Archive for August 2016

The Two-Tera Edition Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Apple Launches $20/mo 2TB iCloud Storage Plan Ahead Of iPhone 7 Event, by Jeff Benjamin, 9to5Mac

Apple has launched a new 2TB iCloud storage tier a little over a week out from the iPhone 7 launch event. The new 2TB plan, which is its largest plan available, will set users back $19.99 a month.

Health Matters

New 'Breakthrough' iPad Game Can Detect Autism In Children, by Mary Palmer, Daily Record

A simple iPad game is coded with the ability to track finger movements and gestures and accurately diagnosed those with the learning difficulty in 93 per cent of cases.

The researchers behind the app found that those with the condition used greater force and moved their finger in different ways.

Breathe Easy: The Science Behind Fitbit And Apple's Mindfulness Push, by Becca Caddy, Wareable

Over the past few years, big-name devices have gone from keeping tabs on steps and sleep with basic accelerometers to GPS performance tracking, heart-rate sensors, blood oxygen levels, muscle-mass monitoring and so much more.

Now the next big trend in wearable tech seems to be focused on our mental wellbeing rather than our physical performance.

Coming Soon

Siri Takes Charge Of Your Apps In iOS 10, by Nathan Olivarez-Giles, Wall Street Journal

Among the first apps to yield to Siri are big names like WhatsApp, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Square Cash and Slack, along with lesser-known ones including Looklive and The Roll.

I’ve tried out Siri’s new abilities in demos with developers over the past few days. After getting an early look at a more capable Siri, it’s clear that this long-overdue feature is important to making Siri more useful in everyday life. Still, controlling third-party apps is merely a first step toward Siri living up to Apple’s promise as a new way to control our devices.

Paying Taxes

Why Apple’s Statement On Irish Tax Ruling Seems Tone-deaf, But Nothing Will Happen Anytime Soon, by Ben Lovejoy, 9to5Mac

There is no way to spin this kind of arrangement as just. It is clearly an intricate scheme designed to avoid paying taxes that would otherwise be due. And when companies don’t pay their fair share of taxes, you and I have to pick up the slack.

A huge part of Apple’s value is in its brand image. Anything that tarnishes that image – like being seen to defend perfectly legal but rather grubby tax-avoidance measures – could, over the years to come, end up costing the company even more than €15B. It might be smarter in the long-term to take the hit now.

Some Thougts On Tim Cook’s Open Letter On Taxes In Europe, by Kirk McElhearn

Apple is saying that sales in EU countries are actually made by Apple’s Irish subsidiary; that any brick and mortar or online store in another country is actually part of Apple Ireland. That the store where I buy my iPhone in the UK isn’t really in the UK, as far as taxes are concerned. Sorry, that’s just wrong.

Apple’s Irish ‘Sweetheart’ Deal Unfair To Taxpayers, by Ciarán Hancock, Irish Times

Apple and Ireland might well be proved right in their assertions that the tax paid by the tech giant complied with the relevant tax laws, both here and in its home country.

But that really just makes the law, whether in Ireland, the US or elsewhere, an ass. How could such vast sums of money not be subject to tax somewhere in the world?

Ireland Gets An Apple Windfall, But Tackling Tax Avoidance Just Got Harder, by Simon Bowers, The Guardian

Some argue that Vestager did more on Tuesday to damage than to assist this fragile international consensus on tackling tax avoidance. Certainly her intervention has ruffled feathers and, in the short term at least, appears to offer a far from perfect resolution.

That said, any serious effort to root out toxic tax behaviour is bound to create upset along the way. There are powerful vested interests that would like to see the taxation of corporate profits wither and fade into history. Vestager has set herself against such ambitions. A few more politicians showing her courage would be a fine thing.

Apple’s Tax Game Is Hurting Economic Growth, by Nanette Byrnes, MIT Technology Review

Many applaud companies for making smart financial moves, including minimizing what they pay in taxes. But there are consequences to Apple’s decision to make global tax planning one of its core capabilities.

While the company’s money sits in foreign accounts, it is being invested in securities like U.S. Treasuries, stocks, and other investments, not in the kind of research that could help to generate new tech breakthroughs, innovation, and jobs.

Apple, Congress And The Missing Taxes, by New York Times

The way forward is not to declare a tax war with Europe. It is for Congress to agree on a way to tax foreign-held corporate profits. President Obama put forth a reasonable approach in 2015, when he proposed a mandatory 14 percent tax on multinationals’ current offshore profits — whether they are repatriated or not — and, thereafter, a new minimum tax rate of 19 percent on profits moved offshore. An even better approach would be to simply end indefinite corporate tax deferral, imposing American taxes on profits when they are made.

By Singling Out Apple Over Taxes, Brussels Is Abusing Its Own Rules, by Liza Lovdahl Gormsen, The Telegraph

If anything, by singling out a handful of mainly US firms and imposing significant retroactive recovery, the Commission risks distorting competition.

The Commission’s actions threaten to distort the delicate balance between EU state aid powers and member states’ fiscal sovereignty. It creates ambiguity and undermines confidence in the legal system. What’s more, attempting to apply rules after the fact amounts to harmonisation through the back door, and is dangerous for Europe.

Silicon Valley Outraged By Apple Tax Bill: 'Europe Is Changing Rules Retroactively', by Olivia Solon, The Guardian

“Instead of saying ‘going forward, this won’t be allowed’ – which seems more fair – the EU is trying to change the rules of the game retroactively. It makes little sense to me,” said Om Malik of the San Francisco venture capital firm True Ventures.

“If they change the rules going forward, that’s their prerogative. These companies have been complying with the Irish rules. Now a lot of them will have to re-evaluate their relationships with Europe.”

How Apple—and The Rest Of Silicon Valley—Avoids The Tax Man, by Lee Simmons, Wired

For sheer ingenuity, you can’t beat Silicon Valley—especially at outsmarting the tax man. By selling intellectual property rights to sock-puppet subsidiaries, tech giants shift profits to low-tax nations like Ireland. But that’s just a start. Sublicense the IP to a second Irish unit that books global sales, have entity B pay onerous royalties back to A (wiping out its earnings), then show that A is headquartered in the Caribbean, making its royalty income untaxable in Ireland. Slick!

Why Ireland's Government Doesn't Want Apple's Money, by Geoffrey Smith, Fortune

For although the Commission zeroed in on what it thought it to be a very specific abuse of Ireland’s tax code, the Irish government is clearly afraid that this ruling will be the thin end of a wedge that ends in its complete loss of sovereignty over setting its own tax rates. [...] The Commission is inviting other member states to calculate how much they may have lost in tax revenue as a result of the alleged violations, and to claw it back from Ireland. That alone is good reason for Noonan to challenge the ruling. The last thing he or any Irish government wants is to establish that kind of precedent.

You Like Me! You Really Like Me!

Endorsed On Instagram By A Kardashian, But Is It Love Or Just An Ad?, by Sapna Maheshwari, New York Times

Brands such as Jack in the Box and Red Bull have proved willing to pay thousands of dollars per social media mention to people like the Kardashians and other so-called influencers who command big, loyal followings on services likeInstagram, Snapchat and YouTube. These mentions, however, are often presented as testimonials rather than advertisements, a practice that at least one consumer advocacy group has claimed is deceptive.


Will Pedestrians Be Able To Tell What A Driverless Car Is About To Do?, by Adrienne Lafrance, The Atlantic

How will self-driving vehicles communicate with human drivers, pedestrians, and bicyclists? The use of blinkers, brake lights, and hazard lights can be automated, surely, but there are many human gestures and cues that are a crucial part of how people navigate the roads—eye contact, the waving of a hand at an intersection—which a machine can’t precisely emulate.

Apple Adds Jessica Alba To Planet Of The Apps Reality Show, by Jacob Kastrenakes, The Verge

Alba's addition shows Apple sticking with people who bring a mix of star power and actual experience starting up business. Alba founded The Honest Company in 2011 and has been selling "natural" (think: non-GMO, gluten free, organic) baby products since then. Earlier this year, she also launched a natural makeup brand called Honest Beauty.

Why Do We Love Images Of Emptiness? Scientists And Artists Explain, by Katharine Schwab, Fast Company

"My images are empty of people but they’re littered with the traces of human enterprise," says the graphic designer and photographer Rudy Vanderlans, whose work evokes the melancholy of vacant parking lots and other barren California landscapes. "To me, they're anything but empty."

But what psychological impulse lies behind the documentation of spaces devoid of the people that normally traverse them? To find out, Co.Design spoke to scientists and artists to uncover what makes these images so compelling.

Bottom of the Page

I used to visit libraries, bookshops, video shops, CD shops, newstands, and even 7-Elevens, so that I have things to read, to watch, to listen.

Now, I do it all on my bed with my iPhone.


Thanks for reading.

The See-You Edition Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Apple Sends Out Invite For September 7 iPhone Event, by Jim Dalrymple, The Loop

The September event has been focused on the new iPhone for a number of years now, so it stands to reason that this event will be all about the next generation device.

Work Time

Better Track Your Time With Timelines, by Jake Underwood, MacStories

Timelines is an iPhone-only app that helps you manage and record your working time. For freelancers, remote workers, and students, Timelines scratches the basic itch of getting your time down into a piece of software for later action.

Tadam Is An Elegant Mac Timer, by John Voorhees, MacStories

Tadam is a menu bar timer app inspired by the Pomodoro task management technique that was developed by Francesco Cirillo in the 1980s. The technique breaks work into discrete time intervals as a means of improving your focus on the task at hand.

Tax Benefits

August 30, 2016 A Message To The Apple Community In Europe, by Apple

The European Commission has launched an effort to rewrite Apple’s history in Europe, ignore Ireland’s tax laws and upend the international tax system in the process. The opinion issued on August 30th alleges that Ireland gave Apple a special deal on our taxes. This claim has no basis in fact or in law. We never asked for, nor did we receive, any special deals. We now find ourselves in the unusual position of being ordered to retroactively pay additional taxes to a government that says we don't owe them any more than we've already paid.

The Commission’s move is unprecedented and it has serious, wide-reaching implications. It is effectively proposing to replace Irish tax laws with a view of what the Commission thinks the law should have been. This would strike a devastating blow to the sovereignty of EU member states over their own tax matters, and to the principle of certainty of law in Europe. Ireland has said they plan to appeal the Commission’s ruling and Apple will do the same. We are confident that the Commission’s order will be reversed.

Apple Ordered To Pay Up To $14.5 Billion For Illegal Tax Benefits In Ireland, by Romain Dillet, TechCrunch

The bill is getting quite expensive as the European Commission has just released a statement saying that Apple has benefited from illegal tax benefits in Ireland for its European operations. The commission says that Ireland must recover the “illegal aid” — it is worth $14.5 billion (€13 billion).

The debate over European taxes has been an ongoing issue for the past few years. While it’s not illegal to choose Ireland as your main country for your European headquarter, Ireland has gone one step further and granted tax benefits for Apple specifically. This is unfair for other companies headquartered in Ireland and Commissioner Margrethe Vestager has decided that it’s illegal and Apple must repay these tax benefits.


Art Text Lets You Create High Quality Art On Your Mac, by Dennis Sellers, Apple World Today

This app takes easily creating textured text, logos, buttons, etc. to a whole new level of customizability.

Capture And Share Special Moments With Pixinote, by Appolicious

Pixinote combines both physical and digital aspects of photographs to make it a highly memorable asset.

VMware Announces Fusion And Fusion Pro 8.5 With Sierra And Windows 10 Anniversary Support, by Husain Sumra, MacRumors

Fusion and Fusion Pro 8.5 come with macOS Sierra support while both Fusion and Workstation suites come with Windows 10 Anniversary support.


Around The World In An iPhone, by Ben Popper, The Verge

Landing late at night in Shenzhen for my first trip to China, I was nervous about being able to navigate the city. I didn’t speak the language and had never been to Asia. Starting the next day I would have the services of a local translator, but for that first night, I was on my own.

Normally I use Google services for everything, but those are blocked in China. I opened my iPhone, connected to an international Mifi, and tapped the Uber app. The interface alerted me that I would be switching to the Chinese version, controlled now by Uber’s rival-turned-business-partner Didi. The black screen turned a deep shade of red, and just like that, I hailed a cab.

Apple Calls Australian Banks' Request To Bargain Over Apple Pay A Detriment To Consumers, Mobile Wallet Adoption, y Mikey Campbell, AppleInsider

Apple in a recent filing with Australia's antitrust watchdog slammed a request from the country's three top banks for collective negotiations over third-party access to Apple Pay NFC technology, saying a threatened boycott would not only harm consumers, but hinder mobile wallet adoption and innovation.

Bottom of the Page

All I want is a pair of AirPods that last all day on a single charge.


Thanks for reading.

The Solving-Death Edition Monday, August 29, 2016

Apple Needs To Get Better At Dying, by Jonny Evans, Computerworld

I understand that privacy issues must be addressed. I agree that it is not always appropriate for a parent to see their child’s digital lives without expressed permission.

But surely Apple and the rest of Silicon Valley have the in-house legal muscle to create industry-wide frameworks for expressed permission?

Distraction With An iPad

Apple iPads Are As Good As Sedative For Kids Before Surgery: Report, by IANS

New research shows that allowing children to use iPads to distract them before surgery requiring general anaesthesia is as effective at lowering their anxiety as conventional sedatives.

Intelligent Shoots

Microsoft Pix Review: iOS Photography App Uses Artificial Intelligence To Rival Apple’s Camera, by Jackie Dove, Macworld

In my experience, Pix worked well on some photos to improve face rendering, boost exposure, and fix composition and backlighting. The hyperlapse video and cinemagraph features add to the app’s creativity. But it did not consistently outperform the iPhone’s built-in Camera app. Pix does offer meritorious results in some situations, so I recommend giving it a shot to see how it works for you.


Can Foreign Tech Companies Win In China?, by Edward Tse, TechCrunch

Local leadership is critical and appropriate empowerment by the global headquarters to the local leadership to do the right things is essential. While for some, the market is not open or they are not welcome, for many, the opportunities are right there. China is not easy, but why should it be? It’s tough for everyone, no matter if one is foreign or not. And no one can be sustainably successful if they don’t observe, learn and adapt.

Why Tim Berners-Lee Is No Friend Of Facebook, by John Naughton, The Guardian

What Zuck conveniently omits to mention, though, is that he is embarked upon a commercial project whose sole aim is to make the world more “connected” but less open. Facebook is what we used to call a “walled garden” and now call a silo: a controlled space in which people are allowed to do things that will amuse them while enabling Facebook to monetise their data trails. One network to rule them all. If you wanted a vision of the opposite of the open web, then Facebook is it.

The Things You Might Be Doing That Will Force Your IT Guy To Start Spying On You, by Jake Swearingen, New York Magazine

Still, the real giveaway is often just your behavior on the job — and not necessarily what you’re doing online. “The main reason I get involved is when there is already a suspicion that something is happening,” says Paul. “This most often comes from non-technical sources such as attitude or personality.”

Bottom of the Page

Where is the accessibility settings in iOS that turns all gray and tiny text into black and bold text? My eyes really need that.


Thanks for reading.

The Travel-Guide Edition Sunday, August 28, 2016

BlindSquare App Will Help Visually Impaired Access Businesses In Wellington, by Collette Devlin, Stuff

Wellington's retailers are embracing the opportunity to make the capital more accessible by installing a navigation system for the visually impaired. [...] The app developed for the blind and visually impaired provides information to guide the person as they travel.

Goodbye Garage: The Songs We Unwittingly Start Our Drive With, by The Verge

It used to be that turning on the radio was an exciting experience. You never knew what song would be playing, nor when your favorite tune would come on. But this is a worry no longer, thanks to on-demand music streaming services like Spotify or Apple Music.

Except for one thing. Our damn iPhones seem to play the same damn song every time we plug them in. It turns out that the iPhone, for whatever reason, decides to play the first song it can find when plugging into a vehicle USB port or connecting via Bluetooth. And it’s always the first song alphabetically. And no matter how good that song is, eventually, after you hear the first few seconds of it over and over and over and over every time you start your car… well, eventually it’s enough to ruin even the most catchy tune.

Finding Your Way Back To Web Pages In Safari, by Michael E. Cohen, TidBITS

Let’s take a quick look at Safari’s page tracking features so you can get a better idea of what each one is, how it works, and which might work best for your needs. They include Bookmarks, Top Sites, Favorites, Reading List, and Pinned Tabs. Plus, Safari includes several automatic ways to help you get to a particular page: History, which tracks pages you’ve visited, and Shared Links and Feeds, both of which display pages acquired from outside sources that might interest you.


