Archive for July 2017

The Firmware-Download Edition Monday, July 31, 2017

Apple Firmware Release May Reveal iPhone Plans, by Jason Snell, Six Colors

Nobody digs into Apple software releases like Steve Troughton-Smith. And this is a big one. Apparently Apple released a firmware download for the HomePod (not due until the end of the year!) on its servers, and inside that firmware there’s information about future iPhone hardware and support for an infrared face unlock feature code-named Pearl ID.

Apple Issues Statement Regarding Removal Of Unlicensed VPN Apps In China, by Matthew Panzarino, TechCrunch

Unsurprisingly, Apple says that it is complying with regulations put in place by the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology earlier this year that require VPN apps to be licensed by the government.

Apple’s Capitulation To China’s VPN Crack-down Will Return To Haunt It At Home, by Mike Butcher, TechCrunch

So we can see where Mr Cook is under pressure. China is Apple’s second market after the US and has far more potential for growth. To stay in the country he must walk a delicate balancing act with the famously restrictive authorities, while growing sales.


But perhaps the biggest headache Tim has is that Apple not have a leg to stand on when it is once again confronted with governmental censorship elsewhere.


Why Logitech’s “Flow” Is A Desktop Revelation, by Leigh Stark, Pickr

So many of us have at least two computers on our desk. It could be a Mac and a PC, or two of each, plus a little more, and that makes Logitech’s latest concept super useful, and very very cool.

Introduced earlier in the month, Logitech Flow is a rather unique concept, providing a way for one mouse to connect to up to three computers, and not just connect, but also control.

Flux 7 For macOS Makes Hand Coding Easier, by Dennis Sellers, Apple World Today

Flux, the web design application for macOS, has been revved to version 7. The software can work with everything from a modern site using HTML5 and CSS3 to legacy sites built on older technologies.

Microsoft's Windows Phone Keyboard For The iPhone Is Dead, by Tom Warren, The Verge

Microsoft first released its Windows Phone keyboard for the iPhone more than a year ago, with a unique one-handed mode. Microsoft is now removing it from the App Store and encouraging users to download SwiftKey instead.


Apple Eyeing Green Energy In Australia, by AFR

Global technology giant Apple's environmental boss Lisa Jackson says the company is looking at expanding into Australia's energy market including a stake in solar and wind projects.

With Apple purchasing solar farms across the world to help its target of being 100 per cent renewable, Ms Jackson said the company was looking at all options to reduce its carbon footprint in Australia.

The Absurdity Of Honolulu's New Law Banning Pedestrians From Looking At Their Cellphones, by Henry Grabar, Slate

The way to stop drivers from killing pedestrians is to make the roads safe. More than four in five pedestrian fatalities occur outside intersections, which is not surprising: Americans suburbs are designed for cars, and people without them are condemned to play Frogger. Too often, the response is to blame the victim—rather than reformin the system that puts people in danger in the first place.

The Physical-Buttons Edition Sunday, July 30, 2017

The iPod Shuffle’s Death Marks The End Of An Era For Physical Buttons, by Chaim Gartenberg, The Verge

Yet, at the end of the day, I’ll miss the shuffle. Perhaps out of a sense of nostalgia. But also because its physical buttons were the last relic of a more tangible era of mobile devices.

The iPod Shuffles Into The Sunset, by M.G. Siegler, 500ish Words

But a not insignificant part of me misses the svelteness and simplicity of that first iPod shuffle. It did one thing, and it did it perfectly. As a kid who grew up rewinding tapes and hauling around CDs, it was magic.


This Ingeniously Simple Device Could Help Kids And Even Adults Learn To Code, by Daniel Howley, Yahoo

The Pixel Kit is an educational tool designed to help anyone from kids as young as 6 all the way up to adults learn the basics of coding. And while not every kid will fall in love with it — it’s not a fidget spinner, after all — the Pixel Kit is an ingeniously simple device that helps marry the physical and digital worlds using a simple lightbox.

Hands On: FileMaker Pro 16 Adds Design And Integration Features To Long-time Mac Database App, by Mike Wuerthele, AppleInsider

Existing users can and should just go right ahead and update. People considering it for the first time may not see anything utterly compelling in the new features, but each improvement adds to an already world-class application.

FileMaker Pro is more than an application, really. It's sold now as a whole platform where every bit of it both online and off sees improvements over each iteration.

Hands On: Default Folder X For macOS Transforms How You Use And Retrieve Documents, by Mike Wuerthele and William Gallagher, AppleInsider

You open and save documents on your Mac all day long. Default Folder X is the latest version of a long-running app, and still makes it faster to find what you're after and to choose where to keep them. In its latest version, Default Folder X 5.1.5 handles those minimized Save dialogs that Apple is so fond of.

Sanity-saving Apps For New Mums, by Free Press Journal

As a new mommy, you are probably juggling time between looking after your baby, taking a tiny bit out for yourself, and trying to squeeze in some for your chores or office work. Of course, it is not possible to manage everything yourself, and sometimes, a little help can make a big difference! With technology having seeped into almost facets of our life, have you ever thought about using your phone to assist you with your mommy duties? And, if you own a smartphone, there are many parenting apps that could you get started!


A Look Into NASA’s Coding Philosophy, by Abner Coimbre, Student Voices

The story of the agency is well-known, which is that the space program may suffer irreversible consequences if any of its software is incorrect, among them death. The shock of that reality has allowed them to develop a certain attitude towards programming. It could be instructive to take a look at what they value.

With some years of work there, I wish to provide a first-hand account on the philosophy that’s allowed the space agency to produce some of the world’s most reliable software, and I’ll frame their attitude towards programming with a set of four assumptions I think they make for programmers in the workforce (and which I have experienced directly.)

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Yes, I continue to wish there is a physical play/pause button on my iPhone.


Just finished reading: The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet by Becky Chambers. A breezy read for me, perhaps because I am trying to not to think of the realities I am residing in.


I wish I can take one feature from podcast player A, one feature from podcast player B, and another feature from podcast player C, mix them up, and create my perfect podcast player.

Remember the promises of OpenDoc? Of course, something like OpenDoc will never work in a sand-boxed environment like iOS.


Thanks for reading.

The Humming-Homes Edition Saturday, July 29, 2017

Putting Apple's HomeKit Smart Home Platform To The Test, by David Nield, T3

HomeKit was unveiled by Apple along with iOS 8 back in 2014, and yet there's still a scarcity of homes humming along with HomeKit-enabled appliances. Is it worth investing in the tech yet? Or do potential smart home owners need to give HomeKit more time?

To investigate the current state of HomeKit, we gathered together some Apple devices, some HomeKit-ready gear, and set it all up - here's what we found, and what we think your best options are if you're considering using HomeKit in your own place of residence.

ARKit: Augmented Reality For More Than Gaming, by Josh Centers, TidBITS

We seldom mention these frameworks because they’re usually of interest only to developers. But I think Apple’s upcoming ARKit is going to be a big deal for everyone once apps that incorporate it start appearing in iOS 11. And I’m willing to bet that we see a flood of them on day one.


After Apple releases iOS 11, tape measure apps will be the new flashlight apps — expect a bunch of them.

Apple Embraces A Multi-cloud Future, And That's Exciting, by Jonny Evans, Computerworld

The upcoming Files app in iOS 11 will bring real improvement to how we work on Macs and mobile devices. Not only will it let you access files on all your Apple ID-approved devices, but it will also link you up to online storage in your iCloud account. However, it doesn’t stop there—Apple (in its wisdom) has shifted its position slightly, and rather than forcing you to only use iCloud storage, it has decided to make third-party online storage services peer players in the new Files app.

This may seem of trivial importance. It may even seem to be a move predicated by the provision of consumer convenience, but the consequences of the decision mean Apple’s mobile devices are now much better prepared for a multi-cloud future.


We Mailed 100,000 Stickers Around The World And Made A Million Mistakes Along The Way, by

To celebrate our 100,000th Twitter follower in February, we offered to send out free stickers to users across the globe.

It felt like a great opportunity to reward our loyal followers by sending them a little something that physically connected them to the DEV community. Plus, how hard could it be to mail out some envelopes?


Apple Is About To Do Something Their Programmers Definitely Don’t Want., by Anil Dash, Medium

We would never presume to advise a company as successful as Apple about how to do products. Though we’re incredibly proud of Glitch and FogBugz, we of course have huge respect for everything Apple’s done for decades. But we didn’t want to let this one avoidable mistake go by without pointing it out, as it’s a shortcoming that Apple (and every company that has coders on its staff!) could easily fix.

We’re glad so many companies know it’s worthwhile to invest in their employees — in everything from great healthcare to having the latest-and-greatest computer hardware. But when it comes to forcing every worker to be in an open plan shared space, even when they’re trying to concentrate, it may be time for even the biggest and most successful companies to think… uh, differently?

Apple Removes VPN Apps From The App Store In China, by Jon Russell, TechCrunch

The Chinese government’s crackdown on the internet continues with the news that Apple has removed all major VPN apps, which help internet users overcome the country’s censorship system, from the App Store in China.

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With all the machine learning and artificial intelligence that my iPhone is going to have, do you think Siri will be able to answer these questions soon?

a. What is the address of that won-ton noodles shop somewhere at Tanjong Katong that I went to sometime in the last month during a lunch hour from work?

b. Based on my daily commute time on the subway, were there more problems with the subway trains this year than last year, or vice versa?

c. When was the last time I stay out late until the wee hours of the morning, or have I really stopped being a night owl?


Thanks for reading.

The Old-Fashioned-Field-Guide Edition Friday, July 28, 2017

Finally: An App That Can Identify The Animal You Saw On Your Hike, by Ed Yong, The Atlantic

Loarie and his team have developed an app that can help. Known as iNaturalist, it began as a crowdsourced community, where people can upload photos of animals and plants for other users to identify. But a month ago, the team updated the app so that an artificial intelligence now identifies what you’re looking at. In some cases, it’ll nail a particular species—it correctly pegged the dragonfly I spotted as a slaty skimmer (Libellula incesta). For the butterfly, it was less certain. “We’re pretty sure this is in the genus Papilio,” it offered, before listing ten possible species.

“Our ecosystem is just unravelling in front of our eyes, and the pace of environmental change can be really overwhelming,” says Loarie. “But in our handbags, there’s another thing that has had the same pace of unbelievable change—the cellphone.” He hopes that the latter can help with the former by acting as a pocket naturalist, a cross between Shazam and an old-fashioned field guide.

Apple Ad Explains Origins Of Company's Forestry Program, by Mikey Campbell, AppleInsider

A new Apple ad posted to YouTube on Thursday focuses on the company's worldwide effort to preserve and manage forestland, itself part of a wider goal to achieve a net-zero impact on the world's supply of virgin fiber.

Apple Confirms iPod Nano And iPod Shuffle Have Been Discontinued, by Chris Welch, The Verge

An Apple spokesperson confirmed to The Verge that both products have met their end and are now officially discontinued. [...]

"Today, we are simplifying our iPod lineup with two models of iPod touch now with double the capacity starting at just $199 and we are discontinuing the iPod shuffle and iPod nano.” The iPod touch now comes in 32GB and 128GB storage options, with the latter priced at $299.

The iPod Nano Had A Weird, Amazing History, by Jacob Kastrenakes, The Verge

Like the iPod Classic three years before it, the iPod nano’s death today was a long time coming. But years ago, before the product stalled out, lost its identity, and was made wholly unnecessary by the iPhone, it featured some of Apple’s finest design and arguably represented the iPod at its peak — tiny, fun, and focused.


How To Hide Menu Bar Items With Bartender, by Bradley Chambers, The Sweet Setup

Bartender is a must have for those of us that run a lot of utility apps in our menu bar, but also want the menu bar to remain neat and tidy.

Capo Touch 2.5 Review, by John Voorhees, MacStories

The app can analyze a song, pick out the chords and help you practice it a little at a time at a comfortable pace until you figure out how to play it. This week, Capo touch got a big update that streamlines the learning process and brings powerful features over from Capo for macOS.


Facebook Builds Natural Language Processing Into Messenger, by Khari Johnson, VentureBeat

Facebook today launched Messenger Platform 2.1 with new features to give developers and brands more ways to reach potential customers, like built-in natural language processing, a payments SDK, and a global beta that makes it easier to switch between automated bots and the humans behind 70 million businesses on Facebook.


Lease Approved For Apple Store At Carnegie Library In Washington, D.C., by Joe Rossignol, MacRumors

Carnegie Library is a 114-year-old building located across the street from the Washington Convention Center in Mount Vernon Square. Apple will work with Foster + Partners, as it often does, to redesign the interior, which will likely draw similarities to stores like Apple Opéra in Paris and Apple Grand Central in New York.


Apple has promised to respect Carnegie Library's historical integrity. For example, Apple's logo won't be prominently featured on the library's facade or sides. Apple does plan a few changes to Carnegie Library, including a major new skylight, but the company aims for its presence to be as subtle as possible.

On Depression: The Lies We Tell Ourselves – Byrne Reese, by Byrne Reese, Medium

The voices in your head don’t tell the truth. They are determined to be heard, revered, awed; to get you to hear them at all times — to take them very seriously. They want to be looked upon as the voice of God. Nothing modest about them.

To achieve their goals they lie like crazy. They know you — have been around you a long, long time.

They know the lies you will buy, the ones you cannot dismiss — they know all your weaknesses and vulnerabilities, and they are going to work on you as only a great Pro can.

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We are down to the iPod touch. But the era of the iPods is probably over with the removal of the iPod classic a few year back. Afterall, the era of the iPods has to be signified by the click wheel. Heck, even th iPod icon in the first iPhone contains a click wheel.

The i in iPod lives on with Apple's communication devices with widescreens, while the Pod in iPod lives on with Apple's speakers.


Out of all the iPods I've owned, only 50 percent of them has click wheels.


The iPod line didn't make it to the micro, pequeno, and invisa models.


Thanks for reading.

The Inspire-Emotional-Connections Edition Thursday, July 27, 2017

Trent Reznor Talks His New Music, The Future Of Streaming, And His Tortured Past, by David Marchese, Vulture

It’s important to unpack a couple things: What’s your quantification of success? Is it money or something else? This is nothing against somebody who has a great idea and wants to get funded — more power to you. That’s a cool new economy, and coding is an incredibly creative and artful medium. But if success is purely measured in how high on some Forbes list you are, then by all means, go make a new app. I’m biased: Music or film or writing or journalism — things that inspire emotional connections are so much more important to me than things that only have utilitarian ends. I’m glad someone figured out a food-delivery service. That’s made my life a little bit better. But that’s not that interesting to me. A good song can become part of my soul. So this whole nonsense about tech rock stars is farce. What else were we saying about tech world?

