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.

Bottom of the Page

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.