Does Knowledge Matter In The Age Of Google?, by William Poundstone, The Guardian

Today, we’re outsourcing memory and knowledge to the internet. This is often a good thing, but it comes with a drawback. The cloud is making us meta-ignorant: unaware of what we don’t know.

The Pardon-The-Autocorrect Edition Saturday, August 27, 2016

Sent From My iPhone: How A Humblebrag Became A Key Piece Of Net Etiquette, by Lara Williams, The Guardian

Rather the phrase has become an important part of online decorum. Including the sign off contains an innate apology for the brevity of the message. It begs forgiveness for any spelling or grammatical errors. It allows a little wiggle rooms for errant emojis. It is a nod of acknowledgement that you are on the hoof and doing as well as can be expected.

Hey Siri, Do Not Disturb

Introducing The First Voice-Activated Hotel Room, by Elizabeth Segran, Fast Company

The company's future-gazing technologists have developed an app that runs on an iPad that controls the room using Apple's Homekit and Siri. It allows guests to change the temperature, switch the lights on and off, and turn on the television by using voice commands. Internally, this effort has been dubbed "Project: Jetson" because, once set up, it really does feel like we're in the hotel room of the future.

Eric Marlo, Aloft's global brand manager, has been spearheading this effort. "We're always thinking about ways to integrate technology into the guest experience," he says. "This seemed like an obvious one. How many times have you come out of a hot shower at your hotel and felt super cold? Now you can adjust the AC just by saying, 'Hey Siri.'"

Machine Overlords

Yuval Harari On Big Data, Google And The End Of Free Will, by Yuval Noah Harari, Financial Times

Just as divine authority was legitimised by religious mythologies, and human authority was legitimised by humanist ideologies, so high-tech gurus and Silicon Valley prophets are creating a new universal narrative that legitimises the authority of algorithms and Big Data. This novel creed may be called “Dataism”. In its extreme form, proponents of the Dataist worldview perceive the entire universe as a flow of data, see organisms as little more than biochemical algorithms and believe that humanity’s cosmic vocation is to create an all-encompassing data-processing system — and then merge into it.

We are already becoming tiny chips inside a giant system that nobody really understands. Every day I absorb countless data bits through emails, phone calls and articles; process the data; and transmit back new bits through more emails, phone calls and articles. I don’t really know where I fit into the great scheme of things, and how my bits of data connect with the bits produced by billions of other humans and computers. I don’t have time to find out, because I am too busy answering emails. This relentless dataflow sparks new inventions and disruptions that nobody plans, controls or comprehends.

But no one needs to understand. All you need to do is answer your emails faster. Just as free-market capitalists believe in the invisible hand of the market, so Dataists believe in the invisible hand of the dataflow. As the global data-processing system becomes all-knowing and all-powerful, so connecting to the system becomes the source of all meaning. The new motto says: “If you experience something — record it. If you record something — upload it. If you upload something — share it.”

Will Machine Learning Outperform Human Curation In Apple Music?, by Steven Levy

Cue has been involved in Apple’s music efforts for many years, so I asked him about this. Haven’t you planted a flag in the ground with your ‘human touch’ claim? I asked him. What happens now?

Cue wouldn’t concede that his company actually did plant that flag. Right now, he says, Apple recommendations depend on a combo of humanity and machine — flesh-and-blood music editors whose selections are mixed with algorithmic results, increasingly honed by machine learning. “I don’t think machine learning will get some of the human curation things that we want for a long, long time, if ever for that matter,” he says. “But there are a bunch of things we can’t humanly curate because we don’t have enough people. Like we can’t humanly curate all of your music, for example.”

Security Matters

Everything We Know About NSO Group: The Professional Spies Who Hacked iPhones With A Single Text, by Thomas Fox-Brewster, Forbes

NSO Group employees’ lives must seem no different from others in the Israeli tech scene. They turn up every morning at their office in Herzelia, in Tel Aviv’s northern district, take the lift in the plain looking complex – all grey and sandy exteriors – through smart card-lock doors and into to their similarly spartan offices. On the way they give a nod to their neighbours, fraud analysts from EMC-owned RSA, whose job it is to trawl the dark web for cybercriminals’ latest escapades. They might even have time for a brief confab with staffers at their sister company, a secure smartphone designer. Then they settle down to code.

But for the last six years, their everyday routine has been nothing less than extraordinary: create the world’s most invasive mobile spy kit without ever exposing their work. Now, though, they’ve been busted exploiting iPhones in some of the most astonishing attacks yet seen in the world of private espionage. The company, according to analyses from Citizen Lab and Lookout Mobile Security, discovered three previously-unknown and unpatched iOS vulnerabilities (known as zero-days) were exploited by the firm, with just one click of a link in a text required to silently jailbreak the phone. This allowed its malware, codenamed Pegasus, to install on the phone, hoovering up all communications and locations of the targeted iPhones. That includes iMessage, Gmail, Viber, Facebook, WhatsApp, Telegram and Skype communications, amongst other data. It can collect Wi-Fi passwords too.


This Startup Is Bringing Apple’s Newest Programming World Together With One Of Its Oldest, by Matt Weinberger, Business Insider

But here’s the thing: Despite the fact that Swift and FileMaker both carry the Apple pedigree, there was no way to use the two together — effectively barring Apple’s FileMaker customers from moving towards Swift as they continued to build out their smartphone apps.

This is where a startup called PerfectlySoft comes in. Today, PerfectlySoft announces that their flagship product Perfect, which allows Swift to run on servers as well as it does on the iPhone, gets a free FileMaker integration.

3 Mac Apps That’ll Help You Avoid Distractions And Stay Focused, by Daniel Aditya Istyana, The App Factor

When working on my Mac, I tend to try and keep my social media apps and web browser closed. Focus is very important, which is why I keep as few apps open as possible to reduce distractions.

If you’d like to focus when working on your Mac, here are a few apps that are sure to help.

Facebook Says Humans Won’t Write Its Trending Topic Descriptions Anymore, by Kurt Wagner, Recode

On Friday, Facebook announced another small but notable change to Trending Topics: Human editors will no longer write the short story descriptions that accompany a trending topic on the site. Instead, Facebook is going to use algorithms to “pull excerpts directly from stories.”

The Spyware-Infection Edition Friday, August 26, 2016

Apple Issues iOS 9.3.5 Software Update For iPhone, iPad, And iPod Touch, by Zac Hall, 9to5Mac

The update fixes a serious security exploit that exposed contacts, texts, calls, and emails.

Government Hackers Caught Using Unprecedented iPhone Spy Tool, by Lorenzo Franceschi-Bicchierai, Motherboard

As it turned out, the message wasn’t what it purported to be. The link didn’t lead to any secrets, but to a sophisticated piece of malware that exploited three different unknown vulnerabilities in Apple’s iOS operating system that would have allowed the attackers to get full control of Mansoor’s iPhone, according to new joint reports released on Thursday by Citizen Lab and mobile security company Lookout.

This is the first time that anyone has uncovered such an attack in the wild. Until this month, no one had seen an attempted spyware infection leveraging three unknown bugs, or zero-days, in the iPhone. The tools and technology needed for such an attack, which is essentially a remote jailbreak of the iPhone, can be worth as much as one million dollars. After the researchers alerted Apple, the company worked quickly to fix them in an update released on Thursday.


Setting The Record Straight, by WhatsApp Blog

If partnering with Facebook meant that we had to change our values, we wouldn’t have done it. Instead, we are forming a partnership that would allow us to continue operating independently and autonomously. Our fundamental values and beliefs will not change. Our principles will not change. Everything that has made WhatsApp the leader in personal messaging will still be in place. Speculation to the contrary isn’t just baseless and unfounded, it’s irresponsible. It has the effect of scaring people into thinking we’re suddenly collecting all kinds of new data. That’s just not true, and it’s important to us that you know that.

WhatsApp’s Privacy Cred Just Took A Big Hit, by Brian Barrett, Wired

Under the new user agreement, WhatsApp will share the phone numbers of people using the service with Facebook, along with analytics such as what devices and operating systems are being used. Previously, no information passed between the two, a stance more in line with WhatsApp’s original sales pitch as a privacy oasis.

How To Stop WhatsApp From Giving Facebook Your Phone Number, by Michael Duran, Wired

There is a way to opt out of this. But WhatsApp’s opt-out period is only 30 days long, so if you don’t want your phone number shared with Facebook, opt out now before the window closes.

WhatsApp keeps the policy change somewhat hidden, but there are two options. Both are outlined in the FAQ, and both of them will work inside the Android and iOS apps.

Four Years And $22 Billion Later, WhatsApp Has Decided Ads Aren’t Awful, After All, by Peter Kafka, Recode

Things change, perspectives evolve, and sometimes things you said a couple years ago aren’t what you think today. Happens all the time.

Just ask Mark Zuckerberg, who used to have a problem with ads that tracked what you did on the Web, but doesn’t anymore.

Now WhatsApp CEO (and Facebook board member) Jan Koum appears to be on a similar evolution.

Security Matters

Dropbox Is Resetting Passwords For Accounts That Haven’t Changed Them Since Mid-2012, by Matthew Lynley, TechCrunch

Dropbox is requiring users who have not changed their passwords since mid-2012 to reset their passwords this afternoon.

The action appears to be related to continued fallout over the massive hack on LinkedIn in 2012 where credentials for 117 million accounts were posted online. In recent months, treasure troves of user credentials and passwords — in addition to a large MySpace hack disclosed in May — have been discovered. Even though the data for these accounts is old, often passwords remain unchanged for long periods of time and are re-used across multiple accounts, leaving entire online identities vulnerable to hacks.


Apple Plans iPhone For Japan With Tap-to-Pay For Subways, by Mark Gurman, Gareth Allan, Bloomberg

Apple Inc. is planning a new iPhone feature for Japan that will enable users to pay for mass-transit rides with their smartphones instead of physical payment cards. A future iPhone will include technology called FeliCa, a mobile tap-to-pay standard in Japan developed by Sony Corp., according to people familiar with the matter. [...]

Apple has planned to launch these new features with the next iPhone models, which the company is set to unveil in September, according to people familiar with the matter. However, the company could hold back the transit card feature to next year’s model if discussions with the Japan-based payment networks fall apart, one person said. Apple is already at work on a major redesign of the iPhone for 2017 that focuses more heavily on the display by removing the Home button, according to a person familiar with the matter.


Simplenote For iOS Gains Markdown Support, by Preshit Deorukhkar, Beautiful Pixels

The info screen for each note now includes the Markdown button and once enabled, it stays enabled for all future notes.

Recordam Makes It Easy To Create, Store, Share And Play Back Audio Recordings On Your Mac, by Dennis Sellers, Apple World Today

If you need to quickly create, store, share and playback audio recordings on your Mac, Aperio Lux’s Recordam for Mac OS X (10.11 or later) combines a high-quality audio recorder and convenient storage for recorded audio files.

Bottom of the Page

I feel like I am already quite acquainted with the 2016 iPhone, and am now getting ready to get to know 2017 iPhone... Hey, no home buttons? How nice.


Thanks for reading.

The Festival-Headlines Edition Thursday, August 25, 2016

Apple Music Festival 10 Running From September 18 To 30, by Graham Spencer, MacStories

Headlining the festival this year will include performances from Alicia Keys, Bastille, Britney Spears, Michael Bublé, Calvin Harris, OneRepublic, Robbie Williams, The 1975 and Elton John.

Watching Apple’s Music Festival Will Now Require A Subscription, by Tom Warren, The Verge

Apple is planning to live stream all of the 10 performances, but this year you'll need an Apple Music subscription to watch them online.

The AIs

Why AI Consolidation Will Create The Worst Monopoly In US History, by Vinod Iyengar, TechCrunch

Amid the flurry of recent tech M&A deals, you would be forgiven for missing a relatively quiet acquisition: Apple bought Seattle-based artificial intelligence startup Turi for around $200 million. On its own, the Turi deal wouldn’t raise eyebrows were it not for the record amount of M&A in artificial intelligence, with the giants Alphabet, Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Microsoft leading transactions.

Consolidation in any market is expected, but AI is consolidating at such a rapid clip, at such an early stage and by so few companies that there are strong reasons to be concerned. Congratulations should be extended to Turi’s founders and investors, and, to a lesser extent, Apple for reaching an agreement favorable to both parties. However, congratulations must end there.

China Gears Up In Artificial-Intelligence Race, by Li Yuan, Wall Street Journal

Venture capitalists have been pouring money into startups focused on AI, which broadly refers to efforts to make computers emulate human cognitive functions such as recognizing speech or images. Chinese tech companies such as search giant Baidu have been investing heavily in the technology, and poaching high-level talent from foreign rivals.

Enthusiasts of the technology in China say those resources, along with some particular advantages in China, such as the sheer volume of data generated by its enormous population of internet users, makes this an area where China can excel.

Apple Social

Apple Weighs iPhone Video Editing App In Renewed Push On Social, by Mark Gurman, Alex Webb, Bloomberg

Apple Inc., seeking to capitalize on the popularity of social networks, is developing a video sharing and editing application and is testing new related features for its iPhone and iPad operating systems.

The early plans are part of a newly directed focus to integrate social networking applications within Apple’s mobile products and are a response to the success of social media-focused companies such as Facebook Inc. and Snapchat Inc., according to people familiar with Apple’s strategy. An Apple spokeswoman declined to comment.


Flash Card, Math And Organizer Apps For The 21st Century Student, by Kit Eaton, New York Times

The real power of StudyBlue is that you can share flash cards with classmates or teachers. Better yet, the app lets you search flash card sets uploaded by students and teachers around the world, so you can probably find a premade set that is relevant to you by looking up keywords or searching by school.

Microsoft Updates Word Flow Keyboard For iOS With Built-in Search, by Jordan Novet, VentureBeat

The new version of Word Flow lets you swipe left from the right side of the keyboard to bring up a bunch of new options. You can search for animated GIFs, images, your contacts, and the web (through Bing).


Working At Apple, by Rick Auricchio

In October 2001 I ended my third stint at Apple Computer, in all about twenty years working at the company. I bought my first Apple II in summer of 1977 (serial number 0183!). As a software developer on mainframe computers, I used my knowledge to write several magazine articles about programming the II. One thing led to another, and I joined Apple.

Joining Apple that early allowed me to become — to paraphrase Woody Allen in Annie Hall – A Blue-Jeaned Silicon-Valley Garage Computer Engineer Stock-Option Overnight Millionaire.

All The Ways Your Wi-Fi Router Can Spy On You, by Kaveh Waddell, The Atlantic

As people move through a space with a wi-fi signal, their bodies affect it, absorbing some waves and reflecting others in various directions. By analyzing the exact ways that a wi-fi signal is altered when a human moves through it, researchers can “see” what someone writes with their finger in the air, identify a particular person by the way that they walk, and even read a person’s lips with startling accuracy—in some cases even if a router isn’t in the same room as the person performing the actions.

The Artificial-Intelligence Edition Wednesday, August 24, 2016

The iBrain Is Here, by Steven Levy, Backchannel

“We use these techniques to do the things we have always wanted to do, better than we’ve been able to do,” says Schiller. “And on new things we haven’t be able to do. It’s a technique that will ultimately be a very Apple way of doing things as it evolves inside Apple and in the ways we make products.”

Yet as the briefing unfolds, it becomes clear how much AI has already shaped the overall experience of using the Apple ecosystem. The view from the AI establishment is that Apple is constrained by its lack of a search engine (which can deliver the data that helps to train neural networks) and its inflexible insistence on protecting user information (which potentially denies Apple data it otherwise might use). But it turns out that Apple has figured out how to jump both those hurdles.


Turning Instagram Into A Radically Unfiltered Travel Guide, by Jenna Wortham, New York Times

But that same urge to share has created what is, for me, the best travel resource on the web: using location-based searches on social-media apps, especially Insta­gram, to drop in, like Dr. Beckett, to different destinations. Looking at the raw feed of geotagged posts offers a graphic map in real time, which you can comb through to make your own guidebook. I like to think of it as akin to a surf cam. But instead of tuning in to see if the waves are too mushy, feeds give a feel for a place that you can use to decide if a place feels fun and seems safe — whatever that means to you. And this has become my compass, my way of navigating the world. Rather than obsessing over travel sites or print guides or bothering friends for recommendations, I check a new city or town’s location tag right before I get there and see which recent posts are most popular. What I see there is wildly unfiltered, refracted through multiple perspectives — and much more revealing than any other guide.

How An Algorithm Learned To Identify Depressed Individuals By Studying Their Instagram Photos, by MIT Technology Review

That raises the fascinating possibility that it might be possible to diagnose depression en masse by analyzing the photos people post to social-media sites such as Instagram. But how reliable could such an approach ever be?

