The Behind-the-Scenes Edition Thursday, November 15, 2018

Apple Stores To Employ Human Trafficking Victims, by Leo Kelion, BBC

Apple has announced a programme to help human trafficking victims get behind-the-scenes jobs at its stores.

The technology company has teamed up with an NGO that will help the victims pass interviews for caretaker and landscaping posts among other roles.

The individuals will not be identified to Apple and will be employed by its suppliers rather than directly. But it intends to monitor the initiative.

The announcement coincides with the company winning the Stop Slavery Award.

Tim Cook To Receive ADL ‘Courage Against Hate’ Award, Serve As Event Keynote Speaker Next Month, by Chance Miller, 9to5Mac

The ADL says Cook has proven that a company can be vocal on social issues while also continuing to grow and innovate. The organization specifically points to things such as Cook’s stance on LGBTQ issues, his focus on charitable donations, and Apple’s ongoing partnership with (RED).

Smart Typing

iPad Diaries: Typing On The iPad Pro With The Smart Keyboard Folio, by Fedrico Viticci, MacStories

Keyboard recommendations are inherently subjective: iPad users have different needs, different priorities, and different budgets. If you value good portability, not having to worry about charging a keyboard, and, with this new iPad Pro, protection for the front and back of the iPad, the Smart Keyboard Folio is probably what you want to get, even though it's not cheap. If you liked the Smart Keyboard before, you're going to appreciate the versatility Apple added in this iteration.

Personally, I'd like Apple to provide its pro iPad customers with more options. I would happily trade some of the Smart Keyboard's portability for a larger, heavier keyboard with adjustable angles and extra functions that are natively integrated with iOS and apps. Maybe one day Apple will offer a Smart Keyboard Pro to cater to iPad Pro users like me; until that happens, I'm going to keep an eye out for promising alternatives based on Bluetooth and the new Smart Connector.

Review: Apple's Smart Keyboard Folio Is The Best Option For The iPad Pro, But Has Too Many Compromises, by Andrew O'Hara, AppleInsider

Regardless of all our complaints, the Smart Keyboard Folio remains the best typing experience on iPad. The keys are quick, responsive, and easy to type on. They aren't as satisfying as some dedicated keyboards, but once you adjust, you can touch type as quickly and as accurately as on your Mac.

Smart Photos

Your Smartphone Photos Are Totally Fake — And You Love It, by Geoffrey A. Fowler, Washington Post

Night Sight is a super step forward for smartphone photography — and an example of how our photos are becoming, well, super fake.

It’s true — you don’t look like your photos. Photography has never been just about capturing reality, but the latest phones are increasingly taking photos into uncharted territory.

For now, Night Sight is only a mode that pops up in dark shots on Google’s Pixel phones. But it’s hardly alone: All sorts of phonemakers brag about how awesome their photos look, not how realistic they are. The iPhone’s “portrait mode” applies made-up blur to backgrounds and identifies facial features to reduce red-eye. Selfies on phones popular in Asia automatically slim heads, brighten eyes and smooth skin. And most recent phones use a technique called HDR that merges multiple shots to produce a hyper-toned version of reality.


Safari Vulnerability Lets Hackers Swipe Recently Deleted Photos From iPhone X, by Mikey Campbell, AppleInsider

White-hat hackers Richard Zhu and Amat Cama at the Mobile Pwn2Own contest on Wednesday leveraged a previously unknown exploit that allowed the pair to extract a supposedly deleted photo from an iPhone X running the latest iOS 12.1.

Pocket Casts 7: A Host Of Improvements Make The App Feel Brand New, by Ryan Christoffel, MacStories

Pocket Casts 7 makes the podcast client feel modern again. It introduces a new design alongside important features like Siri shortcuts and AirPlay 2 support, Up Next syncing, episode search, Listening History, and a lot more. If you haven't given the app a try in a while, now is definitely the time to do so.

Review: Nomad Base Station + Apple Watch Is Painfully Close To An Ideal Charging Solution, by Andrew O'Hara, AppleInsider

Nomad's latest wireless charger integrates an Apple-certified charging puck to power almost all your gear in a central, and attractive, place.

Cortana’s Redesign Is Now Available For iOS, by Jon POrter, The Verge

As well as overhauling its interface, the update adds the ability for you to have “conversational experiences” with the voice assistant, listen to music and podcasts, and set up Cortana devices.


Apple's Safari Tests 'Not Secure' Warning For Unencrypted Websites, by Stephen Shankland, CNET

Apple's Safari team, following Chrome's lead, has begun warning people when they're visiting websites that aren't protected by HTTPS encryption.

The feature for now is only in Safari Technology Preview 70, a version of the web browser Apple uses to test technology it typically brings to the ordinary version of Safari. Apple released the update Wednesday.

When No One Retires, by Mark Smith, Harvard Business Review

Before our eyes, the world is undergoing a massive demographic transformation. In many countries, the population is getting old. Very old. Globally, the number of people age 60 and over is projected to double to more than 2 billion by 2050 and those 60 and over will outnumber children under the age of 5. In the United States, about 10,000 people turn 65 each day, and one in five Americans will be 65 or older by 2030. By 2035, Americans of retirement age will eclipse the number of people aged 18 and under for the first time in U.S. history.

The reasons for this age shift are many — medical advances that keep people healthier longer, dropping fertility rates, and so on — but the net result is the same: Populations around the world will look very different in the decades ahead.

Some in the public and private sector are already taking note — and sounding the alarm. In his first term as chairman of the U.S. Federal Reserve, with the Great Recession looming, Ben Bernanke remarked, “in the coming decades, many forces will shape our economy and our society, but in all likelihood no single factor will have as pervasive an effect as the aging of our population.” Back in 2010, Standard & Poor’s predicted that the biggest influence on “the future of national economic health, public finances, and policymaking” will be “the irreversible rate at which the world’s population is aging.”


Consumers Love Smart Speakers. They Don’t Love News Briefings On Smart Speakers. (At Least Not Yet.), by Laura Hazard Owen, NiemanLab

Use of the devices for music and weather is still far ahead of news use. And among consumers’ complaints about news briefings: They’re too long.

Unsubscribe Me!, by Lauren Larson, GQ

A subscription-free existence in this economy would be near impossible—a life without Game of Thrones is no life at all. So I've got a new rule: If I haven't used a subscription in a month, I unsubscribe. Simple as that. As for those annoyingly minuscule charges you'll pay in perpetuity? Well, that just might be the cost of being alive in the 21st century.

Bottom of the Page

Just finished watching the last season of House of Cards -- and, really, the story has gotten so bad that I didn't really care about the plot nor the characters. At this point, just because I've watched so many episodes already, I just wanted to finish it.

If you asked me what really happened in this last season, I really can't tell you much.


Thanks for reading.