Apple's ARKit Used To Recreate Classic A-ha 'Take On Me' Video, by Juli Clover, MacRumors

Developers have been creating some impressive augmented reality apps and games with Apple's upcoming ARKit API, and the latest proof-of-concept video reimagines the video accompanying A-ha's 80s hit "Take On Me."

Tim Cook Joins Other Tech Leaders Saying ‘Let Them Serve’ In Response To President Trump, by Michael Potuck, 9to5Mac

Shortly after Google’s Sundar Pichai sent out a tweet today thanking transgendered members of the military for their service with the hashtag #LetThemServe, Tim Cook has also done the same. In a simple message Cook shared his gratitude for all who serve, and said that discrimination holds everyone back.


Streaks 3 Review, by John Voorhees, MacStories

Streaks helps you set personal goals and stick them using a combination of reminders and tracking. One of the hallmarks of the app, and what undoubtedly won it an Apple Design Award in 2016, is its obsessive attention to ease-of-use.

Groovebox Turns Your iPhone Into A Toe-tapping Music Machine, by Charlie Sorrel, Cult of Mac

If you’re looking for a way to lose a few hours later today, you could do a lot worse than Groovebox, a free music-making app for iPhone and iPad. It’s simple enough to start making music as soon as you launch it, but offers enough depth (and enough in-app purchases) to keep you going for quite a while.

EasilyDo Mail Gets Gmail-like Smart Replies And A New Name, by Chaim Gartenberg, The Verge

Email by EasilyDo has been my favorite email application for iOS and Android for a while now, thanks to its lightning-fast speed, clean design, and useful features. Now it’s getting a few more nice additions.


A People-owned Internet Exists. Here Is What It Looks Like, by Nathan Schneider, The Guardian

Up in the mountains west of me, a decade and a half ago, the commercial internet service providers weren’t bringing high-speed connectivity to residents, so a group of neighbors banded together and created their own internet cooperative. Big providers love making their jobs sound so complicated that nobody else could do it, but these people set up their own wireless network, and they still maintain it.

Of course, their service remains pretty rudimentary; the same can’t be said of Longmont, Colorado, a city 20 minutes from where I live in the opposite direction. There, the city-owned NextLight fiber network provides some of the fastest connectivity in the country for a reasonable price. In Longmont, all the surveillance and anti-neutrality stuff simply isn’t relevant.

Trump Made A Dubious Claim About Apple. The Company’s Silence Speaks Volumes., by Will Oremus, Slate

In a simpler time, when mainstream media were more broadly trusted, Apple’s refusal to confirm the president’s claim might backfire on him and undermine rather than bolster his credibility. But these days, liberals and conservatives largely have their own separate sources for news. By allowing Trump’s claim to go unchallenged, Apple is ensuring that half the country will be told only his side of the story. In essence, it’s handing him the political win while also permitting him to act as its de facto spokesman.

The Life-Changer Edition Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Apple Can’t Cure Learning Disabilities, But It Makes Them More Manageable, by Daryl Deino, Observer

People with ADHD’s brains are wired differently. Figuring out how to get work done is often as difficult as doing the job itself. They need constant reminders and other sorts of brain stimulation—something the iPhone has provided since 2007.

While everybody has benefited from the iPhone and its capabilities, people with ADHD can tell you that Apple not only provided a benefit; it produced a life-changer. Apple makes living with ADHD easier. Though there have been other smartphone and handheld devices with similar capabilities, none are as accessible and consumer friendly as the iPhone.

Apple And Cochlear Team Up To Roll Out The First Implant Made For The iPhone, by Sarah Buhr, TechCrunch

Approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in June, Cochlear’s Nucleus 7 Sound Processor can now stream sound directly from a compatible iPhone, iPad or iPod touch to a patient’s surgically embedded sound processor.


There have been other implants and hearing aids that have used iOS apps to control sound and other features and Nucleus’s own app can be downloaded to do the same. However, Cochlear’s newest processor is controlled by the phone itself and does not require an app download.

Adobe Flash’s Days Are Officially Numbered, by Ryan Christoffel, MacStories

Adobe announced today that it has set the end-of-life date for Flash, its popular technology for displaying animations and other multimedia on the web.

Adobe Announces End-of-Life For Flash, by John Gruber, Daring Fireball

This official “end of life” statement is an important step, but Adobe saw the writing on the wall six years ago when they officially stopped developing Flash Player for Android. Strategically, that was the death of Flash.


Latest Apple Music Ad Uses Motorcycles, Patriotism & Country Star Brantley Gilbert, by Roger Fingas, AppleInsider

The black-and-white commercial shows Gilbert riding around on a motorcycle with friends in rural Tennessee, listening to songs on Apple Music using an iPhone. On top of Gilbert's "The Ones That Like Me," the ad's soundtrack includes music like "Sweet Home Alabama" by Lynyrd Skynyrd, and "Backseat Freestyle" by Kendrick Lamar.

Review: Wallflower, An iPhone-connected Smart Oven Monitor, by Lester Victor Marks, AppleInsider

Wallflower does exactly what it says it will: It notifies you when the stove is on. It notifies you when it's on longer than it should be. It notifies you when you leave the house with it on, and it notifies you when it turns off. It sounds simple, which is a good thing.

New Skrite App Lets You Write On The Sky And Alter Your Interaction With The Real World, by Roxanna Swift, WCPO

Augmented reality allows users to interact with the real world in a way that is different or modified. In the case of Skrite, users interact with their environment through skywriting.


Apple Ad VP Talks App Store Search Ads, Better Metrics For Developers, & More In New Interview, by Chance Miller, 9to5Mac

Teresi explained that one area Apple is specifically focusing on is closing the gap between install and engagement numbers. Currently, installs are measured by the first time a person opens the app, and thus the install number rarely correlates with the downloads number. Apple wants to improve this discrepancy and make it easier for marketers to track and retain customers.

How Work Changed To Make Us All Passionate Quitters, by Ilana Gershon, Aeon

In the early 1990s, career advice in the United States changed. A new social philosophy, neoliberalism, was transforming society, including the nature of employment, and career counsellors and business writers had to respond. The Soviet Union had recently collapsed, and much as communist thinkers had tried to apply Marxist ideas to every aspect of life, triumphant US economic intellectuals raced to implement the ultra-individualist ideals of Friedrich Hayek, Milton Friedman and other members of the Mont Pelerin Society, far and wide. In doing so for work, they developed a metaphor – that every person should think of herself as a business, the CEO of Me, Inc. The metaphor took off, and has had profound implications for how workplaces are run, how people understand their jobs, and how they plan careers, which increasingly revolve around quitting.

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Ignorance is bliss?


Thanks for reading.

The Fruitfly-Mystery Edition Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Mysterious Mac Malware Has Infected Victims For Years, by Lorenzo Franceschi-bicchierai, Motherboard

Neither Reed nor Wardle know how the malware got onto the victim computers. But the big mystery surrounding FruitFly is who is behind it.

The malware doesn't contain many clues, and it's not even clear what profile the hackers fit, according to both Wardle and Reed.

A Privacy Choice, by Michael Lopp, Rands In Repose

I’m fine with advertising. It funds media and services I trust and depend upon. I appreciate ads that deliver value to me. I understand the more a company knows about me, the better they can deliver me ads I care about, but if that is their core business, I will forever question their motivations regarding the ethical use of my personal information.


Taking Siri-on-your-Mac Siri-ously, by Bob LeVitus, Houston Chronicle

I was surprised to discover that many Mac users have no idea that Siri - Apple's intelligent personal assistant - has been available on their Macs since the release of macOS Sierra nearly a year ago. If you're among them, may I suggest it's about time you acquaint yourself with the joys of using Siri on your Mac?

Lego Boost Is The Crazy Robot Cat Guitar Kit You Never Knew You Wanted, by Scott Stein, CNET

Lego Boost isn't a regular Lego kit: it's a connected, programmable robotics set. It pairs with a tablet or phone with Bluetooth. It has motors and proximity sensors. And it might be the best all-in-one Lego kit I've ever seen. But it's definitely a challenge. And, in the last week, I've sucked down a Lego rabbit hole.

3 New Apps That All Breastfeeding Moms Need In Their Back Pocket., by Caroline Siegrist, Cool Mom Tech

Just because breastfeeding is a natural process, it isn’t necessarily all blissed out bonding time. But luckily, we live in a time where there are tons of tech to help nursing moms, like these 3 new breastfeeding apps that caught our attention.

Google Backup And Sync Review: Works Best For Those Already Tied Into Google's Ecosystem, by Glenn Fleishman, Macworld

For those who install few apps or entirely from the Mac App Store and are primarily concerned about backing up documents and media in a few easy to identify locations, like the home folder’s Documents and Photos folders, Google Backup and Sync might be enough. If you need anything more flexible and comprehensive, bump up to software that offers the full range of tools for backing up files, applications, and preferences, and providing good support for restoring as well.

Firetask Pro Is New GTD Task Management Tool For macOS, iOS, watchOS, by Dennis Sellers, Apple World Today

The app provides features such as project portfolios, actions for subdividing tasks, iCloud syncing, a new iOS Today widget, Apple Watch support, and various workflows. The "Today" workflow focuses on tasks that are marked as starred, or are due today (or already overdue).


Why Using Siri Like Dwayne Johnson May Be Risky, by John Patrick Pullen, Fortune

Of course, you can make the argument that Johnson's passcode is enabled, and that Apple just used creative license and movie magic to cut the step from the ad. But if the point of the video is to demonstrate how Siri makes things easier, most iPhone owners will quickly see a disconnect between their experience and what's in the commercial.

The Rocking-With-Siri Edition Monday, July 24, 2017

New Apple Ad Does Some Voice-first Education With The Rock And Siri, by Matthew Panzarino, TechCrunch

The penetration of Siri as ‘that thing you ask things on your phone’ is incredibly broad but very shallow. And true, consistent, daily utility is how you get people hooked on a platform.

Put plainly: Apple needs to teach people how capable Siri is of helping them out on a daily basis.

This time around, it has enlisted Dwayne Johnson, AKA The Rock, our current action movie king and future President.

What Millennials Want From Their CEOs: Activism, by Jena McGregor, Washington Post

Forty-seven percent of millennials said CEOs have a responsibility to speak up on social issues that are important to society, compared with just 28 percent of Americans in older generations. And millennials were the only generation in the survey in which the percentage of those who said they view CEOs more favorably for taking public positions actually expanded since last year, rather than declined.


Telegram Encrypted Chat App Gains Self-Destructing Video And Photo Messages, by Tim Hardwick, MacRumors

The countdown starts the moment the recipient opens the photo or video that's sent, and the sender is notified if the recipient tries to take a screenshot of the disappearing media.

If You Need To Convert Between Graphics Converter You Need GraphicConverter, by Dennis Sellers, Apple World Today

If you need to convert from one graphics format to another, you need the aptly named GraphicConventer from Lemke Software. It's recently been revved to version 10.4.2, and supports image conversion from over 200 graphic file formats into almost 80 different file formats.

App Attack: Trick Your Kids Into Learning With Leapfrog Academy, by Brenda Stolyar, Digital Trends

The app — available for iOS and Android — offers curriculums in adventure form for preschool students through first grade. There’s a wide selection of more than 1,000 learning activities covering subjects like math, science, and reading, along with social-emotional skills and creativity. The app curates personalized content depending on the child’s progress throughout the different adventures.


Fiction: Who Killed Windows Phone?, by Jean-Louis Gassée, Monday Note

We know who/what killed Windows Phone, and it’s not Android. We could point fingers at one or more Microsoft execs as the culprits, but that misses the point: Microsoft culture did it. Culture is dangerous; under our field of consciousness, it sneakily filters and shapes perceptions, it’s a system of permissions to emote, think, speak, and do.

In the abstract, the Windows Phone failure was easily preventable. But Microsoft culture, made it unavoidable.

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Who is the better action movie star, Siri in Dominate the Day, or PowerBook in Mission: Impossible?

Or, perhaps, the virus-transporter in Independence Day?


Armchair quarterback-ing: Microsoft should have embraced Android for its Windows phone, the same reason that Apple embraced the Intel chip for Mac OS X.


Thanks for reading.

The Nothing-Alerts-Me Edition Sunday, July 23, 2017

Turn Off Your Push Notifications. All Of Them, by David Pierce, Wired

I turned off notifications on every app on my phone, save for a handful: phone, texts, and my calendar, plus Outlook and Slack, because I'm addicted to work. I'm a far happier person for it. You might think I'm crazy, that I'm missing all the good stuff happening in the world because nothing alerts me anymore. Feel free to tell me all about it! I'll see it next time I check Twitter. Which will be when I feel like it, and not one second before.

Apple And Other Tech Titans Should Tread Carefully In China, by The Washington Post

Apple’s presence in China can be a force for good. But it seems likely that China’s repressive system will pose painful choices for Apple and all the big tech companies that put their data on Chinese soil. [...] Tech titans that thrived in the liberal environment of abundant and guaranteed freedoms in the United States are now treading a path into the illiberal universe of arbitrary rule and dictatorship, and ought to walk very carefully.

Ireland Seeks Custodian For Apple Cash As Collection Nears, by Peter Flanagan, Bloomberg

The Irish government is setting up a fund to manage the estimated 13 billion euros it will collect from Apple Inc. in back taxes, nearly a year after the European Commission ruled the country had provided a sweetheart deal on tax to the U.S. firm.

The government and Apple will jointly appoint a custodian to hold the money to be deposited by the iPhone maker, the finance ministry said in an emailed statement. The funds will be held in escrow pending appeals by Apple and Ireland, which could take years. One or more investment managers will also be hired to manage the money.


Reviewed: A Used, Year-old MacBook Pro From Apple's Refurbished Mac Store That Saved Me $450, by Antonio Villas-Boas, Business Insider

Used and refurbished devices sold on Apple's Refurbished Mac store are reconditioned by Apple itself, which instills more confidence than if you were to buy a used device from a site like eBay. If the refurbished 2016 15-inch MacBook Pro I bought is anything to go by, Apple's process is excellent; my MacBook Pro in perfect working order, and there's no visible sign of use or wear.

How An Anonymous Messaging App Beat Google, Facebook, And Snapchat, by Karissa Bell, Mashable

Created by Saudi Arabian developer Zain al-Abidin Tawfiq, the app is essentially a social network that lets you send and receive anonymous messages.

Sarahah was built on the premise that people are more willing to be honest when their messages are anonymized, and it's become particularly popular in Arab-speaking regions and also among English-speaking teenagers.


How Do I Know If I’m Good At Programming?, by Daniel Slater

So how do I know if I’m good at programming? A good place to start is to ask “what is good code?”. If a programmer can’t produce good code, they aren’t a good programmer.


