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Archive for May 2017

The Royalty-Free Edition Thursday, May 25, 2017

Intel’s Plan To Thunderbolt 3 All Of The Things, by Brian Barrett, Wired

USB-C helped with that some: 180 Intel Core PCs now offer Thunderbolt 3, with another 30 or so expected by the end of the year. They’re accompanied by over 60 peripherals. Now, though, Intel is taking two steps to push that adoption even further: integrating Thunderbolt 3 into Intel CPUs, and then making the Thunderbolt protocol specification available to third-party chipmakers, royalty-free, later this year.

How Thunderbolt 3 Won The Port Wars, by Gordon Mah Ung, PC World

It's also hard not to see this as an inevitable win for Thunderbolt 3 over any competing standards. The biggest loser is likely USB. Like Thunderbolt, USB was created by Intel and eventually set free. USB spec officials have always maintained that Thunderbolt 3 and USB did not compete, but the standard seems to be running out of steam.

[...]

The upshot: Within the next year or two, you may have a hard time finding a PC without Thunderbolt 3. For laptops, that's great news, as they'll be able to hook up ultra-fast external drives, rock single-cable docks, and add external graphics support. These are all good things.

Local Talent

Apple's First Store In Southeast Asia Is Here, And This Is What It Looks Like, by Yvette Tan, Mashable

The store is one of Apple's nine high profile stores across the world, which are in places like Ginza, Dubai, Soho and New York.

Local Talent To Feature Prominently At Singapore’s First Apple Store, by Kevin Kwang, Channel NewsAsia

The local community, and the talent within, will be a key focus for the first Apple Store in Singapore, which opens on Saturday (May 27).

According to Ms Ashley Middleton, who heads the programming for Today at Apple – an initiative offering hands-on educational sessions at the company's stores – the goal is to highlight the local talent, through various categories and their passions.

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Apple Issues New Firmware Update For AirPods Owners, by Roger Fingas, AppleInsider

The update should install automatically the next time a person connects their AirPods to a paired iPhone or iPad, as long as they're stored inside a plugged-in charging case. [...]

As usual with the earbuds, Apple hasn't supplied release notes. That likely implies minor bugfixes and/or performance boosts, rather than any significant changes in functionality.

IFTTT Launches Powerful Applet Tools In New Maker Tier, by Ryan Christoffel, MacStories

One of the most significant privileges granted to users on the Maker tier is the ability to create applets with more than two actions. Previously applets could only have one 'If' and one 'Then' action each, but Makers can now create applets that have multiple 'Then' steps. So you can set up an applet that triggers based on one thing, then takes several different actions because of that initial trigger. Applet building in this way more closely resembles the power of a service like Zapier.

Twitter For Apple TV Gains Support For Live 360 Degree Video And Periscope Global Map, by Juli Clover, MacRumors

Apple TV users can watch live 360 degree videos directly on their television sets, navigating through the scene with the Siri remote.

Notes

Apple Transitions To Newsroom Portal For Press Releases, Updates Executive Bios Page Design, by Benjamin Mayo, 9to5Mac

Apple has today officially transitioned away from its ageing press portal in favour of the modern Apple Newsroom, which combines company press releases, photo coverage and other news into one place. All links to apple.com/pr now redirect to apple.com/newsroom.

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Most of the time when I am listening to audio on my iPhone, I am listening to either podcasts or audiobooks. And unlike when listening to music, I often have to rewind back x seconds to re-listen to what I have missed, and I seldom fast forward. (Yes, I do listen to all your commercials.)

Well, the gesture to go back in time is triple-click on the remote control. As opposed to a simplier double-click for going forward in time. Which is not really optimize for me. Almost every time I had to triple-click, I wish the gesture can be simplier.

(Yes, I often lose count.)

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Thanks for reading.

The App-Development-Curriculum Edition Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Apple Introduces Swift Curriculum For High School And Community College Students, by John Voorhees, MacStories

Apple introduced a new year-long app development curriculum today for community college and high school students that is available as a special collection on the iBooks Store. The free-to-download course, which is an extension of Apple’s existing Everyone Can Code curriculum for kids in grades K-12, teaches students how to build fully-functional apps using the Swift programming language. In the fall, six community college systems that serve over 500,000 students will offer the new course.

Apple, iOS, And IBM Are Transforming Retail, One Shop At A Time, by Jonny Evans, Computerworld

In more and more cases the future of retail is as community-facing showrooms where consumers can get hands on experience of products they may have originally found online, and won’t purchase until later.

"Stores are a great platform for customers to try out products, engage with retailer’s best brand ambassadors--store associate—as well as being a place to warehouse products and conduct transactions," Bryant told me.

Apple’s HR Head Denise Young Smith Moving To Newly Created Diversity And Inclusion VP Role, by Jordan Kahn, 9to5Mac

Apple’s head of Worldwide Human Resources Denise Young Smith will now run diversity programs for the company under a newly created VP position, according to sources familiar with the move. The executive shuffle will see the creation of a new VP role for Apple’s Diversity and Inclusion team with Smith reporting directly to CEO Tim Cook.

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Apple Releases Second iTunes 12.6.1 Update With New Build Number, by Zac Hall, 9to5Mac

iTunes 12.6.1 with ‘minor app and performance improvements’ was first released last Monday with no visible changes, but Apple has issued a new iTunes update through the Mac App Store today without changing the version number or change log.

1Password Gains 'Travel Mode' To Protect Sensitive Data When Traveling, by Juli Clover, MacRumors

When activated, Travel Mode will remove every password vault from all of a user's iOS and Mac devices except for vaults that have been earmarked as "safe for travel," effectively hiding a user's most sensitive information.

Screens 4.0 For macOS Adds Curtain Mode, Drag-And-Drop File Transfers, Touch Bar Support, And More, by John Voorhees, MacStories

With today’s update, Screens adds features that debuted in the iOS version of the app like Curtain Mode. After you log into a remote Mac, enabling Curtain Mode prevents anyone physically close to the remote computer from seeing what’s on the screen by showing a graphic of a padlock while you are connected to it.

How A Fitness App Helped Me Get Strong — And Lose 20 Pounds Along The Way, by Casey Newton, The Verge

Each time I start a new workout for my arms or legs, Strong notes how much I lifted the previous workout. It does so automatically, and it's amazing how such a simple thing has had such a powerful effect on me.

Notes

A Missed Opportunity With Text And Screen Effects In iOS, by David Sparks, MacSparky

If Apple brought a little regularly updated whimsy to the table, it would make the iPhone even more "sticky" for users and make them less likely to change platforms.

This seems like such a no-brainer that I'm surprised Apple hasn’t been more aggressive with text and screen effects.

Apple Files FCC Application To Test Next-Generation 5G Wireless Technology, by Juli Clover, MacRumors

Apple applied for an experimental license to test wireless technology on millimeter wave spectrum bands. Millimeter wave bands provide higher bandwidth and throughput up to 10Gb/s, but are limited by line of sight issues that cause problems in dense urban areas.

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Microsoft comparing its new Surface Pro against Apple's MacBook Air is really setting too low a bar.

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Thanks for reading.

The Your-Phone-iPhone Edition Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Apple Debuts Revamped 'Switch' Site To Lure Android Users, by Juli Clover, MacRumors

Apple today debuted an overhauled webpage aimed at encouraging Android users to switch to the iPhone, introducing a simpler FAQ-style site that highlights iPhone features and makes it clear how simple it is to switch from an Android device to an iPhone.

Apple’s New Switch To iPhone Ad Campaign, by John Voorhees, MacStories

Apple posted a series of five short videos to YouTube today encouraging consumers to switch to the iPhone. The spots, which are each just 16 seconds long, take place on a two-tone stage. The left side of each set is a plain gray color and represents ‘your phone.’ The more colorful, right-hand side of the stage is the iPhone.

Accessibilities and Abilities

How One Mother Discovered The App That Changed Her Disabled Daughter's Life, by Ellen Seidman, Woman's Day

Nearly every morning, Alice Brouhard visits the yellow cottage in Glenwood Springs, CO, where her daughter, Kara, lives. As they chat over coffee, reminders sound frequently from a speaker on the counter. "Finish breakfast," it prompts. "Let Phoebe out." "Brush teeth."

Kara relies on these messages—about 85 of them, recorded in her own voice on an iPad app called Aida Reminder—to get through the day. As a result of a traumatic brain injury, Kara can't tell time, read or navigate daily tasks on her own. But Aida Reminder, along with other technology, has enabled Kara, 36, to accomplish far more than her doctors thought possible.

Accessorize Your Stuff

How Anker Is Beating Apple And Samsung At Their Own Accessory Game, by Nick Statt, The Verge

Steven Yang quit his job at Google in the summer of 2011 to build the products he felt the world needed: a line of reasonably priced accessories that would be better than the ones you could buy from Apple and other big-name brands. These accessories — batteries, cables, chargers — would solve our most persistent gadget problem by letting us stay powered on at all times. There were just a few problems: Yang knew nothing about starting a company, building consumer electronics, or selling products.

“I was a software engineer all my life at Google. I didn’t know anyone in the electronics manufacturing world,” Yang tells me over Skype from his office in Shenzhen, China. But he started the company regardless, thanks in no small part to his previous experience with Amazon’s sellers marketplace, a platform for third-party companies and tiny one- or two-person teams interested in selling directly to consumers. He named the company Anker, after the German word for ship anchor.

Anker has since become the most popular brand of portable battery packs on Amazon.

Nike Launching Colorful New Apple Watch Sport Bands Alongside Matching Air VaporMax Flyknit Shoes, by Zac Hall, 9to5Mac

Nike says the new colors will launch alongside the new shoe collection on June 1 with each band retailing for the standard $49 price on nike.com and select Nike stores.

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Amazon’s Echo Look Companion App Goes Live, by Sarah Perez, TechCrunch

Amazon’s odd foray into the world of selfie cameras via the Echo Look is now complete with the launch of a companion application for iOS and Android devices that works with the new connected camera. The app allows Echo Look owners to view live previews from the Look’s camera, take a picture, survey their outfits, mark favorites, compare styles and more.

Best iPad Apps For Retail Businesses, by Jackie Dove, Business.com

Despite the labor-intensive nature of retail, mobile apps can make it easier than ever to oversee your business from afar and reclaim your life. We nosed around to find some stellar apps — from marketing, internal communications, payroll, sales analysis, point of sale and floor planning — that help you run your retail business and still have quality time for hanging out with family and friends.

The Best Apps For People Who Travel Alone, by Nikki Ekstein, Bloomberg

It's perfectly natural to be nervous about dropping into a foreign, new place on your own, whether you dread getting lost, feeling lonely, or just not knowing what to do when you’re eating dinner alone. But don't order that room service cheeseburger—download these four apps, which will help you feel more sure-footed abroad.

Even if you've started your trip alone, you may end with a network of new friends.

Notes

Apple Watch Can Misdial 911, Call Centers Ask That Users Don't Hang Up, by Erika Leigh, KSFY

If you have an Apple Watch, holding down the buttons on the side will make an emergency call. Like Siri's "call 108" feature, you'll get 10 seconds to cancel the call, but if you don't, it will call your local dispatch center. If you carry a purse on your wrist, or even grocery bags from the supermarket, it can be very easy to accidentally make that call.

[...]

Most importantly, Metro Communications said, if you do make a misdial to 911, just stay on the line and let the operator know what happened -- whether it's from an Apple Watch, a smartphone, any other device or even a regular landline.

Apple And Nokia Bury Patent Hatchet, by Natasha Lomas, TechCrunch

Well that didn’t last long. A fresh patent spat between Nokia and Apple which fired up at the back end of last year when Cupertino accused the former world number one mobile maker of making like a patent troll appears to have been resolved already.

The two companies said today they’ve reached agreement to settle all litigation pertaining to the dispute, inking a multi-year patent license.

Apple Reveals It Was Served A Secret National Security Letter, by Zack Whittaker, ZDNet

Apple revealed late Monday that it has received at least one secret national security letter from the US government, demanding personal information on a customer.

The Subscription Paradox, by Jason Snell, Six Colors

But then there’s another, less obvious danger zone: People who like your stuff but just can’t finish it all. You’d think that this shouldn’t matter, that if you only ever consume half of everything but enjoy it all, that should be good enough. But it’s not. Most people hate feeling that they’re not using everything they’re paying for. [...]

