The Some-Level-of-Government-Regulation Edition Wednesday, October 3, 2018

Tim Cook Says Some Tech Regulation Likely Needs To Happen, by Shara Tibken, CNET

"I see privacy as one of the most important issues of the 21st century," Cook said during an episode of Vice News Tonight that aired Tuesday on HBO. "I'm not a pro-regulation kind of person, I believe in the free market deeply [but] when the free market doesn't produce a result that's great for society, you have to ask yourself: what do we need to do? And I think some level of government regulation is important to come out of that."

But getting members of Congress to understand technology and privacy enough to regulate them is "a challenge," he said.

Tim Cook Says Apple Didn’t Coordinate Alex Jones Ban With Other Tech Companies, by Nick Statt, The Verge

“We don’t take a political stand. We’re not leaning one way or the other. You can tell that from the stuff on the App Store and in podcasts, etc. You’ll see everything from very conservative to very liberal. And that’s the way I think it should be,” Cook said. On the topic of a potential coordinated attempt, Cook said, “I’ve never even had a conversation about [Alex Jones] with any other tech companies. We make our decisions independently and I think that’s important. Honestly. I’ve had no conversation. And to my knowledge, no one at Apple has.”

Most Interesting Product

Apple Watch Series 4 Review: The Invisible Redesign, by Jason Snell, Six Colors

I’ve worn an Apple Watch pretty much every single day since I took delivery of the very first model on day one. I’ve enjoyed using it, but I’ve also enjoyed watching at how the platform has just kept getting better. For the first few years, most of the improvements were on the software side, along with incremental hardware improvements inside the same, familiar exterior.

This year is different. That exterior is familiar, but it’s not the same. It’s new, and surprising, and paints with a much larger canvas. The iPhone is Apple’s revenue driver, the iPad Pro is my ultimate mobile-productivity tool, and my heart will always belong to the Mac—but for my money, the Apple Watch is currently the most interesting product the company makes.

The Apple Watch Faces Its Toughest Challenge Yet: Grandma, by Geoffrey A. Fowler, Washington Post

While the Watch will continue to grow as a medical device, it may be more useful now to think of it as a wellness aid. It offers a three-part view of your daily activity, displayed in rings: your overall activity level, how much time you’ve raised your heart rate in exercise and how often you stand rather than sit. In my life, this holistic view has been more useful than counting steps like other trackers.

Apple Used To Know Exactly What People Wanted — Then It Made A Watch, by John Herrman, New York Times

For now, this impressive facility for collecting and organizing information about you is just that — it’s a great deal of data with not many places to go. This is sensitive information, of course, and Apple’s relative commitment to privacy — at least compared with advertising-centric companies like Google and Facebook — might be enough to get new users strapped in and recording.

As Apple continues its institutional struggle to conceive of what the Apple Watch is, or could be, in the imaginations of its customers, it’s worth remembering that Apple’s stated commitment to privacy is, in practice, narrow. The competitors that Cook likes to prod about their data-exploitative business models have a necessary and complicit partner in his company, having found many of their customers though Apple’s devices and software.

Two Tales of the Future

National Theater In London Offers Glasses With Live Subtitles, by Alex Marshall, New York Times

If you have hearing difficulties, the idea of spending hours watching a play may not be that attractive given the risk of key dialogue slipping from your grasp. The National Theater in London is hoping to change that.

On Wednesday, the theater introduced “smart caption glasses” that display dialogue on the lenses as actors speak. The glasses can be used without charge for the play “War Horse” and for the musical “Hadestown,” and they will be available for all of the theater’s 2019 season.

Wouldn’t It Be Better If Self-checkout Just Died?, by Kaitlyn Tiffany, Vox

Dystopian possibilities aside, what really stings about self-checkout is that right now it is not even automation, which has been so obviously deleterious to the job market but has also been, for the most part, successfully framed as progress. Self-checkout is sold to us as a high-tech upgrade, but that’s just adding insult to injury — eliminating jobs by making people who have jobs do more jobs. When Walmart installs a new self-checkout, it’s not “automating” the process of checkout; it’s simply turning the register around, giving it a friendlier interface, and having the shopper do the work themselves.


