Archive for November 2016

The Supports-(RED) Edition Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Apple Once More Supports (RED) For World AIDS Day: Four New Products, 20 Games & More, by Ben Lovejoy, 9to5Mac

The new products added this year are an iPhone 7 Smart Battery Case, iPhone SE Case, Beats Solo 3 Wireless On-Ear Headphones and the Pill+ Portable Speaker – all of which are available from today.

What's The Best Way To Migrate?, by Jason Snell, Six Colors

I have spent an awful lot of time migrating my data to various Macs over the years. (If you want to review a product, you need to use it, and that means bringing over enough of your stuff to do that.) Recently with the release of the new MacBook Pro models, I got to do two more data migrations, which led to a string of conversations on Twitter about the “right way” to move from one Mac to another.

Truth is, there’s no one right way to migrate. I’ve tried them all, and they all have their issues. Let’s walk through the options and consider their strengths and weaknesses.

iBooks StoryTime Brings Read-Aloud Books To Apple TV, by Michael E. Cohen, TidBITS

As an app designed for young readers, iBooks StoryTime has an exceedingly simple interface. You click to open a book from your iBooks StoryTime library and click to have the app start reading. Depending on the app’s settings, the app reads the book aloud and you just sit back and let it play. A press on the Siri Remote’s Play/Pause button starts or stops playback; a swipe or tap on the Siri Remote’s touchpad turns pages back or forward. For a quieter experience, the app’s settings menu (swipe down from the top of the touchpad) lets you disable the Read-Aloud feature.


Apple Music Student Pricing Expands To 25 More Countries Around The World, by Juli Clover, MacRumors

Apple today began offering Apple Music Student Memberships in 25 additional countries around the world, cutting the cost of an Apple Music subscription by approximately 50 percent for students enrolled in a college or university. The discounts provided to students vary based on country.

Netflix Will Now Let You Download Videos And Watch Them Offline, by Steve Kovach, Business Insider

Netflix announced Wednesday that it will let you download videos and watch them even if your device isn’t connected to the internet. [...] Netflix hasn’t released a full list of compatible shows, but it appears to mostly include Netflix Originals like “Narcos” and “Stranger Things.”

Readdle Launching Spark For Mac, A Free Email App With Smart Inbox And ‘Snooze’ Features, by Zac Hall, 9to5Mac

Being available on each of Apple’s platforms is especially important for an email app like Spark. Readdle’s email client includes features that let you snooze messages for a later time so having that experience on your Mac, iPhone, and iPad is necessary for having a consistent experience.

Sony Launches Communities Smartphone App To Help You Find PS4 Friends, by Rich McCormick, The Verge

Sony has launched a new PlayStation Communities app for iOS and Android, allowing players to search for, join, and interact with groups of likeminded PS4 gamers from their smartphones. Communities can be used to find players of specific games, and work like forums, letting members post messages and images on the community wall. Members can also chat and join parties together to play multiplayer games.


New Developer Solution Aims To Help Companies Bring HomeKit Accessories To Market Faster, by Chance Miller, 9to5Mac

The solution introduced by Silicon Labs consists of two primary parts: custom software that has been pre-tested and approved by Apple and a Bluetooth-capable hardware module. The protocol from Silicon Labs is Bluetooth 4.2-compliant, which is crucial for HomeKit devices as it brings low-energy support, more secure pairing technology, and extensions for higher throughout.

App Review Downtime Announced, by John Voorhees, MacStories

Each year around the Christmas holiday, Apple’s App Review team takes a break from reviewing the thousands of apps that pour into the App Store on a typical day.


Apple Offering Refunds To Customers Who Paid For iMac Hinge Repairs, by Joe Rossignol, MacRumors

Apple has internally announced it will issue a refund to customers who previously paid for an iMac display hinge replacement or repair, according to a recently updated service document obtained by MacRumors. [...] Apple's service document acknowledges some 27-inch iMacs shipped between December 2012 and July 2014 may be affected by an issue with the display hinge, resulting in the screen no longer adjusting and continuously tilting forward.

Stop Using iPads In Lessons To Prevent Bullying, Minister Says, by Laura Hughes, Telegraph

Speaking to peers on the House of Lords Communications Committee, he said: "A problem in a number of schools which we've sought to address is the iPad or the tablet coming into schools and it forming far too much of the school day's activities of children and it being used inappropriately for some of the bullying and harassment that we know sadly goes on the back of it. [...]

Mr Timpson said schools need to find a "technology balance" and ensure that teachers still interact with pupils, so it doesn't become a "battleground" between them and their devices.

The Subtle Ways Your Digital Assistant Might Manipulate You, by Maurice E. Stucke and Ariel Ezrachi, Wired

If Facebook can affect users’ mood and engagement by simply promoting some content in the users’ News Feed, just imagine the power of digital butlers to affect our feelings and behavior. By complimenting and cajoling, encouraging us to communicate with others, and sending personalized notes on our behalf, it potentially can affect our moods and those of our friends. Further, as many have reported recently, Facebook’s personalization may affect our views and opinion, through a selective news feed.

AT&T Just Declared War On An Open Internet (And Us), by T.C. Sottek, The Verge

Last year we won the open internet back, but the new regulations had one big weakness: they didn’t explicitly ban a scheme called “zero rating.” Zero rating is a poison pill wrapped in a piece of cheese; it looks like a good thing for consumers (free video!), but ultimately has the capability to rot competition and the open internet. The FCC decided it would look at zero rating schemes on a case-by-case basis, which left the door open for wireless companies to play their usual games. AT&T just broke that door off its hinges.

The Separate-Processor Edition Tuesday, November 29, 2016

How A Little iOS Magic In Every New Touch Bar Adds Security, by Glenn Fleishman, Macworld

Apple having a separate processor and OS to handle Touch ID is good news for consumers, because iOS, watchOS, and tvOS are more clamped down than macOS, which remains more open to inspect and manipulation as a general-computing platform. While iOS has suffered exploits, there should be even fewer paths to the Touch Bar to find and trigger flaws, as it acts as a peripheral rather than running apps directly.

Don’t Be Fooled: The Mac App Store Is Full Of Scams, by How To Geek

Seemingly official applications of dubious value are way to easy to accidentally find by searching. It’s understandable that Apple wants the App Store to appear full, but leaving things seemingly designed to deceive people is hardly an answer.

The Devil’s In The Dashed Line Details, by Khoi Vinh, Substraction

This is not to say that Adobe apps do not have lots of work ahead to be simpler, more performant, more in tune with what users want. It’s just to say that creating software for designers requires an extraordinary amount of attention to even the smallest details; you have to account for nearly every detail that every designer would ever want to finesse. You know how designers are; we’re fussy.

How I Drowned My Fiancé's iPhone 7 Plus On Vacation, by Serenity Caldwell, iMore

The iPhone's ten-second exposure to water was to be its downfall. Ten minutes later, the screen had a water leak; within an hour, the Taptic Engine had shut down; and by the next day, even after burying it in rice, it looked more like a multicolored piece of art than an iPhone 7.

And that's how, on Black Friday, we ended up at an Apple Store to replace the poor thing. Happy Thanksgiving!


Workflow 1.6 For iOS Adds Features And Redesign To Win Over Casual Users, by Mike Wuerthele, AppleInsider

It is well implemented, and it is going to be enough to tip more people over into trying out Workflow and seeing how it can dramatically speed up their most repetitive tasks.

Canadian mHealth Project Uses iPads For School Hearing Tests, by Eric Wicklund, mHealthIntelligence

Elementary schools in three Canadian cities will soon conduct hearing tests with an iPad, thanks to an mHealth program launched by the University of Ottawa Medical School. It’s the first step in what the medical school students hope will someday be a national program.

Panic Discontinuing Status Board Stats App Following Final iOS 10 Support Update, by Chance Miller, 9to5Mac

One contributing factor, the company writes, is that the app is targeted mainly towards pro users and there’s simply not a large pro market on iOS. [...] Panic also notes that it was always a challenge to integrate all types of data that pro users wanted with the limited revenue it had.


Australian Regulator Opposes Collective Bank Bargaining On Apple Pay, by Jamie Freed, Reuters

The decision is a setback for the banks' hopes to bypass Apple's in-house payments system and roll out their own versions free of competition from the Silicon Valley giant, which has the biggest smartphone market share in Australia.

It also sets a precedent which may solidify Apple's dominance of the digital wallet system globally, since the Australian banks had mounted the first challenge to it.

'A Classic Commons Problem': Publishers Are Going Notifications Crazy, by Max Willens, Digiday

Publishers have quickly realized the power of mobile notifications in drawing people back to content, so naturally they’re at risk of overdoing it.

“This is a classic commons problem,” said Andrew McLaughlin, the co-founder of Betaworks. “It’s a space where if everybody behaves badly, everything gets trashed.”

The No-Proprietary-Port Edition Monday, November 28, 2016

The New MacBook Pro Is Kind Of Great For Hackers, by Adam Geitgey, Medium

I/O-wise, the new MacBook Pro is possibly the most open device Apple has ever built. There is literally not a single proprietary port on it. You get four universal high-speed ports that can each draw or supply power, send and receive data and transfer video and audio. It’s really pretty neat. [...]

In a year or two when we all have junk drawers packed full of extra generic USB-C cables that cost nearly nothing, we’re going to look back on this and wonder why everyone was so worked up.

The Macintosh Endgame, by Jean-Louis Gassée, Monday Note

Instead of racing to the bottom as the market plummets, Apple appears to be taking the “high road”, in a sense: They’re taking refuge at the high end of the market by introducing new, more expensive MacBook Pros, with a visible differentiating feature, the Touch Bar. This is known, inelegantly, as milking a declining business, although you shouldn’t expect Apple to put it that way. [...]

In the end, iOS numbers make the decision. For its part, Apple will stay out of the way and let customers — and developers — decide when it’s time to buy the last Mac.

Apple May Have Finally Gotten Too Big For Its Unusual Corporate Structure, by Matthew Yglesias, Vox

If GE can build jet engines, tidal energy farms, freight rail data systems, mining equipment, and medical devices, how is it that the world’s most valuable company can’t find the time to make a full line of personal computers and PC peripherals alongside its market-leading smartphones and tablets? The answer goes back to Apple’s corporate structure, which, though fairly common for a startup, is extremely unusual for an enormous company.


Toronto Teen Uses App To Give Visually-impaired A New Look At The World, by Alicja Siekierska, Toronto Star

Tukrel’s iPhone app, iDentifi, allows users to take a photo of virtually any object, and then describes that item in great detail back to the user. People can also take photos of text and have it read back to them, in one of 27 languages. Tukrel hopes it makes every day tasks — like picking out the can of pop you want — easier for people who are visually impaired.

World's First iPhone Camera Sees What You Can't, by Deccan Chronicle

Researchers from VTT Technical Research Centre, Finland, have developed world’s first hyperspectral mobile devices by converting an iPhone camera into a new kind of optical sensor, which will help users to sense food quality or monitoring health.


Apple’s $1 Billion Plan Hits A Three-Person Roadblock In Ireland, by Dara Doyle and Peter Flanagan, Bloomberg

“This doesn’t just affect Athenry, but it affects Ireland as well,” said Paul Keane, 39, whose family has lived in the area for generations. “If Apple is turned away, what does it say about Ireland? It’s right that we have a fair and open system, but it can’t be dragged out.”

Therapy’s Digital Disconnect, by Alyssa Bereznak, The Ringer

Consider the challenges that digital natives face: It’s likely that they will encounter or have encountered harassment, they may feel guilt or anxiety about logging out of Slack for an evening, and they carry the urgency of the internet on their shoulders, all while maintaining profiles on myriad platforms. Like anything in life, when this set of responsibilities overwhelms your daily routine, it can lead to feelings of estrangement.

As a veteran of therapy and an internet dweller, I can attest. One of my most vivid memories from my three years of treatment was the morning when my therapist — after silently listening to me obsess over the emotional weight of communication via Gchat, iMessage, and Twitter — asked me if I could show her how to open an emailed PDF attachment. But internet-related issues in therapy go far beyond Computer 101 tutorials.

People Are Making Themselves Miserable By Trying Too Hard To Be Happy, by Cindy Lamothe, Quartz

In the wake of global events like Brexit and Donald Trump’s victory, it’s hard for a lot of people to feel happy right now. And according to psychology, we shouldn’t try to fight it.