I’ve had this described to me as “The New Yorker Problem.” People who enjoy reading The New Yorker still cancel their subscriptions, because they’ve got a few issues piled up.

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Just finished reading: Dear Mr. M, by Herman Koch.

Generally, this has been an enjoyable book for me. Except for a certain portion in the second-half of the story, where I felt that the book is doing more of telling than showing.

But I certainly did not see the twist coming.

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Currently watching: Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt (Season 3), by Robert Carlock, Tina Fey.

Fun!

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Thanks for reading.

The Photo-Walks-And-Kids-Hour Edition Monday, May 22, 2017

“Today At Apple” Launches Worldwide, by Apple

“Today at Apple” kicked off this weekend with new in-store programming around the world, including Photo Walks and Kids Hour at all 495 Apple stores. From Getting Started with Coding to How To: Sketch, Draw and Paint with iPad, stores collectively hosted 4,000 sessions a day, including some with very special guests.

When Apple (Or Anyone Else) Really Gets A Product Right, by Nick Johnson

Being British, I have a story about tea. It goes like this: For my entire life, it had tasted wrong. Not bad, exactly, but not quite right. I tried all different kinds, and just about every brand I could find. I drank it without milk which made it taste a little better, and sometimes added lemon which pushed it a little more in the right direction. But still: tea tasted wrong and I had no idea why. Then one evening, my flatmate at the time asked me if I'd like a cup. I politely declined, explaining that it would make it hard for me to sleep. She replied that it was okay, she had caffeine free tea called Rooibos, from South Africa. So, a few minutes later, she handed me a cup of tea, and it tasted right.

Why did I just tell you a story about tea? What does that have to do with Apple? Well, the fact is that I had a very similar feeling the first time I used a Mac in earnest. Then it happened again with the iPhone. It's not just Apple products, mind you. The physics of a Mario game and the feel in the hand of an X-Box 360 controller also gave me this feeling. Recently, though, I haven't had this "Oh, this is right" feeling quite so much. I can only think of two examples, and they're so small that they probably qualify as "features" more so than "products".

Apple Seemingly Stops Offering Free Three-month Apple Music Trial In Select Countries, by Chance Miller, 9to5Mac

It’s unclear at this point if Apple plans to introduce a similar pricing change in other countries, dropping the free trial in favor of three months for $0.99.

Let Millions Of People Help You Pick Wine, by Geoff Quattromani, EFTM

The new addition to the app however is the scanning of labels and wine lists. Yep, the app will see you label and then inform you what people rated it.

The Status-And-Permanence Edition Sunday, May 21, 2017

Apple's Biggest Launch Of The Year May Have Been Last Week, by Chris Matyszczyk, CNET

Forget the old concept of the Apple fanperson. This is something more sophisticated, longer-lasting and more regular. You won't be a fan. You'll be a member. Fans are excitable, fickle even. Members have a certain status and permanence.

I Tried One Of Apple's New Free Photography Classes — Here's What I Learned, by Kif Leswing, Business Insider

I took my trusty iPhone 6 on the walk, but our instructor had an iPhone 7 Plus, which has a better camera. Apple said that it's possible to take the class without an iPhone because some stores may have loaner iPhones, and that nobody will get kicked out for having an Android phone, although they won't get the Apple-specific tips.

Stuff

Apple Says 2011 MacBook Pro No Longer Eligible For 'Video Issues' Repair Program, by Joe Rossignol, MacRumors

The program expired on December 31, 2016, but it's still in effect for eligible models up to four years from their original date of sale.

Why I Love Apple’s Hideous Smart Battery Case, by Ste Smith, Cult of Mac

That hump on the back not only makes it really easy to hold in one hand for long periods of time but also stops the case feeling bulky — unlike some other battery cases I’ve tried. In fact, it’s still easily slim enough to slide in and out of my jeans pockets.

Redesigned Version Of Microsoft OneNote Now Available On Mac And iOS, by Tim Hardwick, MacRumors

The update to the note-taking platform introduces a new interface that aims to enhance usability for users of assistive technologies, simplify navigation controls, and create consistency across devices, according to the company.

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How long before Today at Apple becomes a TV show on Apple Music?

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Thanks for reading.

The Thirty-Days Edition Saturday, May 20, 2017

Apple Allegedly Retaining Deleted iCloud Notes Past The 30-day Grace Period, by Chance Miller, 9to5Mac

In a blog post, the company explains that using a version of its Phone Breaker tool, it extracted notes that were outside of the thirty-day grace period. ElcomSoft writes that its tool extracted nearly 50 notes that had been deleted by the user over a month ago. In fact, the oldest note it was able to retrieve was from 2012. What this means is that Apple is holding on to deleted notes for much longer than it should be and it’s unclear why.

What The World’s Most Avid Pizza Box Collector Thinks Of Apple’s Patented Pizza Box, by Herman Wong, Washington Post

The vents: “You’ve got those ports on the top, which are sort of toward the center and in a circle, and they seem to be located around the point where you have the most moisture build up. Standard pizza boxes have their vents toward their corners. And if you look at a pizza, and you look through those corner slots, you see nothing or you are looking at crust. The moisture’s not coming from there; the moisture is really coming from the tomatoes. If you have it toward the center that’s a really smart idea, that’s cool.”

Information Superhighway

Instagram Worst Social Media App For Young People’s Mental Health, by Kara Fox, CNN

Instagram -- the image-saturated app with over 700 million users worldwide -- topped the list in terms of negative impact, most notably among young women, stated the report, published Friday.

Instagram draws young women to "compare themselves against unrealistic, largely curated, filtered and Photoshopped versions of reality," said Matt Keracher, author of the report.

‘The Internet Is Broken’: @Ev Is Trying To Salvage It, by David Streitfeld, New York Times

The trouble with the internet, Mr. Williams says, is that it rewards extremes. Say you’re driving down the road and see a car crash. Of course you look. Everyone looks. The internet interprets behavior like this to mean everyone is asking for car crashes, so it tries to supply them.

His goal is to break this pattern. “If I learn that every time I drive down this road I’m going to see more and more car crashes,” he says, “I’m going to take a different road.”

But a new road may have other problems. It may, for instance, be a dead end.

Stuff

How Does Google Assistant Stack Up Against Siri On An iPhone?, by Chaim Gartenberg, The Verge

As things stand right now, between Siri’s advantages when it comes to native integration to things like messaging and music, along with the system-wide availability that makes it accessible at any time means that in most cases, it’s easier to use Apple’s assistant. While Assistant does clearly best Siri when it comes to overall knowledge and support for Google services, (including Maps) the current implementation just isn’t so dramatically better at these tasks that it’s worth the extra inconvenience of working around Apple’s sandboxing.

The Only Thing Worse Than The Fidget Spinner Craze Is Fidget Spinner Apps, by Kelly Beck, Mashable

In a matter of weeks, fidget spinners went from something almost nobody had ever heard of to the must-have toy of the season. The anxiety-reducing handheld spinners are so ubiquitous that dozens of developers are trying to cash in on the phenomenon with fidget-spinner themed mobile apps.

People are into it, apparently. So into it that the top game in the iOS app store is a virtual fidget spinner that doesn't do anything but spin.

Notes

This Is The Story Behind That Double Push Alert The New York Times Sent About Comey’s Trump Memo, by Joseph Lichterman, Nieman Lab

“We know a lot of people get their news from pushes predominantly, said Eric Bishop, a Times assistant editor for mobile. “I think being able to tell two sides of this story — one that explained the main news and then the other that had that color with the quote — gave people a second element of the story, and if they didn’t swipe into read it, they knew more about the full story,” he said. “It also was another entry point, another compelling aspect of it that might make you want to swipe in and read it.”

Combined, the alerts were among the most swiped-through alerts the Times has sent this year, Bishop said. The two alerts drove 41 percent of the story’s total traffic in the Times’ iPhone app; about 56 percent of the total swipes came from the first alert with the remainder coming from the second.

The White House Will Meet With Tech Execs For Advice On Giving The Government A Digital Upgrade, by Tony Romm, Recode

The White House plans to huddle with top executives from Apple, Facebook, Google and other tech giants next month to brainstorm ways that the U.S. government can put more of its “citizen services” online and tackle thorny policy issues like high-skilled immigration.

Both items are part of a lengthy agenda — obtained by Recode on Friday — that awaits the inaugural gathering of the American Technology Council, an effort by President Donald Trump to modernize the inner-workings of Washington that’s being spearheaded by his son-in-law and senior adviser, Jared Kushner.

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When inserting a micro-USB plug, probability teaches me that, at random, there's a 50-50 chance that I'll get it right the first time.

Turns out, I get it wrong about 80% of the time. Which includes times when I plugged in the correct direction, but the plug didn't quite fit, and I thought it was the wrong way around, twisted the cable 180 degrees, and found out that I was correct initially.

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Turns out, the world is broken.

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Thanks for reading.

The Day-Care Edition Friday, May 19, 2017

Apple's New Campus Has Just About Everything, Except Daycare, by Shara Tibken, CNET

Apple didn't respond to several requests for information about why it decided not to include a day care facility at the new Apple Park campus, which opened last month and will hold 12,000 employees, or about what child care benefits it currently offers employees. [...]

One way to attract women, say experts, is by being more accommodating to families. Apple has added benefits like extended maternity leave, an adoption reimbursement program and egg freezing -- just as other tech companies like Facebook and Intel do. But the lack of onsite day care puzzles some, who say it could restrain the advancement of women at Apple, or limit the number who stick with the company.

Apple Park: The Last Great Product By Steve Jobs, by Jason Snell, Macworld

In the long run, I think it’s a mistake for big companies to build sprawling suburban headquarters in areas poorly served by public transportation. I applaud Twitter and Amazon’s embracing of the urban center. (And Google’s decision to include child care centers in its facilities plans, unlike Apple and Microsoft.)

But I understand why building outside of the suburbs was never really a serious option for Apple—or its Seattle cousin Microsoft. Like their co-founders Steve Jobs and Bill Gates, they’re suburban kids who never seem to have really gotten a taste for the big city.

Different Names, Different Rules

Why Apple Is Watching Google’s AI Progress Carefully, by Mark Sullivan, Fast Company

After watching this week’s announcements about the new AI powers in Google’s assistant, I’m reminded that there’s far more to releasing winning apps and services than sheer technological prowess. Google has on numerous occasions released products that were technically impressive but betrayed a woeful misunderstanding of what people might find useful (Google Wave, Google Glass, etc.).

Apple doesn’t need to demonstrate superiority over Google in the pure science part of artificial intelligence. It can win by coupling its AI chops with a superior understanding of how people will best benefit from AI in day-to-day life.

Sorry, Apple Photos, But I'm Leaving You For Google Photos, by Raymond Wong, Mashable

Google's right that your photos app shouldn't just be a place to see all of your photos and videos in reverse chronological order. It should be smart and help you do shit and know shit that's relevant to your media. Apple Photos dabbles a little with AI, but Google Photos embraces it fully, and the end result is magic.

Can We Just Call Them Apps?, by Harrison Weber, VentureBeat

But Apple calls Siri apps “extensions.” And Amazon calls Alexa apps “skills.” Microsoft, not very original, calls Cortana apps “skills,” too. Google calls Google Assistant apps “actions.”

But they’re just apps. Voice apps. Like phone apps and laptop apps. So really, can we just call them apps?

No-Tip Policy

Tencent Disables Tipping Function In iPhone Version Of WeChat, by Li Tao, South China Morning Post

Internet giant Tencent was trying to retain the function on WeChat’s iPhone version by providing QR code payments as an alternative, according to a statement published on Wednesday. But in an updated announcement just a few hours later, Tencent said the function was completely shut down for iPhone users.

On its official WeChat account, Tencent said it regrettably had to abolish the feature for iPhone users after lengthy negotiations with Apple failed to reach a compromise. Apple said in a statement that WeChat can still allow users to tip as long as it used Apple’s own IAP system.

Tencent And Alibaba Are Engaged In A Massive Battle In China, by Clay Chandler, Fortune

What fascinates me is that in all three of these sectors--mobile payments, ride-hailing, and bike-sharing—Chinese tech firms aren't just innovators, they're innovation leaders, and the competition with each other for domination in their home market has unleashed a scramble to conquer markets overseas.