Today, we get an answer thanks to the work of Andrew Reece at Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and Chris Danforth at the University of Vermont in Burlington, who have found significant correlations between the colors in photos posted to Instagram and an individual’s mental health. The link is so strong that the pair suggest that it could be used for early detection of mental illness.

Fixing Phones

Apple Accused Of iPhone 6 'Touch Disease' Defect, by Leo Kelion, BBC

The repair specialist iFixit published a lengthy blog on Tuesday detailing the issue, and emailed its thousands of followers.

It suggests the cause is two chips that it says are at risk of detaching from a circuit board over time. [...]

But one independent expert expressed caution about the claim, which has since been widely reported.

A Design Defect Is Breaking A Ton Of iPhone 6 Pluses, by Julia Bluff, iFixIt

Turns out, Jessa’s not alone. Lots of repair pros are experiencing the same influx of faulty iPhones—most with flickering gray bars and all with glitchy touch functionality. Rami Odeh, a repair tech from New Orleans, sees up to 100 iPhone 6 and 6 Pluses a month that don’t respond well to touch. About half of the repairs sent to Michael Huie—the specialist behind—show symptoms of the same problem. [...] Here’s where the plot thickens: Replacing the touchscreen doesn’t fixthe problem. The gray bar eventually shows up on the new screen, too. Because, according to repair pros, the problem isn’t the screen at all. It’s the two touchscreen controller chips, or Touch IC chips, on the logic board inside the phone.

Changing Plans

Pinterest Acquires Instapaper, Which Will Live On As A Separate App, by Matthew Lynley, TechCrunch

Pinterest said today that it would be acquiring the team behind Instapaper, which will continue operating as a separate app. TheInstapaper team will both work on the core Pinterest experience and updating Instapaper.

Pinterest’s logic here is that one of the company’s core tenets is bookmarking — much like Instapaper’s primary goal with its app. The company has been on an aggressive acquisition binge in the past few months. In July, Pinterest acquihired the team behind Highlight and Shorts. It would seem that much like other apps that remain very popular in certain niches, Pinterest is going to let this one continue running (at least, until it ends up running its course).

Vesper, Adieu, by John Gruber, Daring Fireball

In hindsight, I am now convinced this plan was fundamentally flawed. The market for paid productivity apps for iOS is simply too difficult. There are exceptions, of course. Fantastical and Tweetbot are two examples from my own iPhone’s first home screen. But paid apps for iOS are the exception. The norm is clearly free apps, with in-app purchases. This is completely clear now, but it should have been clear to me three years ago.

Anchor Tenant

Remembering The Apple Newton: More Isn’t More, by Eric N. Shapiro, Arctouch

Tech historians often refer to the Newton as a device ahead of its time and a predecessor to the iPhone. In many ways, it’s true — Newton was ahead of its time. But the failure had more to do with the fact that the Newton didn’t have a single feature, like the actual phone feature of the iPhone, to help anchor it and make it something a broad audience would understand and desire.


Readdle Releases PDF Expert 2 For Mac With Improved Editing Capabilities And Password Support, by Chance Miller, 9to5Mac

First off, users are now able to edit the text of any PDFs they may receive. This will come in handy for editing documents like contracts and agreements. Additionally, images can also now be edited with users gaining the ability to add, delete, move, and replace images in PDF files.

Photo Editing App 'Prisma' Now Supports Offline Picture Processing, by Tim Hardwick, MacRumors

Popular photo manipulation app Prisma has been updated to allow offline processing of images for the first time.


Tim Cook Reaches Five Years As Apple CEO, Unlocks Over $100 Million In Bonuses, by Joe Rossignol, MacRumors

Upon reaching the five-year mark, Cook has today unlocked previously awarded stock bonuses currently worth over $100 million. The bonuses are tied to both his tenure and Apple's performance under his leadership, including its total shareholder return relative to the S&P 500 index.

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Isn't the Google Reader experience still fresh in everyone's mind? Does an ecosystem build on top of RSS really require a centralized server?

(I'm trying out Castro 2 podcast player full time, if you didn't notice.)


Thanks for reading.

The Journey-To-Apple Edition Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Post-internship At Apple: A Letter To You, by Kat Slump, Medium

I do not want to talk about how amazing Apple was and how much I’ll miss it, although that is definitely true. Nor do I want to explain what I did all summer, because in truth it was all top secret stuff.

However, I would like to talk about my journey to Apple.

Cook's Journey

Cook Must Transcend Jobs’ Legacy At Apple, by Financial Times

A lot can go wrong at any company, especially a very large one. That accounts for the shortening of chief executives’ tenures. It is easy to make strategic errors under pressure from consumers, shareholders and regulators, or steadily to lose touch with what made a company great. Merely avoiding these pitfalls for five years is itself an achievement.

In addition, Mr Cook has made his personal presence felt. He has defied short-term shareholder pressure to return more of Apple’s $232bn cash pile and resisted the idea that he is there solely to serve their interests, rather than that of consumers and society as a whole. He has taken strong and salutary stands on social issues, including his declaration that he is gay.

Tim Cook's Next Five Years As Apple CEO Will Be Different From His First, by Harriet Taylor, CNBC

Though Cook has yet to prove he can be as innovative as the charismatic Jobs, he has successfully steered the franchise and maintained its position as the world's most valuable company.

"Historically, founder-led companies go through existential crises after the founder is gone," said Asymco analyst Horace Dediu. "The fact that Apple didn't implode, but has grown, means mission accomplished."

iOS For Everybody

Looking Back At iOS Accessibility’s Biggest Milestones, by Steven Aquino, 512 Pixels

With the final release of iOS 10 drawing near, it’s fun to marvel at just how mature the operating system has become since its inception. The App Store, app extensions, third-party keyboards, widgets, and more — these all are features that have come since the early days of “iPhone OS 1.0.” As someone who’s been using iOS every day for the last nine years, it’s been exciting to watch the OS evolve over time.

As iOS has evolved, so too has its accessibility features. What started as a small feature set has grown into a comprehensive suite that has won Apple critical acclaim as the best in the industry for its remarkable breadth and depth.

With this sentiment in mind, here’s a look at what I consider to be five milestone iOS accessibility features.

How To Kid-Proof Your iPhone Or iPad, by Jill Duffy, PC Magazine

There are a few settings inside iOS that let you lock down your device so that a curious kid (or a naughty friend) can't poke around apps that contain sensitive data. Additionally, there are some settings that block adult content without restricting access to the entire device, which are useful for older kids who might deserve a little more freedom to surf and play.

Free Music

Apple Announces 2016 Apple Music Festival In London, by Juli Clover, MacRumors

Apple today announced its 2016 Apple Music Festival, a free annual concert series that will see big name artists performing at the London Roundhouse. This year's event will take place from September 18 to September 30.

Process Your Words

It Makes No Sense That Word Processors Are Still Designed For The Printed Page, by Ernie Smith, Motherboard

What's my problem with word processing, the problem that has led me to write this piece? Well, it comes down to a fundamental belief on my part: In some ways, modern editing tools have failed to shake the formidable legacy they created for themselves.

For decades, word processors evolved with printers, taking on features like typography and layout, but the problem is that printers eventually became less important as a way to communicate—and a lot of modern word processors (looking at you, Word) never took the time to change course when the internet became a thing.

Freewrite Electronic Typewriter Review: I Fell In Love With The Worst Computer Money Can Buy, by Michael Nunez, Gizmodo

The Freewrite is a simple machine. It has one button, a full keyboard, and a tiny e-ink screen that can barely update fast enough to keep up with the average typing speed. The device is built for one thing: writing stories, and syncing them to the cloud.


How To Digitally Erase All Your Stuff When You Quit Your Job, by Michael Duran, Wired

It’s your last day at your job. There will be tears! Between the cheesy sendoff at the morning meeting and the after-work happy hour, you have to do something very important: back up all your stuff and securely clear your computer. Be smart about it with these steps.

Microsoft Security Update Brings 64-Bit Support To All Mac Office Apps, by Juli Clover, MacRumors

Microsoft today release a new update for its Office 2016 for Mac apps, introducing small performance improvements, bug fixes, and 64-bit support across the Office lineup.

Want To Hunt Bank Robbers In Your Spare Time? There’s An App For That, by Matthew Dessem, Slate

Back in the day, if you wanted to catch a bank robber, you had to put together a posse, call in Melvin Purvis, or hire a woman in a red dress: the stuff of glamour and drama. But these days not even vigilante justice is safe from the long, dull arm of Silicon Valley. On Friday, the FBI released a mobile app for iOS and Android called Bank Robbers. It promises to be the Uber of bank robbery investigations, at least in the sense that it seems kind of unsafe and it doesn’t pay.


Failing, by Ben Brooks

The advice given that an entrepreneur needs to “fail early and fail often” is some of the worst advice we can give people. The central point of this advice being it is only through failure which we can learn. This advice seems to stem from the more often cited phrase “we learn from our mistakes” or “you’ll only do that once, before you learn” — which are both sound ways of learning — but are distinctly different from failure.

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Insomnia stroked again -- I was awoken at around 12 midnight earlier this morning, and I couldn't get back to sleep. Now I worry: was it really a failure to get back to sleep, or did I just gave up going back to sleep?

Today, I tried just lying in my bed. I tried drinking water. I tried drinking milk. I tried listening to a podcast so that I can hide all my anxiety away. I did get sleepy at a few points through the night -- but my body simply refused to get back to sleep.


Thanks for reading.

The Real-Access Edition Monday, August 22, 2016

Access, Accountability Reporting And Silicon Valley, by Adrienne Lafrance, Nieman Reports

This is what it’s like to be a technology reporter in 2016. Freebies are everywhere, but real access is scant. Powerful companies like Facebook and Google are major distributors of journalistic work, meaning newsrooms increasingly rely on tech giants to reach readers, a relationship that’s awkward at best and potentially disastrous at worst. Facebook, in particular, is also prompting major newsrooms to adjust their editorial and commercial strategies, including initiatives to broadcast live video to the social media site in exchange for payment. Other social platforms are becoming publishers, too, including Snapchat Discover and Reddit, which recently posted job listings for an editorial team.

The lines are blurring, in some cases dramatically, between what it means to be a media company and what it means to be a technology firm. The leaders of some websites with robust newsrooms, like BuzzFeed, even refer to themselves as tech companies first, journalism organizations second. Cash-rich media start-ups and at least one legacy newspaper, The Washington Post, are owned by titans of tech.

Pay This Way

The War On Cash, by Brett Scott, TheLong+Short

'Cashless society' is a euphemism for the "ask-your-banks-for-permission-to-pay society". Rather than an exchange occurring directly between the hotel and me, it takes the form of a "have your people talk to my people" affair. Various intermediaries message one another to arrange an exchange between our respective banks. That may be a convenient option, but in a cashless society it would no longer be an option at all. You'd have no choice but to conform to the intermediaries' automated bureaucracy, giving them a lot of power, and a lot of data about the microtexture of your economic life.

Apple Moves

Apple Acquires Personal Health Data Startup Gliimpse, by Christina Farr and Mark Sullivan, Fast Company

Silicon Valley-based Gliimpse has built a personal health data platform that enables any American to collect, personalize, and share a picture of their health data. The company was started in 2013, and funded by serial entrepreneur Anil Sethi, who has spent the past decade working with health startups, after taking his company Sequoia Software public in 2000. He got his start as a systems engineer at Apple in the late 1980s.

Apple Introduces Major Retail Changes, Including New Pro-Level Positions And Credo, by Joe Rossignol, MacRumors

Apple is implementing three new retail positions in the United States and United Kingdom, and likely elsewhere, including two pro-level positions and an all-new Technical Expert position to complement the Genius Bar/Grove.

In Review

Apple Chief Tim Cook’s Five Years In Five Charts, by Tim Bradshaw, Financial Times

“Cook gets a hard time for not being Steve Jobs, but Apple’s success is grounded in some of those mundane requirements that a lot of the companies fail at,” Mr Wood says, from manufacturing and quality control to diplomacy when dealing with governments such as the US and China. “On balance, Apple has consistently delivered really reliable products.”

Replacing Steve Jobs: How Apple CEO Tim Cook Has Fared Five Years Later, by Steven Russolillo, Wall Street Journal

In his first email to employees as CEO in August 2011, Mr. Cook said: “I want you to be confident that Apple is not going to change.”

But change is inevitable, even if Apple’s shareholders are slow to accept it.

Vesper After Sunset

All-star Notes App Vesper Reaches The End, by Jason Snell, Six Colors

Launched three years ago with fanfare by an all-star development team, the note-taking app Vesper is shutting down.

More Notes On Vesper, by Brent Simmons, Inessential

Belief inside Q Branch: if we had started with a Mac app rather than an iOS app, Vesper would have been much more successful. That wasn’t clear at the time we started, though (Dec. 2012).

Security Matters

The NSA Hack Proves Apple Was Right To Fight The FBI, by Paul Szoldra, Business Insider

Most in the technology community rallied around Apple at the time, arguing that weakened encryption might help government investigators, but it would also make customers vulnerable to hackers.

Now, with a massive top-secret archive of some of the NSA’s own exploits having been leaked online, it appears they were right.

Bounty Hunters Are Legally Hacking Apple And The Pentagon – For Big Money, by Nicky Woolf, The Guardian

Nathaniel Wakelam became a bounty hunter when he was 18.

Now 21, it is his full time job. This month so far he has earned $21,150, in installments: he counted them out over the phone – “400, plus 400, plus 300, plus 100, plus 1,000, plus 3,000, plus 4,000…”

Wakelam’s month-to-month profit varies considerably, but in an average year, he said, he can comfortably clear $250,000, working from his home in Melbourne or on his Macbook in coffee shops or nearby bars.


Swiftly Discovering An Error, by Casey Liss, Liss Is More

The point isn’t that Swift’s Optionals or guard let have no equivalents in Objective-C. The point is that thinking deliberately about these things—and proactively protecting yourself from error conditions—is a fundamental part of how you write Swift.

The Half-Life Of Joy, by Rands in Repose

Whether it’s writing an article or building a feature in software, the work of finishing is both the most important and the least interesting. My early reluctance to engage with an editor is the same gripe engineers have with building unit test, fixing bugs, and documenting their code. We told ourselves the same story, It works… it’s good enough, but what we were really saying was, the interesting work is done.

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When will my shoes gain wheels and become self-driving? (The shoes will need a helmet-cam though.)


Thanks for reading.

The Web-Browser Edition Sunday, August 21, 2016

How Panics About Pictures Of Naked Women Shaped The Web As We Know It, by Sarah Jeong, Washington Post

The Web browser that accompanied this launch was text-only. Two years later, Mosaic became the first browser to display images inline — that is, right next to the text, rather than having to be downloaded in a separate window.

Berners-Lee was displeased with this development. Now, he said, people were going to start posting pictures of naked women.

He wasn’t wrong.

Someone Is Wrong On The Internet. That’s Where I Come In., by Brooke Binkowski, Washington Post

In a famous xkcd cartoon, “Duty Calls,” a man’s partner beckons him to bed as he sits alone at his computer. “I can’t. This is important,” he demurs, pecking furiously at the keyboard. “What?” comes the reply. His answer: “Someone is wrong on the Internet.”

His nighttime frustration is my day job. I work at, the fact-checking site pledged to running down rumors, debunking cant and calling out liars. Just this past week, for instance, we wrestled with a mysterious lump on Hillary Clinton’s back that turned out to be a mic pack (not the defibrillator some had alleged). It’s a noble and worthwhile calling, but it’s also a Sisyphean one. On the Internet, no matter how many facts you marshal, someone is always wrong.

Bloated Web: One Article Shouldn’t Need 55 Pages Of Code To Show Up On Your Phone, by Frédéric Filloux, Quartz

Regardless of promising innovations, the war to reduce HTML’s bloat remains to be won. Many forces—advertising technologies, user profiling, endless analytics, trackers—might conspire to eat all the benefits promised by the proposed new standard.

Siri Talks

Barbra Streisand Brings Siri Kvetch Directly To Apple CEO Tim Cook, by Tony Maglio, The Wrap

“I called the head of Apple, Tim Cook, and he delightfully agreed to have Siri change the pronunciation of my name, finally, with the next update on September 30,” Streisand said during a “Weekend Edition Saturday” NPR interview. “So, let’s see if that happens, because I’ll be thrilled.”


I Tried 5 Potty Training Apps To See If They'd Get My Boys To Go, by Megan Zander, Romper

I road-tested five potty training apps to see which were the most effective at encouraging my 3-year-old twins to use the bathroom so we can say goodbye to diapers once and for all. I hoped that the apps wouldn't just excite the boys with their cool visuals and characters, but that they'd actually offer us all some concrete assistance in the potty-training game. Here are the hits, and unfortunately, the misses.

