Archive for July 2016

The Forgoing-Cash Edition Sunday, July 31, 2016

Where A Suitcase Full Of Cash Won’t Buy You Lunch, by Gloria Dawson, New York Times

Although America is far from becoming a cashless society, cash transactions are less frequent than even a few years ago and some restaurant owners are betting that customers will be comfortable doing away with cash for convenience. [...] In a cash-free environment, employees are also safer, Mr. Neman said. There have been only a handful of thefts and robberies since Sweetgreen has been in business, but he said he believed that going cashless deterred thieves. “I don’t think anyone’s coming in to steal arugula.”

Forgoing cash is not without obstacles, though. Many Americans still use cash by choice or because they have no alternative.

Catch 'Em All

On A Rain-soaked, Muddy Mall, Hundreds Converge To Hunt For Pokémon, by Elise Schmelzer, Washington Post

The family of four from Bryans Road, Md., has taken evening trips to the District, Annapolis and National Harbor to hunt Pokémon that live in different places. It’s an easy way to meet people and strike up conversations, said Ryan Soens, the father.

“There’s just a really good vibe everywhere,” he said. “We like the camaraderie and the community.”

New Owner, New Customers

Yahoo And The Online Universe According To Verizon, by David Gelles, New York Times

Still, there is a surprisingly ambitious, and risky, unifying theme hidden in the oddball assortment of websites and internet services that Verizon has acquired over the last year or so: The company is rethinking who its customer actually is.

It is imagining a future when its most important client may not be a mother signing up for a family cellphone plan in the Verizon store. Instead, the customer will be corporations — advertisers — that want to reach that family, and that are willing to pay Verizon to help them do so.

Words Across Seas

Words With (I Wish We Were More Than) Friends, by Justin Race, New York Times

The next night was no different, and I realized I had to start getting this down on paper. When a game ended, our chats from that game ended with it. Every 45 minutes or so, everything would disappear, and I wanted to preserve all of it, proof that such things are possible, and at any age.

After a week, I told my best friend back East what was happening. She told me a story about a co-worker who had an online relationship with a woman for two years. Now they are married. I laughed it off and thanked her, but I told her I had no illusions.

German Airline Allows Passengers To Fly With Extra Books, by Nicholas Politan, Electric Lit

Essentially, each passenger is allowed an extra kg of carry-on weight so as to be able to fit that recent Man Booker finalist or dystopian YA trilogy in their luggage.

Words On The Screen

The Typography Of ‘Stranger Things’, by Sarah Gless, Nelson Cash

The Stranger Things title sequence is pure, unadulterated typographic porn. With television shows opting for more elaborate title sequences (think GOT and True Detective), the opening of Stranger Things is refreshingly simple. It trims the fat and shows only what is necessary to set the mood. More importantly, it proves a lesson I’ve learned time and time again as a designer: you can do a lot with type.

Bottom of the Page

Are Pen Pals still a thing? Or do they have a new name, like Twitter?


Thanks for reading.

The Exposed-Bricks Edition Saturday, July 30, 2016

An Apple Store Arrives In Brooklyn, by Alyssa Bereznak, The Ringer

“Wanna see something cool?” an employee with a full red beard asked me as I approached a long thin display table of iPhones. I nodded and he waved his hand over a portion of the table, which — via motion sensor — opened up to reveal a charging station. “Wow, that is cool,” I replied.

“So, if you need a Genius Bar appointment or something, we can just help you out right here,” he said. “We don’t have a Genius Bar anymore.”

Peek Inside Apple's First Brooklyn Store, Complete With Exposed Brick, by Ainsley O'Connell, Fast Company

Exposed brick walls, polished concrete floors, pendant lamps, and a timber ceiling: Yup, we're in Brooklyn.

Year Of The iPad

iPad-only Is The New Desktop Linux, by Watts Martin, Medium

No, hear me out. See, Linux users don’t care how much easier we say it is in our non-Linux worlds. Sure, they say it’s because of open access and free as in scotch ale and yadda yadda yadda, but really? They like the challenge. Figuring out how to do what they used to do on a Mac or Windows PC is part of the allure.

Don’t deny it, folks who prefer the iPad to the Mac or PC: you like the challenge! It was awesome to check out and edit files in my company’s Github repo and make a pull request, all from the iPad. Myke Hurley made an observation on his Analog(ue) podcast that even if you could prove that a given task was easier on the Mac, he’d still rather do it on his iPad because it’s just more fun. I absolutely get that.

Security Matters

Popular iOS Keyboard SwiftKey Disables Sync Feature After Data Leak Is Discovered, by Matt Milano, AppleInsider

One user was reportedly surprised to see a stranger's email suggested by SwiftKey when she was typing in the keyboard, while another was apparently offered suggestions in a language they had never used.

WhatsApp Doesn’t Entirely Wipe Your Deleted Chats On iOS – But There’s No Need To Panic, by Abhimanyu Ghoshal, The Next Web

Zdziarski says that it isn’t just WhatsApp that’s guilty of leaving behind a forensic footprint; iMessage does it too. The fault lies in the SQLite library used to build these apps, which typically doesn’t overwrite data until the previously used storage is overwritten with new data.

Should you be worried? Given that the process of extracting your chat logs isn’t exactly a walk in park, there’s no real reason to panic. But if you’re concerned about having any of your chat logs lying around, Zdziarski recommends using a strong backup password for your phone using iTunes, and keeping it out of Keychain.

Nobody Prefers Wordperfect?

Millennials Prefer Microsoft Word For Individual Work, Google Docs For Collaborative Work, by Matt Richman, Recode

When students write papers by themselves, only 12 percent use Google Docs. But when students write papers in groups — when they collaborate — 78 percent use Google Docs. On the other hand, 80 percent of students use Microsoft Word for individual work, and 13 percent use it for group work. The dynamic is the same for all millennials, regardless of gender, the phone they use, or where they live: Microsoft Word for individual work, Google Docs for collaborative work.


Globespinning Creates Shareable Itineraries To Help Travelers Plan Great Trips, by David Schwartz, Geekwire

Globespinning, a free app that launched to travelers worldwide on July 9, allows users to create beautiful and organized travel itineraries that are shareable with friends and family. It’s all intuitive and extremely useful for seasoned and novice travelers alike.

The Wine App That Has Me Pegged, by Dave McIntyre, Washington Post

Our smartphones keep getting smarter. Not only do they help us talk to each other, they also help us avoid talking to each other. They alert us to breaking news and notify us when it’s time to leave for appointments. They know how long it will take to drive to work and which routes will get us there faster.

And our phones have figured out whether we will like a wine before we even try it.


Apple Begins Wrapping Up Swift 3 And Lays Out Plans For Swift 4, by Andrew Cunningham, Ars Technica

The final version of Swift 3.0 will be released alongside iOS 10 and macOS Sierra in the fall, but the fact that Apple develops Swift out in the open now means that we know more about its progress than we do about Apple's operating systems. Chris Lattner, a senior director of the Developer Tools Department at Apple, today posted a lengthy note to the Swift mailing list that looks back at the development of Swift 3.0 and sets some expectations for Swift 4.0 next year.


Stiglitz Calls Apple’s Profit Reporting In Ireland ‘A Fraud’, by Jeanna Smialek and Alex Webb, Bloomberg

Nobel economist Joseph Stiglitz said U.S. tax law that allows Apple Inc. to hold a large amount of cash abroad is “obviously deficient” and called the company’s attribution of significant earnings to a comparatively small overseas unit a “fraud.”

The Solution To (Nearly) Everything: Working Less, by Rutger Bregman, The Guardian

It doesn’t have to be this way. We have the ability to cut a big chunk off our working week. Not only would it make all of society a whole lot healthier, it would also put an end to untold piles of pointless and even downright harmful tasks.

Bottom of the Page

Today's is the one week anniversay of my left hand -- which is also my dominant hand -- went bad. Today, I still have to use a fork to eat noodles, instead of using my trusty chopsticks.

But at least I can type, and exercise my fingers.

Or should I be resting my fingers? I can't remember.


Thanks for reading.

The Don't-Look-At-Them Edition Friday, July 29, 2016

Driverless Cars, Augmented Reality, And A Future Without Street Signs, by Adrienne Lafrance, The Atlantic

“Autonomous vehicles might get 90 percent penetration much sooner than that and augmented reality might get 50 percent penetration much sooner than that, but there’ll still be a larger number of people in the world who walk around who still need that capability,” he told me. “ And governments in general are slow to make infrastructural changes like that, so it could well be that in many countries there are street signs long after people don’t look at them anymore.”

Big iPad Or Small iPad

Comparing iPad Pro Technologies And Intangibles, by Julio Ojeda-Zapata, TidBITS

I’ve made extensive use of both models in recent months, and love them both for different reasons. While they seem nearly identical on the surface – apart from size and weight, of course – they are actually quite different.

The newer 9.7-inch model has certain advanced features its older 12.9-inch sibling lacks, while at the same time the big iPad Pro outpaces the smaller one in several significant ways.

iPad Pro 9.7 Revisited: Making It Work For Work, by JC Torres, SlashGear

Now we take another look at the iPad Pro, the same 9.7-inch model, to answer an equally burning question: how can it replace a PC, especially for some serious work.

Learn And Be Creative

Disney And Google Alums Encourage Kids To Become The Next Walt Disney With This Magical Mixed Reality iPad Drawing App: Interview, by Lauren Keating, Tech Times

A team of six ex-Googlers and a former Disney designer have developed a new mixed-reality storytelling app that provides a more interactive gaming experience while encouraging kids' creativity.

Called Osmo Monster, the augmented reality game taps into children's imaginations to bring physical things that they draw to life. This allows them to channel their inner Walt Disney and create their own animations and see them become animated in real-time.

What My Daughters Learned At Summer Coding Camp, by Ebba Blitz, Recode

This summer, I sent both of my daughters, ages 12 and 8, to coding camp at Stanford University. The focus of their weekly classes is more on learning a skill set rather than on finishing projects. During a whole week of coding, they created a few games, built houses in Minecraft (a Swedish national sport!), and made 3-D printed necklaces, an iPhone case and a hamster with a unicorn. The coding was just a means to create all this and build confidence.

Hidden Capabilities

Smile For The Phone, Creep, by Joyce Wadler, New York Times

“When you grab your phone, it’s probably going to be locked, but there’s a camera icon on the lower right,” she says. “You don’t need to unlock it to use the camera. Just swipe up and you’re ready to go.”

I had never noticed a pale gray camera icon on my phone; it’s lost in a pale gray corner of my home screen, but when I put on my reading glasses I see it. And since sometimes there is a different screen and the camera icon does not appear, Caity shows me a bar at the bottom of the phone I can swipe upward. That brings up several icons, including the camera still in the lower right.


iMovie For iOS Updated With Improvements To Project Creation, Shared iPad Support, More, by Chance Miller, 9to5Mac

Users are now able to start projects quickly by selecting multiple images and videos, making it easier to get started on a project.

iCell (For iPad), by Tony Hoffman, PC Magazine

By exploring interactive 3D simulations, you can examine and learn about various cell components. Brief textual descriptions of each feature are accessible, at a level of difficulty of your choosing.


Measurements And Units In Foundation, by Ole Begemann

New in Foundation in iOS 10 and macOS 10.12 is a family of types for modeling units of measurements as well as actual measurements in those units, such as 1 kilometer or 21 degrees Celsius.


What Marissa Mayer Brought To Yahoo That Can’t Be Bought Or Sold, by jelenawoehr, Hacker Noon

I’m not interested in debating why Yahoo couldn’t turn around. But, in a month rife with headlines like these, I wanted to talk a little bit about what it was like for me to work for Marissa Mayer as one of 14,000 people in a huge organization, many levels down from the CEO.

The One-Billionth Edition Thursday, July 28, 2016

Apple Has Sold Over 1 Billion iPhones, by Chris Welch, The Verge

Apple recently sold its billionth iPhone, the company announced today. During a meeting at Apple's Cupertino headquarters this morning, CEO Tim Cook made an appearance to celebrate the major milestone. "iPhone has become one of the most important, world-changing and successful products in history," Cook said. "It's become more than a constant companion. iPhone is truly an essential part of our daily life and enables much of what we do throughout the day." The iPhone debuted in 2007, so it took under a decade for Apple to cross the one billion figure.

Apple's Billionth iPhone Is A Rare Milestone In Tech, by Ina Fried, Recode

There aren’t that many entire technology categories that have over a billion units sold. Rarely does a single product from a single company reach the billion level. And the iPhone has reached that mark in less than a decade.

Park Smarter

Apple Maps Adds Enhanced Parking Space Info, Electric Charging Listings Via Parkopedia, by Jordan Kahn, 9to5Mac

Apple Maps is getting enhanced data for parking spots as Parkopedia today announces a deal to provide Apple with its database of parking services worldwide. That means that Apple Maps is now gaining enhanced data for the 40 million parking spots currently tracked by Parkopedia across 75 countries in North America, Asia, Europe and Latin America.

Shoot Smarter

'Microsoft Pix' For iOS Introduces Smart AI To Automatically Adjust Photos, by Mitchel Broussard, MacRumors

In order to obtain the very best image, Microsoft Pix takes a burst of shots before and after the image capture shutter button is tapped, similar to holding down the button for a burst shot in Apple's first party camera app. The new app goes one step further, however, and intelligently siphons through each shot to choose the best image, and delete whatever is left over to save memory. This usually ends up with up to three "Best Images" for you to choose from.

Go Go App Store Go

The Real Reason Tim Cook Loves Pokémon Go Is Because It Proves Apple Has Been Right All Along, by Matt Weinberger, Business Insider

In the short term, the smash-hit stands to make Apple a lot of money, since it takes its cut of the estimated $1.6 million per day that the game is generating on iOS devices.

In the longer term, though, it proves that the whole concept of smartphone apps still has legs. It’s an important philosophical victory for Apple as it navigates a changing tech landscape. And Cook knows it.

Learning Points

What I Learned From 10 Years Of Doing PR For Apple, by Cameron Craig, Harvard Business Review

If you ran any Apple press release through a readability level test it would most likely score a level easily understood by an average 4th grade student or lower. Any hint of jargon, cliché, or techno mumbo-jumbo would be removed in the editing process. If a “mere mortal” couldn’t understand our language, then we had failed. And failure was not an option. Steve Jobs read and personally approved every press release.

Disconnect, by Derek Sivers

Turning my ideas into reality is what I want the most out of life. So that’s what gives me the deepest happiness.

Then I realized that all the best, happiest, and most productive times in my life, were when I was completely cut-off.

No internet. No TV. No phone. No people.

Long uninterrupted solitude.

Design For A Better World

Set It And Forget It: How Default Settings Rule The World, by Lena Groeger, ProPublica

Defaults are the settings that come out of the box, the selections you make on your computer by hitting enter, the assumptions that people make unless you object, the options easily available to you because you haven’t changed them.

They might not seem like much, but defaults (and their designers) hold immense power – they make decisions for us that we’re not even aware of making. Consider the fact that most people never change the factory settings on their computer, the default ringtone on their phones, or the default temperature in their fridge. Someone, somewhere, decided what those defaults should be – and it probably wasn’t you.


BatchPhoto For Mac OS X Great For Automating Repeated Actions, by Aaron Lee, Apple World Today

To use BatchPhoto, you select a group of photographs, and, with a single operation edit, resize, convert, watermark, and rename every image in the group.

Upthere Cloud Services Store All Users' Data In The Cloud, With No Local Storage, by Mike Wuerthele, AppleInsider

The new cloud service eschews normal file syncing utilized by nearly every other cloud storage provider. The company claims that the user's files are on their servers, rather than on a home folder on a host computer and on the company's hardware. Through the "Upthere Home" application for macOS, users can edit files stored on the service, and save edited versions directly back to the cloud account.

Recipe For The Home Bartender: Scroll, Tap, And Pour, by Kit Eaton, New York Times

On a warm summer evening, there’s no better way to unwind than sipping a nice cold cocktail, made with the help of an app.


Marissa Mayer’s Media Problem At Yahoo Is Now Verizon’s To Solve, by John Herrman, New York Times

But one central aspect of Ms. Mayer’s strategy — putting major money and attention into Yahoo’s media properties, a wide range of news and entertainment publications and video projects — always seemed curious. And few people knew why this was a risky strategy better than Ms. Mayer herself. At Google, she had preached the coming challenges of making media on the web; at Yahoo, she lived them.

In 2009, Ms. Mayer, then the executive at Google overseeing search products, was invited to testify before the Senate Subcommittee on Communications, Technology and the Internet. The subject: “The Future of Journalism.” Her message: Fundamental changes are underway, and navigating them will not be easy for media companies.

The Babysitters Club, by Jesse Barron, Real Life

What unites Yelp, Seamless, and Venmo is, in part, their desire to monopolize particular spheres of adult life (“spaces,” in Valleyspeak). They also offer services that diminish the user’s autonomy in a way that — from a certain low angle, in a certain light — reads as patronizing when we’re supposed to be the patrons. We cannot find food on our own, or choose a restaurant, or settle a tiny debt. Where that dependency feels unseemly in the context of independent adult life, it feels appropriate if the user’s position remains childlike, and the childlikeness makes sense when you consider that Yelp depends on us to write reviews, and therefore must, like a fun mom, make chores feel fun too.

