The Becoming-Human Edition Monday, October 15, 2018

I Went To Buy An iPhone XS And The Apple Store Employee Said Don’t Do It, by Chris Matyszczyk, ZDNet

What? She wasn't going to try and talk me into buying today, right now, this minute? She wasn't even going to talk me into pre-ordering the XR on October 19?

What has happened to the sales industry? Has it become human?

"Come back on the 26th," she told me. "I'll be here." This was true customer service, something that I've often experienced in Apple stores.

How I Finally Learned To Love Apple’s AirPods, by Henry T. Casey, Tom’s Guide

Then, came the nearly miraculous moment when I realized how light these buds felt in my ears. Sure, they're called AirPods, but how did Apple manage to make them feel so airy, though still secure enough that I never worried about them falling out? It's a miracle of industrial design. With the AirPods in my ears, ready to rock, I pressed Play on my daily playlist, which was set to Shuffle. Instantly, the delicate flutes of Peter Gabriel's "Sledgehammer" fluttered into my ears, soon backed by the track's signature horns. Having used Apple's own earbuds for so many years — and writing a column in my college newspaper about their poor quality, back in 2006 — I was shocked at how good the AirPods sounded.

The Real Photoshop

Adobe Announces Full Photoshop CC For iPad Shipping 2019, Syncs With Desktop, by Michael Steeber, 9to5Mac

A full, desktop-class version of Photoshop on iOS has been one of the most hotly anticipated creative apps for designers and artists since the original iPad’s introduction in 2010. In the years since, competitors have released their own products hoping to fill the void, but can’t offer true integration with Creative Cloud that existing Photoshop customer have come to expect. Today at 2018’s Adobe MAX conference in Los Angeles, Adobe is answering the requests of the creative community by previewing what it calls real Photoshop CC for iPad.

Adobe’s Chief Product Officer Scott Belsky On Bringing Photoshop To The iPad, by Dami Lee, The Verge

"I’m going to go on a limb here and say that the era of the file is over. I think that a creation is really a combination of components. Look at a Photoshop “file.” What is it really? It’s a collection of fonts, images and layers of edits and other things taken in from other places, composited together. It’s a collection. All those components, those ingredients of that composition both still exist in their original form as well as their combined altered form, which is ultimately the composition you’re making in a PSD."

"What we’ve done — what powers Photoshop on iPad — is what we call the Cloud PSD. The Cloud PSD is in a sense, a manifest of all of these ingredients together."

Finally: Real Photoshop On The iPad, by Dami Lee, The Verge

The phrase “real Photoshop” came up several times during my week-long preview of an early version of the software giant’s long-awaited app. The underlying code is the same as desktop Photoshop, and although the interface has been rethought for the iPad, the same core tools line the edges of the screen.

But the biggest change of all is a total rethinking of the classic .psd file for the cloud, which will turn using Photoshop into something much more like Google Docs. Photoshop for the iPad is a big deal, but Cloud PSD is the change that will let Adobe bring Photoshop everywhere.

Adobe Launches Premiere Rush, A Cross-platform Video Editor, by Kyle Wiggers, VentureBeat

Adobe Premiere Rush (previously Project Rush), as you might recall, is a cross-platform video editing app for smartphones, tablets, and PCs. It became available in beta this summer for select customers, and today during Adobe’s annual Adobe Max conference in Los Angeles, Adobe announced that it’s launching broadly on PC, Mac, and iOS devices.

The Technology In our Pockets

The Smartphone App That Can Tell You’re Depressed Before You Know It Yourself, by Rachel Metz, MIT Technology Review

A startup founded in Palo Alto, California, by a trio of doctors, including the former director of the US National Institute of Mental Health, is trying to prove that our obsession with the technology in our pockets can help treat some of today’s most intractable medical problems: depression, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, and substance abuse.

Mindstrong Health is using a smartphone app to collect measures of people’s cognition and emotional health as indicated by how they use their phones. Once a patient installs Mindstrong’s app, it monitors things like the way the person types, taps, and scrolls while using other apps. This data is encrypted and analyzed remotely using machine learning, and the results are shared with the patient and the patient’s medical provider.

The seemingly mundane minutiae of how you interact with your phone offers surprisingly important clues to your mental health, according to Mindstrong’s research—revealing, for example, a relapse of depression. With details gleaned from the app, Mindstrong says, a patient’s doctor or other care manager gets an alert when something may be amiss and can then check in with the patient by sending a message through the app (patients, too, can use it to message their care provider).

Scientists Have A New Weapon Against HIV: Your Phone, by Tyler Wray, Boston Globe

With more ways to prevent the spread of HIV than ever before, we’ve learned that using many options together works much better than any one strategy alone. Called “combination prevention,” this approach involves offering patients multiple medical and behavioral strategies for reducing their risk based on what is the best fit for them. Yet the success of combination prevention requires matching each person with the right interventions at the right time. It can also require a lot of from patients: periodic HIV testing, steady adherence to medication schedules, and good communication with medical providers.