Stuff

Things 3: Beauty And Delight In A Task Manager, by Ryan Christoffel, MacStories

Cultured Code has stuck to its roots in producing a beautiful, well crafted, powerful yet elegant new set of apps. Perhaps there's nothing revolutionary being done here, but that's okay; Things is full of little delights – and we could all use more of those in our working lives.

Become More Efficient With The New Things 3 From Cultured Code, by Christine Chan, AppAdvice

I consider myself to be a productivity nut in most cases, and I’ve tried pretty much every task manager under the sun on iOS and even on my Mac. Though I tried using Things very early on, I ended up sticking with more complex apps like OmniFocus and 2Do, along with Todoist for a while, mostly because Things did not have all of the features that I needed at the time, specifically due times. But now that Things 3 from Cultured Code has arrived, I think I found my new primary task manager, and honestly, that’s not an easy feat after I’ve been comfortable with my current system (2Do) for the past year or so.

Notes

From Shared To Personal To…, by Ben Brooks, The Brooks Review

The reality is that I don’t want me contacts, my calendar, or my todos shared in bulk in any arena where another person might get to them. Sure, it would be nice to have a shared family calendar, but a shared device for that seems absurd. Anyone in my family can pick up their devices and see the shared family calendar right now — without me having to share my device, weaken my privacy, or buy a purpose built device.

Apple Is Lobbying Against Your Right To Repair iPhones, New York State Records Confirm, by Jason Koebler, Motherboard

Both Apple and Roffe Group did not respond to my request for more information about the company's specific position on right to repair legislation.

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The Right-to-Repair movement is so clearly not well-thought through. Especially for products that come from a company that values privacy and security, right-to-repair is a major problem in delivering the high bars of privacy and security that Apple has set for itself.

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Thanks for reading.

The Paid-Services Edition Thursday, May 18, 2017

'Musicians Taught Me Everything. Without Them, I'm Working On The Docks.', by Tim Ingham, Music Business Worldwide

"The most important thing for labels is to make the paid services compelling and entertaining. And don’t make free services as good as the paid services."

"Is that not obvious?!"

Google I/O

Google Assistant Arrives On iPhone, by Emil Protalinski, VentuerBeat

At its I/O 2017 developer conference today, Google announced Google Assistant is coming to iOS today as a standalone app, rolling out to the U.S. first. Until now, the only way iPhone users could access Google Assistant was through Allo, the Google messaging app nobody uses.

[...]

Apple has API restrictions on iOS, so Google Assistant can’t set alarms like Siri. I can, however, send iMessages for you or start playing music in third-party apps like Spotify. And of course you can’t use the Home button for Google Assistant, so you’ll need to use the app icon or a widget.

Smart Reply Is Coming To Gmail For Android And iOS, by James Vincent, The Verge

Google is using its machine learning prowess to respond to emails for you. The company’s Smart Reply feature (which debuted on its Inbox email app back in 2015 and is also available on Android Wear and Allo) is coming to Gmail on iOS and Android, as announced by CEO Sundar Pichai on stage at Google I/O this year.

Smart Reply scans the text of an incoming message, and suggests three basic responses the user can tweak and send. The feature is rolling out in English first, and will be available in Spanish “in the coming weeks,” with other languages to follow.

The 30% Loophole

Apple Takes Risk By Telling Chinese Chat Apps To Disable 'Tip' Functions, by Tim Hardwick, MacRumors

Apple has told several Chinese social networking apps to disable their "tip" functions to comply with App Store rules, according to executives at WeChat and other companies.

The tip functions in Chinese messaging platforms are free to use and allow people to send authors and other content creators monetary tips through transfers to mobile wallet accounts. However, according to The Wall Street Journal, Apple has decided that tips are equivalent to in-app purchases – similar to buying games, music, and videos – therefore Apple is entitled to a 30 percent cut of every transaction.

Note To Self

The Joys Of Texting Myself, by Rachel Miller, The Awl

My friend Nicole keeps track of her favorite public bathrooms by texting herself. Genius, I thought. Convenient, simple, obvious! Delightfully self-reflexive! That was the first I ever heard of texting yourself, and I felt like I’d been let in on a big secret, maybe even the ultimate Hack, but without the binder clips and toilet paper tubes appearing where they don’t belong.

The best self-texting scenarios seem practical at first: Why not use a thing you already open five thousand times a day to quick-jot notes and reminders? It’s like having a notebook in your pocket, minus the pen, and even less complicated than Notes. The process is simple. But like most simple things, it’s deceptively straightforward, and the real benefits only surface after a few rounds.

Here’s how it works.

Stuff

Todoist Launches A Deep Integration With Google Calendar, by Romain Dillet, TechCrunch

After hooking up your Todoist account with Google Calendar, your tasks are going to show up in your calendar if they have a due date. If you also entered a specific time of the day, you’ll see an event in your calendar. Recurring tasks will create multiple events.

Logitech's HomeKit-Compatible POP Smart Button Now Available In Apple Stores, by Juli Clover, MacRumors

The Logitech POP Smart Button is designed to allow any smart device in the home to be controlled through the push of a button, allowing things like lights to be activated without the need for a smartphone.

Develop

The Case Of The Stolen Source Code, by Panic

Last week, for about three days, the macOS video transcoding app HandBrake was compromised. One of the two download servers for HandBrake was serving up a special malware-infested version of the app, that, when launched, would essentially give hackers remote control of your computer.

In a case of extraordinarily bad luck, even for a guy that has a lot of bad computer luck, I happened to download HandBrake in that three day window, and my work Mac got pwned.

Long story short, somebody, somewhere, now has quite a bit of source code to several of our apps.

Bottom of the Page

Things from the iPod era that I missed:

a. A physical play/pause button.

b. Autofill (for streaming music).

c. An iTunes app that I know how to use.

~

Thanks for reading.

The Big-Program Edition Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Apple Is Launching A Big, Celeb-filled Program To Get You To Hang Out In Their Stores, by Patrick Kulp, Mashable

Each of its stores will offer their inaugural "Photo Walk," an educational tour led by a well-known local photographer, and "Kids Hour" session this Saturday along with a host of other special events.

From Illustrations To iPhone Photography: Apple’s Red Dot Heroes To Host Workshops, by Trevor Tan, Straits Times

Mr Aik Beng Chia, 50, started his working life 27 years ago as a display artist for the Esprit store at the exact location where Apple Orchard Road now stands.

Now, he will be back, but teaching others about iPhone photography as one of Apple's Red Dot Heroes.

Apple Orchard Road Opening On May 27, by Trevor Tan, Straits Times

The wait for Apple fans will be over soon. Apple Orchard Road - the official name of the Apple retail store here - will be opening its doors on May 27 at 10am.

Close to midnight last night, workers were seen pasting the opening date on the white facade covering the front of the store at Knightsbridge mall.

It is not only the first Apple retail store in Singapore, but also the first one in South-east Asia. The store will open daily from 10am to 10pm.

Should D.C's Historic Carnegie Library Be Turned Into An Apple Store?, by Kriston Capps, CityLab

Arts organizations can’t compete in D.C.’s real-estate market. At the end of the day, the city could get a second Apple store and a homegrown cultural center, answering the demand for Insta-artworks and the iPhones with which to photograph them. Or whatever: Something worthy should benefit from the massive public subsidy of the Carnegie Library and its attendant urban park. An Apple store can go anywhere else.

Global Accessibility

The Incredible Ways People With Disabilities Customize Their Tech To Thrive, by Katie Dupere, Mashable

Meera is nonverbal, living with a rare condition called schizencephaly that impacts her ability to speak. But with the help of her iPad and text-to-speech technology, she can make her thoughts and opinions known — and she sure does. From her love of Katy Perry to her passion for soccer, Meera will let you know exactly what's on her mind. All it takes is a few taps of her tablet, and with a specialized app stringing letters into words, and words into phrases, her thoughts are played out loud.

Meera's relationship with tech is just one of seven stories featured in a powerful video series created by Apple to spotlight the company's dedication to accessible technology. The videos were released in celebration of Global Accessibility Awareness Day on May 18, a day emphasizing the importance of accessible tech and design.

Apple’s New ‘Designed For’ Videos Highlight Accessibility Features With Personal Stories, by Chance Miller, 9to5Mac

Apple tonight has shared a series of new videos on its YouTube channel. These videos are part of a new “Designed for” series that highlights people who are using Apple’s Accessibility features to change the way they face life day in and day out.

The Challenges Of Using Technology When You're Blind, by Bruce Maguire, Sydney Morning Herald

Unless designers, developers and manufacturers start including accessibility as a priority – and policy makers and legislators enforce this – then those of us who are blind or have low vision will be locked out of everyday life. We will struggle to do the most basic things like cooking on an electrical cooktop, cooling our homes in summer and making financial transactions with confidence.

Rumors of the Day

Apple Plans Laptop Upgrades To Take On Microsoft, by Mark Gurman and Alex Webb, Bloomberg

Apple is planning three new laptops, according to people familiar with the matter. The MacBook Pro will get a faster Kaby Lake processor from Intel Corp., said the people, who requested anonymity to discuss internal planning. Apple is also working on a new version of the 12-inch MacBook with a faster Intel chip. The company has also considered updating the aging 13-inch MacBook Air with a new processor as sales of the laptop, Apple’s cheapest, remain surprisingly strong, one of the people said.

iOS 10.3.3 Beta Brings Three New Wallpapers To 12.9″ iPad Pro, Download Here, by Chance Miller, 9to5Mac

It’s possible that the new wallpapers being limited to the 12.9-inch iPad Pro hints at the unveil of a new model next month at WWDC. These wallpapers would be perfect for marketing shots of a new 12.9-inch model, as well as the rumored 10.5-inch variant.

Stuff

Apple's Latest Beats Ad Uses NBA Stars LeBron James, James Harden & Others, by Roger Fingas, AppleInsider

Apple on Tuesday released a new Beats ad in its "Be Heard" series, this time featuring four NBA stars: LeBron James, James Harden, Kevin Durant, and Draymond Green.

In Encryption Push, Senate Staff Can Now Use Signal For Secure Messaging, by Zack Whittaker, ZDNet

Without any fanfare, the Senate Sergeant at Arms recently told Senate staffers that Signal, widely considered by security researchers and experts to be the most secure encrypted messaging app, has been approved for use.

Develop

TidBITS News Shows How An Old 32-bit iOS App Becomes 64-bit, by Matt Neuburg, TidBITS

True, it’s usually trivial to turn on 64-bitness and recompile the app. But when an app project is opened and compiled with the latest version of Xcode, it is linked against Apple’s most recent system software development kit (SDK). That changes everything. The most recent system is iOS 10, and the app may not be ready for iOS 10.

Apple Promoting Developer Community Events In San Jose During WWDC Week, by Chance Miller, 9to5Mac

Now, in the lead up to WWDC 2017, Apple has started promoting a variety of developer community events that will be taking place during the week.

Notes

Apple’s Top Suppliers Dragged Into Qualcomm Legal Battle, by Tim Bradshaw, Financial Times

Qualcomm is suing four of Apple’s top suppliers for refusing to pay royalties at the iPhone maker’s request, adding a new twist to the two companies’ already complex legal battle.

[...]

Because Qualcomm’s licensing deals relating to the iPhone and iPad are not with Apple itself but with the contract manufacturers that produce the devices, the maker of Snapdragon processors and wireless modems cannot sue Apple directly for withholding those royalties. Qualcomm has already filed a separate claim against what it describes as Apple’s “interference”.

Bottom of the Page

Remember how you can switch between different playlists just by using the buttons on the iPod earbuds? (This was the iPod Shuffle, which, at one time, featured a no-buttons design.)

I wish I can do something similar on the iPhone, but rather than simply switching between playlists in the Music app, I'm looking at switching between different audio apps. (The three 'playlists' that I listen to daily are my audiobooks, podcasts, and, of course, music.)

~

I will be quite surprised if there are new updates to the MacBook Air, which will put the MacBook line in a very awkward position: an entry-level laptop that is too expensive?

I will be quite sad if there are no more updates to the iPad Mini, because I really want my backpack to be as light as possible. Unless the new iPhone Pro features a screen -- perhaps foldable? -- that can be as large as an iPad mini?