Bottom of the Page

In a world of online documentation and, can one still do programming without the internet?


Thanks for reading.

The Beats-Expectations Edition Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Apple Beats Expectations In Q3 2016, But Slump Continues, by Josh Centers and Michael E. Cohen, TidBITS

The Services category continues to be a bright spot in Apple’s quarterly results, with a whopping 19 percent year-over-year increase in revenue.

Apple’s Cash On Hand Decreased For The First Time In Nearly Two Years, by Fitz Tepper, TechCrunch

The decrease in cash on hand tells us that Apple is finally figuring out how to utilize its absurdly large cash stash, something investors have long been complaining about.

Apple Sees iPad Revenue Growth For The First Time In 10 Quarters, by Juli Clover, MacRumors

While iPad revenue was up based on the higher average selling price of the 9.7 and 12.9-inch iPad Pro models, overall unit sales continued to decline.

Apple Is Still Shrinking, by Dan Frommer, Recode

Here’s a good sense of where Apple is right now: Its only two growing businesses are the iPad — where unit shipments fell year over year but revenue grew — and its Services business — mostly iTunes and the App Store.

And expectations are now low enough that a second consecutive quarterof shrinkage — and a third now projected — still sent shares up 5 percent in after-hours trading. (And let’s be realistic: Apple, which generated $8 billion of profit during the quarter, is fine.)

Apple Forecasts Third Consecutive Revenue Decline Next Quarter, by Joe Rossignol, MacRumors

Apple expects fourth quarter revenue of between $45.5 billion and $47.5 billion, which would be up to 12 percent lower than the $51.5 billion in revenue it posted in the year-ago July-September quarter.

Filmed In An Apple Car?

'Carpool Karaoke' Series Coming Exclusively To Apple Music, by Natalie Jarvey, Hollywood Reporter

The viral segment that broke out on the Late Late Show with James Corden is being turned into its own series, which will air first exclusively for subscribers to Apple's music streaming app.

Carpool Karaoke, which will be produced by CBS Television Studios and Fulwell 73, the production company of Late Late Show executive producer Ben Winston, will expand on the late night segment's format with celebrity guests who sing along to their favorite songs and surprise fans during their ride. The host of the series is expected to be announced at a later date, though Corden is not expected to take the wheel like he does in the Late Late Show segment.

Juice Estimation

Why Your Phone Dies When It Claims To Have Battery Left, by Mark Smirniotis, The Wirecutter

Between voltage, the current discharge rate, battery age, and the aggregate performance of its counterparts, it just has a lot to keep track of, and sometimes the resulting estimate just isn’t very accurate.


California Closes The Steve Jobs License Plate Loophole, by Jonathan M. Gitlin, Ars Technica

On Monday, California Governor Jerry Brown signed a new law that does away with the loophole. From 2019, California joins most of the other states in the nation by requiring newly bought cars to be issued temporary license plates. Additionally, the law will create a system to allow car sellers to report details of the sale to the DMV, including the date of sale and the names and addresses of the dealer and purchaser.


Runkeeper’s Running Groups Is A Virtual Running Club For You And Your Buddies, by Paul Sawers, VentureBeat

Once a new Running Group has been set up, you select a challenge, such as a set number of runs over a given week or a total distance traversed in a week or a month. As each member of the group completes a run, notifications are sent to everyone, and there is also a new group-chat feature to engage in a little friendly banter.

Adobe Launches Lightroom For Apple TV, by Jacob Kastrenakes, The Verge

Adobe is launching Lightroom on the Apple TV today, giving photographers an easy way to display their edited photos up on a big screen. That's really all this app is: a photo viewer.


Platform Wars: The Final Score, by Benedict Evans

That is, the war is over. Yes, we'll go from 2.5bn smartphones to 5bn, but the dynamics of the two ecosystems will not change much with that growth. Apple will get some more uses, perhaps, while Android will convert most of that next 2.5bn, but most of those people are in emerging markets and most will be buying phones for under $50 and certainly under $100.

Rather, the changes, and the things to think about, come from other directions - VR and AR on one hand, AI and machine learning on the other. They might change the balance between Apple and Google, but they're more likely to make that distinction boring.

Australian Banks Say Apple Pay Is Anticompetitive, Appeal To Anti-trust Regulators, by Mikey Campbell, AppleInsider

Three of Australia's major banks on Wednesday filed a joint application with the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission to force Apple into negotiations over the installation of third-party mobile payments software on iPhone.

Some Of Yahoo's Media All-stars Looking To Leave After Verizon Deal, by Brian Stelter, CNNMoney

Yahoo spent millions of dollars to hire media all-stars like Katie Couric, Joe Zee and David Pogue. So what's going to happen with them now that Yahoo is being swallowed up by Verizon? The short answer is, they don't know. And if Verizon knows, it's not telling yet.

The Truth About VR And Vomit, by Daniel Fries, Versions

In flight simulators, the Navy has perhaps the most practical application of something resembling VR, and their research is focused on how they can minimize sickness and how well people can accomplish tasks while nauseated. On the other hand, when your goal is enjoyment of a game or movie, your threshold is probably lower, but maybe vomit in entertainment has a different appeal—it’s disgusting, but powerful and noteworthy, and it seems to keep coming up in popular art and culture in a way that other bodily functions don’t.

Bottom of the Page

Did anyone bother to check with Apple whether they bought Carpool Karaoke because it ties in with Apple Music, or because it ties in with the new Apple Car?


Thanks for reading.

The Mushy-Vision Edition Tuesday, July 26, 2016

The Apple Goes Mushy Part I: OS X's Interface Decline (Introduction), by Nicholas W. Howard

And I wonder again why the color vanished from almost every sidebar in the system: besides Finder, iTunes, iPhoto (before the new Photos application existed), Mail, and Contacts (back when Apple called it Address Book) have all succumbed to wan insanity. The Menu Bar selections in Final Cut Pro X highlight grey, not blue, when your cursor hovers over them. The majority of system applications greet you with vast canvases of nondescript white. Buttons are white. The Menu Bar is white. The Dock application labels are white. The cumulative effect is exactly the same as almost all popular interface designs today: everything is a stark, harsh, flat, alienating plane of white.

Apple has gone mushy on its entire vision. OS X is “simply” one stage on which that mushiness has played out. And we are just now entering the intermission

High Life

A New App Explores The Powerful Workings Of Skyscrapers, by Laura Bliss, The Atlantic

In a few light swipes and taps, users “create” a made-up skyscraper by adding floors and choosing the color of the facade. On the app’s sidebar, select a tiny I-beam button to play a game where adding boulders, elephants, and sailboats sinks your building deep and lopsided into its foundation. An elevator icon takes you to an interactive view of interior life—families in their kitchens, watching television, tiptoe-ing through bedrooms. The details are incredibly ornate, especially in another mode, accessed by clicking on a little water drop, where you clog toilets and set fires on different floors. Watch how the building (which gets an anthropomorphic touch) reacts. They say if walls could talk…

Photo Future

Lightroom For iOS 2.4 Changes Mobile Photo Workflow, by Jeff Carlson, TidBITS

When it comes to app updates, every new feature promises to be a game-changer, a revolution, the thing that elevates the app to new heights but often ends up falling short of expectations.

Sometimes, though, the hype is justified. That’s the case with Lightroom for iOS 2.4, Adobe’s mobile photo editing app for iPad and iPhone. Two new features — support for raw image formats and local adjustments — could change photographers’ mobile workflows for the better, particularly when you want to edit photos before you import them to the Mac.

Audio Future

How Invisibilia And NPR One Are Creatively Cross-promoting One Another On Digital Platforms, by Taylyn Washington-Harmon, Nieman Lab

But even without full access to the airwaves, NPR’s app and podcasts are busy promoting one another. A prime example: NPR’s highly successful Invisibilia, currently in its second short-run season. The podcast, dedicated to the “invisible forces that control human behavior,” is using NPR One as a home for bonus content not available in the main podcast feed, pushing the show’s fans to check out the app.

Coming Soon

New WebKit Policies In iOS 10 To Allow Autoplay Of Silent Videos In Safari, Pause Those With Audio, by AppleInsider

WebKit's new policies are crafted to take into consideration both the correct presentation of video elements and the costs of displaying those elements in Safari. As a result, WebKit will allow video elements to autoplay without a user gesture if the source media contains no audio track or if that track is muted. Once an audio track is detected, or if the track becomes un-muted without user intervention, playback will automatically pause. Playback also stops when the element is no longer visible on screen.

Catch 'Em All

The Libertarian Economic Theory That Might Be Secretly Driving Pokémon Go, by Ernie Smith, Atlas Obscura

Compare this to, say, a mixer during a business event. The approach is heavily designed, meant to bring people together in a somewhat contrived, forced way. If there's alcohol there, a giant room, and some name tags, clearly you'll talk to someone, right? As any wallflower will tell you, it often doesn't work out that way.

But with a design like Pokémon Go, there are no wallflowers, because everyone is brought together by a shared experience, one that appears on its own without any additional contrived strategies on the part of the creators of the game.


You, Too, Can Become A Keyboard Maestro, by Bob LeVitus, Houston Chronicle

I'd be hard-pressed to name another Mac app that saves me as many keystrokes every day.Simply put, Keyboard Maestro makes macros, but to call it a mere macro-maker is a disservice.

The Easiest Way To Sign Documents On iOS, by Brian Sutich, AppFactor

After having tried many of these apps, I’ve stuck with PDFpen from Smile Software.

Art View Is Worth A Look For Creative Cloud Users, by Dennis Sellers, Apple World Today

It allows graphic designers to preview, inspect, and reveal dependent font and image files from within Apple's Quick Look preview feature.

Blocs 2 Review: Web Design App Balances Simplicity And Sophistication, by Nathan Alderman, Macworld

Blocs 2 remains a great option for anyone who wants to build a sharp-looking site with minimal hassle.

Polymail For Mac Wants To Provide A Cross-platform Email Experience To Die For, by Nick Peers, BetaNews

Polymail provides an Apple-centric experience across mobile and desktop through the use of an associated Polymail account. The account not only ensures a consistent experience across multiple devices, but it also powers some of Polymail’s useful features.

Rumor Of The Day

Apple Taps Bob Mansfield To Oversee Car Project, by Daisuke Wakabayashi, Wall Street Journal

Bob Mansfield had stepped back from a day-to-day role at the company a few years ago, after leading the hardware engineering development of products including the MacBook Air laptop computer, the iMac desktop computer, and the iPad tablet. Apple now has Mr. Mansfield running the company’s secret autonomous, electric-vehicle initiative, code-named Project Titan, the people said.

The Not-A-Breach Edition Monday, July 25, 2016

Apple’s Touch ID Blocks Feds—armed With Warrant—from Unlocking iPhone, by David Kravets, Ars Technica

Ever since 2013, when Apple popularized this form of unlocking technology, legal experts have predicted that these types of government demands would slowly become more common. Experts also warned these demands are probably not a breach of the Fifth Amendment right against compelled self-incrimination.

Which Body Parts Do And Don't Work With Touch ID?, by Sasha Muller, PC Authority

Apple's Touch ID technology is capable of recognising your fingerprints in a split second, but what about all those other parts of your body that you might (or might not) want to use? Could you use your face? Your elbow? Your nose?

One And Only

2016 MacBook – Two Months Later, by Jeff Benjamin, 9to5Mac

The MacBook is a capable machine; it can generally hold its own on all but the most processor-intensive tasks. And when you do encounter an issue, such as when editing 4K video, there’s wonderful software like Final Cut Pro X to help pick up the slack.

Child Safe

Access Denied: Our Favorite, Free Parental Control Software, by Brandon Widder, Yahoo

Your computer is seemingly connected to everything, and that being the case, it’s not a bad place to begin exercising a little parental caution on behalf of your kids. The parental controls for both Windows and Mac OS X are built directly into each operating system’s innate preferences, providing a convenient and acceptable means for restricting Web access and chat functionality, along with viewing detailed logs and monitoring email exchanges.

Objects Objects Everywhere

Goodbye, Object Oriented Programming, by Charles Scalfani, Medium

Well, OO sure promised a lot in the early days. And these promises are still being made to naive programmers sitting in classrooms, reading blogs and taking online courses.

It’s taken me years to realize how OO lied to me. I too was wide-eyed and inexperienced and trusting.

And I got burned.

The Chips Business

ARM: The $32B Pivot And Revolution, by Jean-Louis Gassée, Monday Note

Having survived the 2000 dot-com bubble and the 2008 financial crisis with a personal fortune estimated at $17B, Son isn’t shy about criticizing the short-term views of US investors and their fixation on “shareholder value” at the expense of other longer-term metrics and societal contributions.

With his accomplishments and maverick attitudes in mind, we must conclude that Son sees many more ARM-based chips in our future, some with a revenue-per-unit that’s higher than today’s 10 cents.

But where does he see them?

Transistors Will Stop Shrinking In 2021, Moore’s Law Roadmap Predicts, Rachel Courtland, IEEE

After more than 50 years of miniaturization, the transistor could stop shrinking in just five years. That is the prediction of the 2015 International Technology Roadmap for Semiconductors, which was officially released earlier this month.

After 2021, the report forecasts, it will no longer be economically desirable for companies to continue to shrink the dimensions of transistors in microprocessors. Instead, chip manufacturers will turn to other means of boosting density, namely turning the transistor from a horizontal to a vertical geometry and building multiple layers of circuitry, one on top of another.

The Directory Business

As Expected, Verizon Says It Will Buy Yahoo For $4.83 Billion, by Kara Swisher, Recode

Verizon has entered into a agreement to buy Yahoo in an all-cash deal of $4.83 billion. The core business of the Silicon Valley internet giant will be integrated with AOL, the other iconic Web brand that the telco behemoth bought last year for $4.4 billion.

Yes, it’s over. Verizon is keeping the Yahoo brand, of course, but in terms of being an independent company and internet company that couldn’t, it’s done.

Last Yahoo CEO Standing: Here’s Marissa Mayer’s Letter To Employees On Sale, by Kara Swisher, Recode

CEO Marissa Mayer is trying mightily to put a shiny, happy face on a deal that will effectively be taking away her job and washing away her efforts to turn around Yahoo as what has turned out to be its last CEO. [...] While Mayer says she is planning to stay for now — “For me personally, I’m planning to stay. I love Yahoo, and I believe in all of you. It’s important to me to see Yahoo into its next chapter” — sources said she would likely go after the deal is officially struck in six to nine months.


Why Did Google Erase Dennis Cooper’s Beloved Literary Blog?, by Jennifer Krasinski, New Yorker

Either way, Cooper’s ordeal is a chilling reminder that those of us who use the Internet to house our creative work do so at the mercy of the platforms who host us. [...] Last Friday, Suzanne Nossel, the executive director of the pen American Center, released a public statement supporting Cooper’s appeal for an answer. In an e-mail to me that same day, she outlined the critical tension that exists between artists and online platforms that peddle in privatized public spaces. “Internet companies have found important ways to monetize that creative output and staying power,” she said. “Implicit in this exchange is that people like Dennis Cooper are trusting a platform as the keeper of their creative work‎. If that trust can be betrayed, especially summarily and without expectation, it breaches the bond.”

Larry The Lobster, Clawing At 15 Minutes Of Fame, Is Headed To Maine, by Ray Routhier, Portland Press Herald

If somebody doesn’t make a movie about the week Larry the lobster just had, Hollywood isn’t doing its job.

The nearly 15-pound crustacean barely escaped becoming Lobster Oreganata at a Florida restaurant, caught the attention of an animal rescue group in Costa Rica, got a one-way ticket to the Maine State Aquarium, and has now became the latest cause célèbre for People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, or PETA.

Only the most inventive screenwriters would dare guess what lies ahead for Larry.

The Five-Kilometers Edition Sunday, July 24, 2016

Pokémon Go Is Secretly Teaching Americans The Metric System, by Michael Nunez, Gizmodo

The eggs have left a lot of American players wondering, “How many miles are in 5 kilometers?”

App Of The Day: Facetune, by Jamey Tucker, WPSD

Once the selfie is taken, you have options to smooth out wrinkles and blemishes, whiten teeth, get rid of dark circles around the eyes, even re­shape your face.

Hooray For Globalisation

Apple Weathers anti-U.S. Demo In China, Where Patriotic Protests Snowball, by Sharon Shi and Lindsy Long, Reuters

"Boycotting Apple would only make Chinese people lose their jobs - many work for Apple."

A U.S. Consumer Panned A Chinese Product On Amazon. Then Things Got Crazy, by Yingzhi Yang, LA Times

The incident seems to highlight differing cultural norms between buyers and sellers. In China, it is not uncommon for online vendors to harass customers who leave negative feedback online.

