Archive for December 2016

The Important-Thing Edition Saturday, December 31, 2016

The Internet Of Very Small Computers Masquerading As Things, by Sam Gerstenzang, Medium

Apple is making a series of very small connected computers: the Pencil, the Airpod, the Watch and the Touch Bar. What’s important here is that each of these computers is something else first (pencil, headphones, watch), and only a computer to make that object function better.

This is what the “Internet of Things” missed… the important part wasn’t the internet, but the “thing.” The “internet” is grabbing the telescope by the wrong end: what’s important is that this very small computer has the affordances of a pencil but is making its own decisions and is now orbiting my phone.

Security Matters

How To Fix The Nasty Prank Going Around That Breaks The iPhone Messages App, by Kif Leswing, Business Insider

Simply ask Siri on the affected phone to send a text message. The words don’t matter. Tap on the message on the Siri screen, and it will bring you into the Messages app, in which you can navigate again.


Findaway Launches New E-Book And Audiobook App Called Duobook, by Michael Kozlowski, Good E-Reader

At its core, DuoBook is an audiobook player and an eBook reader in one app, but its biggest feature is how it aligns the eBook and audiobook together, allowing you to switch between formats without losing your place in the story.

Edit With Precision: Exacto Brings Photoshop’s Pen-selection Tool To iOS, by Gannon Burgett, Yahoo

Exacto is a single-purpose app for iPhone and iPad that brings the desktop-pen functionality to mobile devices. It’s not the most simple solution to editing out certain components of an image, but what it lacks in convenience, it attempts to make up for in precision.

Living Earth: Clock And Weather (For iPad), by Tony Hoffman, PC Magazine

The global views in Living Earth are beautiful and mesmerizing, but they're more aesthetic and educational than of practical use for the vast majority of users. That said, the time and weather info along with the global view are an appealing combination to take in at a glance on the app's home screen.

Review: 'RollerCoaster Tycoon Classic' For iOS Is Faithful Port Of '90s Title, by Mike Wuerthele, AppleInsider

We don't think this game is for everyone, but there is a significant overlap between the management-strategy gamers crowd and the "nostalgic for games of the 1990s" crowd. However, is is just a solid play all around, and we're happy to see it make its way to iOS.

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It all started with Steve Jobs: "PCs are going to be like trucks. They're still going to be around, they're still going to have a lot of value, but they're going to be used by one out of x people."

Then, some you-tuber modified the comparison slightly: "Maybe today's Macs are more like SUVs: they're more expensive and better appointed cars." If you still want a truck, where can you go?

And then, some pod-caster made a different comparison: Macs are manual-transmission cars, while iPhones/iPads are the auotmatics. Everyone voted with their money, and automatics are all you can get now. Let's not talk about getting a truck -- you can't even get a car with stick-shifts.

Allow me to add in a different comparison. Macs are your regular cars, while iPhones/iPads -- in Apple's eyes -- are the self-driven cars.

There are many people who do not want a driverless car. There are many people who need a regular car because the real self-driving cars are not here yet.

The writing is on the wall. Our roads will be much safer and more efficient (not today, but soon) if every vehicle is self-driven. That's what Apple sees, and that's what Apple is betting on. It is simply not just about making the best self-driving car there is, but, at some point, also to stop people from driving regular cars. People from the future is going to ask us why we let regular people operate machines that can easily kill people. Just like we are looking back in awe that once upon a time,

Two of the pillars of iOS are security and privacy, and they are supported by many iOS features that simply doesn't work on macOS, either technically or culturally. It is easier -- and makes more sense financially -- to make iOS suitable for more and more tasks, rather than work on evolving macOS into the future which is iOS.

As Steve Jobs once said, if he were running Apple, he will "milk the Macintosh for all it's worth -- and get busy on the next great thing." Apple is certainly busy, and it is certainly milking.


Thanks for reading.

The iPad-Computer Edition Friday, December 30, 2016

Evovling iPad Desktop Usage, by Ben Brooks, The Brooks Review

As I write this, it is a frigid Saturday morning, the type of morning where you just don’t want to think about going outside but you also kind of do want to go outside just to feel the piercing cold on your lungs. It has been over a year of full time iPad usage for me, and in that year I have had my iPad in a plethora of configurations. From the simple Smart Keyboard Cover to nearly duct taping it to the wall. What I have come to realize over this past year, is how portable and manageable the iPad as a desktop machine is.

That is a tad odd to say, that a desktop can be so portable, but I am also writing this in the kitchen right now with a mechanical keyboard in tow, and none of it seemed overly cumbersome to move out of my office. When I am done with this writing session I will lift the iPad out of the stand it is sitting in and move over to a comfy chair. There will be nothing to unplug, and what was my makeshift desk this morning, will go back to a kitchen table. Not unlike it would for any laptop user, except my iPad is a chameleon of work conditions. Adapting to me, not causing me to find a comfortable arm of the couch to rest the laptop on.

Tech Resolution #1: Why I'm Swapping My Macbook For An iPad Pro, by Craig Grannell, Stuff

What hit me the second I started properly working (rather than just faffing about with a game or entertainment app) was that way in which the device becomes the app. Yes, there’s full-screen mode on a Mac or PC, but it still doesn’t compare to the iPad experience.

Security Matters

Beware: There’s Another Text Message Floating Around That Can Crash Any iPhone, by Paul Morris, Redmond Pie

While the user is able to enter into multitasking switcher to kill the Messages app, but is then presented with a single white screen of death when attempting to re-launch the app again. It will then sit like that for a number of seconds before crashing back to the Home screen. A hard reboot of the device doesn’t resolve the problem either, and neither does turning the device off and then back on again provide any relief.


Game In-app Purchases Are Warping Kids’ Understanding Of Basic Economic Ideas, by James Ledbetter, Quartz

Part of the indignation is that most parents would prefer not to see their kids rack up spending on any kind of game. Yet as our experience with Fruit Pop and other games demonstrates, there is another set of lessons that seems undesirable. The design of many of these games sends potentially confusing signals to children about fundamental economic ideas like value and pricing.

Family Sues Apple Over Wreck Caused By FaceTime, by Metthew Renda, Courthouse News Service

The Modisette family said Apple is responsible for their daughter’s death because of its “failure to install and implement the safer, alternative design for which it sought a patent in December 2008 (later issued by the United States Patent Office in April 2014) to ‘lock out’ the ability of drivers to utilize the ‘FaceTime’ application on the Apple iPhone when driving a motor vehicle, which resulted in the injuries sustained by plaintiffs,” the family says in the complaint.

The iPhone-City Edition Thursday, December 29, 2016

How China Built ‘iPhone City’ With Billions In Perks For Apple’s Partner, by David Barboza, New York Times

It all centers on Zhengzhou, a city of six million people in an impoverished region of China. Running at full tilt, the factory here, owned and operated by Apple’s manufacturing partner Foxconn, can produce 500,000 iPhones a day. Locals now refer to Zhengzhou as “iPhone City.”

The local government has proved instrumental, doling out more than $1.5 billion to Foxconn to build large sections of the factory and nearby employee housing. It paved roads and built power plants.

It helps cover continuing energy and transportation costs for the operation. It recruits workers for the assembly line. It pays bonuses to the factory for meeting export targets.

All of it in support of iPhone production.

An iPhone’s Journey, From The Factory Floor To The Retail Store, by David Barboza, New York Times

The iPhone is Apple’s most profitable and best-selling product. More than a billion have been sold since the first one was released.

About half of all iPhones now are made in a huge manufacturing facility in the central Chinese city of Zhengzhou. This is the story of how an iPhone made there can end up in your hands.

Troubled Case

Some AirPods Users Facing Battery Drain Issues With Charging Case, by Mitchel Broussard, MacRumors

After the AirPods launched online and then arrived to the first set of customers earlier in December, some users have begun realizing that the charging case that comes with the headphones isn't holding Apple's advertised 24 hours of charge. [...]

Some users are theorizing that the problem could be an initial charge cycle hiccup that irons itself out over time, but some that have had the AirPods since day one are still posting about battery drainage with the charging case today.

Tim Cook Calls AirPods ‘A Run Away Success’, Says Apple Making Units ‘As Fast As We Can’, by Zac Hall, 9to5Mac

Tim Cook was spotted today visiting the floor of the New York Stock Exchange where he was asked by CNBC about the recently launched (and backordered) AirPods. The Apple CEO described the new wireless earphones as “a run away success” and promised Apple is making more units “as fast as we can” when asked about supply constraints.

Tim Cook Says AirPods Are ‘A Runaway Success,’ But That Means Nothing Without Numbers, by Jacob Kastrenakes, The Verge

The reality is that we have no idea how well the AirPods are doing, and we’re unlikely to get firm info on them out of Apple anytime soon.

Quotation Marks

Has The Internet Killed Curly Quotes?, by Glenn Fleishman, The Atlantic

The trouble with being a former typesetter is that every day online is a new adventure in torture. Take the shape of quotation marks. These humble symbols are a dagger in my eye when a straight, or typewriter-style, pair appears in the midst of what is often otherwise typographic beauty. It’s a small, infuriating difference: "this" versus “this.”

Many aspects of website design have improved to the point that nuances and flourishes formerly reserved for the printed page are feasible and pleasing. But there’s a seemingly contrary motion afoot with quotation marks: At an increasing number of publications, they’ve been ironed straight. This may stem from a lack of awareness on the part of website designers or from the difficulty in a content-management system (CMS) getting the curl direction correct every time. It may also be that curly quotes’ time has come and gone.


Disk Drill 3 Brings File Recovery Tools To Mac Hard Drives, by Mike Wuerthele, AppleInsider

If you don't have a good backup of your Mac, and as a result have lost something important, Disk Drill 3 aims to restore what's gone and try to protect you against future problems.

TuneIn Radio Lets Your iPhone Receive A World Of Broadcasts, by Marty Edwards, Apple World Today

I grew up listening to radio more than any other means of entertainment including television, so I developed a deep interest in radio. The iPhone lets me continue that interest with a greatly expanded world of listening possibilities.


Indian Officials To Assess Incentives Requested By Apple, by Rajesh Roy, Wall Street Journal

Indian government officials will likely meet early next week to evaluate the incentives sought by Apple Inc. to manufacture its products in the country, two people familiar with the matter said.

In a letter to New Delhi last month, the Cupertino, Calif., firm sought financial incentives to firm up its plans to manufacture in India, officials said, as the company looks to expand its sales and presence in the South Asian nation.

The Push-Notification Edition Wednesday, December 28, 2016

‘A Very Blunt Instrument’: The Potential And Power Of Mobile Notifications, by Nausicaa Renner, Columbia Journalism Review

But push notifications are not news stories. They are snippets often written on deadline, akin to headlines that deliver the jist of a complicated event but little more. Yet there’s growing anecdotal evidence to suggest that readers may view news alerts as standalone stories, taking them at face value without clicking through to read more. “I would bet money that most users read most alerts to get general awareness of what’s going on in news, but open and tap on only a handful of them,” says Sasha Koren, editor of the Guardian Mobile Innovation Lab, which experiments with delivering news on mobile. “I have no data to back this up, but if true, it suggests that the alert may often be the sum total of what those users know about a topic.”


Apple Watch Owners Notified Of Upcoming 'Ring In The New Year' Activity Achievement, by Mitchel Broussard, MacRumors

Like it did on Thanksgiving, Apple today has begun notifying Apple Watch owners of a soon-to-launch Activity challenge, hoping to encourage users to get moving and work out in the new year. To earn the achievement, Apple Watch owners will have to close all three Activity rings each day for an entire week in January.

Luminar Review: A Serious Challenger To The Reigning Pro Apps For Photo Editing Mastery, by Jackie Dove, Macworld

With Luminar, Macphun now aims to conquer the complexity of general image editing for amateur and pro users who capture photos with a variety of devices from DSLRs and mirrorless cameras to high-end smartphones. Whereas photographers who rely on Photoshop quickly encounter its famously steep learning curve, Luminar provides the tools for similar editing results with a much easier, Apple Photos-style effort. Its concentration on photo editing and styling, combined with a massive number of slider-based tools, is designed for all skill levels, giving users plenty of headroom, flexibility, and variety. It’s a pro app in consumer disguise.


Trajectroies, by Riccardo Mori

And we will have gone through the effort to reach a similar level of productivity as we have now on the Mac because…? Because iOS is nicer and feels fresher? And for how long will iOS keep feeling nicer and fresher? Is there something more in iOS’s trajectory than iteratively better iPhones and iPads?

Peak San Francisco: Michelin Starred Quince Is Now Serving Food On An iPad, by Jack Morse, sfist

Described as "white truffle croquettes on iPads playing videos of water dogs on the truffle-hunt" by whoever sent the photo to Nakano, the plating raises some obvious questions. Namely, does the San Francisco Department of Public Health have an acceptable washing method for iPads?

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I'm here to report that I've bought my first USB-A to USB-C cable.

Nope, I didn't buy the new MacBook Pros or the new MacBooks. Rather, the Apple TV decided that it's time for a restore, and requires a cable connection to iTunes.

(And I thought we live in a post PC world.)


iOS, in my opinion, is not an reinvention of the wheel. It is a re-think and re-imagination of what we can now do with our old experience and new power. It is far from complete, but it is already charting down a path that is different from macOS and Windows.


Thanks for reading.

The Crystal-Clear Edition Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Inside Pandora's Plan To Reinvent Itself—And Beat Back Apple And Spotify, by John Paul Titlow, Fast Company

But there are some notable things Pandora has not done. It hasn’t become a hugely profitable company—most financial quarters, it reports a loss—and its core product has not changed all that dramatically, even as on-demand streaming has taken hold and competition has heated up. In the coming months, Pandora is getting ready to make some major changes to its product and business model—and it's praying that it all pays off. That’s why Westergren flew to New York from California this morning. The task ahead of him is hugely challenging—not to mention urgent.

"It’s crystal clear to me what I should be doing," says Westergren, who replaces Brian McAndrews, who suddenly left the company in late March after two and a half years as CEO. "Both why I should be doing this as a job in the first place and what the most important things to tackle are."


Apple To Hold New Year's Sale In Japan Starting January 2, by Juli Clover, MacRumors

Starting on January 2, Apple plans to hold a special New Year's Sale both online and at all of its retail locations in Japan, continuing a long tradition of offering something special on January 2 in the country.

Video Converter HandBrake 1.0.0 Released, by Martin Brinkmann, GHacks

So what is new in HandBrake 1.0.0? A lot. The presets that the program ships with have been updated big time. You get new device presets for devices released in recent time, new general use presets for best compatibility, new presets for web publication or sending, and new Matroska presets that include support for VP9 video with Opus audio.

That's not the only change however. The developers of the program have improved the audio and video sync engine; it handles problematic video sources better in the HandBrake 1.0.0 release.


Apple Publishes Its First Artificial Intelligence Paper, by Aaron Tilley, Forbes

Apple has published its very first AI paper on December 22. (The paper was submitted for publication on November 15.) The paper describes a technique for how to improve the training of an algorithm's ability to recognize images using computer-generated images rather than real-world images.

Will Donald Trump’s Corporate ‘Tax Holiday’ Create Jobs? Not Necessarily, by Leslie Picker, New York Times

President-elect Donald J. Trump has said he would like to create a “tax holiday” so that American companies can bring back profit that was generated overseas at a lower rate. In his view, this influx of cash will create jobs.

But corporate boards and executives may have different ideas.

They are likely to use much of the estimated $2 trillion held overseas to acquire businesses in the United States, to buy back their own stock or to pay down debt, say advisers of America’s top corporate executives.

The Little-Guys Edition Monday, December 26, 2016

Apple's First Employee: The Remarkable Odyssey Of Bill Fernandez, by Jason Hiner, TechRepublic

Fernandez said, "I drew the first complete schematic of the Apple II, working from a few xeroxed pages of Woz's notes written on graph paper. Having worked with Woz before... this was a straightforward [but] painstaking task. In my opinion, it was a beautiful schematic: logical, clear, easy to determine the relationships between components, and easy to follow the data and logic flows."

It worked. The machine got built. History was made. Wozniak and Jobs became famous as the two crazy kids who started the computer revolution in a garage in California.

But our collective memories only have room for so many names, and history doesn't usually remember little guys like Bill Fernandez, despite the fact that if it wasn't for Fernandez, then the Apple II may have never become the machine that started the personal computer movement. In fact, if it wasn't for Fernandez, there may have never even been a company named Apple Computer.


ChronoSync 4.7.1 Adds Cloud Services And Smart Scanning To Automated Back Up App, by Mike Wuerthele , AppleInsider

Its sole purpose is to backup and save your work, but it brings a remarkable, barely conceivable number of options to the job. It's not an app you'll buy today and master by the morning. However, it is an app that you can buy now and run for years.


