The Music-Friends Edition Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Apple Music Launches New Weekly ‘Friends Mix’ In For You, by Benjamin Mayo, 9to5Mac

Apple Music is rolling out a new discovery mix called the Friends Mix, which updates every Monday. It collates 25 songs that your Apple Music friends have been listening to. The mix is appearing for some users across Apple’s platforms and does not seem to be tied to iOS 12 or any other beta software release.

Where Vim Came From, by Sinclair Target, Two-Bit History

Vim is everywhere. It is used by so many people that something like HEX file support shouldn’t be a surprise. Vim comes pre-installed on Mac OS and has a large constituency in the Linux world. It is familiar even to people that hate it, because enough popular command line tools will throw users into Vim by default that the uninitiated getting trapped in Vim has become a meme. There are major websites, including Facebook, that will scroll down when you press the j key and up when you press the k key—the unlikely high-water mark of Vim’s spread through digital culture.

And yet Vim is also a mystery. Unlike React, for example, which everyone knows is developed and maintained by Facebook, Vim has no obvious sponsor. Despite its ubiquity and importance, there doesn’t seem to be any kind of committee or organization that makes decisions about Vim. You could spend several minutes poking around the Vim website without getting a better idea of who created Vim or why. If you launch Vim without giving it a file argument, then you will see Vim’s startup message, which says that Vim is developed by “Bram Moolenaar et al.” But that doesn’t tell you much. Who is Bram Moolenaar and who are his shadowy confederates?

Beta Track

Apple Books: A Love Letter To Readers, by Ryan Christoffel, MacStories

When iOS 12 launches this fall, it will introduce a newly redesigned iBooks app simply named Books. Though the reading experience in Books is largely the same as before, the rest of the app is drastically different, offering the biggest app redesign on iOS since last year's App Store.

Modern design is a clear centerpiece of Books, but the app also includes new features, big and small, that make it feel all-new. From tools that borrow from Goodreads, to more robust collections, to night mode, and much more. There's a lot to explore here, so let's dive in.

macOS Mojave To Introduce Updated Migration Utility With Ability To Transfer Accounts, Contacts, More From Third-party Programs, by Peter Cao, 9to5Mac

Apple is expanding its Windows Migration Assistant in macOS 10.14 Mojave with a handful of new features that will make switching from Windows to macOS a much more seamless experience.

Apple Money

Why Apple Is The Future Of Capitalism, by Mihir A. Desai, New York Times

The accomplishments of Apple’s model are substantial. But the financial strategy that has worked so well for Apple is a risky one for less capable companies with weaker strategic positions. For them, aping Apple can just as easily result in too much debt on their balance sheets, precarious supply chains and deferred opportunities for investments.

The financial archetype defined by Apple — asset-light strategy, leveraged share buybacks and cash flow above all — is a high-wire act. Boards should guard against the temptation to follow Apple’s path blindly. Big investors, especially mutual funds and pension funds that represent so many individuals, should question the management of any company that does. Many of Apple’s imitators are more likely to mortgage the future than create it.

Apple’s Stock Market Scam, by Alex Shephard, New Republic

Viewed over a period of decades, a number of products and achievements played a role in getting Apple to where it is today. But as the company’s profit margins have shrunk, stock buybacks played a crucial role in getting Apple over the trillion-dollar finish line first. This asterisk should be something of a scandal. Apple is the poster child of the current spate of stock buybacks, which are starving investment and exacerbating inequality.


Castro Adds iCloud Drive Sideloading And Chapter Playback Pre-Selection, by John Voorhees, MacStories

For plus subscribers, the update adds a ‘Castro’ folder in iCloud Drive. Add an MP3 or AAC file into the ‘Sideloads’ folder, and it shows up in your Castro inbox (or wherever else you designate in settings) ready for playback.

dotEPUB Is The Best Way To Save And Annotate Websites In iBooks, by Charlie Sorrel, Cult of Mac

This quick-and-easy service lets you save and convert any webpage into an EPUB document. Then you can open the file in Apple’s Books app and mark it up just like any other ebook.

The NYT Adds A Personalized ‘News Feed’ To Its iOS App, by Sarah Perez, TechCrunch

The publication says it will now allow its iOS app users to customize their reading experience through a new feature called “Your Feed,” which consists only of those channels readers choose to follow. Some of those channels will pull stories from existing New York Times sections and columns, like Modern Love, while others, like Gender & Society, At War, Pop Culture, and more will pull news from across the paper’s sections. And others will include commentary from reporters and editors, and will feature worthy reads from outside The Times.

Logitech’s First Wireless Charger Is The One Apple Should Have Made For The iPhone X, by Chaim Gartenberg, The Verge

The whole pad is made out of a sturdy, grippy plastic that holds the phone tight and doesn’t let it slide around, even when the device is vibrating.

ScreenFlow 8.0, by Agen Schmitz, TidBITS

The new Templates feature lets you set up projects with placeholder clips in the timeline for both recorded and external media. The Styles feature offers customized media configurations, enabling you to copy and paste video parameters (like scale, positioning, filters, and axis rotation) and apply them to individual pieces of media.

iExit Interstate Exit Guide, by Jason Snell, Six Colors

Driving on the freeway is all about exits. If I’m driving on freeways for a few hours, I don’t want to search for what restaurants or gas stations or whatever are around me—I want to search for what points of interest are near the various exits along my route. And that’s what iExit provides. I’ve been using it for years, and it’s always been a vital aid when I’m sitting in the passenger seat trying to figure out when we’re going to break for lunch.


Apple Joins Smart Home Mesh Networking Standards Group Thread, by Andrew O'Hara, AppleInsider

Apple recently joined Thread Group, an organization focused on delivering mesh networking solutions to smart home devices, as a member of the body's board of directors, suggesting a potential interest in adopting the technology as part of the HomeKit protocol.

Apple At Head Of Solar Initiative To Provide Power Generation For 74,000 Homes, by Mike Wuerthele, AppleInsider

Apple, Akamai, Etsy, and Swiss Re have announced an agreement to develop two new wind and solar energy farms in Illinois and Virginia to provide power for company operations in in the eastern United States.

Bottom of the Page

Bad news on the doorstep
I couldn't take one more step…


Thanks for reading.