Smartphones and other Internet-connected devices may hold the key. In 2017, more than three-quarters of American adults owned a smartphone, and that number continues to grow. People use their devices almost continuously, with studies suggesting that our phones are within arm’s reach 90 percent of the time and that we check them more than 2,600 times a day. The widespread adoption of smartphones, along with specialized devices, apps, and sensors, allows us to provide “just-in-time, adaptive interventions” that intervene at critical moments when someone is about to slip up and do something harmful or when they are most receptive to making a positive change.

Apple Is Donating 1,000 Watches For A New Study To Track Binge Eating, by Christina Farr, CNBC

The Apple Watch is in use by scientists across the country to monitor everything from the symptoms of Parkinson's disease to postpartum depression. Now, researchers are aiming to see how well the device can track eating disorders.

The University of North Carolina's medical school will soon be starting a study called BEGIN, which stands for Binge Eating Genetics Initiative, to better understand overeating. People with binge eating disorder often eat large amounts of food uncontrollably in a small period of time. Those who follow with compensatory behavior like purging or excessive exercise are typically diagnosed with bulimia nervosa.

Find Artists

Apple Acquires Music Analytics Startup Asaii, by Axios

Apple has acquired Asaii, a startup that built a music analytics engine for music labels and artist managers, sources confirm to Axios.

Apple Acquires Music Analytics Firm That Claims It Can ‘Find The Next Justin Bieber’, by Jon Porter, The Verge

Asaii’s main product is a dashboard that pulls together data from both music services and social media. This dashboard is advertised as having multiple uses, such as helping record labels plan marketing campaigns and live tours. But, its main feature is allowing labels to discover artists before they make it big. Asaii claims that its tech is able to find artists “10 weeks to a year” before they chart, allowing for the discovery of “the next Justin Bieber.”


Hands On With Apple’s New Series 4 Apple Watch Bands, by Andrew O’Hara, AppleInsider

Apple's bands can carry a higher price tag, but when it comes the colors, feel, and quality, few can come close.


The Lost Art Of Concentration: Being Distracted In A Digital World, by Harriet Griffey, The Guardian

Put simply, better concentration makes life easier and less stressful and we will be more productive. To make this change means reflecting on what we are doing to sabotage personal concentration, and then implementing steps towards behavioural change that will improve our chances of concentrating better. This means deliberately reducing distractions and being more self-disciplined about our use of social media, which are increasingly urgent for the sake of our cognitive and mental health.

It takes about three weeks for a repeating behaviour to form a habit, says Jeremy Dean, a psychologist and the author of Making Habits, Breaking Habits. Getting into a new habit will not happen overnight and adaptation can be incremental. Start by switching off smartphone alerts, or taking social media apps off your phone, then switching off the device for increasingly long periods.

Practise concentration by finding things to do that specifically engage you for a period of time to the exclusion of everything else. What is noticeable is that you cannot just go from a state of distraction to one of concentration, in the same way that most of us cannot fall asleep the minute our head hits the pillow. It takes a bit of time and, with practice, becomes easier to accomplish.


50 Years In Tech, Part 7: A Resonant Apple France Message, by Jean-Louis Gassée, Monday Note

In Cupertino, I had met Regis McKenna, Apple’s Eminence Grise, the Valley’s marketing guru who helped put Apple on the media map.

We got along nicely and he smilingly approved of my simplified view of his trade: Marketing’s primary task is positioning, defining identity. Put another way, if you don’t have a clean, clear, resonant identity, there no story to tell — and your efforts and budgets are wasted.

Palm Is A 3.3-inch Android Sidekick That Won't Replace Your Phone, by Jessica Dolcourt, CNET

Repeat it again: The new Palm isn't a phone, but it works with the phone you already have. When you want to watch videos, play games or take fancy portrait shots, reach for your main device. But when you want to go for a jog, run a quick errand or focus on the people around you, Palm wants you to take its gadget instead. For Palm (yes, Palm is the name of the product and the company), the device is a lifeline when you need it, not an object to obsess over like you would your usual phone.

I briefly tried out the Palm, and it's nuts.

Why Bill Gates Is Worried, by Ezra Klein, Vox

Each year, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation releases its annual Goalkeepers Report. The publication is thick with charts and graphs, metrics and statistics. And usually, it’s optimistic — global poverty, infant mortality, and a host of other key measures have dashed toward decency in recent years, and the Gateses have sought to make sure the public knows that progress is being made.

The 2018 edition, however, started on a tougher note. “Optimism requires being candid about the hard problems that still need to be solved,” the Gateses write. “That’s what this year’s Goalkeepers Data Report aims to do: confront a pressing yet neglected challenge, and identify some of the most promising strategies to meet it.”

“To put it bluntly,” they continue, “decades of stunning progress in the fight against poverty and disease may be on the verge of stalling. This is because the poorest parts of the world are growing faster than everywhere else; more babies are being born in the places where it’s hardest to lead a healthy and productive life.”

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Palm -- the pocket-watch.


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