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.

Bottom of the Page

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.