Alibaba, the Chinese e-commerce giant, said 8% of complaints on its EBay-like Taobao platform involve customers being harassed by vendors, according to a report published last week by the Chinese news portal Sina.

Hooray For Modern Life

The Reasons Why Exhaustion And Burnout Are So Common, by David Robson, BBC

A few years ago, Anna Katharina Schaffner became the latest victim of the exhaustion ‘epidemic’. It began with a kind of mental and physical inertia – as she put it, a “sense of heaviness” in all that she did. Even the most mundane tasks would sap her of all her energy, and concentrating on her work became increasingly difficult.

Yet when she tried to relax, she would find herself obsessively checking her emails at all hours, as if relief for her ennui would suddenly ping into her inbox. Alongside the weariness came feelings of emotional despondency: “I was disenchanted, disillusioned and hopeless.”

These feelings will be familiar to countless others, from Pope Benedict XVI to Mariah Carey, who have been diagnosed with exhaustion. If the media are to be believed, it is a purely modern ailment; almost every time Schaffner turned on the TV, she would see a debate on the trials we face in our 24/7 culture. “All the commentators represented our age as the most terrible one out there – that it’s the absolute apocalypse for our energy reserves,” she says.

Bottom of the Page

All the words I've 'typed' into my computer and phone today are either typed with my right hand only, or dictated via Siri. My left hand is totally non-functional.

(Yes, I've learnt to change to using my non-donminant hand for many other tasks too. It's not easy to teach an old dog new tricks, even if it's just a switch of hands.)


Thanks for reading.

The New-Tech Edition Saturday, July 23, 2016

New Tech, Stanford Help Morgan Hill Boy Get Hearing Back After 6 Years, by Chris Nguyen, KGO

After six years, a Morgan Hill boy has his hearing back. Thanks to some new technology and an incredible team of doctors at Stanford. Now, he hopes to inspire others who may be going through something similar.

Catch 'Em All

Apple Says Pokémon Go Is The Most Downloaded App In A First Week Ever, by Romain Dillet, TechCrunch

While the game was only available in a few countries at the time, the app has attracted more downloads in the App Store during its first week than any other App Store app has in its first week, ever.

Never Mind Tagging People In Photos: OneDrive Now Tags Your Pokémon, by Peter Bright, Ars Technica

In a surprisingly swift attempt to ride the Pokémon Go bandwagon, Microsoft has released, of all things, Pokémon detection for photos stored on OneDrive. If you have an iPhone or an Android handset and enable camera uploading to OneDrive, any screenshots or photos you take with the Pokémon Go camera tool will be stored on Microsoft's cloud system. Once there, your Pokémon will be recognized, and the images will be tagged accordingly, letting you easily find your best Pikachu snaps.

Mobile Add-Ons

Back Up Your Phone While Charging It With This Spendy Cable, by Tim Moynihan, Wired

As it replenishes your device’s battery, it also backs up files without using a cloud service. That way, when you get a new phone, you just shuttle your photos, contacts, and text messages from the neon-green cable to your new device.

Razer Mechanical Keyboard Case: The Quest For The Perfect iPad Pro Keyboard Continues, by Jason Snell, Six Colors

In the end, I have to say that while I’m impressed with the Razer case—it feels solid, looks good, and that keyboard is truly clicky and tactile—it isn’t really what I’m looking for. I appreciate the detachable keyboard, but the lack of the ability to use it in my lap like a laptop really hinders its utility, and the key layout is not to my tastes. And while it’s a much more attractive product than the Logitech Create, it adds even more bulk and weight.

Old Techs

This Guy Makes Badly Aged Apple Computers Sparkle Again, by David Pierini, Cult of Mac

At KansasFest, an annual gathering of loyal Apple II lovers, festgoers bring their yellowed monitors, keyboards and hard drives to Rivera, whose special mix can remove the yellow staining on the computer’s plastic pieces and make them look like they just came off the assembly line.

The Phenomenon Of Old Tech Guilty Pleasures, by Bob Skelley, Computerworld

Sure, I could use one of my Windows machines to write with. Or even a newer iMac. But, I’m using Microsoft Word 2008 for Mac on the Power Mac G4 featuring the last update of this Word variant: 12.3.6. Why? Like anything else, it just feels right and better than anything else. Still.


Goldieblox Debuts New Coding App For Kids, by Jade Burke, Toy News

By using real coding concepts, players must pave the way for Goldie to deliver cupcakes to everyone in Bloxtown.

The Blink Security Camera System Keeps An Eye On Your Home Without Wires, by Brent Dirks, AppAdvice

The new Blink system wants to provide the freedom of a completely wireless camera in an inexpensive and easy-to-use package. And for the most part, it succeeds.


Here’s What’s Wrong With Classical Music On Streaming Services (Part Whatever), by Kirk McElhearn

This is the dumbing down of classical music. Taken this way, classical music is just muzak. It’s designed for a mood or task, like that won’t-ever-go-away Classical Music for Elevators playlist I keep seeing in Apple Music’s For You recommendations.

Bottom of the Page

My left wrist is causing me pain, so I won't be saying too much here. Besides, I have nothing to say.


Thanks for reading.

The New-Bands Edition Friday, July 22, 2016

These New Apple Watch Bands Are Worth A Trip To Brazil, by Justin Fenner, GQ

Like any other major sporting event, the Olympic games are going to inspire a ton of clothing brands and accessory makers to produce stuff you can wear while rooting for your favorite team. Apple is no different. When the games start in August, the tech company will be selling Apple Watch bands that reference the national flags of 14 major competitors, meaning you can symbolically cheer on Team USA (or Team France, or Team Brazil) every time you get a text message.

Minor detail: You can only get them if you're in Brazil for the games.

Drive Time

Apple CarPlay, Where Have You Been All Of My Driving Life?, by Lauren Goode, The Verge

Our phones have taught us to expect constantly updated software and interfaces that don’t make us want to tear our hair out. Until more car companies can figure those things out, handing your main dashboard panel over to Apple or Google is is a good move — and hopefully more of them will do just that.

Kia To Release CarPlay Software Update For Select 2014 To 2017 Models, by Joe Rossignol, MacRumors

Kia has announced that CarPlay and Android Auto will be available as free software updates for a wider range of select 2014 to 2017 model year vehicles equipped with UVO3 or a compatible navigation system.

After Beats 1, Try Radio 1

BBC iPlayer Radio App Now Available In The U.S., by Darrell Etherington, TechCrunch

BBC does radio well, and now Americans can experience the full effect of the UK broadcaster’s audio content expertise with the iPlayer Radio app for iOS and Android. The app contains all of BBC’s radio feeds, including Radio 1 through 6, as well as the World Service. It also has offline support for BBC podcasts, and curated collections of past content.


Typinator Still Makes Life Easier For Mac Users, by Dennis Sellers, Apple World Today

One of the most useful features of Typinator is the possibility to create expansions based on regular expressions.

Want To Earn Loyalty Points? There Are Many Apps For That., by Timothy R. Smith, Washington Post

I often collect the loyalty reward cards that get punched with each purchase. And then I lose them. So I checked out two apps that could replace that old paper method.


America's Broken Digital Copyright Law Is About To Be Challenged In Court, by Cory Doctorow, The Guardian

The rule is section 1201 of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) of 1998, the “anti-circumvention” rule that makes it illegal to break an “access control” for copyrighted works. These “access controls” often manifest as “digital rights management” (DRM), and the DMCA gives them unique standing in law.

EFF is suing the US government, arguing that section 1201 of the DMCA is unconstitutional, and also that the Library of Congress and the copyright office have failed to perform their duties in the three-year DMCA 1201 exemption hearings.

How Sex, Animals And Obama End Up In Drink Names, by Rosie Schaap, New York Times

My mother was so amused by drinks with risqué names that she’d make a great production of ordering them — especially, I’m pretty sure, in my presence. And although the memory of the first time she visited me at a bar where I worked one summer and loudly called for a Slippery Nipple — in front of my boss, my co-workers, my regulars — still stings a little, I’ve long since lightened up about such things.

What I haven’t lightened up about is the difficult art of inventing names for cocktails.

The Massive-Email-Lists Edition Thursday, July 21, 2016

Polymail Launches iOS App With Contact Profiles, Email Read Receipts, And More, by Mitchel Broussard, MacRumors

Desktop email client Polymail recently launched a new iOS version of its app, focusing on simple and intuitive ways to get users through massive email lists with the same connected and social-minded aspects of the desktop app. Polymail allows users to manage their Gmail, iCloud, Outlook, or other IMAP accounts, through the iOS app, which now syncs automatically with the Mac app as well.

Talking Books

New App By Indigo Creates A Social Platform For Book Lovers, by Jessica Vomiero, Mobile Syrup

These days, there seems to be a social network for every community. Indigo’s latest announcement ensures that avid readers aren’t left out of the fun.

Reco is the first iOS app to be released by the book giant Indigo and offers a social platform for readers to connect, talk and give recommendations about books they’ve read to each other.

Worldreader Launches 'Read To Kids' App, by IANS

As part of its Read to Kids educational programme, global non-profit organisation Worldreader on Wednesday launched here it's Read to Kids mobile app to help parents and teachers tell stories to children below six years of age.

Tap Tap Tap

SwiftKey Launches New Emoji-Predicting Keyboard App 'Swiftmoji', by Mitchel Broussard, MacRumors

Called Swiftmoji, the app runs a crowdsourced usage data algorithm to begin suggesting its users specific emoji characters when they send text messages, with the app set to eventually learn each user's preferences and recommend frequently-used emoji above those hardly ever sent in a message.

With Just Three Keys, Keyboard Manages To Make Typing More Complicated, by Carli Velocci, Gizmodo

Learning how to efficiently type on a QWERTY keyboard is tough enough for many of us, but one Reddit user decided to make the process even more complicated thanks to a three-button binary keyboard.

End Of P2P

Skype Sets A Course For The Cloud, Abandoning Older Operating Systems On The Way, by Blair Hanley Frank, IDG News Service

Skype is leaving behind its peer-to-peer roots and going all in on the cloud. While the popular messaging app made it this far by facilitating connections between computers for video calls and other communications, it’s moving to a cloud architecture that is supposed to improve performance and expand the service’s capabilities. [...]

With that transition comes the end of support for some legacy platforms. [...] The service won’t support iPads and iPhones running anything older than iOS 8.

Peak App

Exploring The App Store’s Top Grossing Chart, by Graham Spencer, MacStories

If you regularly browse the App Store's Top Charts most of these results would likely serve to confirm what you had already assumed. Most obviously, if you were to randomly pick an app from the Top 200 Grossing charts, chances are extremely high that you would pick a free app with IAPs and it would most likely be a game. But what is particularly suprising is the degree to which free apps with IAP dominate the charts with essentially no paid apps or no apps without IAPs.

Mossberg: I Just Deleted Half My iPhone Apps. You Should Too., by Walt Mossberg, Recode

You very likely have too many apps, taking up precious space, and you should ruthlessly kill off the ones you don’t use or need. Maybe you, too, can cut 54 percent of them and gain back 24 percent more free space.

But this isn’t one of those columns about digital housecleaning or how to free up more space on your iPhone, valuable as those are. It’s easier to save space by offloading most photos, video and music to the cloud anyway. No, this column is really about the fact that I think the novelty of the app itself has worn off. We’ve reached peak app.


LiquidText For iPad Review: All You Need For Deep Research Projects, by Jackie Dove, Macworld

LiquidText, an iPad-only app, seeks to impose some order in the new chaos of gathering and referencing information, with an innovative interactive interface that, in version 2, allows you to integrate multiple documents on one screen.

It May Be A One-trick Pony, But It's A Nifty One-trick Pony For Final Cut Pro X Users, by Aaron Lee, Apple World Today

Conner Productions's Seal is a one trick pony, but it's a pretty nifty trick. It's a professional template to make introductory seal titles for Apple's Final Cut Pro X (FCP X). And it's free.

Letterpress Arrives On The Mac, by Preshit Deorukhkar, Beautiful Pixels

It features the same familiar interface and the same delightful animations seen the iOS app. If you’re an existing player, you can sign in with your account and continue playing your games here as well.


Not Everything Is As It Memes, by Dave Pell, Medium

I’m going to tell you a story that will dash your expectations. And you’ll thank me for it.

Fred Barley was a homeless black teen who had set up camp in Barnesville, Georgia. If you only view life through the prism of current headlines, you know how this story goes. But wait. Here’s where we smash the meme and remind ourselves that there is a world beyond the headlines; one that is quite often much more hopeful than the one described above the fold.

Wal-Mart, America's Largest Grocer, Is Now Selling Ugly Fruit And Vegetables, by Maria Godoy, NPR

Over the past few years, so-called ugly fruit and vegetables have been gaining a host of admirers.

Now, Wal-Mart has officially joined the bandwagon. Starting this week, America's largest grocer says it is piloting sales of weather-dented apples at a discount in 300 of its stores in Florida. If this were one of those Hollywood movies where the mousy girl gets a dramatic makeover, this would probably be the scene where she gets asked to the prom (minus the sexist subtext).

Bottom of the Page

If Apple is not satisfied with the in-app purchases money coming in from Pokémon Go, and they shouldn't, Apple should really help out to get the game onto Apple Watch. And add a fourth Activity Ring that counts, say, the number of Pokémons caught.

Okay, I am kidding about that last part.


Thanks for reading.

The Memory-Corruption Edition Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Security Update 2016-004 (Mavericks And Yosemite), by Agen G. N. Schmitz, TidBITS

The update resolves multiple memory corruption issues in CoreGraphics, ImageIO, and libxml2, which could allow a remote attacker to execute arbitrary code.

Safari 9.1.2, by Agen G. N. Schmitz, TidBITS

The update addresses a number of vulnerabilities in WebKit, including multiple memory corruption issues.

More Shots

Apple Shares Two More 'Shot On iPhone' Videos Showcasing Photographic Capabilities Of iPhone 6s, by Juli Clover, MacRumors

The first video features a young woman with her hair flowing in the wind, shot in slow motion to highlight the slo-mo feature that captures video at up to 240 frames per second.

The Stories Behind These Incredible Shots From India That Won At The iPhone Photo Awards This Year, by Adrija Bose, Huffington Post

"I realized how the people were getting smaller and smaller and at some point the people below just appeared as a random gathering, giving a bird's-eye view," he said. He put his hand out and stretch a little to take the picture. That is how he got his perfect shot.

The iPad Upgrade Cycle

Apple Is About To Make A Bunch Of iPads Obsolete, And It Could Benefit Shareholders, by Sam Mattera, Motley Fool

To date, Apple has released 12 different iPad models, of which 8 will be compatible with iOS 10. The original iPad, the iPad 2, the iPad Mini, and the third-generation iPad are not compatible. If Localytics' findings are accurate, those four models represent a massive 42% of all the iPads currently in use. That means almost half of all iPad owners could be prompted to purchase new models sometime in the near future.

Art In A Screen

Canva Designs New iPhone App, by David Swan, The Australian

Canva was previously just available for desktop and iPad but is today available on iPhone, allowing users to create designs on the go from a library of over a million images and hundreds of layouts.

PaintCode: How To Make iOS-Ready App Graphics With Sketch App, by Daniel Schwarz, Sitepoint

PaintCode 2 is a desktop application that turns vector drawings into Objective-C or Swift code, as opposed to exporting them to standard image formats such as PNG or JPG.

Readers' Digests

Apps Can Cram An Entire Book Into A 15-minute Read – But Are Readers And Authors Being Short-changed?, by Rob Garratt, The National

Ever picked up an interesting-looking book, and wished you could just transfer the story or knowledge it contains directly into your brain, without the graft of actually spending hour after hour reading the thing?

You are not alone, it seems, given the recent arrival of a number of apps that claim to condense the major points of existing titles into bite-sized summaries – to be consumed by busy readers in 15-minute bursts, on the go, on a smartphone or tablet.


Stateful Loops And Sequences, by Erica Sadun

If you think about it, a repeat-while loop really is just a sequence written in a different form.

Art Everywhere

There Is No Difference Between Computer Art And Human Art, by Oliver Roeder, Aeon

In industry, there is blunt-force algorithmic tension – ‘Efficiency, capitalism, commerce!’ versus ‘Robots are stealing our jobs!’ But for algorithmic art, the tension is subtler. Only 4 per cent of the work done in the United States economy requires ‘creativity at a median human level’, according to the consulting firm McKinsey and Company. So for computer art – which tries explicitly to zoom into this small piece of that vocational pie – it’s a question not of efficiency or equity, but of trust. Art requires emotional and phrenic investments, with the promised return of a shared slice of the human experience. When we view computer art, the pestering, creepy worry is: who’s on the other end of the line? Is it human? We might, then, worry that it’s not art at all.

Bottom of the Page

Have we settled whether programming is art or science?


Thanks for reading.

The Updated-All Edition Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Apple Releases OS X 10.11.6, iOS 9.3.3, tvOS 9.2.2, And watchOS 2.2.2, by Josh Centers, TidBITS

Apple has updated all of its operating systems with security improvements and mostly unspecified bug fixes, but no new features. As always, we recommend waiting a week or so before installing these updates, and then checking to see if early adopters are complaining about any problems.