Fusing Fun With Learning, New 'STEM' Toys Debut, by Marc Saltzman, USA Today

Many of today’s toys reinforce learning through STEM – Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math – which not only straddles the line between entertainment and education, but helps sharpen young minds for a future career in the digital space.


The Battle Over Net Neutrality Started With The 1920s-Era 'Hush-A-Phone', by Lauren Young, Atlas Obscura

Invented in 1921, the Hush-A-Phone was advertised as a “telephone silencer” and a device that “Makes your phone private as a booth.” It produced the same effect as cupping both your hands around the mouthpiece of the two-pieced candlestick model telephone, with others in the room only hearing a rumbling of indiscernible sounds.

Callers only needed to slide the Hush-A-Phone over the mouthpiece of the phone, place their lips in the circular opening, and speak. The device was simple, easy to use, and it worked. Yet, the Hush-A-Phone isn’t remembered for its simplicity, or success in creating an artificial cone of silence. Rather, the device is known for waging a war against the telecommunication giant, AT&T—a historic legal battle law experts compare to feuds over today’s open internet.

Jobless In The Self-driving Economy, by Josh Constine, TechCrunch

The problem is driving constitutes one of the core forms of low-skilled labor alongside cashiers and fast-food prep. The robots are coming for all of them. Some argue that technology will create new jobs for these people. Though while it may create new jobs, they likely won’t be attainable by those losing their low-skilled ones.

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I miss the days of the web when I can remember all the possible HTML tags. Even blink.

I miss the days of the web when I can just create a web page in a single .html file, and don't have to worry about pages and pages of CSS and js files.

I miss the days of the web when I don't have to argue with the designers on whether the navigation menu should be one line or multiple lines, because nobody has any control over that.

I miss the days of the web when the biggest controversy was whether to use .html or .htm extension. And how to pronounce GIF.


Thanks for reading.

The Pushing-Photography-Forward Edition Saturday, August 20, 2016

Steve Jobs To Be Inducted Into International Photography Hall Of Fame, by Joe Rossignol, MacRumors

The International Photography Hall of Fame and Museum, in celebration of its 50th anniversary, has announced that Steve Jobs will be posthumously inducted into its Hall of Fame in St. Louis, Missouri, which recognizes the work of pioneers, artists, and innovators who have pushed photography forward.

The Conflict Photographer Who Captured The Libyan War On His iPhone, by Austin Merrill, Vanity Fair

Photographer Michael Christopher Brown was 32 when he went to Libya in February of 2011, just as the Arab Spring was dissolving into war. A broken camera forced him to document the conflict with his iPhone, and the pictures he made with his phone’s camera over the next several months form the foundation of Libyan Sugar Twin Palms, his first photography book. It is a massive volume, both physically and emotionally, and its photos and writings are as much about Brown himself as they are about the Libyan conflict.

Meet The Sports Photographer Swapping His Camera For An iPhone, by Gordon Hunt, Silicon Republic

Now using the iPhone 6s, Mangin travels around with the PGA tour for colour shots, with the accessibility a smartphone gives you offering something far more powerful and better than any DLSR cameras can.

“I’m less intrusive, less intimidating [than people] with load cameras, tripods and drives,” said Mangin, who is based in California. This suggests some people are now so used to smartphones being around them, they can act more natural when Mangin is looking for an opportunistic shot.


The Illustration App That Will Get Your Kids To Draw, by Miriam Harris, Digital Arts

Artie’s Magic Pencil aims to teach the fundamentals of drawing to children – offering a relaxed and encouraging space for potential young illustrators who might need some coaxing into the creative world.

Facebook’s New Teens-only App Lifestage Turns Bios Into Video Profiles, by Josh Constine, TechCrunch

[Lifestage] asks for your happy face, sad face, likes, dislikes, best friend, the way you dance, and more, but instead of filling in this biography quiz with text, you shoot videos. Lifestage turns those clips you recorded into a video profile others can watch.


Mimo’s New App Teaches You How To Code On Your iPhone, by Sarah Perez, TechCrunch

The idea with Mimo is to break down computer science lessons into smaller chunks, allowing aspiring coders to practice coding in lessons that don’t take longer than a couple of minutes to complete. This way, you can work learning to code into your daily routine, whenever you have a few minutes of downtime — like on your daily commute, while in the waiting room for an appointment, in between classes or anywhere else.

How To Get Time For Your Projects, by Shawn Blanc

You make time by saying no to a lot of things — other interests, hobbies, time-sucks, etc.

You also need boundaries for yourself so that you know when to say no to other people and opportunities. Your creative ideas and the side projects you’re working on are valuable.

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Something was bothering when I read the news that Apple is hiring a team of lyrics curators.

Today I realized that these particular jobs will always be in danger of being eliminated by Apple itself, because surely one day, Siri's speech-to-text capabilities will be improved to be accurate enough to transcribe lyrics from songs.


Thanks for reading.

The Apple-Store Edition Friday, August 19, 2016

Apple Drops 'Store' From Apple Store Branding, by Juli Clover, MacRumors

Apple appears to be making a slight branding change to its retail business, dropping the "Store" moniker when referring to its Apple Store locations. Apple has already made the change online, and all of its store pages now refer to stores by names like "Apple Union Square" or "Apple Valley Fair" or "Apple The Grove," instead of "Apple Store, Valley Fair" or "Apple Store, The Grove."

Deleting Now

New York Times Closing Free NYT Now App At The End Of The Month, by Ben Lovejoy, 9to5Mac

The New York Times has announced that its NYT Now app is to be withdrawn as of 29th August. The app, which provided a curated selection of stories from the paper aimed at younger readers, was launched at South by Southwest back in 2014.

The New York Times Is Shutting Down Its Lauded, Younger-reader-seeking NYT Now App, by Joseph Lichterman, Nieman Lab

While NYT Now may not have attracted a large enough audience to make it sustainable — and, as Levy wrote, much of its DNA lives on in the main Times mobile app — users on Twitter nonetheless lamented the app’s closure.

News Apps Are Dying Off. But In A Way, They’ll Live On, by Klint Finley, Wired

These days, most people only regularly interact with a handful of apps. Facebook and other social media apps monopolize the public’s attention, making it hard for publishers to build audiences for their standalone apps. That imbalance also puts immense pressure on news outlets to make their stories shareable on social media.

Deleting Cellular

Apple Hits Roadblocks In Cutting Watch Ties To iPhone, by Mark Gurman, Bloomberg

During the discussions, Apple executives expressed concern that the cellular models may not be ready for release this year and that the feature may be pushed back to a later generation, according to the people. Apple warned that, even on an aggressive schedule, the earliest possible shipment time-frame for cellular models would have been this December, one of the people said.

The source of the delay is that current cellular chips consume too much battery life, reducing the product’s effectiveness and limiting user appeal, according to three of the people. Apple has begun studying lower-power cellular data chips for future smartwatch generations.

Using It Wrong

Taking CarPlay For A Spin, by Khoi Vinh, Subtraction

CarPlay’s inherent flaw is that it’s a software solution that’s intended to work with a variety of hardware configurations, none of which are controlled expressly by Apple. This is the antithesis of what Apple prefers to do, and it shows.

11 Dumb Things You May Be Doing To Your Smartphone, by Jake Swearingen, New York Magazine

If you want to Marie Kondo your phone’s background apps, feel free — it certainly doesn’t hurt to swipe away that untouched game of Candy Crush from a certain dark period of your life. But it’s not going to give you any extra battery life, or speed up your phone’s performance in any appreciable way. In fact, because your phone will have to restart the app fresh when the siren call of Candy Crush becomes too strong, you may be forcing it to use a little more battery power than needed.


6 iPhone Apps That Turn Your Photos Into Art, by John Patrick Pullen, Time

Another latte art shot? Sure, everyone loves a masterfully poured tulip doodle in their morning brew, but there’s no need to photograph it for your friends — again. It’s alright, everyone runs out of photographic inspiration from time to time. But instead of boring your Instagram followers, up your game with the latest wave of photo art apps.

Faster RSS Subscribing With Feed Hawk, by John Voorhees, MacStories

The Feed Hawk app can be used to add feeds to your service, but its real power is in the extension.

Microsoft Brings OneNote Importer To Evernote For Mac Users, by Emil Protalinski, VentureBeat

Microsoft today launched its OneNote-to-Evernote tool for Mac. [...] Once your notes have been imported, you can access them in OneNote on your computer, phone, and the web.


Counting Apple’s Customers, by Horace Dediu, Asymco

Even though it has not happened yet, the trend is pretty clear. Apple will at some point in time have a billion paying customers.

What is more significant that the specific count is that these customers mostly chose to be customers individually. Some may be have been given the products as gifts, but the vast majority bought the items for themselves. Apple benefitted from hundreds of million of individual purchase decisions.

Australia Denies Banks Interim Approval To Jointly Negotiate With Apple On Payment Apps, by Matt Siegel, Reuters

Australia's three biggest banks, including the number one lender National Australia Bank (NAB), last month lodged a joint application seeking permission to negotiate as a bloc from the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC).

The ACCC said that its decision not to grant the banks the interim ruling was not indicative of whether the full ruling, expected in October, would be successful or not.

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So now that Apple is dropping the word 'Store' in the brand, will the upcoming Apple Store in Singapore's Orchard Road be called "Apple Orchard"? I really really hope so. Steve Jobs -- not known for nostalgia -- may or may not approve of this name, but I will be delighted.


Thanks for reading.

The Environmental-Progress Edition Thursday, August 18, 2016

Apple Announces Environmental Progress In China, by John Voorhees, MacStories

First, it announced that Lens Technology, which produces glass for Apple, has committed to using 100% renewable energy for all of its Apple operations by the end of 2018. [...] Second, Apple announced that all of its fourteen final assembly sites in China comply with UL’s Zero Waste to Landfill standard, which “certifies all of their manufacturing waste is reused, recycled, composted, or, when necessary, converted into energy.”

Apple’s Tim Cook Arrives In China Bearing Gifts: A New Research Center And Environmental Help, by Chris O'Brien, VentureBeat

In his five years as CEO, Cook has made Apple’s relationship with China a high priority. He was the first Apple CEO to visit, amid controversy over treatment of employees by the companies that build Apple’s gadgets. He has also expanded the number of Apple Stores in the region from 4 to 41. And he finally managed to sign a deal with China Mobile — the country’s largest carrier — that super-charged iPhone sales.


With Eyesight Failing, CEO Hurries To Make Voice-enabled Tech Mainstream, by David Pierini, Cult Of Mac

When Chris Maury tried helping an elderly blind woman use voice commands on an iPad, she thanked him but said, “I just wish Siri could read me the news.”

Maury understood her frustration. He, too, was losing his vision and could foresee a struggle to remain productive using the visual interfaces common on all computing devices.

Remember When You Have To Develop Your Photos?

The Story Behind The Perfect Photo Of Olympic Pain, by David Davis, Deadspin

What does it feel like to have your lifelong dream dashed in an instant? How would you react?

Mary Decker experienced that worst-case scenario at the 1984 Summer Olympics, when America’s most talented and heralded middle-distance runner became entangled with chief rival Zola Budd midway through the 3000-meter finals, causing Decker to lose her balance and fall to the track. Injured and unable to rejoin the race, Decker’s wail echoed throughout the Los Angeles Coliseum as Budd and the other runners in the field continued toward the finish line.

Photographer David Burnett was stationed directly across from the action and squeezed off a series of pictures that that led to the worst moment of Decker’s career. He would be the first to tell you that he snapped the pictures—and THE picture—by happenstance. He was at his first Olympics, that most unwieldy of sporting events for journalists to cover, and he was not really a sports photographer.


The Best Apps For Guitar Players, by Brian Sutich, The App Factor

One of the biggest barriers to learning guitar used to be cost. In today’s day and age, any computer or phone that can connect to the internet gives you the opportunity to learn guitar easily and on the cheap.

I wanted to share some of my most used apps for guitar practice and playing. These range from simple utilities (like a metronome) to full on backing tracks. These are the apps I go to every time I pick up a guitar to practice. Let’s dig in!

Apps That Help Take The Guesswork Out Of Grilling, by Kit Eaton, New York Times

Cooking with fire is a technique dating to our prehistoric ancestors, but today it can feel high tech with the many apps that take the guesswork out of grilling.

Parallels For Mac Has A New Version, But No Huge Reason To Upgrade, by Jon Brodkin, Ars Technica

Like clockwork, Parallels releases a new version of its desktop virtualization software for Mac computers every year. They often coincide with major new versions of the Windows and Mac operating systems, requiring major software changes to bring new Windows features to Apple computers or to make sure everything keeps working properly.

Parallels Desktop 12 for Mac is thus being announced today, but there isn't much to be excited about. While Parallels can run just about any operating system in a virtual machine, its primary purpose is letting Mac users run Windows applications. For that use case, last year's Parallels Desktop 11 release is still good enough.


Don't Try To Be Happy. We're Programmed To Be Dissatisfied, by Frank T Mcandrew, The Guardian

Perversely, such efforts to improve happiness could be a futile attempt to swim against the tide, as we may actually be programmed to be dissatisfied most of the time.

Part of the problem is that happiness isn’t just one thing.

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I'm happy to report that I've had a good 7.5 hours of sleep last night.

Hope I didn't jinx tonight.


Thanks for reading.

The Black-Hat Edition Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Apple’s ‘Behind The Scenes Of iOS Security’ From Black Hat USA 2016 Released, by Greg Barbosa, 9to5Mac

Black Hat, famously known for its information security conferences, has just released the ‘Behind the Scenes of iOS Security’ video from this year’s USA event. The talk, led by Ivan Krstic, dives into some of the security methods that currently exist in iOS and what Apple does to keep users secure. This talk was also where Apple had introduced its first security bounty program.

KeyShade Is A New Password Manager For Mac OS X And iOS, by Dennis Sellers, Apple World Today

Featuring automatic backup and cloud sync functionality, it’s designed to providea safe repository for sensitive information, offering a secure, encrypted database for managing website logins, bank accounts, credit cards, and notes. Its entire user interface exists within one menu on the menubar.

Stories Time

A Charming Alternative Universe Of You, Your Friends And No News, by Farhad Manjoo, New York Times

This might sound corny. But as more of our digital spaces become stuffed with news — and, perhaps more alarmingly, suffused with an anxiety to always put forward your best self — there seems to be a growing appetite for honest, unself-conscious personal sharing online. That is helping to fuel not only Instagram Stories but also Snapchat, which recently surpassed the unceasingly newsy Twitter in daily use, and, a two-year-old app on which young people (mostly) make music videos.

Overlapping Stories On Snapchat, Instagram, by Shelby Le Duc, USA Today

So then why would anyone use Instagram to do something so obviously meant for Snapchat? The answer is clear: Because Instagram does it better. Way better.

Appify The World

Mind Your Own Business, by Barbara Ehrenreich, The Baffler

At about the beginning of this decade, mass-market mindfulness rolled out of the Bay Area like a brand new app. Very much like an app, in fact, or a whole swarm of apps. Previous self-improvement trends had been transmitted via books, inspirational speakers, and CDs; now, mindfulness could be carried around on a smartphone. There are hundreds of them, these mindfulness apps, bearing names like Smiling Mind and Buddhify. A typical example features timed stretches of meditation, as brief as one minute, accompanied by soothing voices, soporific music, and images of forests and waterfalls.

This is Buddhism sliced up and commodified, and, in case the connection to the tech industry is unclear, a Silicon Valley venture capitalist blurbed a seminal mindfulness manual by calling it “the instruction manual that should come with our iPhones and BlackBerries.” It’s enough to make you think that the actual Buddha devoted all his time under the Bodhi Tree to product testing. In the mindfulness lexicon, the word “enlightenment” doesn’t have a place.


The Internet’s Safe Harbor Just Got A Little Less Safe, by Klint Finley, Wired

Last week a federal judge ruled that cable Internet provider Cox Communications must pay $25 million in damages to BMG Rights Management, which controls the rights to the music of some of the world’s most popular artists. The court found that Cox was liable for the alleged copyright infringement carried out by its customers, safe harbor or not. The decision might not rattle the giants of the Internet business, like Comcast, Verizon, Google and Facebook–at least not yet. But it could be bad news for smaller companies that can’t afford such costly legal battles. And if companies start fearing they’ll lose their safe harbor, they might have to start more carefully policing the content posted by their users.

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I am guessing when Apple introduces Touch ID on the Mac platform, the Touch ID button will not exist separately away from the computer. This will work with laptops, as well as iMacs, where the Touch ID button (I guess) will be on the monitor's bezel.

