The Small-Difference-in-Design Edition Friday, August 17, 2018

How Fertility Apps Exclude Fathers, by Ashley Fetters, The Atlantic

Just about every fertility app available enables users to chart when they’ve had sex and note whether it was “protected” or “unprotected”—but for a lot of apps, that’s the only nod to the fact that it takes two participants to make a baby the old-fashioned way. It remains something of a novelty for apps to offer an option to share ovulation-cycle data with another user. Ovia offers the option of signing your partner up for alert emails when your “fertile window” is approaching (which Wanner and her husband were not aware of), but other popular apps, including Flo, Natural Cycles, PinkBird, Life, Period Calendar, and Kindara, are designed to be used by only the female partner in the conception process. (The last two have “export to doctor” and “share with a practitioner” functions, which export past data in a shareable format, but only Kindara allows the “practitioner” to follow along in real time.) As a result, what may seem like a small difference in design can have a noticeable effect on the emotional lives of heterosexual couples during the process of getting pregnant—and can upend or reinforce traditional ideas about whose responsibility it is to ensure that conception happens.

Three Science Experiments You Can Do With Your Phone, by Rhett Allain, Wired

Everyone already knows that you are carrying around a computer in your pocket. But your smartphone is more than just a computer—it’s also a data collector. I’m going to guess that yours can measure acceleration, magnetic field, sound, location, and maybe more. Many phones also can measure pressure. Oh, and some phones can even make phone calls.

With all of those sensors available, I’m going to go over three fun experiments you can do with your phone. These will probably work on just about any smartphone—and you can probably use a variety of apps to collect the data.

Google Clarifies Location-tracking Policy, by Ryan Nakashima, Associated Press

Google has revised a help page that erroneously described how its "Location History" setting works, clarifying for users that it still tracks their location even if they turn the setting off.


Tips For Making Launchpad A Useful App Launcher For Mac, by Zac Hall, 9to5Mac

Launchpad doesn’t get much love from Mac power users (there are plenty of other efficient ways to launch Mac apps) and Apple really hasn’t touched the feature in years. But it’s a feature I use regularly on my Mac — after making a few adjustments.

Cycle Might Be The World's Most Relaxing Music App, by Charlie Sorrel, Cult of Mac

Cycle is both a musical instrument and a meditation device. The app, for iPhone and iPad, is something called a “time lag accumulator.” You play notes on its simple keyboard, and these notes are repeated over and over, slowly fading after time. The result is hypnotic, relaxing and creative, all at the same time.


Apple Reassures Customers After Australian Media Reports Hack By Teen, by Byron Kaye, Stephen Nellis, Reuters

Apple Inc said on Friday no customer data was compromised after Australian media reported a teenager had pleaded guilty to hacking into its main computer network, downloading internal files and accessing customer accounts.

Women's Pockets Are Inferior, by Jan Diehm & Amber Thomas, The Pudding

Here, we programmatically determined whether various everyday items could fit in an otherwise empty pocket in jeans that aren’t being worn. (If an object won’t fit in the pocket of a pair of jeans on the hanger, it certainly won’t fit when you’re wearing them.) Only 40 percent of women’s front pockets can completely fit one of the three leading smartphone brands. Less than half of women’s front pockets can fit a wallet specifically designed to fit in front pockets. And you can’t even cram an average woman’s hand beyond the knuckles into the majority of women’s front pockets.

Bottom of the Page

The front of this Windows 10 computer that I am using today is not as nice as the back of that bondi-blue iMac I was using twenty years ago.


Thanks for reading.