Apple Squashes FaceTime Bug That Facilitated Eavesdropping On Calls, by Mikey Campbell, AppleInsider

Apple in a pair of security updates for iOS and OS X on Monday addressed a FaceTime vulnerability that allows attackers to surreptitiously maintain audio connectivity in a seemingly terminated FaceTime call.

Practice, Practice, Practice

How To Get Your Photos Featured On Apple’s Shot On iPhone Billboards, by Haje Jan Kamps, TechCrunch

I tracked down Jordan Ison, one of the photographers featured in Apple’s most recent campaign, to find out how his images came to be featured in the world’s biggest art exhibition.

Apple Shares Two New 'Shot On iPhone' Videos Featuring Wildlife, by Juli Clover, MacRumors

Apple today shared two new "Shot on iPhone" ad spots on its YouTube channel, highlighting the video capturing capabilities of the iPhone 6s and the iPhone 6s Plus.

Why Wasn't This Done Last Year?

Apple Begins Rolling Out iTunes Match With Audio Fingerprint To Apple Music Subscribers, by Jim Dalrymple, The Loop

One of the biggest complaints about Apple Music over the past year was that it wouldn’t properly match songs subscribers had in their existing iTunes libraries. That problem is being fixed by Apple.

Apple has been quietly rolling out iTunes Match audio fingerprint to all Apple Music subscribers. Previously Apple was using a less accurate metadata version of iTunes Match on Apple Music, which wouldn’t always match the correct version of a particular song. We’ve all seen the stories of a live version of a song being replaced by a studio version, etc.

Using iTunes Match with audio fingerprint, those problems should be a thing of the past.

Apple Releases iTunes 12.4.2 With Fix For Short Track Playback Bug, by Juli Clover, MacRumors

Apple today released iTunes 12.4.2 with a fix for a bug that caused playback issues when listening to Apple Music tracks shorter than 60 seconds.

Research With iPhones

Apple Entices Its First Big Drug Company To ResearchKit, by Matt Brian, Engadget

GSK's Patient Rheumatoid Arthritis Data from the Real World (PARADE) study is the first of its kind and is the first time a major pharmaceutical (or big pharma) company has embarked on such a project. PARADE is designed to look at the impact of rheumatoid arthritis on a patient's life, by using iPhone sensors to collect information on joint pain, fatigue and overall mood. GSK will track the activity and "quality of life measures" for 300 patients over a three-month period.

Pixel Drawing

iPad Pro: How Apple's Tablet Can Make You Into A Painting Master – Or Almost, by David Phelan, Independent

How creative are you? When the Apple iPad Pro was released last autumn, I interviewed several artists who had just started using the advanced tablet and its clever, super-precise Pencil. The results they came up with were phenomenal and used some of the inexpensive, or free, apps available for general use on the iPad.

My own attempts, however, were frankly rubbish. The apps did everything they could to help, and confirmed what Tim Cook told the Independent at the time, that Apple has always sought to help creativity flourish.

So an invitation to a life-drawing class at the Royal Academy to see if I could manage something a little more imaginative was not to be missed.

How Do You Pronounce Pixelmator?

Pixelmator 2.3 For iOS Adds Magnetic Selection, Quick Selection, More, by Benjamin Mayo, 9to5Mac

This update brings the latest selection tools from the Mac app to iOS devices. This includes the intelligent Quick Selection tool and automatic Magnetic Selection tool, where users roughly trace around an object and the app fits a precise line, using edge detection algorithms.

Pixelmator 3.5 Canyon Review: Better Selective Editing And A New Apple Photos Extension, by Jeff Carlson, Macworld

For a large amount of image editing tasks, Pixelmator is an excellent, affordable alternative to Photoshop. Its enhanced selection tools work well and add to its utility, while the Pixelmator Retouch Extension for Photos is a good way to add selective edits while remaining within your Photos library.

Plan For It

Schedules Aren't A Constraint On Life, They Let You Live It, by Nick Janetakis

Having a schedule lets you mix things up which in turn gives you a fresh outlook on something rather than just spinning your wheels with a guilty conscience.

Want to know the difference between a programmer and the so-called “10x programmer”? Amazing time management.

Tweets Noted

Was Taylor Swift Betrayed By Her Own Notes App?, by Brian Feldman, New York Magazine

The Notes app giveth, and the Notes app taketh away. Last night’s rumble between app mogul Kim Kardashian and Apple critic Taylor Swift — the latest in a long-running feud over an lyric from a song by Kardashian’s musician husband, Kanye West — began with a set of videos uploaded to Snapchat by Kardashian, showing that Swift had, in fact, approved a lyric she later disparaged. But it reached its apex a few hours later, when Swift responded with — what else? — a screenshot of a statement written in Notes, one of Apple’s iPhone apps, and uploaded to Instagram.

A Brief History Of Celebrities Using The Notes App To Share Their Thoughts With The World, by Bobby Finger, Jezebel

In this hyperconnected celebrity age, every snapchat becomes a news story, and starting a feud is as easy as tweeting a single snake emoji. Comments and clarifications don’t need to be sought out by journalists or fed through publicists, they can be delivered instantly to millions immediately after being written out on a device they have with them at all times. Some celebrities simply share their thoughts in tweet storms. Others explain themselves in lengthy Instagram captions. But the savvier among them head to the Notes app on iOS.

The Kim-Kanye-Taylor Feud, Explained For People Who Don’t Know What The Hell Is Going On, by Ellie Bate, BuzzFeed

From award show interruptions to character assassination.


Why You Should Continue Paying For Evernote, by Jill Duffy, PC Magazine

The problem right now is that there is no other tool that does it all, at least not to the deep extent that I use Evernote.

BBC Announces New Personalized Content Portal With 'BBC+' App, by Tim Hardwick, MacRumors

The idea behind the app is to work as a customized one-stop portal for all things BBC that corrals content from across the service, from TV and radio to exclusively online bitesize and longform content.

Quiet, Please

The Sea Will Get A Lot Quieter Without The Navy’s Whale-Killing Sonar, by Nick Stockton, Wired

If you were a blue whale, the water in most of the world’s oceans would be so murky that you wouldn’t be able to see your own flukes. Which is why most marine species use sound to navigate, feed, find mates, and communica—BLUURRRRGGGGHHHH AAAARRROOOOOO WAA WAA WAA—oh, sorry, pardon the interruption.

That’s just the noise of whales cheering. See, they just won a major noise pollution battle against the US Navy. For over a decade, the Navy has been trying to convince the courts that they can use an ultra-loud sonar array in a way that is safe for marine life. But on July 15, the Ninth US Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco said that no, actually it’s not safe at all.

Bottom of the Page

Is it 'irony' that I am listening to the audiobook Quiet: The Power of Intorverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking every morning in a not-so-quiet subway train?

(I think I still don't understand the meaning of the word 'irony'.)


Thanks for reading.

The Top-Tech Edition Monday, July 18, 2016

ARM Chip Designer To Be Bought By Japan's Softbank, by BBC

The Cambridge-based firm designs microchips used in most smartphones, including Apple's and Samsung's. [...]

Softbank is one of the world's biggest technology companies and is run by its founder, Japanese entrepreneur Masayoshi Son.

5 Things About ARM, SoftBank’s Takeover Target, by Eva Dou, Wall Street Journal

ARM designs the microprocessors found inside more than 95% of the world’s smartphones, including those made by Apple Inc. and Samsung Electronics Co. The Cambridge, England-based company’s chip technology has become the industry standard because of its low power consumption and cost. As a B2B company, ARM isn’t widely known by general consumers, but it is one of the U.K.’s top tech firms.


CloudMounter Simplifies Managing Cloud Accounts On Your Mac, by Dennis Sellers, Apple World Today

It allows you to manage most all of your clouds from a single point of access and mount various cloud services and web servers to your Mac as local disks.


Exponential Time Complexity In The Swift Type Checker, by Matt Gallagher, Cocoa With Love

But the line doesn’t get past the Swift type checker. Instead, it emits an error that the expression is too complex to solve. It doesn’t lookcomplex, does it? It’s 5 integer literals, 4 addition operators, two negation operators and a binding to a Double type.

How can an expression containing just 12 entities be “too complex”?

Interviewing My Mother, A Mainframe COBOL Programmer, by Tom Jordell, Medium

The year she started internal training at Nordea, which back then was known as Nordbanken (The North Bank) but changed name to Nordea in 2001. During the training she had to take various tests, most notably an IQ-test to see if she had the intelligence to work within this field. Other tests includes a psychological checkup to make sure she had the psyche to handle that line of work and a multitasking test which she failed horribly where she got the score 22/100. She did very good on the other tests and among the 16 available positions, she managed to get one.

The position in question was an IBM Mainframe COBOL programmer, which to this day, 25 years later still work as for the same bank.

This position is the most important one in the bank, at least from a technical standpoint. If, let’s say, my mother and everyone on her team would quit their job, the bank would go under within a matter of weeks if they’re lucky. They have a rotation of people on her team being available 24/7. I remember when I was younger and she had to take a taxi to work in the middle of the night on a Sunday to fix a dead-lock problem.


What Happens When An Apple Executive Decides He Wants To Hire You, by Kif Leswing, Business Insider

Most people who dream of working for Apple apply the normal way — they find a job listing or a recruiter calls them, they send a resume, cover letter, and eventually land a series of interviews.

But when an Apple executive decides he wants to wants to work with you, the process can be very different.

Bottom of the Page

Maybe I should have been a COBOL programmer -- better job security? Instead, my first 'real' job was writing a multimedia library for CD-ROMs. You can imagine how fast that library got obsoleted.

I wonder if maintaining a Magento installation can be considered today's COBOL. Please say yes.


Thanks for reading.

The Write-My-Novel Edition Sunday, July 17, 2016

First Look At Scrivener For iOS, by Michael E. Cohen, TidBITS

Scrivener for iOS is the app I wish I had when I wrote my NaNoWriMo novel. Don’t get me wrong: I would probably have used the Mac version most of the time anyway — it’s lovely to have the luxury of a real keyboard and a huge screen. However, I would have used the iOS app a lot as well, both for reviewing my day’s work and for doing a little late-night editing and composition.

Hands-on With The Scrivener Writing App For iOS, by Jordan Novet, Venture Beat

I guess what I’m trying to say is that Scrivener for iOS is full-featured and highly customizable.

It took a while to show up, but now it’s here, and for serious writers, it’s worth checking out.

StarTech USB-C Multifunction Adapter Designed To Turn Your Laptop Into A Workstation, by Dennis Sellers, Apple World Today

Through a single USB Type-C connection, users can expand their laptop with HDMI and VGA output ports, a Gigabit Ethernet network port and a USB 3.0 port.

Why It Took Social Science Years To Correct A Simple Error About ‘Psychoticism’, by Jesse Singal, New York Magazine

And it all started with a broken hyperlink.

Bottom of the Page

I had a (small) panic attack last night when I, for reasons unknown to me, calculated the number of weekends left that I optimstically may enjoy.


Thanks for reading.

The Simple-Royalties Edition Saturday, July 16, 2016

Apple, In Seeming Jab At Spotify, Proposes Simpler Songwriting Royalties, by Ben Sisario, New York Times

According to Apple’s proposal, made with the Copyright Royalty Board, a panel of federal judges who oversee rates in the United States, streaming services should pay 9.1 cents in songwriting royalties for every 100 times a song is played. This formula would replace the long passages of federal rules for streaming rates, which often leave musicians bewildered about just how the money flows in streaming music.

But even in this seemingly innocuous proposal, which was not made public but was obtained by The New York Times, Apple’s target is clear: Spotify, its archenemy in streaming music. The proposal would significantly raise the rates that Spotify pays, and the filing includes lines that are clearly directed at Spotify and its so-called freemium model.

iBooks Market

How A Groton Geek Won The Education App Sweepstakes, by Rick Tetzeli, Fast Company

The story of how a high school Spanish teacher reached the App Store’s main page is one of those feel-good stories in which ingenuity, perseverance, and an original application of technology combine to overturn industry standards. Over the past four years, Breaking the Barrier, Conner’s four-employee company, has defied the odds and become a top 5 seller of iBook textbooks, right alongside industry giants like Houghton Mifflin, McGraw-Hill, and Pearson. It has succeeded in a notoriously insular business. High school textbook standards are set by state education boards; given their purchasing power, states like Texas make decisions that other states often feel compelled to follow. Big publishers, who can sustain relationships with these boards over decades, have a big leg up. They also have a major incentive to maintain the high profit margins they get from their paper textbooks, which helps explain why kids still lug massive backpacks to school every day, rather than simply toting a Kindle or iPad stocked with e-books.

Back When Cyberdogs Roamed

When Yahoo Ruled The Valley: Stories Of The Original ‘Surfers’, by Vindu Goel, New York Times

Back in the mid-1990s, before Google even existed, the world’s best guides to the internet sat in Silicon Valley cubicles, visiting websites and carefully categorizing them by hand.

They were called surfers, and they were a collection of mostly 20-somethings — including a yoga lover, an ex-banker, a divinity student, a recent college grad from Ohio hungry for adventure — all hired by a start-up called Yahoo to build a directory of the world’s most interesting websites.

Character, Fate And Yahoo, by Quentin Hardy, New York Times

The Apple co-founder Steven P. Jobs reportedly told Yahoo early in the millennium that it had to decide whether it was a tech company or a content company. This was a sensible and profound point, and something Yahoo never accomplished.


New App Lets Parents See Through Baby’s Eyes, by Mallika Marshall, WBZ

Dr. David Hunter, a pediatric ophthalmologist at Boston Children’s Hospital, says newborn babies don’t have 20/20 vision and while their vision improves quickly over the first year of life, it isn’t fully developed until about age 5.

Shift 1.1, by Preshit Deorukhkar, Beautiful Pixels

Shift beautifully handles all your scheduling needs across time zones.


The Library Of Last Resort, by Kyle Chayka, n+1

Whatever early progress the Library of Congress made on the internet has been squandered.

Rethinking The Modern Bartender, by Jim Meehan, Lucky Peach

Bartending is no longer just a side job or something to do during a summer in college. You don’t fall into bartending anymore; you choose to be a bartender. The industry has evolved—there’s an unprecedented interest in cocktails—and we have evolved along with it, whether we want to admit it or not. A bartender no longer has to work behind a bar—he or she can focus on sales or operations, advocacy or consulting. Bartenders are journalists and educators. The opportunities are endless. Bartending is a career—and we need to start treating it as such.

How did this happen?

The Skinny-Bundle Edition Friday, July 15, 2016

Eddy Cue On Apple's TV Plans And Why Netflix Isn't A Competitor, by Natalie Jarvey, Hollywood Reporter

"What we're trying to do is build the platform that allows anybody to get content to consumers. If a Time Warner [Cable] or a DirecTV wants to offer a bundle themselves, they should do it through Apple TV and iPad and iPhone. As a matter of fact, I'm not a big fan of the skinny bundle." [...]

"Most people, at the end of the day, end up paying more, not less, for the things they love. With TV content being at an all-time high, why are people asking for less? It has a lot to do with the way it's being provided. If I feel like I'm not getting my money's worth, then I want to pay less and I want less things. But if it were being provided in a rich platform with the capabilities I'm talking about, I don't think people would feel that way. People pay for Netflix as an add-on to TV, and they're happy doing it. And why is that? Because they're happy with what they're getting from Netflix. So the question to ask about skinny bundles is, why are customers not happy?"

Here’s What Apple Really Meant To Say Today About Its Plans To Sell Web Video, by Peter Kafka, Recode

Here’s my translation:

Of course we’d like to sell people a package of TV that would retail for about $30 a month, instead of two or three times that much — that’s what we wanted to launch last fall. And maybe we will, one day.

But we can’t get it now, because even though the TV guys are right at the edge of a cliff, they don’t see it, or won’t accept it. . Which means our skinny bundle won’t be skinny after all.

Art & Craft

Who's Using The iPad Pro At Work? Tattoo Artists, by Mark Sullivan, Fast Company

For Robinson and others in the tattoo trade, the iPad has become a central workspace for the artist and the client. Artists use it to rough out designs both during and after the first in-person meeting with the client.

"[The iPad] has allowed me to draw my sketches directly onto an image of the body part that would be tattooed upon," says Delaware-based artist Fred Giovannitti. Robinson says that base body image is sometimes emailed from the client, and sometimes taken by the artist in the studio at the first meeting.

For Book Lovers

'Amazon Without Amazon': One-hour Book Delivery Service Launched, by Alison Flood, The Guardian

At Ink@84, an independent bookshop in Highbury, north London, an order pinged in on Thursday morning for Jared Diamond’s Guns, Germs and Steel. The Pulitzer prize-winning bestseller was then to be delivered to a nearby customer within 60 minutes – by NearSt, a new platform that is offering one-hour delivery for books across London, as well as the facility to browse your local shops with your phone.