Apple Store App Now Works With Siri Shortcuts — Including Pre-ordering iPhone XR, by Chance Miller, 9to5Mac

Essentially, while getting pre-approved for your upgrade via the iPhone Upgrade Program, you’ll see a new “Add to Siri” button. Simply tap this and record your own voice command, such as “pre-order my iPhone,” and you’ll be able to pre-order the iPhone XR purely using Siri.

Apps We Love: Snapthread, by Josh Ginter, The Sweet Setup

For the times I want to share a Live Photo with a non-iPhone toting friend, Snapthread quickly converts Live Photos into a three-second video. You can string together multiple videos and Live Photos, add an introduction slide to the video, add a quick soundtrack to really build out the Live Photo conversion, and export extremely quickly.

Free NightOwl App Switches On macOS Mojave Dark Mode At Sundown, by Charlie Sorrel, Cult of Mac

NightOwl is two things. One is a menu bar utility that lets you quickly switch between dark and light themes. The other is a scheduler that lets you automatically switch.

ATEN Technology Launches Mac Compatible USB-C Multiport Dock, by Dennis Sellers, Apple World Today

The docking station provides extra expansion capabilities by allowing up to 10 extra devices to be added, including HDMI, DisplayPort, VGA, USB 3.1 Gen 1, SD/MMC/MicroSD, ethernet and audio connectivity – all via one cable.

Three Handy Apps For The Macbook Pro Touch Bar, by Anthony Caruana, Lifehacker

But what if you want more than just what's available through the App Store? It turns out, there are lots of games and utilities that use the Touch Bar. Here are three of my favourites.


In Praise Of Mediocrity, by Tim Wu, New York Times

But there’s a deeper reason, I’ve come to think, that so many people don’t have hobbies: We’re afraid of being bad at them. Or rather, we are intimidated by the expectation — itself a hallmark of our intensely public, performative age — that we must actually be skilled at what we do in our free time. Our “hobbies,” if that’s even the word for them anymore, have become too serious, too demanding, too much an occasion to become anxious about whether you are really the person you claim to be.


Apple Opposing Australian Encryption Law Which Could Set A Precedent For The USA, by Ben Lovejoy, 9to5Mac

Apple is one of four tech giants to come out in opposition to a proposed new law in Australia which would force companies to provide access to encrypted user data. The fear is that, if the law is allowed to pass, it could set a precedent which other countries are likely to follow – with the USA high up the list of likely candidates to effectively ban strong encryption.

Apple Donates $1M To Indonesia Earthquake And Tsunami Relief Efforts, by Malcolm Owen, AppleInsider

Apple CEO Tim Cook has announced Apple is donating $1 million to help relief efforts taking place in Indonesia after the recent earthquake and tsunami, in a continuation of the iPhone producer's charitable efforts following major disasters over the years.

Apple’s Bagel Emoji Is About To Upset A Lot Of New Yorkers, by Nikita Richardson, New York Magazine

This is an emoji that New Yorkers and bagel lovers around the world have been expecting for a long time and the disappointment is truly overwhelming. Take a look at this clearly machine-cut monstrosity with its stiff and bready interior, which couldn’t possibly be redeemed by a few minutes in a toaster.

Here Come Wi-Fi 4, 5 And 6 In Plan To Simplify 802.11 Networking Names, by Stephen Shankland, CNET

Quick quiz: which is better, 802.11n or 802.11ac?

The answer, if you're familiar with Wi-Fi standards coming from the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, is 802.11ac -- and by the way, the upcoming 802.11ax is better than both.

But in an effort to make the wireless networking terms more useful and less like alphanumeric gibberish, the Wi-Fi Alliance trade group has some new names it wants for those technologies: Wi-Fi 4, Wi-Fi 5, and Wi-Fi 6.

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