The Content-Filtering Edition Friday, September 21, 2018

Apple Tight-lipped On Content-blocking Limits For iOS Apps, by Steven Melendez, Fast Company

Freedom’s iOS app used the platform’s support for virtual private network technology to block access to internet addresses associated with particular apps. For instance, the app could block connections to from the Facebook app or Safari, or it could block addresses used by streaming platforms to serve up content. Unlike traditional VPNs that protect privacy by routing internet traffic through encrypted tunnels to secure servers, Freedom didn’t actually send traffic through its own computers. Instead, explains CEO Fred Stutzman, “It uses the VPN API to basically decide what traffic is going to leave the phone, and what traffic is not going to leave the phone.”

Freedom isn’t the only company to have content-filtering software pulled from the App Store. The makers of the ad blocking software AdGuard, which used a similar VPN technique to filter out unwanted ads, discontinued a version of its software in July after receiving a similar rejection. Thomas Reed, director of Mac and mobile at security software company Malwarebytes, tweeted in July that his company had also been affected by the apparent policy shift, though Malwarebytes declined to comment further.

AirPower Referenced In iPhone XS Packaging, iOS 12.1 Code Shows Continuing Development, by Guilherme Rambo, 9to5Mac

Looking into iOS 12.1, we noticed that the component of iOS responsible for managing the charging interface that appears when using AirPower has been updated, which means that Apple is still actively working on the project.

Furthermore, a picture of the “getting started guide” that comes packaged with the iPhone XS clearly mentions AirPower.

Apple Introduces New Data Recovery Process For Macs With T2 Chip, by Jordan Kahn, 9to5Mac

Apple has recently documented a new data recovery process internally for Macs that utilize its T2 chip introduced with the iMac Pro and the 2018 MacBook Pro. The new process for repair staff is being introduced due to the T2 chip’s advanced security features including hardware encryption for SSD storage that isn’t compatible with Apple’s previous data recovery methods used on older machines.


Running Down That Dream: Podcast And Interval Training On An Apple Watch, by Jason Snell, Six Colors

But last month I was able to walk out the door of my house with nothing in my pocket but a house key, and go for a run with my favorite podcasts playing in my ears and a running trainer occasionally interrupting (and tapping my wrist) to tell me whether it was time to run or walk.

HomeCam App For HomeKit Cameras Adds Support For Siri Shortcuts, Apple Watch App, More, by Chance Miller, 9to5Mac

There’s a new companion Apple Watch app that allows you to watch live feeds of your HomeKit cameras directly on your wrist. The Watch app also includes microphone and speaker support, so you can use it as an intercom of sorts.


Social Media Can Ruin Your Creativity. Don’t Let It, by Fast Company

For many creatives, including independent artists and freelancers, it’s complicated by the fact that business today is often done on social platforms. “I feel like I need to be on social media to know what’s going on in the world, to stay close with my friends, for professional reasons, and simply to stay relevant,” as one anonymous writer put it in the advice section of The Creative Independent, the online resource for creative people.

So, should you delete your social media? The Creative Independent posed the question to artists, producers, and writers, whose responses ran the gamut from “abso-fucking-lutely” to advice on how to modulating your online life and creative practice.


A Fond Farewell And Tribute To Former Low End Mac Writer Charles W. Moore, by Joe Leo, Low End Mac

A very poignant and fitting quote from Charles was when he was asked how he measures success:

“As a Christian, I affirm the principle that a life is properly lived with a focus on preparation for the next life – a paradigm that was also advanced by Plato. In here and now terms, being of service to others in ways small or more substantial would be my definition of success in life.”

France Bans Smartphones In Schools Through 9th Grade. Will It Help Students?, by Alissa J. Rubin and Elian Peltier, New York Times

France’s education ministry hopes that its smartphone ban, which took effect at the beginning of September and applies to students from first through ninth grades, will get schoolchildren to pay more attention in class and interact more, and several studies suggest such correlations.

Some experts are skeptical that the ban can be enforced, and some teachers question the merits of insulating children from the internet-dominated world they will face outside school. But the French government believes that without minimizing distractions, children will never learn the basics.

Bottom of the Page

It's great that quite a few of the apps that I frequently use is already supporting the new Shortcuts on iOS 12. I can easily add the playing of my podcast queue as part of my morning routine, for example. (I don't have a morning routine, though.)

But what I really want from the developers is data. For example, I want a shortcut that can make an if-then-else decision on what to play based on the number of podcast episodes in different playlists in different apps.


Dear Apple: Please allow me to add apps and shortcuts to Control Center. I don't want to talk to Siri when I am in the train.

(Either that, or perhaps there is a really great new and improved Springboard coming in next year's iOS that rumors indicated were postponed from this year's release.)


Thanks for reading.