No Sweetener For Apple To Be A Part Of Make-in-India, by Suchetana Ray and Anirban Ghoshal, Hindustan Times

Three departments within the Indian government are looking into Apple Inc’s demands for incentives. They are: the department of industrial production and promotion, department of revenue and department of information and technology.

“Apple has been looking for several duty and tax incentives for manufacturing handsets in India, but the government is unlikely to make any exception for one company,” said a top official in one of the departments mentioned above. Speaking to HT on conditions of anonymity, the official said that any exception for the iPhone manufacturer will defeat the purpose of an integrated policy such as Make-in-India.

For Fact-Checking Website Snopes, A Bigger Role Brings More Attacks, by David Streitfeld, New York Times

Snopes, the fact-checking website, does not have an office designed to impress, or even be noticed. A big sign outside still bears the name of the previous tenant, a maker of underwater headphones. Inside there’s nothing much — a bunch of improvised desks, a table tennis table, cartons of Popchips and cases of Dr Pepper. It looks like a dot-com on the way to nowhere.

Appearances deceive. This is where the muddled masses come by the virtual millions to establish just what the heck is really going on in a world turned upside down.

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Have you eaten KFC over the Christmas weekend?


Thanks for reading.

The Nothing-Is-Happening-On-Christmas Edition Sunday, December 25, 2016

Review: After Shaky Start, Apple's Wireless Bluetooth AirPods Work Great, by Edward C. Baig, USA Today

I was rather concerned when the sound coming through a set of AirPods kept stuttering and dropping out as I attempted to listen to music wirelessly on my iPhone 7 Plus. [...]

I informed Apple about my snags with the AirPods, and the company rushed out the replacement pair I’ve been using on vacation. I’m happy to say they've been working great.

10 Things You Didn’t Know Your iPhone Could Do, by Marc Saltzman, USA Today

You probably know Siri, your voice-activated personal assistant, can be used to set a time-based reminder, like saying “Siri, remind me to call my brother at 4 p.m.” But did you know you can set location-based reminders, too? You can say “Remind me to call mom when I get home,” and you won’t be notified until you step up to your door.

Apple Has Pulled All Of Nokia’s Withings Products From Its Online Store, by Ina Fried, Recode

Taking things a step further, Apple has pulled all Withings products from its stores. (Earlier this year, Nokia bought Withings, which makes Wi-Fi scales and other digital health and fitness gear.)

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Merry Christmas!


Thanks for reading.

The Someone-Is-Working-Through-Christmas Edition Saturday, December 24, 2016

Phil Schiller Says Apple Is Working With Consumer Reports In Wake Of MacBook Pro Battery Issues, by Brian Heater, TechCrunch

SVP Phil Schiller took to social media for a late Friday tweet to address concerns, noting that the company’s own internal testing doesn’t square with Consumer Reports’ rating.


AirPods Kick Off Apple's Battle For Our Ears, by Neil Cybart, Above Avalon

Over time, Apple will expand AirPod functionality to include additional voice capabilities such as translation, various types of audio curation and delivery, biometrics monitoring, and augmented reality. The greater the number of AirPods that are out in the wild, the more valuable these additional capabilities will become.

As the smartphone battle quiets down, the battles for our wrist and ears are only beginning. Welcome to the wearables era.

How Apple Built Accessibility Features Into The Middle Of The iPhone, iPad And Macs, by Andrew Griffin, Independent

“Accessibility is a forever iterative process," says Ms Herrlinger. "You’re never really done. There are constantly new ways of supporting other individuals.”

The mission sounds a lot like those espoused by other Apple executives: constant refinement, a suspicion of being finished and a commitment to broadening their appeal and use in every possible way. And that's not even slightly a coincidence – Apple says that part of its success in accessibility is because it views it as a central part of the design process from the beginning, done with a commitment to the same ultimate goal.


Scrivener For iOS Update Delivers Small But Strong Improvements, by Mike Wuerthele, AppleInsider

The latest solid version of Scrivener, recently refined with an update , shows the writing app has aged well through years of development on multiple platforms.

Sickweather App Aims To Track Sickness Like Weather, by Max Gorden, TWC News

The Sickweather app uses an interactive map to show illness hotspots. It pulls information from social media to provide a real-time picture of where people are sick, and what symptoms they have.


Ireland’s Love Affair With Apple Triggers Hate At Home, by Chris Spillane, Politico

Though Apple employs more than 4,000 people in a city of 125,000, many locals are appalled that the company hasn’t contributed more to the local economy through taxes. Apple paid an effective corporate tax rate of 1 percent on its European profits in 2003. That slid to 0.005 percent in 2014, vastly lower than Ireland’s corporate tax rate of 12.5 percent, according to the European Commission.

“Any company that takes that sort of money has taken from hospitals and schools,” said James Hallinan, who works at a Starbucks in Cork.

At Least Encryption Had A Good Year, by Brian Barrett, Wired

End-to-end encryption, which ensures that the only people who can see your communications are you and the person on the receiving end, certainly isn’t new. But in 2016, encryption went mainstream, reaching billions of people all over the world. Even more significantly, it overcame its most aggressive legal challenge yet, in a prolonged standoff between Apple and the FBI. And just this week, a Congressional committee affirmed the importance of encryption, giving hope that future laws around the topic will include at least a modicum of sanity.

There’s still a long way to go, and any gains that were made could potentially be rolled back, but for now it’s worth taking a step back to appreciate just how far encryption came this year. As far as silver linings go, you could do a lot worse.

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Here's wishing you a safe and warm Christmas.

May the force be with you.


Thanks for reading.

The Car-Talk Edition Friday, December 23, 2016

Cars And Trucks And Mac SUVs, by Jason Snell, Six Colors

So maybe it’s a mistake to think that Macs are trucks. Maybe today’s Macs are more like SUVs: they’re more expensive and better appointed cars. It’s a category that’s just as popular as the car, and way more popular than the pickup truck.

If Apple decides the largest market for Macs is the SUV market—people who want to buy a computer, but don’t really need to be Professional Grade—Where does that leave the harder-core pro users?

Problems, Big And Small

Does Your iPhone 7 Plus Have This Camera Issue?, by Raymond Wong, Mashable

A number of people are reporting their iPhone 7 Plus cameras are "breaking", with the rear camera(s) lenses only showing a black screen, or flashes of green or purple.

New MacBook Pros Fail To Earn Consumer Reports Recommendation, by Jerry Beilinson, Consumer Reports

Battery life is an important attribute for a laptop, and it it represents a significant portion of our overall score. After factoring together our complete test results, Consumer Reports finds that all three MacBook Pro laptops fail to meet our standards for recommended models.

This is a real departure from past MacBooks. Most Apple laptops have scored well in our battery test, typically lasting much longer than the manufacturer has claimed.

Uber Explains Why It Looks Like Its App Is Still Tracking Your Location, Long After Drop-off, by Sarah Perez, TechCrunch

Many users had realized that Uber’s app appeared to have recently checked their location, according to their iPhone Settings.

But Uber says this is behavior that’s being triggered by the iOS Maps extension that Apple opened up in September. It’s not due to a bug in the Uber app nor is it a consequence of the recent location services update, the company told us.

Super Mario Run’s Not-So-Super Gender Politics, by Chris Suellentrop, New York Times

Unfortunately, despite Nintendo’s history and reputation, Super Mario Run is not a family-friendly game — or at least not one my wife and I will be letting our 6-year-old daughter play. The game is rife with stale, retrograde gender stereotypes — elements that were perhaps expected in 1985, when the first Super Mario Bros. was released in the United States, but that today are just embarrassing.

Inbox 101

Why Time Management Is Ruining Our Lives, by Oliver Burkeman, The Guardian

You can seek to impose order on your inbox all you like – but eventually you’ll need to confront the fact that the deluge of messages, and the urge you feel to get them all dealt with, aren’t really about technology. They’re manifestations of larger, more personal dilemmas. Which paths will you pursue, and which will you abandon? Which relationships will you prioritise, during your shockingly limited lifespan, and who will you resign yourself to disappointing? What matters?

For Merlin Mann, consciously confronting these questions was a matter of realising that people would always be making more claims on his time – worthy claims, too, for the most part – than it would be possible for him to meet. And that even the best, most efficient system for managing the emails they sent him was never going to provide a solution to that. “Eventually, I realised something,” he told me. “Email is not a technical problem. It’s a people problem. And you can’t fix people.”


Investigating ChronoSync 4.7 For Cloud Backup, by Glenn Fleishman, TidBITS

Cloud-hosted backup services offer an attractive price for automated backups, strong support for retaining older versions, and excellent redundancy. But that all comes at the cost of ceding some level of control, and that’s what you get back with ChronoSync.

The key advantages to using ChronoSync and separately contracted storage are that files end up stored in a directly retrievable format, and you control all the encryption options.

Apple Unveils A New Look For The iCloud Photos App, by Brent Dirks, AppAdvice

The interface is still missing some features found on the Mac and iOS versions including Memories and Faces.

Pokémon Go Arrives On The Apple Watch, by Sarah Perez, TechCrunch

The new smartwatch app lets you more easily play Pokémon without having to always pull out your phone. Instead, you can tap to find nearby Pokémon, collect items from PokéStops, and even log your gameplay as a “workout.”

New Apple Watch Series 2 ‘Go Swim’ Promo Highlights Water-resistant Design, by Chance Miller, 9to5Mac

Continuing its recent deluge of Apple Watch advertisements, Apple today has shared a new clip highlighting the device. The video, entitled “Go Swim,” highlights the water-resistant design of the Series 2 model.


Apple And Nokia Battle Over Cellphone Patents, by Vindu Goel, New York Times

Central to the latest dispute between Apple and Nokia is what is a fair and reasonable fee to use Nokia technology that is now part of every smartphone. Patent lawyers say there has been a tradition of charging a modest royalty for patents on standard technologies. Previously, Nokia fought bitter legal battles with other smartphone makers, including Samsung and LG, over how they used its patents.

As Nokia seeks to require Apple to pay to license more of its patents, some of its recent claims may be hard to justify. In one of its lawsuits filed on Wednesday, it says Apple is violating a patent Nokia received two months ago for an electronic device case that includes a hole for a camera lens in the back and room for a battery beneath the display, features that have been common to smartphones for many years.

The No-Network-Connectivity Edition Thursday, December 22, 2016

AirPods Review: Hearing Is Believing, by Jason Snell, Six Colors

First, Siri control is only functional when there’s an Internet connection. If you want to adjust the volume of your AirPods when you’re in an area with no service, you’ll need to pull out your phone or launch the Now Playing widget on your Apple Watch to do it. Why Apple doesn’t allow Siri to gracefully degrade to a few basic hardware-oriented commands when there’s no network connectivity is beyond me. The Internet doesn’t need to exist for me to tell my phone to skip to the next track—but that’s how Apple has apparently built this feature.

Then there’s the difference in convenience between a few clicks or taps and having to tap, say a phrase, and wait for it to be interpreted. There’s a lot of extra baggage there, which is great when you need a pocket supercomputer to interpret a complex phrase like “Play the playlist ‘Best of Alternative 2016’.” But it seems a little sillier to do all of that just to say “decrease volume.” (Also, if you’re on the subway, people will think you’re a weirdo. Or that you’re telling them to shut up.)

Can Apple AirPods Be Recycled? First You Have To Cut Them Open, Then Get A Band-Aid..., by Marc Schneider, Billboard

For an AirPod to be recycle-ready, the 93-milliwatt lithium battery would have to be removed before the rest of the device is shredded. According to Kyle Wiens, co-founder and CEO of online repair community iFixit, his team dismantled the AirPod but discovered "no practical way" to open the glued-together gadget.

The Whole Widget

Apple Music: Platform? Promoter? Both., by Joe Coscarelli, New York Times

Since its debut in the summer of 2015, however, Apple Music has separated itself from Spotify, the industry’s streaming leader, by trying to become a one-stop shop for major artists — part platform and part promoter.

In the case of Drake, the service’s marquee musician so far, that has meant unveiling new songs on his OVO Sound show for Apple’s Beats 1 internet radio station while making his music exclusive to the service for a set window of time. Zane Lowe, the Beats 1 host, was granted Drake’s only interview around his album release. The rapper’s Summer Sixteen tour was sponsored by Apple, as was his promotional mini-movie, “Please Forgive Me,” which remains available only to subscribers. (Unlike Spotify, Apple does not offer free streaming; a monthly subscription is $9.99, though three-month trials are available.)

Then there were Drake’s commercials with Taylor Swift.

Happy Lawyers

Nokia Sues Apple Over A Slew Of Patent Infringements, by Nicole Lee, Engadget

According to the suit, Apple did agree to license a few Nokia patents in 2011, but has declined offers since then.

Apple Sues Nokia's Pet Patent Trolls, by Thomas Claburn, The Register

Apple on Tuesday filed an antitrust lawsuit against Acacia Research Corporation and Conversant Intellectual Property Management, alleging that the two "patent assertion entities" have colluded with Nokia "to extract and extort exorbitant revenues unfairly and anticompetitively from Apple" and other companies.


For Millions Of Immigrants, A Common Language: WhatsApp, by Farhad Manjoo, New York Times

Because it’s free, has a relatively good record on privacy and security, and is popular in so many parts of the world, WhatsApp has cultivated an unusual audience: It has become the lingua franca among people who, whether by choice or by force, have left their homes for the unknown.

Apple Updates Its AirPort Extreme Software, by Dennis Sellers, Apple World Today

According to Apple's release notes, the update fixes an issue where the routers would not respond to the AirPort Utility when "Back to My Mac" is enabled. There are also security fixes.

Workouts++ Review, by John Voorhees, MacStories

Workouts++ by David Smith takes my favorite aspect of Apple’s stock Workout app for watchOS – the ability to quickly start a workout – and adds layers of customization and workout tracking that takes the app to another level altogether. The key to Smith’s watchOS app is the inclusion of an iOS app that lets you customize the real-time statistics tracked on your Apple Watch during a workout and view the data collected in useful ways.

Algoriddim Squeezes Its Djay Pro App Into The iPhone, by Jon Turi, Engadget

Yep, you new get a fully capable DJ package, with access to Spotify's pool of tracks, four decks, effects and video mixing in a pocketable format.

Ways To Tap Into The Force, And Beam Up Your Inner Trekkie, by Kit Eaton, New York Times

The newest film in the “Star Wars” franchise, “Rogue One,” is out in theaters. Several excellent science-fiction-themed TV shows are on the air. And there are more sci-fi and fantasy films expected soon.

That means it’s a great time to be a science-fantasy and science-fiction fan. And in a galaxy right here today, a lot of that content is designed for the supercomputer smartphone in your pocket, so you can take your love for the genres anywhere you go.

Atari Releases 'RollerCoaster Tycoon Classic' For iOS, by Tim Hardwick, MacRumors

The game includes hundreds of pre-made designs and classic building tools for bespoke coaster construction, a fully featured park designer and park management tools, 95 classic park scenarios from the two games, and the original graphics, park music and sound effects.


Apple Extends Deadline For App Developers To Switch To HTTPS Server Connectivity, by Chance Miller, 9to5Mac

In a post on its developer website, Apple stated that it is giving developers more time to support App Transport Security and thus extending the deadline. At this point, however, Apple has not announced the new deadline.


Apple’s Rotten Appeal, by Richard A. Epstein, Politico

In this instance, the smoking gun that something is amiss is the ridiculously low tax rate that Apple’s local subsidiary, Apple Sales International (ASI) pays Ireland: 0.005 percent, a number that looks more like a rounding error than a tax.

What is so disappointing about the statements made by both Apple and Ireland is that they do not address the arguments against this tax shelter. Instead, Apple’s General Counsel Bruce Sewell and its Chief Financial Officer Luca Mastri play the pity card in an effort to deflect attention from the tax fundamentals of the case, complaining that Apple is being singled out for its success.

Swipe Right? 'Toilet Paper' For Smartphones Trialled In Japanese Airport Bathrooms, by Justin McCurry, The Guardian

Japan has taken its reputation for hygiene up another notch with the introduction of “toilet paper” for smartphones inside toilets at Narita international airport.

In a new take on the meaning of public convenience, users are invited to pull off a piece of paper from a dispenser next to the regular toilet roll and give their phone screens a germ-busting polish.

The Senate Bathroom Angle, by Gail Collins, New York Times

We are sorely in need of some cheerful news out of Washington, so I’m going to tell you Barbara Mikulski’s story about the Senate bathrooms.

Bottom of the Page

Dear Internet:

I will be greatly amused if someone can hack the AirPods and implement Shake to Shuffle.

Thank you.


Thanks for reading.

