The Little-Imperfections Edition Friday, May 4, 2018

20 Years Of iMac: Behind The Scenes Of Apple’s ‘Simplicity Shootout’ Video, by Michael Steeber, 9to5Mac

Neither Adam nor Johann were shown the iMac until the day of the shoot. Johann remembers seeing the new computer for the first time. “It was vastly different from anything I’d ever seen before. In fact, I vividly remember doubting that it was a computer at all.” To make the ad as realistic as possible, Apple gave the actors little guidance or instruction ahead of time. “I remember it as mostly one take,” says Taggart. “We might have done it twice. But it wasn’t like I was doing a step and they filmed me doing that same step 10 times. The actual time was pretty real.” Johann recalls a similar process. “Little imperfections like fumbling to feel the kickstand were encouraged because they didn’t want it to read as a highly produced infomercial.”

Exoskeleton App Makes Life With Muscular Dystrophy Easier, by Layne Cameron, Futurity

Zach Smith has Duchenne muscular dystrophy, a genetic disorder marked by progressive muscle degeneration. His lack of muscle control and use of a wheelchair made him a prime candidate for a computer-controlled exoskeleton arm.

Talem Technologies gave him an X-Ar exoskeleton that allows him to do many daily tasks, but keeping everything level proved to be a challenge. That’s where a team of Michigan State University students stepped in.

Disgruntled MacBook Pro Users Petition Apple To Recall Defective Keyboards, by Andrew O'Hara, AppleInsider

Created by Matthew Taylor on Wednesday, the petition asks for Apple to voluntarily recall and repair all MacBook Pro models released since late 2016.

Taylor is not simply asking for replacement keyboards, but instead an entirely new design not prone to constant failures suffered by some owners. Since the 2016 MacBook Pro launched, a number of users have complained of failed, unreliable and unresponsive keys, a critical flaw for a laptop boasting an integrated, hard-to-replace keyboard.

Phone Media

Why 'Stories' Took Over Your Smartphone, by Ian Bogost, The Atlantic

“Story” is a terrible name for this feature, because it’s so broad as to descend into meaninglessness. In ordinary parlance, a story is a generic name for a narrative account of something. But a Story, of the Instagram and Snapchat sort, is something much more specific. It’s a collection of images and short videos, with optional overlays and effects, that a user can add to over time, but which disappears after 24 hours. Users view a Story in sequence, either waiting out a programmed delay between images or manually advancing to the next.

That’s about the most bizarrely precise definition of “story” I’ve ever heard. But even if Stories aren’t really stories, they deserve careful attention, especially given Cox’s warning. Like them or hate them, Stories might be the first true smartphone media format. And that might mean that they will become the dominant format of the future.

Why BuzzFeed News Premiered A Show On Apple News Before Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, by Tim Peterson, Digiday

Apple has become so serious about competing with Facebook, Google/YouTube and Twitter as a distribution outlet for news publishers that it’s paying publishers to unveil shows on Apple News first.

Last month, BuzzFeed News premiered “Future History: 1968,” a documentary series that recaps major events that happened that year, such as the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. and the race between the U.S. and Russia to land a person on the moon. BuzzFeed News released the first three episodes exclusively on Apple News, a week before uploading them to Facebook Watch, YouTube, Twitter and its own mobile app.


iPhone X: Six Months Later, by Adam Clark Estes, Gizmodo

Even with the blemishes, my iPhone X experience amounts to a collage of positive experiences. I get the beautiful big display in a phone that fits handily in my pocket.

Twitter Urges All Users To Change Their Password After Bug Discovered, by Olivia Solon, The Guardian

Twitter has urged its 336 million users to change their passwords after the company discovered a bug that stored passwords in plain text in an internal system.

The company said it had fixed the problem and had seen “no indication of breach or misuse”, but it suggested users consider changing their password on Twitter and on all services where they have used the same password “as a precaution”.

Pocket Casts Acquired By NPR, Other Public Radio Stations, And This American Life, by Chris Welch, The Verge

Pocket Casts, widely considered to be one of the best mobile apps for podcast listening, has been acquired by a collective group that includes NPR, WNYC Studios, WBEZ Chicago, and This American Life. “This unprecedented collaboration furthers public radio’s leading role as an innovator in audio discovery and distribution, while ensuring the continued support and growth of one of the most popular listening platforms on the market,” the companies said in a press release announcing the news.


Is This The Most Ridiculous Xcode Feature Ever?, by Erica Sadun

Honestly, is the threshold of adding a comma and a new value so high that it justifies this feature?


Spectre-NG - Multiple New Intel CPU Flaws Revealed, Several Serious, by Jürgen Schmidt, c't

A total of eight new security flaws in Intel CPUs have already been reported to the manufacturer by several teams of researchers. For now, details on the flaws are being kept secret. All eight are essentially caused by the same design problem – you could say that they are Spectre Next Generation.


So far we only have concrete information on Intel's processors and their plans for patches. However, there is initial evidence that at least some ARM CPUs are also vulnerable. Further research is already underway on whether the closely related AMD processor architecture is also susceptible to the individual Spectre-NG gaps, and to what extent.

Apple And The Fruits Of Tax Cuts, by Paul Krugman, New York Times

But what does “bringing money to America” mean? Apple didn’t have a huge, Scrooge McDuck-style pile of gold sitting in Ireland, which it loaded onto a homeward-bound ship. It has digital claims — a bunch of zeros and ones on some server somewhere — which in effect used to bear a label saying “this money is in Ireland.” Now it has changed the label to say “this money is in America.” What difference does this make?


What would make a difference would be if Apple chose to spend more on actual stuff: hiring more workers, building new structures, installing more equipment. But it isn’t doing any of these things. Instead, this week it announced that it’s buying back $100 billion of its own stock, which is good for stockholders but does nothing for workers. Lots of other companies are doing the same thing.

And while many Americans own some stocks, the great bulk of stock value is held by a small, wealthy minority — 10 percent of the population owns 84 percent of the market. So the perception that this is basically a tax cut for the rich is right.

Bottom of the Page

I was still using a dial-up modem for the internet when I purchased that first Bondi-Blue iMac.

To get all the shareware for my Mac, it was cheaper to buy copies of MacAddict magazine, which was shipped all the way from U.S. to Singapore by plane, at ridiculous prices (viewed by today's standard), with its CD-ROM full of stuff, than to download from the internet.

After purchasing the iMac, the first accessories that I went out to purchase was an external floppy drive. I don't think I made much use of that piece of hardware.


Apple threw in a free copy of Virtual PC when I purchased that iMac. I don't think I made much use of that piece of hardware.


Thanks for reading.