The Billion-dollar Palaces Of Apple, Facebook And Google, by Rowan Moore, The Guardian

When Microsoft was in its pomp it was happy to occupy a bland scattering of low buildings on the edge of Seattle. It still does. It’s also striking that for all its fame Silicon Valley makes little impression on the visual consciousness of the world – there’s not a strong sense of what it actually looks like. Until now it has lacked landmarks. But that much power and that much money will not always be happy to be unobtrusive. We are only just beginning to see the ways in which it can change the landscape of cities.

In 1995, This Astronomer Predicted The Internet’s Greatest Failure, by Rob Howard, Medium

Twenty-two years ago, astronomer Clifford Stoll made a huge mistake. He challenged the popular notion that the Internet was a force for good, and he was ruthlessly mocked by just about everyone.

On the surface, you can see why his 1995 Newsweek column has been maligned for decades. Some of the problems he presented — like the challenge of taking secure online payments in a world before PayPal, and irrelevant search results before the days of Google — have been solved, or at the very least we’ve grown accustomed to their remaining flaws. That made his article easy fodder for mockery by technology columnists every time an anniversary rolled around.

The problem for the people who chose to troll Stoll, however, is that a lot of his predictions and criticisms of the web were spot on.

Bottom of the Page

If you have not read it, quickly go get a copy of Cliff Stoll's The Cuckoo's Egg.


Thanks for reading.

The Vice-President-Of-People Edition Saturday, July 22, 2017

Apple Names Deirdre O’Brien Vice President Of People, by John Voorhees, MacStories

Long-time Apple executive Deirdre O’Brien was named Apple’s Vice President of People today. O’Brien, who has worked at Apple for 30 years, most recently as its Vice President of Worldwide Sales and Operations, will report directly to CEO Tim Cook. As Vice President of People, O’Brien will take on HR functions including talent development, recruiting, benefits, compensation, business support, and Apple University.

This 16-year-old Muslim Girl Made Apple's First Ever Hijab Emoji Happen, by Inemesit Udodiong,

In 2016, Alhumedhi noticed the absence of her kind, Muslims, in emojis.

According to the then 15-year-old, she felt disturbed that female Muslims did not have any emojis that represented them.

Everything You Need To Disable On Your iPhone For Maximum Security, by Justin Meyers, Gadgethacks

Not sure where to begin? There are a lot of tricky settings hiding within your iPhone, and we'll do our best to cover them all below, along with any drawbacks there may be. Location data, your lock screen, Siri, widgets, saved passwords and credit cards ... these are just a few of the things you'll have to make decisions on. Sometimes a compromise will be needed, where absolute privacy is not the best option, but at least you'll be aware of how your personal information is being used.

In this guide, we'll focus mainly on settings you need to disable or "limit" in iOS 10 or iOS 11 for better privacy and security. If we added things to "enable," we'd be here all day, so we'll leave that for another guide. Some of these settings will conflict with one another, and we'll do our best to let you know when that happens. Ultimately, it's up to you to decide on what to disable or limit, so don't feel any pressure.


The Case For (And Against) The MacBook Air, by Jason Snell, Six Colors

If you can find a deal on a used or refurbished modern MacBook or MacBook Pro, it might be a better long-term deal than buying an Air, because they’re built with the latest and greatest tech, not stuff that’s already a couple of years out of date. But the fact is, unless your student really cares about watching HD video (and doesn’t have a different device to use to watch that) or editing video, even the $999 MacBook Air will provide enough power to do almost anything they throw at it.

Review: Elgato's $300 Thunderbolt 3 Dock Offers A Solid Set Of Ports In A Slim Design, by Eric Slivka, MacRumors

Elgato's dock has a lot in common with many of its competitors, including a slim horizontal design of brushed aluminum and plastic, an array of ports for expanding the capabilities of your Thunderbolt 3-equipped Mac, and more.

Firefox 8.0 For iOS Brings New Tab Experience, Night Mode, And QR Code Reader, by Tim Hardwick, MacRumors

Changes to the web browser's tabs mean users now see recently visited sites whenever they open up a new one, combined with highlights from previous web visits. Mozilla says this change in particular will be rolled out to users gradually over the next few weeks.

Professor Einstein Is A Fun, Wacky Robot That Loves To Talk About Science, by Erico Guizzo, IEEE Spectrum

This very expressive, very wacky robotic character is a creation of Hanson Robotics, which calls it “your personal genius.” Professor Einstein can chat about science, tell jokes, check on the weather, and, naturally, quote Einstein himself. It connects to a companion app with games, videos, and interactive lessons.


Apple Stores Getting All-New 'Lead' And 'Schedule Planner' Positions, by Joe Rossignol, MacRumors

Apple says the Lead position will give team members the chance to learn the ins and outs of running an Apple Store firsthand. The majority of a Lead's time will be spent as the Support Leader on the Floor, responsible for managing employee breaks and zoning in the store, and addressing customer concerns.


Meanwhile, working closely with Store Leaders, Apple says the majority of a Schedule Planner's time will be spent planning and creating the weekly schedule for the entire store. Schedule Planners will also identify trends and make resourcing recommendations to improve team and customer experiences.

Apple, Amazon And Google Spent Record Sums To Lobby Trump Earlier This Summer, by Tony Romm, Recode

Apple, for one, spent $2.2 million between April 1 and June 30, 2017 — about double from the same three-month period in 2016 — to lobby on issues like tax and surveillance reforms. The iPhone giant, like other businesses, had to disclose its lobbying activities from the second quarter of the year to the U.S. government by midnight.

In its filing, Apple explicitly called attention to its work around immigration — an issue that mattered so much to Apple CEO Tim Cook that he confronted Trump directly about it during a private reception at the White House in June.

The Subscriptions-Combined-With-Price-Increases Edition Friday, July 21, 2017

Productivity Apps And Subscription Pricing, by Michael Tsai

It’s certainly true that people are wary of subscriptions. But I wonder how much of the recent backlash is due to the subscription model itself and how much is due to the fact that, in practice, transitions to subscriptions have effectively been large price increases.


Instead, we’ve seen subscriptions combined with price increases, customers balking, and insinuations that people just don’t want to pay for anything anymore. With more than one variable changing at once, I don’t think we can conclude that people hate subscriptions.

Microsoft 4Q17: Office 365 Revenue Surpasses Traditional Licenses, by Peter Bright, Ars Technica

The transition to Office 365 is, for Microsoft, an enormous success story, showing that not only can the company change its business, distribution, and development models, but that, with perseverance, it can bring customers along for the ride.

On Password Managers, by Tim Bray

The JavaScript plat­form is dy­nam­ic to the core and hor­ri­fy­ing­ly com­plex even be­fore they start load­ing mas­sive mod­ern ap­pli­ca­tion frame­works on it; any tee­ny lit­tle bug or zero-day ex­ploit at any lev­el of the stack and I’m cooked. Al­so, the NSA or a crook on­ly has to make the slight­est lit­tle mod to the code, and take it away a few mil­lisec­onds lat­er, and the horse would (si­lent­ly) be out of the barn.


I, like many security-conscious peo­ple, am just not gonna use any­thing where the same par­ty, who’s not me, gets to see my stored da­ta and my pass­word.


Apple Adds Disney And Pixar Characters To Clips, by Brian Heater, TechCrunch

There are a couple of feature updates in the mix, but the biggest additions are content — including, most notably, a bunch of licensed characters from the Disney/Pixar universes, adding animated overlays and transitions starring familiar faces like Mickey and Woody.

CARROT Weather 4.0: Simply Delightful, by Ryan Christoffel, MacStories

CARROT’s implementation of a one-screen interface is a noteworthy design achievement. It doesn’t feel overcrowded in any way, yet it still provides plenty of information at a glance.

After Long Wait, Apple OKs Dash Wallet For iOS App Store, by Tatjana Kulkarni, Bank Innovation

Dash works similarly to bitcoin, with an underlying blockchain recording transactions, but is intended to fulfill what many considered bitcoin’s initial promise — anonymity for the user.


Customizing The File Header Comment And Other Text Macros In Xcode 9, by Ole Begemann

In my personal projects, my first step after creating a new file is always to delete this header comment.

Until now, that is, because Xcode 9 allows you to customize the file header and other so-called text macros using a plist file.


Tech Group Sides With Apple In Qualcomm's iPhone Ban Dispute, by Stephen Nellis, Reuters

A lobbying group that represents Alphabet Inc's Google, Inc, Microsoft Corp and Facebook Inc filed comments with the U.S. International Trade Commission.

They argued that barring Apple from importing foreign-assembled iPhones that use Intel Corp chips - as Qualcomm has requested - would cause "significant shocks to supply" for phones and would hurt consumers.

In Reinterpreting Steve Jobs Folklore, An Opera Disrupts Its Form, by Alyssa Bereznak, The Ringer

Of all the modern leaders who have captivated the world, few have been as rabidly picked apart as Steve Jobs. The iconic cofounder of Apple has been the subject of biographies, including an authorized 656-page tome and a baby mama’s tell all. His influential life has been dissected by lauded documentarians like Alex Gibney, but also by masses of internet users who kind of know how to use iMovie. He’s been portrayed in feature films of varying quality by Ashton Kutcher, Justin Long, and Michael Fassbender. Everyone knows something about Steve Jobs. There have been so many tellings and retellings of his life that his story is a modern-day Aesop’s fable for the smartphone generation.

For Mason Bates, the omnipresence of Jobs’s story was a motivation, not a deterrent. On Saturday in Santa Fe, New Mexico, the 40-year-old composer will premiere The (R)evolution of Steve Jobs, an opera that tells the story of the man who revolutionized computing. The much-hyped production has been two years in the making, and it features an energetic libretto by Pulitzer Prize winner Mark Campbell. After its stint in New Mexico, it’ll head to San Francisco and Seattle. While to some opera might seem too antiquated a genre for a story about tech’s favorite iconoclast, it’s capable of the grandiosity that’d be perfect for a Silicon Valley subplot about a musical celebration of capitalism. And to Bates, the mythic nature of Jobs’s story is perfect for a musical stage.

The Force-Quit-Habit Edition Thursday, July 20, 2017

Apple Swats Bugs In macOS Sierra 10.12.6, iOS 10.3.3, And watchOS 3.2.3 Updates, by Valentina Palladino, Ars Technica

Apple released a slew of software updates today for nearly all of its systems: now you can download macOS Sierra 10.12.6, iOS 10.3.3, watchOS 3.2.3, and tvOS 10.2.2 to any of your compatible devices. The updates appear to be minor as most of them focus on bug fixes.

Public Service Announcement: You Should Not Force Quit Apps On iOS, by John Gruber, Daring Fireball

The iOS system is designed so that none of the above justifications for force quitting are true. Apps in the background are effectively “frozen”, severely limiting what they can do in the background and freeing up the RAM they were using. iOS is really, really good at this. It is so good at this that unfreezing a frozen app takes up way less CPU (and energy) than relaunching an app that had been force quit. Not only does force quitting your apps not help, it actually hurts. Your battery life will be worse and it will take much longer to switch apps if you force quit apps in the background.


An awful lot of very hard work went into making iOS work like this. It’s a huge technical advantage that iOS holds over Android. And every iPhone user in the world who habitually force quits background apps manually is wasting all of the effort that went into this while simultaneously wasting their own device’s battery life and making everything slower for themselves.

Blogging And Web Development With An iPad, by Jordan Merrick

I've been catching up with Matt Gemmell's series of articles about his experiences of going iPad-only. Like Matt, I also use an iPad to manage a site that uses Jekyll, a popular Ruby static site generator. My approach is somewhat different, though the outcome is the same; I can fully update, develop, and maintain my website from the comfort of my iPad.

Apple Launches Machine Learning Research Site, by Romain Dillet, TechCrunch

Apple just launched a blog focused on machine learning research papers and sharing the company’s findings. The Apple Machine Learning Journal is a bit empty right now as the company only shared one post about turning synthetic images into realistic ones in order to train neural networks.


How To Secure Your Kid's iPhone, by Eric Griffith, PC Magazine

Apple built a lot of tools and features into iOS that can help a beleaguered parental unit get through the day with fewer worries. Nothing beats a frank, face-to-face talk with kids about what is good for them online and what isn't. But when that doesn't help, here's how you can lock down their iPhones for your piece of mind.

Things 3 Is Great At Helping You Get The Job Done, by Pranay Parab, NDTV

If you value good design and you need a GTD app for your Apple devices, Things 3 is an absolute must-have.

iMazing Mini Simplifies iOS Device Backups, by John Voorhees, MacStories

iMazing is a macOS utility for transferring files to and from iOS devices and backing them up. This week, DigiDNA, the maker of iMazing, introduced a menu bar app called iMazing Mini that offers the core backup features of the full iMazing app for free.


Designing Better Touch Bar Experiences, by Joe Cieplinski

Where Touch Bar really shines is in giving you quick access to a few commands that otherwise force you to switch from the keyboard to the trackpad or mouse, will take more than a click, or that require an obscure keyboard shortcut that customers are unlikely to ever memorize. The more things you cram into Touch Bar at once, the better the chance the customer becomes overwhelmed with options and stops trying to use Touch Bar altogether.


Apple’s Oregon Wind Farm Cleared For Super-sized Turbines, by Pete Danko, Portland Business Journal

Regulators have cleared Apple’s Oregon wind power project to use the biggest turbines ever deployed in the Pacific Northwest.


Longer blades give turbines a greater “swept area,” increasing energy capture for each watt of installed capacity. That translates to power production at closer to full capacity on a more consistent basis. The longer blades are becoming more commonly used in the industry, especially at sites with low-to-medium wind speeds.

Apple On Collision Course With Governments Seeking Access To Encrypted Messages, by Tim Hardwick, MacRumors

While Apple's position is clear, the Turnbull government has yet to clarify exactly what it expects tech companies to give up as part of the proposals. A source familiar with the discussions said that the government explicitly said it did not want a back door into people's phones, nor to weaken encryption.


Apple is moving in the same direction as WhatsApp and Telegram to make encryption keys entirely private. As announced at WWDC in June, macOS High Sierra and iOS 11 will synchronize iMessages across devices signed into the same account using iCloud and a new encryption method that ensures the keys stay out of Apple's hands.

Where Is Hollywood Looking For The Next Hit? Podcasts, by Charley Locke, Wired

When television networks resort to adapting books that haven’t even been written yet, it’s time to start looking for new source material. Luckily, salvation might be as close as their smartphones. As the supply of books and comics ripe for adaptation dwindles, TV producers are looking to podcasts for fresh material—and finding stories with audiences as loyal as any book club's inner circle.

Like books, podcasts prove that a story works, that listeners like it and will keep coming back to follow it. More importantly, podcasts can prove an idea's viability at a fraction of the cost of producing a TV pilot.