The AirPod-And-Touch-Bar Edition Wednesday, December 21, 2016

A Tale Of Two Apples, by Jeff Geerling

The AirPods are a delight to use. Every interaction—from opening them up, to charging them, using Siri, and even configuring them on iOS—is a delight. They're expensive (though not in comparison to similarly-specced wireless headsets), but delight is the reason people pay the 'Apple premium tax' and don't feel terrible about it.

For the Touch Bar, it's as if a manager told a cash-and-time-strapped team: "People are nervous about the Mac. We have to design something new, for the sake of being new, and make it pretty." And they did just that. Made a pretty hardware device that offers little benefit over the boring old function keys it replaced, and jacks up the per-device cost.

Apple AirPods: More Than Just Headphones, by Ben Bajarin, Techpinions

You very quickly realize, the more you use Siri with the AirPods, how much the experience today assumes you have a screen in front of you. For example, if I use the AirPods to activate Siri and say, “What’s the latest news?” Siri will fetch the news then say, “Here is some news — take a look.” The experience assumes I want to use my screen (or it at least assumes I have a screen near me to look at) to read the news.

The Apple AirPods After A Day Of Use, by David Sparks, MacSparky

Interestingly, the AirPods improve dictation accuracy. I ran test with both Dragon Anywhere and Siri dictation and found it more accurate when using the AirPod microphone then using the built-in microphone. I think a lot of work went into the AirPod beam forming microphones.

AirPod Impressions, by Stephen Hackett, 512Pixels

I keep trying to double tap the AirPods to skip tracks. I think that muscle memory is from the old in-line remote, and I’m afraid it’s going to take a while to break.


The Apple Watch Series 2 Review: Building Towards Maturity, by Brandon Chester, AnandTech

The Apple Watch Series 2 really reminds me of the iPad 2. It tackles the areas where its predecessor faltered, and provides a much better experience as a result, but there's still that lingering early adopter feeling that even greater improvements are coming in the next generation. I would imagine that future series of the Apple Watch will bring additional sensors for tracking health information, thinner casings, and hopefully better battery life so features like sleep tracking will be possible.

The LG UltraFine 5K Display Is Now Available For Purchase!, by Mikah Sargent, iMore

Apple's online store says it'll be between 2 and 4 weeks for delivery.

Working With Duet Display, by Jake Underwood, MacStories

Using Duet to connect my MacBook and iPad Pro is comparable to the way you’d expect an external monitor to work. [...] While I wouldn’t recommend trying to play a resource heavy game on your iPad Pro’s screen through Duet, it has no trouble accomplishing productivity tasks.

An App Combats Bullying, One Anonymous Compliment At A Time, by Stacy Suaya, New York Times

Mr. Kevitch is the founder of Brighten, an app that allows users to send compliments to friends anonymously, as a kind of antidote to social media bullying.

AutoSleep Turns The Apple Watch Into An Automatic Sleep Tracker, by Federico Viticci, MacStories

AutoSleep doesn't install any app on your Apple Watch and you don't have to interact with it before going to bed. The app's instructions make it clear: if you want to use your Apple Watch as a sleep tracker, you just need to wear it and sleep. That's it.

HealthFace Puts Health App Data On Your Wrist, by John Voorhees, MacStories

The power of HealthFace is that it unlocks a deep catalog of data stored in the Health app, customized to your preferences, and makes it immediately available on your wrist.

Whiskers On Fleek: New App Lets Your Cat Take A Selfie And Send It To You, by Kris Abel, Metro

Among cats, it’s curiosity that leads to the best selfies. That’s according to the makers of Candid Catmera, an iPhone and iPad app that uses virtual fish, mice, and laser pointers and others treats to entice your feline to come play in front of your mobile device.


The Story Behind The New York Times’ Largest And Most Ambitious Crossword Puzzle, by Nick Statt, The Verge

Among the neat collection of puzzle maker interviews and number and word games is a particularly unprecedented challenge, a puzzle larger than any The New York Times has ever constructed. The 50x50, 738-clue monstrosity covers two entire broadsheet pages. It may take even experienced puzzle solvers many days to complete. [...]

The goal is to take advantage of the tactile, aesthetic, and nostalgic qualities of ink on paper, at a time when the death of print news is but a foregone conclusion for publications whose digital operations cannot keep them afloat.

Rumors Of The Day

How Apple Alienated Mac Loyalists, by Mark Gurman, Bloomberg

Apple re-organized its software engineering department so there's no longer a dedicated Mac operating system team. There is now just one team, and most of the engineers are iOS first, giving the people working on the iPhone and iPad more power.

When Steve Jobs introduced the iPhone on stage, he called the operating system "OS X". And this was how he described OS X: "It's got multi-tasking. It's got the best networking. It already knows how to power manage... It's got awesome security. And the right apps. It's got everything from Cocoa and the graphics and it's got core animation built in and it's got the audio and video that OS X is famous for. It's got all the stuff we want."

Now, fast forward ten years and reverse the two products. Why wouldn't you want the Mac to reap the benefits of the iPhone's foundation? Especially with the assurance from Apple that the two products will not be merged, and a Mac will still be a Mac? Of course Apple is going to put more resources on the development of iPhone over the Mac. Having a single team makes it easier for Mac OS to have new features, I would think.

(I wonder if iMessage on iPhone and iMessage on Mac are created from a single or separate teams.)

Engineers are now "asked to develop multiple options in hopes that one of them will be shippable," a person familiar with the matter said.

Didn't Apple investigate different options for the iPhone (iPod OS versus OS X) before deciding which one to ship? Didn't Apple continue to build OS X on Intel for years until it is shippable? And, if rumors were true, didn't Apple spend quite a bit of time and effort on an Apple Car before deciding that is not shippable?

How is this not a tradition at Apple, I wonder? Is it the thinner resources?

In the run-up to the MacBook Pro's planned debut this year, the new battery failed a key test, according to a person familiar with the situation. Rather than delay the launch and risk missing the crucial holiday shopping season, Apple decided to revert to an older design.

A new innovative design failed just before launch. That's not new at Apple. (Witness the AirPods.) This shouldn't raise too loud an alarm, should it? If this was a last-minute revamp, my gut feeling is that adding more resources to the project doesn't make the final deliverables better.

Because of the earlier challenges, some Apple engineers have raised the possibility of moving production back to Asia, where it's cheaper and manufacturers have the required skills for ambitious products, according to a person familiar with those internal discussions.

The political environment is tougher for such a move now.

Okay, the political climate is unfortunate. But, I do think Apple has lost interest in making Macs that doesn't come with a screen.

The Tim-Cook-Is-Committed Edition Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Apple’s Tim Cook Assures Employees That It Is Committed To The Mac And That ‘Great Desktops’ Are Coming, by Matthew Panzarino, TechCrunch

“Some folks in the media have raised the question about whether we’re committed to desktops,” Cook wrote. “If there’s any doubt about that with our teams, let me be very clear: we have great desktops in our roadmap. Nobody should worry about that.”

Tim Cook Explains To Apple Employees Why He Met With President-elect Trump, by Matthew Panzarino, TechCrunch

“Personally, I’ve never found being on the sideline a successful place to be,” writes Cook. “The way that you influence these issues is to be in the arena. So whether it’s in this country, or the European Union, or in China or South America, we engage. And we engage when we agree and we engage when we disagree. I think it’s very important to do that because you don’t change things by just yelling. You change things by showing everyone why your way is the best. In many ways, it’s a debate of ideas.”

AirPods In The Wild

Apple’s AI If By Air, by Matthew Panzarino, TechCrunch

The sound quality is very solid. Nice thumpy bass and crisp highs produce a very listenable sound, though it’s far from audiophile quality. These are very good and very loud earbuds that produce sound quality right in line with their $160 price. Because the seal (on my ear anyway) is so firm, and there are no cords to tug them around, they cancel outside noise very well (though there is no official noise cancellation functionality).

Apple AirPods Are Too Simple For Their Own Good, by Christina Warren, Gizmodo

I don’t understand why Apple couldn’t just develop gestures for basic playback controls. The sides are tap sensitive to invoke Siri, why couldn’t the company build in some additional gestures to raise or lower volume, or at least to play or pause?

Hands-on: First Impressions With Apple AirPods Sound Quality, Pairing, Auto-pause, Siri And More, by Benjamin Mayo, 9to5Mac

My impression of how it feels to have two wireless earbuds in your ears is not as alien as some of the other people I’ve seen who have AirPods. To me, it’s exactly what I expected EarPods without dangling wires to feel like. I don’t want to speak for comfort, I think that will vary a lot from person to person, as I never had an issue with EarPods. There is a sensation that they are going to fall out at the slightest shake but they never do.

Apple’s AirPods Aren’t For Music, They’re For Siri, by David Pierce, Wired

Right now, you can get better-sounding wireless headphones for the same price or less. They’ll fit better, look better, work better. If you buy the AirPods you’re buying them for being really, ridiculously convenient, and not much else. And you can even get that for less, too, at least when the W1-equipped Beats X earbuds come out later this fall. (Though those are, improbably, even uglier than the AirPods.)

Christmas Wish: AirPod Double-Tap To Skip, by David Smith

This blog post is my polite request that Apple consider adding another option to this setting for “Double-Tap to Skip Forward”. This seems like a natural fit. The Double-Tap on an iPhone headset control has meant skip forward since headset controls were first introduced. The muscle memory I’ve built up over the years for it is significant.

Safe Trips

Federal Safety Board Wants Map Apps To Include Grade Crossings, by Daisuke Wakabayashi, New York Times

The accuracy of mapping data is becoming more important as driverless cars start taking to the road. It will be up to navigation apps to guide cars onto the safest routes and to warn passengers — who may not be paying attention — about potential hazards. [...]

Several months after the Oxnard crash, the railroad agency said Google had agreed to add audio and visual warnings to Google Maps, the world’s most popular mapping app, based on grade-crossing location data. But Google has not yet included that feature, even though it has updated the app more than two dozen times for the iPhone since then.

The National Transportation Safety Board said Apple and three other companies had also agreed to add crossing data, but the board was uncertain when the companies would do so.


Momento’s New App Turns Your Own Photos Into GIFs You Can Decorate And Share, by Sarah Perez, TechCrunch

One of the more clever apps to launch on the iMessage App Store is Momento, an app that automatically turns your photos into GIFs for easy sharing. Now this app is available in a standalone format to all iPhone and iPad users, outside of iMessage. It also arrives with an expanded feature set, including the ability to decorate your photos with filters, stickers, text, and other effects, as well as share them outside of your texts, to social media sites, Messenger, and elsewhere.

The Best Journaling App For iPhone, by Thorin Klosowski, Lifehacker

Day One was one of the first great journaling apps for the iPhone and over the years since its initial launch, it has remained firmly at the top. It strikes the perfect balance between features, usability, and design.

Minecraft ‘Apple TV Edition’ Now Available For tvOS With Limited Edition DLC, by Michael Potuck, 9to5Mac

Included with the paid download is a variety of limited edition DLC to customize your Minecraft experience and also includes the recent Ender Update.

LG Says Delays & No Confirmed Date For 5K UltraFine, But Most Readers Prepared To Wait, by Ben Lovejoy, 9to5Mac

LG has confirmed that the 5K UltraFine monitor Apple recommends for use with the new MacBook Pro models has been delayed. A company representative told us that LG does not yet have a confirmed date for availability.


Dashboard, by Stephen Hackett, 512Pixels

Every year, I think to myself that Dashboard has reached the end of the line, but Apple keeps surprising me.

Maybe someone important on the macOS team still really love Dashboard, or maybe everyone’s forgotten it’s still in there, deep in the codebase somewhere. Whatever the reason, Dashboard lives on, for now at least.

How An Emoji Goes From Pitch To Product, by Megan Farokhmanesh, The Verge

“I find something that I am passionate about,” Hunt says on the topic of creating emoji. We spoke with designer to learn more about the emoji creation process — which he says can take as long as a year for a single icon — and introducing more diversity into Unicode.

Apple Is Discussing Manufacturing In India, Government Officials Say, by Rajesh Roy and Newley Purnell, Wall Street Journal

Apple Inc. is discussing with the Indian government the possibility of manufacturing its products in the country, according to two senior government officials, as the company seeks to grow its sales and presence in the South Asian nation.

Bottom of the Page

High-Place Phenomenon: The Urge to jump off a cliff or bridge.

High-Wire Syndrome: The urge to cut the cables off an EarPod to create AirPods.


I wonder if I do get a pair of AirPods, how long will I be worrying about losing them when out and about?


Thanks for reading.

The Convenient-Target Edition Monday, December 19, 2016

Apple To Appeal EU Tax Ruling This Week, Says It Was A 'Convenient Target', by Foo Yun Chee, Reuters

Apple (AAPL.O) will launch a legal challenge this week to a record $14 billion EU tax demand, arguing that EU regulators ignored tax experts and corporate law and deliberately picked a method to maximize the penalty, senior executives said. [...]

"Now the Irish have put in an expert opinion from an incredibly well-respected Irish tax lawyer. The Commission not only didn't attack that - didn't argue with it, as far as we know - they probably didn't even read it. Because there is no reference (in the EU decision) whatsoever," Sewell said.

Ireland Accuses EU Of Exceeding Power In Apple Tax Case, by Conor Humphries, Reuters

On Monday both Ireland and Apple laid out the legal arguments that would form the basis of their appeals.

"The Commission has manifestly breached its duty to provide a clear and unequivocal statement of reasons in its decision, in relying simultaneously on grossly divergent factual scenarios, in contradicting itself as to the source of the rule that Ireland is said to have breached, and in suggesting that Ireland granted aid in relation to profits taxable in other jurisdictions," the Irish government said in a statement.

Ireland Fails To Justify Selective Treatment Of Apple, Commission Says, by Suzanne Lynch, Irish Times

Publishing its full decision on the controversial finding that Ireland offered computer giant Apple up to €13 billion in illegal state aid rulings, the commission states that two tax rulings issued by Ireland to Apple substantially and artificially lowered the tax paid by Apple in Ireland since 1991.

It found that two Apple subsidiaries - Apple Sales International and Apple Operations International - were used in a way that “did not correspond to economic reality.”

This amounted to the “selective tax treatment” of Apple in Ireland, the Commission found, because it gave Apple a significant advantage over other businesses subject to the same national taxation rules.

TV As An App

The Future Of TV Isn’t Apps, by Tim Goodwin, TechCrunch

I want “Spotify Radio” for TV, I want to select a show and get suggested ones like that appear next. I want all content to be linked, I want to select a TV star and see all they’ve appeared it. I want to click on a writer and find out more about them. I want my remote to be my phone and control center for all content. I want shows I can interact with meaningfully on it.

TV is about to go under the most radical transformation imaginable. Lines are going to blur. What is stored locally and what in the cloud? When does TV become Video? What should usage rights be for nations and devices? Do we need a set top box anymore?


Marathon Runner Tests Apple AirPods On A 10K Run, Earbuds Stay In Ears, Good Battery Life, by Benjamin Mayo, 9to5Mac

He said sound quality was good, with better-than-expected bass. His first impressions upon putting the AirPods in were not filled with confidence, as he said it felt like they were going to fall out. However, the AirPods stayed in his ears across the entire journey; at one point he says it doesn’t feel like they have moved at all.

His run/sprint lasted a little over an hour with continuous music playback; the AirPods reported 84% battery life at the end which is inline with Apple’s claims of 5 hours use on one charge without using the case to top them up.

AirPods Begin Arriving To Customers & Hitting Retail Stores Around The World, by Chance Miller, 9to5Mac

Customers who missed the brief online availability of AirPods have reported being able to walk into Apple Stores in Australia and New Zealand and purchase a pair.


How Christmas Presents Got Personalised – From Selfie Champagne To Bespoke Nutella, by Susie Mesure, The Guardian

So, who is to blame for the trend metastasising? Coca-Cola, perhaps, for those Share a Coke bottles in 2013, which reversed falling sales? Or Apple, which offered to personalise iPods (remember those?) in 2007? But the phenomenon goes back further.

Bottom of the Page

The future of TV is not apps -- but I can still see someone doing all the hard work of getting the shows from the creator to the viewer. Whether this someone is named Apple or Netflix or AMC, there will be someone. Or multiple someones.

One hopes there are multiple someones.


Thanks for reading.

The Future-Of-Publishing Edition Sunday, December 18, 2016

What Lies Beyond Paywalls, by David Skok, Nieman Lab

For over a decade, digital publishers have been wrestling with an existential strategic question: Should we pursue consumer or advertising revenue as our primary revenue stream? In 2017, that question, and the tradeoff it implies, will become obsolete by the widespread adoption of machine-learning, predictive, and anticipatory analytics. In creating a dynamic meter among publishers, their readers, and their advertisers, these algorithms have the potential to transform how the publishing industry generates revenue.