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I wish that I can de-centralize the Dock on my Mac, while I wish that I can centralize the Taskbar on my Windows PC.

It's hard to please even me.


Thanks for reading.

The Free-Water Edition Sunday, November 27, 2016

Review: Apple's 13" MacBook Pro With Touch Bar, by Neil Hughes, AppleInsider

A more lasting change, however, still noticeable after adjusting to the MacBook Pro, is the loudness of the keyboard. That's right: It's noticeably louder than the previous-generation MacBook Pro.

We suspect most people won't notice or care about this, or they'll adjust to it. And frankly the fact that the redesigned switch style doesn't bother us is the best thing we can say for the new, thinner keyboard. It's not a problem, but you should know that it is different.

‘Water For Free’ App Now Lists Over 1,000 Hong Kong Drinking Fountains And Dispensers, by Hong Kong Free Press

By downloading it, one can easily locate a water fountain or dispenser nearby and drink “water for free” rather than paying for outrageously overpriced bottled water. In turn, this reduces the number of plastic bottles entering our landfills and ocean every day.

Ears, Hands Or Eyes, by Michael Eisenberg, TechCrunch

I would also suggest that in order for an innovative new device to take off and become a platform, it actually needs to pioneer a new user interface that utilizes a different one of our limbs or senses. [...]

I think this, however, points us to where the real opportunity is: My ears, and, by extension, my mouth. I think Amazon and Apple are onto something with Alexa and the wireless AirPods, respectively. Apple, the creator of the smartphone touch interface revolution, has intuited that Bluetooth, sensors, a wireless chip and other basics of smartphone computing can be packed into my ears. Amazon, who whiffed on the Fire, has decided to leapfrog a generation and move to voice.

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Things that I've done on a Sunday afternoon today:

* Listening to cantonese hip-hop music from Hong Kong.

* Browsing breakfast menu of diners half-way around the globe.

* Selecting the next library book to borrow while not sitting in a library.

Ah, the internet.


Thanks for reading.

The Spam-Invites Edition Saturday, November 26, 2016

Getting Spam Invitations In Your iCloud Calendar? Here's The Fix!, by Lory Gil, iMore

Lately, there has been a surge of spam iCloud calendar invites. You get a notification that you have been sent an invitation, which you can either "Accept" or "Close." If you close it, it goes into your iCloud calendar, un-responded box. You can then decline the invitation, but that doesn't stop spammers from continuing to send you junk. Plus, some people don't want to acknowledge the invitation at all because, even declining an invitation will send a response to the original sender.

Unfortunately, there is no way to block or ignore spammers from sending you calendar invites at this time. There are a couple of work-arounds, though, that will make it possible for you to keep these spammers out of sight and out of mind until Apple comes up with a solution to this new problem. Here's the fix.

Girl Power? For Lara Croft, It’s A Complicated Legacy, by Gregory Schmidt, New York Times

But 20 years on, Lara Croft has a complicated legacy. Her creators introduced her as a tough, agile archaeologist who could outmatch Indiana Jones, yet she was noticed more for her voluptuous physique and revealing attire — a tank top and short shorts. And she remains a polarizing figure among gamers, a paradox regarded as either a digital pinup girl or a feminist role model — or sometimes both.

“There was a duality in her character,” said Meagan Marie, the community and communications manager at Crystal Dynamics, the video game developer entrusted with the Lara Croft franchise, and the author of “20 Years of Tomb Raider: Digging Up the Past, Defining the Future.” “She was a sex icon and a feminist icon, and there is no issue being both of those at once.”


Facetune Is Looking To Prove That The Subscription iPhone App Model Can Work, by Ina Fried, Recode

The app Facetune became a hit by allowing iPhone owners to improve their selfies with softer skin and more glowing cheeks.

Now, Facetune is hoping to make its own alteration. With a new version being released on Friday, creator Lightricks is looking to shift the products from a one-time purchase to a subscription service.


All The Ways I Automate, by Jason Snell, iMore

So while I'm sad to see Apple's commitment to AppleScript and Automator waver, the fact is that automation features are just too useful to vanish. Even if Apple didn't really care about these sorts of features, the users would find ways to make them work. The options available on iOS are proof of that. (Though with a little help from Apple, they could be much better.)

The Scariest Word, by Calvin Trillin, New York Times

But I wasn’t thinking about my points and plugs. I was thinking about the operating system of my computer. I think I should admit here that I am not the most adroit user of computers and other devices of the digital age. At times, I have thought that I’m suffering from an affliction that might be called Mechanical Dyslexia. Still, I manage, after a time, to get the hang of using my computer or my iPad or my smartphone in a rudimentary fashion. And here we come to the word in the English language that I now most dread: “Upgrade.”

The Black-Friday Edition Friday, November 25, 2016

Apple's Black Friday Event Kicks Off In United States With Free Gift Cards Worth Up To $150, by Joe Rossignol, MacRumors

Apple's special Black Friday shopping event is now live in the United States and Canada, offering customers free Apple Store gift cards worth up to $150 or CA$200 with the purchase of selected Apple products today only.

Behind Apple's New Festive Frankenstein Holiday Ad, by Fast Company

Inclusion is and has for a long time been one of Apple's core values, and I think we've looked for a couple times throughout this year to communicate that to the world. I'm sure you've seen the Maya Angelou "Human Family" spot from the Olympics, which was an opportunity to talk about it when the world was watching. What a great time to talk about inclusion, and in some ways, the holidays are similar. We wanted to put out a message from Apple around this time of year that reminds everyone that what drives us as human beings is the desire for human connection.

This Is Apple’s Special Tool To Help Customers Recover Data From The New MacBook Pro’s Non-removable SSD, by Jordan Kahn, 9to5Mac

Apple’s new customer data migration tool is specifically designed for the new 2016 MacBook Pro to allow access to the SSD even if the logic board fails and or the machine doesn’t boot. It includes a logic board holder with power adapter that allows repair staff to insert your logic board and SSD and connect it via USB-C to MacBook Pro to transfer data.


House-Hunting In Hong Kong With The App That Sees Dead People, by Katie Kenny and Michael Forsythe, New York Times

Building on the success of Pokémon Go, a local company has created a smartphone app that superimposes property listings on street views. Point your phone at a building and the units for rent or sale pop up, complete with prices.

But on occasion, cartoon ghosts appear next to an apartment tower, representing an unnatural or unexplained death that took place there.

In Hong Kong, this is a big deal. Many people believe that living in a place where someone committed suicide or, worse, was murdered, brings all sorts of bad fortune. Those units, even years after such a death occurred, are discounted around 20 percent, sometimes 50 percent if the death was particularly gruesome.

Want To Get Social? Barrie Entrepreneurs Have An App For That, by Sue Sgambati, Barrie Today

With getWyred, you need to go out and be at a place to access your cameras or interact with people - the opposite of other social media platforms.


Automating Expense Reports, by And Now It's All This

This is a relatively long post about a relatively short script. It synthesizes several small workflows I’ve used over the past few years, and to explain the synthesis all the parts have to be explained, too.

Apple Releases macOS 10.12 Sierra Open Source Darwin Code, by Jeff Benjamin, 9to5Mac

The release builds on a long-standing library of open source code that dates all the way back to OS X 10.0.


Apple Mysteriously Stopped Disclosing How Much It Spends On Ads, by Lara O'Reilly, Business Insider

Companies are not required to split out their advertising spend from their general SG&A expenses figure, and most don't want to share that kind of data with competitors. Nevertheless, it's unusual that Apple has suddenly stopped doing so.

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Happy shopping!


Thanks for reading.

The Replaced-By-Robots Edition Thursday, November 24, 2016

An American-Made iPhone? Not Happening., by Adam Minter, Bloomberg

Trump's supporters have embraced this news as a sign of his power to persuade wayward corporations to make America great again. But as Apple and its manufacturing partners know, and as President Trump will soon find out, it'll never happen. The U.S. lacks the workforce and supply chains necessary for Apple to move its iPhone operation back home. And more to the point, Americans shouldn't want it to. [...]

If Trump wants to revive manufacturing in the U.S., it will require more than hectoring Apple. It will mean supporting vocational education on a huge scale, offering Chinese-style industrial subsidies and waiting around for decades for all of it to have an effect -- all in pursuit of tedious, low-paid jobs that are increasingly obsolete as industrial robots improve.

In reality, an American iPhone is likely just one more empty campaign promise. And that's for the best.

Why Apple (Probably) Won't Make An ARM-powered Mac, by Jason Snell, Macworld

The Mac’s great strength is that, unlike iOS, it’s a mature platform with users who are comfortable using computers in the traditional mouse-and-keyboard context. Just as it doesn’t make sense for Apple to turn the Mac into something it’s not (like a tablet), it doesn’t make a lot of sense for Apple to force Mac users through a processor transition. The Mac is the platform of stability and “classic” computing interfaces; iOS is where all the change (and growth) happens.


Microsoft Brings Solitaire To iOS And Android, by Tom Warren, The Verge

While the game as existed on Windows for more than 25 years, the modern Solitaire Collection will now be available outside of Windows for the first time. Microsoft is offering its Solitaire Collection on iOS and Android free of charge, as the company hopes to gain more players to add to the 119 million who have played the game on Windows 8 and Windows 10.

Competing With Big Business: How Apps Are Empowering SMB Retailers On Small Business Saturday, by Michael Devins, CBS Boston

An iOS device serves as a great communication tool out of the box, but the rich library of business apps in the iOS App Store can it easy and affordable for a small or medium-sized business (SMB) to get up and running. Turn an iPad into a cash register, create and submit expense reports on the go, and even transform business processes such as managing a sales cycle or signing contracts.


Bruce Schneier: 'The Internet Era Of Fun And Games Is Over', by Austin Powell, Daily Dot

"As the chairman pointed out, there are now computers in everything. But I want to suggest another way of thinking about it in that everything is now a computer: This is not a phone. It’s a computer that makes phone calls. A refrigerator is a computer that keeps things cold. ATM machine is a computer with money inside. Your car is not a mechanical device with a computer. It’s a computer with four wheels and an engine… And this is the Internet of Things, and this is what caused the DDoS attack we’re talking about."

Trump Says He Talked To Tim Cook About Building iPhones In The US, by Jacob Kastrenakes, The Verge

At this point, Trump mostly seems to be dropping Cook’s name to give some appearance of progress, much as he did when erroneously taking credit for saving a Ford factory last week. He also mentioned having a “great call” with Bill Gates this week. Of course, Trump and his Republican Congress haven’t taken office yet, so not much progress can be made on his agenda for another couple months.

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Happy Thanksgiving!


Thanks for reading.

The Traffic-To-Publishers Edition Wednesday, November 23, 2016

After A Slow Start, Apple News Is Emerging As A Significant Traffic Driver For Some News Orgs, by Ricardo Bilton, Nieman Lab

Alongside the launch of iOS 10 in September, Apple announced a handful of updates to Apple News, which it launched last fall. Along with some cosmetic changes like a new logo and typeface, the new version of the app brought some much-needed features for publishers, including breaking news notifications and support for paid subscriptions. But for many publishers, the most welcome change was to the traffic it gives publishers, which has grown in a big way.

Auto Regulators Ask Smartphone Makers To Implement Function-limited 'Driver Mode', by AppleInsider

Federal auto safety regulators looking to cut down on smartphone-related accidents and fatalities are asking device manufacturers like Apple and Samsung to develop and include a so-called "driver mode" in their products, a function-limited operating configuration akin to existing airplane mode settings.


Old Apple Computers Make Excellent Plant Pots, by Nick Summers, Engadget

What should you do with old Apple hardware? Keep it and maintain it as the company intended, old software and all? Or maybe donate it to a museum, where fellow fans can gaze at its chunky keys and adorably low-res display longingly? Christophe Guinet, also known as 'Monsieur Plant,' has another idea. For his latest project, Plant Your Mac!, the Parisian artist has converted some classic Apple products into tiny gardens. All of the machines, which include the Macintosh Classic, the iMac G3 and G5, now house a selection of lush, exotic plants in unusual, imaginative ways.

About Apple Watch

How watchOS 3 Makes My Apple Watch More Accessible, by Steven Aquino, The App Factor

I regularly wear a good-looking watch and the accessibility gains I get from it outweigh any annoyances over performance lag. watchOS 3’s growth has renewed my enthusiasm for the platform.