Bottom of the Page

The only app I regularly force-quit is the YouTube app on Apple TV, because I have no idea how to otherwise force the app to refresh its pages.


Thanks for reading.

The Did-Not-Execute Edition Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Bait And Switch: How Apple Created Nintendo’s Best Console, by Dan Masters, OMD

You may question why Apple should concern themselves with focusing on games; after all, they take a decent cut from the fraction of users known as “whales” while doing practically nothing, and they have over one billion iPhone users, many of whom play at least one game occasionally. I would agree, if not for the fact that Apple set themselves up for success with all the right pieces, but they simply did not execute. Indeed, this is merely part of a concerning pattern of Apple’s content fumbles — see: podcasts, TV, movies, iBooks (and, arguably, even audiobooks).

Furthermore, Nintendo’s success — so close to Apple’s home in every respect — highlights the significant market they ceded. Apple’s foresight became their demise, much like Microsoft has often experienced.

A Kat And Her iPad: How This Digital Artist Got Her Start, by Erna Mahyuni, Stuff

"We had a big laugh over the doodle I made with my finger," she said. But after seeing how quickly her "doodles" would get responses after sharing them on social media, Kat was hooked.

Saying she knew little proper about art or drawing prior to getting serious with the iPad, she found the experience exhilarating. "It's as if you've found a new room in a house you've lived in all your life...and the idea that an entire universe of potential opened up to me, well, I've never felt anything quite like it."

The Wandering Path: A Review Of Seed By Joanna Walsh, by Julian Hanna, 3:AM Magazine

At the centre of Seed is the process of writing and remembering, and the difficulty of doing so honestly and accurately: “I remember these things, but I don’t remember anything we said.” Part of this difficulty may be universal to writing in general, but the problem is also local and specific, a particular cultural reluctance to speak about unpleasant things. How can you write when you were always taught not to speak honestly, or to speak at all? As the Northern Irish side of my family used to say, even concerning the most apparently harmless subjects, “Whatever you say, say nothing.” How then are you meant to be a storyteller?

All this is doubly true, it seems, for women. Having her period is an example of the protagonist being forbidden from expression: “It asks to be mentioned but is unmentionable and it asks and asks again.” The world is filled with embarrassing, unspeakable, inconvenient things. Curiosity about her mother’s tampon is summed up as follows: “She didn’t tell me. I didn’t ask.” Her parents watch television; no one knows or discusses anything about the real world, the one outside the house. This again is very poignant for the present: our fraught relationship with nature, our modern alienation from everything real. The difficulty of finding a voice is exacerbated by the fact of never being the focus of any story: “No words have been used here.” This absence, however, is precisely what gives the narrative its meaning and drive: “For something to be real it must be said. Stories are the only real things.”

Middle Kingdom

Apple’s Dangerous Market Grab In China, by Dipayan Ghosh, New York Times

The Chinese government claims its new rules will enhance domestic security efforts, providing privacy protections for Chinese nationals while also safeguarding “national cyberspace sovereignty and security.” It would be naïve, however, to think of these new regulations as anything but a severe restriction on the right to free information.


Why, then, was Apple so quick to announce the new Guizhou data center, in effect signaling its compliance with the aggressive new rules? It’s simple: Apple hopes to protect its market share in China. Many internet companies — like Facebook — stand to be shut out forever under these rules, and smaller companies will avoid the market altogether because they lack the capital to stomach the compliance costs.

Apple’s Greater China Business Now Has Its Own Managing Director For The First Time, by Jon Russell, TechCrunch

While there are many business reasons to have a Greater China MD — Apple’s revenue from the region can make or break its quarterly earnings report — having a lead may help with sticky issues in the country.


Apple Updates Logic Pro X With New Drummers And Performance Improvements, by Juli Clover, MacRumors

Today's update brings three new Drummers able to play percussion in the styles of Pop, Songwriter, and Latin, and the new Drummer loops can be added to songs and customized with performance controls.

10 Hidden Features Of Apple Music You Need To Know, by Matt Elliott, CNET

Apple Music was redesigned in 2016 in an effort to streamline the app. While Apple did succeed in its efforts to make the app easier to navigate, it's still quite easy to get turned around when hunting for music across Apple's vast, 40-million-plus song catalog. Here then are some tips to help you keep track of which end is up when rocking out with Apple Music.

Panic's Truck Drops Off Transmit 5, by Jason Snell, Six Colors

I’ve been testing this one a while (Transmit is my primary tool for moving files back and forth to my remote web servers) and I really like the integration with Panic’s cloud-sync service, because I also use Transmit on iOS and now the two apps can keep their favorites in sync.

Google Introduces The Feed, A Personalized Stream Of News On iOS And Android, by Casey Newton, The Verge

Google today is rolling out its take on the news feed, a personalized stream of articles, videos, and other content. The feed will appear in its flagship app for Android and iOS, simply called Google. The feed, which includes items drawn from your search history and topics you choose to follow, is designed to turn Google’s app into a destination for browsing as well as search. Google is hoping you’ll begin opening its app the way you do Facebook or Twitter, checking it reflexively throughout the day for quick hits of news and information.

Lightroom For iOS Gains Brush Selection Tool W/ 3D Touch & Apple Pencil Support, by Zac Hall, 9to5Mac

Adobe is out with a new version of Photoshop Lightroom for iPhone and iPad that brings a new Brush Selection tool and much more. Lightroom’s new Brush Selection tool supports pressure sensitive input on iPhones with 3D Touch and iPad Pros with Apple Pencil.

Halide Review: Instantly Better Photography, by Jake Underwood, MacStories

As you line up your shot in Halide, you’ll have the opportunity to make adjustments – focus, ISO, white balance, and exposure – that will change the way your picture will look.


Apple Rolls Out New Developer Tools To Aid In Subscription Retention, by Mikey Campbell, AppleInsider

Apple on Tuesday announced the launch of server notifications and enhanced receipts for subscriptions, including auto-renewable subscriptions, tools that provide actionable information for retaining paying users.


Monett School District Buys 970 iPads For Middle School, by Murray Bishoff, Monett Times

iPads are easier to handle when taking pictures or videos. The apps are more intuitive on the iPad versus the laptop. With the iPad, teachers have access to educational applications available the App Store which would continue to provide differentiated methods to help unlock learning for our students. The iPad also has the ability of personalizing access and controls to ensure that the intent of the device was for learning.

This iPhone Photo Has Made It Onto Billboards Across The World, by Yvette Tan, Mashable

When Filipino Instagrammer Francis Olarte snapped a photo of his niece, he wasn't expecting it to be seen by million across the world.

Four Apple Contractors Accuse Qualcomm Of Antitrust Violations, by Stephen Nellis, Reuters

Much of the language in the contractors' allegations mirror Apple's objections to Qualcomm's business model. A senior Apple official confirmed that the company is helping to fund the contractors' legal defense as part of an indemnification agreement among the firms. Apple has also formally joined the contractor case as a defendant.

Silicon Valley Mostly Quiet In Internet Surveillance Debate In Congress, by Dustin Volz, Reuters

Facebook Inc, Alphabet Inc's Google, Apple Inc and other major technology firms are largely absent from a debate over the renewal of a broad U.S. internet surveillance law, weakening prospects for privacy reforms that would further protect customer data, according to sources familiar with the matter.


The companies' relative inactivity is explained by several legal challenges in Europe to an agreement between the United States and the European Union, known as the Privacy Shield, the sources said. The litigation hinges on whether U.S. surveillance practices afford enough privacy safeguards. A coalition of human rights organizations has urged Europe to suspend Privacy Shield unless Section 702 is substantially reformed.

The Curious Comeback Of The Dreaded QR Code, by David Pierce, Wired

Don't look now, but QR codes have begun to creep back. They have different names now—Snap Codes and Spotify Codes and Messenger Codes and Other Things Codes—and a much improved sense of style, but the idea hasn't changed. Because QR codes, it turns out, were just ahead of their time. They required a world where everyone always had their phone, where all phone had great cameras, and that camera was capable of doing more than just opening websites.

Bottom of the Page

I am not an emoji person. I am more of an emoticon person. :-)

And I'm showing my age. :-(


Is Wii Sport a sport or a game?


Thanks for reading.

The Serious-Problems-To-Good-Intentions Edition Tuesday, July 18, 2017

The Problem With Abandoned Apps, by Marc Zeedar, TidBITS

Apple’s intentions are good. Customers downloading apps that haven’t been updated in years is bound to create a poor experience, and lack of developer support undoubtedly generates complaints to Apple.

Getting rid of 32-bit code is also sensible: it reduces app sizes, iOS can drop old APIs and 32-bit-only code, and everything new runs smoother and better. It’s also a good way to “encourage” customers to upgrade to more recent hardware (older devices are 32-bit-only and will not run iOS 11).

However, Apple’s solutions to these issues have serious problems.

I'm Using A Touchscreen MacBook Pro. Here's How, by Edward C. Baig, USA Today

I’ve been testing the AirBar sensor from Sweden's Neonode. It's a thin and light $99, brushed-aluminum strip that converted my 13.3-inch non-touch MacBook Air display into a touch-screen computer. That meant I could pinch, zoom, swipe and tap directly on the laptop display, as if I were using a tablet, smartphone or any number of Windows PCs and Chromebooks.

It worked OK, but still felt a little awkward. It's probably best for Mac users who find themselves frustrated that their Mac screens won't respond like their phones.

Apple’s Long History Of Rejecting 'Objectionable Content’ From The App Store, by Louise Matsakis, Motherboard

While most developers never run into problems with the App Store, there are plenty who have spent years honing and perfecting their apps, only to be turned away from the App Store for mysterious reasons, often under Apple's infamous rule banning "objectionable content."


1Password For iOS Updated With Auto Copy Feature To Make One-Time Passwords Easier To Use, by Juli Clover, MacRumors

Whenever you use 1Password to sign into a service on your iPhone that features 1Password integration, the app will now automatically copy any one-time passwords you have associated with that login. That speeds up the login process, because you can have 1Password fill in your account details, and then at the two-factor verification step, the requisite short-term password is already copied to your clipboard.

This iOS App Makes Creating And Editing Guitar Tabs A Breeze, by Rob LeFebvre, Engadget

TabBank seems like a great tool to use if you want to manage your guitar tab and chord sheets on your iPhone or iPad. Being able to get music from the web, edit it on my device and then send it to the setlist app I use saved me quite a bit of time.

Pioneer Adds "Hey, Siri" Support To Rayz And Rayz Plus Lightning-connected Earphones, by Steven Sande, Apple World Today

With the "Hey, Siri" support, the Rayz earphones now let users initiate calls, send messages, listen to music and more, all without touching an iPhone or the headphone controls.


Apple Details New ‘Customer Support’ Role In iTunes Connect For Responding To App Store Reviews, by Chance Miller, 9to5Mac

In a post on its official developer blog, Apple this evening outlined a new Customer Support role that is now available on iTunes Connect. This addition, Apple says, is useful for developers who may want to hire someone dedicated to customer support and responding to questions, comments, and concerns left in App Store reviews…

Apple Cracks Down On iMessage Stickers, by Melissa Chan, This Century Software

Apple has begun a policy of rejecting new iMessage sticker packs from developer accounts deemed to have too many stickers. On the other hand Apple’s Editorial team seems to take the opposite stance and continues to feature small niche sticker packs predominantly rather than large containers of stickers. This global policy shift is a push towards a small number of large containers with in-app purchases. If this policy is extended into more categories, any developer with many apps using a similar model could be effected.


Apple Shows Off Some Of Its New Emoji On World Emoji Day, by Darrell Etherington, TechCrunch

Apple has revealed a few of the emoji it’ll be releasing on iOS, watchOS and macOS later this year, a little gift just in time for World Emoji Day. The new expressive icons include a T-Rex and an Elf for Jurassic Park and LOTR fans tired of typing out the names of their heroes, as well as some new emoji that encourage more diverse communication, including a women a wearing a headscarf, and an emoji for breast-feeding.

Via Twitter: What About The Mac Mini?, by Andy Ihnatko

A year or two ago, I would have followed this up with “But I’d be surprised if Apple discontinued the MacMini. It’s not a big revenue-maker, but it’s an important part of the Mac line that keeps the whole ecosystem relevant.

Today? Those things are still true. But Apple’s attitude towards the Mac has DEF-in-itely changed. At this point, I don’t think anyone should count on anything.

Still Living In A Notification Hell, by Om Malik

And I can’t believe that in 2017 and the notifications have stayed dumb, and are still be used as away to goose daily active user numbers. And these are from companies that paint a future controlled and shaped by artificial intelligence.

Bottom of the Page

I am not ready to change my commitments to the purchase of software that I use from a once-every-few-years to once-every-month schedule. I am probably going to buy less software. Everything else will have to be fit into 'free' solutions, such as making my own spreadsheet in Numbers, or writing my own scripts.

(But I think I will also not commit to AppleScript.)


Thanks for reading.

The iPad-In-Hands Edition Monday, July 17, 2017

Apple Aims To Get An iPad In The Hands Of Every Hospital Patient, by Sarah Buhr, TechCrunch

Doctors are already adept at using mobile devices and many have been using iPads in their practices for a number of years now, but allowing patient’s access to their own information is still a novel idea in the medical world. Cedars has been somewhat ahead of the curve with the creation of its EHR software My CS-Link, which allows patients to look up their information online, including notes from their doctor.

However, without the iPad, doctors and nurses have to follow a paper trail and then write up duplicate information on a white board often found on the back wall in the patient’s room. Mistakes can happen and, as Cedars-Sinai doctor Shaun Miller told me, the staff often run out of room to write, leading to confusion or a lack of information for the patient.

Content Isn't King, by Benedict Evans

Yet after a couple of decades of trying, the tech industry now dominates the living room, and is transforming what ‘video’ means, but with the phone, not the TV. The reason Apple TV, Chromecast, FireTV and everything else feel so anti-climactic is that getting onto the TV was a red herring - the device is the phone and the network is the internet. The smartphone is the sun and everything else orbits it. Internet advertising will be bigger than TV advertising this year, and Apple’s revenue is larger than the entire global pay TV industry. This is also why tech companies are even thinking about commissioning their own premium shows today - they are now so big that the budgets involved in buying or creating TV look a lot less daunting than they once did. A recurring story in the past was for a leading tech company to go to Hollywood, announce its intention to buy lots of stuff, and then turn pale at the first rate card it was shown and say “wow - that’s really expensive!”. They have the money now, not from conquering TV but from creating something bigger.


Artists, Go Forth And Procreate, Without Leaving A Mess, by Jason Gagliardi, The Australian

Mention “Procreate” and Tasmania in the same sentence and most people will roll their eyes and steel themselves for the inevitable incest joke. Unless, of course, they are fans of one of the great Australian app success stories which leads the world in digital painting for the iPad.