Examined: Project Management Tool OmniPlan 3.6 With Touch Bar Support In macOS Sierra, by Mike Wuerthele, AppleInsider

It is a very robust and functional tool that's meant to work with you over the days, months or even years of significant projects. It will take you time to learn but it rewards the effort.

Pokémon Go For The Apple Watch Is Not Canceled, by Ina Fried, Recode

“Pokémon Go is still under development and has not been canceled,” a Niantic representative told Recode on Saturday. “We'll have more news soon.”


How Developers Are Turning To Metro’s Newest Software Tool To Enhance Their Apps, by Faiz Siddiqui, Washington Post

Six months after Metro began allowing app developers to track its trains in real-time, transit wonks were eagerly sharing their thoughts on how to improve the commutes of hundreds of thousands of Metro users, many of whom are frustrated by chronic delays and service disruptions related to SafeTrack.

The gathering at Metro’s headquarters, the latest in the series of monthly meetups sponsored by Mobility Lab, the research arm of Arlington County commuter services, was all about little fixes developers can make to improve riders’ experience, said Paul Mackie, a spokesman for Mobility Lab.


Have More Famous People Died In 2016?, by Charlotte McDonald, BBC

So 2016 has seen the largest number of famous people die, but it was that bump at the beginning of the year that made it so unusual. [...]

He thinks that the increase isn't particularly surprising, because we're now half a century on from the flourishing of both TV and pop culture in the 1960s, which massively expanded the overall pool of public figures.

The Lax-Detection-And-Oversight Edition Saturday, December 17, 2016

Health Wearables + Big Data Collection = Bad News For Your Privacy, by Brett Williams, Mashable

An extensive new report published by the Center for Digital Democracy and American University tackles the complicated issue of health wearables and big data systems from every angle. It comes to a troubling conclusion: there are almost no privacy safeguards in place for consumer health data, and multiple industries are ready and willing to mine the system for profit.

According to the report, there are benefits of a connected-health system, like personalized insurance policies and improved emergency services. Wearable makers Apple and Fitbit have partnered with healthcare companies (Aetna and Cigna, respectively) in an effort to collect user data for just that reason.

Privacy Policy Strategy: The Digital Fine Print, by Ernie Smith, Tedium

As the Evernote saga recently showed, there are quite a few reasons for a privacy policy to exist, and one of those is that it helps the public know when the apps they use are breaking the contract between the company and the end user.

But what if that contract just wasn’t there at all? Turns out that this is a more common situation than you’d think, in part due to lax detection and oversight.

Run With Data

Players Complain About High Data Use From Persistent Internet In 'Super Mario Run', by Mike Wuerthele, AppleInsider

Initial reports from Apple Retail and other Apple employees with the game installed on their devices claimed that the game would use up to 75 megabytes per hour of near-constant play.

Super Mario’s Reluctant Leap To The iPhone, by Simon Parkin, New Yorker

While the threat of financial ruin might have lured Mario to the iPhone initially, there were other factors that, for Miyamoto, make this the right time for a reinvention. For years, Nintendo’s consoles—especially its ubiquitous handheld devices, from the Game & Watch toys of the eighties through to the many incarnations of the Game Boy and Nintendo DS—were the first computerized devices that children encountered. They were tactile, approachable, intimate. That position, Miyamoto observed, has been ceded to smartphones, which are now “powerful and stable enough to meet the level of performance we need for our games.”


Apple Adds 21 New Aerial Screen Savers To Apple TV, by Juli Clover, MacRumors

New screen savers of video captured in China, Dubai, Greenland, Hong Kong, Liwa, and Los Angeles have been added.

Review: Gamevice MFi Controller Transforms iPad And iPhone Into A Handheld Game Console, by Benjamin Mayo, 9to5Mac

If you keep your iPad at home, in the living room, the Gamevice can be quickly slipped on and off when you want to relax with a shooter or adventure game. For long trips, a Gamevice-equipped iPhone or iPad is a perfect companion. On a bumpy train ride or plane ride, the handheld console form factor is superior to a separate stand when space is constrained.

First Look: IBM's Watson Analytics Comes To The iPad, by Sharon Machlis, Computerworld

IBM today announced Watson Analytics Mobile for iPad -- an app that can be used along with a free personal or paid enterprise Watson account.

The Foolish King - This New iPhone And iPad App Brings Chess To A New Generation, by Daily Express

The Foolish King uses fairytale storytelling to teach children to play chess.


Google, Apple And Uber Say They Would Not Help Build A Muslim Registry, by Nitasha Tiku, BuzzFeed

BuzzFeed News asked all three companies whether they would help build or provide data for a Muslim registry. An Apple spokesperson said: “We think people should be treated the same no matter how they worship, what they look like, who they love. We haven’t been asked and we would oppose such an effort.” [...]

Oracle declined to respond to the same questions about a Muslim registry. It also declined to say whether the National Security Agency is still an Oracle customer. Oracle’s refusal to comment comes one day after CEO Safra Catz announced that she would join the transition team for President-elect Donald Trump, while remaining at Oracle.

Who Said What Inside The Trump Tech Meeting: Immigration, Paid Maternity Leave And Becoming The ‘Software President’, by Kara Swisher, Recode

Still, although I have called the meeting not much more than a photo op — noting that tech leaders were wrong to miss the opportunity to make a strong public joint statement on key values and issues important to them and their employees — one source said that the group was put between a rock and a not-soft place by the election.

“It was what it was, which was a public show of truce,” said one source, noting the hostile nature of the relationship between Trump and tech during the campaign. “Everyone got to meet him, and got to bring up some of tech’s issues, so that’s a victory of a sort. We’ll see what comes next.”

‘Jeopardy!’ Champion Dies Before She Could See Her Triumph On TV, by Daniel Victor, New York Times

When the science content developer from Austin, Tex., began recording her episodes on Aug. 31, she had Stage 4 colon cancer, a fact known by only a few of the show’s staff members and the host, Alex Trebek. Her competitors were unaware.

The Wires-Do-Have-An-Impact Edition Friday, December 16, 2016

Apple Will Offer AirPod Replacements For $69 If You Lose One, & Battery Replacements For A Fee, by Jordan Kahn, 9to5Mac

Apple has published detailed warranty information for its new AirPods that went on sale this week, including pricing for a replacement if you happen to lose one of the cord-free wireless earbuds. [...] Apple is also charging $69 to replace a single AirPod if you happen to lose one, and the same price for a lost charging case.

AirPods To Be Available In Apple Retail Stores Starting Monday Morning, by Juli Clover, MacRumors

Apple will begin selling AirPods in its retail stores starting on Monday, December 19, according to a retail source that shared the news with MacRumors. Apple is currently informing stores about the imminent launch and shipping product to retail locations.

AirPods: Your Burning Questions, Answered, by Jason Snell, Six Colors

The big difference is in the lack of wires coming out of the bottom of the stems. You may not notice the force that wires exert, constantly pulling against your ears and trying to coax those earbuds out of position, but compare the feeling of wearing EarPods to AirPods and you will realize that those wires really do have an impact.

Security Matters

macOS FileVault2 Password Retrieval, by Ulf Frisk

The memory contents, including the password, is still there though. There is a time window of a few seconds before the memory containing the password is overwritten with new content.

Figuring Time

Explaining The Battery Life Problems With The New MacBook Pros, by Andrew Cunningham, Ars Technica

How is Apple arriving at its battery life figures, and why might yours be falling short? If you’re coming from an older MacBook Pro, why might you be seeing lower battery life than before? But most importantly, what—if anything—can you try to do to fix it?

Small Universe

Super Mario Run Debuts At No. 1 As Nintendo Embraces Smartphones, by Yuji Nakamura, Bloomberg

The release is the first full test of what the Japanese game maker can achieve after years of eschewing the thriving mobile-app market. While Nintendo gave a hint of its potential with the success of Pokemon Go earlier this year, that title was only partly its own creation. Super Mario Run was developed mainly by Nintendo, with some assistance from partner DeNA Co.

Super Mario Run Review: Feel The Thumb-tapping Beat, by Kyle Orland, Ars Technica

After playing the first few levels of Super Mario Run at an Apple Store last week, I worried that the game took too many liberties with a series that I'd loved as a certified, website-creating megafan for decades. After spending the better part of a day playing the game in the comfort of my own home, I feel like I've been able to enjoy Super Mario Run more on its own terms, even if I feel it's missing a lot of what makes other Mario games (and even other mobile games) special. [...]

The real problem with Super Mario Run is that it wears out its content, and its welcome, remarkably quickly. Even with the extra collectibles, unlockable characters, and secondary modes, and even considering the $10 price, the selection of just 24 short levels feels pretty limited.

Super Mario Run Review, by Michael McWhertor, Polygon

Going after the bonus coins is where I found the most fun with Super Mario Run's platforming and became more impressed with its level design.

Super Mario Run Review: A Fun But Compromised Mario On iPhone, by Andrew Webster, The Verge

At its best, the game evokes feel of 2D Mario games, but it is not one of those games. It’s a one-button mobile game, an inescapable fact in the boss fights that are more tedious than fun, burdened by such limited controls. Meanwhile, tweaks like Mario’s automatic vaulting over enemies will take a lot of getting used to for Mario veterans. I still haven’t.

What The 'Super Mario Run' In-app Purchase Gets You For $9.99, by Mike Wuerthele, AppleInsider

In initial interviews with Mario creator Shigeru Miyamoto, the designer said that a single purchase would unlock the entire game. That's true, to a certain extent.

The in-app purchase does not supply an unlimited amount of in-game currency. What it does provide is full access to all six worlds in the game through a gifted question-mark block —which is what the "complete unlock" entails. It also provides 20 Toad Rally tickets, and 3,000 coins.

You Can't Give The New 'Super Mario' Game For iPhone As A Holiday Gift Even If You Wanted To, by Matt Weinberger, Business Insider

Since Apple's App Store currently has no way to give in-app purchases as gifts, it might ruin your plan to play Santa for the Nintendo fan in your life.

Nintendo Loses First Round Of Super Mario iPhone Launch, by Jacky Wong, Wall Street Journal

[I]nvestors sent shares of Nintendo, the creator of the Italian plumber, down the drain Friday, falling more than 4%. [...] The payment model for “Super Mario Run,” on the other hand, caps the upside potential. Players only need to pay once. Getting $2 billion in revenue would require 200 million paying users, which seems high.

On The Move

Apple Airs Two More 'Go' Mini-ads For Apple Watch Series 2, by Roger Fingas, AppleInsider

Apple on Thursday released two new ads in its short, first-person "Go" series for the Apple Watch Series 2, continuing a holiday campaign for the wearable.

Japanese iPhone 7 Plus Ad ‘Race’ Shows Off Newly Launched Apple Pay Feature, by Zac Hall, 9to5Mac

The new 30-second spot features the Jet Black iPhone 7 Plus and a very fast-paced run between two men through a busy part of town. The ad concludes with the iPhone-equipped man winning the so-called race by using Apple Pay to quickly board a train.


Evernote Will Not Implement Controversial New Privacy Policy, by Husain Sumra, MacRumors

Evernote tonight announced that it no longer plans to implement a controversial new privacy policy that caused some Evernote users to threaten to stop using the service. The policy was scheduled to go into effect on January 23, 2017 and allowed Evernote employees to read users' notes.

Timepage For iPhone Adds Better Syncing, New Theme Colors, More In Version 2.0, by Jake Underwood, MacStories

The update features a slew of performance updates, which the developers attribute to a "whole new code foundation that makes it faster to use and optimizes how your calendars are synced." Also aiding in the fluidity are new animations throughout the app.

Desk 3.0 Now Available In Mac App Store, Latest Iteration Of Simple Text Editor, by Steven Sande, Apple World Today

The app provides a truly minimal interface that doesn't get between a writer and a blank piece of virtual paper, and for WordPress bloggers it's one of the easiest ways to write and publish posts. Desk 3.0 is now available, designed especially for macOS Sierra with better tools for managing stories.

Google’s Motion Stills iOS App Now Lets You Make Cinemagraphs And Add Text To Clips, by Jordan Novet, VentureBeat

Now it’s possible to create cinemagraphs that freeze the areas of an image that aren’t moving while allowing for the movement of the key action.


The Inside Story Of Apple's $14 Billion Tax Bill, by Gaspard Sebag, Dara Doyle, and Alex Webb, Bloomberg

In the coming weeks, the EU is expected to publish details of the Maxforce investigation. At about the same time, Apple will likely lodge its own appeal in the EU court. Though Apple will have to pay its tax bill within weeks, the money will be held in escrow, and the issue will probably take years to be resolved.

This story is based on interviews with dozens of officials from the EU, Ireland, and Apple, though most didn't want to speak on the record discussing sensitive tax matters. A Maxforce representative declined to make Lienemeyer available for an interview. Ireland's Office of Revenue Commissioners (the equivalent of the American Internal Revenue Service) says it can’t comment on specific companies.

The Businesses Apple Has Left Behind, by Stephen Hackett, MacStories

This year, Apple has exited the external display business and is rumored to be discontinuing its AirPort wireless routers. These developments have left a bad taste in many users' mouths, but 2016 isn't the first time Apple has shuttered an entire product line.

By my count, there are five major categories of products or devices that Apple has abandoned over the years.

Apple Can Sell iPhone 7s In Indonesia After R&D Investment Commitment, by Cindy Silviana, Reuters

Indonesia, a promising smartphone market where Apple has trailed some rivals, has stipulated that starting from January 2017, all 4G handsets sold there must have a local content of at least 30 percent. That rule can be met in terms of hardware, software or an investment commitment.

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My initial impression of Super Mario Run: this is not a game for me. Mostly, I see myself doing a lot of restart within each level, since the little Mario can only run forward, and not go back to get that special coin.


Thanks for reading.

The Capture-Data Edition Thursday, December 15, 2016

iPhone Apps Could Be A Revolution In Health — If People Use Them, by Stephanie M. Lee, BuzzFeed

More than a year and a half ago, Apple unveiled a new breed of iPhone apps that would let people participate in scientific studies anytime, anywhere — at least in theory. Now, a new study indicates that smartphones do have the potential to capture useful data about thousands of people’s health and exercise habits in their daily lives, not just during a trip to the doctor or a clinical trial center.

But it also shows that if iPhones are to become the next big tool in science, researchers will have to conquer a challenge familiar to every app developer: how to keep people from getting bored and quitting.

A Computer For Everything: One Year Of iPad Pro, by Federico Viticci, MacStories

Over the past year of daily iPad Pro usage, I've made it my personal goal to optimize my iPad workflows as much as possible. This is one of the best aspects of the iOS platform: competition between developers is fierce and you can always choose between different apps to get work done – apps that are improved on a regular basis and are constantly updated for the latest iOS technologies. With enough curiosity and patience, iOS rewards you with the discovery of new ways to work and save time.

New MacBook Pro Users Report Improved Battery Life On macOS 10.12.2, by Joe Rossignol, MacRumors

Many of the users using battery apps like coconutBattery have noticed their new MacBook Pro's battery is discharging with lower wattage, and if accurate, the lower power consumption would certainly lead to longer battery life.

Evernote’s New Privacy Policy Raises Eyebrows, by Annalee Newitz, Ars Technica

Evernote is testing out machine learning algorithms on all the reams of content it has accumulated over the past eight years. But when it announced this move with a new privacy policy that goes into effect January 24, 2017, the company also pointed out something that many users hadn't realized: Evernote staffers will sometimes look at the content of your notes.


Pastebot Reborn As A Powerful Mac Clipboard Manager, by John Voorhees, MacStories

Pastebot for Mac can store up to 500 of your most recently copied items, including text, URLs, images, and files.

1Password 6.5 For iOS Introduces Native Apple Watch App, And A Better On Boarding Experience, by Greg Barbosa, 9to5Mac

Previously 1Password’s watchOS app required the Watch and iPhone to be paired in the moment to view your stored passwords, but today’s update allows it to work separately.

SoundSoup App For Sound Modelling And Acoustic Design Now In A Free Version, by Architecture And Design

Running on an iPad, both SoundSoup versions allow the user to explore in real-time how a room would sound with different windows, walls, floor coverings, curtains or other features.


Late Shift, The World’s First Interactive Cinema Movie, Reviewed, by Sebastian Anthony, Ars Technica

Recently I had the dubious honour of watching Late Shift, which bills itself as "the world's first cinematic interactive movie." As the movie unfolds, the cinema audience decides—using a smartphone app—how the protagonist responds to various situations, affecting how the story plays out on the big screen.

Trump Tells Tech Leaders 'There’s Nobody Like You In The World', by Jon Swartz, USA Today

He suggested, and tech leaders agreed to, meeting quarterly, according to a person briefed on the meeting. The person spoke on the condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak publicly.

They discussed repatriating foreign profits, reforming taxes and regulations so companies build more jobs in the U.S., building better infrastructure, and improving education, the person briefed on the meeting said.

