities to iPods.
2016: Armchair advice on how Apple can redesign its Music app.



Thanks for reading.

The Hard-To-Cope Edition Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Apple To Revamp Streaming Music Service After Mixed Reviews, Departures, by Alex Webb, Lucas Shaw, and Adam Satariano, Bloomberg

Some Beats employees found it hard to cope in the new culture. New product ideas – even in early stages – require a laborious approval process, which includes sign-off from a vice president like Kondrk. Apple sees the process as a way to maintain quality, but to Beats employees it was unnecessarily bureaucratic.

Some Beats executives left Apple, including former Beats Music Chief Executive Ian Rogers, who departed in August to become luxury giant LVMH SE’s group digital officer. Other departures include product head Ryan Walsh; chief designer Ryan Goodman; vice president for engineering Bobby Gaza and senior visual designer Jackie Ngo. Some engineers left after being shifted onto products such as iBooks and the App Store against their will. Even though the terms of the deal provided financial incentives for employees to stay for at least a year, Ngo, Goodman and others left inside just a few months, even before Apple Music was unveiled. The departed staffers either declined to comment or didn't respond to requests for comment. Several longer-term Apple employees also left during the reorganization.

Design With Absolute Confident

Decoding ‘Manus X Machina’, by Imran Amed and Lauren Sherman, Business Of Fashion

At the same time, technology companies are increasingly adopting the lessons — and language — of fashion. “Regardless of whether we declare an interest in fashion or not, we are making products that are more and more personal… products that you wear and you wear every day,” Ive said. “We’ve not done that before and we’ve got a lot to learn. Just talking to Andrew [Bolton] is hugely informative,” he continued. “I think we have always had a very clear and a very singular approach to how we design products that are more familiar to people, more established in terms of product categories. I think it’s very hard to have that same clarity and singularity when you’re not absolutely confident in your subject matter.”

Life's Too Short For Slow Computers, by Nilay Patel, The Verge

I think it's better to slowly stack new capabilities on top of more powerful hardware than to push out a million ideas that work too slowly in practice.

A Watch That Makes You Wait, by Federico Viticci, MacStories

I still believe that, a few years from now, a tiny computer on our wrist will be the primary device we use to quickly interact with the outside world, stay in touch, glance at information, and stay active. All of these aspects are negatively impacted by the Watch 1.0's hardware today. Looking ahead, though, what's more likely – that Apple shipped a product a bit too early and then iterated on it, or that the entire idea of the Apple Watch is flawed and Apple should have made a dumber fitness tracker instead?

Emails In Sheer Speed

A Smart New Email App For The iPhone, by Walt Mossberg, The Verge

And now comes the simply named Mail by EasilyDo, a company previously known for selling a smart assistant app. EasilyDo’s new mail client handles Gmail very well, but isn’t just Gmail-centric. At launch, it can manage all kinds of email accounts except Exchange and POP, and Exchange is in the works for this summer.

The app’s major claims are sheer speed: built-in, one-tap unsubscribing; fast search; and smart assistants that extract, separate, and parse emails dealing with things like travel plans and bills. It also has a long list of other features, including a unified inbox, customizable message snoozing, and easy undo of sending emails and other actions.

Commoditize The Hardware

Everything As A Service, by Ben Thompson, Stratechery

With regards to the iPhone, it’s hard to see its record revenues and profits ever being surpassed by another product, by Apple or anyone else: it is in many respects the perfect device from a business perspective, and given that whatever replaces it will likely be significantly less dependent on a physical interface and even more dependent on the cloud (which will help commoditize the hardware), it will likely be sold for much less and with much smaller profit margins.11

More broadly, I suspect it is going to be increasingly difficult to analyze the future with any lens based on the past. The two companies that dominated earnings in a largely gloomy quarter — Facebook and Amazon — are both uniquely enabled by the Internet; Amazon lets you rent compute power without buying a server, and Facebook serves 1.6 billion people customized content from an effectively infinite number of sources.

Apple’s Uncharted Territory, by Ben Bajarin, Re/code

The plus is that these will remain loyal Apple customers, and continue to spend money in Apple’s ecosystem. The negative is that they will be unusually slow to buy new iPhones, which, in turn, will have an impact on annual iPhone sales. In some ways, I’m not sure even Apple understands yet just how stubborn regular consumers are when it comes to replacing their stuff. And Apple has a lot of these regular consumers as its users, and they may likely behave in unpredictable ways Apple can’t anticipate.


Resetting The iTunes Authorization Counter, by J. D. Biersdorfer, New York Times

You can deauthorize the computers you no longer own in your iTunes Store settings, but in doing so, you must deauthorize all your computers associated with your account. Once you deauthorize all the Macs and PCs you have used to play your iTunes Store content, you can go back to each computer you currently own and authorize them again.

Ulysses 2.5, by William Gallagher, MacNN

I'm able to do this because Ulysses is great at handling lots of different pieces of writing within the one app: you don't open and close files, you just have everything in front of you.