The Wrist, by Ben Brooks, The Brooks Review

I’ve written before how the one thing I like best about the Apple Watch is the notifications — and that’s absolutely true. There’s simply no better way to get notifications than on the Apple Watch — they discretely get your attention in almost every scenario.

But only when I removed the Apple Watch did I realize the painful downside which came with how well the watch excels at notifications: it’s distracting as fuck.

Designing Apple

How Apple Helped Democratize Typography In The '90s, by John Brownlee, Fast Company

There are dozens of reasons why the last 30 years have seen a renaissance in type design. But when you talk to Rickner, you get the sense that one company played an outsized role in democratizing type during those years: Apple. And he had a part in it.

On Jony Ive’s Role At Apple, by John Gruber, Daring Fireabll

Importantly, I’ve also heard from well-placed sources within Apple that there is nothing to this — that while Ive is devoting much of his time and attention to architecture recently (both for the new campus and Apple retail), every aspect of every new product remains as much under his watchful eye as ever. That his chief design officer title isn’t the least bit ceremonial, and instead is an accurate representation of his increased authority.


Are Paper Coloring Books & Classic Crayons Dead? This Guy Thinks So., by Stephen Altrogge, SnapMunk

Coco Color is both a stylus and two coloring apps. The digital pen, which only works within the app, provides a combination of 768 different colors, stroke styles, and stroke widths. The styles and colors can be changed by pressing the various buttons on the stylus.

Radio Silence 2 Review: Set It And Forget It Mac Firewall For Outgoing Connections, by J.R. Bookwalter, Macworld

Apple’s software is designed to monitor incoming connections, while Radio Silence is designed to do just the opposite, keeping tabs on applications or other software communicating with remote servers outside the user’s control.

iPhone App Gives Treasured Photos New Life, by David Pierini, Cult Of Mac

The apps also recognize that copying a photograph with a phone can be challenging, especially if a photo is curled, and have tools to correct the orientation. You can even do some blemish fixing, like torn edges and creases, that used to be removed only with an advanced knowledge of PhotoShop.

Make Time Travel With Time-lapse Video Apps, by Shweta Taneja, Livemint

A sunset crunched in 3 seconds. A party shortened to a few minutes. Time-lapse videos used to be a pain to shoot but now with smarter apps they’re as simple as, well, taking a selfie. Here are a few apps to turn you into a video pro.

Pick Up The Pieces Of A Writer's Life In Unworded, by Aldrin Calimlim, AppAdvice

Unworded is a story-driven puzzle game. And in order to drive the narrative forward, you have to solve puzzles by building objects out of letters and punctuation marks, using the clues provided through enigmatic poems.


Apple Pay Will Change The Way Your Brain Thinks About Buying Things, by Andrew P. Han, Wired

“You might assume from a rational point of view, there should be no difference in spending behavior based on how you’re paying for the item, using Touch ID versus a credit card,” says Sachin Banker, a consumer researcher at the University of Utah. But behavioral economists like him, who mix psychology and neuroscience methods with economics, know that the way you pay can make a big difference in what you buy and how much you’re willing to spend.

Great. Now Even Your Headphones Can Spy On You, by Andy Greenberg, Wired

Their malware uses a little-known feature of RealTek audio codec chips to silently “retask” the computer’s output channel as an input channel, allowing the malware to record audio even when the headphones remain connected into an input-only jack and don’t even have a microphone channel on their plug.

The Diversity-And-Inclusion Edition Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Apple's Top Management Largely White And Male, But Overall Workforce Trending Toward Diversity, by Mikey Campbell, AppleInsider

Specifically, 73 of Apple's top 107 executives and senior officials and management are white males. Only 20 females, 15 of whom are white, fill those seats. Last year only one Hispanic or latino employee —one man —was among Apple's top ranks, a number that increased to two people this year. Another 14 senior staff members are Asian, up from 12 in 2015, while 3 are black or African American.

Apple’s Holiday Ad Is All About Inclusion, by Romain Dillet, TechCrunch

Every year, Apple releases a holiday ad just in time for Thanksgiving. These ads are a bit more interesting than your average product advertising as the company uses this opportunity to promote different values. This year, Apple wants to tell everyone that they should be nice with everyone around them, beyond their families and friends.

Memory Support

Why The MacBook Pro Is Limited To 16GB Of RAM, by Ben Slaney, MacDaddy

LPDDR4 is not supported by Intel’s CPU, and the DDR4L (another low voltage RAM type) standard is not finished yet. So desktop class memory (plainly spoken DDR4) would be the only option if they wanted to go past 16GB.

So then the question would be: How much power are they really saving by using LPDDR3E memory over the DDR4 memory they could have used which is supported by the very same CPU?

Phil Schiller Again Defends Touch Bar MacBook Pro's 16GB RAM Limitation, by Mikey Campbell, AppleInsider

"The MacBook Pro uses 16GB of very fast LPDDR memory, up to 2133MHz," Schiller said. "To support 32GB of memory would require using DDR memory that is not low power and also require a different design of the logic board which might reduce space for batteries. Both factors would reduce battery life."

Bad Video

iPhone 'Prank' Video Crashes Apple Smartphones, by Samuel Gibbs, The Guardian

The video from the Sina Weibo-backed video sharing app Miaopai plays normally in the iPhone’s video player. Once the video is finished it can take up to a minute for the iPhone to lock up, requiring a forced reboot to recover it.

Most people are unaware anything has happened, continuing to use their smartphone until it either won’t turn back on or locks up in an app, the home screen or with a spinning loading logo on a black screen.


Apple Teases Upcoming Black Friday ‘One-day Shopping Event,’ Suggesting Possible Return Of Discounts, by Chance Miller, 9to5Mac

Apple today unveiled a new webpage teasing the upcoming Black Friday shopping holiday. On the webpage, Apple touts that it will be holding a “one-day event” this Friday, much like other retailers do.


Quit Social Media. Your Career May Depend On It., by Cal Newport, New York Times

The idea of purposefully introducing into my life a service designed to fragment my attention is as scary to me as the idea of smoking would be to an endurance athlete, and it should be to you if you’re serious about creating things that matter. [...]

A dedication to cultivating your social media brand is a fundamentally passive approach to professional advancement. It diverts your time and attention away from producing work that matters and toward convincing the world that you matter. The latter activity is seductive, especially for many members of my generation who were raised on this message, but it can be disastrously counterproductive.


The Reverse Of The Halo Effect, by Brent Simmons, Inessential

The decision to pull out of displays and routers — and Applescript and automation? — may make sense from a point of view that can be expressed in a spreadsheet, but it may not make sense from a psychological point of view.

Are GPS Apps Messing With Our Brains?, by David Dobbs, Mother Jones

The broader strategy comes from Yale historian Bill Rankin, whose book, After the Map, charts the rise of GPS. Rankin says he finds it helpful to distinguish between "coordination" (just get me there), for which a simple route suffices, and "familiarity," for which a cognitive map serves best.

Coordination, Rankin notes, is why the military developed global positioning to begin with: It's just the thing when you want to put a cruise missile into a bunker or supplies into a storm-struck village. But truly knowing a place means mastering its landscape, and for that you need a cognitive map. As an undergrad in Houston, Rankin began marking his favorite jogging routes on a paper map pinned on his wall. He stayed in shape and learned the town in the process. Know why you're traveling, he advises, and choose your navigation mode accordingly.

The Thanksgiving-Run Edition Monday, November 21, 2016

Apple Watch Has A Special Thanksgiving Activity Achievement, Run/walk 5K On Nov 24 To Earn Unique Award + iMessage Sticker, by Benjamin Mayo, 9to5Mac

Apple Watch owners can get a special Activity Challenge for Thanksgiving, this November 24th. Apple Watch owners are waking up to notifications on their wrist announcing a special achievement in the Activity app, the first time Apple has done this. To receive the reward, users must run or walk 5K (3.1 miles) on November 24 using Apple’s Workout app or any third-party app that integrates workouts with HealthKit.

Apple Launches Repair Program For iPhone 6s Devices Experiencing Unexpected Shutdowns, by Eric Slivka, MacRumors

Apple today launched a new repair program for iPhone 6s users whose devices may be unexpectedly shutting down. The issue is a limited one only affecting certain devices manufactured between September and October 2015.

How Apple Empowers, And Employs, The American Working Class, by Vindu Goel, New York Times

For a host of reasons, Apple is unlikely to produce iPhones in the United States. But opening a smartphone factory in this country is not the only way to provide solid employment for working-class Americans who lack college degrees.

Apple’s overall contribution to the American economy is significant. Beyond the 80,000 people it directly employs in the United States, it says 69 supplier facilities in 33 states manufacture parts that go into its products. Hundreds of thousands of software developers also write apps for iPhones and iPads.

Malleability, by And Now It's All This

The death of AppleScript and other automation techniques has seemed imminent before, and it’s always escaped. Sometimes we’ve even gotten small advances likeJXA. This latest news is more troubling than what we’ve heard before, but I’m going to keep scripting. My computer works for me, I don’t work for it.

Touch Bar Impressions, by Stephen Hackett, 512 Pixels

I liked that it surfaces things in complex applications like Final Cut Pro X and Numbers, but the inconsistent usage and mode switching that has to take place to find things would need to be second nature before I considered it helpful day to day. I think there’s a ton of potential here, though, and it’s still early days of this thing.

‘Designed By Apple In California’ Brought To Life, by John Voorhees, MacStories

Hackett, who owns an extensive collection of Apple hardware, filmed the gear side-by-side with the photographs in Apple’s book, bringing it to life in a way that the photos alone cannot.


Apple Debuts New Apple Music Ad Starring Drake As It Ramps Up Marketing For Holiday Season, by Chance Miller, 9to5Mac

The ad is essentially a mirror of an ad that starredTaylor Swift and was released earlier this year.


Apple Abandons Development Of Wireless Routers, by Mark Gurman, Bloomberg

Apple Inc. has disbanded its division that develops wireless routers, another move to try to sharpen the company’s focus on consumer products that generate the bulk of its revenue, according to people familiar with the matter.

Apple began shutting down the wireless router team over the past year, dispersing engineers to other product development groups, including the one handling the Apple TV, said the people, who asked not to be named because the decision hasn’t been publicly announced.

Is The Jig Finally Up For Coffee Shop Wi-Fi Freeloaders?, by Jimi Famurewa, The Guardian

Hesketh agrees that people are “super understanding” about their digital blackout. Perhaps this is a new age. Perhaps people truly have had enough of work encroaching on notionally social spaces. Either that or they have found that spot by the window where you can serviceably nick Wi-Fi from the train station.

Bottom of the Page

If you ask 30-year-old me what I will tell my 20-year-old me, I'd probably say: learn to accept loneliness, and save more money.

If you ask 40-year-old me what I will tell my 30-year-old me, I'd probably say: try harder to accept loneliness, and save even more money.

If you ask future 50-year-old me what I will tell me today, I'd most likely say: try even harder to learn to accept loneliness, and save much more money than what you are saving now.

(I don't need a top-of-the-line iPhone. But I can't resist...)


Thanks for reading.

The Pitiful-Cure Edition Sunday, November 20, 2016

Customers Not Happy With Apple's 'Pitiful' Cure For iPhone 'Touch Disease', by Sophia Harris, CBC

"I think it's pitiful," says iPhone owner Trina Rae Wiegers from Prince Albert, Sask.

She claims that many smartphones get dropped, so if that's the culprit, lots of different iPhone models should be suffering from the same problem.

"You can't just pick one and say apparently people are just dropping the 6 Pluses."

Kindergartners Break Into TV Biz, by Eric Wildstein, Gaston Gazette

Students in teacher Jozette Hyatt’s classroom at Lingerfeldt Elementary are using iPads and a green screen to learn how to create their own videos and become TV news weather forecasters. They’re working collaboratively to write scripts, operate the iPad video camera, enhance their public speaking skills and learning to think critically.

“They learn so much from the activity,” said Hyatt, who is in her fifth year at Lingerfeldt. “It’s a lot of excitement for 5- and 6-year-olds.”

Manhattan D.A. Reopens Encryption Battle With Apple, by Colin Daileda, Mashable

Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance said Thursday that he wants Apple's encryption to go back to how it was in early 2014. Back then, police could basically extract any information they wanted after getting a warrant.

"Doing nothing about this problem will perpetuate an untenable arms race between private industry and law enforcement," Vance said on Thursday. "Federal legislation is our only chance to lay these arms aside."