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Waiting for Mario...


Thanks for reading.

The No-Remaining-Time Edition Wednesday, December 14, 2016

MacOS Sierra Update Fixes MacBook Pro Graphics Issue And Ditches “Battery Time Remaining” Estimate, by Sarah Perez, TechCrunch

Apple today is rolling out an update to macOS Sierra that addresses several issues with MacBook Pro computers, including the graphics problems on late 2016 MacBook Pro computers. Plus, in response to reported battery life concerns on these devices, Apple will now remove the “time remaining” display from the menu bar pulldown on the Mac, noting it was an inaccurate representation of how much battery life is left.

Why Apple Is Removing ‘Time Remaining’ Battery Life Estimates Following MacBook Pro Complaints, by Jordan Kahn, 9to5Mac

It’s not just an issue for the 2016 MacBook Pros, however, but the problem with the inaccurate time remaining estimates in the battery status menu was amplified by the latest processors used in the machines and increased dependence on features that use iCloud syncing, like Optimized Storage. Modern processors in Apple’s latest MacBooks resulted in the battery life status menu having a hard time keeping up with the CPU when switching between low-power and high-performance modes, which often meant erratic and unreliable predictions.

Features that rely on iCloud syncing in macOS Sierra were other reasons why many new MacBook Pro users were experiencing issues with battery life estimates on the machines, according to sources familiar with Apple’s thinking.

Michael Tsai On The Battery Time Remaining Estimate, by John Gruber, Daring Fireball

With a 100 percent charge on the 13-inch MacBook Pro (with Touch Bar), MacOS 10.12.1 was estimating I only had 4:50 of battery life. I used the machine for web browsing, email, and Slack for 45 straight minutes, at a high display brightness, and the estimate was at 5:09.

Bricked Watch

Apple Pulls watchOS 3.1.1 Update After Bricking Complaints, by Juli Clover, MacRumors

Following complaints that the new watchOS 3.1.1 update is bricking some Series 2 Apple Watch models, Apple has temporarily pulled the update.


As Trumplethinskin Lets Down His Hair For Tech, Shame On Silicon Valley For Climbing The Tower In Silence, by Kara Swisher, Recode

Welcome to the brave new world, which is neither brave nor new. But it’s now the world we live in, in which it’s Trump who is the disrupter and tech the disrupted.

Yeah, you can say it: Fuckfuckfuck.

Ai Ai Ai

The Great A.I. Awakening, by Gideon Lewis-Kraus, New York Times

As of the previous weekend, Translate had been converted to an A.I.-based system for much of its traffic, not just in the United States but in Europe and Asia as well: The rollout included translations between English and Spanish, French, Portuguese, German, Chinese, Japanese, Korean and Turkish. The rest of Translate’s hundred-odd languages were to come, with the aim of eight per month, by the end of next year. The new incarnation, to the pleasant surprise of Google’s own engineers, had been completed in only nine months. The A.I. system had demonstrated overnight improvements roughly equal to the total gains the old one had accrued over its entire lifetime.

A Secret Ops AI Aims To Save Education, by Todd Leopold, Backchannel

In his regular courses at Georgia Tech, the computer science professor had at most a few dozen students. But his online class had 400 students — students based all over the world; students who viewed his class videos at different times; students with questions. Lots and lots of questions. Maybe 10,000 questions over the course of a semester, Goel says. It was more than he and his small staff of teaching assistants could handle. [...]

It so happens that Goel is an expert in artificial intelligence. In fact, the course he was teaching, Computer Science 7637, is titled Knowledge-Based Artificial Intelligence. It occurred to him that perhaps what he needed was an artificially intelligent teaching assistant—one that could handle the routine queries, while he and his human TAs focused on the more thoughtful, creative questions. Personal attention is so important in teaching; what if they could give personal attention at scale?

IEEE Puts Out A First Draft Guide For How Tech Can Achieve Ethical AI Design, by Natasha Lomas, TechCrunch

The organization has today published the first version of a framework document it’s hoping will guide the industry towards the light — and help technologists build benevolent and beneficial autonomous systems, rather than thinking that ethics is not something they need to be worrying about.

The document, called Ethically Aligned Design, includes a series of detailed recommendations based on the input of more than a hundred “thought leaders” working in academia, science, government and corporate sectors, in the fields of AI, law and ethics, philosophy, and policy.

Meanwhile, Here In Singapore...

Uncertainty Continues Over Opening Date Of Apple's First Store In Singapore, by Tang See Kit, Channel NewsAsia

According to an information board put up outside the construction site at Knightsbridge mall, the latest expected completion date of Jan 30, 2017 – already a three-month postponement from the previous date of Oct 31, 2016 – was covered up, with no new date provided. [...]

“For a huge flagship store occupying 30,000sqft of prime space along Orchard Road, some degree of fit-out delay is not uncommon given the complexity of the design and layout,” said Cushman & Wakefield's research director Christine Li.


Apple’s Standalone Support App Hits The U.S. App Store, by Sarah Perez, TechCrunch

Apple’s recently launched standalone support application is now hitting the U.S. App Store. The app, which had quietly debuted last month outside the U.S., lets you access product documentation, schedule appointments, as well as chat, email or schedule calls with an Apple Support technician, among other things.

Apple Releases iTunes 12.5.4 With 'TV' App And Touch Bar Support, by Juli Clover, MacRumors

iTunes 12.5.4 introduces support for the new TV app, plus it adds Touch Bar support for the new MacBook Pro with Touch Bar.

Review: Apple AirPods Are Pretty F--king Cool, by Greg Emmanuel, Rolling Stone

Truly wireless earbuds (nothing but what sticks in your ear) began showing up earlier this year, and while they were an interesting peek into the future they were mostly plagued by flaws that made their steep price tags hard to swallow. The Apple AirPods – announced in September and then mysteriously delayed for two months – have managed to eliminate almost all the flaws.

Review: Apple Watch Nike+ Isn't Much Different From Series 2, And That's OK, by Neil Hughes, Apple Insider

The Nike band is largely identical to the regular silicon sport band that Apple sells, except it's perforated with a series of identically sized holes. This gives the band a distinct look, but also provides advantages for athletes.

For starters, the Nike band is noticeably lighter than the regular sport band. While we wouldn't characterize the sport band as heavy, the difference is noticeable when making the switch.

Apple Publishes Super Mario Run Podcast, by Ryan Christoffel, MacStories

Apple has published a new podcast featuring an interview with Shigeru Miyamoto, creator of the beloved Nintendo character.

Skype For Macs Has A Long-standing Backdoor, by Juha Saarinen, ITNews

Microsoft's Skype software for Apple's macOS and OS X operating systems contains an application programming interface (API) that could be used to spy on user communications unnoticed, researchers have found. [...]

Microsoft was notified of the flaw in October, and has patched the vulnerability in Skype 7.37 and later versions.

Bright Idea: Olloclip Core Lens Set For iPhone 7 And 7 Plus, by Steven Sande, Apple World Today

Images are brighter and clearer, with none of the vignetting that plagued earlier models. The Connect Lens System is pure genius; being able to swap out lenses with the push of a button is fast and simple.

Pokémon Go Boosts Exercise Levels – But Only For A Short Period, Says Study, by Nicola Davis, The Guardian

“We found that playing Pokémon Go moderately increases [players’] physical activity but the effect was not sustained over [a] six week period,” said Katherine Howe, co-author of the research from Harvard University. [...] Despite the findings, Howe remains optimistic that development of games like Pokémon Go could a have positive impact in myriad ways.

Google Turns Drive For iOS Into Android Migration Tool, by Mikey Campbell, AppleInsider

Google on Tuesday activated a new Google Drive feature that turns the cloud storage app for iOS into a migration tool capable of transferring calendars, contacts and photos from an iPhone or iPad to a new Android device.

Amazon Releases New Shopping App On tvOS Apple TV For Prime Members, by Chance Miller, 9to5Mac

Amazon today has released a new shopping app for any Apple TV running tvOS. The app, which is useful for Prime members especially, doesn’t include streaming video like many would hope, but rather allows users to complete purchases from their Apple TV.


Apple Ordered To Cough Up $2m To Store Workers After Denying Rest Breaks, by Shaun Nichols, The Register

The trial jury yesterday awarded store staff $2m after Apple was found to have illegally denied them meal and rest breaks, and was late giving departing workers their final paychecks.

Possible Probe Into iPhone Battery Shutdown In Korea, by The Korea Herald

The Korean Agency for Technology and Standards (KATS) said it is looking into the matter as the iPhone 6S battery problem could potentially be a safety issue, like Galaxy Note 7 smartphones, which underwent a global recall over a safety risk.

The Alarming Downsides To Tech Industry Diversity Reports, by Sidney Fussell, Gizmodo

Looking at these companies’ numbers side by side, a strange pattern emerges—the less white a company’s workforce, the more Asian workers it employs (and vice versa). Underrepresented groups generally hover at under 10 percent. “Diversity” doesn’t mean shifting the balance between two ethnic groups, it means destabilizing that pernicious 10 percent status quo. [...] One group, women of color, are particularly disadvantaged by the way companies release data. Race and gender are recorded separately.

The Inside Story Behind Pebble’s Demise, by Steven Levy, Backchannel

It turned out that both Pebble — and, incidentally, Apple —had misjudged the wearables market. The idea of an iPhone on the wrist hasn’t caught on. The one killer app for wrist devices, at least so far, seems to be fitness. Active people find it useful to wear something that quantifies your biometrics and tracks your runs. Apple’s emphasis on fashion and Pebble’s on productivity and third-party innovation were costly detours—the smartwatch market is rooted in health and fitness. “We learned late, and Apple is learning this as well,” says Migicovsky. (He acknowledges that notifications are perhaps the other key function smartwatches perform.) “We did not get this in 2014 — if we had come out then as the smartwatch fitness wearable, maybe it would be a bit different.”

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I didn't wait to update my iPhone to the lastest iOS last night. Now, I don't have to waste an extra swipe every time I want to get to my Today widgets.


For quite a while already, I've turned off the percentage reading on my batteries on both my Mac and iPhone. After all, these gadgets are meant to be used. And I'll use them until I'm done, or when the battery runs out. I really don't need to know how much battery is left -- either time reamining, or percentage remaining. After all, what can I do? I can stop working to conserve battery now, or I can stop work when the battery runs out later.

For the iPhone, I'm comforted by the observation that, even when the 20%-left warning comes on in the middle of the day, the iPhone can still pretty much function as simply a phone and text-messaging machine until the end of the day.


Thanks for reading.

The Delivery-Before-Christmas Edition Tuesday, December 13, 2016

AirPods Now Available To Buy From Apple Online Store For $159, Delivers As Soon As Monday 19, by Benjamin Mayo, 9to5Mac

The AirPods are now available to buy from Apple’s Online Store, with delivery before Christmas. After many delays, Apple’s truly-wireless headphones are finally on sale which are the company’s preferred solution to the wireless audio future heralded by the iPhone 7. Quantities are likely to be limited so get in quick if you want to secure a pair before Christmas Day.

Apple Says BeatsX Earphones Delayed Until February, by Joe Rossignol, MacRumors

Apple has updated its website to indicate its all-new BeatsX wireless earphones will be available in February in the United States, Canada, Australia, United Kingdom, and several other countries, after originally saying they would launch in the Fall. Online pre-orders can still not be placed at this time.

iOS 10.2 Released

Apple Releases iOS 10.2 With New Emoji, TV App, And More, by Federico Viticci, MacStories

iOS 10.2 is a notable release for emoji: Apple is now fully supporting the Unicode 9 emoji specification that includes 72 new emoji first approved by the Unicode Consortium earlier this year.

An Emoji With A Nose Is A Horror To Behold, by Megan Farokhmanesh, The Verge

But one question: where are its nostrils? What kind of nose comes unequipped for basic smell duties?

tvOS 10.1 Released

TV App Review, by Ryan Christoffel, MacStories

Apple is playing the long game with its TV app. Its bet is that more and more content providers will integrate over time, making TV more valuable. The biggest outstanding problem is not with the app itself, but with the lack of important integrations like Netflix and Amazon Prime Video. If Apple could get the content those companies offer into the TV app, I'd never have a reason to watch television elsewhere.

As it stands today, TV provides the best experience I've found for watching movies and TV shows, and it provides that experience seamlessly across the Apple TV, iPad, and iPhone. Silly as it may seem, from now on my decisions regarding which movies and shows to watch will be influenced by a new factor: can I watch those things in the TV app? Because if not, I'll be settling for a lesser experience.

watchOS 3.1.1 Released

watchOS 3.1.1 With Unicode 9 Emoji Support Now Available For Apple Watch, by Zac Hall, 9to5Mac

watchOS 3.1.1 includes support for new Unicode 9.0 emoji as well as the ability to change skin tones when picking certain emoji characters.

watchOS 3.1.1 Fixes A Handful Of Bugs, by Adam C. Engst, TidBITS

Apple is closing out the year with updates to most of its operating systems, and the least significant is undoubtedly watchOS 3.1.1, which lists just seven bug fixes in its release notes.


Q&A: Shigeru Miyamoto On 'Mario', 'Minecraft' And Working With Apple, by John Davison, Glixel

Probably the that easiest thing to point to is the fact that Apple, like Nintendo, is a company that thinks about how people will use their products. We design things to be usable by a very broad range of people. They put a lot of effort into the interface and making the product simple to use, and that's very consistent with Nintendo. I think Apple also likes to do things differently and take a different approach. In the early days when computers were very complicated things, computer companies were purposely presenting them in ways that made them seem very complicated. Then you had Apple who came along with their very simple and colorful logo and it all had more of a fun feel to it.

Gen 2 Pokémon Go Are Here: What You Need To Know!, by Rene Ritchie, iMore

Pokémon Go is getting new Pokémon from the second generation, starting today. More specifically, Togepi, Pichu, and other 'mon from the Johto Region in Pokémon Gold and Pokémon Silver video games.

Apple Rejects Samsung Pay Mini To Be Registered On Its App Store, by Etnews

Main reason why Apple rejected Samsung Pay Mini is not exactly known. It can be that Apple rejected Samsung Pay Mini because its particular functions do not meet with Apple’s policies on security and regulations. If this is the reason then Samsung can reapply after tweaking some of functions according to Apple’s regulations. However Samsung has decided not to reapply again. [...] If Apple rejected Samsung Pay Mini without any particular reasons then there is a cause of violation of Fair Trade Law.

Android And iPhone Reject Female Nudity App, by BBC

Melina thinks both of these decisions are "extremely hypocritical".

"When you take a look at what's in both stores, many [other apps] are over-sexualising women.

"If you're going to allow those things in the app store then minimally illustrated lady parts should be in there too.


MacBook Pro Launch: Perplexing, by Jean-Louis Gassée, Monday Note

I have little doubt the new MacBooks will eventually sell well. On paper and in demos, they’re very attractive. But I wonder how and why Apple let so many glitches and self-inflicted wounds mar the launch of this anxiously awaited successor to the MacBook Air and MacBook Pro.

When Trump Meets Tech Leaders, Jobs Will Be On The Agenda, by David Streitfeld, New York Times

Apple has already drawn the president-elect’s scrutiny over jobs. “One of the things that will be a real achievement for me is when I get Apple to build a big plant in the United States, or many big plants in the United States,” Mr. Trump said in late November.

On Monday, in what perhaps could be seen as a pre-emptive strike, Apple was revealed to be negotiating a major investment in a technology fund celebrated by Mr. Trump last week for its jobs-making potential.

Bill Gates Leads New Fund As Fears Of U.S. Retreat On Climate Grow, by Hiroko Tabuchi, New York Times

Mr. Gates, the billionaire co-founder of Microsoft, announced on Monday the start of a fund to invest in transformative energy research and development to reduce the emissions that cause climate change. The work would supplement and build on basic research already underway at government labs that may be threatened by the incoming administration. [...]

“We don’t have any inside knowledge of what the energy policies of this administration will look like,” said Mr. Gates, who said he had a brief telephone call with Mr. Trump several weeks ago but declined to describe it further. “It’s possible they will reduce energy research. But it’s also significantly possible they would increase energy research.”

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So, finally, the AirPods are available for sale.

Let's see how long before one can purcahse single replacement pods.


Thanks for reading.

The Calendar-Junk Edition Monday, December 12, 2016

Apple Rolling Out ‘Report Junk’ Feature For iCloud Calendar Invites From Unknown Senders To Address Spam, by Benjamin Mayo, 9to5Mac

Apple is rolling out a fix for the iCloud Calendar spam issue that has plagued users over the past few weeks. On, the company has added a new Report Junk feature. This lets users remove spammy invites from their calendar and reports the sender to Apple for further investigation.