Apple Launches Large-Scale Apple Pay Promotional Campaign In China, by Tim Hardwick, MacRumors

A total of 28 brick-and-mortar retail outlets are named in the campaign, including supermarkets and restaurants such as 7-Eleven, Watsons, Burger King and Starbucks, while 16 online merchants such as are also participating, with discounts varying between businesses.


The Apple Pay promotion is the largest of its kind to date in China, where third-party mobile payments are dominated by Alibaba Group and Tencent Holdings, which run Alipay and WeChat Pay, respectively.

The Rise Of The Voice Interface, by Martin Legowiecki, VentureBeat

Exchanging ideas, sharing goals and forming agreements help establish a common history and build trust and unity. The more trust we have in the Amazon Skill or Google Home Action we’re installing the more likely we are to keep using it. The brands that understand the power of a real conversation will be the ones fostering

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How long more before we find HomePod competitors touting they have FM Radio?


Thanks for reading.

The Lost-My-iPhone Edition Sunday, July 16, 2017

When I Lost My Phone, I Lost My Younger Brother All Over Again, by Emillio Mesa, Quartz

I eventually erased my mother’s frantic voicemail, but it still beats inside me, like a second heart.

“Your brother is dead! Please come home,” she screamed.

A sudden heart attack claimed my brother’s life at 30. He died in his sleep, found by his eldest son.

When I lost my iPhone, eight months after his death, I mourned him for the second time. All the childhood pictures and final texts my brother, Wesley, had sent me were on there. I had not backed any of it up in my iCloud account. I feared the phone slipped out of the back pocket of my new black skinny jeans after I crossed a crowded bar.

Apple’s Privacy Pledge Complicates Its AI Push, by Tom Simonite, Wired

Being able to promise your data stays private helps the company keep up its PR war on data gobblers and won't hurt some uses of AI. But as machine learning becomes more important to all consumer tech companies, Apple devices may think different, but less deeply.

How Can We Stop Algorithms Telling Lies?, by Cathy O'Neil, The Guardian

One of the biggest obstacles to this is that Google, Facebook, or for that matter Amazon, don’t allow testing of multiple personas – or online profiles – by outside researchers. Since those companies offer tailored and personalised service, the only way to see what that service looks like would be to take on the profile of multiple people, but that is not allowed. Think about that in the context of the VW testing: it would be like saying research teams could not have control of a car to test its emissions. We need to demand more access and ongoing monitoring, especially once we catch them in illegal acts. For that matter, entire industries, such as algorithms for insurance and hiring, should be subject to these monitors, not just individual culprits.

It’s time to gird ourselves for a fight. It will eventually be a technological arms race, but it starts, now, as a political fight. We need to demand evidence that algorithms with the potential to harm us be shown to be acting fairly, legally, and consistently. When we find problems, we need to enforce our laws with sufficiently hefty fines that companies don’t find it profitable to cheat in the first place. This is the time to start demanding that the machines work for us, and not the other way around.


Review: Koogeek P1 Smart Plug An Affordable Way To Get Started With Apple's HomeKit, by Mike Wuerthele, AppleInsider

The recently released Koogeek P1 Smart Plug does what it says on the packaging —it plugs into any outlet, and converts it into a HomeKit controllable one. Fully HomeKit compatible, the hardware and app allows for schedule setting, use in Scenes, Siri control, and control from outside the house, when used in conjunction with a HomeKit Hub.

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Is something wrong with the AppleScript support that iTunes (the app on my Mac) provides? Because I am having a difficult time getting consistent results from my Applescripts that I am learning to write.


I have been assessing what I really use my iPhone for, besides using it as a phone (i.e. phone calls and text messaging). This is to allow me, hopefully, to understand whether I should upgrade from my 6 to the upcoming plus or pro models.

Here's what I've come up with: listening to audiobooks, podcasts, and music; reading RSS feeds; reading news and blog posts; reading books; taking notes; and 'managing' to-do lists.

And here's what I've understand so far: unless the plus or pro models offer me a bigger screen without increasing weight or decreasing pocket-ability, I am staying with the non-plus non-pro line. That's because, besides a larger screen, I really cannot think of how the plus or pro models can increase the usefulness of the above-mentioned activities.


Thanks for reading.

The Maintenace-Tools-And-Landscaping-Materials Edition Saturday, July 15, 2017

Barn At Apple Park Represents ‘Hard Work’ Of Generations Of ‘Visionaries’, by Kristi Myllenbeck, San Jose Mercury News

Austin said the structure will be used as a working barn on the site to store maintenance tools and other landscaping materials.

“We appreciate that they didn’t destroy it and that they thought enough of local history to keep it,” said local historian Gail Fretwell-Hugger. “That’s very important.”

Crowdsourcing App Helps Blind Find Their Bus Stop, by Tina Trinh, VOA News

Someone with blindness typically relies on a smartphone’s voiceover and GPS functions to help them get around, but there’s a big catch: Devices with GPS usually get people within 30 feet of their final destination.

“But that last 30 feet, when you are blind, is the last 30 feet of frustration, because you can’t get to your precise goal,” Aguiar said.

To address the problem, Perkins Solutions, a division of the Boston-based Perkins School for the Blind, has built a technological solution, the BlindWays app, which Aguiar recently showed off at the New York Times’ “Cities for Tomorrow” conference. The iPhone app is assisting the blind and visually impaired in Boston, guiding them to the nearest bus stop.

This App Helps You Pass On Treasured Keepsakes And Memories, by Starts At 60

Many of us have treasured items handed down by relatives, but don’t know the full significance they had for our loved ones. Or do you have items you want to pass down to family members with the assurance that your precious memories will go with them?

It was for those very reasons that Jacquie Holden and Carly Daff created a phone app called Keepsake. The mother-daughter duo wanted to make it easier to organise, record and gift treasured objects, so that future generations could understand their significance.

1Password Standalone Vaults And PasswordWallet, by Michael Tsai

They seemed to be trying to thread a needle by specifically not promising continued support for local vaults, conflating this with not commenting on future product directions in general and the idea that all software eventually breaks, and then saying there was nothing to worry about because they have no plans to actively remove the feature. Reading between the lines, the strong implication was that they wanted at least the option to go cloud-only in version 7 without going back on their word.

I took this as a signal to start looking at other options, because the centralized cloud model, while very convenient for most customers and for AgileBits’ support people, seems inherently less secure to me and won’t work with Little Snitch blocking all network access. Additionally, it doesn’t work with 1PasswordAnywhere, doesn’t work with 1Password’s local backup feature, and maintains only a partial local cache (attachments not guaranteed).

So, by the time of Teare’s announcement, I had already investigated some alternatives, selected PasswordWallet (based in part on a recommendation from Wolf Rentzsch), and converted one of my vaults.


Yoink Is The macOS Shelf Utility I Want On iOS Too, by John Voorhees, MacStories

Yoink, is one of my favorite macOS utilities that sits just out of sight until I start to drag something. There are many days when I have a bunch of apps open across at least a few different Spaces. If I need to send a file to someone in Slack or attach it to an email message, those apps may be buried under several layers of windows, in a different Space, or may not be open at all. Instead of starting a drag and using Alt+Tab to find the app to drop a file into if it’s even open, I can drop it onto Yoink as a temporary resting spot until I find the destination for which I’m looking. This is especially useful when I’m using an email client and haven’t begun composing a new message yet.

Wacom's New Bamboo Sketch Is The Perfect Stylus For iPhones And Non-Pro iPads, by Juli Clover, MacRumors

Introduced earlier this year, the Bamboo Sketch is Wacom's latest precision stylus designed to work with the iPhone and the iPad over Bluetooth. It's meant to mimic the feel of traditional pen-and-paper writing and drawing with interchangeable pen nibs and customizable shortcut buttons.

Priced at $80, Wacom's new stylus isn't a better option than the Apple Pencil for iPad Pro users, but for the iPhone and other iPad models, it's worth checking out.


Apple Cracking Down On VPN-Based Ad Blockers That Work In Third-Party Apps, by Juli Clover, MacRumors

Specifically, the app violated section 4.2.1, which says "Apps should use APIs and frameworks for their intended purposes and should indicate that integration in their app description," and to get even more specific, Future Mind was told the update was rejected because "Your app uses a VPN profile or root certificate to block ads or other content in a third-party app, which is not allowed on the App Store."

Cracking The Code Behind Apple's App Store Promo Card Design, by Equinux

Apple’s App Store gift cards have a special trick: you can simply hold one up to your iPhone or Mac’s camera and it’ll automatically scan in the code and redeem the card for you. As developers, we thought it’d be cool to print some of our own promo code cards to give away at events, so we tried to create our own scannable cards. Turns out, there’s more to it than meets the eye.

Inside App Accelerator, Apple's Push To Win Over Indian Developers, by Manish Singh, NDTV

Things started to change earlier this year, when Phil Schiller, Apple's senior vice president of worldwide marketing, flew to India to officially kickstart Apple's App Accelerator - a first-of-its-kind initiative, in namma Bengaluru.

More than three months later, the company's efforts are starting to shape up. Gadgets 360 spoke to many developers who have signed up for the App Accelerator, and they are pleased with how things are going so far. Registration to the App Accelerator - which is capable of hosting 500 developers per week - as well as attending the sessions, is free and open to everyone.


Other Products, by Horace Dediu, Asymco

There is one Apple and it must be analyzed as a unitary entity. That analysis is therefore difficult. It is easy to pick up the numbers given and study them in isolation. The iPhone, the iPad, the Mac. We all do that.. However we miss a great deal in doing that.

The lesson is that data we obtain leads us to see something but it also blinds us by taking attention away from what we cannot see. All data lies by omission. That which is left unmeasured may be where all the truth lies.

Three Tiny Laptops, by Stephen Hackett, MacStories

The 12-inch MacBook with Retina display is a marvel of engineering. It packs the power of macOS into a tiny chassis that weighs just two pounds. You can carry it and an iPad before you reach the weight of the 13-inch MacBook Pro.

There are, of course, trade-offs when it comes to such a small machine. The single USB-C port is a show-stopper for many, as is the under-powered — but fanless — Intel CPU.

The fact that compromises are needed to make notebooks thin and light is nothing new. Over the years, Apple has made several bold moves in this direction. Three really stand out.

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I seem to recall there were some outcry a few years back when Apple started renaming apps on the Mac to match their counterparts on iOS. Address Book becamse Contacts, and iCal became Calendar. It didn't really bother me then, but I really appreciate this change now that I am using spotlight to launch apps both on my Mac and on my iPhone.

Which is my way of saying that nowadays, when I want to listen to Apple Music on my Mac, I'll call up spotlight, start typing "music", realize the app is still named "iTunes", backspace-backspace-backspace, and type "iTunes."

(Yes, I do know typing "music" will also bring up iTunes, but I haven't gotten used to that.)


Thanks for reading.

The Container-Technology Edition Friday, July 14, 2017

Apple’s HEIF Image Format Choice Reinvents Photography, by Jonny Evans, Computerworld

While JPEG is a clever way to digitize a still image, HEIF (with its roots in the MPEG-developed HVEC video standard) is a containerization technology, capable of holding lots of different kinds of information inside one data file.

The move to use this container technology will make it much easier to extend what Live Photos and photography in general can achieve. At low image sizes.

The 5-Year Quest To Unglue The MacBook Pro’s Battery, by Jason Koebler, Motherboard

Last week, iFixit announced that it has finally found a solution to "fix Apple's unfixable MacBook Pro": chemical solvents that melt the glue, are relatively nontoxic to humans, and also don't damage the computer's internal components.

"We tried seven or eight chemicals we thought would work, stuff like nail polish remover, but a lot of them weren't dissolving-y enough, others had odors that are quite offensive," Hart said. The solution the company settled on is a blend of several different chemicals, including the nail polish remover acetone, that took more than two years to develop (for the first few years, the company was trying heat alone).

iPhone 1000

Apple’s Risky Balancing Act With The Next iPhone, by Jason Snell, Macworld

It’s worth asking the question, then: If Apple released minor iPhone 7s and iPhone 7s Plus updates and simultaneously released a sent-from-the-future iPhone Pro with a bunch of whizzy new features for a high price, what would you do? Some people will buy that expensive cool phone, to be sure—no matter how Apple prices that device, I suspect they’ll sell them as fast as they can make them. But if you’re ready for an upgrade and either can’t get one of those high-end iPhones or simply don’t want to spend that much on a phone, then what?


The risk Apple is taking is that the mere existence of a top-of-the-line iPhone will make the iPhone 7s and 7s Plus look dull, boring, and unworthy of desire. Up until now, pretty much everyone who buys a new iPhone has received the same model, excepting some color and storage variations. Even the iPhone Plus line is largely a scaled-up version with an improved camera. But in a world where there’s an amazingly cool iPhone, will people stop buying the “boring” models?

iPhone Silly Season, by John Gruber, Daring Fireball

“Apple engineers are panicking” is an exciting story. “Apple engineers are in crunch mode to finish iOS 11.0 just like they are every summer” is not.

It could be that things are in worse shape than usual, and there truly is a panic to get iOS 11’s support for new iPhone hardware finished on schedule. But everything I’ve heard suggests it’s the same as usual at this point in the summer: busy down to the wire, yes; frantic panic, no.


Why Are Companies Trying To Make It Illegal To Repair Our Electronic Devices?, by Sara Behdad, Quartz

Technology manufacturers should take steps to promote customers’ right to repair their broken devices, which helps cut down on electronic waste and boost brand loyalty. But if they won’t, laws and regulations can help.

What It Feels Like, Sometimes, by Andy Ihnatko

It occasionally makes me question why I ever even try to watch something on TV, or write something, or put mustard on anything, ever.

What’s Really Going On With Spotify’s Fake Artist Controversy, by Dani Deahl, The Verge

After going through MBW’s list of 50 artists, The Verge has learned that most of the artists on the list are pseudonyms for real musicians. Just a handful of those real musicians account for a huge chunk of the list. But a source confirms that Spotify does reach out to labels to request specific types of tracks to fill out its playlists.

By way of interviews with the artists behind some of the tracks on the list, The Verge can confirm that many of the artists behind the names on the list are independent musicians. Some have public careers of their own, while others have taken on various roles behind the scenes as producers, commissioned soundtrack artists, or session musicians.

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How the heck did I survive twenty-odd years of living without the web?


Thanks for reading.

The Mobile-And-Fast Edition Thursday, July 13, 2017

How Editor Paul Machliss Cut Baby Driver In Real Time On Location, by Michael Maher, Premium Beat

For the film to work just right, Machliss had to be on set editing to verify that the timing of each shot was perfect: “To make it work you had to sort of be there at the moment of creation . . . I was there every day of every moment of every take. Edgar would do a take and yell ‘Cut!’ and then from the other side of the set go ‘How was that Paul?’ . . . and sort of wait until you went . . . ‘Yes it’s good.’ Then he felt he could move on. The advantage, of course being, we knew that six months down the line we weren’t gonna go ‘Ugh, we missed a trick here,’ ‘This didn’t work.'”

