Archive for July 2017

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

Bottom of the Page

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.

Bottom of the Page

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.

Bottom of the Page

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".