The Tweaky-Capabilities Edition Tuesday, March 7, 2017

macOS Hidden Treasures: Dominate The Dock, by Josh Centers, TidBITS

The Dock has been a core aspect of the Mac experience since the earliest days of Mac OS X. In fact, the Dock actually predates Mac OS X, since it was also prominent in NextSTEP. It displays open applications, offers a quick way to launch favorite apps, and holds shortcuts for documents and folders.

You’ve probably used the Dock so often and for so long that you don’t think about it. I’ll explain everything the Dock does, from the basics to tweaky capabilities that may be new to you.

An Artist Helps iTunes’ User Agreement Go Down Easy, by Joe Coscarelli, New York Times

For his new graphic novel, “Terms and Conditions,” out on Tuesday, Mr. Sikoryak (who often signs his work “R. Sikoryak”) upped the difficulty level for his long-term conceptual project: Instead of abridging a book, he lifted the complete text of Apple’s mind-numbing corporate boilerplate, which users must agree to before accessing iTunes, and mashed it up with art invoking more than a century of comics. Rather than merely drawing in the loose style of another artist, Mr. Sikoryak modeled each page after specific bits of others’ work, mimicking panels from Stan Lee and Steve Ditko’s “The Amazing Spider-Man,” Bill Watterson’s “Calvin and Hobbes” and Alison Bechdel’s “Fun Home,” among dozens of others.

The result, Mr. Sikoryak explained, combines his childhood love for Mad magazine spoofs with John Cage’s theories of art and the influence of Art Spiegelman. “I felt that my work was kind of derivative, and I didn’t want to be a second-rate version of what was happening in comics elsewhere,” Mr. Sikoryak said in an interview, recalling his days as an art student at Parsons School of Design in the late 1980s. “The answer to all my issues with unconscious pastiche was to just make it conscious.”

The Empathy Layer, by Ben Popper, The Verge

Executives at Kik wanted a system to identify, protect, and offer resources to its most vulnerable users. But it had no way of knowing how to find them, and no system in place for administering care even if it did. Through their investors, Kik was put in touch with a small New York City startup named Koko. The company had created an iPhone app that let users post entries about their stresses, fears, and sorrows. Other users would weigh in with suggestions of how to rethink the problem — a very basic form of cognitive behavioral therapy. It was a peer-to-peer network for a limited form of mental health care, and, according to a clinical trial and beta users, it had shown very positive results. The two teams partnered with a simple goal: find a way to bring the support and care found on Koko to Kik users in need.

But as the two companies talked, a more ambitious idea emerged. What if you could combine the emotional intelligence of Koko’s crowdsourced network with the scale of a massive social network? Was there a way to distribute the mental health resources of Koko more broadly, not just in a single app, but to anywhere people gathered online to socialize and share their feelings? Over the last year the team at Koko has been building a system that would do just that, and in the process, create an empathy layer for the internet.


Adobe Lightroom For iOS Updated With Authentic HDR Capture, Raw Exporting, Widget And More, by Zac Hall, 9to5Mac

Authentic HDR is a new mode that rivals competing high-dynamic-range methods. Version 2.7 also includes exporting raw images and a new widget for 3D Touch and the Today view in Notification Center.

Wake Up With Dawn Chorus, An Alarm App That Uses Soothing Bird Sounds, by Amanda Waltz, NEXTpittsburgh

Dawn Chorus allows smartphone users to create their own alarms using real recordings of 20 birds native to Western Pennsylvania. Alarms can be customized to combine up to five bird sounds, creating an effect similar to walking through the woods on a pleasant day.

iPad App Lets Plant Specialists Assess Disease Severity, by Krishna Ramanujan, Cornell Chronicle

A new iPad app, called Estimate, connects plant professionals with a portable database of photographs of diseased leaves to help determine plant disease severity.

You Can Now Live On After You Die. In An App, by Rod Chester, The Courier Mail

In what was either the sweetest or creepiest news of last week, depending on your point of view, a South Korean technology firm unveiled the app With Me. In short, it’s a way of keeping your loved ones around when the die by turning them into a poor man’s Siri with all the realistic humanity of those freaky stone-eyed characters in The Polar Express.


Apple Details New WWDC 2017 Scholarship Rules And Deadlines For Student Developers, by Zac Hall, 9to5Mac

Apple’s WWDC Scholarships program makes it possible for students and new developers to apply for a chance to attend the conference with most expenses covered. This year WWDC is moving from San Francisco to San Jose, and the WWDC Scholarships program has a new application process as well.


Apple Fails To Remove UK Import Duty For Apple Watch Sport Bands, by Malcolm Owen, AppleInsider

Sport bands for the Apple Watch continue to be a taxable accessory in the United Kingdom, after a tax tribunal ruled the strap should not be exempt from import duty, despite Apple's insistence it is an essential part that allows many of the wearable device's functions to work.

Steve Jobs’s First Reaction To The Genius Bar: ‘That’s So Idiotic! It’ll Never Work!’, by Eric Johnson, Recode

The next day, Steve called Apple’s general counsel to trademark the phrase “Genius Bar.”

The Man Who Made Apple Famous On The Danger Of Frothy Startup Narratives, by Rick Tetzeli, Fast Company

Brand, by definition, has a history. You can’t have a brand that has no history, because brand is a memory. That memory builds your brand, it’s more of who you are than a label on a product. The quality of the product, the reputation of the company that produces it, the way in which they implement it in the marketplace, all of that becomes part of their brand. You can’t have a brand without a history. It’s impossible.

Why We Can’t Look Away From Our Screens, by Claudia Dreifus, New York Times

I’d suggest that they be more mindful about how they are allowing tech to invade their life. Next, they should cordon it off. I like the idea, for instance, of not answering email after six at night.

In general, I’d say find more time to be in natural environments, to sit face to face with someone in a long conversation without any technology in the room. There should be times of the day where it looks like the 1950s or where you are sitting in a room and you can’t tell what era you are in. You shouldn’t always be looking at screens.