Which is one reason why I am now guessing Apple may be ending the Mac Mini and Mac Pro lines in their current incarnation.


If you are following the adventures of a (slightly) insomniac me, you will remember last night I was fearing of waking up in the middle of the night and couldn't get back to sleep.

Well, I had a dream last night, when, for whatever reason, I was deciding between continuing to sleep, or wake up. Guess which option I chose in my dream?

I woke up at 1.30am, and couldn't get back to sleep.

So, now, I am typing this with my eyes closed. Thanks to the years of Mavis Beacon, I don't think I have made any typos yet.


Thanks for reading. And may you sleep better than me.

The User-Voice Edition Tuesday, August 16, 2016

What I Learned Working With Jony Ive's Team On The Apple Watch, by Mark Sullivan, Fast Company

One great example is [when] I went to a meeting and said I’m going to put sensors in the watch but I’m going to put them down here (he points to the underside of the Apple Watch band he’s wearing) because I can get a more accurate reading on the bottom of the wrist than I can get on the top of the wrist. They (the Industrial Design group) said very quickly that "that’s not the design trend; that’s not the fashion trend. We want to have interchangeable bands so we don’t want to have any sensors in the band."

Then at the next meeting I would go "we can do it here (on top of the wrist) but it’s going to have to be kind of a tight band because we want really good contact between the sensors and the skin." The answer from the design studio would be "No, that’s not how people wear watches; they wear them like really floppy on their wrist." That creates a set of requirements that drives you toward new engineering solutions.

That’s kind of what we had to do. We had to listen to them. They are the voice of the user. There’s the whole field of Industrial Design that focuses on the use case, the user experience.

Podcast Manager

Castro 2 Review, by John Voorhees, MacStories

Podcast management is hard if you listen to a lot of shows. Castro's episode-focused approach works especially well if you find yourself not wanting to, or without the time to, listen to every episode of each show. By adding some shows to the top or bottom of your queue automatically and moving others there manually, it is possible to strike a nice balance between automation and curation that fits most listening styles without maintaining multiple playlists based on complex rules.

Talking Pair

Knock Knock, Who's There? Google Duo Voice Calling, by Edward C. Baig, USA Today

Duo is indeed simple to use but it’s also bare-boned—for example, it is not tied to an instant messenger app in which you can also text. Instead it’s all about letting you make or receive a video call from your Android or iOS phone with the added ability to make such calls across the rival platforms.

Google Launches Duo Video Calling App, A Dull cross-OS FaceTime Rival, by Josh Constine, TechCrunch

Duo looks a bit bland, though, since it can’t do group calling, video effects, or any text chat. If you want to video call someone without Duo, you’ll have to invite them over SMS with an app download link. Starting from zero users with that uncertainty might push people to go with a competitor their contacts are likely to already have. That’s a big disadvantage versus the ubiquitous Facebook Messenger and Skype’s video call features.

Talking Apps

How Disaster Apps Work—And Don't, by Nicholas Kman, Fast Company

But as the failure of the French app during the Nice attack illustrates, communication is almost always a problem during disasters—no matter what kind of problem it is: weather-related, an attack of some kind, or even just a power outage. Effective communication, such as an evacuation alert as a hurricane approaches, can save lives. Unfortunately, as we saw during Hurricane Katrina, disasters can themselves cause damage resulting in communications breakdowns. This problem is best solved by emergency planners using the same strategy individuals figured out for themselves in Nice: create multiple independent systems to ensure connectivity.

Cross-Platform Pictures

Get Out Of Gun Control, Apple, by Jonathan Zittrain, New York Times

Apple, Microsoft, Google and other “big tech” companies should not be placed in a position, which they themselves do not want, of having to decide which words or emojis do and don’t represent their brand. Apple should be no more responsible if someone uses a gun image in the abstract than if someone happens to type the word “gun.”


A New Version Of Dragon Speech Recognition Roars Onto The Mac, by Dennis Sellers, Apple World Today

Nuance Communications has announced its new suite of Dragon professional productivity solutions for Mac OS X and Windows that leverage Nuance Deep Learning technology to deliver upwards of 24% greater accuracy.

Creative Apps For iPad, by Liyo Kikon, Eastern Mirror

One of the best uses for the iPad are the creative apps and you can definitely do a lot on it thanks to the large screen size and the app store, which is full of really cool creative apps for artists, musicians, designers, writers, videographers and all kinds of art form. Here are a few apps I highly recommend you to try out on your iPad.


Wikipedia Is Not Therapy!, by Andrew McMillen, Backchannel

After driving for a while, he parked outside a local school and switched off the engine. He pulled out his iPhone and started typing a lengthy email. Titled “The End” and sent to a public Wikipedia mailing list watched by thousands of people around the world, late on the evening of Tuesday, May 17, Elliott’s email begins, “I’ve just been blocked forever. I’ve been bullied, and I’m having suicidal thoughts.”

More than 2,000 words later, after recounting the events surrounding his ban in the exhaustive manner of a man well-versed in defending his position to nitpicking online strangers, he wrote, “I know I’m not well. I have fought this feeling for a decade.” Elliott ended with this: “I sit here in my car and contemplate suicide. My despair is total. There is not a kind one amongst you. You have taken my right of appeal, my ability to protest and my dignity. You have let others mock me, and I have failed to contribute to Wikipedia’s great mission — one I feel so keenly. I failed. I’m not sure what I’m going to do next. I will drive, I don’t know where. I pray my family forgives me.”

The Wall Street Journal Is Changing Up Its Paywall, Offering Guest Passes And Expanded Link-sharing On Social, by Shan Wang, Nieman Lab

Now the Journal is trying to make its paywall neither stricter nor leakier, but bendier. It’s now testing 24-hour guest passes for non-subscribers, an offer that pops up when readers access a story shared by a subscriber or a Journal staffer. (If you don’t enter your email address, you just get to read the one story.) Down the line, the Journal may also be testing other time increments for the guest passes.

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Nothing saps energy from me more than having a meeting at work, except multiple back-to-back meetings. I am dead tired right now. All I can think of is how tired I am.

I think I am going to bed early tonight. I just wish I don't wake up in the middle of the night and cannot get back to sleep.


Thanks for reading, and good night.

The Apple-Puns Edition Monday, August 15, 2016

Apple Has A Funny Way Of Naming Its Holding Companies, by Kif Leswing, Business Insider

Apple’s made apple puns before. It named its line of computers after the Macintosh apple. But since then, the company hasn’t named many products after apple varietals.

Instead, it names holding companies after the fruit — not for obvious types like Red Delicious or Granny Smith, but usually a more obscure type of apple.


Power Manager For Mac OS X: Power To The People, by Frank Petrie, Apple World Today

Power Manager covers the most basic of your tasks; turning on and off your Mac, and sending your computer to sleep after an assigned time of inactivity. But Power Manager does so much more than that. You are able to launch scripts and tools to automate complex or repetitive tasks. You're also able to distribute schedules and remotely manage your Mac. It's an all in one personal assistant.

Prisma Review: Intelligent Photo Effects App Taps Into Deep Learning For An Edgy Art Connection, by Jackie Dove, Macworld

Despite its flaws, I really like Prisma and think it’s worthwhile to check out for anyone interested in art, special effects, and photography for its fascinating interpretations and abundant choices.

Microsoft Office For iPhone Gets Drawing Support For Your Fingers, by Tom Warren, The Verge

Just like the Windows and iPad variants, Office on iPhone will now let you use your finger to write, draw, and highlight documents.


I Still Think Selfies Are Bad, by Erin Gloria Ryan, Jezebel

In the last three years, we’ve learned that posting self-taken photographs to the internet is often a sign of pathology that occasionally results in death. That’s hardly empowering.

I feel vindicated as fuck right now.

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I still think that cameras steal souls.


Thanks for reading.

The North-Star Edition Sunday, August 14, 2016

Tim Cook, The Interview: Running Apple ‘Is Sort Of A Lonely Job’, by Jena McGregor, Washington Post

He spoke in candid terms about the mistakes he’s made on the way, such as his first hire to run Apple’s retail stores (“that was clearly a screw-up”). He fiercely defended Apple’s tax policies. He touched on succession planning and the importance of grooming internal candidates. He was at his most spirited when talking about privacy and the long-term future of Apple and the iPhone — calling Apple’s big presence in the smartphone industry “a privilege, not a problem” — and quieted considerably when talking about Jobs’s memory. “I know this sounds probably bizarre at this point,” he said, “but I had convinced myself that he would bounce.”

Cook, 55, chooses his words carefully, taking long pauses and speaking with a slight Alabama drawl. Though he has favorite phrases — many things are “deep,” and Apple’s mission is always its “North Star” — he eschews the jargon many CEOs use. And while he’s quick to trumpet Apple, he is also unassuming, quickly noting, after saying his job can be “lonely,” that “I’m not looking for any sympathy. CEOs don’t need any sympathy.”

That reflects how Cook’s imprint on Apple has often been described — making it more systematic, more transparent, more team-oriented, more humble. He has engaged on social issues more than most CEOs, writing op-eds on legislation that limits gay rights and making the extraordinary decision earlier this year to oppose the FBI’s request to unlock the San Bernardino killer’s phone.

Don't Trust Anybody

A Few Thoughts On Cryptographic Engineering, by Matthew Green, A Few Thoughts on Cryptographic Engineering

So Apple finds itself in a situation where they can't trust the user to pick a strong password. They can't trust their own infrastructure. And they can't trust themselves. That's a problem. Fundamentally, computer security requires some degree of trust -- someone has to be reliable somewhere.

Apple's solution is clever: they decided to make something more trustworthy than themselves.

Training And Hiring

Coding Boot Camps Attract Tech Companies, by Josh Mitchell, Wall Street Journal

The Flatiron School’s 12-week course costs $15,000, but earns students no degree and no certificate. What it does get them, at an overwhelming rate, is a well-paying job. Nearly everyone graduates, and more than nine in 10 land a job within six months at places like Alphabet Inc.’s Google and Kickstarter. Average starting salary: $74,447.

Employers are increasingly hiring graduates of the Flatiron model—short, intensely focused curricula that are constantly retailored to meet company needs. Success, its backers say, could help fuel a revolution in how the U.S. invests in higher education, pushing more institutions toward teaching distinct aptitudes and away from granting broad degrees.

Small Town Blues

Pokémon Go’s Augmented Reality Is Augmenting The Reality Of This Small Town, by Perry Stein, Washington Post

This nearly three-century-old riverfront town in Virginia’s Prince William County has unwittingly become a hotbed for the new game, which is drawing droves of players to the town as they use their phones to capture make-believe creatures that are living in abundance among Occoquan’s real-life residents (all 1,016 of them). A place that touts itself as “an oasis and a little-known gem” offering “that personal touch of Main Street USA” has transformed into a virtual-reality superhighway.

“It’s quite unbelievable,” Occoquan Mayor Elizabeth Quist said. “I get in traffic jams coming home from council meetings on Tuesday nights now. I can’t think of another time on a weeknight I’ve been six deep at a stop sign waiting for other people to go. That’s a traffic jam for Occoquan.”


Writing App Ulysses Blends Power And Simplicity, by Julio Ojeda-Zapata

Ulysses fills a key niche as a personal writing app that packs a punch but doesn’t suffer from feature overload. It has particular appeal for writers who continually move among Macs and iOS devices and want to have a consistent work environment and no major compromises on the iOS side.

Food Apps Are Go-to Guides For Diners And Cooks, by Blair Anthony Robertson, The Sacramento Bee

Convenience is what appeals to most of us when it comes to apps. In this age of instant access, we’re used to getting information – in this case, tracking down recipes – whenever we want.

Listen To This New App To Drown Out Other Noises, Or Just Get Trippy, by Elizabeth Chang, Washington Post

H--r has seven filters: Super Hearing (which amplifies sounds), Auto Volume (intended to dampen background noise), Relax (self-explanatory), Happy (which creates lighter, fun effects, though perhaps not the advertised “ecstatic cascades of happiness”), Talk (which will take voices and “autotune them into music”), Office (which creates a cocoon of somewhat annoying sound around you) and Sleep (whispery and spooky). The whole thing is a bit trippy, and I can imagine people using it, well, recreationally.

Hit The High Notes With This Bespoke Musical App, by Belfast Telegraph

Essentially a music social network, the app is centred around a news feed which displays what your friends are listening to. It lets you listen to previews via Apple Music or YouTube, then download songs directly from iTunes.

Swim Away

Why Do Swimmers Break More Records Than Runners?, by BBC

"They involve virtually all parts of the body. And they are moving through water which is so much more dense, which means that everything that you do has to be optimised - your head position, your streamline position with your body, how your arms are above and below the water, how you kick. Those are all things that are very complex. It means that there's lots of room for optimisation." [...]

Then there's the fact that the pool is a controlled environment, whereas the track is outside - it's much harder to control temperature and humidity, which can affect an athlete's performance.

This Is Why There Are So Many Ties In Swimming, by Timothy Burke, Regressing

In a 50 meter Olympic pool, at the current men’s world record 50m pace, a thousandth-of-a-second constitutes 2.39 millimeters of travel. FINA pool dimension regulations allow a tolerance of 3 centimeters in each lane, more than ten times that amount. Could you time swimmers to a thousandth-of-a-second? Sure, but you couldn’t guarantee the winning swimmer didn’t have a thousandth-of-a-second-shorter course to swim.

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“You have no responsibility to live up to what other people think you ought to accomplish. I have no responsibility to be like they expect me to be. It's their mistake, not my failing.” -- Richard Feynman

I wonder how this applies to me. As everybody knows, I am no Feynman.


Thanks for reading.

The Pink-Bikinis Edition Saturday, August 13, 2016

Food Delivered To Your Beach Towel, by Annie Correal, New York Times

Combrr works a lot like Uber: Customers drop a pin at their location. Vendors can accept or decline an order, and customers can track its progress from the app. There’s a $5 delivery fee, and the entire transaction, including the tip, is done digitally, bypassing the city’s requirement for a permit to sell items on the beach.

But in addition to geolocation technology, Combrr relies on customers’ selfies and instructions. A sample note: “We’re wearing pink bikinis sitting under a polka-dot umbrella on 99th.”

Swiftly Everywhere

Introducing A Perfect Companion To Apple's Swift, by Jonny Evans, Computerworld

Designed solely for the purpose of server-side Swift development, Perfect is a Web application server for OS X and Linux created by a lesser known Canadian startup historically connected to Apple, PerfectlySoft.

Flying High

iPad Apps Help Cut Fatal Crashes Of Private Planes To New Lows, by Alan Levin, Bloomberg

Among the factors credited for the decline: better training of pilots and technological advancements that make planes easier to fly and provide up-to-date weather and other information. That can range from advanced crash-avoidance systems to apps for mobile devices.

Thanks To This Man, Airplanes Don’t Crash Into Mountains Anymore, by Alan Levin, Bloomberg

Before retiring in June, Bateman and his band of colleagues dabbled in the world of Cold War espionage, hid the true cost of their endeavor from their corporate masters and endured skepticism from the very airlines whose planes were being lost. In spite of repeated changes in corporate ownership and the blunt-spoken Bateman’s occasional threats to quit, he worked on his mission to save lives with the same group for almost six decades, colleagues said.

Eventually Bateman’s Enhanced Ground Proximity Warning System became required in most commercial planes around the world, dramatically reducing accidents in which perfectly good aircraft with trained crews plowed into the ground or bodies of water, almost always in poor visibility.

Changing Boss

Taking Your Personal Project Full-Time, by Shawn Blanc

So my point is that you’ve got to love the process and the journey. You must love doing the work. And you’ve got to be delighted with having just a teeny-tiny amount of impact.

This is crucial for a few reasons.

How The Affordable Care Act Contributed The Rise Of The Blended Workforce, by Myuni Khan, NetworkWorld

Along with the rise of professional freelancing and the uncoupling of benefits from traditional employment, the Affordable Care Act (ACA) has also played a significant role in facilitating the rise of the blended workforce. The ACA is driving companies to look for ways to contain costs and rethink workforce structures. It is also making it easier for people to become freelancers without sacrificing income or benefits.


Lumen Automatically Adjusts Your Mac's Brightness Based On Screen Contents, by Thorin Klosowski, Lifehacker

So, if you’re looking at a dark window of an app, it will automatically brighten. If it’s all white, it will darken.


Apple's Pricey Data Center Finally Gets The Green Light, by Sam Shead, Business Insider

Apple has received planning permission to build just one data hall but it hopes to build a total of eight on the site over the next 10-15 years. The iPhone maker will have to apply for planning permission every time it wants to open a new data hall.

The facility will be built in the middle of a forest just outside the small town of Athenry in County Galway. It will initially consist of a single data hall, an administration building, and other associated developments.