Moog Brings Its $10,000 Synthesizer To The iPad, by Tyler Lee, Ubergizmo

The company has recently launched the Model 15 app designed for the iPad. Basically this brings the Model 15 synthesizer and all of its sounds onto the iPad for $30.


Apple Officially Makes One Of Steve Jobs’ Favorite Projects Obsolete, by Luke Dormehl, Cult of Mac

The end of an era (well, kind of!) was revealed by Java and WebObjects developer Hugi Thordarson. “In the past years I’ve regularly sent letters to Tim Cook, asking about the state of WO (being the naggy guy I am) and recently, I was contacted by Apple executive relations regarding my questions,” Thordarson wrote online. “The guy I spoke to called a couple of times, at first, he had absolutely no idea what WO was but the second time he called, he had obtained information and had a clear statement: ‘WebObjects is a discontinued product and will never be upgraded.'”


Apple Hires Google X Lab Cofounder, Former Nest Head Of Technology For Health Projects, by AppleInsider

Apple recently expanded its health technology team in a big way with the hire of Yoky Matsuoka, a robotics expert who co-founded Google's experimental X labs and most recently served as head of technology at the internet search giant's Nest subsidiary.

Why The Future Of Web Browsers Belongs To The Biggest Tech Firms, by Cory Doctorow, The Guardian

It’s a self-fulfilling prophecy. Make it easy for today’s crop of web giants to sue any new entrants into oblivion and you can be pretty certain there won’t be any new entrants.

Singaporean English Is Almost Impossible To Pick Up, by Urvija Banerji, Atlas Obscura

"Two dollar onny, dis one," a street vendor might say to you in Singapore. A local might reply, "Wah! So espensive one, cannot leh."

While this might sound like broken English, it is an example of Singlish, the highly complicated English creole spoken in Singapore. Its staccato, off-grammar patois is the subject of much bemusement for visitors to the country, and it's almost impossible for outsiders to imitate.

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It's 2016, and I still have to look down at my keyboard to see if I have accidentally activated Caps Lock... On second thought: It's 2016, and we still haven't even gotten rid of the ScreenLock key, let alone the CapsLock and NumLock keys. (This statement may or may not be applicable to you, depending on the operating system you're using.)


So, another Apple Music segment in this year's WWDC keynote, eh? Or maybe there's going to be a Apple Music + TV subscription bundle? :-)


Thanks for reading.

The Fingerprint-Demands Edition Tuesday, May 3, 2016

The Government Wants Your Fingerprint To Unlock Your Phone. Should That Be Allowed?, by Matt Hamilton and Richard Winton, Los Angeles Times

It marked a rare time that prosecutors have demanded a person provide a fingerprint to open a computer, but experts expect such cases to become more common as cracking digital security becomes a larger part of law enforcement work.

Woman Ordered To Provide Her Fingerprint To Unlock Seized iPhone, by Cyrus Farivar, Ars Technica

The case highlights the ongoing balancing act between security and convenience and how the law treats something you know (a passcode) as being quite different than something you are (a biometric). Under the Constitution, criminal defendants have the right not to testify against themselves—and providing a passcode could be considered testimonial. However, being compelled to give up something physiological or biometric (such as blood, DNA sample, fingerprint or otherwise), is not.

Doing So Much For You

Tim Cook Calls Wall Street Response To Q2 Earnings A ‘Huge Overreaction’ In CNBC Interview, by Chance Miller, 9to5Mac

Cook acknowledged that the company “clearly” didn’t meet Wall Street’s expectations last quarter, but attributed much of it to a slower upgrade rate this year versus the abnormally high rate last year. In the end, Cook says all that matters is that customers are happy.

Tim Cook: In A Few Years People Will Say, 'How Could I Have Ever Thought About Not Wearing This Watch?', by Nick Statt, The Verge

"In a few years, we will look back and people will say, 'How could I have ever thought about not wearing this watch?' he said. "Because it's doing so much for you. And then it will all of a sudden be an overnight success." Cook still very much believes in Apple's core vision of delivering products consumers didn't know they wanted. "We are going to give you things that you can’t live without," he added. "That you just don’t know you need today."

"We are going to give you things you can't live without."

Languages And Emojis

Inside “Emojigeddon”: The Fight Over The Future Of The Unicode Consortium, by Charlie Warzel, BuzzFeed

Emails seen by BuzzFeed News reveal an emerging tension at the Unicode Consortium — the 24-year-old organization that was established to develop standards for translating alphabets into code that can be read across all computers and operating systems.

The series of frustrated messages show a deepening rift between those who adhere to the organization’s original mission to code old and obscure and minority languages and those who are investing time and resources toward Unicode’s newer and most popular character sets: emojis, a quirky periodic table of ideograms and smiley faces that cover everything from bemused laughter to swirling, smiling piles of poop. The correspondence offers a peek behind the scenes of the peculiar and little-known organization that’s unexpectedly been tasked with building what some see as the first digital universal language.


Canadian Red Cross Launches App To Help Prepare For Emergencies, by CBC News

Be Ready alerts users about weather conditions that could prompt emergency situations such as floods, forest fires and tornadoes. It uses data feeds collected by the Weather Network.

