The Fitness-And-Health-Space Edition Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Review: watchOS 4 Breathes New Life Into Fitness Side Of The Apple Watch, by Valentina Palladino, Ars Technica

While watchOS 4 doesn't fundamentally change the Apple Watch experience, it does upgrade it both in fitness and smartwatch aspects. Not surprisingly, many of the biggest updates are in the fitness and health space, and those updates were necessary. In order to compete with the other fitness devices around the $300 level, Apple needed to expand the heart rate capabilities of the watch in addition to making the exercise tracking experience better. Both of those goals are achieved in watchOS 4.

Could it be even better still? Absolutely. The Activity app isn't as barren anymore thanks to new heart rate graphs and data, but it's still not the most comprehensive. I'm happy that Apple included so much visible heart rate data on the watch itself, because that makes it easier to assess progress immediately after a workout or at the end of the day, no iPhone necessary.

Apple, FitBit Will Join FDA Program Meant To Speed Health Tech, by Anna Edney, Bloomberg

The Food and Drug Administration, which oversees new drugs, medical devices and much of the U.S. food supply, said Tuesday that it had selected nine major tech companies for a pilot program that may let them avoid some regulations that have tied up developers working on health software and products.

“We need to modernize our regulatory framework so that it matches the kind of innovation we’re being asked to evaluate,” FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb said in a statement.

Twitter App Disappears From Apple Watch Following Latest iOS Update, by Mitchel Broussard, MacRumors

If it is, Twitter will fall in line with a series of high-profile Apple Watch apps that have pulled support for Apple's wearable device this year. Over the course of a few months in the first part of 2017, Google Maps, Amazon, and eBay all quietly removed their Apple Watch apps from the App Store without many people taking notice until May. Google and eBay said the move was to rework the apps and debut new versions later, which has yet to happen.

iOS Updates

Apple Releases iOS 11.0.1 Update With Fix For Exchange Email Bug, by Juli Clover, MacRumors

Today's update addresses several minor bugs that have been discovered following the release of the iOS 11 golden master.

Apple Confirms iPhone 8 Crackling Earpiece Issue And Says A Fix Is Coming, by Jacob Kastrenakes, The Verge

Apple said in a statement that the issue only comes up in a “small number” of cases and that the company is working on a software update to fix the problem. “We are aware of the issue which is affecting customers in a small number of cases,” an Apple spokesperson said. “Our team is at work on a fix, which will be included in an upcoming software release.”

macOS Updates

How MacOS High Sierra Improves The Apps You Use Most, by Matt Elliott, CNET

MacOS High Sierra introduces a number of under-the-hood changes -- the new Apple File System (APFS) for speedier performance and better security, HVEC for improved video compression and Metal 2 for more powerful graphics -- but it also brings improvements and new features to your favorite Mac apps, too, from Siri and Spotlight to Photos, Safari and others. Let's have a look.

macOS Sierra And Later Not Listed In Mac App Store Purchased Tab, Updates Not Tied To Apple ID, by Juli Clover, MacRumors

In the case of macOS Sierra, the change means that there's no way for Mac users to download macOS Sierra should they want to downgrade from High Sierra for some reason.

Lost In The Cloud

macOS High Sierra And iOS 11 May Fix Long-Standing Sync Issues With iCloud Text Replacements, by Tim Hardwick, MacRumors

However, in an update to his experiment posted on Tuesday, Stucki reported that when he made text replacement changes on a Mac running macOS High Sierra, surprisingly his edits were recognized and synced across nearly every device on the same Apple ID, regardless of OS. "Perhaps a clean install of High Sierra is now saving snippets correctly?" he wondered.

Earlier: Science Confirmed: Text Replacements Do Not Sync, by Brian Stucki, MacStadium

From my own experience, syncing of all other data via iCloud has really improved. Notes, Calendar, address book, reminders, photos, etc all sync almost instantly across all devices.

What is so special/not special about Text Replacement snippets that makes it so hard?

Beyond Our Ability To Intellectually Manage

Saving The World From The Code Apocalypse, by James Somers, The Atlantic

It’s been said that software is “eating the world.” More and more, critical systems that were once controlled mechanically, or by people, are coming to depend on code. This was perhaps never clearer than in the summer of 2015, when on a single day, United Airlines grounded its fleet because of a problem with its departure-management system; trading was suspended on the New York Stock Exchange after an upgrade; the front page of The Wall Street Journal’s website crashed; and Seattle’s 911 system went down again, this time because a different router failed. The simultaneous failure of so many software systems smelled at first of a coordinated cyberattack. Almost more frightening was the realization, late in the day, that it was just a coincidence.

“When we had electromechanical systems, we used to be able to test them exhaustively,” says Nancy Leveson, a professor of aeronautics and astronautics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology who has been studying software safety for 35 years. She became known for her report on the Therac-25, a radiation-therapy machine that killed six patients because of a software error. “We used to be able to think through all the things it could do, all the states it could get into.” The electromechanical interlockings that controlled train movements at railroad crossings, for instance, only had so many configurations; a few sheets of paper could describe the whole system, and you could run physical trains against each configuration to see how it would behave. Once you’d built and tested it, you knew exactly what you were dealing with.

Software is different. Just by editing the text in a file somewhere, the same hunk of silicon can become an autopilot or an inventory-control system. This flexibility is software’s miracle, and its curse. Because it can be changed cheaply, software is constantly changed; and because it’s unmoored from anything physical—a program that is a thousand times more complex than another takes up the same actual space—it tends to grow without bound. “The problem,” Leveson wrote in a book, “is that we are attempting to build systems that are beyond our ability to intellectually manage.”


Little Snitch 4: Keeping A Constant Eye On Your Network Traffic, by Steven Sande, Apple World Today

Knowing what connections are made by my Mac as it is toiling away is a great addition to my peace of mind.

Shazam Launches Redesigned, Faster Apple Watch App, by Ryan Christoffel, MacStories

Shazam’s new Watch app is extremely simple, and as I like to say, that’s the way all good Watch apps should be. Launching it presents the familiar blue Shazam button, which upon a tap will begin listening to whatever music is currently playing. After you hit the button, you can turn your wrist away and the app will notify you through a haptic tap when the song’s been identified. In testing on a Series 3 Watch, songs were identified very quickly, taking only 2-3 seconds on every try.


Google Responds To Apple's Intelligent Tracking Prevention With AdWords Tracking Update, by Ginny Marvin, Search Engine Land

In June, Apple introduced Intelligent Tracking Prevention, an initiative aimed at limiting third-party trackers from capturing cross-site browsing data, in the next version of Safari, coming out this fall. The move has implications for ad performance tracking for Google and others. On Thursday, Google sent an email to AdWords advertisers outlining changes it is making in response to Intelligent Tracking Prevention.


Google has developed a new Google Analytics cookie that will be used to capture campaign and conversion data from Safari in a way that conforms with ITP.

Work And The Loneliness Epidemic, by Vivek Murthy, Harvard Business Review

There is good reason to be concerned about social connection in our current world. Loneliness is a growing health epidemic. We live in the most technologically connected age in the history of civilization, yet rates of loneliness have doubled since the 1980s. Today, over 40% of adults in America report feeling lonely, and research suggests that the real number may well be higher. Additionally, the number of people who report having a close confidante in their lives has been declining over the past few decades. In the workplace, many employees — and half of CEOs — report feeling lonely in their roles.