To keep up with the production, Machliss had to be mobile and fast. He managed to put together an editing cart, pictured above: “This was the edit cart, basically, which was loaned to me by the sound department when we very quickly learned that I had to be absolutely mobile.”

Microsoft Launches iPhone App For Low Vision Community: Seeing AI, by Ryan Christoffel, MacStories

Today Microsoft introduced a new app exclusively for iPhone, Seeing AI. This app is designed as a tool for the low vision community; using the iPhone’s camera and its AI smarts, Seeing AI converts the visual experience of the world into an audible one. As you point the camera at things in the world around you, the app will describe that world in a quick, informative manner.


When identifying a document, Seeing AI will audibly guide you through the capture process to help you get the full document in view. After scanning a product’s barcode, in some cases you’ll receive additional information about the product beyond just its name. And if the app is scanning a person, it can even describe a best guess at their visible emotional state. It’s an impressive, deep experience that nevertheless remains dead simple to operate.

Apple Park Drone Footage May Be Ending, With Security Forces Seeking To Cease Flights, by Mike Wuerthele, AppleInsider

AppleInsider has also learned that there is a security force intended to halt these flyovers. Another drone pilot claims that they were stopped by a hired security guard who has the express purpose of shutting down drone flights over the campus.


Apple Launches Back To School Promo, by Dennis Sellers, Apple World Today

Apple has launched its Back to School promotion in the United States and Canada. Qualifying students, parents of students, and educators who purchase an eligible Mac (certain models of MacBooks, MacBook Airs, MacBook Pros and iMacs) with education pricing have a choice of a free pair of Beats Solo3, BeatsX, or Powerbeats3 headphones.

OmniGraffle 3.0 Brings The Power Of Its macOS Counterpart To iOS, by John Voorhees, MacStories

The iOS version of OmniGraffle adopts the paneled design found on the Mac, which should make fans of that version feel right at home with the update. The app also brings the iOS version in line with the core functionality of the macOS version including features like artboards.

Combined Google Photos And Drive ‘Backup And Sync’ App Now Available For Mac, by Abner Li, 9to5Mac

With this revamped client, only one application is needed to back up files on a desktop to Google Photos and Drive.


The Pop-Up Employer: Build A Team, Do The Job, Say Goodbye, by Noam Scheiber, New York Times

At first glance, the organization chart for the maker of True Story, a card game and mobile app in which players trade stories from their daily lives, resembled that of any company. There was a content division to churn out copy for game cards; graphic designers to devise the logo and the packaging; developers to build the mobile app and the website. There was even a play-testing division to catch potential hiccups.

Upon closer inspection, the producer of True Story wasn’t really a firm: The workers were all freelancers who typically had never met and, perhaps more striking, the entire organization existed solely to create the game and then disbanded.


Apple Is Working Hard On An iPhone Rear-Facing 3D Laser For AR And Autofocus: Source, by Mark Sullivan, Fast Company

We speculated in June that Apple’s announcement of a new augmented reality development kit (ARKit) telegraphed the addition of new AR iPhone components in the very near future. This turns out to be exactly the case. A source with knowledge of the situation tells Fast Company Apple is working hard to add a rear-facing 3D laser system to the back of one of the new iPhones to be announced this fall.

The new sensor system will enable better depth detection for augmented reality apps, and a more accurate type of autofocus for photography, the source tells me.

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It is often a painful decision for me to abandon a book that I've read half-way. Just this week, it took me three-and-a-half days to finally say to myself, okay, I can stop listening to this audiobook because, even though the book has earned some good reviews among reputable newspapers, it really wasn't for me. I finally bought another audiobook, and I'll start listening to it tomorow monring.

I don't have this problem abandoning TV series in Netflix, though.


Thanks for reading.

The Smart-Home-Experiences Edition Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Apple Unveils Smart Home Experiences In Its Retail Stores Worldwide, by Megan Rose Dickey, TechCrunch

Now, when you go into Apple’s new retail stores, you’ll be able to use the Home app from either an Apple Watch, iPhone or iPad to control devices like the Phillips Hue light bulb, the Hunter ceiling fan and many others. If you tap to the lower the shades in the living room, for example, you’ll see the shades lower in the house shown on the screen.

In the U.S., people can check out the experience at Apple’s Union Square store in San Francisco, its World Trade Center and Williamsburg stores in New York, and 28 other stores throughout the country. Outside of the U.S., Apple offers these experiences in 15 stores, including ones in the UK, UAE, Germany, Mexico, Singapore and Taiwan. A non-interactive HomeKit experience will be offered at all of Apple’s other stores — the ones without “The Avenue” window displays.

Apple Is Hiring A Barista – Here's Why It Might Be A Very Stressful Job, by Caroline Cakebread, Business Insider

The coffee crafter will be tasked with making a "stellar" espresso that lives up to company standards — and those standards are nothing to shrug off.


The visitor center café — where the job is based — could potentially be a grueling place to work. Even though tech offices are often designed to be relaxing, comfortable places that encourage employees to work long hours, the description of the barista job mentions that it could involve "environmental exposure to cold, heat and water."

The Problem With Fitness Studies Based On Activity Apps, by Megan Molteni, Wired

“In particular, steps that come out of commercial devices like the Apple built-in step counters are not very accurate,” says Bruce Schatz, head of Medical Information Science at the University of Illinois-Urbana Champaign. “They’re tuned for making physically active people feel good.” The issue, he says, isn’t with the measurement device. Smartphones are equipped with accelerometers that measure tiny variations in location, and they do it well.

But the handful of algorithms that Apple and other phone manufacturers and app developers employ to package that raw data into easy-to-use step counts can't accurately capture the huge variety in people's walking mechanics. They don’t have enough flexibility to account for, say, old people who shuffle instead of stride. And not all steps are created equal. Strolling in the park burns fewer calories than sprinting up stairs. Which matters for people trying to manage their weight (though not as much as what people eat). Detecting those distinctions requires raw, not pre-packaged accelerometer data. That's why Schatz, who has worked with the NIH and NSF on their population-scale mobile health initiatives, says raw is the way to go if data is going to be used for health interventions.

Subscription and Cloud

Why Security Experts Are Pissed That ‘1Password’ Is Pushing Users To The Cloud, by Lorenzo Franceschi-Bicchierai, Motherboard

Whitney Merrill, a security and privacy expert, told Motherboard in a Twitter chat that "it's troubling that 1Password, a company that has traditionally been very loyal to its user base, could make such an impactful decision (subscription model and loss of local vault) without transparency to those users."

"I make a huge effort to keep my computer secure," Merrill added, "when I give all my passwords to a third party that means I need to trust them and their security."

1Password Wants You To Sync Via The Cloud, But Won't Force You, by Jason Snell, Six Colors

In other words: AgileBits is building a cloud service that it feels is safe, secure, and convenient for the vast majority of its users. But 1Password still supports local storage, too—and it seems like it will do so for the foreseeable future. The app isn’t going to force you to sync your passwords via its cloud service if you don’t want to. However, in terms of what the company communicates to its user base and recommends to new users, that’s going to be focused on using the sync service rather than local vaults, and the company is building new features like Travel Mode around the sync service.


Apple Offering Free Repairs Of First-Generation Apple Watches With Detached Back Covers, by Joe Rossignol, MacRumors

If you have a first-generation Apple Watch with a separated back cover, Apple or an Apple Authorized Service Provider will repair it free of charge, according to an internal service policy obtained by MacRumors.

PayPal Is Rolling Out To The App Store, Apple Music, iTunes, And iBooks, by John Voorhees, MacStories

PayPal announced that its payment service is coming to the App Store, Apple Music, iTunes, and iBooks on iOS devices and Macs today, starting in Canada and Mexico with the US and other countries to follow soon.

The Best Snippet Expanding Utility For macOS, by Bradley Chambers, The Sweet Setup

TextExpander has been running my Mac since almost the beginning. I’ve purchased every version that has come out, and I’m now a subscriber to If you aren’t a TextExpander user, hang on tight. I’m going to show you why it’s one of the few apps I cannot go without.


How MTA Shut Down My App For Penn Station Commuters, by Alexander Kharlamov, Medium

This is a story of my first iPhone app — from idea, to planning, to execution, release, initial success and (spoiler alert!) having to shut it down because of New York City’s MTA. The last part was painful, but overall it was a great experience and I learned a ton of cool things.


Apple Sets Up China Data Center To Meet New Cyber-security Rules, by Cate Cadell, Reuters

Apple Inc has set up its first data center in China, in partnership with a local internet services company, to comply with tougher cybersecurity laws introduced by Beijing last month, it said on Wednesday.


Apple also said that it had strong data privacy and security protections in place. "No backdoors will be created into any of our systems," it said.

The iPhone Is An Ideal Machine For Exerting Intellectual Property Control, by James Hayes, Motherboard

Apple will gain greater ability to affect expression Apple's power to influence the decisions people make in creating, storing, sharing, and consuming data only increases as more people continue to rely on smartphones as the primary device to complete those tasks. Every choice Apple makes in designing the iPhone, curating the applications within the App Store, and pointing the customer toward certain purchase decisions has the ability to impact both industry and consumer behavior and indeed that has been the case throughout the ten years since the iPhone was first released.

In that sense, the iPhone is an ideal machine for Apple to exert authoritarian intellectual property control. More limited of a system than a personal computer, but more convenient for many day-to-day tasks because of its computer-like features and portable form factor, the iPhone is the device through which Apple has been able to influence the user experience—and thus the way photographers capture images, songwriters record ideas, and business owners communicate with customers—more than any other product previously. The iPhone is not merely a blank canvas; it is the paint, palette, and brushes as well.

29 Bullets, by Russell Davies

"Once we've understand that", he said "we'll have won the war." This was not the first time someone had complained about a PowerPoint slide, it will not be the last. But his statement was more profound than he knew, because the real mystery is not so much 'why is that slide so complicated?' but more 'how come the army is using PowerPoint to communicate military strategy to its generals' or indeed 'how come almost every organisation in the world is using PowerPoint to communicate almost everything to almost everybody?'. That's the real question. How come PowerPoint is everywhere? How has it been so successful for so long? How has nothing ever come close to disrupting or replacing it?

Once we've understand that, we'll have understood the modern world.

The Two-Factor-Is-Not-Enough Edition Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Two-factor Authentication Is A Mess, by Russell Brandom, The Verge

Nearly all major web services now provide some form of two-factor authentication, but they vary greatly in how well they protect accounts. Dedicated hackers have little problem bypassing through the weaker implementations, either by intercepting codes or exploiting account-recovery systems. We talk about two-factor like aspirin — a uniform, all-purpose fix that’s straightforward to apply — but the reality is far more complex. The general framework still offers meaningful protection, but it’s time to be honest about its limits. In 2017, just having two-factor is no longer enough.

Why I Had To Switch To iPhoneSE, by Om Malik

Over past few months, I have been experiencing increasing pain in my left wrist and thumb. Sometimes I would wake up in the middle of the night in extreme pain. I thought it was a broken bone or something like that. I mean it was painful and it forced me to visit my doctor According to my doctor is because of overusing my left thumb on the phone. She pointed out it is only a matter of time before this turns into a full-blown case of carpal tunnel syndrome and I will need surgery to fix it. So I have a brace on my left hand and a smaller phone will allow me to do a lot less than the big phone and hopefully I will heal sooner.

Over Many Objections, W3C Approves DRM For HTML5, by Peter Bright, Ars Technica

EME is not itself a DRM system. Rather, it is a specification that allows JavaScript applications to interact with DRM modules to handle things like encryption keys and decrypting the protected data. Microsoft, Google, and Adobe all have DRM modules that comply with the spec.

The decision to bless the EME specification as a W3C standard was made last week in spite of substantial opposition from organizations such as the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF). Many opponents of this regard any attempt to impose such technical restrictions as an affront to the open Web. But HTML's inventor and W3C's director, Tim Berners-Lee, decided that the objections to EME were not sufficient to justify blocking the spec, giving it his, and hence the organization's, approval.

Pretty Pictures

Desktop, Screensaver, And Browser Tab Eye Candy For Your Mac, by Adam C. Engst, TidBITS

With the right software, you don’t even have to build your own collection of images, and you can decorate not just your Desktop, but your screensaver and new browser tabs.

Look Back At Mac OS X’s History With 5K Versions Of All The Default Wallpapers, by Chaim Gartenberg, The Verge

Apple aficionado Stephen Hackett of 512Pixels, in partnership with Twitter user @forgottentowel, has created a centralized place to find upscaled 5K resolution versions of every main OS X wallpaper ever made. They’re ideal on a Retina display with your current-gen iMac or MacBook Pro.


Mindscope Review, by John Voorhees, MacStories

John Goering, the developer of Mindscope, describes the app as a magnet board for your brain. That’s a good description as far as it goes, but it doesn’t entirely capture what is possible with his app. With wiki-like cross-links and the hierarchical depth of an outliner, Mindscope offers a dimensionality to organizing text that isn’t possible with tools like Scapple.

Waze For iOS Adds Voice Recorder Feature For Custom Turn-by-turn Directions, by Jordan Kahn, 9to5Mac

The feature allows users to record their own voice prompts that can be used, for example, as turn-by-turn directions while navigating:


Capitalism The Apple Way Vs. Capitalism The Google Way, by Mihir A. Desai, The Atlantic

The paths taken by Apple and Google manifest alternative answers to one of the main questions facing capitalism today: What should public companies do with all of the money that they’re making? Even as corporations have brought in enormous profits, there has been a shortage of lucrative opportunities for investment and growth, creating surpluses of cash. This imbalance has resulted in the pile-up of $2 trillion on corporate balance sheets. As companies continue to generate more profits than they need to fund their own growth, the question becomes: Who will decide what to do with all those profits—managers or investors? At Google, where the founders and executives reign supreme, insulated by their governance structure, the answer is the former. At Apple, where the investors are in charge because of the absence of one large manager-shareholder, it’s the latter. (To be clear, even though Apple’s previous efforts to stifle investors’ concerns were no longer tenable, the company can still afford to spend mightily on research and development.)

Why has each company taken the approach that it has? These two strategies reflect different reactions to an issue central to modern capitalism, the separation of ownership and control. In short, owners aren’t managers, as they once were when businesses existed on a smaller scale. And when owners have to outsource running the company to executives, this leads to what economists call “the principal-agent problem,” which refers to the issues that come up when one person, group, or company—an “agent”—can make decisions that significantly affect another—a “principal.”