Pokémon Go Crosses $250m In Revenues Since Launch, by Madhumita Murgia, Financial Times

Players of Pokémon Go have spent more than $250m on the addictive “augmented reality” mobile game in its first few weeks, according to an international survey, with the figures suggesting it is on course to hit $1bn in sales.

Facebook Rolls Out Code To Nullify Adblock Plus’ Workaround Again, by Josh Constine, TechCrunch

The cat-and-mouse game is sure to rage on.

The Fundamental-Feature Edition Friday, August 12, 2016

“A Honeypot For Assholes”: Inside Twitter’s 10-Year Failure To Stop Harassment, by Charlie Warzel, BuzzFeed

According to 10 high-level former employees, the social network’s long history with abuse has been fraught with inaction and organizational disarray. Taken together, these interviews tell the story of a company that’s been ill-equipped to handle harassment since its beginnings. Fenced in by an abiding commitment to free speech above all else and a unique product that makes moderation difficult and trolling almost effortless, Twitter has, over a chaotic first decade marked by shifting business priorities and institutional confusion, allowed abuse and harassment to continue to grow as a chronic problem and perpetual secondary internal priority. On Twitter, abuse is not just a bug, but — to use the Silicon Valley term of art — a fundamental feature.

Twitter Statement On BuzzFeed Safety Story, by Twitter

We feel there are inaccuracies in the details and unfair portrayals but rather than go back and forth with BuzzFeed, we are going to continue our work on making Twitter a safer place.

Coming Soon

New Accessibility Features Coming To Apple’s Ecosystem, by Steven Aquino, TidBITS

At WWDC, Apple introduced a slew of enhancements to its four software platforms: iOS, macOS, watchOS, and tvOS. Although there was no mention during the keynote, Apple also has added new accessibility features aimed at addressing a wide range of needs.

Here is a rundown of the new accessibility features across Apple’s operating systems.

How Apple's New Privacy Settings In iOS 10 Will Impact Mobile Advertising, by David Kirkpatrick, Marketing Dive

The iOS 10 update significantly changes what IDFA flags send back to advertisers and developers. The new version sends back a completely anonymized set of zeroed-out values, giving users a much higher level of privacy.


Simplenote, The Planet’s Most Useful Piece Of Software, Is Now Open Source On iOS, macOS And Android, by Devin Coldewey, TechCrunch

If you haven’t tried Simplenote, you really should. It’s just cloud-synced text documents, and it’s so much simpler and more lightweight than something like Evernote (which daily grows larger and more cumbersome) that I use it for just about everything, from shopping lists to the Great American Novel.

Make Dull Photos Dazzle, by Ray Saitz, Peterborough Examiner

Your smartphone or tablet can take excellent photos and your computer or laptop is a perfect place to store and organize your library of snapshots. However, it's what a mobile device or computer can do to enhance a picture that is really exciting.


VR Will Break Museums, by Adrian Hon, Medium

The first sign came with the Oculus Rift DK2 last year, when I discovered that consumer virtual reality could finally replicate a sense of physical presence in a digital world.

The second came last month, when I visited the British Museum’s Sicily exhibition.

The exhibition was perfectly fine, a well-curated narrative of the Greek and Norman periods of Sicilian history — the greatest hits, if you will. But here’s the thing: I couldn’t see shit.

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I don't like how Apple has implemented full-screen apps in Mac OS X -- so, I've been experimenting with hiding both the menu bar as well as the Dock while 'maximizing' all my windows.

So far, I like it.


Thanks for reading.

The For-Schools-And-Teachers Edition Thursday, August 11, 2016

Apple's ConnectED Program Has Helped Over 32,000 Students, by Juli Clover, MacRumors

Apple today announced that its ConnectED program, which saw the company donating $100 million in products to schools and teachers across the country, has impacted the lives of more than 30,000 students.

As of the 2016-2017 school year, there are 32,145 students at underserved public schools who have received iPads from Apple to bolster their education. Teachers have received more than 9,042 Macs and iPads and Apple has helped to install 189 miles of internet cable in schools.

More Money

After Apple Offers $200,000 For iPhone Hacks, A Private Firm Offers $500,000, by James Vincent, The Verge

There's an arms race in the hunt for tradable software vulnerabilities, but it's not just about methods — price counts too. Last week, Apple launched its first ever bug bounty program, offering cash rewards of up to $200,000 for ways to compromise its hardware and software. This week, an exploit trading firm named Exodus Intelligence unveiled its own new program for collecting vulnerabilities, which just happens to include a bounty for hacks targeting iOS 9.3 and up worth $500,000 — more than double what Apple is paying.

What Do You See

Understanding Basic Aesthetics In Photography, by Sebastian Jacobitz, Petapixel

Recently I got a message from a person who said that they liked my pictures, but unfortunately they don’t have a “photographic eye.” This inspired me to write the following article about basic aesthetics and their relationship to photography.

Smart Competition

App Darling IFTTT Says It Can Run With Apple, Google And Amazon In The Smart Home Race, by Mark Bergen, Recode

Starting today, IFTTT is allowing these recipe capabilities to live inside other company apps, starting primarily with home automation startups. That’s intentional: Connected-device makers have been trying to figure out how their many gadgets can talk to one another.​


Oops: Microsoft Leaks Its Golden Key, Unlocking Windows Secure Boot And Exposing The Danger Of Backdoors, by Daniel Eran Dilger, AppleInsider

Security researchers MY123 and Slipstream published a detailed explanation of how Microsoft bungled its security keys, and then failed to correctly patch for the issue, resulting in an ongoing issue that "may not be possible to fully resolve."

"A backdoor," the researchers noted, "which MS put in to secure boot because they decided to not let the user turn it off in certain devices, allows for secure boot to be disabled everywhere!"

The Microsoft Office World Championships Feature Blood, Tears, And Very Little Sweat, by Cara Giaimo, Atlas Obscura

Ryan Catalfu's hard work is finally paying off. Over the past year, he has put in hundreds of hours of training, earning a spot on the renowned United States team. Last week, he traveled far from home, met his competition, and settled in for the week of his life. And on Monday, August 8th, the 17-year-old North Carolinian woke up ready to take on the best in the world.

When he heard, later that day, that his event had been delayed, Catalfu didn't let it faze him. He got in a few more practice reps. He called up an old coach for last-minute pointers. He ate some lunch. And when his name was finally called, he walked into the arena calm, focused, and ready to absolutely crush everyone at Powerpoint 2013.

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Things I am interested to find out about the upcoming Apple-branded wireless EarPod:

Will it have an on-off switch, or will the remote control that is on the current iPhone EarPods double as an on-off switch? I don't think it can afford not to have an explicit on-off switch like the Apple Pencil, since the EarPods will use up power much more quickly than the Pencil.

Will it have an 'all-day' battery life, which in Apple-speak means about 10 hours before needing to recharge? Ten hours is almost double of many existing Bluetooth headphones, which I doubt Apple can achieve. Of course, famously, people at RIM initially didn't believe the first iPhone can have an 'all-day' battery life either.

Will the cable be short, or long? On the one hand, Apple hates cable, so it makes sense for a wireless EarPods to have a shorter cable. On the other hand, if the EarPod can continue to play music while plugged-in to the Lighting port for charging (just like the Magic Keyboard), it makes more sense for it to have a longer cable.


Thanks for reading.

The Quality-of-Experience Edition Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Eddy Cue And Craig Federighi Open Up About Learning From Apple's Failures, by Rick Tetzeli, Fast Company

"A world where people do not care about the quality of their experience is not a good world for Apple. A world where people care about those details and want to complain about them is the world where our values shine. That is our obsession."

Security Threat

Apple Says Australia's Banks Pose A Security Threat To iPhones, by James Eyers, AFR

Apple has launched a blistering attack on three of Australia's big banks, saying their request to collectively negotiate over digital wallet access to the iPhone will compromise the handset's security, reduce innovation and blunt Apple's entry into the payments market in Australia.

In a sign of growing acrimony between the world's largest company and the Commonwealth Bank of Australia, National Australia Bank and Westpac Banking Corp, Apple told the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission that "allowing the banks to form a cartel to collectively dictate terms to new business models and services would set a troubling precedent and delay the introduction of new, potentially disruptive technologies".

Coming Soon

Apple Watch Breathe App: How New Operating System Could Make Wearers Better People, by David Phelan, Independent

“A lot of this goes back to Dr Herbert Benson’s work in the late sixties and seventies which showed that techniques involving breathing do bring about a physiological state that is opposite to the stress response. That’s where your heart beats fast, where you tremble, the fight-or-flight stuff that gets you away from the proverbial tiger. There seems to be an ability of the body to enter an opposite state when you focus on breathing.”

APFS: New Apple File System Changes Everything, by Peter Cohen, BackBlaze

As a backup company, one feature of APFS we’re particularly interested in is its support of snapshots. Snapshots are a pretty standard feature of enterprise backups, but we haven’t seen them yet on the Mac. A snapshot contains pointers to data stored on your disk, providing fast access to data stored on the disk. Because the snapshot contains pointers, not the actual data, it’s compact, and accessing it is very fast.

More Rumors From Gurman

Apple Said To Plan First Pro Laptop Overhaul In Four Years, by Mark Gurman, Bloomberg

The updated notebooks will be thinner, include a touch screen strip for function keys, and will be offered with more powerful and efficient graphics processors for expert users such as video gamers, said the people, who asked not to be named.

The new computers have been in advanced testing within Apple since earlier this year, said one of the people, who didn’t want to be identified discussing products before their release. The MacBook Pros aren’t likely to debut at an event currently scheduled for Sept. 7 to introduce next-generation versions of the iPhone, according to one of the people. Apple spokesman Bill Evans declined to comment.

Nothing To Do With The Olympics

It's All In The Wrist: Apple's Tactic For A Little Games Glory, by Liana B. Baker, Reuters

The watch bands do not feature the iconic Olympic rings logo or the word "Olympics", which are for the exclusive use of sponsors like Samsung. Instead, they come in a choice of 14 national team colors, including the United States and Canada. A Brazil-themed nylon band was close to selling out this week.

"While they don't appear to be breaking any rules, they appear to be getting really close to the edge of ambush or guerilla marketing," said Jeff Benz, who arbitrates disputes for international dispute-resolution firm JAMS and is a former general counsel at the U.S. Olympic Committee.


The Best Time Tracking Solution For Freelancers: Toggl, by Bradley Chambers, The Sweet Setup

After testing several popular apps, pondering the implications of the various business models, and thinking about how my clients interact with with my time tracking, I settled on Toggl as the best overall time tracking system for freelancers.

Netflix's Speed Test Tool Is Now On iOS And Android, by Jacob Kastrenakes, The Verge

Netflix launched an internet speed test at back in May, and this week it rolled out dedicated apps for the tool on iOS and Android.


Your App Has One Feature, by Ascent

With so much of our time spent "in the weeds", it is important to have some way to refocus and see the product with fresh eyes, as your customers do. A great exercise is to try and distill your product down to a single feature, or idea. As yourself: "what is the one thing that, when removed from your product, makes it fall apart".


The Problem With Managed Apple IDs And iTunes U, by Fraser Speirs

At the moment, I have no satisfactory workaround for this. I cannot conceivably expect teachers to switch to using a Managed Apple ID permanently, abandoning all their past purchases and content. Similarly, the idea of switching between two Apple IDs in the course of doing your job is maddening at best and potentially disastrous if you accidentally trigger an App Store tripwire.

How To Tell An Australian From A New Zealander, by Ella Morton, Atlas Obscura

To Australians and New Zealanders, the differences between the two countries’ cultures, accents, and national characters are glaringly obvious. To the rest of the world, Australia and New Zealand can often get mentally mushed into one archipelago where everyone speaks with oddly shifted vowel sounds and uses the same inscrutable slang. [...] There are, however, some subtle yet easily spotted hallmarks of each nation’s accent and slang that will allow you to recognize the true home country of a suspected Auszealander.

The Coin-Siphoning Edition Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Bitcoin Company Says At Least $20K Stolen In App Store Scam, by Jordan Pearson, Motherboard

Apps that appear legitimate but are actually scams set up to steal customers’ money are proliferating across Apple’s App Store, and the company is moving quickly to remove them before it turns into a PR disaster.

Apple is infamous for its iron-fisted control over which apps are made available for purchase on its App Store. In the last week, however, more than 10 apps that appear to be legitimate bitcoin wallets—where users of the cryptocurrency store their coins—but are engineered to siphon away those coins when they input their information, have made it through Apple’s vetting process.

Security Matters

Apple Exposes iOS Security Details, by Neil J. Rubenking, Max Eddy, PC Magazine

You've heard by now that Apple announced a new bug bounty program at the recent Black Hat conference. In an unusual appearance, Ivan Krstic, Apple's head of security engineering and architecture, made the announcement himself. But that was just the last 10 minutes of a 50-minute presentation. For The first 40 minutes, Krstic took an unprecedented deep dive into three components of iOS security. And by deep, I mean bathyspheric.

My overall takeaway was a sense of awe at how thoroughly these systems protect user data, even from Apple itself. I'll try to convey what was said, without getting too technical.

One Of Apple’s Biggest Weaknesses Is Becoming A Strength, by Kif Leswing, Business Insider

One of the reasons why businesses have decided to embrace iPhones and iPads is that Apple’s security is superior to Android’s, thanks to the way Apple controls both the hardware and software.

The Good And The Terrifying Things At Black Hat 2016, by Max Eddy, Neil J. Rubenking, PC Magazine

Black Hat is a gathering of security researchers, hackers, and industry that meets in Las Vegas to do three things: outline the latest threats, show how the good guys and the bad guys can be defeated, and launch attacks on the attendees. This year saw plenty of scary attacks, including one against show attendees, along with car hacks, new ways to steal cash from ATMs, and why smart lightbulbs might not be as safe as we thought. But we also saw lots of reason to hope, like teaching machines to spot dangerous servers, using Dungeons and Dragons to train employees on handling security threats, and how Apple handles the security of your iPhone. It was, all told, a pretty mind-bending year.

Rumor, Gurman's Edition

New iPhone To Have Dual Camera But No Headphone Jack, by Mark Gurman, Bloomberg

The standout features will be a dual-camera system on the larger iPhone, a re-engineered home button that responds to pressure with a vibrating sensation rather than a true physical click and the removal of the devices’ headphone jack, said the people, who didn’t want to be identified discussing unannounced features. Apple declined to comment. [...]

The new iPhones will remove the headphone jack in favor of connectivity via Bluetooth and the charging port. That will make room for a second speaker, said the people. Apple started allowing headphone makers to build headphones that can connect via the iPhone’s charger connector in 2014, the same year the company acquired headphone maker Beats Electronics.

Talk Radio

Pocket Casts 6, by Graham Spencer, MacStories

So, what's new in Pocket Casts 6? The tl;dr version is that the user interface has been redesigned in various ways, most notably with the addition of a dark theme and "up next" queue improvements. There are new audio effects to trim silences and volume boost for those podcasts which sound too quiet. The iPad version now supports multitasking (Split View and Picture in Picture), and whilst it isn't noticeable to users, almost the entire app has been re-written in Swift.

Rather than a traditional review, I thought I'd dive in and highlight a few features of Pocket Casts that I really like. Not all of them are new to Pocket Casts 6, and some will also exist in other podcast apps. But the point is to encourage you to try it yourself, because you never know, you might just discover that Pocket Casts suits the way you listen to podcasts better than the other options.

PRX's New 'Podcast Garage' Will Be A Boon For Boston's Podcasting Community, by Dylan Martin, BostInno

PRX, which distributes This American Life and hundreds of other shows, recently opened what it's calling the "Podcast Garage" in Allston, and for just $60, you can get a 4-person recording studio — full of high-end equipment from Shure, Sonos and Sennheiser — for one hour. It's even cheaper if you want to use the one-person studio or use either studio for less time. And the studio's production computer has a suite of high-end production tools available, including Pro Tools and Hindenburg.

Feel The Music

Apple Music’s Bozoma Saint John: It’s About Passion, Not Algorithms, by Mark Sullivan, Fast Company

"Human curation allows you to have the emotion and feel music, because it is a very emotional thing. It makes you feel happy, it helps you when you are feeling sad, gets you pumped up, calms you down. You want me to keep going? Because I could preach. I think it is a very emotional thing and you should treat it as such. We as humans have that and we can express it."


The Free TV On The Internet Experiment Died Years Ago. Now Hulu Is Burying It., by Peter Kafka, Recode

So today’s news is just formal confirmation that the TV guys really don’t want to give away their best stuff for free.

Or, more precisely, they’d prefer that you pay twice when you watch their stuff: Once with your credit card, via some kind of pay TV subscription, and again with your attention, when you watch the ads they sell.