~

Thanks for reading.

The Humble-Serenity Edition Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Apple’s New Campus: An Exclusive Look Inside The Mothership, by Steven Levy, Wired

We go upstairs, and I take in the view. From planes descending to SFO, and even from drones that buzz the building from a hundred feet above it, the Ring looks like an ominous icon, an expression of corporate power, and a what-the-fuck oddity among the malls, highways, and more mundane office parks of suburban Silicon Valley. But peering out the windows and onto the vast hilly expanse of the courtyard, all of that peels away. It feels … peaceful, even amid the clatter and rumble of construction. It turns out that when you turn a skyscraper on its side, all of its bullying power dissipates into a humble serenity.

[...]

“It’s frustrating to talk about this building in terms of absurd, large numbers,” Ive says. “It makes for an impressive statistic, but you don’t live in an impressive statistic. While it is a technical marvel to make glass at this scale, that’s not the achievement. The achievement is to make a building where so many people can connect and collaborate and walk and talk.” The value, he argues, is not what went into the building. It’s what will come out.

App Specific Passwords Will Be Required To Sign In To iCloud With Third Party Apps From June 15, Here’s How To Make Them, by Benjamin Mayo, 9to5Mac

In its ongoing efforts to ensure strong security for customers, Apple will require the use of app-specific passwords from June 15th. This affects you if you use a third-party app that logs in with an iCloud email and password (Outlook, Thunderbird, etc) to access contacts, calendar and mail messages.

Apple Releases macOS 10.12.5, iOS 10.3.2, watchOS 3.2.2, And tvOS 10.2.1, by Josh Centers, TidBITS

We haven’t heard of any problems out of the gate, but Apple was so parsimonious with release notes that it’s hard to muster much enthusiasm for updating right away. It’s best to err on the side of caution this time.

Apple’s New Ad Shows How Portrait Mode Changed This Imaginary Barbershop, by Romain Dillet, TechCrunch

Apple just released a new ad featuring the “practically magic” tagline at the end. The ad focuses on Portrait mode once again. It takes place in a barbershop in New Orleans.

Stuff

Never Miss Out On A Great Story With These Read-it-later Apps, by Adam Ismail, Digital Trends

There a ton of content-sharing and pinning platforms out there, but only a few actually nail the basics. Here are some of our favorites — though your mileage may vary depending on your usage habits and the kinds of devices you own.

Silicon Valley’s ‘Not Hotdog’ And 7 Other Ridiculous (Real) Food Apps, by Keenan Steiner, Grubstreet

An official version of that app, called Not Hotdog, is now real and available in the App Store, so you can see for yourself whether things in front of you are hot dogs, or not hot dogs.

Develop

10 Years Of iPhone — A Developer’s Perspective, by Adrian Kosmaczewski, Medium

The iPhone celebrates its 10th anniversary this year. From a historical point of view, it had a tremendous impact in the industry and the careers of those involved in mobile application software development.

At some point in my career, I was a .NET developer, and then one day I told myself that I wanted to write Objective-C for a living. This is how I started my career in this galaxy. This is how I got here. I could have chosen Windows Mobile. I could have chosen BlackBerry. I chose the iPhone.

Mobile, by Matt Gemmell

It’s time to stop worshipping at the altar of the Weird Machine, because almost nothing else in the world is designed or used like computers are.

Notes

Apple In Search For Programming Chief, by The Information

HBO’s former programming head Michael Lombardo met with Apple executives earlier this year to discuss Apple’s video programming strategy, says a person familiar with the talks. The talks suggest Mr. Lombardo could be a candidate to run Apple’s video efforts.

Long Live The MP3, by Jason Snell, Six Colors

This is great news for everyone. I’ve spoken to several developers of audio and MP3-related software who have been watching the clock run out on MP3 patents so that they could release MP3 features into the world—both in brand-new apps as well as existing ones—without buying into Fraunhofer’s expensive licensing regime.

Bottom of the Page

One of the most peaceful moments I have had is when I stepped into a cemetery somewhere in Boston. Even the cars that whizzed by just outside the cemetery seemed muted.

~

Thanks for reading.

The Extrapolate-Evolution Edition Monday, May 15, 2017

The iPad Mystery, by Jean-Louis Gassée, Monday Note

If we extrapolate the iPad evolution — a risky exercise in derivative thinking — we’re led to assume that the iPad Pro will usurp more MacBook functionality. One can imagine a version of iOS that offers multiple resizable windows, more file management features…

Follow this line of thinking and you’re led to a quasi-MacBook that has a detachable keyboard, a touch screen, a Pencil 2.0 with a magnet, a somewhat simpler — but not too simple — user interface… To me, this is an uncomfortable contemplation; it could lead to a Swiss Army knife. Gone would be the respective simplicities of the original iPad and the well-honed MacBook.

Develop

How Do Self-taught Developers Actually Get Jobs?, by Brian Knapp

Well, the thing that really makes a self taught programmer is that they build things. Lots of things. To become a great programmer with very marketable skills, you have to build things and write code.

Notes

The Need For Urgent Collective Action To Keep People Safe Online: Lessons From Last Week’s Cyberattack, by Brad Smith, Microsoft

Finally, this attack provides yet another example of why the stockpiling of vulnerabilities by governments is such a problem. This is an emerging pattern in 2017. We have seen vulnerabilities stored by the CIA show up on WikiLeaks, and now this vulnerability stolen from the NSA has affected customers around the world. Repeatedly, exploits in the hands of governments have leaked into the public domain and caused widespread damage. An equivalent scenario with conventional weapons would be the U.S. military having some of its Tomahawk missiles stolen. And this most recent attack represents a completely unintended but disconcerting link between the two most serious forms of cybersecurity threats in the world today – nation-state action and organized criminal action.

The governments of the world should treat this attack as a wake-up call. They need to take a different approach and adhere in cyberspace to the same rules applied to weapons in the physical world. We need governments to consider the damage to civilians that comes from hoarding these vulnerabilities and the use of these exploits.

Teaching Robots Right From Wrong, by Simon Parkin, 1843 Magazine

In a futuristic office complex on the meandering Vltava river, near where the rabbi sculpted his Golem, an orderly bank of computers hums. They make for unlikely teachers, but they are as dedicated as any human to the noble task of education. Their students don’t sit in front of each computer’s screen, but rather on their hard drives. This virtual school, which goes by the name of GoodAI , specialises in educating artificial intelligences (AIs): teaching them to think, reason and act. GoodAI’s overarching vision is to train artificial intelligences in the art of ethics. “This does not mean pre-programming AI to follow a prescribed set of rules where we tell them what to do and what not to do in every possible situation,” says Marek Rosa, a successful Slovak video-game designer and GoodAI’s founder, who has invested $10m in the company. “Rather, the idea is to train them to apply their knowledge to situations they’ve never previously encountered.”

Experts agree that Rosa’s approach is sensible. “Trying to pre-program every situation an ethical machine may encounter is not trivial,” explains Gary Marcus, a cognitive scientist at NYU and CEO and founder of Geometric Intelligence. “How, for example, do you program in a notion like ‘fairness’ or ‘harm’?” Neither, he points out, does this hard-coding approach account for shifts in beliefs and attitudes. “Imagine if the US founders had frozen their values, allowing slavery, fewer rights for women, and so forth? Ultimately, we want a machine able to learn for itself.”

Bottom of the Page

The iPad has to be the future of general computing, as envisioned by Apple. It doesn't make sense, to me anyway, that Apple has two different visions, an iOS flavor, and an macOS flavor.

~

Thanks for reading.

The ... Edition Sunday, May 14, 2017

Apple Acquires AI Company Lattice Data, A Specialist In Unstructured ‘Dark Data’, For $200M, by Ingrid Lunden, TechCrunch

What exactly is dark data? Our connected, digital world is producing data at an accelerated pace: there was 4.4 zettabytes of data in 2013 and that’s projected to grow to 44 zettabytes by 2020, and IBM estimates that 90 percent of the data in existence today was produced in the last two years.

But between 70 percent and 80 percent of that data is unstructured — that is, “dark” — and therefore largely unusable when it comes to processing and analytics. Lattice uses machine learning to essentially put that data into order and to make it more usable.

How Google Took Over The Classroom, by Natasha Singer, New York Times

In the space of just five years, Google has helped upend the sales methods companies use to place their products in classrooms. It has enlisted teachers and administrators to promote Google’s products to other schools. It has directly reached out to educators to test its products — effectively bypassing senior district officials. And it has outmaneuvered Apple and Microsoft with a powerful combination of low-cost laptops, called Chromebooks, and free classroom apps.

Being A Mother Makes Me A Better Technologist, by Amelia Abreu, Medium

Being a parent makes me contemplate the long term, and the relationship between generations. It makes me realize possibilities that I didn’t before. What will it mean for my kid to live with the consequences of the technological world we’re creating now? I’ll never know the way that she will experience it, and maybe that’s the most valuable lesson I’ve learned.

Bottom of the Page

Just finished watching: Hugo, by Martin Scorsese.

~

Thanks for reading.

The Complex-Simplicity Edition Saturday, May 13, 2017

FileMaker 16's Complex Simplicity Echoes Apple's Enterprise IT Strategy, by Jonny Evans, Computerworld

That, in essence, is key to Apple’s approach to enterprise technology – one that reflects the continued consumerization of IT: powerful tools can be developed with the user in mind.

This is the only approach that truly makes sense for any future-focused enterprise. Just think about what those millennial employees arriving now on the job market expect. They do not expect the tools they use at work to be more complex, less capable, and generally poorer quality than the also powerful devices they use in their daily lives.

Moom Hit By Takedown Notice, Removed From Sale, by Dave Mark, The Loop

I get the necessity, the importance of the patent system. But there should be some sort of accommodation for situations like this, a low cost review process that includes a grace period so a product can still be sold for, say, 30 days, without harm, while the patent is reviewed by someone at the patent office and a ruling is made to either grant an exception to the patent or to approve the takedown notice.

Sleep It Off: How (And How Well) Wearables Can Track Sleep, by Valentina Palladino, Ars Technica

Fitness trackers didn't always monitor sleep, but the feature is now a sought-after staple in most devices, as sleep is just as important as exercise to a healthy lifestyle. Most wristbands monitor sleep now, and there are even specialized devices that go on your head or bedside table that can also keep track of how long and how well you sleep each night.

But sleep tracking isn't as simple as step tracking, and you need more than a simple accelerometer to measure it accurately. While motion is an indicator, it's not the only metric you should track to get a full picture of how well you slept.

Stuff

Review: TextExpander Is Autocorrect On Steroids, Usable Across Mac, iPad, And iPhone, by Ben Lovejoy, 9to5Mac

TextExpander is a really handy tool for anyone who needs to repetitively type and paste in standard text across multiple apps and devices. Even in its most basic form, the fact that I can access the same text in Mail on my iPad as I can in Airmail on my Mac makes it a far better solution than app-specific templates.

FocusList Review: A Minimalist, Pomodoro To-Do App, by Jake Underwood, MacStories

FocusList is a great example of that sort of minimalism in action, an unadorned display of your tasks, their estimated completion time, and, on occasion, a timer. Its content is driven by your list of tasks, but no more – its one goal is to focus you on your work.

Notes

Wireless, by Chuck Skoda

People seem bewildered every time. No USB on iPads, no more firewire, no more headphone jack, no more MagSafe. These things aren’t being left behind because they don’t accomplish their job. It’s because they all have wires, and Apple sees that the future doesn’t have a place for wires on the devices we bring with us, which increasingly includes more of our computers and related accessories.

Global Ransomware Attack Shows Why Apple Refused To Hack Terrorist's iPhone, by Paresh Dave, Los Angeles Times

Law enforcement agencies may want a way into highly secure gadgets and apps to further their investigations — such as when the FBI pressed Apple last year to hack into the iPhone of one of the gunman in the San Bernardino terror attack. But the companies have repeatedly pointed out that there’s no safe way to build an entry point just for trusted government organizations.

Though the NSA hasn’t confirmed it was hacked, the purported leak of its tools shows that even supposedly secret vulnerabilities can get into the wrong hands.