The iPhone 6S Battery Replacement Process, by And Now It's All This

You’ve probably heard about battery problems with the iPhone 6S. Although I wasn’t having the sudden shutdowns characteristic of the problem, my phone was manufactured in the target time frame, so I decided to go ahead and get the battery replaced. I’d rather get ahead of the problem than have it appear when I’m out on a business trip.

Designing A Safer Battery For Smartphones (That Won’t Catch Fire), by John Markoff, New York Times

There is growing evidence that after decades of excruciatingly slow development, batteries are on the verge of yielding to a new generation of material science. [...]

“We’re in a golden age of new chemistry development which probably hasn’t been seen in thirty or 40 years, since the last energy crisis,” said Paul Albertus, a program manager at the Department of Energy’s Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy. “It’s a pretty exciting time to be developing energy storage technology.”

Will Trump Make Silicon Valley Kiss The Ring At His Tech Summit?, by Ian Bogost, The Atlantic

More likely, the Trump tech summit sends a signal to the tech industry: No longer will it enjoy the anonymity and freedom afforded by the Obama administration, whose friendly disregard for the ills of technology only history can judge. And likewise, no longer will Silicon Valley be allowed to ignore Trump’s Hollywood-style, feudal demand for sworn loyalty. This tech summit isn’t a venue for input or discussion, but a reminder of who is in charge. [...]

When a king or a mogul holds court, he does so for different reasons than a politician or a CEO hosts a roundtable or takes a meeting. Such a gathering might include actual collaboration, or at least the appearance of collaboration. But first and foremost, it affirms which audiences those overlords consider worthy of their time. It is thus no surprise that successful, established, infrastructural technology companies like Google, Cisco, Microsoft, Oracle, and IBM would make the cut, while more trivial distractions, like Slack and Twitter and Netflix, would not. It is also no surprise that organizations with whom Trump has known beefs—Apple and Amazon, for example—would be invited to learn how to kiss rings.


Apple 13" MacBook Pro Review: The Best Computer You Shouldn’t Buy, by Samuel Gibbs, The Guardian

Apple claims that the 13in MacBook Pro will last for 10 hours under its testing conditions. I didn’t get anywhere close to that figure. Barely using it for more than emailing and browsing with a few tabs open in Chrome, the brightness set at about 75%, Evernote and Twitter open and Double Shot preventing it from sleeping, I managed just over six hours on battery. Swapping Chrome out for Safari increased battery life for some sites, but I noticed others really chewed through battery, meaning it came out about even. [...]

Absolutely, it’s brilliant, it’s beautiful, it’s almost everything Apple said it was, I absolutely love it … until it runs out of battery. Or you have to dig out yet another dongle to use a sodding USB flash drive, or a card reader, or attach a display. Or you realise that you spent a month’s mortgage money on a computer and are having your house repossessed.

Bridge Is A Mobile Headset That Brings Inside-Out Tracking And MR To iPhone, by Jamie Feltham, Upload


Apple Plans To Release Swift 3.1 In Spring 2017, by Joe Rossignol, MacRumors

Apple has announced it plans to release Swift 3.1 in the spring of 2017, corresponding to some point between March and June.

Swift 3.1 is intended to be source compatible with Swift 3.0 and will contain a few enhancements to the core programming language.


Apple Reseller B&H Says BeatsX Earphones Delayed At Least 2-3 Months, by Joe Rossignol, MacRumors

In an email to a customer this weekend, authorized reseller B&H Photo Video said Apple has informed them shipping will not begin for at least 2-3 months.

The Inventor Of Bluetooth On Where Wireless Is Going Next, by Devindra Hardawar, Engadget

Bluetooth has come a long way. It's gone from being a frustrating standard that only businesspeople used for mobile headsets to something that millions rely on daily for wireless speakers and headphones, syncing with wearables and more. And now, with Apple and other companies pushing consumers toward wireless headphones (and away from the tried-and-true 3.5 headphone jack), Bluetooth finally has a chance to shine.

Jaap Haartsen, who spearheaded the design of the standard in 1994 while working at Ericsson, was recently inducted into the Consumer Technology Association Hall of Fame. I had a chance to sit down with him to talk about the development of the format and get a sense of where things are headed.

The Downward Slide Of The Seesaw, by Sharon Otterman, New York Times

The two young brothers seesawed in Riverside Park recently, testing and tormenting each other, absorbed in a playground ritual familiar to generations of children.

What they did not know was that they were in one of the last places in New York City where they could seesaw. Once ubiquitous in the city’s hundreds of public playgrounds, as they were around the country, the seesaws adults remember have largely vanished from the city and much of the nation because of safety concerns and changing tastes.

The Kill-iPod-Without-iPhone Edition Sunday, December 11, 2016

Print Is Dead. Long Live Print., by Michael Rosenwald, Columbia Journalism Review

Two decades have passed since newspapers launched websites, and yet here we are. Big city papers have gone under, thousands of journalists have lost their jobs, and the idea that digital news will eventually become a decent business feels like a rumor. The reality is this: No app, no streamlined website, no “vertical integration,” no social network, no algorithm, no Apple, no Apple Newsstand, no paywall, no soft paywall, no targeted ad, no mobile-first strategy has come close to matching the success of print in revenue or readership. And the most crucial assumption publishers have made about readers, particularly millennials—that they prefer the immediacy of digital—now seems questionable, too. [...]

Corporate titans often say that you must be willing to sacrifice your best products to develop new and potentially bigger ones. Apple killed the iPod with the iPhone. We all know how that worked out. But what if newspapers are killing their iPod without an iPhone in sight?

Tim Cook, Larry Page, Sheryl Sandberg — And Maybe Even Jeff Bezos — Are Going To Trump’s Tech Summit Next Week, by Kara Swisher, Recode

[M]ost of Silicon Valley’s leadership backed Trump rival and Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton and were even more supportive of outgoing President Barack Obama.

Tech companies also stand on the other side of a myriad of key issues from Trump, including immigration reform, encryption and a range of social concerns. But those involved said that tech leaders had little choice in accepting the invitation, even if they wanted to decline, opting to engage now even if they later oppose Trump.

Reproducible And Verifiable Builds, by David Grandinetti

The problem is that, between the source code and your phone, there is a black box of transformations that users do not see. We do not know if the binary from the AppStore does not also include other, possibly nefarious, code.


Examined: Writing And Markdown Tool Ulysses 2.7 For macOS And iOS, by Mike Wuerthele, AppleInsider

Ulysses 2.7 is a writing studio, or a writing environment, rather than a straight word processor. Users write in it like they would Pages or Microsoft Word, but Ulysses is focused equally on writing, organizing all writing work, and then preparing it to be read online or in print.


Half Automation, by And Now It's All This

Effective automation doesn’t always mean writing a script or macro that performs all the steps in a process. Some of my most useful automation workflows are hybrids, set up so I do the parts that require thought and judgment and the computer does the parts that are rote and repetitive.


Apple: Governments Are Requiring More Access To Customer Data Than Ever, by Dennis Sellers, Apple World Today

In the latest edition of its biannual report on Government Information Requests, Apple says that governments across the globe are making ever more frequent requests for access to customer data — and the U.S. makes six times as many account requests as China.

My Headphones, My Self, by Jacob Bernstein, New York Times

In a fraught public sphere, headphones provide a measure of privacy. Those who fall deeply into a Spotify playlist or the latest installment of an addictive podcast enter a cocoon-like zone all but impenetrable to tourists, beggars and those do-gooders with clipboards.

“Headphones are the front line of urban social defense,” said Julie Klausner, a comedian, actor and writer. “I’m introverted and socially anxious by nature. My worst nightmare is sitting next to someone on a plane or someone who wants to strike up a conversation on an elevator.” [...]

But the latest round of headphones popularity may be an expression of our disaffected times, coming during a season when people holding different views on matters political and cultural struggle to open their mouths without triggering an argument.

Bottom of the Page

Today, I am re-organizing my RSS feeds and their folders. Again.


Thanks for reading.

The Wrath-Of-Steve Edition Saturday, December 10, 2016

Apple: Earning The Wrath Of Steve, by Ken Segall

I saw this more than once in our regular marketing meetings. Someone would confidently present their ideas, Steve would ponder for a moment, and then let it out: “That’s it? You could have done this one day after our last meeting. What have you been doing for the past two weeks?” It would then fall upon the offending party to put up their best defense. I don’t remember that ever working. [...]

As much as I like the new MacBook Pro, I can’t help imagining Apple as a person making this presentation to Steve. When it’s finished, Apple sits back with a smug smile, expecting praise. Instead, it gets broadsided. “That’s it?” Steve says. “You could have done this one year after the last Mac event. What have you been doing for the last four years?”

We Might Finally Know Why Apple Delayed Its Futuristic Wireless Earbuds, by Jeff Dunn, Business Insider

According to a new report from The Wall Street Journal, though, the issue sounds largely technical. Citing a “person familiar with the development of the AirPod[s],” the report suggests Apple is struggling to ensure that both AirPods receive a Bluetooth signal simultaneously, something that would help them avoid sudden connection dropouts.

WSJ Report On Apple’s Mysterious AirPods Delay, by John Gruber, Daring Fireball

It makes more sense to me that Apple has run into a manufacturing problem, not that they discovered a design defect after they were announced.

“More difficult to manufacture at scale than expected” is also what I’ve heard through the grapevine, from a little birdie who knows someone on the AirPods engineering team.


Apple Makes Case For Apple Watch Series 2 Christmas Gifts In New Ad Series, by AppleInsider

Just in time for the holidays, Apple on Friday debuted four short television commercials touting the benefits of its new Apple Watch Series 2, from longstanding features like Apple Pay integration to new functions like GPS tracking.

Super Mario Run’s Live-action Commercial Is All About Speed, by Chelsea Stark, Polygon

The ad shows no gameplay, but feels like a high-end TV spot for Mario’s first jump into mobile devices. Coupled with the game’s featured spot on a network late night show, it’s a sign that the marketing for Super Mario Run is aiming to cast a wide net.

Brain-teasing iPhone Puzzler Is Tetris With Rings, by Luke Dormehl, Cult of Mac

While Dropa! probably isn’t going to be a wholly fresh gaming experience (unless you’re one of those terrifyingly young millennials who don’t remember the heady thrill of spending hours playing Tetris on the Game Boy), it is a neat remix of a proven entity — complete with a great original score.


Swift Playgrounds Shows How Anyone Can Learn To Code, by Cam Bunton, Pocket Lint

While Swift Playgrounds will never be a tool to help you build a stonking new app, and become a coding wizard, it’s a really easy way of learning the basics. By gamifying the process, making input so easy to see and so visual, it’s about as user friendly as coding has ever been.


The ‘Uber For X’ Fad Will Pass Because Only Uber Is Uber, by Amy Webb, Wired

Zooming in and out, we can see the pattern emerge. Uber had created a rich, complex pool of opportunities, solving for the customer experience problem and—though they might not recognize it as such—for the taxicab owners’ outdated technology and the regulators’ restrictive business model. “We didn’t dream with [Kalanick] about what it could be, that it could transform transportation,” said Alfred Lin, a partner at Sequoia Capital, which funded Uber.

Indeed, it becomes clear that Uber’s promise wasn’t a well-designed mobile app. Uber had a certain x-factor—a set of qualities that was special and significant. If an x-factor wasn’t in play, then the copycat apps launched by the taxicab industry itself, such as Hailo, would have found big, captive audiences. To date, the industry has not been able to replicate Uber’s success. It hasn’t even come close.

Bottom of the Page

The missing Airpods is an embarasseent for Apple -- especially since the company made such a big fuss over wireless audio in the iPhone. And I still don't know why Apple's Beats is not able to, or is unwilling to, release the least-expensive version of the headphones that carries the new Apple chip.


Thanks for reading.

The Always-On Edition Friday, December 9, 2016

A Chat With Shigeru Miyamoto On The Eve Of Super Mario Run, Nintendo’s First Smartphone Game, by Andrew Webster, The Verge

Miyamoto says that Nintendo has been toying with the idea of a one-button Mario game since the days of Wii. “As we were doing those experiments, we thought that that kind of approach would perhaps best be suited to iPhone,” he says. “So that became the basis for Super Mario Run.” But whether it was for Wii or iPhone, the goal behind this streamlined Mario was the same: to bring the distinct flavor of Super Mario to as many people as possible. “Nintendo has been making Mario games for a long time, and the longer you continue to make a series, the more complex the gameplay becomes, and the harder it becomes for new players to be able to get into the series,” Miyamoto says. “We felt that by having this simple tap interaction to make Mario jump, we’d be able to make a game that the broadest audience of people could play.”

Shigeru Miyamoto Explains Why Nintendo Finally Brought Mario To The iPhone, by Joseph Bernstein, BuzzFeed

Indeed, coming off the disappointing sales of its Wii U console, and ahead of the March release of its NX console, Nintendo may be realizing that its future as a hardware manufacturer may be linked to getting their characters in front of a new generation of players, even if that means meeting them halfway.

'Super Mario Run' Apparently Requires An Always-on Internet Connection, by Adam Rosenberg, Mashable

Unlike our dedicated game devices, the game is not releasing in a limited number of countries. We're launching in 150 countries and each of those countries has different network environments and things like that. So it was important for us to be able to have it secure for all users.

Shigeru Miyamoto, Live At The SoHo Apple Store Event In NYC, On Nintendo History And 'Super Mario Run', by Brian Carter, TouchArcade

“You play and you try something and fail and try again and it’s that thinking process, that’s fun. The second is when somebody is watching you play, and they say ‘give me the controller, I can do better!’ So, what you’re showing has to be simple enough to see what you need to do, and that’s why in my first game [Donkey Kong] the gorilla is at the top and it’s very apparent that you have to follow the sloped girders to get up to the gorilla and that’s where Mario first appeared — at that point he was a carpenter.”

Apple Shows Enormity Of Rapidly Progressing Campus 2 With Interior Shots Ahead Of Move-in, by Ben Lovejoy, 9to5Mac

As part of the memo to employees, Apple reportedly said that around 5200 people are currently working the site. The photos, which are some of the first of the building’s interior, shows the enormity of the structure from a ground-level perspective.


Thoughts On Ulysses And Scrivener, by Matt Gemmell

Ulysses is more than I thought it was — I cheerfully admit that — and in terms of entirely being what it’s designed to be, it’s understandably much further along the road than the still-young mobile version of Scrivener. Scriv feels like the 1.0 that it is, albeit a spectacular one, based on years of thought and experience in this genre of tools. Ulysses also feels like the 2.7 that it is. Neither one is perfect, because nothing can be, but nor is either one ideal. I’m giving Ulysses a shot for now, but with some reservations. We’ll see.

Do I still recommend Scrivener? Oh yes. It’s lovely. And would I recommend Ulysses? Absolutely. They’re different. How do you feel about aluminium?

Adobe Updates Lightroom For iPhone With One-Handed Editing Interface, by Mitchel Broussard, MacRumors

The company's biggest priority was to introduce a system that was functional to operate with just one hand. As such, users can now see the entire image while editing it and have access to "often used tools," such as viewing before and after iterations of a photo, without needing a second hand.

The Pok3r, by Ben Brooks

This is a fantastic keyboard, not just for iPad users but for computing in general. I do wish there was a bluetooth version, but I also find Bluetooth keyboards problematic on iOS, so perhaps it’s better not to be given the option.


Apple Says It Is Working Closely With The Chinese Government To Kill Coal, by Kif Leswing, Business Insider

Apple recently bought a significant stake in several projects led by Xinjiang Goldwind Science & Technology, the world's largest wind power turbine maker.

Steve Wozniak Was My Computer Teacher In 1995, by Syambra Moitozo, Motherboard

In our recent conversation, when I shared that memory with Steve, he chuckled and then added, “Why not let young students go in the directions they want to? Let them go off and do what they like to do and don’t force them to be going at the same speed as somebody else. Most of school might as well just be daycare anyway. If people have something in their heart, you shouldn’t slow them down...I liked being a super geek, but I definitely never pushed my values on other people.”

The Play-With-One-Hand Edition Thursday, December 8, 2016

Hands On With Super Mario Run For iPhone, by Stuart Dredge, The Guardian

Nintendo also gathered journalists for a hands-on demonstration of its first iPhone game, with one line in particular repeated several times by the company’s reps: “A true Mario platformer that you can play entirely with one hand.”

The messaging around Super Mario Run isn’t a surprise, with Nintendo hoping to scotch two fears for fans: first, that the classic Super Mario gameplay will be dumbed down for a massively mainstream mobile audience, and second that the translation from joypads to touchscreens will be botched.

Based on the almost-finished code, it’s looking good on both fronts.

