The Give-Up-Wires Edition Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Battle Of The Buds: How Apple AirPods Stack Up Against Other Wireless Earbuds, by Valentina Palladino, Ars Technica

We're only just dipping our toes into the wireless future that Tim Cook described, but these buds show that the future is hopeful. There's no doubt that companies will be compelled to make better, more affordable wireless earbuds in the future because, when we're all forced to give up our wires, they'll become necessities rather than just a fancy optional accessory.

Beats X Review: Apple's Neckbuds For The Everyday, by Chris Welch, The Verge

They’re not positioned as any sort of breakthrough product like the AirPods. They’re just good, comfortable all-day neckbuds — so long as you find the sound quality acceptable.

When Apps Get Too Human, They Tumble Into The Uncanny Valley, by Clive Thompson, Wired

I recently returned from a vacation to find that Google’s algorithms had created a customized slide show of my trip. I hadn’t asked for one. But the company’s software robots apparently noticed I’d traveled somewhere and taken a flurry of photos, which likely indicated I’d been vacationing. Now, I actually enjoy some of Google’s simpler customization tools, like autocomplete. But this unbidden slide-show curation seemed too humanlike. The machine had anticipated desires I didn’t have yet. I actually yelped when I saw it.

Not Owning A Cellphone Gives You Time To Ruminate And To Rest, by Philip Reed, Aeon

The original meaning of ‘connect’ indicated a physical relationship – a binding or fastening together. We apply this word to our cellphone communications now only as metaphor. The ‘connections’ are ethereal; our words and thoughts reach the upper regions of space next to the cell tower only to remain there, as our devices disconnect us from those with whom we share space. Even though we have two hands, I’m convinced that you can’t hold a cellphone and someone else’s hand at the same time.


Apple Shares Four New 'One Night On iPhone 7' Ads Shot In New York, Johannesburg, Shanghai And Tokyo, by Juli Clover, MacRumors

Each of the 15 second ads features a compilation of photos and videos captured on a single night in New York, Johannesburg, Shanghai, and Tokyo and set to music.

Overcast 3.0: iOS 10 Features, UI Changes, Easy Queuing, And An Interview With Marco Arment, by Federico Viticci, MacStories

With improvements to episode management, visual changes aimed at modernizing the interface, and an evolution of the existing subscription-based model, Overcast 3.0 is another thoughtful combination of new ideas and old tropes, which converge in a refreshed yet instinctively familiar listening experience.

WhatsApp Launches Status, An Encrypted Snapchat Stories Clone, by Josh Constine, TechCrunch

WhatsApp could put the brakes on Snapchat’s international growth with today’s launch of WhatsApp Status, a new tab for sharing decorated photos, videos, and GIFs that disappear after 24 hours. It’s another Facebook-owned Snapchat Stories copycat, but the twist is that it’s end-to-end encrypted like WhatsApp messaging.


Apple Claims Brussels Breached Its Fundamental Rights In Tax Case, by Rochelle Toplensky, Financial Times

Apple’s two main arguments challenge the fairness of the commission’s investigation and maintain that Brussels made fundamental errors in its interpretation of Irish law and of the way in which the tech giant generated its profits.

Specifically, the pleas claim the commission “violated the principles of legal certainty and non-retroactivity”, failed to conduct “a diligent and impartial investigation” and breached the EU’s Charter of Fundamental Rights.

What We Know About Apple's Secret Data Center: Project Isabel, by Kirsten Korosec, Fortune

Now, Apple appears ready to begin building again. But because the company applied for permits and then withdrew those permits the same day, it's unclear if the project's size and scope might change.

Singapore Is On An Ambitious Mission To Create A SimCity Version Of Itself, by Sam Lubell, Wired

Imagine if Google Maps were even more three dimensional and navigable, and imbedded not just with traffic data, but with your local energy agency’s consumption metrics, county’s census numbers, and loads of other information. The project layers reams of data atop a SimCity-like landscape, which city officials, urban planners, architects, and the like can use to monitor trends and connections between what are usually silo-ed departments.

Bottom of the Page

Somebody need to invent wireless earbuds that I can wear to sleep. I need some good bedtime stories myself.


I haven't find a good fish-and-chip dish here in Singapore. Which is to say, I greatly regretted my choice of food earlier during lunch.


Thanks for reading.