The Abnormal-Heartbeat Edition Friday, May 12, 2017

Apple’s Watch Can Detect An Abnormal Heart Rhythm With 97% Accuracy, UCSF Study Says, by Sarah Buhr, TechCrunch

According to a study conducted through heartbeat measurement app Cardiogram and the University of California San Francisco, the Apple Watch is 97 percent accurate in detecting the most common abnormal heart rhythm, when paired with an AI-based algorithm.

The study involved 6,158 participants recruited through the Cardiogram app on Apple Watch. Most of the participants in the UCSF Health eHeart study had normal EKG readings. However, 200 of them had been diagnosed with paroxysmal atrial fibrillation (an abnormal heartbeat). Engineers then trained a deep neural network to identify these abnormal heart rhythms from Apple Watch heart rate data.

Why Apple’s Next Killer App Is Health, by Dan Moren, Macworld

Mortality confronts us all at some point. But, to paraphrase the old expression, nobody ever does anything about it. Apple, however, is using its broad expertise in a number of realms to push forward its health agenda.

Apple Wearables Sales Outpacing iPhone Out Of The Gate, by Neil Cybart, Above Avalon

Too much attention is being placed on Apple Watch as holder of the wearables torch. Instead, the focus needs to be placed on both Apple Watch and AirPods, with W1 chip-equipped Beats headphones representing Apple's third wearables product category. Instead of looking at these wearable devices as standalone products with few similarities or overlap, we should view them as coming together to create a platform.

Be A Better Photographer

Apple Debuts New ‘How To Shoot On iPhone 7’ Website & Video Series, by Chance Miller, 9to5Mac

On the new website, Apple shares tips for shooting a plethora of different types of images and video. For instance, Apple gives tips for close-up shots, vertical panoramas, action shots, street light, stills while filming video, selfies, and much more. There are also tips and tricks for editing photos such as selfies.

Meanwhile Over At Redmond

Apple Is Bringing iTunes To The Windows Store, by Tom Warren, The Verge

Apple is planning to bring its iTunes desktop app to the Windows Store. In a surprise announcement at the Build developer event today, Microsoft revealed it has been working with Apple to get iTunes listed in the Windows Store. It might not sound like an important addition, but iTunes is one of the most searched for apps that’s currently missing in the Windows Store.

Microsoft Makes Windows Play Nice With All Your Other Gadgets, by David Pierce, Wired

Above all else, the next version of Windows will work to be a more accepting part of your entire gadget ecosystem. A new feature called Pick Up Where You Left Off (that’s really the name) will automatically save your document or current website on your phone, for instance, and let you get right back to it on your computer. If you’re reading a news article on your computer, and pick up your phone, it can prompt you to, well, pick up where you left off. It sounds a lot like Handoff for iOS and Mac, but this works on Windows and Android too. [...]

There’s even a cross-device clipboard now, so you can get truly copy-and-paste crazy. Microsoft seems to have finally grasped that it didn’t win in mobile, and that your phone’s a crucial part of your computing life, so the least Windows can do is play nicely.

Microsoft Is Surprisingly Comfy With Its New Place In A Mobile, Apple, And Android World, by Mark Sullivan, Fast Company

There were iPhones on the stage here at Build. Big graphics on the screens showed Surface computers lined up side by side with iPhones. Microsoft developer tools are coming for iOS and Android. And Apple’s iTunes is coming to the Windows Store.

The company that once held a mock funeral for the iPhone—complete with dedicated “iPhone trashcans”—now has a very different attitude about the company of Jobs. The Microsoft whose old CEO Steve Ballmer in 2007 famously predicted the iPhone had “no chance; no chance at all” of getting market share, now readily accepts and embraces a world where the iPhone and Android dominate personal computing.

Stuff

A New App Called Boomerang Will Double-check Awkward Translations For You, by Lauren Goode, The Verge

Boomerang is a new iOS app that uses Google Translate to translate phrases in 104 different languages; then translates the phrasing back into the original language for you to make sure that what you’re trying to say actually makes sense.

Satechi’s New Pro Hub Expands 2016 MacBook Pro Past USB-C Ports, by Greg Barbosa, 9to5Mac

Satechi’s new Type-C Pro Hub works with both the 13 and 15-inch MacBook Pro models. By utilizing two of the USB-C ports on the new MacBook Pro, the Pro Hub brings more versatile options for power users. The Pro Hub features the following ports: one HDMI, one Thunderbolt 3, two USB 3.0 ports, one USB-C port, an SD and a microSD slot.

SoundHound Can Now Make An Apple Music Playlist From Songs You Identify, by Zac Hall, 9to5Mac

SoundHound for iPhone and iPad is out with a new version that integrates with Apple Music in a few ways. For starters, if you’re an Apple Music subscriber and identify a song with SoundHound, the app can now add it to a SoundHound playlist in Apple Music automatically.

Oilist Review: A Painter In Your Phone, by Jake Underwood, MacStories

Oilist is an artist in your phone, one that you watch sketch, paint, and craft a unique version of a photo you’ve shot. The app uses AI – and your creativity – to turn pictures into works of art. Through creating with its own personality, you’ll get a new take on your old images in a fun and original way.

Notes

Apple Awards Corning First Advanced Manufacturing Fund Investment, by Tim Hardwick, MacRumors

Apple today announced that Corning, the makers of Gorilla Glass, will be the first major benefactor of its $1 billion Advanced Manufacturing Fund, which was announced by Apple CEO Tim Cook earlier this month.

The Fact That Apple Has To Issue Bonds Is A Reminder Of Why Urgent Tax Reform Is Needed, by Matt Rosoff, CNBC

Why does such a rich company have to borrow money?

[...]

As of the end of 2016, Apple had more than $230 billion stored overseas. That's because, when Apple earns money from sales outside the U.S., it's taxed once by the country where it makes those sales, then taxed again by the U.S. when it brings the money back home. As a result, Apple doesn't bring that money home.

Rumor Today

Apple Will Announce Amazon Prime Video Coming To Apple TV At WWDC, by John Paczkowski, BuzzFeed

Sources in position to know tell BuzzFeed News that Amazon's Prime video app — long absent from Apple TV — is indeed headed to Apple's diminutive set-top box. Apple plans to announce Amazon Prime video's impending arrive to the Apple TV App Store during the keynote at its annual Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) on June 5 in San Jose, CA. A source familiar with the companies' thinking say the app is expected to go live this summer, but cautioned that the hard launch date might change.

Bottom of the Page

Thanks to Mel Brooks, when I see "abnormal", I think "Abby Normal."

~

Thanks for reading.

The iPad-Communication Edition Thursday, May 11, 2017

Leawood Boy With Speech Disorder Uses iPad App To Communicate, by Rae Daniel, KSHB 41

“Before the iPad, we really didn't know how much we would be able to verbally communicate or how interested he was in language or letters because he didn't have any way of telling us,” Children’s Therapy Services owner and Cade’s therapist Jennie Bjorem said. “We know he's spelling, probably doing some reading. We've allowed him to completely have the device to himself so he can learn to motor plan and learn where things are.”

Jaclyn Griffin said just within the few months that he’s had the iPad, she’s seeing a lot more confidence in her son.

4 Things To Consider Before Enabling iCloud Photo Library, by Mike Matthews, TidBITS

This cloud-based approach has a couple of welcome byproducts. Although it shouldn’t be seen as the backup, a cloud-based photo library certainly does provide another copy of everything in a location that’s safe from fire, flood, or theft. Also, sharing photos with family and friends becomes a bit easier.

If you decide to use iCloud Photo Library, here are four things to think about before you flip that switch and turn it on.

Stuff

Cone — A Live Color Picker For Your iPhone, by Preshit Deorukhkar, Beautiful Pixels

Cone is a delightful little app by Kushagra Agarwal that works as a live color picker. It uses your iPhone’s camera to preview what it sees and instantly tells you what the name and hex value of color is.

An App For Mothers Who Missed Out On Tinder, by Sophia Kercher, New York Times

The afternoon was what Ms. Kolnick calls “a mom date,” and a meetup between their 1-year-olds. The women matched on Peanut, an app designed for like-minded mothers to connect.

On the app, users can swipe up to wave and swipe down to move to the next “mama.” If two users wave, it’s a match.

Develop

Microsoft Launches Visual Studio 2017 For Mac Out Of Preview, by Emil Protalinski, VentureBeat

Visual Studio for Mac supports native Android, iOS, and Mac development via Xamarin, and server development via .NET Core with Azure integration.

Notes

Apple Announces $1 Billion Data Center Expansion East Of Reno, by Anjeanette Damon, Reno Gazette-Journal

Because of a quirk in state law, the state can abate all but 2 percent of the sales tax rate paid by Apple on the computer equipment needed for its data center.

As part of Wednesday's deal, however, Apple will build a warehouse on land in downtown Reno that's part of a tourism improvement district created in 2009. By moving the computer equipment needed for the data center through that warehouse, it will be able to chip another 1.5 percent off its sales tax rate.

We Found Apple's Mysterious Office In Berlin, by Sam Shead, Business Insider

The office, which Apple has never publicly confirmed the existence of, was linked to the highly secretive Apple Car project last April and its location has been a mystery until now.

There are no Apple logos to be seen but the company does have its name next to a tiny buzzer outside the building's main door.

Bottom of the Page

I like drinking coffee. Actually, to be more accurate, I like the ritual of drinking coffee in the morning, and drinking coffee after lunch.

The ritual of drinking coffee after dinner is wreaking havoc on my sleep, so I no longer do that.

I also no longer care to read about the latest scientific research on whether drinking coffee regularly is good or not so good on one's health.

~

Thanks for reading.

The Assistive-Technology Edition Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Tech Enables People With Disabilities To Take Control Of Their Life, by Chiara Sottile, NBC News

Stabelfeldt is a complete quadriplegic with no movement below his shoulders, but he takes every opportunity he can to find independence — including in his marriage to Karen, 48.

[...] He spends most of his time running his IT consulting business from his home office, helping his wife around the house when she's not at work, and building his charity, the TSM Foundation, to help other people in wheelchairs.

And it's all thanks to new smart home and assistive technology like Apple's "HomeKit."

Apple Sends Press Invites For WWDC 2017, Officially Announces Keynote Event For June 5 10AM PT, by Jordan Kahn, 9to5Mac

The keynote is scheduled for 10AM PT on June 13, the first day of the conference, and will likely play host to new product unveilings as well as our first previews of Apple’s operating systems, iOS, macOS, watchOS, and tvOS, as well as new developer tools to go with them.

Stuff

Apple Updates Support App With Rich Notifications, Authorized Service Provider Appointments, More, by Chance Miller, 9to5Mac

The update adds support for scheduling repairs at participating Apple Authorized Service Providers. This includes non-Apple stores that are capable of performing certified repairs. Additionally, the update has added support for making Genius Bar reservations in China, Hong Kong, Macao, Turkey, and United Arab Emirates. There’s also support for filtering locations by mobile carriers.

Timing 2 For Mac, by David Sparks

The best thing about this app is that it does the work for you. Timing provides automatic time tracking. As you jump around different applications, website URLs, emails, and even conversation partners in Messages, Timing quietly keeps track in the background. It then gives you an interactive timeline that shows you exactly when you did what.

Amazon Launches Redesigned Alexa App For iOS, by Ryan Christoffel, MacStories

Alongside the announcement today of a new Echo product coming soon, the screen-equipped Echo Show, Amazon has launched a redesigned Alexa app for iOS. The new app's highlight feature, apart from a much-improved interface, is the addition of messaging functionality.

Readdle Launches PDF Expert 6 With New Editing Features, Revamped Design, by Juli Clover, MacRumors

With PDF Expert 6, you can do more than just annotate -- the app now supports editing and modifying PDF text, adding images, adding links, redacting information, and more.

Hands-on: iOS-compatible LaMetric Time Clock Is Like A Status Board For Your Desk, by Jeff Benjamin, 9to5Mac

The LaMetric Time is a highly-customizable Wi-Fi-enabled clock that can be configured via its free iOS companion app. The app allows you to customize the clock face, and load apps for displaying personalized information — things like Twitter followers and realtime YouTube subscriber numbers, for example.

Notes

Apple Acquires Sleep Tracking Company Beddit, But Its Site Will Stay Live, by Lucas Matney, TechCrunch

Beddit’s latest product, the Beddit 3, is a thin strip of sensors that goes across a user’s bed, analyzing sleep-related data such as “sleep time and efficiency, heart rate, respiration, temperature, movement, snoring, room temperature, and room humidity,” according to a product description.