Try Super Mario Run In Apple Stores Today, Game Featured On Jimmy Fallon Ahead Of Launch Next Week, by Benjamin Mayo, 9to5Mac

If you are anxious to try the game ahead of its release, a demo is playable from today at Apple Stores; Super Mario Run has been installed on the iPhone and iPad units at Apple retail locations.

Best Buy Vs. The Apple Store, by Jason Fried, Signal V Noise

So this isn’t commentary on successful business models. It’s just a simple share of a shopping experience I had recently that surprised me. Best Buy feels simple, Apple Stores feels over engineered, too sophisticated. I get why, but why doesn’t matter to the customer experience. It’s either great or it’s not — the why behind the scenes doesn’t matter. Who’s been teaching me that for decades? Apple.

So When Is That Elusive Apple Store Coming To India?, by Itika Sharma Punit, Quartz

Since the announcement of the new norms, California-based Apple has not approached the Indian government for setting up direct stores in the world’s fastest-growing smartphone market, Ramesh Abhishek, secretary at the department of industrial policy and promotion, told The Financial Express newspaper on Dec. 07. “Now, the company has to decide what it wants to do,” he said.

An Oral History Of 'Get A Mac,' Part 2, by Douglas Quenqua, Campaign US

"I think the campaign would have ended probably a year or two years earlier had Vista not been such an absolute shit show."

Apple Said In Talks With Film Studios For Early Movie Rental, by Anousha Sakoui and Alex Webb, Bloomberg

21st Century Fox Inc., Time Warner Inc.’s Warner Bros. and Comcast Corp.’s Universal Pictures all confirmed over the past week that they are looking to offer high-priced, home-video rentals of new movies shortly after they open in theaters. Some studio executives have been pushing to allow home rentals as early as two weeks after theatrical debuts and are considering a deal with iTunes as one option, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the discussions are private.


The Best Password Managers, by Joe Kissell, The Wirecutter

LastPass has lots of great features, is easy to use, and supports virtually every platform and browser. Most features are free, and the Premium subscription is less expensive than the competition.

Box Debuts A Revamped App For iPhone And iPad, by Ryan Christoffel, MacStories

I've always loved the ability to mark a file as favorite for quick access. With the changes in 4.0, though, it's clear that now the entire app's interface prioritizes having a quick, easy way to find what you're looking for.


Americans Are Paying Apple Millions To Shelter Overseas Profits, by Andrea Wong, Bloomberg

Taking advantage of an exemption tucked into America’s Byzantine tax code, Apple stashed much of its foreign earnings—tax-free—right here in the U.S., in part by purchasing government bonds, according to people with direct knowledge of the matter. In return, the Treasury Department paid Apple roughly $600 million and possibly much more over the past five years in the form of interest, a Bloomberg review of its regulatory filings shows.

The untold story of Apple and its taxes wends its way from Cork, Ireland, to New York and then Reno, Nevada. But according to tax experts interviewed by Bloomberg News, the maker of iPhones is hardly unique.

These Toys Don’t Just Listen To Your Kid; They Send What They Hear To A Defense Contractor, by Kate Cox, Consumerist

“As more toys are connected to the Internet, we have to ensure that children’s privacy and security are protected,” added Katie McInnis, technology policy counsel for our colleagues down the hall at Consumers Union. “When a toy collects personal information about a child, families have a right to know, and they need to have meaningful choices to decide how their kids’ data is used. We strongly urge the FTC to investigate these companies, stop the deceptive practices, and hold them accountable.”

The Gadget Apocalypse Is Upon Us, by Farhad Manjoo, New York Times

What happened to gadgets? It’s a fascinating story about tech progress, international manufacturing and shifting consumer preferences, and it all ends in a sad punch line: Great gadget companies are now having a harder time than ever getting off the ground. The gadget age is over — and even if that’s a kind of progress, because software now fills many of our needs, the great gadgetapocalypse is bound to make the tech world, and your life, a little less fun.

Bottom of the Page

Super Mario Run looks good, so far.


Thanks for reading.

The Best-In-2016 Edition Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Apple's Best Of The App Store In 2016:' Prisma' And 'Clash Royale' Win Top Honors, by Juli Clover, MacRumors

Apple today published its annual Best of 2016 charts for the App Store, iTunes Store, and iBooks Store, naming photo editing app "Prisma" as the iPhone App of the Year and "Clash Royale" as the iPhone game of the year.

Single Sign-on Launches For tvOS And iOS, by Ryan Christoffel, MacStories

Today Apple launched its new Single Sign-on feature to all devices running version 10 or later of tvOS and iOS. The feature requires no software update or any other user action to get it.

Apple’s New Single Sign On Feature Needs An Asterisk, by Dan Moren, Six Colors

Depending on which content provider you’re trying to log in with, single sign-on may not work on both tvOS and iOS. For example, single sign-on works with A&E’s app on iOS, but not on its Apple TV app; the E! Now app, on the other hand, is just the opposite.

An Oral History Of 'Get A Mac,' Part 1, by Douglas Quenqua, Campaign US

In September 2005, Steve Jobs gave his advertising agency, TBWA\Chiat\Day, an assignment: Come up with a campaign that clearly demonstrates the Mac's superiority to the PC. There was no deadline.

Seven months, dozens of tense meetings and countless discarded ideas later, the agency produced "Get a Mac." It would go on to become one of the most succesful and admired ad campaigns in Apple's history, no small feat when "1984," "Think Different" and "Silhouette" are the competition. Among those legendary ads, "Get a Mac" stands out as the most overtly comedic and one of the most expansive: The team shot 323 spots over three years just to get the 66 that made it on air.

Milking The iPhone, by Neil Cybart, Above Avalon

Is it possible that Apple management is okay with the cracks that are forming at the edges? While the new MacBook Pro may infuriate loyal Mac users, a strong case can be made that management truly thinks such a product is the right one to ship in today's environment. To see why, notice how Apple is milking the iPhone: having the product appeal to a wider user base. Instead of chasing profits, Apple is following the same strategy with the new MacBook Pro. Apple has no interest in repeating mistakes from the early 1990s and selling product to the smallest of niches.

35 Percent Of US Merchants Accept Apple Pay, by Dieter Bohn, The Verge

Jennifer Bailey, who leads Apple Pay, spoke today at the Code Commerce conference in San Fransisco and said that in the span of just two years Apple has managed to move from four to 35 percent of retailers (or 4 million locations) supporting Apple Pay in the US. Apple is also targeting big retailers for the next year, including GAP, to increase that growth. [...]

What’s next for Apple Pay? “Everything in your wallet we’re thinking about,” Bailey said, but wouldn’t give more details (She works for Apple, after all).

Apple Music Hits 20 Million Subscribers; Execs Want 'More, Faster -- We're Hungry!', by Shirley Halperin, Billboard

Apple has released the latest numbers for the music subscription service Apple Music. In the 18 months since the service was launched, the tech giant reveals that it has just crossed the 20 million paid subscribers mark. It last reported 17 million subscribers in September, marking a 15 percent jump in three months. [...]

And despite a mandate from Universal Music Group chairman Lucian Grainge, exclusives will continue in the near future "where appropriate," adds Cue. "They work really well for everybody concerned -- they're great for the label, they work for the artist and for us." But an across-the-board Apple policy concerning such promotions doesn't exist. "It's really about launching things," says Cue. "Sometimes it makes sense to do that."

California EPA Says Settled With Apple On Hazardous Waste Claims, by Stephen Nellis, Reuters

The California Environmental Protection Agency on Tuesday said Apple Inc agreed to pay $450,000 to settle state claims that it had mishandled hazardous electronic waste at facilities in Silicon Valley.

Apple also agreed to increase inspections to settle allegations about facilities in Cupertino and Sunnyvale, the Agency's Department of Toxic Substances Control said.


Artificial Intelligence Just Broke Steve Jobs’ Wall Of Secrecy, by Cade Metz, Wired

Sure, Apple won’t share all its work—no company does. They all still want to maintain an edge over the competition. But that edge comes mostly from data and having the talent that can find the next big thing before anyone else. That’s the irony of the AI revolution: If Apple wants to stay ahead of its competition, it has to finally start giving away its secrets.

Apple AI Researchers Will Be Able To Publish, Likely A Move To Attract The Best Minds, by Ben Lovejoy, 9to5Mac

Apple’s director of AI research Russ Salakhutd has announced at a conference that the company’s machine-learning researchers will be free to publish their findings. This is an apparent reversal of Apple’s previous position.

It was suggested in October that Apple’s extreme secrecy was harming its prospects in AI.


Apple Shares Tips For Taking 'Pro' Photos Using iPhone 7 Plus Portrait Mode, by Juli Clover, MacRumors

Apple today shared some tips to "Shoot like a Pro" with depth-of-field "Portrait" effect in the iPhone 7 Plus, highlighting a range of suggestions collected from professional photographers on its news site.

Apple's Support Site Now Lets Customers Schedule Repairs At Apple Authorized Providers, by Juli Clover, MacRumors

Apple recently made a quiet update to its Apple Support site, introducing a new feature that allows customers to find and schedule repairs for iPhones, Macs, and iPads from Apple Authorized Service Providers.

Apple's Single Sign-On Service Now Live, by Juli Clover, MacRumors

Using Single Sign-on does not require one of the betas, and is instead immediately available to all iPhone and Apple TV users running iOS 10 or tvOS 10.

Tinybop’s Me App Wants To Teach Kids Empathy, by Alexandra Whyte, Kidscreen

Me first has kids create an avatar and input answers to specific questions surrounding their likes, dislikes and feelings. Then they enter information on their family members and their friends along the same lines. There are also daily questions and games to make kids ponder their lives and the things around them. They can answer the questions using drawings, photos, text or recordings to include all learning types.

Twitterrific Update Takes Center Stage, by Aldrin Calimlim, AppAdvice

Center Stage is a sort of full-screen overlay that lets you see and browse through all tweets that have media attachments, including photos, videos, or animated GIFs.


Samsung Scores An 8-0 Supreme Court Ruling In Apple Patent Case, by Brian Heater, TechCrunch

In today’s one-sided ruling, the court agreed that Samsung’s damages shouldn’t amount to the total sale of the products at issue, given the fact that the dispute only applied to pieces of the product, rather that the whole. [...] The case will be sent back down to a lower court to reassess the damages.

Stop Trying To Kill Smartphones. You Can’t Kill Smartphones, by David Pierce, Wired

Smartphones are, and will remain, the hub of a new wheel, the sun around which the universe orbits, the … well, pick your metaphor. The point is, everyone is asking the wrong question. The right question is, Now that everyone on the planet has a smartphone in their pocket, what crazy new stuff can we do?

What Makes A Good Alarm Clock Sound?, by Alyssa Bereznak, The Ringer

But lack of solid scientific research has never stopped Silicon Valley from attempting to make something old new again. Since the early days of personal computing, technologists have worked to develop sound effects and jingles to give human context to static digital experiences. Those early efforts were just as much about guiding users through their actions via skeuomorphic noises like crumpling paper as they were about branding a company with a signature reboot sound like the Mac’s.

The Get-A-Crash Edition Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Some 2016 MacBook Pros Suffering USB Drive Problems, by Jeff Porten, TidBITS

In my testing, my system appears to be stable when a single external drive is connected to one Thunderbolt 3 port or when multiple drives are connected to a powered USB hub that plugged into a single port. But I eventually get a crash whenever I have multiple drives connected to multiple ports directly on the MacBook Pro. The issue appears to be related to whole drives; most of my drives have multiple partitions, which doesn’t seem to matter.

Apple Says More iPhone 6s Models May Be Affected By Random Shutdowns, Issuing iOS Update, by Ben Lovejoy, 9to5Mac

In a support document seemingly not yet posted in English, Apple said that it needed additional diagnostic data to determine the cause of the problem. However, it believes that a software fix may be possible for units outside the original batch.

The Finder’s GUI Tax Can Be Very Expensive, by Rob Griffiths

Expand 24 .gz files
Finder: 12.8 seconds
Terminal: .013 seconds Terminal is 984.6x faster than Finder

To put those results another way, if expansion time is linear, gzip could expand 23,631 files in the time Finder takes to expand 24 files. That’s nuts!


Apple Watch Sales To Consumers Set Record In Holiday Week, Says Apple's Cook, by Julia Love, Reuters

Responding to an email from Reuters, Cook said the gadget's sell-through - a measure of how many units are sold to consumers, rather than simply stocked on retailers' shelves - reached a new high. [...]

"Sales growth is off the charts. In fact, during the first week of holiday shopping, our sell-through of Apple Watch was greater than any week in the product’s history. And as we expected, we’re on track for the best quarter ever for Apple Watch," he said.


Google Alters Search Autocomplete To Remove 'Are Jews Evil' Suggestion, by Samuel Gibbs, The Guardian

On Monday the searches for Jews and women no longer returned those results, although the “are Muslims bad” autocomplete was still present.

A Google spokesperson said: “We took action within hours of being notified on Friday of the autocomplete results.” Google did not comment on its decision to alter some but not all those raised in the article.

Google, Democracy And The Truth About Internet Search, by Carole Cadwalladr, The Guardian

Am I just being naive, I ask him? Should I have known this was out there? “No, you’re not being naive,” he says. “This is awful. It’s horrible. It’s the equivalent of going into a library and asking a librarian about Judaism and being handed 10 books of hate. Google is doing a horrible, horrible job of delivering answers here. It can and should do better.”


Apple Shares New 'Romeo And Juliet' Ad Highlighting The iPhone 7's Camera, by Juli Clover, MacRumors

In the ad, entitled "Romeo and Juliet," two children are shown acting out Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet in a realistic setting, with the camera panning out to show that it's actually a father recording a school play with the iPhone 7.

Review: Wacom Bamboo Slate, by Michael McCole, Wired

There should be no way that you can draw a picture on a pad of paper, press a button, and have a perfect facsimile almost instantly pop up on your phone or your iPad. It defies the laws of… everything. Even if you know how it works, it still seems like it shouldn’t be possible.

But it is possible, and in the case of the Bamboo Slate, it works really well.

Runkeeper Now Lets You Track Workouts iPhone-free With Apple Watch Series 2 GPS, by Zac Hall, 9to5Mac

The app supports four workout types when using Apple Watch Series 2 without an iPhone: running, walking, cycling, and other.

AKVIS Releases Watercolor 1.0 For macOS, by Dennis Sellers, Apple World Today

It’s an app designed to make a photo look like a watercolor painting.


How The 404 Error Created The World Wide Web, by Jesse Dunietz, Popular Mechanics

In a way, the 404 did for hypertext what the zero did for math: It was obvious, but formalizing it and creating a notation revolutionized the rest of the system.

The Stop-Stalkerware Edition Monday, December 5, 2016

Dear Apple: Give Us Control Over Stalkerware, by Michael S. Fischer, Medium

Don’t allow app developers to disable the “when using the app” Location privacy option.

It’s simply unnecessary for Uber or others to track us when the app isn’t in use. How do we know this? Because these apps worked adequately before they disabled this option. We were able to meet our drivers by opening the app, finding our location, and hailing a driver. We gave them enough information to get the job done, and we were satisfied with the results.

How Netflix Keeps Downloads From Eating Up All Your Phone Storage, by Janko Roettgers, Variety

Netflix is cutting each and every video into one-to-three-minute-long chunks. Computers then analyze the visual complexity of each and every of these clips, and encode with settings that are optimized for its visual complexity.

The Daunting Task Of Making AI Funny, by Katharine Schwab, Fast Company

But while completing practical tasks is the goal of most chatbots and virtual assistants, we don't have conversations simply to get things done. Conversation can also bring connection and joy, and laughter is one of the most fundamental mechanisms for making people feel comfortable and creating positive associations and memories. Tech companies, from giants to small startups, are investing in humor because they view it as an integral part of the human experience—and the key to their bots and assistants slipping smoothly into our lives.


Procreate For iPad Adds Photoshop PSD Import, Screen Capture/live Streaming, Keyboard Shortcuts And More, by Benjamin Mayo, 9to5Mac

PSD import fills a big hole in the iPad creation workflow allowing users to bring in their Photoshop projects from the desktop, and continue editing on the tablet with Procreate. Importing a PSD file preserves layers, groupings and blend modes for a seamless transition.

Review: Apple Watch Nike+, by Natalie Diblasio, Stuff

With the Apple Watch Nike+ on my wrist, I never have to stop my run and pull out my phone -- and it makes a huge difference. Other devices, like the Fitbit, will display texts, but don't allow you to respond. While it doesn't offer in-depth statistics, the watch certainly helps fit exercise more seamlessly into your life.


Apple Korea Blamed For Loophole In Mobile App Refund Policy, by Yoon Sung-won, South China Morning Post

Some users have abused the loophole in Apple’s refund policy to purchase charged content multiple times, request refunds and continue to consume the content without actually paying for it.

