The Day-By-Day Edition Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Life, As Seen Through 73,732 Digital Photographs, by Jason Snell, iMore

In life, the steps we take are small. It's the number of them that adds up in the end. I bought a digital camera the week before my daughter was born, and now she's a teenager. That happened a day at a time. And the pictures I've taken during her life have similarly changed and improved, iteration by iteration. One view of my Photos library tells that tale — in terms of my life, and the cameras I've used to document it.

Things may not feel that different, but they're changing day by day.

A Declining Trajectory, by Matt Gemmell

It’s a lot of stuff to maintain, let alone update and improve. And for much of the flagship product line-up, there’s a yearly march of new releases, presumably compelled by stakeholder demand and market scrutiny. There has to be a new iPhone — and accompanying major iOS version — in autumn. Ditto for macOS, and watchOS. The cycle never stops.

And now, the cracks are showing.

Developers: Stop With The Stupid, Pretentious, Self-Absorbed Release Notes, by Kirk McElhearn

Users look to release notes to find out what is new, and what has been fixed. If you cannot quickly see these changes in the release notes, you miss out on something important.

The Pixel Event

The Google Phone, by Dieter Bohn, The Verge

But even the best software is pointless without compelling hardware to run it. And if you’re Google, would you trust the future of the company to your hardware partners? No, you’d want to control the entire thing, end to end. [...]

In making its own hardware, Google is pitting itself against Apple for the first time, Google phone vs. iPhone. Those are very high stakes, with very little margin for error. So it looks like Google decided to follow a simple dictum:

If you want something done right, you have to do it yourself.

Third Time’s The Charm: Google Is Trying To Be A Phone Company, Again, by Andrew Cunningham, Ars Technica

Google’s stuck in a place where it needs to give its own Android phones unique features to differentiate them from the crowd, which is doubly true since they’re being sold at iPhone and Galaxy prices instead of Nexus prices. But it makes most of its money by building out large userbases and making its products and services as available to as many people as is realistically possible. In that tug of war, Google will ultimately be pushed to do whatever is best for its bottom line, something that may damage its nascent phone business.

OK Google, Why Is iCloud Storage So Expensive?, by Thomas Ricker, The Verge

Google, meanwhile, is doing exactly what Apple should be doing. People who buy Google’s new Pixel phones are given free unlimited Google Photos storage to host all their original photographs and 4k video. For Google it’s a fair trade, it gets to scrub your photos for anonymous data that will ultimately help it sell better ads, and Pixel owners never have to worry about seeing a "storage is full" message when uploading their imagery. Apple’s not making money from ads like Google, but it definitely wants the world to think iPhone when deciding what camera to buy next.

Yahoo Scans!

Exclusive: Yahoo Secretly Scanned Customer Emails For U.S. Intelligence - Sources, by Joseph Menn, Reuters

Yahoo Inc last year secretly built a custom software program to search all of its customers' incoming emails for specific information provided by U.S. intelligence officials, according to people familiar with the matter.

The company complied with a classified U.S. government demand, scanning hundreds of millions of Yahoo Mail accounts at the behest of the National Security Agency or FBI, said three former employees and a fourth person apprised of the events.

Some surveillance experts said this represents the first case to surface of a U.S. Internet company agreeing to an intelligence agency's request by searching all arriving messages, as opposed to examining stored messages or scanning a small number of accounts in real time.

Delete Your Yahoo Account, by Sam Biddle, The Intercept

There’s no good reason to have a Yahoo account these days. But after Tuesday’s bombshell report by Reuters, indicating the enormous, faltering web company designed a bespoke email-wiretap service for the U.S. government, we now know that a Yahoo account is a toxic surveillance liability. [...]

An Apple spokesperson said “we have never received a request of this type,” and that “If we were to receive one, we would oppose it in court.”


Apple Seemingly Discontinues Third-gen Apple TV, Removes It From Online Store, by Chance Miller, 9to5Mac

In an email sent out today to employees and education partners, obtained by 9to5Mac, Apple confirmed that it is discontinuing the device, shifting its focus entirely to the fourth-gen, tvOS-powered model.

The Best iOS Music App Replacement, by Richard Anderson, The Sweet Setup

If the stock iOS Music app doesn’t fit your needs and you’re not interested in a streaming service, you have a surprising number of options. Your iOS music library, like your calendar, your contacts, and your photo library, is open to other apps. There’s Music app replacements that will fit anyone’s needs, many with features that the stock app either buries or doesn’t have at all. Here are a few of our favorites.

Habitify For iPhone And Mac Tracks Your Habits, Features Custom Reminders And Donates Cash To Charity, by Thorin Klosowski, Lifehacker

You have a lot of excellent options for tracking your habits, but Habitify is one of the first we’ve seen that not only looks good, it also includes a charity donation when you do well.

The Drobo 5C Is A Great Product For Local Storage And Back-up, by Dennis Sellers, Apple World Today

I use my Drobo 5C as the central repository for all my media files. I’d recommend that you consider doing the same.

Candle From Twelve South Promises 'New Mac' Scent, by Juli Clover, MacRumors

According to Twelve South, the "New Mac" candle features notes of mint, peach, basil, lavender, mandarin, and sage, which somehow magically combine to mimic the smell of a new Mac.


Imagining A Cashless World, by Nathan Heller, New Yorker

So far, the U.S. still embraces cash, because our concept of wealth is material: we collect it, handle it, hoard it. American money is private. Sweden has embraced cashlessness more readily in part because it finds the value of currency in the transfer and velocity, the social path it follows, the bonds it traces. It’s social: a network conception of wealth. The two conceptions met on nights like this, when fantasies and friendships came together in a hideaway of space and time, remaking each other among fleeting opportunities. We weren’t thieves, and yet we lived as if we were.

Online Behind Bars: If Internet Access Is A Human Right, Should Prisoners Have It?, by Dan Tynan, The Guardian

But in a world increasingly defined by technology, denying internet access makes it harder for inmates to prepare for life on the outside, notes Dave Maass, investigative researcher for campaign group theElectronic Frontier Foundation (EFF). It makes it harder for inmates to report on conditions inside prisons or communicate with their families – and also contravenes the May 2011 declaration by the UN that internet access is now a fundamental human right.

Bottom of the Page

Steve Jobs: Your time is limited, don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma, which is living the result of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of other opinions drown your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition, they somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.