The Local News Business Model, by Ben Thompson

This is the problem with newspapers: every aspect of their operations, from costs to content, is optimized for a business model that is obsolete. To put it another way, an obsolete business model means an obsolete business. There is nothing to be saved.

Food Wednesday

Why Do We Cook So Many Foods At 350 Degrees?, by Adrienne LaFrance, The Atlantic

The magic of cooking at 350 degrees isn’t magic at all, but chemistry. It is, for example, the level associated with the Maillard Reaction, the chemical process that gives so many foods a complex flavor profile—and an appealing golden-brown hue—when sugar and protein are heated together just so.

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Little things that bothered me recently:

a. The user interface of the ATM has been changed. Again.

b. I still occasionally changed my iPhone's brightness or the playback position when swapping between the different Control Center's panels.

c. CSS.

~

Thanks for reading.

The Cynical-Inversion Edition Tuesday, May 9, 2017

FileMaker 16 Launches With Enhancements To Mobility, Scalability, Security And More, by Juli Clover, MacRumors

FileMaker 16 focuses on enhancing mobility, scalability, and security, along with providing new features and integrations for an improved app creation experience.

How Privacy Became A Commodity For The Rich And Powerful, by Amanda Hess, New York Times

We’ve arrived at a place where public institutions and figures can be precious about their privacy in ways we’re continually deciding individual people can’t. Stepping into the White House is now considered more private than that weird rash you Googled. It’s a cynical inversion of the old association between private life and the lower class: These days, only the powerful can demand privacy.

Is The Gig Economy Working?, by Nathan Heller, New Yorker

The American workplace is both a seat of national identity and a site of chronic upheaval and shame. The industry that drove America’s rise in the nineteenth century was often inhumane. The twentieth-century corrective—a corporate workplace of rules, hierarchies, collective bargaining, triplicate forms—brought its own unfairnesses. Gigging reflects the endlessly personalizable values of our own era, but its social effects, untried by time, remain uncertain.

Support for the new work model has come together swiftly, though, in surprising quarters. On the second day of the most recent Democratic National Convention, in July, members of a four-person panel suggested that gigging life was not only sustainable but the embodiment of today’s progressive values. “It’s all about democratizing capitalism,” Chris Lehane, a strategist in the Clinton Administration and now Airbnb’s head of global policy and public affairs, said during the proceedings, in Philadelphia. David Plouffe, who had managed Barack Obama’s 2008 campaign before he joined Uber, explained, “Politically, you’re seeing a large contingent of the Obama coalition demanding the sharing economy.” Instead of being pawns in the games of industry, the panelists thought, working Americans could thrive by hiring out skills as they wanted, and putting money in the pockets of peers who had done the same. The power to control one’s working life would return, grassroots style, to the people.

Stuff

Workflow Update Restores Google Chrome And Pocket Actions, Extends Apple Music Integration, by Federico Viticci, MacStories

Workflow has today restored some of the features that were removed in version 1.7.3 of the app (which was released when Apple confirmed the acquisition) and has brought a variety of changes and improvements, including new Apple Music actions.

New Apple Watch Activity Challenge Discovered Ahead Of Mother’s Day, by Benjamin Mayo, 9to5Mac

To earn the award, you must complete a 1 mile workout on Sunday, May 14. This can be a walk, run or wheelchair workout — you just have to do at least a mile in distance in one session.

ArtRage 5 Review: Painting App Upgrade Fueled By An Enhanced Blend Of Interface, Brushes, And Artistic Tools, by Jackie Dove, Macworld

The version 5 upgrade is packed with valuable brush and composition enhancements that make it well worth considering if you own previous versions of the package. If you are new to ArtRage, and are looking for an intuitive painting app, it is a fine place to start.

WhatsApp Quietly Added Encryption To iCloud Backups, by Natasha Lomas, TechCrunch

WhatsApp has quietly beefed up the security of an iCloud backup feature for users of its messaging service — potentially closing a loophole that could enable otherwise end-to-end encrypted messages to become accessible in a readable form. Such as via a subpoena of Apple, which holds the encryption keys for iCloud, or by a hacker otherwise gaining access to a WhatsApp user’s iCloud account.

Notes

Apple Reportedly Doing Worldwide Overnight ‘Refresh’ On Older Apple Stores On May 16, by Ben Lovejoy, 9to5Mac

Apple is planning a worldwide overnight ‘refresh’ of its older retail stores on the night of May 16, according to our own sources. We understand that this is specifically for older and smaller stores that aren’t suitable for the full redesign we’ve seen in flagship stores.

How Museums Are Turning To Virtual Reality And Apps To Engage Visitors, by Nikki Erlick, The Verge

The growing slew of digital entertainment options wrestling for our attention may be part of the problem for museums, but for many institutions, digital technology also offers a potential solution. Charged with the crucial task of preserving our past, museums must now navigate the future.

Don’t Let Facebook Make You Miserable, by Seth Stephens-Davidowitz, New York Times

Any time you are feeling down about your life after lurking on Facebook, go to Google and start typing stuff into the search box. Google’s autocomplete will tell you the searches other people are making. Type in “I always …” and you may see the suggestion, based on other people’s searches, “I always feel tired” or “I always have diarrhea.” This can offer a stark contrast to social media, where everybody “always” seems to be on a Caribbean vacation.

As our lives increasingly move online, I propose a new self-help mantra for the 21st century, courtesy of big data: Don’t compare your Google searches with other people’s Facebook posts.

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If you were born on the 9th of May, well, Happy Birthday to You!

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Thanks for reading.

The Standard-Essential Edition Monday, May 8, 2017

What's Reasonable To Qualcomm Isn't To Apple, by Joe Nocera, Bloomberg

Although the idea behind designating a patent “standard-essential” is to ensure that every company has access to the technology -- at a “reasonable” price -- its critics charge that Qualcomm has turned the idea on its head. When it develops a new technology, it works hard to get the engineering institute to label it standard-essential, and then it charges fees that, in the view of Apple and many other companies, are exorbitant. (A Qualcomm spokesman declined to comment for this column.) Because Qualcomm had the right to go to court to seek an injunction against companies that refused to pay its fees, most companies tended to pay up, however grudgingly.

In February 2015, however, the institute made several critical policy changes that seemed to give the smartphone makers the upper hand. It ruled that patent fees should no longer be paid as a percentage of the entire price of the phone, but rather as a percentage of the component that used the technology. That would radically lower the fees the Apples of the world paid to Qualcomm. And it also took away a key piece of Qualcomm’s leverage by saying that licensing companies should not seek an injunction when there was a dispute. (The U.S. Supreme Court has also made it much more difficult to get an injunction to halt sales due to a patent dispute.)

Apple Agrees To Open Flagship Store At Carnegie Library, by Karen Goff, Washington Business Journal

The District's convention and sports authority has reached an agreement with tech giant Apple to open a global flagship store at the historic Carnegie Library at Mount Vernon Square.

Apple, which has been in discussions with Events D.C. for several months, will renovate the 113-year-old building across the street from the Washington Convention Center. The Events D.C. board is expected to approve a letter of intent at its regularly scheduled meeting Thursday.

Apple Offering Free Smart Keyboard Repairs Under New 3-Year Policy, by Joe Rossignol, MacRumors

Apple has determined that some Smart Keyboards may experience "functional issues" during use, such as the Smart Connector not working or certain keys sticking, repeating, or not responding, according to an internal memo distributed to Apple Stores and Apple Authorized Service Providers last week.

Apple says it will service any qualifying Smart Keyboard free of charge within three years of the date it was originally purchased.

Apple Clarifies That Affiliate Program Changes Affect In-App Purchases Only, by John Voorhees, MacStories

"We’d like to clarify some changes being made to the Affiliate Program. Commissions for all iOS in-app purchases will be reduced from 7% to 2.5% globally, and all other content types (including music, movies, books, paid iOS apps and TV) will remain at the current 7%."

Stuff

How Photos Can Be Used To Analyze Your Health—for Better Or Worse, by Christina Bonnington, Daily Dot

Just launched earlier this week on iPad, the BVI Pro app uses two photos—a head-on shot and shot of your profile—to estimate your body volume. This should give you a more complete picture of your internal health. Select Research, the company behind the app, also eventually hopes to gather enough data to prove to leading governmental and global health bodies that BVI is a more accurate indicator of health than the current standard, BMI.

Cellphone App Used To Set Drivers' Auto Insurance Rates, by Linda Martz, Mansfield News Journal

The app then uses a cellphone's GPS and accelerometer to capture how often a driver slams on the brakes or accelerates hard, and how they take corners. “These sensors capture a lot of information," Manges said.

A driver might have good reason for braking suddenly, such as stopping to miss a deer. “But if you’re using your phone while driving, or texting while driving, or playing Candy Crush or something, you’re not going to be paying attention to the car in front of you, you might look up and need to come to a really hard stop," he said.

Notes

The Falklands Penguins That Would Not Explode, by Matthew Teller, BBC

"We would rather have left the minefields as they were. They are all clearly marked, clearly fenced. No civilian has ever been injured. We said to the British government, 'Don't spend the money here, go to some other country where they have a much greater need to free up farming land.'"

"Unfortunately," Elsby adds, "the British government have signed up to the Ottawa convention, which puts a duty on them to do this."

The Commit-To-A-Phone-Platform Edition Sunday, May 7, 2017

Even Apple Can't Make The Internet Of Things Tolerable, by The Verge

What frustrates me is that HomeKit ignores all previous work done to standardize the Internet of Things, leaving thousands of useful products incompatible. Because HomeKit is designed to be the secure all-encompassing platform for IoT devices for iPhone users, there’s no way Apple will ever include other standards because, by their definition, they’re stupid and insecure. This forces you, your family members, house guests, and anyone else in your home to commit to a phone platform for the long haul — an unreasonable ask.

Handbrake Developers Issue Mac Security Warning After Mirror Download Server Hack, by Tim Hardwick, MacRumors

The developers of open source video transcoder app Handbrake have issued a security warning to Mac users after a mirror download server hosting the software was hacked.

[...]

Handbrake users should note that the primary download mirror and the Handbrake website were unaffected by the hack. Downloads via the application's built-in updater with 1.0 and later are also unaffected, since these are verified by a DSA Signature and won't install if they don't pass. However, users with Handbrake 0.10.5 and earlier who used the application's built-in updater should check their system, as these versions don't have the verification feature.

When Facebook And Instagram Think You're Depressed, by Kari Paul, Vice

In spring 2016, I had a depressive spiral that drove me just short of a mental breakdown. Today—more than a year, three doctors, two antidepressants, and one therapist later—Facebook won't let me forget it.

Bottom of the Page

Just finished reading: Letterman: The Last Giant of Late Night, by Jason Zinoman (Thumb up. Especially if you are interested in Late Night talk shows.)

Just finished watching: Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit, by Kenneth Branagh (Thumb down. Go watch Dead Again instead. Or The Hunt for Red October.)

Currently listening: Music to be Murdered To, by Alfred Hitchcock & Jeff Alexander (Fun)

~

Thanks for reading.

The Subscription-Model Edition Saturday, May 6, 2017

Phil Schiller On App Store Upgrade Pricing, Amazon Echo-Like Devices, Swift, And More, by Kunal Dua, Gadgets 360

"I think for many developers, subscription model is a better way to, go than try to come up with a list of features, and different pricing for upgrade, versus for new customers. I am not saying it doesn't have value for some developers but for most it doesn’t, so that's the challenge. And if you look at the App Store it would take a lot of engineering to do that and so would be at the expense of other features we can deliver."

"For example, the App Store has one price for an app, when you see it, you see if there's a price on it, that's the price. It doesn't have multiple prices for multiple tiers of customers so to engineer that in, it's not impossible, but a lot of work for a small segment of software that we hope for many of them, subscription pricing is a better model, the one where the customers are comfortable with. So we’ll keep talking to developers about what's most important on their list, we want them to keep telling is if that [upgrade pricing] is high on the list or not, and we’ll keep an open mind to it, but it's harder than people realise."

Apple’s China Problem: WeChat, by John Gruber, Daring Fireball

Personally, I think the iPhone 7 is such a great phone, and the 7 Plus in particular has such a great camera, that the quality of the latest iPhone hardware, including how it looks, shows just how much of a problem it is that WeChat, not iOS, is central to the iPhone experience in China.