The Apple Watch Nike+ Will Make You Miss Running With Your Phone, by Pete Pachal, Mashable

And there's the rub, the reason the Apple Watch Nike+ isn't worth the experience it's seemingly promising: Without a data connection, it's a step backward. Running with my iPhone, I can stream music, get notifications and even take calls while I run. With the Apple Watch, I can do none of those things.


Apple Should Go Back To The Future With The Mac Pro, by Rob Griffiths

Instead, Apple should design one Mac that can become anything and everything to each type of “Pro” user. While that may sound daungting, the good news is that Apple’s already done this in its recent past. And done it very well, I might add…

When has Apple done this in the past? As recently as 2012, the last year of production for the old Mac Pro. That’s right, the old Mac Pro.

Apple Offering Big Discounts On iPhone 7 And iPad In India After Currency Ban, by Vinod Yalburgi, International Business Times

Apple is offering massive discounts on iPhone 7 and iPad purchases, following a major ban on Rs. 500 and Rs. 1000 currency notes in India. Reports indicate that the sales of Apple smartphones have more than halved in the wake of the ban imposed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi to curb the black-money menace in the country.

Given the fact that most people usually buy an iPhone using cash, sales of the iPhone has faltered a bit in the last few weeks owing to the cash crunch created by the new government rules, following the currency ban in the sub-continent.

When Tech Is A Problem Child, by Bruce Feiler, New York Times

By now, all parents know that technology poses at least some threat to children. Just last month, the American Academy of Pediatrics released a study that said while digital and social media can help early learning, they also come with a host of risks, including negative effects on sleep, attention and learning, along with higher incidence of obesity and depression. The group recommends that parents develop a Family Media Use Plan.

Fair enough, but what should be in such a plan? As the parent of adolescents, I want more than bromides. I want to know what other parents are actually doing that works.

McLaren Shareholders Have Rejected Bids, Not Looking To Sell, by Costas Pitas, Reuters

"There wasn't a bid from Apple," said Flewitt.

"They visited. We talked. We talked about what they did. We talked about what we did. They toured. It never matured to a definitive proposition," he said.

Bottom of the Page

Microsoft has always pursued a single-operating-system-for-all-devices strategy. At the time when Steve Jobs revealed the iPhone, the Windows operating system serves as the backbone for 'normal' PCs, tablet PCs, media PCs, server PCs, as well as PDAs and mobile phones.

No wonder Microsoft was so slow to react to the iPhone threat, spend quite a few years to adjust the operating system, and lost all its marketshare (and profits) for mobile devices, as well as making Windows irrelevant to the PC market.

This may explain why Apple seems to be abandoning 'power' Mac users as it refines its operating systems strategy to pursue the mass market. To have a 'single' operating system - whether we are talking about iOS or macOS -- that serves both the mass market and the high-end market is not going to work. Sandboxing, portability, power savings are just some of the features that different markets demands different optimization. To have a single operating system that serves different needs mean Apple will not be able to react fast for the future.


Thanks for reading.

The Has-Every-Intent Edition Saturday, November 19, 2016

Automation Technologies Will Continue To Be Supported In macOS, Apple Exec Craig Federighi Says In Customer Email, by Benjamin Mayo, 9to5Mac

Federighi responded with a definitive reply that Apple “has every intent” to continue supporting automation on macOS.

New iPhone Lock Screen Exploit Reveals Contact Information Without Passcode, by Mike Wuerthele, AppleInsider

A new exploit requiring precise timing in conjunction with physical access to a device that has Siri enabled on the lock screen has surfaced, giving attackers the ability to view contact information, including photos, and message logs.

Some Users Experiencing 'Three Finger Drag' Issues On New MacBook Pro, by Joe Rossignol, MacRumors

Some users have speculated the trackpad's palm rejection feature could be to blame, particularly since the gesture appears to be buggiest along the edges.

MacBook Pro Integrated GPU Misidentified By System Profiler, Confusing Some Early Buyers, by Mike Wuerthele, AppleInsider

"The problem is a result of mistaken communication between the System Information developer team, and the hardware team," AppleInsider was told by a source within Apple. "The [Intel HD Graphics] 530 is reporting to the OS right, it's the System Information app database that's leading users down the primrose path."

My 2c On The iPad Vs Mac Debate, by Om Malik

Instead we need to think about the future from the perspective of those who are growing up today – kids who interact via touch and swipe, the toddlers who are learning to talk to Alexa and those who won’t need Lightroom because some machine somewhere will do the heavy lifting.


Blink Shell Is A Full SSH And Mosh Terminal For iPhone And iPad, by Thorin Klosowski, LifeHacker

A terminal emulator on your iPhone might sound a little silly for most of us, but SSH can come in pretty handy sometimes. For a while, one the best apps for doing so was Panic’s Prompt 2, but Blink Shell is an option that’s worth a look too.


Designing The New Uber App, by Didier Hilhorst, Medium

As we added more features and our products became more complex, we continued to strive to keep the original simplicity and speed of a single button. But we realized that speed was about much more than minimizing taps and streamlining flows. People were selecting the wrong product when they had to catch a movie (I’m looking at you, Uber Pool). Opportunities to save time by suggesting good pick-up spots were being missed.

In a fast growing environment it can become challenging to see the way ahead. So, to move past the comfort of our beginnings we decided to design the new Uber experience with a simple twist: “Start at the end.”

Brainstorming Product Names, by Rested Experience

There are tons of successful companies out there who are named based on gibberish words. Lots of young startups try to emulate this with their own naming. I do not recommend it. The problem with gibberish names is that it costs a ton in marketing efforts and time to teach people your name.

I prefer jargon words. Take some time and observe your audience. How do they describe the problems? How do they describe the solutions? These are the words they are going to search with. These are the words you want to relate with.


Flawed 3rd-party Chargers Reportedly Culprit In Apple's China iPhone 6 Investigation, by Mike Wuerthele, AppleInsider

Sources close to the investigation on Chinese iPhone 6 models failing with what appears to be a charged battery have told AppleInsider that the main cause of the problems appear to be not related to Apple engineering, but is directly related to the proliferation of low-quality third-party charging peripherals in the country.

Indie Rockers Airplane Mode Get Their Spark From Apple, by David Pierini, Cult Of Mac

The name and the resumes of three of the band’s musicians — well-established iOS designers — have led more than a few people to assume they have found a source of cute parody music about Apple culture.

In fact, you won’t find any iPhones, iMacs or odes to Steve Jobs in the lyrics of the tight, hard-charging synth-driven music. However, the band’s roots in Apple culture permeate everything else, from its use of technology and understanding of social engagement to its start-up energy.

Bottom of the Page

I wish I can create apps on my iPad.


Thanks for reading.

The Call-History Edition Friday, November 18, 2016

Apple Comments On iCloud Call History Sync: What You Need To Know!, by Rene Ritchie, iMore

Because, when you restore an iPhone from backup, including a new iPhone that replaces your old one, or you enable continuity calling so you can make phone calls from your iPad or Mac, you see your call history.

If Apple wasn't backing up and syncing that information, you would lose it every time you restored your iPhone, and you'd have frustratingly different calling lists across your devices.

Apple Syncs Call Logs Via iCloud, But It's More Of An Annoyance Than Security Risk, by Dan Moren, Six Colors

The bigger issue here is that Apple has made a big stand on privacy and being protective of its users’ data, and so it’s a bit at odds with that stated purpose to retain this information without notifying its users. If I had to bet, I’d guess a subsequent version of iOS will prompts users to allow this data to be synced, and let them opt out via the Privacy controls.

Still Partly Your Fault

Apple Will Fix iPhone 6 Pluses With Touchscreen Problems, But It Will Cost You, by Andrew Cunningham, Ars Technica

If you've been having touchscreen problems with your iPhone 6 Plus, Apple has a fix for you if you're willing to pay for it. The "iPhone 6 Plus Multi-Touch Repair Program" is for phones that are either having trouble registering touchscreen input or that are have flickering displays as a result of "being dropped multiple times on a hard surface and then incurring further stress on the device."

Unlike past iPhone repair programs—a list which includes the power button and battery in the iPhone 5 and the camera in the iPhone 6 Plus—Apple is charging a $149 service fee to replace iPhones affected by the problem. Even then, Apple says your phone needs to be "in working order" and can't have a cracked or broken screen. If you have previously paid for a repair related to these problems, Apple says that you can contact the company to be reimbursed for whatever you paid beyond $149.


Apple Could Make iPhones In US In Future: Sources, by Debby Wu, Nikkei Asian Review

Key Apple assembler Hon Hai Precision Industry, also known as Foxconn Technology Group, has been studying the possibility of moving iPhone production to the U.S., sources told the Nikkei Asian Review. [...]

The person added that one view among the Apple supply chain in Taiwan is that U.S. President-elect Donald Trump may push the Cupertino, California-based tech titan to make a certain number of iPhone components at home.

The Real Reason Apple Produces Outside The US Has Little To Do With Labor Costs, by Mike Murphy, Quartz

The real issue is that the vast majority of Apple’s suppliers, the companies that build the individual components that make up an iPhone—such as the battery, the camera, the display, the sensors, and just about every other part inside the iPhone—are based in Asia.

Apple has suppliers in 28 countries, and the countries with the highest concentration of suppliers are China, Japan, the US, and Taiwan, according to MIT Technology Review. Shipping all of those individual parts to the US would cost a lot more than moving them around China or shipping them across Asia.

Strong-arm Apple And Tax China Bigly: A Guide To Trump's Possible Tech Policies, by Geof Wheelwright, The Guardian

America’s technology industry has enjoyed a close relationship with President Obama’s administration since he was elected in 2008 – a fact that will not be lost on president-elect Donald Trump, who pitched his own ideas about technology policy while campaigning.

The technology sector is responsible for 6% of the nation’s economy and nearly $1tn in GDP for 2014 alone, according to the trade body the Internet Association. Trump needs to engage – but what policies is he likely to formulate?

Silicon Valley Helped Create Trump, And That’s Bad For It, by Noam Cohen, New York Times

By fostering rampant individualism and a disregard for traditional institutions, the tech companies are now under threat from a candidate they helped create. It’s no coincidence that tech stocks are down since the election, even as the broader market rallied. Mr. Trump’s nationalism also threatens the global consensus that is so important to the expansion of the tech giants. Yesterday, Russian authorities blocked LinkedIn over a data storage law.

How do you like your disruption now?

Virtual Playground

Apple Stores To Teach Swift Playgrounds Lessons At Free Hour Of Code Workshops Starting December 5, by Zac Hall, 9to5Mac

Apple’s annual Hour of Code workshops are kicking off this year at Apple Stores across the world during the week of December 5, and this year there’s a new app in play: Swift Playgrounds. Apple introduced user-friendly coding app for iPad earlier this year as a way to introduce new developers to Swift, Apple’s programming language.


Apple Releases ‘Bulbs’ TV Ad Featuring The New MacBook Pro With Touch Bar, A “Tool For All The Ideas To Come”, by Benjamin Mayo, 9to5Mac

The ad shows a series of lightbulbs exploding around the world, ending with a tag line ‘Ideas push the world forward’ and a few short shots of the new MacBook Pro with Touch Bar.

Workflow For iOS Gains Redesigned Actions Gallery, Easier Automation Discovery, by Zac Hall, 9to5Mac

Workflow for iOS is easily the best way to put automation to work for you on iPhone and iPad, and today the popular utility is out with a significant update that includes a cleaner look and better discovery. The gallery of automations within Workflow has been redesigned with search and profiles for finding new actions and seeing who created them. Is Adding A Smart Assistant To Your To-do List, by Dieter Bohn, The Verge

When you enter a task into, the company’s servers will analyze it to see if it’s the sort of thing a chatbot or a human assistant could help you accomplish. If so, a button pops up to launch a chat with said bot or human, who then takes care of it for you.

The Clock Helps You Keep An Eye On Time Zones, by Dan Moren, Six Colors

So if you happen to need to keep track of multiple time zones and/or schedule meetings across them, The Clock might be right on time for you.

Mozilla Launches Firefox Focus, A Private Web Browser For iPhone, by Sarah Perez, TechCrunch

Called Firefox Focus, the mobile browser by default blocks ad trackers, and erases your browsing history, including your passwords and cookies.

The end result is a simplified browser that may load web pages more quickly, the company claims, given that ads and other web trackers can bog down pages and impact performance.