The Renewable-Energy Edition Monday, July 10, 2017

Apple To Build Second Renewables-powered Data Center In Denmark, by Jacob Gronholt-Pedersen, Reuters

Apple Inc said Monday it will spend 6 billion Danish crowns ($921 million) on a new data center in Denmark, its second in the Nordic country to run entirely on renewable energy.


It will power Apple's online services, including the iTunes Store, App Store, iMessage, Maps and Siri for customers across Europe.

Apple Sees iTunes Market Share Slip As Competition Increases From Amazon & Comcast For Films, by Chance Miller, 9to5Mac

Despite its increasing focuses on Services revenue, Apple is struggling to draw users to the iTunes Store for movie purchases and rentals. According to a new in-depth report from The Wall Street Journal, Apple’s market share for renting and purchasing movies has fallen to between 20 percent and 35 percent, despite once being well over 50 percent as recently as 2012.

DRM Is Toxic To Culture, by Simon Phipps, Meshed Insights

The problem with technology-enforced restrictions isn’t that they allow legitimate enforcement of rights; it’s the collateral damage they cause in the process.


SynthScaper Is An iOS App For Making Ambient Soundscapes, by Scott Wilson, Fact Magazine

SynthScaper can be used to create melodic pads or atonal soundscapes with a combination of built-in or downloaded samples, oscillators, filter chains, effects and envelope generators.


Programming Languages Aren’t A Zero Sum Game, by Dan Kim, Signal v Noise

Just because a language doesn’t do something brand new conceptually doesn’t mean it shouldn’t exist. If a language takes ideas and inspiration from another language, that’s a wonderful compliment to the earlier architects. And if your favorite language is “better” than mine, believe it or not, I’m super happy for you — it’s awesome that you’ve found something great!


Developers Are Using Apple's ARKit To Give Augmented Reality Dance Lessons, by Karissa Bell, Mashable

Essentially it shows the dancer or dancers (the app works solo or with a partner) where to put their feet while counting out the beat of different songs.

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If there is going to be a top-of-the-line money-is-no-object iPhone Pro, I hope Apple will bundle a few more gigabyte of free iCloud storage than the standard five.


Thanks for reading

The Failure-And-Stress Edition Sunday, July 9, 2017

Only One Winner In A Streaming Music Industry Where Some Are On The Brink, by Chris Keall, NBR

The news this week that Pandora is pulling out of Australia and New Zealand this week didn't cause much of a ripple.

Failure and financial stress have become almost the norm in the streaming music industry.

Game Day: Poly Bridge, by John Voorhes, MacStories

At its heart, Poly Bridge is more a physics-based puzzle game than a simulator, so you’ll like it if you’re a fan of games like Perchang and Enigmo. But the even though the bridge simulations are confined to a level-based structure, each is a unique sandbox for testing out designs over and over that I think fans of simulator games will love too. It’s a great mix of the two genres and thoroughly absorbing.

A FaceTime Relationship Turns Face To Face, by Maria Shehata, New York Times

That is the problem with dating today. We’re also happy to give no thought to our relationships, but in the opposite direction. We have so many options that we throw people away with our fingertips. We reject potential soul mates within seconds and then cry over three glasses of wine to our best friends about how there is nobody out there.

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Just finished watching: House of Cards (Season 5), by Melissa James Gibson and Frank Pugliese. The more powerful the characters are, the less interesting they become. The first and second seasons are still way better than the latter ones.

Just finished watching: Terminator: Genisys, by Alan Taylor. A so-so action movie, in my opinion. Nothing innovative, unlike the first two.

Just finished reading: The Nix, by Nathan Hill. I enjoyed this, some parts much more than the others. I specially enjoyed the scenes between the mother and the son.


Thanks for reading.

The Security-Practices Edition Saturday, July 8, 2017

I Got Hacked And All I Got Was This New SIM Card, by Justin Williams, Carpeaqua

I have spent the morning trying to evaluate my security practices and there's not much I can think about that I'd do otherwise. Twitter tells me I shouldn't use SMS-based 2 factor authentication and should use app-based 2 factor instead. I agree! The problem is that some sites like PayPal don't offer the better security. The alternative is to just go back to single factor, which I am not so sure is the best solution either.

I don't even place blame on PayPal for this directly. The fault lies with the AT&T call center representative who let someone manipulate my account without knowing my passcode. I've been told this is being escalated internally, but I haven't heard anything from corporate channels, so I remain skeptical until I see or hear something.

‘Baby Driver’ Stirs Nostalgia For iPods, by Sridhar Pappu, New York Times

When he first began work on “Baby Driver” in 2015, Mr. Totten was unaware that Apple had discontinued the production of its much beloved iPod Classic. Soon he and his staff went about tracking down as many as they could, spending roughly $2,500 on some 100 iPods of all varieties and vintages.

“It forced me to look more analytically at something I hadn’t given much thought about,” Mr. Totten said, “because you see they went through all these iterations. Just sourcing them was a challenge. It was time-consuming but fun. I got to see iPods I never even heard of.”

Pokémon Go And Plymouth: How Games Are Impacting Urban Design, by Luke Richards, Ars Technica

I moved to Plymouth in 2013 and I’ve come to view the city as something of a let’s-make-things-happen kind of place. It’s an attribute that has certainly helped keep me here, and the gaming community is a case in point. The renaissance in tabletop games is not unique to the area, but the quick emergence of community-led boardgame meetups around Plymouth over the last couple of years have surprised even the die-hards who founded them in the first place. Now there are weekly, fortnightly, and monthly get-togethers in different venues across the city—and tournaments on top of that.

But Plymouth’s zeal for location-based mobile multiplayer games (Ingress, too, has a keen following here) was even more impressive. What was it about this naval city and its ongoing regeneration that made it so suitable for the wandering gamer? I spoke to some local urban designers, geospatial experts, and gamers to find out.


The Best Packing Apps For Travelers Who Hate The Pain Of Packing, by Mike Richard, The Manual

If you’re not one of the few masochist travelers who actually enjoys packing (like this author), smartphone technology is here to help. These three mobile packing apps aim to make the process as quick, painless, and mindless as possible.

Newton Mail Review: The Best Email Client You Probably Won't Buy, by Shubham Agarwal, TechPP

The company calls it “supercharged emailing” and in a way, that isn’t an exaggeration at all. For starters, Newton Mail is compatible with almost every emailing platform there is and lets you juggle between multiple accounts without any hassles or annoying loading screens. The app features a series of supplementing utilities which you only see in third-party extensions.

Game Recommendation: Monument Valley 2, by David Sparks, MacSparky

There are no zombies or killers with machine guns. Just a mother and her daughter and some satisfying puzzles. I found the game a perfect way to relax and recommend it to you for this weekend.


A Favorite Hack, by David Smith

Kind of awkwardly though, I realized that in order to achieve this I’d have to calculate how many 1s there were in the number. I poked a round a bit on the mathematical side of this but couldn’t work out a way to count how many 1s there were in a given number via mathematical means. There might be a way to do this, but I couldn’t find it.


The Most Important Object In Computer Graphics History Is This Teapot, by Jesse Dunietz, Nautilus

One day over tea, Newell told his wife Sandra that he needed more interesting models. Sandra suggested that he digitize the shapes of the tea service they were using, a simple Melitta set from a local department store. It was an auspicious choice: The curves, handle, lid, and spout of the teapot all conspired to make it an ideal object for graphical experiment. Unlike other objects, the teapot could, for instance, cast a shadow on itself in several places. Newell grabbed some graph paper and a pencil, and sketched it.

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My iPhone knows that I only use the spotlight search to launch apps. It knows that I've turned off all sort of search content and suggestions. And yet, one little typo, and the app I wanted to launch is nowhere to be found in the search result.

Can't wait for the promised age of machine learning.


I have three iPods in my drawer. The latest nano is still working, but the square nano and the mini have both died.

Oh, and I'm sure there were one or two iPod app in the pile of old iPhones in the same drawer.


Thanks for reading.

The Sky-High Edition Friday, July 7, 2017

iPhone Bugs Are Too Valuable To Report To Apple, by Lorenzo Franceschi-Bicchierai, Motherboard

"I wanna share some news with you," Krstic said at the Black Hat conference, before announcing that Apple was finally launching a bug bounty program to reward friendly hackers who report bugs to the company.

The crowd erupted in enthusiastic applause. But almost a year later, the long-awaited program appears to be struggling to take off, with no public evidence that hackers have claimed any bug bounties.

The iPhone's security is so tight that it's hard to find any flaws at all, which leads to sky-high prices for bugs on the grey market. Researchers I spoke to are reluctant to report bugs both because they are so valuable and because reporting some bugs may actually prevent them from doing more research.

Niantic Boss John Hanke On Pokémon Go’s First Year And What’s Next, by Andrew Webster, The Verge

A year ago today, Pokémon Go began its descent on the world, kicking off an unprecedented summer that saw tens of millions of players explore the world around them through the augmented reality game. Since then, Pokémon Go has changed a lot, with the addition of new pokémon, features like in-game events, and more recently the addition of cooperative raids. But there’s still a lot missing from the game: most notably player-versus-player combat and the ability to trade pokémon, both features developer Niantic has previously said were in the works.

Just ahead of the game’s anniversary, I had the chance to talk to Niantic CEO John Hanke about the status of Pokémon Go 12 months in. We talked about everything from the developer’s ongoing war with cheaters, to the importance of communicating with players, to just why those much-anticipated features are taking so long.

How Spammers, Superstars, And Tech Giants Gamed The Music Industry, by Adam K. Raymond, Vulture

Streaming’s impact on the way artists make music goes all the way to the top. Take Chris Brown, whose upcoming album Heartbreak on Full Moon has 40 tracks, and not because he has so much to say. The famously unscrupulous pop star has found a way to boost his streaming numbers, which in turn inflate sale figures, and will, he hopes, send his album shooting up the charts quicker than it otherwise would.

Even Spotify is reportedly gaming the system by paying producers to produce songs that are then placed on the service’s massively popular playlists under the names of unknown, nonexistent artists. This upfront payment saves the company from writing fat streaming checks that come with that plum playlist placement, but tricks listeners into thinking the artists actually exist and limits the opportunities for real music-makers to make money.


The iPad That Should Have Been, by Ben Brooks, The Brooks Review

Something I have been consistently hearing from people over the last couple weeks: “The 10.5” iPad Pro is really good, it’s every bit as big as you need it to be, without ever being too big.” (I am paraphrasing about 6 people, and countless “yeah totally” blog posts.) I feel this too, while it looks like only a tiny size bump, the 20% more screen makes all the difference in use.

The thing about the 10.5” is that it’s the right size for almost all your needs. Anything smaller is almost perfect, but limiting (especially in the keyboard department). Anything larger is really luxurious feeling, but cumbersome too. This is why the 9.7” iPad (Pro or not) has always been a head scratcher for some. Yeah, I mean you can work from it, but it’s going to feel cramped at times.

How To Share A Reminders List (And Why You Should), by Mike Matthews, AppFactor

So instead of trying to maintain a written grocery list, why not instead use the Reminders app and the power of sharing it via iCloud?


Qualcomm Is Trying To Ban iPhones From Being Sold In The US, by Jacob Kastrenakes, The Verge

In the latest escalation of its global legal fight with Apple, Qualcomm is asking the US government to ban new iPhones from coming into the country. It also wants sales halted on iPhones that have already made their way in.

Qualcomm says that Apple is violating six patents that have to do with extending a phone’s battery life. None of the patents are essential to a standard, Qualcomm says, which means it isn’t required to license them — as it is with the other patents the two companies are in disagreement over.

Why You Need Emoji, by Vyvyan Evans, Nautilus

The rich, communicative context available in face-to-face encounters is largely absent from digital communication. Digital text alone is impoverished and, on occasion, emotionally arid. Textspeak, seemingly, possesses the power to strip all forms of nuanced expression from even the best of us. But here emoji can help: It fulfills a similar function in digital communication to gesture, body language, and intonation in spoken interaction. Emoji, in text messaging and other forms of digital communication, enables us to better express tone and provide emotional cues; and this enables us to better manage the ongoing flow of information, and to interpret what the words are meant to convey.

The Clone-Maker Edition Thursday, July 6, 2017

How Apple’s Early Clone Wars Reshaped Copyright Law, by Ernie Smith, Motherboard

Is a piece of software copyrighted if it's not printed out and is buried inside of a machine? This sounds like an obvious question—yes, of course it is—but it wasn't a question that had been asked before in a court of law.

Surprisingly, it wasn't a PC clone-maker that forced the question, but one making Apple II machines. Franklin Computer Corporation, a New Jersey firm, spent the early 80s making Apple II clones that were close feature-wise to the original machines.

Why I Choose To Keep My Late Mother's iPhone, by Rachel Kaser, The Next Web

So when the feeling is too much, I reach for her iPhone. I watch the videos of her talking to my brother, or read the text messages she sent me in better times. Something about holding this device as she did and looking through all the things she thought were important gives me a comfort I don’t think I’d have otherwise.

Her phone is still active on our mobile plan, despite the fact she’ll never again use the number. I want to hold onto it and keep it alive, as it were, for a while longer.


Five iPhone Apps To Help You Stop Losing Your Stuff, by Kayla E Matthews, iMore

To say the mobile GPS and Bluetooth tracking industry is volatile would be an extreme understatement. A simple online search of such devices yields tens — if not hundreds — of results. The problem, however, is that many of these devices and apps were short-lived or never met their crowd-sourcing goals.


But not every tracking story has a frustrating ending. There are still a handful of devices and associated iPhone apps that can be monumentally useful when you want to track down a lost item. Here are five of the best.

Little Snitch 4 Released With An Updated UI, Redesigned Network Monitor And Touch Bar Support, by Preshit Deorukhkar, Beautiful Pixels

Little Snitch 4 is a big release from Objective Development and introduces a totally revamped UI, featuring a much modern look with updated elements and buttons.

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Too many podcasts, not enough ears.


Thanks for reading.

The Silly-Camera Edition Wednesday, July 5, 2017

10 Years Of iPhone, by Austin Mann

Earlier this month, I realized June 29 would mark the 10 year anniversary of the iPhone and began diving into the images I’ve shot with iPhone over the years. As I glanced through the archive, I realized what an amazing journey the last 10 years has been and thought I’d share some of the highlights with you.


As an aspiring pro with a chunk of pro gear, I really didn’t consider the camera on the original iPhone seriously, and the gallery below is most of the pictures I took with my iPhone in the entire year. I even told a few people I thought it was silly to have a camera on your phone. Why in the world would I want that? I pride myself a bit on being ahead of the curve, but boy was I wrong on this one.

The Aussie App Developer Who Gambled His Company And Won, by Mark Gambino, Fairfax Media

Every month, millionaires, and sometimes billionaires, are ordained into the order of digital magnates who made their fortune developing a killer app or digital service; one the world never knew it needed, but can now no longer live without.

