The Planning-Mode Edition Thursday, June 1, 2017

What To Do If The Laptop Ban Goes Global, by Dan Gillmor, Backchannel

But when people like Homeland Security head John Kelly sound ready to drastically restrict travelers’ use of electronics in plane cabins — expanding a limited ban that’s already in place — we need to move into planning mode, not just worrying mode. If you’re among those who travel with a laptop, tablet, or digital camera, get ready for a huge mess.


So what should you do in the event of wider ban on cabin electronics? I asked some security experts for advice. “There is no good advice,” says one of them, Bruce Schneier. “It’s just crazy. Truly crazy.”

But some options for travelers may a bit less bad than others.

A Laptop Ban Could Actually Kill People, by Joe Nocera, Bloomberg

According to the Federal Aviation Administration, there have been 160 "incidents" involving lithium-ion batteries in cargo holds since 1991. In 2010 and again in 2011, cargo planes carrying pallets of the batteries caught fire and crashed, killing the crew members aboard. And in January, 2016, the F.A.A. issued a warning about transporting batteries in the cargo hold, noting that "a lithium battery fire could lead to a catastrophic explosion."

When a laptop in the passenger cabin spews smoke or bursts into flame — it’s happened some 19 times over the last five years, according to Christine Negroni, Forbes’s aviation blogger — it is quickly noticed and extinguished. But a fire in the cargo hold won’t be noticed, and experts say that the heat from such a fire quickly grows too high to be extinguished by the fire containment equipment in the hold.

Doubling Down On Secrecy

Apple Is Manufacturing A Siri Speaker To Outdo Google And Amazon, by Mark Gurman and Alex Webb, Bloomberg

The iPhone-maker has started manufacturing a long-in-the-works Siri-controlled smart speaker, according to people familiar with the matter. Apple could debut the speaker as soon as its annual developer conference in June, but the device will not be ready to ship until later in the year, the people said.

The device will differ from Inc.’s Echo and Alphabet Inc.’s Google Home speakers by offering virtual surround sound technology and deep integration with Apple’s product lineup, said the people, who requested anonymity to discuss products that aren’t yet public.

When The Scoops Run Dry, by John Gruber, Daring Fireball

“Apple’s long-rumored Siri-driven HomeKit speaker hub has entered manufacturing in Taipei” — there’s a 13-word summary with all the actual news in this story. I like Mark Gurman, but it’s painful to see these meager stale morsels stretched into feature articles.


The closer we get to the WWDC keynote, the more likely things are to get spoiled. But here we are 5 days out and no one has leaked just about anything about iOS 11 or MacOS 10.13, or what’s going on with this 10.5-inch iPad Pro, or if there’s anything new coming for WatchOS or tvOS. Again, there’s a lot of time between now and Monday morning, but it might be time to give Tim Cook credit for “doubling down on secrecy”.


So Your Phone Ran Out Of Juice. Here Are The Top Chargers For It., by Damon Darlin, New York Times

We can’t live without our cellphones and they can’t live without battery power. So how best to keep them charged?

Adobe Unveils Free 'Adobe Scan' Optical Character Recognition App, by Juli Clover, MacRumors

Adobe today announced the launch of Adobe Scan, a new Optical Character Recognition (OCR) app that's able to scan documents and convert printed text into digital text in a matter of seconds.

Amazon Alexa Now Supports iCloud Calendar And Reminders, by Steven Sande, Apple World Today

Amazon announced today that its Alexa intelligent assistant -- used in the Amazon Echo ecosystem and a growing number of third party devices -- now supports iCloud Calendar and Reminders.

Hands-on: Logitech’s New MX Master 2S Mouse With Flow Is Remarkable, by Trevor Daugherty, 9to5Mac

In comparison to the Apple Magic Mouse, both of these models are far more comfortable to use for extended periods of time and have far greater battery life.

The HomeKit-enabled Eve Degree Will Tell You How Humid Your Garden Is, by Ashley Carman, The Verge

Elgato’s new Eve Degree device will monitor both indoor and outdoor temperatures between zero degrees to 130 degrees Fahrenheit, as well as humidity levels throughout your home. And the best part is that it runs off a replaceable coin cell battery that’ll last up to a year.


Developer Earnings From The App Store Top $70 Billion, by Apple

Apple today announced that its global developer community has earned over $70 billion since the App Store launched in 2008. The App Store is home to the most innovative apps in the world and in the past 12 months alone, downloads have grown over 70 percent.


With the subscription business model now available to developers across all 25 app categories, the App Store’s active paid subscriptions are up 58 percent year over year.

Trickle-down Workaholism In Startups, by Signal v Noise

There’s an ingrained mythology around startups that not only celebrates burn-out efforts, but damn well requires it. It’s the logical outcome of trying to compress a lifetime’s worth of work into the abbreviated timeline of a venture fund.

It’s not hard to understand why such a mythology serves the interest of money men who spread their bets wide and only succeed when unicorns emerge. Of course they’re going to desire fairytale sacrifices. There’s little to no consequence to them if the many fall by the wayside, spent to completion trying to hit that home run. Make me rich or die tryin’.


What If The iPad Smart Keyboard Had A Trackpad?, by John Gruber, Daring Fireball

A hardware keyboard with a trackpad could have just as good an interface for moving the insertion point and selecting text as the software keyboard. Even better, really, since you wouldn’t have to use two fingers or start it with a 3D Touch force press. And, a trackpad would make this feature discoverable. An awful lot of iPad owners — most of them, probably — don’t know about the two-finger drag feature on the on-screen keyboard.

How The Trendiest Grilled Cheese Venture Got Burnt, by Bianca Bosker, Backchannel

And internally, The Melt’s mission statement has changed. “The Melt was founded on the idea of ‘better food for our kids, and jobs creation,’” a publicist for The Melt wrote in an email. “While this remains core to what the company does today, the team recently updated and refocused The Melt’s mission statement.” The Melt’s new mission statement? “We consistently provide craveable grilled cheese and cheeseburgers handcrafted by friendly crew members using the best all natural ingredients enabled by helpful technology and served in a warm, welcoming environment.”

The Melt’s revamped mission is telling. Before, it envisioned itself tackling ambitious and systemic world problems, much as a tech company would. Now, its goals are individualistic and basic: delivering delicious sandwiches to customers. In short, it sounds like a restaurant. And technology has been reduced to a supporting role; The Melt’s tech should be “helpful,” just as its décor should be “welcoming” and its staff “friendly.”

Bottom of the Page

Is there a point in life when one can say, well, I've had a life that I am satisfied, and if I am dead tomorrow, I'll be fine with what I've experienced and what I've done?

I am not on my deathbed right now, as far as I know. (Who knows what fate has prepared for me, just lurking around the corner?) But if I am on my deathbed right now, I don't think I'll plead to stay around too long just because I have things that I have not done and things that I have not experienced. I think I'll be able to say my good-byes.

It's not that I am giving up, or ready to die. I still have to work to bring home the bacon. I still wish I can make new friends. I probably will lust after whatever new stuff Apple to reveal next week at WWDC. And I definitely want to be around my family in the months and years to come. Maybe one day I'll be ready. Not today though.

Just that I am already satisfied.


Am I even making sense?


Thanks for reading.