The Lock-Screen-Presence Edition Friday, November 23, 2018

Hey, Turn Off Siri On Your Lock Screen, by Lily Hay Newman, Wired

In the battle of the smart assistants, every tech giant hopes to hook you on its voice-activated helper. That means putting the features front and center in as many products as possible. For its part, Apple offers Siri access from your iPhone's lock screen, so you can seamlessly hear the weather or make a call without needing to unlock your device. But while Siri and other smart assistants are generally secure, all this integration inevitably leads to bugs from time to time. On a smart speaker, that's usually not a huge deal. On a smartphone, Siri bugs have made its lock screen presence a periodic risk.

The Good Life: What A Difference An iPad Can Make, by Denny Bonavita, The Post-Journal

My son Greg, now age 41, has Down syndrome. He now lives in a group home in Warren, preceded by 10 years in DuBois. I live outside Brookville. Greg’s brothers and sisters are scattered throughout Pennsylvania, Ohio and Virginia.

Usually, I call him once a week. Siblings also call, perhaps weekly, perhaps less often, as we all tend to our own busy lives. If Greg wanted to call any of us via phone, he needed the aid of a group home staff member.

That all changed a month ago.

We got Greg an IPad for his 41st birthday.

Using The iPad For: Autographed Ebooks, by Matt Gemmell

I recently wrote about how I’m offering autographed ebook versions of my novels, alongside autographed paperbacks and of course the regular retail editions in both print and digital formats. In this article, I’ll briefly describe my iPad-based workflow for making those bespoke ebooks.

Because I self-publish and thus generate the ebooks myself, I have full control of the process. My iPad Pro with Apple Pencil is the idea tool for not only inscribing and signing book covers in an efficient (and eco-friendly!) way, but also actually building and delivering the resulting beautiful personalised digital novel.


Apple Black Friday Sale Live In The US: Get An Apple Store Gift Card When Buying iPhone, Mac, iPad And Apple Watch, by Benjamin Mayo, 9to5Mac

Apple’s Black Friday deals have gone live in the US and sure enough they match what we saw in the Australian market. You can get an Apple Store gift card up to $280 value with the purchase of Mac, or $70 when buying an iPhone 8 or iPhone 7.

Ditching The MacBook Pro For A MacBook Air, by Brad Frost

One of the best things about this machine is the nice slope that doesn’t hurt my wrists while typing. This was one of the biggest things I noticed when I switched from my original MacBook Air to a MacBook Pro, and I’m happy to return to a comfortable typing environment.

Mac Mini Review—a Testament To Apple’s Stubbornness, by Peter Bright, Ars Technica

The Mac mini is a kind of jack-of-all-trades system, with everything that implies. For some use cases, Apple already has better systems. For others, the Mac mini isn't a great fit, but it's the only hardware that Apple is actually offering that's even vaguely suitable, so Mac users can like it or lump it. It's just... it's not portable; it's not a full size, upgradeable desktop PC; it's not particularly cheap; it's not a great building block for server or render farms.

Instead, the new Mac mini is a compromised box that's engineered to be quite small. If you're wedded to macOS, then it does the job well enough. It's not bad as such, and it's certainly a solid upgrade over the 2014 system. But there's nothing this device particularly excels at, and there's no real scenario where it leaps out at me as being the ideal, obvious choice. It's the Mac you buy when you know you need to buy a Mac... and you've already ruled out all the other systems Apple has on offer.


Thirsty, by Heather Schwedel, Slate

The first Friday in November was an important day for Starbucks. It was the first of the company’s annual holiday season, anticipated by the Starbucks loyal each year and marked by the launch of Peppermint Mochas and seasonal red cups, among other festive offerings. But this year, on that fateful day, something went wrong. The Starbucks app wasn’t working.

Apps go down all the time; such is life with smartphones. But this outage, and the furious tweets that went with it, was enough of a news event to rate coverage from CNBC, Bloomberg, the Associated Press, and more. Starbucks heads, it seems, do not like to be without their app. And that’s by design.

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Happy leftover-on-sandwiches day!

(Or do what my wife does: throw everything into a pot and make stew.)


Thanks for reading.