That’s a real problem for Apple, because even if Thompson is right (and I’m wrong) and Apple does have a boring-looking-hardware problem in China, they can (and seem poised to) remedy that by releasing exciting new iPhone hardware this year. But if the problem is that iOS engenders far less platform loyalty in China because of WeChat’s centrality — or even worse, if WeChat is central and better on Android than it is on iOS — there’s no easy fix for Apple.

Preview How Furniture Looks In Your Home With AR Before Purchasing, by Emma Hutchings, PSFK

Home remodeling and design platform Houzz has launched a feature for its free iPhone and iPad app that lets users preview furniture in their own home before they buy.

Bottom of the Page

Apple not earning enough Service revenue? Buy Netflix.

Apple losing out in the cylinder-in-the-kitchen market? Buy Sonos.

Apple's late in the self-driving next-big-thing car? Buy Tesla.

Apple's stock not expensive enough? Buy Disney.

Hence, the solution to Apple's China WeChat problem is clear: Borrow $50 billion and just do it.

~

Thanks for reading.

The Gateways-To-Gatekeepers Edition Friday, May 5, 2017

European Tech Lobbies For Action Against Apple And Google, by Duncan Robinson, Financial Times

Spotify and a host of European internet businesses have called on Brussels to crack down on what they see as troubling practices by the likes of Apple and Google.

[...]

Although the letter to the European Commission does not cite the Silicon Valley giants by name, it complains that some mobile operating systems, app stores and search engines have evolved from “gateways” into “gatekeepers” — effectively hindering rivals from competing with their own services.

Dozens Of Popular iPhone Apps Are Still Leaking Your Login Details, by Zack Whittaker, ZDNet

Strafach disclosed the names of dozens of low-risk apps, but held off on disclosing the banking and medical apps in order to privately disclose the issue to each app developer.

Time has passed -- three months specifically, the standard time in any disclosure process -- and while some of the affected apps have been fixed, many have not.

The Baffling Icons Behind Apple’s First Ever Singapore Store, by Joon Ian Wong, Quartz

One of Singapore’s monikers is the “little red dot,” a title derisively bestowed on the tiny nation, which measures just 50 km at its widest, by then Indonesian president BJ Habibie in 1998 as the region was in the throes of a currency crisis. [...]

Singaporeans have self-deprecatingly embraced the term. The current premier, Lee Hsien Loong, then a deputy prime minister, said in a 2003 speech: “The little red dot has entered the psyche of every Singaporean, and become a permanent part of our vocabulary, for which we are grateful.”

Stuff

Why Capital One Bought Hundreds Of Apple Watches And Gave Them To Employees, by Julie Bort, Business Insider

"Before using the watches, the ambassador would either stand in line with the customer, hand the customer a free coffee card, or leave the customer's side to order the coffee," the spokesperson told us.

By using the Apple Watches, they can order coffee while chatting with customers anywhere in the cafe, and the drink is delivered.

Develop

How Stripe Teaches Employees To Code, by Ella Grimshaw, Stripe

Last year, we decided to take another step and to start a coding class for any interested employees. The goal of this class wasn’t to help people become full-time engineers. It was instead to help people get deeper insight into how modern software development works so that they could better understand how problems get solved at technology companies. We hoped it could also provide a foundation that would make it easier for participants to continue to self-teach if they found it enjoyable—getting started is often the hardest part.

Based on the success of the class, we realized that the experience might be interesting for people at other companies to read about and perhaps replicate. So here’s a blog post about how we did it.

Notes

Qualcomm Said To Seek U.S. Import Ban For iPhones, by Ian King and Susan Decker, Bloomberg

Qualcomm is preparing to ask the International Trade Commission to stop the iPhone, which is built in Asia, from entering the country, threatening to block Apple’s iconic product from the American market in advance of its anticipated new model this fall, according to the person, who asked not to be identified because the discussions are private. [...]

The ITC has the advantage of speed, judges with experience in patent law and the ability to get an import ban, said Alex Hadjis, a patent lawyer with the Oblon law firm in Alexandria, Virginia, who specializes in cases before the agency.

Imagination Technologies Can’t Resolve Apple IP Spat, Opens Formal Dispute, by Kelly Fiveash, Ars Technica

Imagination Technologies has placed its patents row with Apple on a formal footing, confirming to the City that it has opened a dispute resolution process because—it says—attempts to settle a licence and royalty deal with the iPhone maker remain at a standstill.

Bosch Said To Win Some IPhone Orders In Blow To InvenSense, by Alex Webb and Ian King, Bloomberg

Robert Bosch GmbH has won orders from Apple Inc. to supply the next iPhone with some of its motion sensors, according to a person familiar with the deal, a potential blow to InvenSense Inc., currently the main supplier of those smartphone components.

Apple Buys More Company Debt Than The World's Biggest Bond Funds, by Claire Boston, Bloomberg

Like many technology companies, Apple has resisted transferring the money it earns abroad back to the U.S. to avoid triggering corporate income taxes on the earnings. Instead, the Cupertino, California-based company invests in corporate bonds and other assets like money market funds and U.S. Treasuries.

With more than 90 percent of its war chest abroad, the company regularly issues bonds of its own to help fund programs like share buybacks and capital spending. Apple said Thursday it’s selling debt in as many as six parts to support a 63-cent dividend and an increased stock-repurchase program.

The Long Fight For The Future Of The Internet, by Victor Luckerson, The Ringer

At a time when health care, immigration policy, and environmental regulations are all facing drastic change, convincing people they need to care about complex internet laws may prove tougher this time. And the iconic tech companies that have played key roles in generating public awareness about threats to internet freedom are increasingly positioning themselves as too big to fail.

The Smart-Working Edition Thursday, May 4, 2017

The Tools I Use To Work Smarter, by Mike Vardy, The Sweet Setup

A lot of my smart working habits are conveyed in the personal productivity approach I use (which I discuss in greater detail in The Productivityist Playbook). But I also use tools to help with the processes that fall outside – or augment – my regular workflow. These tools go beyond the usual (task app, email app, etc.), and some of them aren’t digital at all.

Apple’s China Problem, by Ben Thompson

The fundamental issue is this: unlike the rest of the world, in China the most important layer of the smartphone stack is not the phone’s operating system. Rather, it is WeChat. [...]

Naturally, WeChat works the same on iOS as it does on Android.4 That, by extension, means that for the day-to-day lives of Chinese there is no penalty to switching away from an iPhone.

Apple CEO Tim Cook Announces $1B Fund For Advanced Manufacturing Jobs On CNBC's Mad Money, by Juli Clover, MacRumors

Cook went on to say that Apple is always looking at new ways to create jobs in the United States, and said the company will "bring things to market" in regard to growing its the employee, developer, and manufacturing base. Cook also highlighted the $50 billion Apple spent purchasing from U.S manufacturers over the last year, including sourcing materials from 3M (adhesive) and Corning (iPhone and iPad glass).

Apple Releases New Job Creation Numbers, Says It’s Already Responsible For 2 Million U.S. Jobs, by Catherine Shu, TechCrunch

Apple updated its U.S. job creation web page today with figures from 2016. Though Apple refreshes the site every year, this latest update coincides with CEO Tim Cook’s announcement during a CNBC interview that the company has formed a $1 billion fund to promote advanced manufacturing jobs in the U.S.

Apple Steps Up Its Effort To Emphasize Its Economic Impact, by Michael Liedtke And Christopher S. Rugaber, Associated Press

The Wednesday report on U.S jobs is its fourth update, but the first to include a state-by-state breakdown of Apple employees.

[...]

Apple's decision to provide detailed information about the locations of its U.S. employees could help the company win support from lawmakers eager to protect jobs in their states, Enderle said. "It gives senators something to push back with, recognizing that Apple is a real risky company to target anyway because its products are so popular with people."

Apple Store Along Orchard Road To Open Soon, by Today

On Wednesday night (May 3), the barricades outside the store at Knightsbridge Mall were taken down — revealing a white facade with its store name “Apple Orchard Road”.

Three large red icons — consisting of a red apple, a heart, and a red dot — adorn the storefront. The icons have been dubbed “Apple Loves the Little Red Dot”, according to a press statement from the company on Thursday.

Stuff

Apple’s First Clips Update Improves Live Title Text Editing And More, by Zac Hall, 9to5Mac

The new version improves Live Title text editing and includes a few other changes as well.

Fast Time Zone Conversions With Zones, by Federico Viticci, MacStories

While I've mostly learned to perform time zone calculations in my head, it can still be difficult when I'm dealing with cities I don't know, or when countries change to DST in different periods of the year. I still appreciate a good utility that converts time zones for me.

Brother's Entire Lineup Of Mobile Printers Now Certified By Apple's Made For iPhone Program, by Joe Rossignol, MacRumors

Brother today announced that every series in its mobile printer lineup now features at least one model certified by Apple's MFi Program.

Develop

Apple's App Analytics Platform Now Includes Info On Where Customers Discover Apps, by Juli Clover, MacRumors

Apple today announced that its App Analytics platform in iTunes Connect now provides developers with insight into where customers discover apps, a welcome change that will give developers more information on where app referrals are coming from.

Apple Reportedly Keeping App Affiliate Rate At 7%, Dropping In-app Purchase Rate To 2.5%, by Chance Miller, 9to5Mac

While some clarity from Apple would be nice, it seems like last month’s statement was largely misinterpreted and that app affiliate rates are staying at 7 percent, while in-app rates are dropping to 2.5 percent.

Damage, by Matt Gemmell

No company has done as much damage to the perceived value of software, and the sustainability of being an independent developer, as Apple.

Not that other companies wouldn’t have done the same thing — they would have. It’s just that Apple was the successful one.

Notes

Diary Of An Ex-Apple Intern, by Michael Grothaus, Fast Company

So how do you get an internship at these coveted companies? I spoke to Maxime Britto, who is now a software engineer and the founder of Purple Giraffe, a French online school for mobile developers. But before he founded Purple Giraffe, he got his start at Apple working as an intern. In his own words, here’s how he did it and what the experience was like.

Microsoft Gets Serious About Hardware, by Dina Bass and Mark Gurman, Bloomberg

Microsoft’s emergence as a hardware player coincides with a perceived lack of innovation at Apple, where Macs have been taking a back seat to the iPhone. It has been almost seven years since Apple last redesigned the Macbook Air, the computer most similar to Microsoft’s laptop. The latest MacBook Pro, released more than 500 days after its predecessor, was panned by professionals who deemed it underpowered and too hard to use. Apple, which once poked fun at Microsoft during developer conferences with the tagline, “Redmond, start your photocopiers,” recently acknowledged it had alienated Mac loyalists and pledged to do better. The upshot: Microsoft has an opportunity to steal Apple’s customers and establish itself as a gadget powerhouse.

[...]

Before long, a company whose hardware mostly consisted of peripherals like keyboards and mice (and briefly a line of plush, interactive Barney and Teletubbies dolls) was turning out sleek, brushed-metal machines that, if not revolutionary, were inventive and consumer-friendly.

Thousands Of Veterans Want To Learn To Code — But Can’t, by Andrew Zaleski, Backchannel

But after he left the army in 2013, Molina and his family moved back to his native Oregon. As he weighed his options, he decided that a code school was his best bet to keep learning. He needed an immersive program, but on a faster timeline than college could offer — he had a wife and three daughters to support. But he couldn’t afford the programs on his own, and the military didn’t recognize code schools as legitimate enterprises.

“I could not use my GI Bill to go to code school. That was the number one roadblock,” Molina says.

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I am just a little disappointed that the first Apple Store in Singapore is going by the name Apple Orchard Road, and not by the simpler Apple Orchard name.

~

Thanks for reading.

The Modest-Growth Edition Wednesday, May 3, 2017

iPhone Holds Steady While Macs And Services Keep Apple Growing In Q2 2017, by Andrew Cunningham, Ars Technica

So far, Apple is back to modest growth in 2017—iPhone unit sales are down just a little and iPad sales continue their precipitous slide, but iPhone revenue is actually up and the Mac, the Services division, and the Other Products divisions all posted solid growth.