The Ship-Has-Sailed Edition Sunday, December 4, 2016

A Year After San Bernardino And Apple-FBI, Where Are We On Encryption?, by Alina Selyukh, NPR

"I don't see a situation where the government ... is going to force Apple to roll back encryption of the iPhone. I think that ship's sailed," says Christopher Soghoian, principal technologist at the American Civil Liberties Union. "Law enforcement has to deal with the fact that we live in the world of encryption. And the way the feds are dealing with it is embracing the hacking." [...]

One likely possibility, Soghoian says, is a behind-the-scenes push for the right of government authorities to compel app or device makers to deliver specially created software to particular phones.

How I Bypassed Apple's Most Secure iCloud Activation Lock, by Hementh Joseph

The issue which i exploited: There was no Character limit in those input fields. No one will set a wifi name with 10000 letter name or a password with 10000 letter so a character limit is important for fixing this bug.

Inside IFTTT's Plan For A More Harmonious Internet, by Jared Newman, Fast Company

But as it tries to build a sustainable business, IFTTT has been backing away from its do-it-yourself roots, and catering more to the companies whose services it connects. Those companies can now advertise IFTTT Applets directly within their own apps, so users can discover potential connections without passing through IFTTT’s own app or website. The connections between services are also becoming more complex, so that a single Applet can work with three or more services at the same time. In exchange for these new powers, IFTTT has launched a paid subscription program, so that any company can use IFTTT to hook up with other services.

"We want to become a PayPal for access," says Linden Tibbets, IFTTT's founder and CEO. "A trusted third party that facilitates an exchange from one service to the next."

The question, then, is whether those companies truly value a more compatible internet—enough that they’re willing to pay a middleman to make it happen.


Hands-on Toys That Teach Are Hot, by Bree Fowler, Associated Press

"When kids use their hands, your outcomes are much higher," said Pramod Sharma, CEO of one such toy company, Osmo. "It's very different than if they're just staring at a screen watching TV."

With Osmo, kids learn everything from spelling to coding not by touching a screen, but by snapping together magnetic blocks. A screen is still part of it; an image is beamed onto an iPad through its camera. But the idea is to have kids learn first with their hands, then see their creation move to the screen.

Glitch Fixers - Powerpuff Girls Review - A Super Clever Platformer With A Twist, by Harry Slater, PocketGamer

To all intents and purposes Glitch Fixers - Powerpuff Girls is a platformer. It just so happens that it's a platformer that involves more programming than your average leaper.

Rather than giving you the usual jump and direction buttons, here you've got an input bar along the bottom of the screen and a series of commands you can input in a chain.


Apple Watch Tax Row, by Richard Gittins, The Sunday Times

Apple is locked in a multimillion-pound battle with the taxman over whether the strap on one of its smartwatches is “part” of the device. HM Revenue & Customs has labelled the wristband of the £369 Apple Watch Sport device an “other plastic” import and has hit it with a 6.5% tariff.

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I sure hope there isn't an order from Apple to Beats to not ship the cheaper-than-AirPods BeatsX earphones before the AirPods.


Thanks for reading.

The Longer-Than-It-Should-Have-Been Edition Saturday, December 3, 2016

Apple Just Addressed The Flaw That’s Been Randomly Shutting Off iPhones With 30% Battery, by Kif Leswing, Business Insider

"We found that a small number of iPhone 6s devices made in September and October 2015 contained a battery component that was exposed to controlled ambient air longer than it should have been before being assembled into battery packs. As a result, these batteries degrade faster than a normal battery and cause unexpected shutdowns to occur. It’s important to note, this is not a safety issue."

Reported 2016 MacBook Pro Graphics Issues Likely Caused By Third-party Software, by Mikey Campbell, AppleInsider

Initial reports were unable to pin down a root cause of the errors, but sources familiar with matter informed AppleInsider that overaggressive or otherwise sloppy code distributed in third-party software is to blame.

Phone Encryption: Police 'Mug' Suspect To Get Data, by Dominic Casciani and Gaetan Portal, BBC

Officers realised crucial evidence in the investigation was concealed on a suspect's iPhone - but it would be unobtainable if the device was locked.

So a covert team seized it in the street while the suspect was on a call - beating the security settings.


A Key Apple Health Technology Executive Has Left The Company, by Mark Gurman, Bloomberg

Yoky Matsuoka, who joined Apple Inc. in May as an executive to help run health technology initiatives, has left the iPhone maker, according to people familiar with the matter.

Matsuoka was hired to lead teams involved with the company’s HealthKit tracking software, the CareKit tool for managing patient medical care, the ResearchKit framework for conducting medical studies via Apple devices, and related machine learning algorithms.

Apple VP Paul Deneve Disappears From Apple Exec Bio Page, Now Reports To Jeff Williams, by Benjamin Mayo, 9to5Mac

Apple’s vice president of special projects Paul Deneve has disappeared from the Apple executive bios page on Apple’s website. [...] His removal from the biography signifies a change in management structure; Deneve now reports to Apple COO Jeff Williams rather than Tim Cook directly.


Photoshop Express 5 For iOS Review: Adobe Boosts App With Brilliant Collage Feature, by Jackie Dove, Macworld

With Photoshop Express 5, users now get their photo editor and special effects filters alongside a brand new module for creating expert collages.

Carpool-Kids Takes The Hassle Out Of Carpools, by Mike Matthews, TidBITS

Carpool-Kids has been rock solid for us in the few months we’ve been using it. The subscription calendars and notification system work well for keeping everyone in the loop — we haven’t forgotten a child or missed an event yet. [...]

The Carpool-Kids app is bright, clean, and simple to use. If you’re in a carpool, and check it out and save yourself the headaches involved with a lot of back-and-forth email or text messaging.

Apple Store App Now Lets You Order Accessories From The Apple Watch, by Zac Hall, 9to5Mac

You can now make purchases from the Apple Store with just a few taps on your wrist. The latest version of the Apple Store app for Apple Watch lets you actually purchase accessories that you’ve favorited from your account.

IBM And Apple Set To Transform Education Through IBM Watson Element For Educators, by Julia Ramirez, University Herald

IBM and Apple worked together in combining their strengths in targeting the education market. IBM Watson Element for Educators, the companies' latest iPad app, aims to give educators a more holistic view of the interests, accomplishments, learning activities, and progress of students in grade K-12.


Apple Tells Feds ‘New Entrants’ To Auto Industry Should Get Same Testing Rights As Incumbents, by Jordan Novet, VentureBeat

The letter is the clearest indication yet of Apple’s ongoing interest in and knowledge of autonomous vehicles, despite reports that Apple was rolling back plans to build its own vehicle.

Apple Founder Street Name Shakes Paris Suburb To The Core, by AFP

He changed technology and how the world communicates. Now, five years after he died, Apple founder Steve Jobs may be remembered in another way -- on a Paris street.

"Rue Steve Jobs" is among names shortlisted for one of the new roads in the French capital's southeastern 13th arrondissement that will lead to a new incubator for hi-tech start-ups.

How Otto Defied Nevada And Scored A $680 Million Payout From Uber, by Mark Harris, BackChannel

It could be the plot of an Ocean’s Eleven movie: A team of daring engineers heads to the wilds of Nevada to create a dazzling spectacle, defy officials, and walk off with a $680 million jackpot.

The Ancient-History Edition Friday, December 2, 2016

The Evolution Of Apple's Laptops, From The PowerBook To The MacBook Pro, by Jason Snell, Macworld

In a moment of somewhat unexpected nostalgia at its most recent media event, Apple pointed out that it was the 25th anniversary of the PowerBook. (It’s good to know that, 27 years later, Apple still would rather nobody remember the Mac Portable.) I’ve been a Mac laptop user since the original PowerBook era. That ancient history is my history. Since 1991, Apple has gone through seven distinct eras when it comes to its laptop strategy and design.

Fake Apple Chargers Fail Safety Tests, by BBC

Investigators have warned consumers they face potentially fatal risks after 99% of fake Apple chargers failed a basic safety test.

Trading Standards, which commissioned the checks, said counterfeit electrical goods bought online were an "unknown entity".

Of 400 counterfeit chargers, only three were found to have enough insulation to protect against electric shocks.

Researchers Bypass Apple's iOS Activation Lock On iPhone And iPad, by Mikey Campbell, AppleInsider

Apple remedied Joseph's Activation Lock bypass with the release of iOS 10.1.1 in October, but SecurityWeek reports researchers at Vulnerability Labs were able to recreate the exploit using iOS screen rotation and Night Shift mode.


PDF Expert 2 Review: Goodbye Preview, Hello Affordable PDF Editing On Mac, by J.R. Bookwalter, Macworld

With the release of PDF Expert 2, Readdle not only delivers PDF editing, but it also comes surprisingly close to feature parity with the reigning PDF heavyweight, Adobe Acrobat DC.

Typinator 7.0, by Agen G. N. Schmitz, TidBITS

Ergonis has released Typinator 7.0, a major new release for the text-expansion tool that enables you to create interactive forms with pop-up fields, checkboxes, combo boxes, and more. The new release also introduces Publish & Subscribe, enabling you to share abbreviation sets with other Typinator users (with the sets getting automatically updated to new versions).

Spark Mail Stores Credentials In Cloud, by Michael Tsai

My guess is that the main reason Readdle wants their server (rather than just the app running on your phone) to be able to access your mail account is for push notifications.

iPhone Classic 'Tiny Wings' Gets New Levels And Apple TV App, by Nathan Ingraham, Engadget

The adorable graphics, procedurally generated levels and excellent music are all as charming now as they were when the game launched way back in 2011.

Puzzle Platformer Sally’s Law Brings A Series Of Fortunate Events, by Christine Chan, AppAdvice

The game mechanics are relatively simple but it’s still challenging, and the controls are intuitive and responsive, which is nice. The storytelling is fantastic as well, since it is revealed in both parts and you get the perspective of both Sally and her father. If this game doesn’t tug at your heartstrings, well then nothing will.


Apple’s App Store Switching From USD Pricing To Local Currency For Paid Apps And In-app Purchases In Eight Countries, by Benjamin Mayo, 9to5Mac

Later this month, the following App Store countries will now price apps in their local native currency; Egypt (Egyptian Pound), Kazakhstan (Kazakhstani Tenge), Malaysia (Malaysian Ringgit), Nigeria (Nigerian Naira), Pakistan (Pakistani Rupee), Philippines (Philippine Peso), Qatar (Qatari Riyal), Tanzania (Tanzanian Shilling) and Vietnam (Vietnamese Dong).

What The Pentagon Can Learn From The iPhone, by Joe Pappalardo, Popular Mechanics

The idea is based on building the smallest capable component, he says, such as a phone constantly updated with new software and new apps. And that brings is to the Distributed Common Ground System, Lyman's test bed for his new way of thinking.


Apple Retail Stores Sporting Red Logos For World AIDS Day, by Juli Clover, MacRumors

Over 400 Apple retail stores around the world have red logos today, in recognition of World AIDS Day. The logos, which Apple has put up at its stores for the last several years on December 1, are meant to raise awareness for the global fight against AIDS.

The Stem-The-Spam Edition Thursday, December 1, 2016

Apple Apologizes For iCloud Calendar Invite Spam, Actively ‘Identifying And Blocking’ Senders, by Benjamin Mayo, 9to5Mac

The company says it is actively “identifying and blocking suspicious senders” to try and stem the spam.

Tim Cook Says He Expects AirPods To Ship Over 'Next Few Weeks' In Email To Customer, by Joe Rossignol, MacRumors

Apple CEO Tim Cook allegedly responded to a customer, saying he anticipates AirPods to begin shipping "over the next few weeks."

Apple's Tim Cook Talks Corporate 'Values' And Company's Expanded (RED) Intiative, by Marco della Cava, USA Today

Might Apple — one of the best known brands on the planet with a market value of nearly $600 billion, a third of which is holds in cash — use its considerable consumer muscle to tackle new social issues in the coming year? Cook suggests that his company may well become as known for its stands on matters of societal importance as its popular technology gadgets.

"We haven't shied away from being visible on a number of topics, and if it's something in our wheelhouse, we'll always be visible and stand up to protect as well as advance people's rights," he says. "Every generation has a responsibility of expanding the definition of those rights, to move forward. So we'll very much continue to do that."

Apple Now Accepting Apple Watch On Trade-in Site, But Currently Free Recycling Only, by Jordan Kahn, 9to5Mac

That means that customers can now send their old Apple Watch to be responsibly recycled through the company’s Apple Renew program free of charge, but it’s not offering customers a gift card or any credit in exchange like it does with iPhones, iPads, and Macs.


Apple Updates Boot Camp Audio Driver That Was Causing Blown MacBook Pro Speakers, by Mike Wuerthele, AppleInsider

Apple has issued an update to Boot Camp drivers within Windows, preventing the random, loud pops from over-ranging and damaging the new MacBook Pro's speakers. However, the driver doesn't fix speakers already damaged by the problem.

Workflows Of A Casual Apple Pencil User, by Ryan Christoffel, MacStories

My initial take on the Pencil was that it seemed like a great device, but it wasn't for me. I don't sketch, I'm not a fan of handwriting notes, and using the Pencil for system navigation never appealed to me. But I bought one to give it a try. Apple's return policy made sure no money would be wasted if the Pencil became merely a pretty paperweight in my life. Within a few hours of use I discovered that while the Pencil isn't a daily-used tool for me, it is a device that, for specific tasks, I would never want to be without.

Namoo Wonders Of Plant Life (For iPad), by Tony Hoffman, PC Magazine

It’s informative, it’s interactive, and it includes gorgeous graphics that show the different parts of a plant and how they function. Namoo should whet the interest of budding botanists in (as the app’s name suggests) the wonders of plant life.

Attenborough Story Of Life (For iPad), by Tony Hoffman, PC Magazine

The Attenborough Story of Life iPad app is a magnificent tribute to Sir David Attenborough, who has narrated numerous wildlife documentaries on location in a career spanning more than six decades. Featuring more than 1,000 clips narrated by Attenborough, the app showcases the wonder and diversity of life on Earth.

Take Your Smartphone Photography To The Next Level, by Kit Eaton, New York Times

With Apple’s iPhone 7 and Google’s new Pixel phones putting such an emphasis on powerful camera technology, smartphone photography is more robust than ever. And while phones typically have great built-in photography apps, many other options can be easier or expand your range.

Hardbound Expands Into Daily News With The Nightcap, by Ryan Christoffel, MacStories

The Nightcap is a curated summary of some of the top news stories of the day, produced and published every Monday-Thursday night. It consists of six of the day's most important or interesting news stories, as determined by the Hardbound team.


Scoop: Emails Between Apple And FDA Hint At Future Plans, by Jonah Comstock, Mobile Health News

These emails show that Apple and the FDA have discussed the App Store review process, the 510(k) process, ResearchKit apps, diagnostic apps, working with the FDA in an “unregulated” way and more. The FDA even invited Apple to participate in regular briefings designed to help guide an international effort to harmonize medical software regulation. Though much of the sensitive information is redacted, the emails also point to three regulated medical devices that Apple is seriously pursuing: an app for diagnosing Parkinson’s disease and two separate but related cardiac devices. [...]

[T]hese incremental moves deeper into healthcare will soon take Apple over the FDA’s regulatory line. The emails tell us that Apple won’t be crossing that line unprepared — that in fact, the company has been steadily laying the groundwork for three years.

The Entire Internet Will Be Archived In Canada To Protect It From Trump, by Jordan Pearson, Motherboard

As Donald Trump careens towards the Oval Office, promising jail time for flag-burners along the way, an organization that archives the internet for anyone to peruse aims to create a full backup in Canada in order to protect the digital library from censorship.

‘Daily Mile’ Craze In Britain Hopes To Tackle National Obesity Crisis, by Karla Adam, Washington Post

Every day, tens of thousands of school children across Britain — in addition to regular physical-education classes — run, jog or walk a mile under a voluntary scheme dubbed the “daily mile.” They don’t change clothes. They don’t compete. They don’t know when their teacher will give the green light to rush outside.

But at some point during the day, come (non-torrential) rain or shine, children complete a mile.

Michael James Delligatti, Creator Of The Big Mac, Dies At 98, by William Grimes, New York Times

Last week, McDonald’s began testing two new versions of the Big Mac in Texas and central Ohio: a Mac Jr. and a supersize Grand Mac. Big Mac, in other words, might become Middle Mac. But the sales remain huge, leading many to believe that Mr. Delligatti, as its inventor, must have reaped a windfall worth billions.

Not so. “All I got was a plaque,” he told The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette in 2007.

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Apple does seems to be quite resolved to not ever doing a Mac with touchscreen... but, will Apple ever do a Mac that doesn't support (finger) touch, but does support the Apple Pencil? Or is that too Windows-XP-Tablet-PC-Edition?


Thanks for reading.