Almost 40 bookshops are now on NearSt’s newly-launched platform, which allows customers in London to enter their postcode and the name of the book they’re looking for on the site or app. They can then order the book for instant collection from a local store, or have it speedily delivered. Entering Joe Hill’s post-apocalyptic thriller The Fireman for my home address in Kilburn, I’m told I can either walk nine minutes to a local shop, Queen’s Park Books, where it will be reserved for me, or have it delivered within the hour.

Can’t Get Through ‘Ulysses’? Digital Help Is On The Way., by J.D. Biersdorfer, New York Times

You don’t like to quit, but need a nudge to wade back into the novel’s overflowing streams of character consciousness, arcane references and shifting structure to follow those people going about life in Dublin on June 16, 1904.

Thankfully, the original 1922 edition is in the public domain and technically diverse artists have taken up the challenge of freshly interpreting “Ulysses” to make it more accessible to a wider audience.

eMusic’s New Owner TriPlay Launches eStories, A New Audiobook Service, by Ingrid Lunden, TechCrunch

eMusic, the veteran digital music company that was acquired in 2015 by Israeli media startup TriPlay, is expanding its horizons. Today the company is launching eStories, an audiobook service that will offer 80,000 titles at a cost of $11.95 per title to use, plus 33 percent off additional purchases.

For Writers

Hands On With Scrivener For iOS, by Six Colors

Scrivener for iOS doesn’t have all the features of its Mac equivalent, which is perhaps unsurprising given that this is version 1.0 of the app. But I’m surprised at how much the iOS version does contain. Users of Scrivener will not be left feeling that they’re purchased a rudimentary shell with file-format compatibility with their desktop writing tool; this is absolutely Scrivener, with a whole lot of complexity hidden behind gestures and buttons.

Review: Scrivener For iOS App Is Finally Out Next Week, And It’s Worth The Wait, by Ben Lovejoy, 9to5Mac

I’m just delighted to have it on my iPad after all this time. For the first couple of days, just seeing the Scrivener icon on my Home screen made me smile, and I’ve used it far more than I expected to.

Cache Invalidation, Naming Things, And Off-By-One Errors

The Names Of Things, by Erica Sadun

A big naming challenge derives from what do you call the thing that stores a value. The Swift Programming Language has this to say: “Use let to make a constant and var to make a variable”, which is not at all helpful because you end up saying “Declare a variable or constant”, “use the variable or constant as a parameter to the function”, etc, etc.

While constants and variables are “bound symbols”, “value bindings”, or just “bindings”, those are hard names to use in writing. “Create a value binding of 5” doesn’t communicate the way “create a new variable or constant and set its value to 5” does.

How (Not) To Write An iOS SDK, by Conrad Kramer,

Many of you might be thinking that writing an iOS SDK is pretty simple: you just put some code in a project, then compile it. However, there’re a lot of small nuances that many end up getting wrong, so that’s why I have “not” in the title; I’m going to go through a long list of things you should do and should not do when building an iOS SDK.


How-To: Understand The Wireless Diagnostics App On Your Mac To Analyze And Improve Your Wi-Fi Network, by Benjamin Mayo, 9to5Mac

Follow along below for a walkthrough of all the screens in Wireless Diagnostics that can help you analyze your Wi-Fi network and find any weak spots. It can be daunting to see so many stats at once but in reality you are only interested in a couple of numbers. We’ll explain what’s important.

Razer Made A Mechanical Keyboard For The iPad Pro, by Vlad Savov, The Verge

This is the first mechanical keyboard created especially for the iPad, and it's to Razer's engineering credit that the company has managed to shrink the requisite components down to a size where it can serve as a reasonably thick cover case as well.

FileSalvage For Mac OS X Can Be A Life-saver In Recovering Deleted Files, by Aaron Lee, Apple World Today

If you've ever had files that were accidentally deleted, became unreadable due to media faults, or which you stored on a drive before it was re-initialized/formatted, you could use FileSalvage from SubRosaSoft.

Landed: Arrivals Made Easy – A New Arrival App By Triposo, by Appolicious

Landed is an app designed with convenience in mind. When a traveler lands in a new destination, all they need to do is launch the app toget all the arrival information they need. The app shows travelers how to get to the city center, displays currency conversion rates, offers tips on where to purchase a SIM card, shows up-to-date weather information, suggests local phrases and even provides last-minute hotel deals in all major cities.


The Noise At The Bottom Of The Universe, by George Musser, Nautilus

To a physicist, perfect quiet is the ultimate noise. Silence your cellphone, still your thoughts, and muffle every kind of vibration, and you would still be left with quantum noise. It represents an indeterminacy deep within nature, bursts of static and inexplicable motions that cannot be gotten rid of, or made sense of. It seems devoid of meaning.

10 Predictions About The Future That Should Scare The Hell Out Of You, by George Dvorsky, Gizmodo

The future looks bright, except when it doesn’t. Here are 10 exceptionally regrettable developments we can expect in the coming decades.

Bottom of the Page

Nobody believes Apple when it says it only has limited ambitions for television.

Is this the opposite of FUD?


Thanks for reading.

The All-The-Songs Edition Thursday, July 14, 2016

Inside The Playlist Factory, by Reggie Ugwu, BuzzFeed

For a while we thought we could choose our own music. Remember that? In the wake of the last century we seized the right to take our pick from all of the songs in the world (All of the songs in the world!) and told anyone who didn’t like it exactly where they could go. And when it turned out that was too many songs after all (how many lifetimes are needed for a complete survey of Memphis soul? Or Brazilian funk?), a new category of music services appeared to ease our burden. But these services were flawed, said someone about to make a lot of money, and could only recommend music based on what we were already listening to. Did they even really know what we wanted? Do we not contain multitudes? And so now we have people like Chery.

Neuroscientists Still Don’t Know Why Music Sounds Good, by Chelsea Leu, Wired

But even with all these differences, neuroscientists have noticed there’s something pretty much everyone agrees on, musically: Some chords sound good—they’re consonant—and other notes grate when they’re played at the same time. Unraveling why that is could explain something basic about how humans perceive the world. Maybe people are just wired that way. Or maybe, as a paper argues today in Nature, it’s a product of human culture.

Apple's Plan To Own The Entire Music Industry, by Neil Cybart, Above Avalon

Apple's ambition in music continues to be misunderstood. Most of the focus remains on the battle between Apple Music and Spotify for paid music streaming subscribers. However, the much more interesting development relates to Apple's desire to grab music mind share. Apple is aiming to leverage its strong balance sheet to control the music narrative, and in the process, remove all of the oxygen from the music streaming industry.

Summer Travels

Pokémon Go: How To Use It As A Tour Guide, by Justin Sablich, New York Times

I didn’t know my Pikachu from my Pokédex before firing up the app for the first time, but it didn’t take long to see that hunting Pokémon could be an interesting way to tour a city. Here are a few tips on how and where to play the game as a traveler.

Lost At The Louvre? There’s An App For That, by Doreen Carvajal, New York Times

This month the Louvre introduced a geo-locator application for multimedia devices that can instantly calculate a path through the museum from da Vinci’s “Mona Lisa” to Géricault’s “The Raft of the Medusa.”

Wanderlust By Design: Organizing Your Summer Travel, by Kit Eaton, New York Times

Summer gives many people the opportunity to step out of their comfort zones and into new adventures. With plenty of apps designed to help plan vacations, smartphones can now act as a sort of personal tour guide.

Facebooking For Everyone

Behind Facebook's Efforts To Make Its Site Accessible To All, by Nicole Lee, Engadget

It all started five years ago when Jeff Wieland, who worked on the company's user research team at the time, discovered that there were people with disabilities who were having a rather terrible experience with Facebook. For example, he found out that screen readers -- software employed by blind users to know what's happening on a page -- would interpret a button on a site as simply, well, "button." It would have no information on what the button does. "This is a really simple example," he said. "For an engineer, adding a label to a button is one line of code. But it changes everything."

The problem, he said, was that developers were not designing the web experience with screen readers in mind. It seems like a "No, duh" explanation, but as Wieland told me, accessibility is not a subject that's often taught in computer science classes. "It's not part of the core curriculum. You have people graduating from great programs, but who have no exposure to accessibility. It's a real tragedy." Indeed, he said that almost all incoming engineers have no prior exposure to the subject.

Beyond Photoshopping

What If Cameras Stopped Telling The Truth?, by Kaveh Waddell, The Atlantic

But just because a company can restrict customers’ rights in exchange for a service doesn’t mean it should. When I asked Lee Rowland, a senior staff attorney at the American Civil Liberties Union, about the idea behind Apple’s patent, she said it reminded her of the way social media companies like Facebook and Twitter set boundaries for their users.

“They as private entities have the right to set the terms of service and the rules of use for their websites and platforms,” Rowland said. “But as more and more of our methods of communication are controlled by private companies, there is a potential loss of civil rights and civil liberties when people lack a constitutional check on the access that the companies provide.”


Best Evernote Alternatives For Mac, by Lory Gil, iMore

If you are looking for an alternative to Evernote, OneNote is your best option thanks to the wide variety of features, cross-platform compatibility, and cloud syncing.

Prisma (For iPhone), by Michael Muchmore, PC Magazine

Using artificial intelligence technology, the app goes beyond merely filtering by letting your photos mimic the work of modernist masters like Van Gogh and Picasso.


For The Record, by Jennifer Aniston, Huffington Post

If I am some kind of symbol to some people out there, then clearly I am an example of the lens through which we, as a society, view our mothers, daughters, sisters, wives, female friends and colleagues. The objectification and scrutiny we put women through is absurd and disturbing. The way I am portrayed by the media is simply a reflection of how we see and portray women in general, measured against some warped standard of beauty.

Bottom of the Page

Well, I was trying out the various podcast players this past week again — because, well, there are always some little things in each of the podcast players that annoys me. So, I'm always on the lookout.

Some players are not suitable for the way I listen to podcasts, such as, for example, pausing the downloads of new episodes just because I didn't listen to the podcast for a while. Others have little things that surprise (not in a good way) me, such as having the sorting option only applicable to half of the episodes in a playlist. And then, there are bugs. I discovered last week that the podcast player I am using 'lost' the first few minutes of an episode -- I can't go back and listen from the start no matter how hard I tried.

In times like this is when I wish I am living in rms' world, where I can simply take the source code and adapt it for my own taste.


Thanks for reading.

The Pods-Everywhere Edition Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Headphones Everywhere, by Amanda Petrusich, New Yorker

Certainly, headphones are an obvious method of exercising autonomy, control—choosing what you’ll hear and when, rather than gamely enduring whatever the environment might inflict upon you. In that way, they are defensive; users insist upon privacy (you can’t hear what I hear, and I can’t hear you) in otherwise lawless and unpredictable spaces. Should we think of headphones, then, as just another emblem of catastrophic social decline, a tool that edges us even deeper into narcissism, solipsism, vast unsociability? Another signifier of that most plainly American ideology: independence at any cost?

It turns out that observers have been fretting about headphones—and the disconnection they facilitate—for decades.

Catch 'Em All

Pokémon Go For iOS Update Addresses Google Account Privacy Issue, Here’s How To Fix It, by Greg Barbosa, 9to5Mac

Today’s update puts a focus on improving the account process for users including fixing the Google full account access scope issue. Users should also no longer have to re-enter their credentials after they’ve been forcefully logged out, and the some issues with crashes should be resolved as well.

‘Pokémon Go’ Creator Closes Privacy Hole But Still Collects User Data, by Nathan Olivarez-Giles, Wall Street Journal

Like other apps, the game actually collects far more information than the name and Gmail address it gets from your Google account. “Pokémon Go” tracks your phone’s location while you’re playing the game, your IP address and the webpage you most recently visited before playing the game, according to Niantic’s privacy policy.

The app uses a Google map of your city and GPS location data to place you in real-world locations where virtual Pokémon creatures can be captured in the app.

BBB Issues Warning About 'Pokemon Go' App, by KSLA

Although the game can be a blast, the Better Business Bureau (BBB) is warning players and parents to be aware of some nuances that go with GO.

I Was A Normal Person With A Life. And Then I Started Playing Pokémon Go., by Chelsea Hassler, Slate

I didn’t want to believe in the power of Pokémon Go. I grew up in a Nintendo household, playing hours of Zelda and Earthbound and GoldenEye; I spent my tween years carrying around a Game Boy on which I alternated between the red and blue versions of Pokémon, conspiring to take down Professor Oak. Still, when I first heard murmurings that a new Pokémon game was turning hordes of adults into Exeggcute-chasing zombies, I told myself that I was immune. As it turned out, I wasn’t.

Read 'Em All

The Best News Aggregation Service: Nuzzel, by Joe Caiati, The Sweet Setup

At its core, Nuzzel places news in front of you based on how often a link is being shared on social media. Your interactions with the app are based on how you tailor it. You can use it for its push notifications, email digest, in-app experience, or all three.

If you connect Twitter and Facebook, Nuzzel can become very powerful based on who you follow. Though, it’s worth noting that if you wanted to use Nuzzel logged-out, it can be just as functional, but may require more set up time at the beginning.


Lifelogging App Instant's Chatbot Shows You Just How Addicted You Are To Your iPhone, by Harish Jonnalagadda, iMore

The feature analyzes your iPhone usage trends and gives you a daily overview of time spent on particular apps, places visited, sleeping and fitness activity, and so on.

Fun New iOS App Is Like Karaoke For Movie Fans, by David Pierini, Cult Of Mac

An in-app teleprompter feeds you your lines from scenes from a selection of classic films, you record your part and then invite members of ROLR community to be your co-stars.

SuperSync Is A Fine Tool For Managing iTunes On A Mac, by Dennis Sellers, Apple World Today

With it, you can retrieve a song from a laptop, play or download a song from a home computer while at the office, upload a new album from the road, or back-up an entire music library on a new computer or network drive.


Apple’s Swift Playgrounds Can Help You Learn To Code, But It’s No HyperCard, by Adam Banks, Ars Technica

Perhaps the biggest restriction of Swift Playgrounds is that it can’t produce finished apps. "It’s possible kids would be put off not being able to make a ‘real app’," Hill said, although he admitted "this could be the first step towards that." Bishop agreed that like many other learning tools, Swift Playgrounds was "simplified, limited in scope, and won’t satisfy the need that all learners have at some stage to create a real product." Although projects can be exported to Xcode on the Mac, this requires a whole new set of skills. "They’ll need more lessons as soon as they enter Xcode," he warned.


Open Casting Call Posted For Apple’s ‘Planet Of The Apps’ Reality TV Show, by Chance Miller, 9to5Mac

The casting call is looking for app creators who have a vision to “shape the future, solve real problems, and inspire change within our daily lives.” “We can really tell their stories as we explore how apps are developed and created and incubated,” Silverman says.

Apple and the producers say the program is more than just a reality show, however, as developers featured will receive mentorship from “the world’s best experts in tech and entertainment.” Developers who make it to the final round of the show will also meet with venture capitalists who will be investing up to $10 million, though Apple says developers are not required to take the money or give up any equity in their apps. Finally, apps featured in the show will also receive prime placement in the App Store.

Why Did Google Get Rid Of The Company Behind Pokémon Go?, by Mark Bergen, Recode

Niantic Labs, the company that built the game, was formed inside the search giant but spun out on its own last fall with the formation of Alphabet. The reasons why are very particular to the gaming company — but they also reveal some hurdles Google faces in its new experimental corporate anatomy.

The Change-the-Design Edition Tuesday, July 12, 2016

This Deaf-blind Lawyer Thinks Your App Needs Work, by Heather Kelly, CNN

The first deaf-blind person to graduate from Harvard Law, Girma is on a mission to get more developers to design software with people with disabilities in mind. An avid iPhone user, she recently decided to go straight to the source.

In June, Girma gave a talk at Apple's Worldwide Developer conference in San Francisco. She urged the software makers to change how they design their applications. Not just to be good people, but because it's a smart business move. Around 15% of the world's population has some type of disability, and many of them are eager to pay for an app that they can actually use.

iPhone Photography

Here Are The Winners Of The 9th Annual iPhone Photography Awards, by Chance Miller, 9to5Mac

The annual iPhone Photography Awards have recognized the top images taken with an iPhone as well as the top iPhone photographers for the last 9 years, and now this year’s winners have been unveiled. This year, “thousands” of images were submitted from photographers across 139 countries, but the grand price went to Chinese photographer Siyuan Niu for an image he called “Man and the Eagle.”

Watch Out, Instagram: New Polaroid App Brings A Nostalgic Classic To Your Phone, by Dan Tynan, The Guardian

Polaroid Swing, available Tuesday from the iTunes App Store, allows users to take “moving photos” with their phone, creating 3D images that appear to move as you swipe your fingers across them.

Where The Wild Things Are

The Curious Mystery Of The Map In Pokémon Go, by Robinson Meyer, The Atlantic

Sheridan is a designer living in Holyoke, Massachusetts. Being of sound heart and mind, he quickly caught a Squirtle. But then he put his phone away. It was Friday night, after all. Yet getting home in the wee Saturday hours, he remembered to check into the game and noticed that there seemed to be a gym right over his house.