Bottom of the Page

Unlike many people, I don't care whether Apple continues the Mac Pro line. What I am worry about: the iPad mini.

Will Microsoft scoop in again, and make a Surface Mini?


Thanks for reading.

The Mobile-Monitoring Edition Thursday, November 17, 2016

iPhones Secretly Send Call History To Apple, Security Firm Says, by Kim Zetter, The Intercept

Russian digital forensics firm Elcomsoft has found that Apple’s mobile devices automatically send a user’s call history to the company’s servers if iCloud is enabled — but the data gets uploaded in many instances without user choice or notification.

“You only need to have iCloud itself enabled” for the data to be sent, said Vladimir Katalov, CEO of Elcomsoft.

The logs surreptitiously uploaded to Apple contain a list of all calls made and received on an iOS device, complete with phone numbers, dates and times, and duration. They also include missed and bypassed calls. Elcomsoft said Apple retains the data in a user’s iCloud account for up to four months, providing a boon to law enforcement who may not be able to obtain the data either from the user’s carrier, who may retain the data for only a short period, or from the user’s device, if it’s encrypted with an unbreakable passcode.

Apple Is Researching How iPhones Can Be Used To Monitor Parkinson's Patients, by Christina Farr, Fast Company

Many patients with Parkinson's disease only see their doctor every six months or so. That's a problem as symptoms might have improved or worsened between visits, which might mean that they're on the wrong dose of medication for months at a time.

Apple is internally conducting research into whether its devices, the iPhone and Apple Watch, can be used to passively monitor data in real time on the well-being of patients suffering from the disease, three sources tell Fast Company. And it is hoping to build an evidence base to demonstrate the effectiveness of mobile monitoring.

Apple Rejection Of Indigenous App Described As Symptom Of 'Digital Colonisation', by Jacqueline Breen, ABC

An Indigenous entrepreneur based in Kakadu National Park says three years of hard work came almost to nothing when the world's biggest tech company backed out of publishing her app on its launch day.

Park ranger-turned-app developer Mikaela Jade said she could not believe what she was reading.

"I was fairly shocked," she said.

Security Matters

Troubleshooting Some Nasty Safari Malware, by Jason Snell, Macworld

“I need Apple advice,” My sister texted me last week. “I got a message that my computer is blocked due to an unexpected error. It gives me a number to call to fix it. Does that sound legit?”

No. It did not sound legit. What’s worse, the error message gave her an 800 number to call, which she did, and the person on the other end of the line offered to share her screen and tried to sell her $200 in security software.

Certs Up! Apple And Google Take Certificates More Seriously, by Glenn Fleishman, Macworld

I was naive and thought that a lot of the issues surrounding Web browser/server security would be resolved with some significant changes agreed to by operating system makers, non-OS browser developers, and the parties that provide verification, called certificate authorities (CAs), which took place January 1, 2016.

Oh, how young and foolish was I. But real improvements have taken place, and nearing the end of 2016, you may already have seen how browsers provide you a more descriptive—and some prescriptive—alert about problems with the certificates passed by a server to a browser to create a secure connection. In some cases, you may already have been blocked from a connection, or required to approve an exception to proceed.

current application's NSApp's terminate()

Apple Dissolves Mac Automation Management Post, Sal Soghoian To Leave Company, by Mikey Campbell, AppleInsider

It was revealed on Wednesday that longtime Apple Product Manager of Automation Technologies Sal Soghoian, whose work is responsible for services like AppleScript and Automator, will be leaving the company in December as his post was recently eliminated.

Sal Soghoian Departs Apple, by John Gruber, Daring Fireball

If they had simply fired him, that’d be one thing, but the fact that they’ve eliminated his position is another. This is shitty news. I find this to be a profoundly worrisome turn of events for the future of the Mac.

Sal, by Brent Simmons, Inessential

Sal has been so awesome for so long, and he deserves a giant round of applause.

And Apple deserves us to ask, “What the hell, dude?”


Todoist Launches Smart Schedule, An AI-Based Feature To Reschedule Overdue Tasks, by Federico Viticci, MacStories

Instead of reinventing the way due dates and scheduling options should be presented – something that, admittedly, Todoist already does quite well thanks to its natural language support – the company is launching Smart Schedule, a feature powered by AI that wants to help users catch up on their todo list and regain control of overdue tasks.

The goal is simple, yet promising: Todoist is betting on algorithms to understand what's most important to us and where we can find the time to get everything done without overcommitting to unrealistic deadlines.

Later Is A Simpler Replacement For Apple’s Reminders, by Sarah Perez, TechCrunch

Later aims to offer an alternative to Apple’s sometimes cumbersome Reminders by giving you an easier, faster way to set times to be reminded about upcoming tasks, as well as a way to get alerts when you return to your Mac.

After A Bitter Election Season, Apps To Spread Good Cheer, by Kit Eaton, New York Times

There are times when the world seems a cold and unfriendly place. For some people, now is one of those moments. But there are many apps out there to help improve your mood or spread some joy around.

Command-Tab Plus Is A New Keyboard-centric App Switcher For macOS, by Dennis Sellers, Apple World Today

With Command-Tab Plus, you use icon numbers to quickly select and switch between apps. To do that, use a shortcut to open the switch window and simply press the app number on the keyboard.


How To Create Touch Bar Screenshots On The New MacBook Pro + More, by Zac Hall, 9to5Mac

By default, ⇧⌘6 (Shift, Command, 6) will save a screenshot of Touch Bar as a file on your desktop. Alternatively, pressing ⌃⇧⌘6 (Control, Shift, Command, 6) which may require a little finger yoga will copy what you see on Touch Bar to your clipboard for pasting in an app.

The Monkey And The Apple, by Steve Yegge

Building this game has been a lot of fun. I've learned more from doing this project than from anything I've ever done that was work-related, at any job I've had. Something about having to do a big project yourself forces you to pay attention to everything in a way that you rarely have to do at a corporation.

Microsoft Releases Preview Edition Of Visual Studio For Mac, by Roger Fingas, AppleInsider

The Mac edition is currently available only in a free preview build, but takes advantage of technology Microsoft acquired from Xamarin to support C# development for iOS, macOS, Windows, and Android, including access to the Xamarin Test Cloud. For server-based projects, the app supports Azure and .NET Core.


Apple Faces A Tough Chinese Consumer Agency Over iPhone Battery Fail, by Scott Cendrowski, Fortune

After numerous reports in China of iPhones shutting off unexpectedly with ample battery power remaining, Apple faces a Chinese regulator that has forced two other foreign companies into recalls since the summer. [...]

The China Consumers Association has built its reputation on fighting perceived double standards in China, and on calling out foreign companies for not respecting their Chinese consumers. Apple could be another target.

Apple To Cut Fees Video Services Will Pay For App Store, Say Sources, by Lucas Shaw and Alex Webb, Bloomberg

Some video partners have already been paying 15 percent of monthly subscription fees to Apple. The company is now extending the rate to all subscription video services as long as they are integrated with Apple’s new TV app, said the people who asked not to be identified because the changes aren’t public.

The Book-Of-Photos Edition Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Sir Jony Ive Reflects On The Nature Of Objects, The Fragility Of Ideas, And 20 Years Of Apple Design, by Tony Chambers, Wallpaper

"The biggest challenge for us was the fact that our focus and preoccupation is always on the future. So that tends to exclude much time to look back at the work we have previously done. Sometimes if we are struggling with a particular issue then that gives us reason to go back and look at the way we have solved problems in the past. But because we've been so consumed by our current and future work we came to realise we didn't have a catalogue of the physical products. So about eight years ago we felt an obligation to address this and build an objective archive. Many of the products that you see, we actually had to go out and purchase [laughs]. It's a rather shameful admission, but it's just not an area that we really invested much time or energy in, so we started to build an archive of the physical products."

Putting The Price Of 'Designed By Apple In California' In Context, by John Gruber, Daring Fireball

$200/300 is not out of line for a premium book like this. I just think Apple would have been better served allowing someone like Taschen to do it for them, in terms of optics.

Apple Published An Expensive Book With Pictures Of Its Products, And Apologists Defend The Ridiculous Price, by Kirk McElhearn

If the Apple book were a limited edition, then the price would be reasonable, and if it were a signed limited edition, with a small limitation, then it would cost much more (probably $1,000 or so for a signed edition of, say, 1,000 copies, if it were signed by Jony Ive). But it’s not a limited edition, and the paper and ink are not that big a deal.

On The Road

Biggest Spike In Traffic Deaths In 50 Years? Blame Apps, by Neal E. Boudette, New York Times

The messaging app Snapchat allows motorists to post photos that record the speed of the vehicle. The navigation app Waze rewards drivers with points when they report traffic jams and accidents. Even the game Pokémon Go has drivers searching for virtual creatures on the nation’s highways.

When distracted driving entered the national consciousness a decade ago, the problem was mainly people who made calls or sent texts from their cellphones. The solution then was to introduce new technologies to keep drivers’ hands on the wheel. Innovations since then — car Wi-Fi and a host of new apps — have led to a boom in internet use in vehicles that safety experts say is contributing to a surge in highway deaths.

Next Time You Hit The Brakes, This App Could Warn The Car Behind, by Gwen Ackerman, Bloomberg

Nexar Ltd., an Israeli startup whose app records video from a smartphone’s camera to capture hard brakes and collisions, will from today turn its users into a vehicle-to-vehicle network to prevent crashes before they happen. The app is already used by professional car fleets and insurance companies to reconstruct traffic accidents.

Music For The Eyes

Apple Music’s Best New Feature Is Better Accessibility, by Steven Aquino, The App Factor

With the advent of iOS 10 came an all-new, totally redesigned Apple Music that addressed both of my biggest gripes about 1.0. Streaming and downloaded music are now clearly marked, but the big win for me is the app is much more visually accessible. It’s for this reason I enjoy using the app more, and it’s one of the biggest highlights of iOS 10 for me.


Powerful, Customizable RAW Photo Editor: Hands-on With Macphun’s New RAW Editor, Luminar, by Jeremy Gray, Imaging Resource

It strikes a great balance between accessibility and power. It also plays nicely with other applications, allowing me to make edits in Luminar and then easily open up the edited file in Photoshop. You can also use it as a plug-in within Photoshop, Lightroom and Photos for MacOS.

Google PhotoScan For iOS Digitizes Your Physical Prints, Photos Updated With Machine Learning-based Editing, by Abner Li, 9to5Mac

Google Photos is getting a number of updates today that improve the editing experience through machine learning and more manual controls. Additionally, a standalone PhotoScan app for iOS allows you to digitize your old physical prints with just your phone’s camera.

Shazam Is Always Listening To You On Mac -- But Not For Long, by Sean Hollister, CNET

On Monday, benevolent hacker Patrick Wardle revealed that -- on Mac computers -- the Shazam app never lets go of your laptop or desktop microphone. It continues to listen even after after you've told the app to stop listening.

Super Mario Run Launching On December 15, by Federico Viticci, MacStories

Super Mario Run will be available in 151 countries next month, and it'll be a free download from the App Store. A single $9.99 In-App Purchase will unlock all three game modes.


Apple’s Big App Store Purge Is Now Underway, by Sarah Perez, TechCrunch

Earlier this year, Apple promised it would clean up its iOS App Store by removing outdated, abandoned apps, including those that no longer meet current guidelines or don’t function as intended. That great App Store purge now appears to be underway, according to new data from app intelligence firm Sensor Tower.


Marc Benioff Says Companies Buy Each Other For The Data, And The Government Isn’t Doing Anything About It, by April Glaser, Recode

Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff says U.S. regulators didn't pay proper attention to Microsoft’s purchase of LinkedIn, which he sees as a grab for data, not an acquisition of a social network.

Bottom of the Page

For something as 'non-functional' as a book of photos, that nobody needs, that Apple doesn't need to make any sustainable profits in order to survive, I am not sure why there are so many armchair critics telling Apple how to price its vanity product.


Thanks for reading.

The History-Starts-At-1998 Edition Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Apple Releases $199/$299 Hardbound Book Covering 20 Years Of Apple Product Design, Dedicated To Steve Jobs, by Benjamin Mayo, 9to5Mac

Apple has announced a new hardbound book, available for $199 or $299 online at and Apple retail stores from tomorrow, which charts a 20-year history of Apple design from the iMac in 1998 to the Apple Pencil in 2015. The book features 450 photographs of Apple products new and old, including iPhone, iPod and Apple Watch. The book is called ‘Designed by Apple in California’ and is dedicated to Steve Jobs.