Cook Suggests Apple Watch + Headphones Now At Least A $5b Per Year Business, by Ina Fried, Axios

On a conference call with analysts, CEO Tim Cook said that if the Apple Watch, along with Beats and AirPods headphones, were a stand-alone business, they would have revenue roughly equal to that of a Fortune 500 company.

Apple CEO Tim Cook Attributes A 'Pause' In iPhone Purchases To 2017 iPhone Rumors, by Juli Clover, MacRumors

During today's second quarter earnings call, Apple CEO Tim Cook said Apple was seeing a "pause" in purchases of the iPhone, which he attributed to "earlier and much more frequent reports about future iPhones."

Apple CEO Tim Cook: 'Demand Was Stronger Towards iPhone 7 Plus Than We Expected', by Juli Clover, MacRumors

"One of the things we didn't get right was the mix between the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus," said Cook. "Demand was much stronger towards the iPhone 7 Plus than we expected." Apple's misestimation of the popularity of the iPhone 7 Plus led to some shortages of the bigger-screened device during the December quarter.

Why Apple’s Services Business Is So Valuable, by Rani Molla, Recode

When Apple reported its second-quarter results yesterday, one of the first things it touted was the “strong momentum” of its Services business, which includes iTunes and Apple Music, the App Store, iCloud, Apple Pay and more.

While the company’s results are still mostly driven by the iPhone, it’s increasingly trying to portray Services as a growth narrative of its own.

Why?

Apple CEO Tim Cook: Why We’re Withholding Royalties Owed To Qualcomm, by Daniel Howley, Yahoo

“You can’t pay something when there is a dispute about the amount,” Cook said during Apple’s quarterly earnings call on Tuesday.

Apple has an ongoing legal dispute with Qualcomm (QCOM) that heated up last week. That’s when reports emerged that Apple had decided to withhold royalty payments to contract manufacturers that, in turn, pay money to Qualcomm. The move spurred Qualcomm to slash its profit and revenue forecasts.

Q2 2017 Call Transcript: Apple's Answers To Analyst's Questions, by Jason Snell, Six Colors

Stuff

Updating Stored Credit Card Information For The App Store, by J. D. Biersdorfer, New York Times

How do I change the billing information for iPad app purchases?

Friday Labs Unveils New Minimalist & Easy-to-install Smart Lock W/ HomeKit Support, by Chance Miller, 9to5Mac

The design of Friday Lock makes it the “world’s smallest and most stylish” smart lock, as well as easy to install. The smart lock is made to fit over the previous lock’s footprint, meaning that only a single color-coded plate is required to make the smart lock appear natural.

Notes

Virtual-reality Worlds Filled With Penguins And Otters Are A Promising Alternative To Painkillers, by Jo Marchant, Quartz

Over the last few decades, US doctors have tackled constant pain problems by prescribing ever-higher levels of opioid painkillers—drugs such as hydrocodone and oxycodone, which belong to the same chemical family as morphine and heroin. These medications have turned out to be less effective for treating chronic pain than thought – and far more addictive. The surge in prescriptions has fed spiraling levels of opioid abuse and tens of thousands of overdose deaths.

Efforts to curb opioid prescriptions and abuse are starting to work. But with the spectacular failure of a drug-centric approach to treating chronic pain, doctors desperately need alternative ways to fight a condition that blights millions of lives. Jones is trying one, seemingly unlikely technological solution: virtual reality.

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Today, I learnt that Pizza Salad is a thing. I like a good pizza. And I like a good salad. Therefore, I think I will like this.

Or will I? (I like pizzas. I like tom yum chicken. But I did tasted a tom yum chicken pizza before...)

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There are two food that I enjoy no matter how they are cooked. Eggs. And potato.

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Thanks for reading.

The Largely-Unnoticed Edition Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Major Apps Abandoning Apple Watch, Including Google Maps, Amazon & eBay, by Neil Hughes, AppleInsider

The fact that these high-profile removals have gone largely unnoticed could be a sign that the apps simply were not widely used. In contrast, removing iPad support from an iOS app, for example, would likely be noticed immediately and generate headlines.

It’s Time To Rethink Early Apple Watch Apps, Not Abandon Them, by Zac Hall, 9to5Mac

There are tools to make better apps for Apple Watch that some high-profile app makers haven’t used yet, and there are possibilities for new apps to exist that haven’t been created yet.

My First 24 Hours With An Apple Watch: A Slightly Cranky Tick-by-tick Diary, by David Gewirtz, ZDNet

It's almost exactly 24 hours since I put on the watch for the first time. My feelings about it are decidedly mixed. I'm definitely not so impressed with it that I'll keep the watch if my project needs aren't met, but my experience of wearing the watch was not nearly as bad as I expected.

App Store Price Increases Mandated By Apple Now In Effect In EU, With New 0.49 Euro Tier, by Mike Wuerthele, AppleInsider

Apple has made good its promises to increase App Store pricing in the European Union, with pricing including a pair of new low-cost tiers in effect since Tuesday morning's refresh.

Here’s Why People Keep Buying Apple Products, by Todd Haselton, CNBC

There's one big reason people buy Apple products: the ecosystem.

People don't buy iPhones by the tens of millions just because they like the hardware, though that's a huge part of it, but because they're tied into an ever-growing, sprawling ecosystem of software and services that allow you to do more with the products if you continue to invest in that ecosystem.

Stuff

Apple Showcases iPhone 7 Plus Portrait Mode Photography In ‘The City’, by Zac Hall, 9to5Mac

Apple has published a new extended video ad called ‘The City’ where it showcases the iPhone 7 Plus and shooting photos with Portrait Mode.

Logitech Launches Slim Folio Keyboard Case With Four-year Battery Life For New 2017 iPad, by Jeff Benjamin, 9to5Mac

But the most compelling thing about Logitech’s iPad keyboard case is its battery life. Thanks the implementation of power-sipping Bluetooth Low Energy, Logitech states that the unit’s coin cell batteries can last up to four years with two hours of daily usage.

Tynker Teaches Swift To Grade-schoolers For Apple's 'Everyone Can Code' Program, by Mike Wuerthele, AppleInsider

Long-time coding educators Tynker have released a pair of introductory courses in support of Apple's "Everyone Can Code" initiative to help teach younger kids the fundamentals of coding before they get involved with Swift Playgrounds.

Develop

Programming As A Way Of Thinking, by Allen Downey, Scientific American

Programming used to be about translation: expressing ideas in natural language, working with them in math notation, then writing flowcharts and pseudocode, and finally writing a program. Translation was necessary because each language offers different capabilities. Natural language is expressive and readable, pseudocode is more precise, math notation is concise, and code is executable.

But the price of translation is that we are limited to the subset of ideas we can express effectively in each language. Some ideas that are easy to express computationally are awkward to write in math notation, and the symbolic manipulations we do in math are impossible in most programming languages.

The power of modern programming languages is that they are expressive, readable, concise, precise, and executable. That means we can eliminate middleman languages and use one language to explore, learn, teach, and think.

Notes

Tim Cook Auctioning Lunch Meeting At Apple Park For Charity, by Zac Hall, 9to5Mac

Every year Tim Cook and Charitybuzz partner to auction off a lunch meeting with the Apple CEO for charity, and this year there’s a new perk for the highest bidder: a ticket to Apple Park. The campaign is valued at $100,000 to raise money for the RFK Human Rights group, and this year the meeting will take place at Apple’s brand new campus.

“I Begged Him To Come Home”: Breaking The Taboo Around Texting The Dead, by Amelia Tait, New Statesman

In texting her father after he had died, Silvestri is by no means unusual. No official figures exist for the number of people who use technology to message their deceased loved ones, but Sara Lindsay, a professional counsellor, clinical supervisor, and trainer, says it is “more common than we think”.

“I see it as a modern and contemporary part of the grieving process,” she says. “I think in a way it's very similar to visiting a graveside, in that the bereaved are reaching out, particularly in the early days, because it takes a long time for people to process the reality that this person has now gone.”

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I've just had a wonderful dinner...

... and now I'm falling asleep.

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Thanks for reading.

The Do-Not-Overthink Edition Monday, May 1, 2017

“Hackintoshes” Keep Giving Apple’s Frustrated Pros A Place To Go, by Andrew Cunningham, Ars Technica

Hackintoshes clearly fill a void, and they fill it well enough that at least a subset of Apple’s pro users are leaning on them instead of actual Apple hardware. But it doesn’t have to be this way, and the fact that these people are all willing to put up with Hackintosh headaches just to run macOS and its apps means that Apple can still win them over (or win them back).

After talking with dozen of Hackintosh users, I come away believing that Apple doesn’t need to overthink this. The “pro” market that the company clearly still wants to keep happy would be served best if Apple treated its desktops (including the Mac Mini, the iMac, and the Mac Pro) the same way it did around the turn of the decade. The Mac Mini has long been neglected, and its latest iteration offered no quad-core CPUs, no upgradeable RAM, and no easily-replaceable storage. All the 27-inch iMac really needs is better GPUs, but the 21.5-inch version has lost both dedicated GPU options and user-upgradeable memory since the 2012 redesign. And for the Mac Pro, well, you’re all pretty familiar with the arguments against the 2013 Mac Pro.

Uber’s Not Alone In Tracking Users When Apps Are Deleted, by Glenn Fleishman, Macworld

And one of the techniques for persistence between delete and reinstall, storing items in the secure keychain, will disappear soon. This seemed to be a flaw, not a feature, that a deleted app’s keychain items would remain. A beta of iOS 10.3 deleted these items when removing an app, but it’s not clear that was rolled out yet in the 10.3 release tree.

Leppert noted that of all the assumptions made about Uber’s behavior, few were raised about Apple’s. “We’ve all defaulted to thinking they’re in our best interests,” he said. He suggested that given Apple didn’t disclose Uber’s transgressions despite holding a guillotine over Uber’s neck, it’s worth giving Apple a hard look as well.

Stuff

Interact Scratchpad 1.0.2 Brings Refined Contact Data Mining To macOS, by Mike Wuerthele , AppleInsider

Interact Scratchpad lets you paste or write every detail you can think of for a contact and pops it all into the right places. So forget clicking in the Job Title section of Contacts and writing CEO, Interact Scratchpad recognizes what's a job, what's a company, who's a person.

Develop

The Secret To Wild Creativity Is An Obsessive Spreadsheet, According To OK Go, by Anne Quito, Quartz

“People think that every time we make a video that it’ll be seen by millions of people, but everyone has to succeed on the same [merits],” Kulash told TED curator Chris Anderson. The band doesn’t expect views just because of its reputation for wizardry.

“Most people are not like ‘Wow, it’s an OK Go video,'” Kulash said. Rather, when audiences see the band’s gravity-defying tricks in “Upside Down & Inside Out,” “They’re like, ‘Who are those dudes in the sky?’”

Notes

Apple’s Stock Races Ahead As Investors Bet On New iPhones, by Vindu Goel, New York Times

What’s driving the stock, say skeptics and fans alike, is hope — hope that the new iPhones due in September, on the 10th anniversary of the original iPhone’s introduction, will be dazzling enough to inspire existing iPhone users to upgrade and prompt others to switch from Android phones made by Samsung, Huawei and other manufacturers.

“Everyone expects Apple to cure cancer with their next product launch,” said Kevin Landis, chief executive of Firsthand Funds, who has managed tech-focused mutual funds through many ups and downs.

Love Wildlife Photos? There’s A Good Chance They Weren’t Shot In The Wild, by Selina Cheng, Quartz

A wolf with lush, black fur and piercing yellow eyes is sitting on a stack of rocks in the woods, staring down a group of photographers less than 10 feet away. Whenever its head turns, camera shutters fire off like machine guns. The wolf’s handler asks the photographers how they plan to explain their luck at capturing these seemingly once-in-a-lifetime images. “The story is, you staked out for four weeks, out in the wilderness,” one of the photographers jokes.

The real story is that the wolf is a three-year-old captive named Zeus, and the photographers only drove out to meet him this morning, from their comfortable lodge five minutes away. Zeus was raised and trained at a game farm called Minnesota Wildlife Connection, where his job is to pose for photographers and videographers who want to create images of animals in the wild.

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Just finished reading: The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes by Arthur Conan Doyle; Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman.

Just finished watching: Sherlock, series 1 to 3; And Now For Something Completely Different.

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Thanks for reading.