“And I thought, that can’t be right,” Sheridan told me. Then he fell asleep.

Sheridan lives in an old renovated church, built during the 19th century. The next morning, he woke up and shuffled to his kitchen. While gulping down glassfuls of iced coffee, he stared out the big window to the park across the street. And then he saw them: A handful of strangers, all standing on the sidewalk in front of his home.

Pokemon Go Was April Fool’s Joke Before It Became A Huge Hit, by Takashi Amano, Bloomberg

In 2014, Google unveiled “Pokemon Challenge” for Google Maps complete with a promotional video, inviting users to find and capture the cutesy fictional monsters within the application. The feature was active for a short while before it was turned off.

John Hanke, chief executive officer of Niantic Labs, took it seriously though. The company that was then part of Google had already scored a hit with the location-based game Ingress, and combining the world of Pokemon with such gameplay was an obvious step. He asked Masashi Kawashima, director of Asia Pacific for Niantic, whether “it could be done in the real world.”

Monsters In Your Gmail

Concerns Arise Over Pokémon Go Granting Full Access To Players' Google Accounts, by Joe Rossignol, MacRumors

Now, an even bigger potential concern has arisen, as systems architect Adam Reeve has discovered that Pokémon Go grants full access to a user's Google account linked during the iOS sign-up process.

Pokémon Go Can Be A Huge Security Risk – Here's How To Play Privately!, by Rene Ritchie, iMore

How can I play Pokémon Go privately and without giving up full access to my main Google Account? By making a burner account!

Niantic Says Pokémon Go Having Full Google Account Access Is An Error, Fix Incoming, by Chance Miller, 9to5Mac

In a statement to ABC News, Niantic explained that the request for full access is “erroneous” and that Pokémon Go actually only accesses basic Google profile information, including user IDs and email addresses. Niantic says that it is currently working on a client-side fix to request permission for basic Google profile information.

Pocket Money

Pokémon Craze Sparks Search For Monster Profits, by Takashi Mochizuki, Wall Street Journal

Finding out where all the profits will go from the wildly popular “Pokémon Go” smartphone game is a search worthy of the game itself.

Pokemon GO's Already Capturing Minds — And Money, by Luke Kawa, Bloomberg

"As users build their Pokemon inventory, spending money becomes needed to store, train, hatch, and battle," he writes. Gibson pointed out that the most popular Pokemon GO item in Australia is currently $0.99 worth of in-game currency meaning the game's App Store ranking "is being driven not by big spenders but by a large number of users."

This Man's Pokémon Go Chat App Is So Successful That It's Driving Him Bankrupt, by Casey Newton, The Verge

Jonathan Zarra knew something about Pokémon Go that most people didn’t. As a beta tester this summer, the 28-year-old freelance developer had early access to the smash hit mobile game — and as a result, he could see that it offered users no way to chat with one another inside the app. And so Zarra built GoChat, an independent app that lets Pokémon Go users leave notes for each other at in-game locations.

Pokémon Go Brings Real Money To Random Bars And Pizzerias, by Polly Mosendz and Luke Kawa, Bloomberg

From a certain point of view, Pokémon Go has managed a feat that has eluded brick-and-mortar merchants for years: turning location-aware smartphones into drivers of foot traffic.

Restaurants Are Using Pokémon Go To Catch Customers, by Kate Taylor, Slate

Tanghui, a high-end Chinese restaurant in Sydney, Australia, announced on Monday that the restaurant would be activating a Lure Model daily at lunch and dinner times, starting on Tuesday.


Discover The Best Way To Save Articles To Read Later, by Sandy Stachowiak, AppAdvice

This handy app lets you save articles, images, and videos for viewing at another time. But, there is more to Pocket than it just being a catch-all for these types of items. Pocket has some great features that allow you to save, organize, and share items with ease.

FolderGlance Is Still A Great Mac OS X Utility, by Dennis Sellers, Apple World Today

FolderGlance lets you preview files directly from the contextual menus, as well as move, copy and make aliases of selected files at locations you browse to.

Review: SanDisk’s iXpand Memory Case Adds Up To 128GB Storage & Extra Battery Life To iPhone 6/6s, by Jordan Kahn, 9to5Mac

The product works well, the companion app for iOS included, and it’s nice to be able to monitor battery and storage with a single solution. If I had one hope for the second generation memory case, it would be for SanDisk to refine the physical design of the case further.

Recapture Time With Moment, by John Voorhees, MacStories

By tracking your iPhone or iPad usage, you can get a handle on how much time you spend on each device, and even how much time you spend in individual apps. What’s more, if you purchase the Pro version of Moment, you can take advantage of its full Phone Bootcamp course and other tools that can help you find ways to reduce your device usage.

Fox Launches Live Primetime Streaming Via, FOX NOW App, by Matt Webb Mitovich, Yahoo

Fox will be the only broadcast network to offer pay TV customers in all 210 television markets nationwide a live stream of its primetime entertainment programming, on all seven nights plus late-night Saturdays.


Apple CareKit: Building The Future Of Healthcare, One iOS App At A Time, by Jo Best, ZDNet

While both are health-focused, HealthKit is as much about good health as ill health, whereas CareKit's focus is more on the how to manage longer-term illnesses and other events that can affect health on an ongoing basis, such as pregnancy or surgery.

Apple has released four 'modules' as part of CareKit, which developers can use to build care apps: Care Card, a tool that allows patients to track if they're taking their medical or completing other therapies as scheduled; Symptom and Measurement Tracker, for patients to keep tabs on the physical and mental effects of their illness and treatment; Insight Dashboard, which compares the two datasets to see how treatments are working; and Connect, which patients can use to share their data with friends, family, or medical professionals.


Apple Donates $1M To Help China Cope With Flood, by Rui Ellie Miao, USA Today

Apple is lending a hand to China while the country battles with its worst flood in years. The China Foundation for Poverty Alleviation (CFPA), a Chinese non-governmental organization, said on Monday that it has received a 7 million yuan (approximately $1 million) donation from Apple.

When Adult ADHD Looks Something Like ‘Flow’, by Jenara Nerenberg, New York Magazine

Writers, entrepreneurs, and creative leaders of all types know that intense focus that happens when you’re “in the zone”: You’re feeling empowered, productive, and engaged. Psychologists might call this flow, the experience of zeroing in so closely on some activity that you lose yourself in it. And this immersive state, as it turns out, also happens to be something that some adults with ADHD commonly experience.

It sounds like a contradiction in terms: You think ADHD and you think of a spaced-out, scattered kid, right? But by definition, ADHD is a “maldistribution” of attention — that is, people who have it often oscillate between splintered and hyperfocused attention. The latter is what Brandon Ashinoff, a psychologist at the University of Birmingham who studies hyperfocus, has called an “interesting paradox” — it’s toomuch focus, as opposed to a scattered attention span. “You’re focused so intently on something, no other information gets into your brain,” Ashinoff has said.

The Code That Sent Apollo 11 To The Moon Just Resurfaced Online And Is Chock-Full Of Jokes, by Jason Daley, Smithsonian Magazine

The source code was written by the MIT Instrumentation Lab with input from computer engineering pioneer Margaret Hamilton. And soon after the data was posted, the internet went to town dissecting every line. Collins reports that the code is written in an assembly program language that is gobbledygook to many programmers today. But the Apollo engineer's comments within the code, which explain what each section does, are a time capsule of 60s geek culture.

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Someone has to be programming Doom Go right now, correct?


Thanks for reading.

The Transforming-The_World Edition Monday, July 11, 2016

This Blind Apple Engineer Is Transforming The Tech World At Only 22, by Katie Dupere, Mashable

At that job fair in 2015, Castor's passion for accessibility and Apple was evident. She was soon hired as an intern focusing on VoiceOver accessibility.

As her internship came to a close, Castor's skills as an engineer and advocate for tech accessibility were too commanding to let go. She was hired full-time as an engineer on the accessibility design and quality team — a group of people Castor describes as "passionate" and "dedicated."

"I'm directly impacting the lives of the blind community," she says of her work. "It's incredible."

Giving Instructions

The Quest For The Next Human-Computer Interface, by Adrienne Lafrance, The Atlantic

Better interfaces don’t just have to work, technically, though. They also have to delight users. This was arguably one of the iPhone’s greatest triumphs; the fact that the device—sleek, original, and frankly gorgeous—made people want to interact with it. That made the iPhone feel intuitive, although an engaging interface is arguably more important than an intuitive one. There’s an entire research community devoted to gesture-based interfaces, for instance, when the use of gestures this way isn’t really intuitive. This isn’t necessarily a good thing, Cummings, the Duke roboticist, told me. Humans are accustomed to gesturing as a way of emphasizing something, but with the exception of people who use their hands for speaking sign language, “How much do we actually do by gestures?” she says. “And then it actually increases your mental workload because you have to remember what all the different signals mean. We get led by bright, shiny objects down some rabbit holes.”


Focus Matrix To-do App Helps Prioritize 'Urgent' And 'Important' Tasks, by James A. Martin, CIO

The idea behind the [Dwight D. Eisenhower's] matrix is to prioritize your action items to be more efficient and focused, and then assign them to one of four categories: "Important/Urgent," "Important/Not Urgent," "Not Important/Urgent," and "Not Important/Not Urgent."

If this strategy intrigues you, you should download the new iOS and Mac app, Focus Matrix. The freemium software makes it easy to add to-do items to one of the four quadrants; view to-dos at a glance in quadrant- or list-view; add due dates and tags; review reports of completed tasks; and more.

HoudahGeo 5 Review: Now Every DSLR Photo Can Include Geotags, by J.R. Bookwalter, Macworld

While you can assign a location in OS X Photos, HoudahGeo offers a more comprehensive slate of features targeted at seasoned shutterbugs, but easy enough for novices to use.


Motivation Is Overvalued. Environment Often Matters More., by James Clear

It can be tempting to blame failure on a lack of willpower or a scarcity of talent, and to attribute success to hard work, effort, and grit.

To be sure, those things matter. What is interesting, however, is that if you examine how human behavior has been shaped over time, you discover that motivation (and even talent) is often overvalued. In many cases, the environment matters more.


What Learning Algorithms Can Predict That Our Physics Theories Might Not, by Andrew Downing, The Firstest Principle

People often describe information physics or digital physics by saying it is something about the entropy of black holes, or the idea that we might be living in a computer simulation. While there’s a lot of important research along those lines, I think it’s even more important to understand why those ideas are worth studying in the first place. So instead, I’m going to start with the following idea:

If it is possible to put ourselves inside computer simulations, it might be possible to put ourselves in a situation where we cannot use existing physics theories to predict what we’ll perceive happening to us, but where we can use machine learning algorithms to do so.

A Unified Time Travel Theory For Star Trek, by Neoteotihuacan, Medium

So, what’s a fan or a Trek writer to do? Well…there are two approaches. Approach number 1 is to just give up and violate continuity by ignoring whatever isn’t relevant to your current Trek context or head canon. This is the easiest, perhaps. Doctor Who would certainly approve. So would J.J. Abrams.

However, I choose approach number 2, which is to figure out a way to create a functional Unified Theory Of Time Travel For The Star Trek Multiverse. And, by Q, I think I’ve done it (along with some help from Christopher L. Bennett). Follow along with me for a moment…

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I was reminded of the "Hot Dog Stand" theme today. If you don't know what that is, you should be thankful that your eyes have not been damaged.

And while you are in a thankful mood, you should also be thankful that Apple's iTunes 'won out' eventually, and spared us all from the nightmare that is Windows Media Player and all its skins.


Thanks for reading.

The Chasing-Pikachu Edition Sunday, July 10, 2016

Hype Check: Pokémon Go Says More About Pokémon Than It Does About AR, by Darrell Etherington, TechCrunch

Basically everyone is Pokémon Go-ing according to Twitter, and I’m sure basic resources like power and water will soon start to shut down because key staff are out chasing Pikachu.

But before we go sagely nodding about the coming Augmented Reality revolution the Poképoaclypse foretells, maybe it’s best to take a step back and examine the components of Pokémon Go’s success, and its potential pitfalls.

‘Pokémon Go’ International Rollout Will Be ‘Paused’ As Players Overload The System, by Matt Weinberger, Business Insider

Niantic, the Google/Alphabet spinoff that co-created “Pokémon Go” with Nintendo and The Pokémon Company, is aware of the problem and hard at work on a fix, CEO John Hanke tells Business Insider.

Hundreds Of 'Pokémon Go' Fans Search For Pikachu In Downtown Sydney, by Ariel Bogle, Mashable

Although players had their heads down in their smartphones, it was still something of a social experience. Wherever rare Pokémon appeared, people would call out and crowds would gather. The abundance of lures, which attract the creatures, meant there were plenty to choose from.

Pokemon Go Player Finds Dead Body In Wyoming River While Searching For A Pokestop, by BBC

Nineteen-year-old Shayla Wiggins, from Wyoming, was told to find a Pokemon in a natural water source but instead found a man's corpse.

Pokemon Go Has An Unexpected Side Effect: Injuries, by Hayley Tsukayama, Washington Post

"Pokemon Go put me in the ER last night," read one post on the Pokemon Go subreddit. (Yes, the game has its own subreddit.) [...]

Others posted that they, too, had near misses or minor scrapes from chasing Pokemon a little too enthusiastically. Some have repoirted mishaps while seeking Pokemon and driving, which is a thing that just shouldn't happen.

That bears repeating: do not Pokemon Go and drive.


Duo Launch Dedicated App For Old Pictures, by Morpeth Herald

An innovative application by two Morpeth residents is encouraging people to feel confident in sharing their treasured old photographs.

The founders of the free Clixta app have developed what they believe is an image-sharing social network that provides a simple and fun way to share pre-digital pictures and save them for future generations.

Prisma App Turns The Most Boring Photos Into Striking Paintings, by Gopal Sathe, NDTV

Ever wanted to turn a photo into a painting? There are plenty of apps and Photoshop filters that can do the job for you, but with most, the effect is pretty limited and the result can look rather feeble. There's an iOS app called Prisma that steps things up to the next level, in a super-easy to use interface that you really have to try out.


Apple’s Creating A New Sticker Economy, And Kim Kardashian Is Going To Dominate It, by Joon Ian Wong, Quartz

Stickers are worth hundreds of millions of dollars to chat platforms. The virtual tchotchkes earned $268 million for the chat app LINE last year. As Apple lays the foundations for its own sticker economy, with an overhaul of iMessage in iOS 10 due in a few months, none other than Kim Kardashian West is waiting in the wings to capitalize on it.

Beer Brewed With The Help Of AI? Yup, That's Now A Thing, by James Temperton, Wired

The world's first beer brewed with the help of artificial intelligence is now on sale. Four beers have been created, with each recipe altered based on customer feedback received by an algorithm.

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In a world of AI and Robots, we will all be out of jobs soon. Whether that means we all live for leisurely pursuits or in the Matrix as energy providers for our robotic overlords, that will depend a lot on the choices we make today. It is time to throw out whatever assumptions we have about job security and welfare.

Meanwhile, let's go catch some Pokémons.


Thanks for reading.

The Video-Transcripts Edition Saturday, July 9, 2016

Apple Makes Searchable WWDC 2016 Video Transcripts Available, by Jeff Benjamin, 9to5Mac

Not only does the transcript feature allow you to read through sessions, but developers can also perform keyword searches, see all instances where a specific keyword is mentioned in a video, navigate straight to the mentioned keyword, and even share a link to a specific time.

Apple's First iOS Developer Academy To Open In October 2016 At University Of Naples, by Joe Rossignol, MacRumors

The free academy will provide more than 200 students with "practical skills and training on developing apps" in the first year, with more to follow in the years ahead, as part of a nine-month curriculum designed and supported by Apple.

Coming Soon

iOS 10's Control Center Fixes Apple's Longstanding Mess At Last, by Nick Statt, The Verge

The new Control Center is another example of Apple's new philosophy on software, which is more focused on fixing failed launches than it is on clutching to bad ideas.


Google Is Making Better Apps For The iPhone Than For Android, by Dieter Bohn, The Verge

Here’s a thing I didn’t really expect to write: I’m finding that I enjoy Google’s apps more on iOS than I do on Android. Or more specifically: I think that there’s more interesting innovation coming out of Google’s iOS app teams than on Android — at least for the moment.

Best Coloring Books For Adults On The iPad, by Lory Gil, iMore

You've probably noticed more and more coloring books for adults popping up at retail stores recently. That's because it is a great way for grownups to take some time to relax and focus on art without having to be particularly artistic. There are some great coloring book apps built specifically for the iPad that cater to different techniques. We've got a list of the best coloring books for adults for all occasions.


Swift 3 Sherlocked My Library, by Jesse Squires

What’s my favorite thing about Swift 3? Not maintaining third-party libraries that make Cocoa more “Swifty”. Swift 3 sherlocked my libraries, and I couldn’t be happier.