The Human Codebreaks, by Jessi Hempel, Backchannel

The trouble is, Chipchase thinks many companies approach research all wrong. He believes the problem lies in their intent: Instead of entering new markets with an open mind, they approach with a strategy in place and then look for the people who prove their theories right. “The only thing worse than not asking the questions, is not paying attention to the answers that don’t fit into their world view, because it’s inconvenient,” says Chipchase.

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I've had an iPhone, towards the end of the 2-year cycle, had the home button started failing. (This was before the Assistive Touch was available.) I've had another iPhone, towards the end of its 2-year cycle, had the headphone jack started failing. (I switched to Bluetooth.)


Thanks for reading.

The Scope-Of-Ambitions Edition Monday, August 8, 2016

Playing The Long Game Inside Tim Cook's Apple, by Rick Tetzeli, Fast Company

Apple executives are careful to avoid suggesting that the company is moving beyond its founder’s vision, but that’s exactly what’s happening in Cupertino. It’s a subtle, evolutionary change. Cook is pushing Apple into a future that is bigger and broader than anything Jobs could effect during his too-short life. "I want Apple to be here, you know, forever," he says.

Those lulled by last spring’s bad news into dismissing Cook and his team are likely to miss the scope of the company’s ambitions and its progress in achieving them. While Amazon, Facebook, and Google may crow loudest about their bold ideas, Apple may well have the biggest role in actually defining our technological future.

Once Taunted By Steve Jobs, Companies Are Now Big Customers Of Apple, by Vindu Goel, New York Times

Apple’s iPhones and iPads have become the preferred mobile computing devices for corporations, as industries from insurers to airlines aim to ditch bulky PCs and give their employees the ability to do their jobs from anywhere using smartphones or tablets.

For Apple, which is struggling to reverse declining sales of its iPhones and Macs and has seen overall revenues drop for two quarters in a row, the corporate market is a surprising bright spot. Sales of high-end iPads to business customers in particular have been strong. Nearly half of all iPads are now bought by corporations and governments, according to the research firm Forrester.


Ulysses 2.6, by Ben Brooks

Quickly toggled with a keyboard shortcut, the typewriter mode is the feature I have been yearning for. When on, you can scroll the active line of sheet to wherever you want, and the sheet will stay right where you put it, as you pour words on to the page.

Perfection. This is such a seamless and well executed feature — I had really been missing it on iOS.


Working From Home With A Spouse In The Next Room, by Teddy Wayne, New York Times

Then she met and moved in with her boyfriend, now her husband, who works part time from home as a programmer for a quantitative hedge fund.

“All of a sudden I found it really hard to concentrate,” Ms. Hustad said.

In the rapidly transforming freelance and work-from-home economy, Ms. Hustad and her husband are one of many couples figuring out how to negotiate a shared living and professional space.

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Rules I Live By #1320: When someone offers you mint, always accept the offer. They may just be sharing candies, or they may just be hinting something else too.


Thanks for reading.

The Monitor-Control Edition Sunday, August 7, 2016

Hackers Could Break Into Your Monitor To Spy On You And Manipulate Your Pixels, by Lorenzo Franceschi-Bicchierai, Motherboard

A group of researchers has found a way to hack directly into the tiny computer that controls your monitor without getting into your actual computer, and both see the pixels displayed on the monitor—effectively spying on you—and also manipulate the pixels to display different images.

Track 'Em All

New iPhone App Helps Researchers Track R.I. Jellyfish, by Sonya Gurwitt, ecoRI

Many other scientists and academics have already harnessed the popularity of smartphones for their research. Citizens can use apps to collect data in a wide variety of ways, such as locating invasive species, measuring the effects of light pollution, tracking marine debris, and mapping noise pollution.

In the past few years, Caroline Karp, professor of environmental studies at Brown University, has also been hoping to tap this potential for widespread data collection. She has been working on finding a way to use citizen scientists — also known as crowd-sourced science — to keep tabs on the Ocean State’s jellyfish populations.

Shooting For The Real World

Pixinote App Puts Photos, Notes Back On The World's Refrigerator Doors, by Todd R. Weiss, eWeek

Social media and the internet connect people instantaneously, but those digital, on-screen messages disappear quickly. Now a new app from Pixinote is designed to change that pattern by giving users a means to capture a photo with a smartphone, add a brief text message and have the photo and message printed out and sent by U.S. Mail to someone special, just like in the old days before email.

App Lets You Crop Vertical Videos, by Jamey Tucker, WPSD

Everyone is shooting more video these days, most of it with their smartphone, but it is common to shoot video holding the phone vertically. When video is sent into the newsroom, we, and our viewers, prefer seeing it in horizontal mode, without black bars covering much of the screen. To capture video ready for TV or YouTube, our App of the Day is a nice video app to add to your arsenal.


The Curious Adventures Of Con And Frodo, by Stephanie Studier, 1843

Stickers give cadence and character, punch-lines and punctuation, to South Korean text-speak. They act as qualifiers that inflect words with humour or sadness; they also establish an intimacy that most would shy away from in face-to-face dialogue. Many appeal for forgiveness. A dog called Frodo, one of KakaoTalk’s signature characters, proffers a bouquet of roses on one knee while perspiring. In another he is wearing a tie, and sweat flies as he hurries to work with a briefcase in hand, anxiously checking the time. Muzi, a yellow radish wearing a bunny suit, glares at his watch: his patience is wearing thin. Tube, a duck, cries and raises his arms above his head – a typical Korean punishment for naughty children – in repentance.

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Are we all suddenly ashamed of progress bars, one of the key UI element dating back to at least the Mac in 1984? It seems like every app is trying to hide the progress bars from my eyes. True story: I didn't even notice there is a progress bar -- more of a progress indicator -- in the new Apple's Photos app until many months and many photo imports later.


Thanks for reading.

The Least-Loved Edition Saturday, August 6, 2016

Top 10 Least-loved Emojis, by Jason Snell, Six Colors

There are now around a thousand base emojis and tens of thousands of variations. One day, in a dark mood, I wondered: What are the least-loved emojis? I checked out the live stats on and asked Jeremy Burge of Emojipedia for his site’s least-favorite emojis. The result is this list: The world’s least-loved emojis.

This New Emoji App For Moms Perfectly Sums Up What Motherhood Is Like, by Alana Romain, Romper

Let's be honest: emoji are basically life. Sometimes there is no better way to represent your feelings via text message than with a few choice icons — so much so that even Kim Kardashian got into the emoji game, releasing her popular Kimoji app, complete with belfie and twerking emoji. But after lamenting the fact that the emoji already in existence didn't offer them a way to capture the reality of motherhood, a group of moms got together to create EmojiMom, and the result is fantastic. Mostly because this new emoji app for moms perfectly sums up what motherhood is really like.

Turi And Siri Sitting In A Tree

Apple Said To Buy AI Startup Turi For About $200 Million, by Mark Gurman and Sarah McBride, Bloomberg

Apple Inc. acquired artificial intelligence startup Turi Inc. for about $200 million, according to people familiar with the situation, in the latest deal by the iPhone maker to accumulate advanced computing capabilities for its products and services.

Turi helps developers create and manage software and services that use a form of AI called machine learning. It also has systems that let companies to build recommendation engines, detect fraud, analyze customer usage patterns and better target potential users, according to the Seattle-based startup’s website. Apple could use this to more rapidly integrate the technology with future products.

Fast Enough?

Apple’s Stagnant Product Lines Mostly Reflect The State Of The Computer Industry, by Joel Hruska, ExtremeTech

It’s been a while since Apple updated its hardware, some of that hardware could be better than it is, and the net result would be systems that were at least a little sexier than they are today. But Apple has kept updating most of its laptop lines to take advantage of better battery life and performance improvements, while the performance of desktop CPUs has largely stagnated. Is it ignoring GPUs? Yes — but that’s completely par for Apple.

Eye Sight

Review: Mevo Tiny Camera For Facebook Live, by Jefferson Graham, USA Today

The Mevo is being marketed as the easiest way to put a quality production on Facebook Live--just plug it in, download the app, set your wifi, click the record button for Facebook Live or you’re on the air.

Or, as the company says: "Your iPhone is now your personal video editing suite — zoom, pan and cut with ease, all from a single camera. Or tap the subjects in your shot and let Mevo do the work for you."


Find A New City, by Austin Kleon

It’s not for everybody, and there are plenty of arguments against it, but I think it’s the one that’s the most realistically within reach for a lot of us.

Haters Gonna Hate — but They Better Stop Doing It On Twitter, Or They Will Kill It., by Jessi Hempel, Backchannel

A lot of things are troubling Twitter right now. None of the features that cofounder Jack Dorsey has introduced since he returned to the company as CEO last year have succeeded in attracting new users. Its revenue growth is slowing. It’s constantly speculated to be a takeover target. A rumor that Steve Ballmer was considering buying the company earlier this week sent the stock price up by more than 7 percent in a day. (It was just a rumor.)

But it’s biggest problem are those trolls. They’re winning. Too often Twitter’s users are subject to pernicious streams of abuse and harassment. This dissuades new users from wanting to sign up, drives formerly loyal tweeters to close their accounts, and gives advertisers pause as they consider where to place their brand dollars.

Why It Sucks To Play 'Pokemon Go' If You're Poor, by Kirston Capps, The Atlantic

While Niantic has not released much in the way of Pokémon Go data, the distribution of Gyms and Pokéstops in the game draws from the same database of user-generated, location-based Portals that players helped to develop for Ingress. One major difference between the games: Players cannot (yet) generate their own stops in Pokémon Go. Therein lies the problem.

The Bug-Bounty Edition Friday, August 5, 2016

Starting This Fall, Apple Will Pay Up To $200,000 For iOS And iCloud Bugs, by Andrew Cunningham, Ars Technica

As part of a security presentation given at this year's Black Hat conference, Apple today announced that it would be starting up a bug bounty program in the fall. The program will reward security researchers who uncover vulnerabilities in Apple's products and bring them to the company's attention. Google, Microsoft, Facebook, and many other companies have offered bug bounty programs for some time now, but this is Apple's first.

For now, Apple is intentionally keeping the scope of the program small. It will initially be accepting bug reports from a small group of a few dozen security researchers it has worked with in the past. For now, bounties are only being offered for a small range of iDevice and iCloud bugs.

Apple Releases iOS 9.3.4 For iPhone And iPad, Calls It An 'Important' Security Fix, by AppleInsider

"iOS 9.3.4 provides an important security update for your iPhone or iPad and is recommended for all users," the release notes read. It's available through Software Update in the iOS Settings app, or by connecting via USB to iTunes on a Mac or PC.

Buy Stuff, Says Apple

Apple Store iOS App Updated With New Recommendation Features, by Zac Hall, 9to5Mac

Features include recommendations based on which Apple devices you own, better in-store alerts, and when favorited products are available in stores you’re visiting.

Apple Celebrates Diversity In New iPhone Ad To Air During The Olympics, by Jacob Kastrenakes, The Verge

Apple's latest iPhone ad is a sweet one, juxtaposing images of people across the globe with a recording of Maya Angelou reading her poem "Human Family."

Change Or Retire

Apple And The Gun Emoji, by Jeremy Burge, Emojipedia

If Apple goes ahead with this change in the public iOS 10 release, one person could innocently tweet a toy and have that be seen by others as a weapon.

Apple And The Gun Emoji, by John Gruber, Daring Fireball

This is a tricky dilemma, but I think it’ll all work out, and other vendors will follow Apple’s lead and this glyph will be represented by a toy gun everywhere within a few years. Hiding the pistol from the emoji keyboard is timid. Changing it to a toy is a statement.

Microsoft Just Changed Its Toy Gun Emoji To A Real Pistol, by Cherlynn Low, Engadget

Looks like Microsoft and Apple may not be on the same page about firearm emojis afterall. Right after Apple changed its gun emoji to a water pistol in iOS 10, Microsoft replaced its toy pistol emoji with an actual revolver.

Fine Art Of Pricing

As Evernote Slowly Kills Its Free Service, Apple Notes And Others Plug The Gap, by Peter Moon, AFR

After enjoying Evernote's free hospitality for seven years, it may seem churlish to thank it by walking away. But keeping simple, text-based notes is a nearly universal requirement and, for our money, it shouldn't need a separate subscription service.

Behind The Scenes

Kagi Shuts Down After Falling Prey To Fraud, by Adam C. Engst, TidBITS

Over 10 years ago, Kagi was looking to expand its business. In the process, they started handling subscriptions for a company selling a legal consulting service — the idea was that you’d pay a monthly fee and be able to get answers to legal questions. The company was both legit and seemingly successful, and the service was real, but what Kagi missed in their due diligence is that the firm’s sales team used high-pressure sales tactics. As a result, many customers were unhappy, and to avoid further pressure when trying to cancel their subscriptions, they instead disputed the credit card charges, generating what Kee described as “an amazingly large number of chargebacks.”


Timepage Introduces Proactive ‘Assistant’ For Smarter Notifications, by Jake Underwood, MacStories

Timepage updated yesterday with a new Assistant, a contextually aware tool for keeping your schedule as organized as possible.

Art Text 3 Review: Bend 3D Text To Your Will With This Slick Mac Design App, by J.R. Bookwalter, Macworld

Art Text 3 is easy-to-use Mac software for creating logos, social media graphics, and more in just a few clicks thanks to an intuitive user interface.

Disney Launches Child-focused Messaging App With Built-in Games & Safety Features, by Ben Lovejoy, 9to5Mac

The free app offers stickers from just about every Disney movie you could name, customized cartoon avatars, built-in games and safety features designed to keep things family-friendly.


So, What If Your Computer Was An iPad Pro?, by Carolina Milanesi, Recode

It is interesting that, as Microsoft and Apple came to one similar product from two very different perspectives, they are now fighting a battle on opposite fronts but with one common interest: Changing how people think of a PC. While the task seems more arduous for Apple because of the millions and millions of PC users out there, I actually think it will be harder for the Surface, as Microsoft needs to balance its own desires and goals with those of the partners in the Windows ecosystem.

Gwyneth Paltrow Joins Apple’s ‘Planet Of The Apps’ Reality Series, by Todd Spangler, Variety

Actress-entrepreneur Gwyneth Paltrow will serve as a mentor to contestants in Apple’s “Planet of the Apps,” a reality-competition series designed to showcase the tech goliath’s iTunes App Store that is set to bow in 2017.

In addition, tech investor Gary Vaynerchuk and musician-entrepreneur will.iam (who was previously attached to the project) will serve as advisers. The series is co-produced by Apple and Propagate Content’s Ben Silverman and Howard Owens.

Wait Over For Pokemon Go In Brazil Ahead Of Olympics, by Associated Press

The hit, augmented reality game, in which players roam around the real-life world to collect virtual monsters and medals, became available in Brazil late Wednesday.

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I am cursed with an inability to sleep early at night.

Okay, it wasn't an inability, but it is highly undesired. Lately, every time I sleep early -- and by early, I'm only talking about 10pm, and not like before dinner time -- I wake up early. Typically, I will end up unable to go back to sleep at around 4am.

This morning however, I woke up at 1am, and was pondering the meaning of life (and other inconsequential things) until my alarm clock went off.


What should one be testing when one is test-'driving' a self-driving car?


Thanks for reading.

The Pokémon-Boost Edition Thursday, August 4, 2016

Apple's App Store Has Paid Over $50 Billion To Developers, by Jacob Kastrenakes, The Verge

Cook notes that "monthly billings" — likely in-app subscriptions — were at an all-time high in July as well, and that's likely to help the App Store continue to hit new payment milestones at a rapid pace.

Apple’s App Store Just Had Its Best Month Ever — And It’s Probably Because Of Pokémon, by Kif Leswing, Business Insider

One reason why the App Store might have had a banner month is Pokémon Go, the mobile phenomenon that much of the world has been playing all month.

Apple Focuses On App Monetization In Latest Developer Insights Installment, by AppleInsider

Home improvement startup Houzz is the focus of Apple's latest Developer Insights series, which highlights the impact mobile apps, and Apple Pay integration in particular, have on creating a successful monetization model.

Equity And Diversity

Apple Improves Pay Equity, Increases Hiring Of Minorities In 2016 Diversity Report, by Jordan Kahn, 9to5Mac

In its latest Diversity report released today, Apple highlighted an increase in the hiring of women and underrepresented minorities and also said it’s working to improve pay equity among employees.

Rev. Jesse Jackson Says Apple Is ‘Setting The Pace’ Around Diversity And Inclusion, by Megan Rose Dickey, TechCrunch

“At this point, Apple is setting the pace,” Rev. Jesse Jackson told me over the phone. “Apple’s ahead of the pack (in tech) but behind national standards. They must continue and not slow down.”