The app also helps educate how to prepare themselves and their homes "before, during and after disasters and emergencies."

Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson Just Released A Motivational Alarm Clock App, by Chris Welch, The Verge

Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson gets up at 4AM pretty much daily, while the rest of us mere mortals are still fast asleep and probably drooling. The hugely successful pro wrestler and Hollywood star has said that such an early wake-up call has a lot to do with his soaring career trajectory, and now The Rock wants to help you wake up in the morning. He'll even sing to you. Today Johnson announced The Rock Clock, an alarm clock app for smartphones that's available on both Android and iOS. It's free, and there aren't any in-app purchases hiding anywhere. The Rock Clock, says Dwayne, is all about setting your goals and waking up early enough each day to tackle them. And to get it out of the way, there's no such thing as the snooze button. Do you think someone like The Rock hits that thing multiple times every morning?

Marco Arment's Quitter Aims To Keep Your Mac Distraction-free, by Joseph Keller, iMore

Quitter is a simple utility that lets you automate the closing and hiding of distracting apps.


Typically Clean Apple Dips Its Toes Into Use Of Made-up Metrics, by Francine Mckenna, MarketWatch

The SEC has promised more scrutiny of any use of non-GAAP by companies that is misleading or fraudulent. And there’s a possibility that more regulation for financial and non-financial metrics that lack consistency and accountability, as well as potentially quality, may be on the way.

Apple’s financial statements, however, says UBS analyst Steven Milunovich in a report that came out before the most recent 10-Q, “embody the same user-friendly nature as its products in only reporting GAAP numbers.”

Apple's Plan For Refurbished iPhones In India Faces Opposition, by Saritha Rai, Bloomberg

India has rejected Apple Inc.’s request to import and sell refurbished iPhones to the world’s second largest mobile population, a telecommunications ministry official said Tuesday. The U.S. company’s application has been turned down, the official said, asking to not be identified, citing official policy.

Teen Uses Lawn-mowing Money To Fund Apple Collection, by David Pierini, Cult of Mac

A 10-year-old kid in Maine finds an iMac G5 on Craigslist and arranges to trade a minibike and a snowblower for it. The computer was supposed to be for games and homework. It instead proved to be the first piece in what is becoming one of the most significant private collections of Apple devices in the United States.

Now 15, Alex Jason is on the verge of opening a public museum that will feature rare prototypes, a bound original copy of Steve Wozniak’s Woz Pak coding notes for the Apple II, and even a rare Apple I that may be the only one in existence with working original chips.

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I think it is rashes due to perspiration. My wife worried it was chicken pox. My doctor asked about food allergies. But, in short, I'm not feeling good this past few days, and will likely not feel good for the next few days.


Thanks for reading.

The Mother's-Day-Ad Edition Monday, May 2, 2016

Apple Shares New ‘Shot On iPhone’ Ad For Mother’s Day, by Chance Miller, 9to5Mac

In today’s new video, simply called “Mother’s Day,” a handful of images and videos are shown that represent motherhood. Scenes range from the initial birth of a child to grown children and their mothers. Each image and video is credited with the photographer’s name below it.

An iPad Misplaced At The Airport Takes Its Own Vacation, by Nick Wingfield, New York Times

Mr. Bonnie saw an opportunity for mischief when the iPad finally seemed to stay put in a residential neighborhood in Miami Lakes, a suburb of Miami. On a map, it looked like a nice home with a swimming pool, Mr. Bonnie said.

He boarded his plane to San Francisco, ordered in-flight Wi-Fi access and spent $50 to have five Mylar balloons delivered to the house the next morning. On the card, he listed the occasion as “Thinking of You.”

Bing For iOS Lets Users Search Web For Images By Taking A Photo, by Tim Hardwick, MacRumors

Microsoft has updated its Bing app for iOS with a feature that allows users to search the web using a photo taken on their device.

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Magic, that's what it is.


Thanks for reading.

The Changed-URLs Edition Sunday, May 1, 2016

Man Alive Again, by And Now It's All This

Yesterday, I discovered that Apple had changed the URLs of all its online man pages. Without, I should add, creating redirects so old links would continue to work. This broke all the man page links I had here at ANIAT and undoubtedly broke links across the internet.

App Store Educational “Discount”, by Michael Tsai

And it’s actually worse than just letting them use it for free, because now Avatron has an unexpected revenue hole for this year.

'Very Troubling': Analysts Question The Way Apple Describes Its Data, by Jim Edwards, Business Insider

To be clear, these criticisms are minor. The data they are complaining about are not stats that Apple officially reports in its SEC disclosures. Cook's commentary is merely colour, intended only to help analysts interpret the official data. And analysts are not saying any of that data is wrong. [...] But still.

What Apple Has To Fear From China, by Zachary Karabell, New Yorker

The pace at which China is building its walled-off world, filled with hardware and software created by Chinese companies, with only selectively allowed non-Chinese content, is accelerating.

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I woke up this morning
I had a scone and a large house blend
Then a little conversation with my squirrel and chipmunk friends

-- Jonathan Coulton


Thanks for reading.