But while there is no single secret to success that applies to every digital business, there are success stories. For James Cuda, founder and CEO of Savage Interactive (Si), along with his wife, Alanna – developers of iPad painting app, Procreate – his company has grown dramatically by focussing on a few simple core values.

Apple Disrupts Silicon Valley With Another Eye-Catcher: Its New Home, by Kathy Chin Leong, New York Times

Tech companies are nothing new for Cupertino. Apple has called the city home for decades, and Hewlett-Packard had a campus in Apple’s new spot, employing 9,000 people. The surrounding towns have been remade as well in the last decade, as giant tech companies have transformed Silicon Valley’s real estate into some of the most expensive in the country.

But city officials and residents say this project is like nothing they’ve seen before. It is even bringing tourists.


Birdland is already drawing Apple employees, replacing homeowners who have cashed out to move to quieter regions. Those who remain are realizing that life will not be the same when all 12,000 of the Apple workers go in and come out on a daily basis. People in the neighborhood dread the increased traffic and expect workers to park in front of their homes since there will be fewer available spaces in the company garage.


Apple’s ‘Kaby Lake’ MacBook: Very Fine Laptop, Intriguing Software Possibilities, by Tiernan Ray, Barron's

I would happily make the MacBook Pro my main machine after this update to the new Intel processors. Battery life for most tasks is very good, and the addition of Touch Bar and fingerprint sensor are excellent ways to enhance working on the machine. I appreciate that Apple went whole hog, if you will, with the future of connectivity in USB-C. And the MacOS software points to an intriguing future for those of us who work across multiple devices, in a way that no other computer maker has articulated with their wares.

Hello Weather, by Ben Brooks, The Brooks Review

Every spot of this app is well thought out. The language is natural and fun, without trying too hard.


Pronouncing “Tuple”, by Erica Sadun

A tuple is a finite ordered list of elements. It is presented as a parentheses-braced, comma-delimited list. In Swift, you can use them as stand-alone heterogenous lists of values or pass them as arguments to functions and closures.

A tuple is pronounced “tupple” (TUH-ple), not “two-pull”. It’s a shortcut pulled from “double, triple, quintuple, sextuple, octuple”, etc. Yes, please note that “quadruple” is doesn’t fit with the others and is not used as a basis for speaking the word. Rules about long and short “u”s that apply to other English words are also not relevant to this case.


U.S. Government Seeks To Intervene In Apple's EU Tax Appeal: Source, by Foo Yun Chee, Reuters

The U.S. government has sought to intervene in Apple's (AAPL.O) appeal against an EU order to pay back up to 13 billion euros ($14.8 billion) in Irish taxes, a source familiar with the matter said on Tuesday.

Apple News Said To Be Open To Letting Publishers Sell Ads, by Garett Sloane, AdAge

Apple is working on a money fix for publishers that send their articles and content to its News app but so far have gotten very little in return, according to people familiar with the plans.

Apple News will let top media partners use their own technology to fill the ad space in their content, becoming more of an extension of the publishers' own websites than the walled-off island it is now, the people said.

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As far as I can tell from my Photos Library, the first iPhone photo that I've taken was a shot of the keyboard of my (white) MacBook, back in March 2008.


Thanks for reading.

The Triumphant-Triumvirate Edition Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Beats 1 Intervew: Zane Lowe, Ebro Darden & Julie Adenuga Tell All, by Jake Boyer, High Snobiety

For music fans everywhere, Apple’s Beats 1 radio has become known as the definitive stop for breaking news of the musical variety. It’s the radio equivalent of a nightly cable news desk; a platform that has the latest scoop on prestige releases and features both rising artists and bona fide icons revealing intimate secrets on their latest work. And it’s all thanks to the triumphant triumvirate of DJs who make it all happen: Zane Lowe, Ebro Darden and Julie Adenuga.

Amazingly, this month marks the 2nd year of their Beats 1 show, a true landmark given the incredible work they have managed to produce in just two years. To celebrate their anniversary, we spoke to all three of them for a retrospective look at their achievements with Beats 1 so far.

Ming-Chi Kuo Predicts iPhone 8 Will Omit Touch ID Entirely, Come In Limited Color Options, by Mitchel Broussard, MacRumors

According to Kuo, the iPhone 8 will have "the highest screen-to-body ratio of any smartphone currently available worldwide," thanks to a drastic reduction in bezels and an edge-to-edge display that we've recently been seeing in various renders. A "notch" for the front-facing camera and sensors will be the only noticeable part of the iPhone 8's bezel design, Kuo said.

Kuo's new predictions also continue to corroborate the iPhone 8's lack of a physical Home button, but he goes on to state that Touch ID will not be incorporated into the OLED smartphone's display. [...]

Kuo instead referenced advanced features like "3D sensing for facial recognition," suggesting Apple is ready to ditch Touch ID completely for a new form of biometric security.

All 2017 iPhone Models Said To Include Standard 5W USB-A Adapter, With Wireless Charger Sold Separately, by Juli Clover, MacRumors

According to Kuo, wireless charging will be enabled through an optional accessory that will be purchased alongside the new iPhones -- it won't be a default feature available out of the box.


Things 3.1 Adds Repeating To-dos In Projects, Date Parsing Language Improvements, by Zac Hall, 9to5Mac

Things 3.1 includes repeating to-dos in projects which has been a missing feature for some potential users. The date parser has also improved its support for multiple languages in this update.

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One screen size for MacBook, and two screen sizes for MacBook Pro.

One screen size for iPad, and two screen sizes for iPad Pro.

Hence, my prediction :-

One screen size for iPhone, and two screen sizes for iPhone Pro? :-)

(But, of course, two screen sizes for iMac, and one screen size for iMac Pro.)


Thanks for reading.

The Spending-Big Edition Monday, July 3, 2017

Why I'm Not Buying The Most Powerful MacBook Pro Anymore, by Antonio Villas, Business Insider

By spending big in the past to extend the life of my old MacBook Pro, I've essentially locked myself in to its old technology until I upgrade. Since it still does everything I need it to do so well, it's tough to justify buying a new laptop.

Still, I'm weighing whether to buy a new model in order to gain the benefits of a beautiful screen, the updated USB standard, the lighter weight, slimmer design, extended battery life, and bigger trackpad.

iPad As My Main Computer, by Cam Pedersen

I’ve been wanting to use an iPad as my main computer for a few years but it’s never been quite right. When the new 10.5” iPad Pro was announced at the last WWDC, I decided to pull the trigger and see if I could make it work. I figured if I needed to burn an SD card, I could find someone with a laptop and ask for their help. It turned out I didn’t need to do anything the iPad couldn’t handle.

Understanding The Real Innovation Behind The iPhone, by Kalle Lyytinen, Scientific American

The prospect of making a fully functional hand-held computer changed how users and manufacturers alike thought about mobile phones. For Apple and every other phone company, software became much more important than hardware. What apps a phone could run, and how quickly, mattered much more than whether it had a slightly better camera or could hold a few more photos; whether it flipped open, slid open or was a bar-style; or whether it had a large keyboard or a small one. The iPhone’s keyboard was on-screen and software-generated, making a function that had required dedicated hardware into one running on generic hardware and dedicated software.

At the time of the iPhone launch, Nokia offered about 200 different phone styles to meet all the different needs of its hundreds of millions of customers. There was just one iPhone model at the start, and in the ensuing decade there have been only 14 major styles – though today they come in different colors, not just white and black as the original did. This is the power of software functionality and related simplicity.


Review: Apple’s 21.5-inch, 3.4GHz ‘Kaby Lake’ 2017 iMac, by Jonny Evans, Computerworld

The display is quite lovely while processor and graphics performance improvements and speedier storage means this model provides a compelling combination of the things you need. Just max out the RAM when you make the purchase as Apple insists on making post-purchase memory upgrades unreasonably hard to do, given these are desktop machines.

'Brain Training' App Found To Improve Memory In People With Mild Cognitive Impairment, by Eureka Alert

A 'brain training' game developed by researchers at the University of Cambridge could help improve the memory of patients in the very earliest stages of dementia, suggests a study published today in The International Journal of Neuropsychopharmacology.


Cognitive training has shown some benefits, such as speed of attentional processing, for patients with aMCI, but training packages are typically repetitive and boring, affecting patients' motivation. To overcome this problem, researchers from the Departments of Psychiatry and Clinical Neurosciences and the Behavioural and Clinical Neuroscience Institute at the University of Cambridge developed 'Game Show', a memory game app, in collaboration with patients with aMCI, and tested its effects on cognition and motivation.


Five Reasons Why You Should Hire An Old Programmer, by Josh Marinacci

You should hire an old programmer. It’s true! Sure.. older programmers are not going to work as many hours as someone fresh out of college. They have kids and spouses and mortgages and softball games to attend. They won't hang out at the office playing Xbox and ping-pong all night. They will not work 80 hour weeks and they will actually use their vacation time. And of course they cost more than young programmers. Despite all of those reasons not to hire an older programmer, you still should. For one simple reason: they are worth it. I know this, because I am one.


ACCC Chief To Question Apple On Westpac Chat App Payments Ban, by Paul Smith, AFR

Technology giant Apple's controversial decision to order Westpac Banking Corporation to disable a mobile banking feature that let customers make payments in chat apps such as WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger has caught the attention of Australia's competition watchdog, amid concerns it could be attempting to remove rivals to its own upcoming service.

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Is it just Monday Blues, or is it a Mid-Life Crisis? I may never know for sure.


Thanks for reading.

The Devaluation-and-Sustainability Edition Sunday, July 2, 2017

The Filmmaker Behind ‘App: The Human Story’ Talks About The Struggles Developers Face, by Lauren Goode, The Verge

Ever since smartphones became the default computers that we carry our pockets, the apps that run on them and the stores that sell these apps have created a new kind of economy for software. Apple’s App Store has swelled to more than 2.5 million apps, while the Google Play Store surpasses that with 2.8 million apps available. But even as these companies tout the payouts to app makers — last month Apple said that developer earnings had surpassed $70 billion — the truth is that many app makers have a hard time making any significant money from their mobile app businesses.

That’s partly what inspired filmmakers Jake Schumacher, Jedidiah Hurt, and Adam Lisagor to spend three and a half years producing a documentary about apps — or more specifically, the people who make them. “App: The Human Story” follows different groups of indie developers as they go through the app building, fundraising, store approval, and selling processes (including Cabel Sasser and Steven Frank of Oregon-based Panic, Melissa Hargis and Nicki Klein of Chorbit, and Ish Shabazz, who makes a variety of apps under the LLC Illuminated Bits). The “devaluation of apps” is a core theme of the film, according to Schumacher, along with the “struggle for sustainability.”

Apple's First Taiwan Retail Store Opening Draws Overnight Crowds, by AppleInsider

For Taipei 101, Apple invited local paper cutting artist Yang Shiyi to create a large mural that covered the store's glass windows. The piece depicted a forest full of woodland creatures, some of which with Apple products in hand, in a wistful scene meant to invite customers in to the store.

App Of The Week: ClippyCam Review, by Craig Grannell, Stuff

The snag is, if you use the selfie cam to insert your mug into the picture, you might obscure the landmark. The image quality will be rubbish, too. ClippyCam heroically gets around such problems, by making use of both of your iPhone’s cameras almost simultaneously.

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Sometimes, the key to enjoy a TV show set in a fictional universe is to ignore the non-fictional universe we are residing in.


Thanks for reading.

The High-Efficiency Edition Saturday, July 1, 2017

HEVC And HEIF Will Make Video And Photos More Efficient, by Glenn Fleishman, TidBITS

If you haven’t already experienced abbreviation overload, Apple has added two more to your plate: HEVC (High Efficiency Video Coding) and HEIF (High Efficiency Image File Format — yes, it’s short one F). These two new formats will be used by iOS 11 and macOS 10.13 High Sierra when Apple releases them later this year.

While you may never have heard of HEVC or HEIF before, both are attempts to solve a set of problems related to video and still images. As people take photos and shoot video at increasingly higher resolutions and better quality, storage and bandwidth start to become limitations. Even in this day of ever-cheaper and ever-faster everything, consuming less storage space and requiring less bandwidth when syncing or streaming still has many positive aspects.

Apple To Recognize National Parks With Donations, Activity Badge, by Jake Underwood, MacStories

Paying homage to United States national parks, Apple announced today that it will introduce opportunities for customers to donate to the National Park Foundation and earn a new Activity badge and iMessage stickers.

The Environmental Case For The iPhone, by Adam Minter, Motherboard

I recently visited a Vermont electronics recycling company, and wandered through a warehouse packed with obsolete, difficult-to-recycle devices: electric typewriters, video game consoles, reel-to-reel tape decks, guitar amplifiers, television, spectrometers, stereo speakers, and even some medical imaging consoles. I thought the mashup was interesting, so I took a picture with my iPhone and tweeted it. A few minutes later, Nathaniel Bullard, a renewable energy analyst (and friend), tweeted back at me: "How many of those single-function boxes are now just a module in a smartphone, I wonder?"

Love In The Time Of iMessage, by Ankita Rao, Motherboard

"What I love about iMessage is that the interface keeps the most important feature front and center: the text messages," Yalla told me. "No matter how many updates the app has undergone over the years, this remains true."

While much of iMessage looks like other messaging platforms, several features have had a particular impact on the way we date. Like the animated dots ("...") that indicate that someone is typing, and the optional (and insane, in my opinion) read receipts, which confirm that somebody has seen your message.


The iPad Is Not Your Enemy: Using Technology To Promote Learning This Summer, by Randy Kulman, Additude

Summer is an opportunity. It is a time to expand learning beyond four walls, and encourage the kind of hands-on education that children with ADHD especially love. With some vigilance and creativity, parents can fill summer vacation with learning and healthy habits that will set up their children for success at school.


Chris Lattner On The Realm WWDC 2017 Swift Panel, by Ole Begemann

Chris Lattner was a guest on a Swift panel during WWDC a few weeks ago. Here are some quotes I found interesting, edited for brevity and clarity.


Removal Of 3D Touch App Switching Gesture In iOS 11 Confirmed As Intentional Change, by Benjamin Mayo, 9to5Mac

It’s unclear why Apple would remove something that was so useful — perhaps it interferes with the gestures of the upcoming bezel-less iPhone 8 somehow, although it’s hard to envision how it might clash.

Removal Of Built-in YouTube App In iOS 6 Was YouTube's Decision To 'Take Back Control Of Our App', by Mitchel Broussard, MacRumors

Now, in a series of Tweets, former YouTube employee Hunter Walk has said that it was YouTube and Google's decision not to renew an agreement with Apple for YouTube on iOS, so that the company could "take back control of our app".