Using Protected Data

Apple’s New Privacy Technology May Pressure Competitors To Better Protect Our Data, by Tom Simonite, MIT Technology Review

Privacy experts are cautiously hopeful that Apple’s move could force other tech companies to adopt an idea that is seen as a gold standard in academia, but gained little traction among tech companies.

“It’s exciting that things we knew how to do in principle are being embraced and widely deployed,” says Aaron Roth, an associate professor at University of Pennsylvania who has written a textbook on differential privacy. “Apple seems to be betting that by including privacy protections, and advertising that fact, they will make their product more attractive.”

Security Matters

Snitches Get Stitches: Little Snitch Bugs Were A Blessing For Malware, by John Leyden, The Register

Unfortunately, it was trivial for a malicious app to bypass Little Snitch's network monitoring mechanisms, says security researcher Patrick Wardle.

Wardle is a former NSA staffer who heads up research at infosec biz Synack. He also discovered a heap overflow bug in Little Snitch's kernel extension code, which could be exploited by an installed application to gain administrator-level access via the security software.

Replacing Your Boss

The Beginner’s Guide To Freelance, by Zara Safdar, Medium

I can’t be unique in wishing this kind of skill was taught in schools and universities. If there’s an educator reading this, I hope you make some magic happen, but in the mean time I’ll be here to share what I’ve learned on the job as a freelance designer. This article is for total beginners and is based off worries from my first freelance contract. It was a doozy designing an app from scratch while I was learning the latest techniques in university, but I’m glad I took the plunge. I learned a ton on the go, and even got a little spot in Buzzfeed for it (Team Bliss). Now I freelance regularly outside of my day job, and I’m currently working as solo designer on an app to gamify the act of learning Mandarin.


Apple Music For Android No Longer In Beta, by Juli Clover, MacRumors

Apple today updated its Apple Music app for Android to version 1.0.0, officially dropping the app's beta status and announcing its full release.Apple Music is one of the first Apple-branded apps that Apple has brought to Android devices.

Astropad 2 Turns Your iPad Into A Mac Drawing Tablet W/ New Software Features & A Fresh Look, by Zac Hall, 9to5Mac

Astropad is a clever app that lets you use your iPad as a drawing surface for Mac software like Photoshop. Today Astropad 2.0 is available as a free update for current customers and includes new improvements, better software compatibility, and a new look.

'Strava' Running And Cycling App Updated With Real-Time Safety Feature, by Tim Hardwick, MacRumors

The developers of popular running and cycling app Strava have announced a new safety feature for premium members that lets users broadcast their location in real time to friends and family.

Modern Atlas, Your Travel Companion, by John Voorhees, MacStories

Whether you’re planning a trip, wandering around a new city, or just armchair traveling, Modern Atlas has a wealth of information and stunning photography that's presented in a beautifully-designed app.


Keep Earning Your Title, Or It Expires, by Derek Sivers

Holding on to an old title gives you satisfaction without action. But success comes from doing, not declaring.

Disrupting Traffic

Rethinking The Bus Shelter, by Jessica Leigh Hester, The Atlantic

The bus shelter is probably one of the most pitied—and ridiculed—pieces of urban infrastructure. By default, it’s often frustrating, as riders squint down the road, looking for headlights that always feel slow to arrive. At its most humble, it’s downright depressing, nothing more than a slab of concrete and a metal sign. This month, Streetsblog is pitting some of the particularly lackluster hubs against each other in a bracket to determine America’s sorriest bus stop. The competition is, unfortunately, fierce.

But it’s that same womp womp factor that offers the potential to reimagine these spaces—to infuse them with personality, and to cast them as creative solutions to problems specific to the communities they serve.

Why Singapore Is The Perfect Place To Test Self-Driving Cars, by Mimi Kirk, The Atlantic

Though Delphi already has self-driving cars operating in Silicon Valley and is working on more pilot programs in North America and Europe, Singapore makes a particularly good testing ground for automated vehicles. Its manageable size (it’s about three-and-a-half Districts of Columbia), flat terrain, warm weather, and well-kept roads provide about as simple of an urban landscape as one could ask for.

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I don't think, in my lifetime, I will be able to own and 'drive' my own car without learning to drive, getting a driving license, and doing the actual driving. But I'm glad that it is likely my grandkids' generation will not have to learn driving at all.

I've never bothered to learn and get a driver license myself because a) buying a car in Singapore is ridiculously expensive, b) I never have the interest nor desire to drive anything to anywhere.


Thanks for reading.

The Tipo-Più-Intelligente Edition Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Apple Debuts Arabic, British English And Italian Smart Keyboard Layouts, by AppleInsider

Launched through Apple's regional websites, and available in both 9.7- and 12.9-inch sizes, the new Smart Keyboard variants collectively comprise the first update to the iPad Pro accessory since its debut last year.

Your Second TV Remote

Meet Apple’s New Remote App, Not Quite The Same As The Old Remote App, by Dan Moren, Six Colors

For me, in the long run, none of this really makes a big difference. I’ve always considered the Remote app as a good fallback, but it’s usually far less convenient than a hardware remote, since it requires pulling out the phone, finding the app, opening the app, and then finding the right control. (Some of the tap targets on the new Remote app seem pretty small, too.) In most circumstances, that might just be a little irritating—but if you’re, say, trying to pause the TV because your phone is ringing, well, good luck.

In the end, it’s nice that Apple brought some feature parity to the Remote app, but this is hardly a mind-blowing reinvention—it’s table stakes. When the company rolls out more in-depth integration with Siri on iOS devices, rather than simply using the Remote app as a passthrough, well, that’ll really up the ante.

TVs Are Still Too Complicated, And It's Not Your Fault, by Walt Mossberg, The Verge

But I kept thinking while being barely helped at Best Buy, and then stumbling to explain the UI to my very smart wife, that it was no wonder that my old TV advisor, Steve Jobs, thought toward the end of his life in 2011 that the TV as a device was ripe for disruption.

He never got a chance to do it. But somebody should.

Beyond Pop Songs

Bloomberg Radio Comes To Apple Music In 120 Countries, by Juli Clover, MacRumors

Bloomberg today announced that its Bloomberg Radio service is now available on Apple Music in over 100 countries around the world, including the United States, Germany, Hong Kong, and Japan.

Apple Is Finally Making iTunes Better For Classical Music, by Kirk McElhearn

In the latest beta of iTunes 12.5, which is part of the beta of macOS Sierra, Apple has added some new tags: Work and Movement.

Giving Money

Chip Card Nightmares? Help Is On The Way, by Joanna Stern, Wall Street Journal

After pulling out the stopwatch for over 50 transactions at various retailers in recent days, I can confirm that it takes twice as long to pay with a chip card than with a card swipe or mobile payment—on average, 13 seconds versus 6 seconds.

Think about it this way: If you made two purchases every day for a year with a chip card instead of a swipe or smartphone, you’d spend 85 extra minutes at the checkout counter. That’s nearly an hour and a half of yourtime, to give someone your money.

So Kagi Died…, by Jason Snell, Six Colors

Kagi was, at one point, the way you bought Mac software that wasn’t from a major vendor and didn’t come in a box.

It’s been years and years since that changed, but Kagi was still out there, processing payments for shareware products. Until Sunday night, when it abruptly shut down.


Writing App 'Ulysses' Gains WordPress Publishing Support And More, by Tim Hardwick, MacRumors

The changes that come with version 2.6 of the writing app mean that bloggers can publish their texts straight to a WordPress account, complete with tag, category, excerpt, and featured image support.

Pantone Debuts App To Give Users Access To 10,000 Colors And More Features, by Maghan McDowell, Los Angels Times

The app boasts Pantone’s library of more than 10,000 colors, and lets designers use uploaded photos to create and customize palettes and mood boards. It lets users see how colors would look in a variety of scenarios and textures, by letting them apply palettes to graphics, interiors and typography in addition to digitally “pliable” textures such as 3D papers and fabrics.

SecureWords Can Secure Your Articles And Text Entries, by Aaron Lee, Apple World Today

It's a tool that automatically encrypts and decrypts text documents so we can, among other things, store them on iCloud or in Dropbox without having to worry. SecureWords is a lean, versatile machine that can handle RTF, OpenOffice, and Word documents.

How Many Seasons Are There In Watching Paint Dry?

Netflix’s Newest Show For Binge-watching Is A Real-time Knitting Marathon, by Josh Horwitz, Quartz

Netflix has introduced addictive, thrilling television series like House of Cards and Stranger Things to audiences worldwide. But this week it will release something for people who prefer entertainment a bit more sedate.

Slow TV, a Norwegian TV series that documents ordinary events in real time, will arrive on the video streamer starting on Aug. 5. Its online release will bring one of the most bizarre phenomena on television to millions of viewers worldwide.

Earlier This Year: BBFC Rates Paint Drying Film ‘U’, After Sitting Through All 607 Minutes, by Clarisse Loughrey, Independent

The BBFC, film censorship board for the UK, have officially awarded a 'U' certificate to a ten-hour film of paint drying, created as part of a protest of its practices by British filmmaker Charlie Lyne.

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Watch some Slow TV while waiting for Apple to refresh the Mac line…


Thanks for reading.

The Everything-Are-Computers-Now Edition Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Apple Releases New 'What's A Computer?' iPad Pro Ad, by Juli Clover, MacRumors

Apple today debuted a new iPad Pro advertisement on its YouTube channel, pointing out all of the things the powerful tablet can do as a computer replacement.

Apple Makes A Really Good Ad For Microsoft’s Surface Pro, by Andrew Cunningham, Ars Technica

The iPad Pro and Surface Pro 4 are still distinct products. On the convertible spectrum, the iPad still feels like a tablet first, while the Surface feels more PC-ish. [...] But the two companies' messaging about their tablets has never been more similar.

Logitech Releases CREATE Keyboard Case For 9.7-Inch iPad Pro, by Juli Clover, MacRumors

The CREATE Keyboard Case for the 9.7-inch iPad Pro features backlit keys, a protective case that protects the iPad when it isn't in use, iPad-specific function keys, and an integrated holder for the Apple Pencil.

Control Your TV

Apple Releases New ‘Apple TV Remote’ App With Siri Remote Features For iPhone, by Zac Hall, 9to5Mac

After first teasing it last December and releasing it in beta at WWDC, Apple’s new ‘Apple TV Remote’ app for the new Apple TV is now available to download from the App Store.

Buggy Updates

Apple Releases iTunes 12.4.3 With Playlist Syncing Fix, by Juli Clover, MacRumors

Apple today released iTunes 12.4.3, a minor update that fixes a bug that could cause playlist changes made on iPhones or iPads to not appear in iTunes.

Taking Notes

Notebooks For iOS And Mac Organizes Your Research And Reference Materials, by John Voorhees, MacStories

Notebooks by Alfons Schmid is an iOS and Mac notebook app that has excellent organizational tools on iOS and the Mac. With solid search, sorting and sync options, your notebooks and documents are always readily available to you, which makes it a great research tool, especially on iOS. Notebooks' editing tools are a different story. Notebooks for iOS strikes a nice balance with excellent text and PDF editing tools. The more recently released Mac version of Notebooks, however, doesn’t go much beyond text editing, which is a little disappointing.

Security Matters

This Is What Apple Should Tell You When You Lose Your iPhone!, by Joonas Kiminki, Medium

If you ever lose your iPhone, iPad or iPod, be extra alert for upcoming identity theft attempts.

Secure Messaging App Telegram Leaks Anything Pasted In To It, by Maria Varmazis, Naked Security

In the OS X version, text that was copied-and-pasted into the app was also written to the file/var/log/system.log, better known as the syslog, creating a sort of ad-hoc and unnoticed backup of any private conversations or notes.


FileMaker, Inc. Unveils Small Business Toolkit And Idea To iPad Bundle, by Dennis Sellers, Apple World Today

Both are designed to help small businesses plan, create and deploy a custom app that will enable them to maximize customer satisfaction, drive growth and increase profitability.

Channels Review: Turn Your iPad Or iPhone Into A Handheld TV, by Glenn Fleishman, Macworld

If live television has been a missing or irritating-to-use piece for your viewing pleasure, Channels plus a networked tuner pulls it neatly into your iPhone, iPod touch, or iPad.


Is There Any Room For The Not-Passionate Developer?, by Philippe Bourgau

Where do we stand now ? Do you need to live and breath programming to remain a good developer ?

Atom 1.9 Hackable Text Editor Out Now With Display Layers, Electron 0.37.8, by Marius Nestor, Softpedia

The new Display Layers functionality should also enable support for free-form folds via the "Fold Selection" command, as well as to improve the soft-wrapping algorithm. Atom 1.9 also comes with a brand new, intuitive way of letting users organize the workspace, thanks to the implementation of drag and drop layout management.


Olympic Athletes Complain About The Newest Problem In Rio: There’s No Way To Play Pokemon Go, by Aamna Mohdin, Quartz

While athletes won’t have a chance to play Pokémon Go, the city has equipped them for a different recreational activity. Olympic organizers are distributing a record 450,000 condoms to athletes, including 100,000 female condoms.

The Two-FA Edition Monday, August 1, 2016

There Are Limits To 2FA And It Can Be Near-crippling To Your Digital Life, by Kapil Haresh, Ars Technica

I can see why Apple decided against using the same 2FA authentication for Find My iPhone . Ideally, you’d only use Find My iPhone when you lose your device, hence you’d not be able to access your text and on-device authentication. But for there to be no 2FA for Find My iPhone doesn’t quite add up.

I can imagine how this could be fixed. Instead of having a one time code for Find My iPhone, it might be better to have a second layer of authentication in the form of a secret question/answer when accessing Find My iPhone if 2FA was on. The legitimate user would know the answer for the question just like in the case of a forgotten password. By nominating a number of question /answer pairs, it can be randomized, too.

If such a thing existed, the adversary in this case would have not been able to go further than looking up the location, and ideally he/she wouldn’t be able to play the alert sound or even conduct the remote erase.

Simple Math

Politicians Need To Understand This Computer Science Concept Better, by Jesse Dunietz, Nautilus

I have an idea that would keep 100 percent of foreign-born terrorists out of the United States. Not only that, it’s far simpler than any presidential candidate’s proposals. All we have to do is this: Never let anybody in. Most of us find this idea ludicrous, of course, and rightly so. Keeping out terrorists is not the only goal of border policy; it’s essential that the vast majority of people can come and go freely, whether for pleasure, business, or survival. Yet many of our decisions are based on similarly shoddy reasoning: We often fail to consider that there are two sides to the accuracy seesaw.

Make Algorithms Accountable, by Julia Angwin, New York Times

A better goal would be to try to at least meet, if not exceed, the accountability standard set by a president not otherwise known for his commitment to transparency, Richard Nixon: the right to examine and challenge the data used to make algorithmic decisions about us.


TextWrangler 5.5, by Agen G. N. Schmitz, TidBITS

Bare Bones Software has released TextWrangler 5.5with more than 250 new features, changes to existing features, and fixes for the free text editor — including a bump in requirements to OS X 10.9.5 Mavericks or later.

uDesktop NEXT For OS X Is A Solid Desktop Wallpaper App With Access To Gorgeous Images, by Dennis Sellers, Apple World Today

uDesktop NEXT not only lets you manage your desktop images, but also offers access to lots of high-resolution pics.


How AI Based Programming Could Work, by Benedikt Jenik

I expect programming to become more declarative and a lot less exact. To elaborate on that, we first need to have a look at how programming works today: you usually have some input or a system state and want to get to a result or another system state. You do this by defining a series of exact steps that gets from the input to the result. Of course, this isn't done directly in system instructions anymore - there are multiple levels of abstraction in between, but all of these abstractions are exactly specified relative to the layer below without any ambiguity. This means we still exactly specify a series of small steps the computer then follows. To summarize: there is the underlying assumption that the only thing a computer should do, is exactly follow a series of steps and if there are none it should do nothing.

There have been attempts to create a way of programming that works without giving exact steps by using a more declarative method involving logic statements and constraints and running deduction or a solver over it. The problem here is that if the program is underspecified deduction may not go anywhere and the solver will give us a lot more in addition to the "correct" / wanted result. If we take a pick it most likely is the wrong one, which brings us to the next underlying assumption: if the program leaves a choice / a degree of freedom it is expected that the computer will not do the right thing.


The Swiss Hotel That’s Just A Bed On A Mountain, by Simon Usborne, The Guardian

The room, which was booked up all summer, within days of its July opening, is part of the brothers’ slightly mad Null Stern, or “zero star” concept (“the only star is you”).

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The view -- all the stars -- must be spectacular.


Thanks for reading.