The Fine-Details Edition Saturday, March 18, 2017

Looking Up, by Amanda Kimble, The Flash Today

While he may have always been able to see the special in everyday things, he started taking photos about four years, using an iPhone – first his mothers and now his own – to capture the fine details. The camera is always close at hand, as are the subjects of his work, which can be found in the flower beds outside his family’s Stephenville residence or out the window of the family car.

Other people soon noticed his talents. A kind-hearted soul, Jud would present photos of flowers and butterflies to mother, Dori, who would share the images on Facebook. Julie Crouch, CTFAC executive director, saw his work online and invited Jud to participate in the youth exhibit series.

Bypassing Apple’s iOS 10 Restrictions Settings – Twice, by Jon Bottarini, Security And Bug Hunting

By default, Apple has a feature that allows all of their iOS devices to be assigned restrictions, so that employees and mostly children cannot access naughty websites and other types of less-desirable content. You can enable these settings by visiting Settings > General > Restrictions on your iPhone or iPad.

Around the beginning of every year I try to break Apple’s restrictions settings for websites. It’s a pretty nerdy thing to do and its not really classified as a “vulnerability” – but it’s a fun challenge and leads to some pretty interesting bugs, so I wanted to talk about a few of them here.

Square Outage Forces Restaurants To Turn Customers Away, by Vince Dixon, Eater

A Square service outage yesterday lasting roughly two hours forced restaurants, coffee shops, and food carts around the country to turn away customers and lose sales, bringing into question whether relying solely on new technology and software to make business transactions is a good idea.

At Pip’s, where Square handles everything from credit card transactions to printing receipts, Snell and employees had to quickly re-think their checkout strategy, writing and processing all orders by hand. “It was a challenge, for sure,” Snell says. “Some of the customers were pretty frustrated obviously.” Patrons who didn’t have cash were turned away with Pip’s apologies and a voucher for a free order of a dozen doughnuts. In the end, the shop lost about $900 in revenue, not including the 60-70 free vouchers, which were worth $6 a piece.

Futures Of Computing

Your Future Password Is… Your Entire Body, by Jane Porter, Backchannel

When Apple introduced the iPhone 5s, in 2013, its built-in Touch ID launched the race to invent creative, personalized passcodes. Sure, the old-fashioned password model had worked for decades, but why not opt out of the finger-tap tap-dance of having to remember (and type) a login?

Apple’s Touch ID offered up the fingerprint as a means of authentication, but that was just one early, outward sign of companies’ growing interest in biological data. From voice timbre to body movement patterns to the rhythm of your heartbeat, the human body offers a half-dozen sexier, less hackable ways to key in a passcode.

Soon We Won’t Program Computers. We’ll Train Them Like Dogs, by Jason Tanz, Wired

But whether you like this state of affairs or hate it—whether you’re a member of the coding elite or someone who barely feels competent to futz with the settings on your phone—don’t get used to it. Our machines are starting to speak a different language now, one that even the best coders can’t fully understand.

Over the past several years, the biggest tech companies in Silicon Valley have aggressively pursued an approach to computing called machine learning. In traditional programming, an engineer writes explicit, step-by-step instructions for the computer to follow. With machine learning, programmers don’t encode computers with instructions. They train them. If you want to teach a neural network to recognize a cat, for instance, you don’t tell it to look for whiskers, ears, fur, and eyes. You simply show it thousands and thousands of photos of cats, and eventually it works things out. If it keeps misclassifying foxes as cats, you don’t rewrite the code. You just keep coaching it.


AppleCare+ Can Now Be Purchased Up To One Year After Buying An iPhone, by Joe Rossignol, MacRumors

The change means that AppleCare+ can now be added to an iPhone as long as the device remains within its standard one-year limited warranty period. This brings AppleCare+ for iPhone in line with AppleCare for Mac and Apple TV, which can also be purchased up to one year after those devices are purchased.

A Few Mac Apps I Use To Stay Focused, by Shawn Blanc, The Focus Course

I figured that there is surely an app or two here that you could get some value from if you were to incorporate it into your own workflow.

Here are 10 apps I use on a regular basis to stay focused.

Organizing Windows With Magnet, by Jake Underwood, MacStories

Magnet increases your options for snapping windows into pre-defined positions from just two to over fifteen. Rather than just choosing which side you’d like each window on, you can display a window in several different ways, including in the top right, bottom half, or left third. The value of Magnet is in the flexibility and freedom it enables.

How To Turn An Old Mac Into A Server With macOS Server, by Nick Peers, TechRadar

With the future of AirPort Extreme and Time Capsule routers apparently under threat, you may be looking elsewhere for a device to centralise Time Machine backups for all the Macs in your home.

Many third-party network drives come with Time Machine support, but you could press an older Mac into service instead.

Google 'Motion Stills' Update Lets Users Customize Default Frame Of Live Photos, by Mitchel Broussard, MacRumors

With the new update, Motion Stills now lets users customize the displayed frame that appears automatically in the camera roll of the iOS Photos app.

Amazon Will Now Tell Prime Members What To Wear Via A New “Outfit Compare” Feature, by Sarah Perez, TechCrunch

Outfit Compare works as you’d think. It prompts shoppers to share two photos of themselves wearing two different outfits they’re deciding between.

A minute later, you’ll get a response from an Amazon stylist who will tell you which outfit looks better on you. This determination will be made based on a number of factors, Amazon explains, including how the clothes fit, what colors look best on you, how they’re styled, and what’s on trend.


Apple CEO Tim Cook Says Globalization Is 'Great For The World' In China Speech, by Mikey Campbell, AppleInsider

During his speech, Cook said globalization "in general is great for the world," but noted socioeconomic gains may not be evenly distributed within or between countries. Despite globalization's shortcomings, countries should not shy away from such development, he said. [...]

Beyond economics, Cook touched on cybersecurity and user privacy, both highly sensitive subjects in China. Parroting past statements on the matter, Cook said Apple employs end-to-end encryption to protect its customers from nefarious actors. He fell short of taking a stand against Chinese cybersecurity policy that requires companies to furnish authorities with technical assistance in investigations and data gathering operations.

Chance The Rapper Declares Apple Paid $500K For Exclusive 'Coloring Book' Debut On Apple Music, by Mike Wuerthele, AppleInsider

"I just wanna remain transparent, folks out there without a deal need to know they're doing everything right just keep at it," Chance wrote in a series of Tweets after the reveal. "I feel like if I didnt clear it up people would keep trying to discredit all the work we did to make Coloring Book what it became."

Chance also believes that the "streaming wars" can benefit artists, as long as they "remain in control" of the music.