The Next-Big-Thing Edition Monday, June 27, 2016

Apple And Microsoft Are Fighting A Secret War For The Future Of Technology, by Matt Weinberger, Yahoo!

Now a computer can look like literally anything and go anywhere. It's only the beginning.

For Microsoft and Apple, the two companies synonymous with the PC, this transition presents something of a crisis point. They've spent the last several decades carefully cultivating communities of developers writing the software that makes the world hum. Now the rug hasn't quite been pulled out from under them, but the potential is there.

Against this backdrop, the two long-time frenemies are each preparing their master plans to make sure they each come out on top of computing's huge shift — no matter which gadget turns out to be the next big thing.

Security Matters

So Hey You Should Stop Using Texts For Two-Factor Authentication, by Andy Greenberg, Wired

The last few months have demonstrated that SMS text messages are often the weakest link in two-step logins: Attacks on political activists in Iran, Russia, and even here in the US have shown that determined hackers can sometimes hijack the SMS messages meant to keep you safe. Whenever possible, it’s worth taking a minute to switch to a better system, like an authentication smartphone app or a physical token that generates one-time codes. And for services like Twitter that only offer text messages as a second factor, it’s time to wake up, smell the targeted attacks, and give users better options.

Coming Soon

Accessibility Was All Around This Year’s WWDC, by Steven Aquino, TechCrunch

From this year’s WWDC keynote, there was one overarching theme that emerged — from watchOS 3’s conceptual simplification, to Siri coming to the Mac, to the “app store” in Messages, it became clear that Apple is focused on making its software more accessible than ever before.

These features, among others, were built with the intent of giving users — and especially developers — greater access to Apple’s platforms and the apps users love. This underscores the idea that accessibility, conceptually, is much more than just the discrete “accessibility options for people with disabilities”. At its heart, accessibility is about just that: access. You don’t need to have a disability to benefit from it.

A ZFS Developer’s Analysis Of The Good And Bad In Apple’s New APFS File System, by Adam H. Leventhal, Ars Technica

APFS will be an improvement at stability for Apple users of all kinds, on every device. There are some clear wins and some missed opportunities. Now that APFS has been shared with the world, the development team is probably listening. While Apple is clearly years past the decision to build from scratch rather than adopting existing modern technology, there's time to raise the priority of data integrity and openness. I'm impressed by Apple's goal of using APFS by default within 18 months. Regardless of how it goes, it will be an exciting transition.


Discover The Neighborhood Around You With The History Here App, by Jen Leo, Los Angeles Times

Put down that heavy history book or travel guide; here’s an app that locates points of interest across the country — or in your neighborhood.


Will The Rich Get Richer With Apple’s New App Store Ads, by Oren Kaniel, TechCrunch

So for developers, the only sensible reaction to Apple’s new ads is optimism and intent to buy in. Google Play added search ads in 2015with no major fallout; in the more lucrative App Store, most developers should be able to find a way to test, measure and ultimately benefit from the new ads. And the increased attention from Apple into its store will be good for all parties, users included.

Server-side Developers Take A Shine To Swift, by Paul Krill, InfoWorld

Apple's Swift language -- the company's heir to Objective-C for iOS and MacOS development -- is beginning to present opportunities on the server side of the IT equation. Companies ranging from startup PerfectlySoft to stalwart IBM are seizing on Swift's potential to bring speed, safety, and ease to web application developers.


Apple Once Again Joins In San Francisco Pride Parade, Gifts Limited-edition Apple Watch Band To Employees, by Benjamin Mayo, 9to5Mac

Apple is once again celebrating the LGBT Pride parade in San Francisco with employees (including Apple CEO Tim Cook) joining the march earlier today, showing support of human equality and diversity across ethnicities and sexual orientation.

For the first time, Apple is gifting limited edition Pride Apple Watch bands to employees who take party, with rainbow colored nylon strap and red lugs.

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