The book is available in two sizes and printed on specially milled, custom-dyed paper with silver edges. According to Apple, the book was created over an eight-year period and is published by the company itself, not a third-party.

‘Designed By Apple In California’, by Stephen Hackett, 512 Pixels

Jony Ive’s fingerprints are all over this, and he’s quoted heavily in the press release. Is this his farewell tour, or just a project he wanted to get out the door now that Campus 2 is almost done?

Pure Mac Touch

The MacBook Pro’s Touchy Feely Thing, by Steven Levy, Backchannel

For a number of years, Schiller says, engineers at Apple have been figuring out how to colonize that function row territory with touch technology. It was a way to make Mac a touch experience without toppling the Grand Unified Theory. “This notebook design has been with us for 25 years and that fills a need for many people,” he says. “Having an interactive place where your hands are down on the keyboard is celebrating what makes a notebook a great notebook.”

When I suggested that this might be only the latest in a number of mobile innovations moving to the Mac, in an overall annexation of the Macintosh platform, Schiller pushed back, hard. “Its implementation is pure Mac,” he said. “The thought and vision from the very beginning was not at all, ‘How do we put iOS in the Mac?’ It was entirely, ‘How to you use the [iOS] technology to make a better Mac experience?’”

The New Touch-Bar-Equipped MacBook Pros And The State Of The Mac, by John Gruber, Daring Fireball

These are very nice machines, designed and made with great care. And the Touch Bar is clearly no afterthought. A lot of teams from across the company worked for a long time on this. It’s an embedded iOS device, with the accompanying characteristics you’d expect: 60 FPS animation, seemingly instantaneous touch latency, well-done animation as things like the Control Strip expand and retract, and more.

The Touch Bar is also, clearly, a costly component, making the Touch Bar-equipped MacBook Pros more expensive. Price aside, the new MacBook Pro with the old-school function keys shouldn’t exist. But the Touch Bar won’t be expensive forever. It’s just so clear to me that these machines share the design ethos of the original MacBook Air. They’re designed for the future — the near future, I think — but until then, we’ll buy compatibility dongles and wait another year to see versions that support more than 16 GB of RAM.

How To Use The Touch Bar: The Ultimate Guide, by Serenity Caldwell, iMore

Whether you just picked up a new MacBook Pro or you're still considering a Mac with Touch Bar support, we've put together an ultimate guide for all your multitouch controlling needs.

Honoring Sir David

David Attenborough's Free The Story Of Life App Is A Stunning Collection Of Greatest Hits, by Chris Barraclough, Recombu

Frankly we could be in the middle of a zombie apocalypse, with hellfire raining from the skies, but if Sir David Attenborough told us in his soothing voice that everything was going to be alright, we'd accept our fate with a glow in our hearts.

Everyone's favourite nature commentator has been going strong for six full decades, producing a seriously strong body of work. Shows such as Life and Planet Earth have dropped jaws and kept us glued to our sets, and now the BBC has honoured Sir David's career with the launch of a new app, The Story of Life.

Emergency Instructions

My iPhone Saved My Life. Really., by Michael Gartenberg, iMore

While adding functionality and keeping the interface simple, Apple has made it hard for users to discover the wonderful features inside. It's one thing if you don't realize turning your phone landscape in messaging lets you send "ink". It's quite another when a fantastic, literally lifesaving feature is built in, and no one either knows about or even if they knew it existed, they couldn't find it.


Nonprofit Organizations Now Able To Accept Apple Pay Donations, by Juli Clover, MacRumors

Many nonprofits like UNICEF, charity:water, American Red Cross, (RED), Save the Children, World Wildlife Fund, and more will begin accepting Apple Pay payments starting this morning, while others will adopt Apple Pay support "over the coming months." A total of 19 charities are supporting Apple Pay as of today.

WhatsApp Launches Video Calling For Everyone, by Josh Constine, Sarah Perez, TechCrunch

WhatsApp wants to be international cross-platform FaceTime. Today Facebook-owned chat service WhatsApp is officially launching video calling for its over 1 billion users worldwide on iOS, Android and Windows Phone. Its debut follows a series of reports from people who recently found the feature had been enabled in beta versions of WhatsApp on Android and on Windows Phone – an indication that a public debut was on the near horizon.

Pixelmator For Mac Update Adds Sierra Tabs, Touch Bar Integration, Content-aware Smart Refine, More, by Benjamin Mayo, 9to5Mac

Pixelmator 3.6 includes support for the latest macOS Sierra APIs, like Universal Clipboard and Tabs. Tabs enable users to edit multiple Pixelmator documents in a single window. As promised at the Apple event, this update brings a contextual row of Pixelmator editing tools into the Touch Bar present in the new MacBook Pros.

Parallels Desktop 12 Review: A Nearly Perfect Blend Of Windows And Mac, by J.R. Bookwalter, Macworld

If you spend an equal amount of time in Windows and macOS, Parallels Desktop 12 offers a number of welcome enhancements. Performance has been boosted across the board, with 25 percent faster access to shared folders and snapshots, and noticeably speedier suspend and resume—under five seconds on my 27-inch iMac Retina 5K.


China's Right: Smartphones Are A Big Reason Trump Can't Win A Trade War, by Vlad Savov, The Verge

It may be possible to substitute chinese production, but not Chinese consumption.

Google And Facebook Take Aim At Fake News Sites, by Nick Wingfield, Mike Isaac and Katie Benner, New York Times

Google kicked off the action on Monday afternoon when the Silicon Valley search giant said it would ban websites that peddle fake news from using its online advertising service. Hours later, Facebook, the social network, updated the language in its ad policy, which already says it will not display ads in sites that show misleading or illegal content, to include fake news sites.

The Touch-Bar-Reviews-Are-Out Edition Monday, November 14, 2016

MacBook Pro With Touch Bar Review: Keyboard Chameleon, by Jason Snell, Six Colors

So who says there’s nothing new under the sun? Here’s a new dimension added to the Mac, with a debt owed to iOS, but undeniably its own approach. It never forgets it’s a companion to the keyboard and trackpad, but adds more flexibility than a static keyboard ever could. I’m looking forward to seeing how it evolves—and I have to admit, I kind of want one to place above the top row of my own external Mac keyboard now. I never felt that way about function keys.

New MacBook Pro Is A Fast, Slim Tweener, by Walt Mossberge, The Verge

The new 13” MacBooks — even the base model without the Touch Bar — are costly. And they may make pros unhappy. But, for everyday Mac lovers — users of the Air or maybe the older low-end Pro — they are now your only thin, modern, option with a full-fledged processor. The Touch Bar has potential, but it’s not magic. The battery isn’t likely to deliver on Apple’s claims. You can’t count on liking the keyboard. But, if you’re a Mac devotee ready to move past the Air — not back to a lower-powered MacBook — this is what Apple is offering. Take it or leave it.

Review: Touch Bar MacBook Pros Give An Expensive Glimpse At The Mac's Future, by Andrew Cunningham, Ars Technica

It feels like Apple might have a comprehensive vision for the future of its computers, but that it's only ready to show us a small, expensive peek right now. The sooner the Touch Bar and USB-C/Thunderbolt 3 can spread across the entire lineup and end this awkward transitional phase, the better.

MacBook Pro 2016 Review: The Love/hate Future Of Laptops, by Rene Ritchie, iMore

Apple's vision for the future of laptops won't be for everyone — even if they, and I, think it will be for more people than ever before.

Including an entirely new generation of pros.

Apple Looks Ahead With The New MacBook Pro, by Brian Heater, TechCrunch

The Touch Bar feels like a nice bonus for the time being. It’s a compelling new input device that has the potential to alter the way we interact with applications on a laptop. In this early stage, it’s a cool feature that further distinguishes the Pro from other similarly spec-ed laptops, proving most useful in the consumption and creation of media like video, audio and images — all part of the creative professional demographic that has long served as one of the company’s core user bases. As Apple and third-party developers continue to play around with the form, its usefulness will only continue to grow. And perhaps it won’t be too long before we start seeing desktop applications built with the Touch Bar in mind, rather than adding such functionality in hindsight. The addition of Touch ID, however, has some immediately welcome functionality, including more secure startups and purchasing.

World Affairs

China Threatens To Cut Sales Of iPhones And US Cars If 'Naive' Trump Pursues Trade War, by Tom Phillips, The Guardian

US president-elect Donald Trump would be a “naive” fool to launch an all-out trade war against China, a Communist party-controlled newspaper has claimed. [...]

China’s foreign ministry has used more diplomatic language to caution Trump not to square up to Beijing.

Banks Rubbish Apple's Security Claims Over NFC Access, by Allie Coyne, ITNews

Apple's claims that opening up access to the NFC chips in its iPhones would compromise the device's security are unfounded, three of Australia's biggest banks say. [...]

"It is important to distinguish between potential security issues that happen to involve Android devices, and the suggestion that the potential security issues actually arise because of the provision of access to the Android NFC function," the banks said in their submission.

Musical Notes

Google Revamps Play Music With Optional Recommendations Based On Your Location And Activity, by Jordan Novet, VentureBeat

Probably the most fascinating aspect of the new version of the app is that, if you opt in, it will recommend music that’s appropriate given your location and what you’re currently doing. So if you’re sitting in your office, Google will suggest music that’s appropriate for that context.

Google & Amazon Increase Pressure On Apple Music & Spotify With New Features, International Expansion, by Ben Lovejoy, 9to5Mac


Microsoft Launches iPhone App For Color Blind Users, by Bogdan Popa, Softpedia

Microsoft Garage has just launched a new iPhone app that’s specifically aimed at color blind people, as it helps them distinguish colors in a photo they take with the camera by automatically adjusting certain colors.

Cold In Your Hotel Room? By Voice Or Tablet, You Can Change That, by Elaine Glusac, New York Times

Using Apple’s audio assistant Siri in 10 pilot rooms each at the Aloft Boston Seaport and the Aloft Santa Clara in California, guests can request a change in the temperature, adjust the lighting or ask for information on local attractions.

Preschoolers Show App-titude For Languages, by Lauren Martyn-Jones, The Courier-Mail

Jessica McKenzie, the director of the Chermside Early Education Centre and Preschool, said the language apps had been a hit with her little ones, who were learning Chinese. “The children have really enjoyed the apps; they are easy to use, the kids can understand them and they are fun,” she said.


Microsoft Announces Visual Studio For Mac, by MSPowerUser

Microsoft today announced that they are a new version of Visual Studio for Mac. This is based on Xamarin Studio, but its UX is inspired by Visual Studio on Windows. If don’t want full IDE experience, you can always use Visual Studio Code, a lightweight yet rich standalone source editor.


Facebook, In Cross Hairs After Election, Is Said To Question Its Influence, by Mike Issac, New York Times

Late on Tuesday night, as it became clear that Donald J. Trump would defeat Hillary Clinton to win the presidential election, a private chat sprang up on Facebook among several vice presidents and executives of the social network.

What role, they asked each other, had their company played in the election’s outcome?

Facebook’s top executives concluded that they should address the issue and assuage staff concerns at a quarterly all-hands meeting. They also called a smaller meeting with the company’s policy team, according to three people who saw the private chat and are familiar with the decisions; they requested anonymity because the discussion was confidential.

Bottom of the Page

In so many ways, I wish I can go back to live under a rock.


The "Unlock with Touch ID" animation on the new Touch Bar reminds me of the "Click here to Begin" animation in Windows 95 when the Start button was introduced.


Where's my rock?


Thanks for reading.

The Defending-Dongles Edition Sunday, November 6, 2016


MyAppleMenu is dark this week. Regular updates will resume on Monday, November 14, 2016.


I Have Lived The USB-C #Donglelife. Here’s What You’re In For, by Dieter Bohn, The Verge

I have been using USB-C for a year now, on the non-Pro MacBook, so I thought I should share some of my experiences. And I want to tell you that the #donglelife (yes, it’s a hashtag) is not all that horrible for me, day-to-day. That’s in large part because I am smack in the center of Apple’s target market: I don’t need to plug stuff beyond power into my computer all that often, so when I do it’s not too big a hassle to use a dongle. And much to my surprise, I don’t miss MagSafe as much as I expected to. If I were a photographer or video director who needs to use SD cards constantly and who already has a cache of hard drives that require different ports, it might be a different story.

