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.


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