The 6 Month Bug (And Why I Will Never Abbreviate Variable Names), by Beehollander

The problem: One file. One line. One term. One variable. One letter.


The 68 Companies (Including Apple) That Are Taking North Carolina's anti-LGBT Law To Court, by Dawn Chmielewski, Recode

Filing together with the Human Rights Campaign, the friend of the court brief argues that the law condones "invidious discrimination" and damages the undersigned companies’ ability to recruit and retain a diverse workforce.

2016 Will Be One Second Longer Than Expected, by Michelle Z. Donahue, National Geographic

“Leap seconds are now a really big deal, so we have to give six months' notice as to when the next one will be introduced,” Chester says. Despite that lead time, about 10 percent of networks around the world fail in one way or another any time a leap second is added, he says.

The Attention-To-Transit-Details Edition Friday, July 8, 2016

Why Apple's Transit Maps Are Rolling Out So Slowly, by Daniel Eran Dilger, AppleInsider

Given that Maps' transit directions were built upon acquisitions including HopStop and Embark, users might be left wondering why Apple still supports fewer cities than HopStop once did, and why new cities are coming online relatively slowly.

The answer has to do with the level of work involved, combined with a close attention to detail that's involved prior to launching transit directions in a new city.

Apple Maps Adds 29 Flyover Locations, Expands Traffic And Transit, by AppleInsider

Today's Maps additions bring 3D Flyover coverage to a number of U.S. cities and popular tourist destinations in Italy, Japan, Mexico and Spain.

Buying Apple's Stuff

Is The Apple Store The Worst Place To Buy Apple Products?, by David Carnoy, CNET

The long and short of it is the Apple Store rarely offers anything in the way of deals or discounts. And yet it allows other stores to sell its products for less -- sometimes substantially less. Which means that despite the fact that the the shopping experience in Apple Stores is generally stellar (if you know what you want, you can be in and out in five minutes), it makes a lot less sense to buy Apple products in an Apple Store.

Teaching With Apple's Stuff

Apple's New 'Starter Guides' Help Educators Integrate iPad, iOS Into Curriculum, by AppleInsider

In a bid to extend its reach into the educational technology market, Apple on Thursday released a set of guidebooks designed to help educators better implement products like iPad and iOS apps into classroom activities.

Coming Soon

With iOS 10, Your iPhone’s Basically Just A Lockscreen Now, by David Pierce, Wired

There are lots of small changes in Apple’s mobile OS, and plenty of big ones, too. They aren’t as obviously, colorfully noticeable as iOS 7, which arrived in 2014 with new ideas about how software should look. But iOS 10 is more important, because it’s full of new ideas about how you’ll use your phone. It overhauls Messages, introduces a lockscreen that is more than a security checkpoint, and makes notifications and widgets something you’ll actually use. As a result, the iPhone finally feels like more than a beautifully decorated home for your favorite apps.


The BBC's iPlayer Radio App Is Going Global, by Jamie Rigg, Engadget

There are a couple of extras Brits have access to that others won't, however. Where rights restrictions apply -- relevant to some live sport broadcasts, for example -- streaming will be disabled; and right now, downloading already aired programs for offline listening isn't possible.


Apple Launching Public Betas Of iOS 10 And macOS Sierra Today, by Eric Slivka, MacRumors

Two days after releasing the second developer betas of iOS 10 andmacOS Sierra for testing, Apple today is launching its public beta program for the forthcoming updates, allowing a broader cross section of users to test out the new features and report bugs to Apple.

Apple Open Sources Swift Playground Support, by Erica Sadun

"The Xcode Playground Support project enables building a Swift toolchain that includes everything necessary to integrate with the Xcode 8 playground experience."

Literate Programming: Presenting Code In Human Order, by John Cook

People best understand computer programs in a different order than compilers do. This is a key idea of literate programming, and one that distinguishes literate programs from heavily commented programs.


China Keeps Squeezing Apple, by Wall Street Journal

In the capital of movie piracy, a state-owned broadcaster is suing the American company for violating its copyright on a 20-year-old propaganda flick. There’s a message here, and it’s not that the Chinese government is suddenly serious about protecting intellectual property. [...]

Apple may have to accept that using privacy as a selling point means it will lose ground in its second-biggest market. The U.S. can complain that China is again violating World Trade Organization rules. But in Beijing the Communist Party’s grip on power trumps everything.

Mossberg: The Tyranny Of Messaging And Notifications, by Walt Mossberg, The Verge

One reason for the messaging overload, especially when it comes to notifications, is that too many apps just have no idea what’s relevant to you, or don’t care. For instance, I signed up for a local text alert service to get notified of things like dangerous storms on the way or bad road conditions, But I’m on the verge of shutting it off because it floods me with texts about anything worse than a fender bender on roads I never travel. It knows nothing about my driving habits and offers no way to teach it. Then, it compounds the distraction by texting me again when the irrelevant traffic tie-up is cleared.

Apple Music Exec Bozoma Saint John Auctioning ‘Power Lunch’ In LA For Charity, by Zac Hall, 9to5Mac

Plenty of Apple execs have auctioned meet ups and keynote tickets for charity over the years, and now Apple Music’s Bozoma Saint John is joining the club. Saint John, who joined Apple through the Beats Music acquisition, made her on-stage debut last month during the Apple Music demo at WWDC 2016.

Why Didn’t ​The New York Times Send A Push Notification After The Baghdad Bombings?, by Kaveh Waddell, The Atlantic

I spoke with two Times employees to try and understand how the paper of record determines what to push to the 30 million devices that are signed up to receive its digital notifications. Eric Bishop, the newspaper’s assistant editor for mobile, walked me through the thought process that led up to two push notifications being sent in the hours after the Istanbul bombings last week.

“We tend to be a little bit more conservative when there’s breaking news, making sure that we feel very confident about the facts before we push it,” Bishop said. “On that one, there was a little bit of debate in the newsroom about whether we knew enough at the time to send a push. But as soon as Turkish officials announced that initial death toll—ten—we felt like we had enough, and we felt it was important enough to alert our readers.”

Martin Baas’ Giant Real Time Clock At Schiphol Airport Features A Man Painting The Minutes For 12 Hours., by Kristin Hohenadel, Slate

First launched at the Milan Furniture Fair in 2009, the Real Time series includes the “Sweepers,” in which two handymen sweep trash into a living time clock for 12 hours; “Analog Digital,” in which a man paints the digits on a standard digital clock; and “Grandfather Clocks,” which features video of a man drawing the hands of a clock from the inside of the clock face. Since then, Baas has expanded the Real Time concept to include an app and the new “Schiphol Clock” that features video of a man in a work uniform behind the translucent clock face painstakingly painting the time minute by minute for as long as you can stand to watch.

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I can't remember clearly now, but did Ping have user-created playlists? Correct me if I am wrong, but you can't share playlist to the entire world in Apple Music, can you? Because I have created a new playlist based on this MetaFilter post, and I do want to share it with everyone. Let's get a little dark with Amy Grant.


Thanks for reading.s

The Make-It-Slow Edition Thursday, July 7, 2016

The UX Secret That Will Ruin Apps For You, by Mark Wilson, Fast Company

Websites and apps now operate on the magnitude of milliseconds. But such speed can make users skeptical or even confused, so companies are responding by building slower, more deliberate interfaces.

Better Learning

A New Way Of Teaching Words, by Stephen Babcock,

Using visuals and audio, the idea is to help students who need help learning language use logic and reasoning to identify the words, instead of memorizing definitions, said Lawrence.

Better Sleeping

A Snooze-Worthy App Collection To Add To The Smartphone, by Kit Eaton, New York Times

With smartphones, tablets and smart watches glowing and buzzing on our night stands, it’s no wonder that low-quality sleep has become a public health problem. Sleep-monitoring apps for smartphones can help.

Better Travelling

Rimowa's Electronic Luggage Tag Is The Future Of Traveling, by Richard Lai, Engadget

Rimowa's electronic tag is essentially an E Ink display with the same width as a standard paper luggage tag (it already has the green stripe required for all flights departing from European airports), and it uses Bluetooth radio to grab data from either Rimowa's dedicated app or supported airline apps -- right now these are only available on iOS.


Leave Your Mark On The World With File New - The Ultimate Photo Editor, by Christine Chan, AppAdvice

I’m rather impressed with what File New has to offer in terms of photo editing, especially the unique textures and gradients for the text and stickers.

Sling TV, A Cord Cutter’s Delight, Arrives On Apple TV, by Julio Ojeda-Zapata, TidBITS

Sling TV’s new Apple TV interface is pretty good. I don’t think it quite matches up to the Comcast X1 interface, another reason I’ve hesitated to cut the cord, but Sling has made great strides in usability since I last reviewed it. [...] Sling also has significantly expanded its content offerings. It once had only 20 or so channels, and that number is now up to about 100.


Apple Open-Sources Its New Compression Algorithm LZFSE, by Sergio De Simone, InfoQ

Apple has open-sourced its new lossless compression algorithm, LZFSE, introduced last year with iOS 9 and OS X 10.10. According to Apple, LZFE provides the same compression gain as ZLib level 5 while being 2x–3x faster and with higher energy efficiency.

Apple Enters The Bot Business, by Sar Haribhakti, Medium

Apple recently opened up its Messages, Siri & Maps products and launched the beta version of its iOS 10 SDK. Apple also introduced rich notifications and comprehensive widgets in iOS 10. It might seem that Apple hasn’t joined the bot world that has been dominated by the likes of Slack and Facebook. But, when we look at this landscape closely, it is fascinating how Apple has indeed joined the race but in a manner most of us did not expect.

Multiple Screen Sizes Create Mobile App Challenges, by Joel Shore, SearchCloud

Where building an app that runs on multiple operating systems -- usually Windows and Mac -- was once a developer's primary technical challenge, it is now the proliferation of screen sizes, even within the same OS, that has become chief among mobile app development challenges.


Apple Joins Wide Array Of Tech Companies In Fight To Kill EU's 'Cookie Law', by Mike Wuerthele, AppleInsider

Apple and a cadre of other tech companies are fighting the European Union's so-called "Cookie Law," lobbying the organization for more refined laws that aim to strike a balance between user privacy and data collected by providers.

Scientific Proof That Buying Things Can Actually Lead To Happiness (Sometimes), by Dinsa Sachan, Fast Company

New studies have provided compelling evidence that there is real value in some kinds of material purchases. In a study that was published in Psychological Science in April, researchers found that people were happier if they spent on things that matched their personality.

All Of Your Internet Petitions Have Been Approved!, by Andrew Martin, Timothy McSweeney's

Great news, denizens of the Internet! As of this morning, all of your internet petitions have been approved!

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The internet has killed the middlemen -- unless, of course, if the middleman is bringing me benefits that I value. If you are a middleman who review all the apps to make sure my wallet and my privacy are protected, I am willing to part some money your way. If you are a middleman that not only (re)distributes movies and TV shows, but also produces some of the best shows, I am willing to part some money your way.

If you are a middleman who can only claim that you give me a lot of music -- just like any other middlemen out there -- then, no, I will only have a relationship with you when you are the cheapest.


Thanks for reading.

The Backdoor-Elanor Edition Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Mac Malware Opens OS X Backdoor To Attackers, by Henry T. Casey, Tom's Guide

The EasyDoc Converter freeware for OS X may promise to convert files to the Microsoft Office .docx format, but in reality, it hands control of your entire system to dangerous attackers. This according to a report released today (July 5) by Bitdefender Labs that reveals that EasyDoc — an application available on the reputable MacUpdate software website — is the latest piece of Mac malware.

Kite Bones

BBEdit Picks Up Automatic Code Completion, A New Trial Model, And More, by Joseph Keller, iMore

With Kite support, BBEdit can now check your code while you edit. Kite offers code completion and error correction, and will even suggest documentation. BBEdit is the first third-party application with built-in Kite support.

Don't Forget Luck

The Secret To Success: Take Risks, Work Hard, And Get Lucky, by Jason Kottke

There's a lot of luck sprinkled around the success of DF, but perhaps the biggest break Gruber got was Apple's decision to open up the iOS App Store to outside developers.


How To Take Better iPhone Photos At Night, by Joe McGauley, Thrilllist

Here are some quick and easy tips to snap better low-light shots with your smartphone, without filtering it to all hell on Instagram.

Take Your Writing Further With Hemingboard, by Jake Underwood, MacStories

In addition to providing synonyms to spice up your copy, it also gives suggestions for rhymes and puns. By providing an experience that doesn't require you to stop what your writing, Hemingboard is able to make its impact directly – and do a phenomenal job at it.

Paws Is A Mac App For Trello With Native Notifications, by Thorin Klosowski, Lifehacker

Paws jams Trello in a desktop app for Mac, complete with notifications and a handful of keyboard shortcuts.

'Pokemon GO' Begins Rolling Out In The App Store, by Husain Sumra, MacRumors

The game uses augmented reality and real-world maps to allow users to venture into the real world to look for Pokemon to capture. Once collected, Pokemon can be leveled up, traded and used for battle.


Apple, Client-side Applications, And Being “Good At Web Services”, by Bryan Irace

To make a great service, the proprietor must truly understand and buy into one of the web’s core tenets: interoperability. This is only becoming more important as time goes on.

Any Vs AnyObject Vs NSObject, by Craig Grummitt

What is the difference between these three enigmatic types? A sometimes confusing topic, let’s get it straight.


Why Siri Is So Important For Apple, by Tim Bajarin, Time

But to think that Apple’s Siri improvements are reactionary shows a lack of understanding about the company’s work in artificial intelligence (AI). Apple has been working on speech and voice AI solutions for decades. In fact, in 1992, I got involved with the earliest version of its voice technology research, which was tied to an early AI and machine learning engine. Apple has been building on that technology ever since.

Securing A Travel iPhone, by

I believe iOS to be the most secure platform one can use at this time, but there are a lot of switches and knobs. This list optimizes for security versus convenience.

The Sneaky Way Broadcasters Are Using TV On The Radio, by Ernie Smith, Atlas Obscura

As analog TV gave way to digital, a handful of risk-taking broadcasters, sensing an opportunity, have started to run those analog TV stations as FM radio stations—big FCC plans be damned. The shift is surprisingly contentious in the world of broadcast.

City Workers Destroy 'Holy Grail' For Earthquake Scientists — Without Even Knowing It, by Rong-Gong Lin II, Los Angeles Times

For nearly half a century, thousands trekked to Rose and Prospect streets to behold a slice of sidewalk that, by conventional standards, had no curb appeal.

Pulled apart so that it no longer aligned, the humble curb wasn’t much to look at. But for earthquake scientists, it was a kind of Holy Grail, perfectly illustrating the seismic forces at work underneath this Bay Area neighborhood.

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If you find someone who has won big in a lottery and ask him (or her) how he (or she) managed to win, chances are he (or she) will tell you about the very sophisticated system that he (or she) has managed to use to predict the winning numbers, or that he (or she) had prayed very very hard (to whoever) before winning big. Not many will reply that it's just dumb luck.

Similiarily, if you ask someone who is successful -- however one defines success -- rarely will luck be mentioned.

But, luck is ever present behind every successful person. Including you and me. Never forget to attribute to luck as one of the many factors that has helped you be successful.

And, more importantly, give a hand to those who are as hardworking as you (given their circumstances), but just didn't have the good luck yet. Be their lucky star.


Thanks for reading.

The Performance-Stars Edition Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Young Performers Look To Apps For Stardom, by Ben Sisario, New York Times

Pop stars were once crowned on “American Bandstand” and MTV, but in the YouTube era the connection to fans has been much more personal. The newest talent incubators are apps like YouNow,, Flipagram, Snapchat and Vine, which satisfy millennials’ preference for rapid-fire interactivity. [...]

Increasingly, the apps are also live, giving users a sense of taking part in something immediate, and creating a new class of performance stars on Facebook Live, YouNow and Twitter’s Periscope app who may make music, dance or simply chat.

Coming Soon

Apple Urges Organ Donation Via New iPhone Software, by Brandon Bailey, Associated Press

Apple is adding the option to enroll in a national donor registry by clicking a button within the iPhone's Health app, which can be used manage a variety of health and fitness data. The software will come to all U.S.-based iPhones when the company updates its mobile operating system this fall.


Paste 2.0 — The Best Visual Clipboard Manager For Mac, by Preshit Deorukhkar, Beautiful Pixels

First up, we get Pinboards — a way to organize your clipboard history. With this feature, you can create groups of frequently used snippets that you can keep pinned in the app, so that you can simply copy and paste them with ease.

Grammarian Pro2 Is Better Than Pages’ Proofreader Feature, by Dennis Sellers, Apple World Today

If you want to add better grammar checking features to Pages, try Grammarian Pro2 X from Linguisoft. It checks grammar and spelling errors interactively (as-you-type) or batch checking (all-at-once).