I feel strange defending dongles, because you can and should count me among the people who think that removing the headphone port from the iPhone 7 was a user hostile mistake. But for me, the big difference between needing dongles for your laptop and needing dongles for your phone is that you usually carry your laptop around in a bag, which has pockets that can carry dongles.

Apple MacBook Pro 2016 Review, by Tom Parsons, Stuff

The good news for those people is that the new MacBook Pro actually has a second-gen version of the butterfly mechanism. The keys don’t actually travel any further, but they feel as if they so.

It may still feel a little odd at first, but I was at home with the MacBook Pro’s keyboard within five minutes and within 30 was convinced that it’s the nicest keyboard I’ve ever used. It feels mechanical, has a really satisfying clack to every press, feels perfectly laid-out and reduces typos thanks to the extra space given to each key.

Apple’s Lenovo, by Craig Hockenberry,

Like IBM, Apple is in a bind. Its future and primary revenue source is mobile devices. Yet we can’t make these products without the horsepower provided by the Mac.

Hear Better

Apple Brings AirPod-style Streaming, Live Listen Accessibility To MFi Hearing Aids, by Daniel Eran Dilger, AppleInsider

Apple has enhanced its iOS accessibility features for users with hearing impairments, adapting its enhanced Bluetooth-based streaming to Made For iPhone hearing aids while introducing Live Listen, a feature that uses an iPhone's mic to focus on conversations in loud environments.


Why Do Diplomats Use This Alien WhatsApp Emoji For Vladimir Putin?, by Julian Borger, Jennifer Rankin, and Kate Lyons, The Guardian

The rise of WhatsApp diplomacy is transforming the negotiating chamber. There are countless groups of allies and virtual huddles, exchanges over policy statements and fine print, and fair amounts of banter and even emojis (Vladimir Putin is referred to by widespread use of a grey alien avatar).

“You can form small groups of like-minded allies, take photos of annotated documents, ask people what they think without the whole room knowing,” a senior western diplomat said.

How LinkedIn Drove A Wedge Between Microsoft And Salesforce, by Nick Wingfield and Katie Benner, New York Times

Today, Microsoft and Salesforce are archrivals that recently battled each other to buy the social network LinkedIn — hungry for its troves of highly personalized data about businesspeople. When Microsoft won, Salesforce threw cold water on the acquisition by saying it would violate European antimonopoly laws.

But not long ago, the two software giants were tight. They even talked about merging their businesses — not once, but twice. The second round of talks hasn’t previously been reported.

A behind-the-scenes look at the fight between Salesforce, which upended business software by pioneering a rent-by-the-month model, and Microsoft, which is racing to adjust, exposes an awakening in corporate America about the value of social networks like LinkedIn and Twitter. The data stashed in their servers has elevated services like these from an amusing distraction to an essential tool that helps big businesses understand their customers.

Bottom of the Page

I will be away for work for this week, so this little web site will be going dark. See you next Monday.


Thanks for reading.

The 16GB Edition Saturday, November 5, 2016

Apple Cuts USB-C Adapter Prices In Response To MacBook Pro Complaints, by Jacob Kastrenakes, The Verge

Apple released a statement explaining the price cut: "We recognize that many users, especially pros, rely on legacy connectors to get work done today and they face a transition. We want to help them move to the latest technology and peripherals, as well as accelerate the growth of this new ecosystem. Through the end of the year, we are reducing prices on all USB-C and Thunderbolt 3 peripherals we sell, as well as the prices on Apple's USB-C adapters and cables.”

Apple Drops Prices Of 4K And 5K LG Displays By 25 Percent, by Juli Clover, MacRumors

Along with dropping the prices on all of its USB-C adapters accessories to help new MacBook Pro owners transition to USB-C more affordably, Apple has also introduced some significant price cuts to the 4K and 5K LG UltraFine Displays that were announced at its October 27 Mac event.

Can We Put The 16GB “Pro” Myth To Rest?, by Jonathan Zdziarski

I have no doubt that there will be some edge cases where a user legitimately uses up more than 16GB of RAM, and Apple really should consider refreshing their line of Mac Pros for such needs; the MacBook Pro is designed to be portable and energy conscious first, and I think that makes a lot of sense. It’s not a desktop machine, and it’s not going to act like a desktop machine as long as it’s operating within these constraints. With that said, I think many (not all) of the arguments about people using up all of their 16GB RAM are caused by factors that are within their control – whether it’s running crummy software, not adequately maintaining their startup items, not properly configuring their applications, or possibly even malware. Get those things out of the way first, and even if you’re still a high memory user, I bet your performance will be a lot more tolerable than it is now.

The MacBook Pro, as I’ve demonstrated, is more than capable of running a ridiculous number of “pro” apps without crossing the 16GB limit. It is, without a doubt, capable of adequately serving a vast majority of resource-hungry professionals such as myself, without breaking a sweat. The only thing, incidentally, breaking a sweat, are the people complaining about the number 16 on social media without actually understanding just how far that number gets you.

The New MacBook Pro 2016 Almost Makes Sense, But Apple Missed A Trick With iPhone 7, by Aaron Brown, Daily Express

Unfortunately, the painful transition period between USB to USB-C as a mainstream standard, coupled with a few inconsistencies between products in the current line-up, means that for many customers this will no longer be the case. At least not without a few £20 dongles, that is.


Sun: A Seriously Beautiful Weather App Powered By Dark Sky, by Margaret Rhodes, Wired

Sun offers neatly parceled amounts of information.

Novation Update Launchpad App For iOS, by Mick Wilson, DJ Magazine

Audio Import is one of the main new features now available for iPhone, plus users can now easily bring in their own custom sounds and loops from almost anywhere including Google Drive, iCloud, Dropbox, AudioCopy, AudioShare, Airdrop.


U.S. Government Launches To Showcase Its Open-source Software, by Jordan Novet, VentureBeat

The White House today is announcing the launch of, a website that shows off U.S. government open-source projects and offers relevant resources for government agencies. By launching this site the White House is hoping to improve public access to the government’s software and encourage the reuse of software across government agencies.


Man Hacks Alexa Into Singing Fish Robot, Terror Ensues, by Russell Brandom, The Verge

A developer named Brian Kane has hacked his Alexa to speak through the avatar of a wall-mounted Big Mouth Billy Bass. It’s not clear exactly how he did it, but it’s probably related to the Alexa API — opened in April just after the release of the Dot — which allows developers to embed the smart assistant in third-party hardware.

Bottom of the Page

Maybe I should stock up on some USB-C dongles while they are cheaper?


Thanks for reading.

The Connection-And-Protocols Edition Friday, November 4, 2016

Explaining Thunderbolt 3, USB-C, And Everything In Between, by Glenn Fleishman, TidBITS

The first Mac with Thunderbolt 3 is now available, the non-Touch Bar 13-inch model from Apple’s new series of MacBook Pro laptops; the rest of the models ship soon. Thunderbolt 3 relies on the USB-C physical connector and, with the appropriate adapters, supports nearly all common peripheral-connection and networking protocols, including USB 2, USB 3, FireWire, Thunderbolt 2, Ethernet, and DisplayPort, and by extension, HDMI, DVI, and VGA. [...]

The summary for potential late 2016 MacBook Pro owners is that all current USB-C devices, cables, and adapters will work when plugged into a MacBook Pro’s Thunderbolt 3 ports. However, Thunderbolt 3-specific devices won’t work with computers and other devices like the 12-inch MacBook whose USB-C ports are less capable. Now, let’s drill down into details.

New MacBook Pro Models Lack Optical Audio Out Via Headphone Jack, by Tim Hardwick, MacRumors

Apple appears to have removed optical audio output support from the headphone jack on its new 13-inch MacBook Pro with function keys, suggesting it is unlikely to have made the transition in the Touch Bar equipped models either.

Optical audio output is used to link Macs to home theater setups and A/V systems capable of multi-channel surround sound, by way of a mini TOSlink adapter connected to the 3.5mm jack.

It’s Not You, iTunes 12.5 Keeps Updating, by Adam C. Engst, TidBITS

We have no idea how these three versions might differ, but it isn’t related to anything you’ve done — Apple bears full responsibility for the confusion.

If you installed iTunes 12.5.2, it’s almost certainly worth installing the latest version of 12.5.3, under the assumption that whatever the changes may have been, they were so small that it wasn’t even worth moving the version number to 12.5.4.

Predictive Text And Your Phone Number, by Dave Mark, The Loop

When you hit a space after the “is”, predictive text will supply your phone number as a single tappable option.


Mic Launches A News App That You Might Never Need To Open, by Anthony Ha, TechCrunch

Anthony Sessa, the company’s vice president of product and engineering, told me that one of the big goals was to take advantage ofthe new rich notifications in iOS 10, allowing Mic to provide a full newsreading and viewing experience without having to open the app.

Auxy, The Killer Music-making App For iOS, Now Offers An Array Of Sweet Piano Sounds, by Michael Calore, Wired

One of the best music-making apps for iOS is getting an update today, one that should make it easier for creators to add distinctive and professional sounds to their songs.


How The 12-inch MacBook Prepared Us For New MacBook Pros, by Chance Miller, 9to5Mac

While there has been some skepticism surrounding the new MacBook Pros, I am incredibly excited for mine to arrive. And that’s partly because of my love for the 12-inch model.

How Apple’s Stock Apps Will Use The Touch Bar On The New MacBook Pro, by Benjamin Mayo, 9to5Mac

The Touch Bar in the new MacBook Pro replaces the physical function keys on the keyboard with a touchscreen panel, allowing apps to display custom, unique and contextual interfaces like buttons, sliders, tabs and other controls. We’ve already covered some general details about how the Touch Bar works and what developers can do with the API, but it will take some time for third-party developers to add integration.

Apple is leading the charge, however, adding extensive Touch Bar support to many macOS apps with 10.12.1. Using the Xcode developer tools, we’ve gathered screenshots from all of Apple’s apps that already include Touch Bar features.

The Retrofit-The-Incumbent Edition Thursday, November 3, 2016

Apple Debuts New 'Dive' Ad Focusing On iPhone 7 Speakers And Water Resistance, by Juli Clover, MacRumors

Apple today shared a new television ad on its YouTube channel, designed to off several key iPhone 7 and 7 Plus features, including the improved waterproofing and the device's speakers.

Wherefore Art Thou Macintosh?, by Horace Dediu, Asymco

You’ve unleashed a disruptive force and now you’re supposed to retrofit the incumbent with the tools to compete. Why not just let the disruptor grow up unhindered.

The Mac is what it is because it’s not alone. It’s part of a family. It is a parent. It strives to be better but will not take the future from its child.

Apple’s New Touch Bar: A Breakthrough Or Commonsense?, by Martin Tomitsch, The Conversation

It might seem like a simple idea, but it builds on a long history of research on what is referred to as “human–computer interaction”.

The feature deserves the attention it’s receiving as it provides a glimpse into how we will be interacting with computers in the not so distant future.

It’s not a new idea, but once again Apple has managed to bring an innovation to the mass consumer market.

Is Apple Getting Too Sloppy?, by Rob Lefebvre, AppAdvice

It’s things like this that make me worried, frankly. Yes, this specific issue is simply an oversight and will get fixed in the next iOS update.

But I’m not the first to notice that Apple might be losing its way.


Second And Third-Generation Apple TV Models Not Working For Some Users, by Juli Clover, MacRumors

Some second and third-generation Apple TV owners have started experiencing a mysterious bug over the last few days, which seems to have essentially disabled the device for a number of users. Affected Apple TV models are only able to display Computers, Music, and Settings, with no other channel options available.

Put Your Phone To Work Doing Some Good, by Kit Eaton, New York Times

With the holidays upon us, some smartphone apps can let you help someone in need with just a few taps of your finger.

Vine Creators Announce New ‘Hype’ Live Streaming App, Available Now For iOS, by Chance Miller, 9to5Mac

Essentially, Hype takes the simplicity of Periscope and adds a more feature-rich experience.


Notes On Working With The NSTouchBar APIs, by Gus Mueller

There's a lot you can do with this API and based on the examples Apple shows on the MacBook Pro page, there are a lot of different ways to interact with Touch Bar. But this also means a lot of code, and quite a bit of duplicate code unless I want to do some heavy refactoring. And this is for a tiny subset of the market. Do I really want to invest heavily into something that'll only be on pro laptops for the foreseeable future?


