The Improvements-Have-Been-Made Edition Monday, September 17, 2018

iPhone XS, XS Max And XR Cameras: What You Need To Know, by Lars Rehm, DPReview

All phones sport the industry's most color accurate, wide color gamut (P3) displays which, combined with best-in-class color management built into the OS, ensures accurate display of photos and videos. When you go to print or share an image online, you can rest assured that color rendition will be consistent.

At first sight the new cameras aren't much different from last year's iPhone X but improvements have been made in terms of hardware, software and features. On the following pages we take a closer look.

Apple Drops Need For iPhone Screen Repairs To Use Calibration Hardware, Reducing Turnaround Time For Repair Shops, by Benjamin Mayo, 9to5Mac

Calibration is now achieved through software alone. This should make repairs faster and makes it easier for more repair locations to open up around the world, assuming Apple also loosens its relatively-stringent approval policy on setting up new repair centers.

Okay, Apple, It’s Time To Fess Up About The AirPower, by Dennis Sellers, Appel World Today

It’s time for Apple to offer an update on the AirPower. Let us know if it’s still being worked on or if it’s indeed been canceled.

At Best, Misleading

Instagram Is Supposed To Be Friendly. So Why Is It Making People So Miserable?, by Alex Hern, The Guardian

But, for a growing number of users – and mental health experts – the very positivity of Instagram is precisely the problem. The site encourages its users to present an upbeat, attractive image that others may find at best misleading and at worse harmful. If Facebook demonstrates that everyone is boring and Twitter proves that everyone is awful, Instagram makes you worry that everyone is perfect – except you.


5 New Fitness Features Coming To Your Apple Watch, by Taylor Martin, CNET

Some of the biggest updates in WatchOS 5, however, are for the many people who use their Apple Watch to track their workouts and fitness. Here are four new ways Apple Watch will help you close your rings.

Streaks 4 Adds iPad Support, Timed Tasks, HealthKit Improvements, And Siri Shortcuts, by John Voorhees, MacStories

There are a lot of habit trackers on iOS, but Streaks was one of the first and remains the gold standard against which I measure all other trackers. Even as Crunchy Bagel has added new features and customization options, Streaks’ simple, elegant design has remained at the center of its user experience. That’s important because habit tracking only works if it’s easy to log events. Even the slightest friction makes it too easy to abandon your efforts.


Artificial Intelligence Has Got Some Explaining To Do, by Molly Mchugh, The Ringer

Most simply put, Explainable AI (also referred to as XAI) are artificial intelligence systems whose actions humans can understand. Historically, the most common approach to AI is the “black box” line of thinking: human input goes in, AI-made action comes out, and what happens in between can be studied, but never totally or accurately explained. Explainable AI might not be necessary for, say, understanding why Netflix or Amazon recommended that movie or that desk organizer for you (personally interesting, sure, but not necessary). But when it comes to deciphering answers about AI in fields like health care, personal finances, or the justice system, it becomes more important to understand an algorithm’s actions.

The Rise And Demise Of RSS, by Sinclair Target, Two Bit History

So today we are left with centralized silos of information. In a way, we do have the syndicated internet that Kevin Werbach foresaw in 1999. After all, The Onion is a publication that relies on syndication through Facebook and Twitter the same way that Seinfeld relied on syndication to rake in millions after the end of its original run. But syndication on the web only happens through one of a very small number of channels, meaning that none of us “retain control over our online personae” the way that Werbach thought we would. One reason this happened is garden-variety corporate rapaciousness—RSS, an open format, didn’t give technology companies the control over data and eyeballs that they needed to sell ads, so they did not support it. But the more mundane reason is that centralized silos are just easier to design than common standards. Consensus is difficult to achieve and it takes time, but without consensus spurned developers will go off and create competing standards. The lesson here may be that if we want to see a better, more open web, we have to get better at not screwing each other over.

Linus Torvalds Takes A Break From Linux, by Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols, ZDNet

In a surprising move, Linus Torvalds, Linux's creator, is taking a break on his Linux kernel work to work on his behavior to other developers. In a note to the Linux Kernel Mailing List (LKML), Torvalds wrote, "I need to change some of my behavior, and I want to apologize to the people that my personal behavior hurt and possibly drove away from kernel development entirely."

If you follow the trials and tribulations of Linux's developments, this is mind-blowing. For the almost 30-years Torvalds has been working on the kernel, he's been famous--or infamous--for his outbursts towards programmers and others who didn't meet his high expectations.

Bottom of the Page

I wish BBC will limit each podcast episode to just one "This is the BBC" announcement.


Thanks for reading.