Why The Humble Notebook Is Flourishing In The iPhone Era, by Josephine Wolff, New Republic

There’s an irony in seeing such an old-fashioned technology as the notebook so widely celebrated online. But in another sense, bullet journal pages seem like a natural fit for the aspirational lifestyle motifs of social media. Looking at perfectly planned, beautifully penned bullet journal pages online quickly gives rise to the fundamental pair of emotions that Instagram seems to have been designed to elicit: “Why doesn’t my life look like that?” and “Maybe, with the right pen, and the right notebook, and the right handwriting, and the right stickers—maybe, my life could look like that!”

Fireworks Displays Can’t Include A Perfect Red, White, And Blue, by Shannon Hall, Nautilus

To this day, a deep, vibrant blue is still beyond our reach, despite the fact that fireworks were invented more than a millennium ago. It’s the holy grail for pyrotechnic experts.

Bottom of the Page

The recent spat between Apple and Spotify highlighted a rule in Apple's App Stores where many had deemed to be user-hostile: apps are not allowed to direct users out of the app for purchases and subscriptions.

However, if you think a bit deeper, you'll discover this is ultimately good for customers. Because, if Apple do allow apps to do this, the logical conclusion is that we will have a whole lot of free apps that you'll have to purchase or subscribe outside of the App Store in order to do anything useful. That means Apple customers will have to key in their credit card details to multiple payment gateways, where probably at least one will have security problems. And there will be at least another one app where it is impossible to unsubscribe. And we will all hate apps.

So, there will be inconvenience -- for example, for Kindle customers. But, I'll say Apple should keep this rule.


Thanks for reading.

The Mobile-Parties Edition Monday, July 4, 2016

From Political Coups To Family Feuds: How WhatsApp Became Our Favourite Way To Chat, by Emine Saner, The Guardian

There is something reassuringly traditional about the neatly typed resignation letters, with a House of Commons letterhead and an attack on the Labour leader within. They are solid and permanent, when everything else seems to be falling apart. And old-fashioned, even if one does tweet a picture of it afterwards, as many MPs have done. But according to reports, those conspiring against Corbyn were far more modern. They used the messaging service WhatsApp. And it wasn’t just Labour. There was thought to be at least one WhatsApp group of Conservative MPs exploring ways to stop Boris Johnson becoming leader. Gone are the days of machinations in back rooms and hushed conversations in corridors; the leaders of the two main political parties could be decided on a mobile app more often used by teenagers wondering where to go on a Saturday night.

‘We Might Die – Quick, Send A WhatsApp’: Couple Saved Via Messenger, Because Pictures Are Better Than Words, by Tyler O'Hare, Techly

A picture is worth a thousand words, as this couple found out when they realised they were stuck – and used a snap from their phone to help emergency crews find and rescue them.

Bending Rules

Like It Or Not, Apple Is Right About Spotify (And Is Bending The Rules For It), by Nate Swanner, The Next Web

[Spotify] seems to be forgetting how commerce works, digital or otherwise. It’s Apple’s store, and the only place to get iOS apps.

And in choosing to have an iOS app, Spotify chose to play by Apple’s rules. It’s also benefiting from them. When I wrote about this dispute popping up, I noted that playing by Apple’s rules was definitely better than pulling the app — Spotify’s only other choice.


Procreate 3.1 For iPad, by Preshit Deorukhkar, Beautiful Pixels

Version 3.1 ships with features such as Streamline, Quick Menu, Automatic Selection, Better Canvas Creation, a Modify button for the Eyedropper tool, Advanced Gesture Controls, Tilt customizer for the Apple Pencil, Video recording up to 4K, PDF export and Duplicate Selection into a New Layer.

Insta360 Nano Cam Gives iPhone 360-degree Video Capture, by Adam Westlake, Slashgear

VR-supported and 360-degree videos are starting to become more common, but your everyday user doesn't always want — or have access to — a big fancy camera rig to capture such footage while one the go. The Insta360 Nano aims to address this need with a pocket-size camera that brings 360-degree video recording to the iPhone.


Why Tech Support Is (Purposely) Unbearable, by Kate Murphy, New York Times

You may consider yourself even-keeled, the kind of person who is unflappable when those around you are losing their cool. But all that goes out the window when you call tech support. Then you fume. Your face turns red. You shout things into the phone that would appall your mother.

It’s called tech support rage.

Eye-Fi Demonstrates The Danger Of Cloud-Dependent Hardware, by Glenn Fleishman, TidBITS

Are you concerned about the long-term viability of devices that fall under the loose notion of the Internet of Things (IoT), in which a cloud connection is required to keep devices functioning? If so, a move by Eye-Fi, which makes SD cards that could automatically transfer newly taken photos to a cloud service, should give you pause. It sure did for me.

Bottom of the Page

Happy birthday, America. Many people still have faith in you.


Thanks for reading.

The Do-More Edition Sunday, July 3, 2016

Here’s What Apple’s Future Lightning Headphones Will Be Able To Do That Normal Headphones Can’t, by Kif Leswing, Business Insider

It’s because headphones with a digital connection — like Lightning or USB-C — can do so much more than traditional analog headphones, according to Carl Alberty, VP of marketing at Cirrus Logic.

The “Internet Of Things” Needs A Fix, by David Pogue, Scientific American

But if convenience always wins, why isn't the public eating this stuff up?

Ironically, it's because today's Internet of Things things just aren't very convenient.


Tired Of Your iPhone Cable Breaking? Here's An Indestructible Replacement, by Adrian Kingsley-Hughes, ZDNet

After months of hard testing and abuse, I've discovered the one iPhone cable to rule them all. If you're tired of broken cables, this is the one for you.

Starting Anew On macOS, by Casey Liss

A few months ago I had to give up my primary computer, and had just purchased a new iMac. In doing so, I came up with a checklist of things to do before disposing of an old Mac, and when installing on a new one.


My Kid Learned More From Mario Maker Than I Did From A Marketing Major, by Isaac Morehouse, Medium

Relax. Your kid is going to be fine. Even if they play a lot of video games.


Apple Plans Third Prineville Data Center, by Mike Rogoway, The Oregonian

The company already operates one, 338,000-square-foot data center above downtown and is halfway through construction of a second, matching facility. Newly submitted plans call for a third of the same size. Each is nearly twice the size of the average Costco.

Teen Opens Up ‘A Whole New World’ To Seniors, by Ana Veciana-Suarez, Herald & Review

The seniors who gather for the monthly one-on-one sessions at The Palace library echo Wishnia’s enthusiasm — and appreciation — for a teenager who has become like an adopted grandson to them. Max’s weekend visits at the senior community are more than a social event. They’re a lifeline.

“Hardly a week goes by that I don’t have a computer question,” Rosner said. “By the time he comes, I have a list this long to ask him.”

Bottom of the Page

I think I remembered spending a lot of time making levels for LodeRunner. I don't think I've learnt a single thing from all those wasted time that I can apply to my life.

Either that, or I have a thick skull.


Thanks for reading.

The Better-Communications Edition Saturday, July 2, 2016

iNSPIRE Dreams Wants To Give iPads To Local Families, by Janelle Walker, Chicago Tribune

Camrin Yaeger, 4, knows how to say things like "mom" and "dad" but understanding some of his other words is harder for the young family, said his mother, Shannon Yaeger.

The Elgin family hopes that an iPad donated this week by iNSPIRE Dreams will help Camrin better communicate his thoughts to those around him.

Shane and Sarah Hamilton, co-founders of iNSPIRE Dreams, know how important a tool like the iPad can be for a family. Like Camrin, their son, Cole, was diagnosed in the autism spectrum when he was 3 1/2 years old.

Running The Store

Apple Slams Spotify For Asking For “Preferential Treatment”, by John Paczkowski, BuzzFeed

In a letter sent to Spotify general counsel Horacio Gutierrez on Friday, Apple general counsel Bruce Sewell rebutted the streaming music service’s June 26 allegations that Apple is “causing grave harm to Spotify and its customers” by rejecting a recent update to Spotify’s iOS app. “We find it troubling that you are asking for exemptions to the rules we apply to all developers and are publicly resorting to rumors and half-truths about our service,” Sewell wrote in a letter obtained by BuzzFeed News.

Apple Says Spotify’s App Already Violates App Store Rules, by Dawn Chmielewski, Recode

In a letter to Spotify, Apple’s general counsel writes that the existing app is similarly at odds with these rules, suggesting it may be at risk of being booted from the App Store.

Spotify’s Apple Dispute Reveals Uneasy Dependence On App Stores, by Alex Webb, Bloomberg

The market for mobile web products is less a megamall of hundreds of shops than it is two supermarkets sitting on opposite sides of a suburban street.

Holding the keys to those supermarkets are two companies: Apple Inc. and Alphabet Inc.’s Google. Should one of them decide not to stock your product, there’s little that you can do persuade them otherwise.

Music-Streaming Peace In Our Time?, by Spencer Kornhaber, The Atlantic

There would be distinct irony in Tidal selling out to Apple, which has been accused of trying to undermine rival streaming apps via the iPhone interface and App Store. Tidal, infamously, arrived via a pompous press conference and video filled with popular musicians slinging anti-corporate platitudes.

Coming Soon

Apple Releases 4 Animated Emoji iOS 10 Messages Sticker Packs For Beta Testers: Classic Mac, Smileys, Hearts, Hands, by Seth Weintraub, 9to5Mac

Apple last night released 4 apps for iOS 10 beta testers, most of which will look familiar to Apple Watch users.

Apple Maps To Gain Japan Transit Data In iOS 10, by Mikey Campbell, AppleInsider

Apple in a recent update to its Japanese website confirmed local transit data will arrive in Maps when iOS 10 launches this fall, further expanding the feature's reach into Asia.


Microsoft’s ‘Word Flow’ Adds Swipe-to-text Functionality To iPhone, by David Schwartz, Geekwire

Word Flow is a fully customizable, super fast, swipe-to-text keyboard that allows iOS users to type easily and efficiently with one hand.

Sharktivity App Debuts July 1, by CapeCodToday

The goal of researchers and town officials is to keep beachgoers safe while maintaining harmony between people and sharks--neither of whom are leaving the waters of the Cape anytime soon.


Improving Color On The Web, by Dean Jackson, Webkit

The past few years have seen a dramatic improvement in display technology. First it was the upgrade to higher-resolution screens, starting with mobile devices and then desktops and laptops. Web developers had to understand high-DPI and know how to implement page designs that used this extra resolution. The next revolutionary improvement in displays is happening now: better color reproduction. Here I’ll explain what that means, and how you, the Web developer, can detect such displays and provide a better experience for your users.


Senate Says Goodbye To The BlackBerry, At Last, by Heather Caygle, Politico

The prehistoric smartphone, once a mainstay on Capitol Hill, will no longer be handed out to Senate staffers after the current supply runs out, according to a notice sent out Wednesday. Staffers were put on alert that since BlackBerry has decided to discontinue the device and there is a limited stock on the Hill, the chamber has no way to replenish the phones once they’re gone.

Van Gogh’s World Seen Through The Perspective Of A Tilt-Shift Lens, by Kate Sierzputowski, Colossal

By placing the works into Photoshop and adding a bit of blur to the painting’s backgrounds, they were able to bring a new perspective to the century-old images, simulating the effect of a tilt-shift lens.

The Cry-Me-A-Stream Edition Friday, July 1, 2016

Spotify Says Apple Won’t Approve A New Version Of Its App Because It Doesn’t Want Competition For Apple Music, by Peter Kafka, Recode

Last fall, Spotify started a new end-run via a promotional campaign offering new subscribers the chance to get three months of the service for $0.99 — if they signed up via Spotify’s own site. This month, Spotify revived the campaign, but Gutierrez says Apple threatened to remove the app from its store unless Spotify stopped telling iPhone users about the promotion.

Spotify stopped advertising the promotion. But it also turned off its App Store billing option, which has led to the current dispute.

Apple In Talks To Acquire Tidal, Jay Z's Streaming-Music Service, by Daisuke Wakabayashi, Hannah Karp and Patience Haggin, Dow Jones

Apple Inc. is in talks to acquire Tidal, a streaming-music service run by rap mogul Jay Z, according to people familiar with the matter.

Why Apple Might Buy Tidal, by Dan Frommer, Recode

Perhaps most importantly, a deal would take Tidal off the market as a competitor for artist exclusives.

Retail Difficulty

Tekserve, Precursor To The Apple Store, To Close After 29 Years, by Rick Rojas, New York Times

Before iPods and iPads and iPhones, before Apple started selling and servicing its devices out of a glass cube on Fifth Avenue, the eclectic Tekserve store on West 23rd Street in Manhattan was where customers went for upgrades to their PowerBook laptops or to have their computers fixed.

But times have changed, Tekserve’s managers said, and on Wednesday, they announced that the company was closing its retail and customer-service operation. The service center will remain open until July 31, and the retail store will close on Aug. 15. About 70 employees will lose their jobs, the company said.

Mac Fans Rue Demise Of Tekserve, New York’s ‘Real’ Apple Store, by Nicole Piper, Bloomberg

“Thanks Tekserve, for saving my Mac from myself so many times,” Carl Zimmer posted on Twitter.

“Wow, @Tekserve is shutting down. For me, this was always the real Apple store,” said Anthony de Rosa in a Twitter post.

There's Only One Siri

With iOS 10, ‘Hey Siri’ Intelligently Activates On Just One Nearby Device At A Time, by Benjamin Mayo, 9to5Mac

Although both devices initially wake up, once one starts recognizing voice input, it appears to send a message to other nearby devices to cancel out the operation. This means that only one device keeps listening and prevents the naive havoc that happened on iOS 9, where all devices would try to answer the ‘Hey Siri’ question causing a confusing cacophony of sound from every nearby iPhone and iPad.

New Third Party iOS 10 App Extensions Designed To Extend Siri, Maps In Tandem, by Daniel Eran Dilger, AppleInsider

Developers building support for their ride sharing apps to plug into iOS 10's Siri can be supported within Maps as well, thanks to integrated efforts between the two teams to share a mechanism for deciphering and responding to user intent, whether driven by voice or the multitouch interface.

Space Music

Apple Music And NASA Team Up On Short Film And Exclusive Songs Celebrating Juno Mission, by Juli Clover, MacRumors

Apple and NASA have collaborated on a short musical film called "Visions of Harmony," which is designed to celebrateNASA's Juno spacecraft reaching Jupiter's orbit. [...] "Visions of Harmony" celebrates the link between exploring space and making music, featuring songs from artists like Weezer and Nine Inch Nails frontman and Apple exec Trent Reznor.


Qwiki And Wonder: No-Nonsense Wikipedia Research, by John Voorhees, MacStories

Both apps are fast, no-frills utilities that help you find and browse what you need, copy a link, and share it quickly.

IQBoxy Prime (For iPhone), by Kathy Yakal, PC Magazine

IQBoxy Prime comes close to being the top all-around app for freelancers and independent contractors whose work demands exceptional, technologically advanced expense tracking.

Hyper Will Sort Through The Internet Muck And Find You The Best 10 Videos Of The Day, by Ashley Carman, The Verge

There are a whole lot of videos on the internet. Some are great, some are bad, and some just shouldn't exist. And that makes figuring out what to watch each day a huge hassle; there are just too many videos to sort through. An app for iOS called Hyper thinks it has the answer.

Facebook Is Shutting Down Its Paper Newsreading App On July 29th, by Casey Newton, The Verge

Facebook is shutting down Paper, a bold reimagining of the company's flagship app for iOS that impressed critics but failed to attract a large audience, the company said today. The app transformed the core Facebook experience into a kind of newsreader, with customizable sections for politics, technology, food, and other subjects. Visitors to the app received a message saying the app would no longer function after July 29th.


Neural Networks In iOS 10 And macOS, by Bolot Kerimbaev, Big Nerd Ranch

Apple has been using machine learning in their products for a long time: Siri answers our questions and entertains us, iPhoto recognizes faces in our photos, Mail app detects spam messages. As app developers, we have access to some capabilities exposed by Apple’s APIs such as face detection, and starting with iOS 10, we’ll gain a high-level API for speech recognition and SiriKit.

Sometimes we may want to go beyond the narrow confines of the APIs that are built into the platform and create something unique. Many times, we roll our own machine learning capabilities, using one of a number of off-the-shelf libraries or building directly on top of fast computation capabilities of Accelerate or Metal.

My Rules For Mutable Foundation Collection Objects, by Brent Simmons, Inessential

I have some simple rules that I always follow when dealing with mutable Foundation collection objects (plus mutable strings) in my Objective-C code.


Software Heritage From Inria Wants To Preserve Old Versions Of Computer Code, by Jacob Brogan, Slate

Where the Internet Archive’s Wayback Machine has long collected past versions of websites, there’s never been a similar repository for code. The new initiative Software Heritage is attempting to change that, pushing back against what it describes as the fundamental fragility of software.

What Would A World Without GMOs Look Like?, by April Fulton, National Geographic

Without genetically-modified foods, we might have to give up oranges and resign ourselves to living with avian flu and more malnutrition.

Bottom of the Page

Honestly, I don't see any good reason for Apple to even consider buyig Tidal. There isn't too much for Apple to gain, and whatever gains Apple realise are only for short terms.


Thanks for reading.