The Cowardly Apple TV, by Jared Newman, TechHive

It takes courage to publicly tell powerful media companies that they’re wrong, but Jobs wasn’t afraid to do so. In 2007, for instance, Jobs publicly criticized the music industry for draconian digital rights management.

Start-Ups For The End Of Life, by Eilene Zimmerman, New York Times

Mr. Isard said funeral directors “would rather sit across from someone and talk to them, listen to them, than have them go online and try and figure it out for themselves.” That is also one reason the death care industry, as it is called in the industry, has been able to maintain its lack of pricing transparency. But with nearly 2.6 million people dying annually in the United States, entrepreneurs see an opportunity to innovate.

A new crop of tech start-ups is hoping to capture a slice of that sector. Many are founded by millennials, who have grown up online and expect to shop for — and curate — everything there.

Bottom of the Page

I was a Mac user just before we all realized Apple was doomed.


Thanks for reading.

The Eternal-Form-Factor Edition Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Apple’s Philip Schiller Talks Computers, Touchscreens And Voice On The New MacBook Pro, by David Phelan, Independent

The new MacBook Pro is a product that celebrates that it is a notebook, this shape that has been with us for the last 25 years is probably going to be with us for another 25 years because there’s something eternal about the basic notebook form factor.

MacBook Pro Review: The Air Apparent, by Vlad Savov, The Verge

The new MacBook Pro is as beautiful and desirable as ever, but using it is alienating to anyone living in the present. I agree with Apple’s vision of the future. I’m just not buying it today.

Same As It Ever Was by Stephen Hackett, 512 Pixels

When Apple pushes into the future, it usually does so without much regard for the present. A bunch of people are conflicted about this computer, but Mac users should be used to that by now.

iFixit: New MacBook Pros Are Unsurprisingly Difficult To Repair And Upgrade, by Andrew Cunningham, Ars Technica

Surprising no one, the laptop is not very easy to open up and work on, and few components will be easy for end users to replace. The battery is still glued in, and the one system component that users can actually remove and replace—the SSD—is a proprietary module that's much different from the proprietary modules in MacBook Airs and Pros from years past.

Benjamin Button Reviews The New MacBook Pro, by Pinboard Blog

Gone is the gimmicky TouchBar, gone are the four USB-C ports that forced power users to carry a suitcase full of dongles. In their place we get a cornucopia of developer-friendly ports: two USB 3.0 and Thunderbolt 2 ports, a redesigned power connector, and a long-awaited HDMI port.

Photographers will rejoice at the surprising and welcome addition of an SDXC card reader, a sign that Apple might be thinking seriously about photography.

Rediscovering The iPad, by Matt Gemmell

There are a lot of reasons to complain about Apple’s controlled ecosystem, and the walled garden of the App Store — if you’re a developer, or a tinkerer, or a power user, or any of several other categories besides. But it’s hard not to see the wisdom of the user-focused dictatorship of enforced simplicity and focus. I think the iPad is probably the ultimate expression of it. At least potentially.

Stop Using iCloud, by Thorin Klosowski, Lifehacker

Apple’s iCloud has a long and troubled past, but the company keeps pushing it for iPhone and Mac users with every new operating system update. Don’t be fooled. The service is an inconsistent mess and more trouble than it’s worth.

iCloud is the backbone of a number of Apple services, some more problematic than others. At a surface level, iCloud just handles all of your iPhone backups and syncs files between apps. My main problems have come from three different parts of the iCloud service: iCloud Photo Library, iCloud Drive, and iCloud backups.

Instant Crime Alert App Vigilante Removed From App Store After Concerns Expressed, by Ben Lovejoy, 9to5Mac

The app is designed to allow people to report crimes, and for anyone close by to receive an instant alert. Less than a week after it went live in New York, Apple has pulled it from the App Store …


Apple Drops Prices On 512GB And 1TB SSD Upgrades For Older Mac Lineup, by Juli Clover, MacRumors

Following its "Hello Again" Mac event last week, Apple quietly dropped the prices on higher-capacity storage upgrades across its Mac lineup. 512GB and 1TB SSD build-to-order upgrade options for the MacBook Air, iMac, Mac Pro, Mac mini, and 2015 MacBook Pro are now priced up to $200 less, bring the costs in line with upgrade options on the new MacBook Pro models.

How To Get MagSafe On Your 12-inch MacBook, by Luke Filipowicz, iMore

The folks over at Griffin have designed a USB-C cable that works almost exactly like MagSafe. The Griffin BreakSafe Magnetic USB-C Power Cable is a regular USB-C connector on one end and a detachable magnetic connector on the other.

New Epicurious App Puts More Than 1,000 Food Videos At Would-be Chefs’ Fingertips, by Lulu Chang, Yahoo!

Do you have a mind for all things culinary and are you curious to learn more? There’s an app for you. On Tuesday, Epicurious launched a new app for iPhone and iPad that brings recipes into the 21st century by way of video. Meet “Epicurious Recipes & Food Videos,” the app that promises to put “more than a thousand food videos directly at your fingertips.”

Talkshow Will Shut Down On December 1, by John Voorhees, MacStories

Talkshow, which launched about six months ago, will be shutting down effective December 1st. The service allowed groups to have text-based conversations in public. It quickly became a place to assemble panels to comment on live events or just discuss a particular topic.


Here’s How NASA Got Every Last Piece Of Pluto Data Down From New Horizons, by Nick Stockton, Wired

Bowman and her team had to start planning each of these downlinks 8 weeks in advance. And the process wasn’t just figuring out which jigsawed piece of data to retrieve. “Then we run the command through software simulators, hardware simulators, and have the science and mission operations teams review the results of those simulations to make sure the commands do what we want,” she says.

Chinese Characters Are Futuristic And The Alphabet Is Old News, by Sarah Zhang, The Atlantic

Mullaney is the author of two forthcoming books on the Chinese typewriter and computer, and we discussed what he’s learned while researching them. His argument is pretty fascinating to unpack because, at its heart, it is about more than China. It is about our relationship to computers, not just as physical objects but as conduits to intangible software. Typing English on a QWERTY computer keyboard, he says, “is about the most basic rudimentary way you can use a keyboard.” You press the “a” key and “a” appears on your screen. “It doesn't make use of a computer’s processing power and memory and the cheapening thereof.” Type “a” on a QWERTY keyboard hooked up to a Chinese computer, on the other hand, and the computer is off anticipating the next characters. Typing in Chinese requires mediation from a layer of software that is obvious to the user.

Bottom of the Page

A laptop nowadays should last longer than a mobile phone or even a tablet. It should be forward-looking. If Apple truly beelives in the transitions it is making, then it really doesn't make sense to include legacy ports that makes customers happy for the first year, and becomes useless in the second year onwards.


Thanks for reading.

The Unlocked-Devices Edition Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Apple's Desensitisation Of The Human Race To Fundamental Security Practices, by Troy Hunt

Look around you in an Apple Store and consider how many of the folks in there have the first clue about how to properly secure their devices. Like all of us, they learn based on the experiences they're exposed to and the message they're getting when they go into an Apple store is that it's ok to give an unknown third party their unlocked device. And yes, the person you're giving it to is an unknown party because you're not giving it to Apple (that's a company), you're giving it to a poorly paid and inexperienced stranger.

Twitter Tests New Ad-blocking Reader Mode On Mobile, by Alex Hern, The Guardian

In the new test from Twitter, rolled out for a small number of users – including one Guardian reporter – the company has enabled Reader mode by default on every single link clicked.

While the new feature can be a boon for those navigating badly designed web-pages, it also manages to mangle the presentation of almost as many sites. While the feature works well for traditional news articles, anything that isn’t a chunk of text-heavy content in the middle of a page falls apart.

This ‘Black-ish’ Writers’ Assistant’s App Is Finally Getting Hollywood To Stop Wasting Paper, Matt Pressberg, The Wrap

Hollywood likes to pledge millions of dollars to organizations that want to save the planet, but it has a dirty secret of its own. It wastes literally truckloads of paper on script revisions.

So Steven Vitolo, who’s worked on shows including ABC’s “Black-ish” and TVLand’s “Hot in Cleveland,” developed Scriptation, an iPad script annotation app that launched in May and on Monday unveiled an “actor highlighting” feature allowing actors to instantly select all the dialogue pertaining to them.

Musical Stars

Apple Releases iTunes 12.5.3, by Juli Clover, MacRumors

iTunes 12.5.3's changelog lists the same stability and performance improvements as iTunes 12.5.2, including a fix for an issue where albums may play in an unexpected order. A second fix resolves a problem that prevented lyrics from appearing while listening to Beats 1.

Apple To Restore Star Ratings To iOS 10 Music App, by Kirk McElhearn

It’s great that Apple is brining back star ratings; it’s a shame that the process is now so convoluted.

How Music Might Improve Your Workouts, by Gretchen Reynolds, New York Times

Listening to music during a short, intense bout of exercise might change how you feel about hard workouts and encourage you to continue with the program in the future, according to a new study of intense interval training and how to make it more palatable.

Zane Lowe Explains Why 2016 Was The Best Year Ever For Music, by Matt Miller, Esquire

It's not a podcast, it's not a radio show, it's not an XM satellite show, it's not even a streaming service—it's a platform adapted for the malleable modern music industry. And it's an evolving media platform that only someone with Lowe's energy could successfully make happen.

Lowe talks fast. It's not too fast that you can't understand what the hell he's saying—it's more breathless than anything, like his mouth is hardly keeping up with his mind. He's never stumbling over himself—rather, he's getting on to the next thing before he loses your attention. And he talks like this because he's excited, because his show doesn't slow down, because in our exclusively digital world, music never stops, and we need someone to filter it for the moment. He talks like this because he's having fun, he knows a hell of a lot about music and he wants to share it with you, because he knows how to make you understand the sounds your hearing. He puts music into context, but he also narrows his focus down to specific details of specific songs, explaining how and why a producer treats drums. It's as much for the music elite as it is for the casual listener—that's no easy accomplishment in an art form that values inclusivity as much as it values exclusivity.


How To Simplify Your Life With Your Smartphone, by David Nield, TechRadar

The facts may show there are still 24 hours in every day, but for many of us those days are feeling more compressed and hectic than ever, which is why anything that frees up even a little bit of time can feel so valuable.

Enter your trusty smartphone - the pocket companion that manages your life and connects you to the web. It can also be used for some time-saving, life-simplifying hacks, if you know the right tools to use...

New Blurb App Is A Simple Way To Build Photo Books On iPad And iPhone, by Stan Horaczek, Popular Photography

Blurb has announced a new mobile app for iOS that allows users to create photo books directly from a iPhone or iPad’s camera roll. [...] The price is certainly right on the 5-inch books, and Blurb has a solid reputation for offering good products.

Fantastic PinOut! Puts An Infinite Spin On Pinball, by Chris Kohler, Wired

PINBALL VIDEOGAMES HAVE often escaped the dreary physical bounds of the arcade amusements they are based on, adding impossible geometry to the playfields, blending in elements of other game genres, et cetera. PinOut!, released on iOS and Android last week, takes that concept one step further. Infinity steps further, actually.

Although it may look like your typical pinball game, with a heavy infusion of heated noble gases and a dance-club soundtrack, PinOut! reveals its twist the second you give the ball a good smack with the flipper—it sails up and out of the board you’re playing on, onto another board with another set of flippers. And so on, and so forth. The goal isn’t to keep the ball in play as long as you can and rack up a high score; it’s to move up, up, up as far as you can before time runs out.


Apple Starts Letting Chinese Users Pay For Apps Using Alipay, by Victoria Ho, Mashable

Until now, most people in China would have added their China UnionPay credit cards to their iTunes account, but with Alipay having the virtual monopoly over China's digital payments, it's clear that Apple is hoping to make it even easier for people to spend some cash on the App Store.

Publishers Are Rethinking Those ‘Around The Web’ Ads, by Sapna Maheshwari and John Herrman, New York Times

Usually grouped together under a label like “Promoted Stories” or “Around the Web,” these links are often advertisements dressed up to look like stories people might want to read. They have long provided much-needed revenue for publishers and given a wide range of advertisers a relatively affordable way to reach large and often premium audiences.

But now, some publishers are wondering about the effect these so-called content ads may be having on their brands and readers. This month, these ads stopped appearing on Slate. And The New Yorker, which restricted placement of such ads to its humor articles, recently removed them from its website altogether.