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Archive for December 2018

The Hello-Alexa Edition Saturday, December 15, 2018

What Apple's New Job Additions Tell Us About Its Product Plans, by Dan Moren, Macworld

As it happens, San Diego is the worldwide headquarters of Qualcomm. So if one were looking to lure away personnel with an expertise in the cellular connectivity business, it would seem like a good place to be. And, indeed, Apple’s already posted a number of jobs in San Diego for positions on its “growing wireless silicon development team.”

[...]

But, after taking a look at Apple’s Seattle job openings, it’s clear that one key area the company is building up there is Siri. The company describes “a new Siri engineering team based in Seattle” and is hiring not only data scientists and machine learning scientists, but also several software engineers to work on integrating third-party software with its SiriKit framework.

Apple Music Now Live On Amazon Echo Speakers Using Alexa, by Zac Hall, 9to5Mac

Apple Music support on Amazon Echo speakers is starting to roll out through the Alexa app on iOS and Android a few days ahead of schedule. You can now connect your Apple Music account with Echo speakers through the Alexa app and use Apple’s music streaming service with Alexa voice control.

Review: Satechi’s Aluminum Keyboard Is A Great Alternative To Apple’s More Expensive Space Gray Option, by Michael Potuck, 9to5Mac

If you don’t prefer the shallow throw and clicky feel of Apple’s keyboards, or even if you just want to have a softer option to use when you’d like, Satechi’s Aluminum Keyboard is a great choice.

The Torturous Psychology Of 10-Minute Tasks, by Amanda Mull, The Atlantic

“A big problem people have is they attack themselves and not their behaviors,” Ferrari says. If task-delayers can depersonalize their aversion to, say, vacuuming or litter box-changing, he believes, they stand a better chance at being able to evaluate it rationally, avoiding the shame cycle that can calcify negative behaviors into bad habits.

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The follow-up question has to be what's next between Apple and Amazon's collaboration? Between the success of Netflix, and the deep libraries of traditional studios (Disney and Warner), Apple and Amazon may well be in a the-enemy-of-my-enemy-is-my-friend relationship.

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Thanks for reading.

The iTunes-Ping Edition Friday, December 14, 2018

Apple Music Removes Ability For Artists To Post To Connect, Posts Removed From Artist Pages And For You, by Zac Hall, 9to5Mac

Apple Music Connect appears to slowly be going the way of iTunes Ping. Apple has started notifying Apple Music artists that it is removing the ability for artists to post content to Apple Music Connect, and previously posted Apple Music Connect content is being removed from the For You section and Artist Pages in Apple Music. Connect content will still be viewable through search results on Apple Music, but Apple is removing artist-submitted Connect posts from search in May.

Fall In Love, Again

iOS 12 Surprisingly Breathes New Life Into My iPhone 5S, by Patrick Holland, CNDT

I absolutely love the blocky, petite iPhone 5S. Second to the discontinued 4-inch iPhone SE, the 5S is one of the last truly small smartphones. But Apple giveth, and Apple taketh away. Despite discontinuing the iPhone 5S/SE form factor, the company gave iPhone 5S users a glorious gift: iOS 12.

In the past, if you had an old iPhone, updating to the latest operating system was a bit of a gamble. Software bugs might pop up or performance might slow down. But iOS 12 does the opposite. It's not a glitzy feature-packed update. Instead, it does a lot of behind-the-scene housekeeping that actually makes the iPhone 5S faster. It's a welcomed update and I definitely recommend downloading it.

The New Apple Pencil Made Me A Believer, by Jason Snell, Macworld

What I’m saying is, if you can find an app that does a great job supporting the Apple Pencil, you may fall in love with it—even if you’ve not been a fan of the Pencil up to now. In fact, I’m now intrigued by what other apps out there might make me appreciate the Pencil even more. Given my success with an audio app, I’m starting to wonder if video-editing apps might be a possibility.

Apple and Qualcomm and China

Apple To Push Software Update In China As Qualcomm Case Threatens Sales Ban, by Adam Jourdan, Stephen Nellis, Reuters

Apple Inc, facing a court ban in China on some of its iPhone models over alleged infringement of Qualcomm Inc patents, said on Friday it will push software updates to users in a bid to resolve potential issues.

Apple will carry out the software updates at the start of next week “to address any possible concern about our compliance with the order”, the firm said in a statement sent to Reuters.

Apple Says China iPhone Ban Would Force Settlement With Qualcomm, by Mark Gurman, Bloomberg

“Apple will be forced to settle with the Respondent, causing all mobile phone manufacturers to relapse into the previous unreasonable charging mode and pay high licensing fees, resulting in unrecoverable losses in the downstream market of mobile phones,” the iPhone maker said in the Dec. 10 filing to the court. The document was submitted in Mandarin with an English translation that Bloomberg verified. Apple didn’t respond to requests for comment.

[...]

“Apple and many other companies, consumers, and government will suffer truly irreparable harm,” the company said in the filing. The Chinese government “may suffer hundreds of thousands of tax losses” from the iPhone ban because of lost taxes from sales of the devices, it said, citing estimates of 50 million units sold in the country in 2017.

Qualcomm Seeks China Sales Ban On iPhone XS And XR, by Yuan Yang, Financial Times

“We plan to use the same patents to file suit against the three new iPhone models,” Jiang Hongyi, a lawyer at Lexfield Law Offices who is representing Qualcomm in its patent suits, told the Financial Times.

Mr Jiang said additional suits covering Apple’s new iPhone XS, XS Max and XR models were pending in courts in Beijing, Qingdao and Guangzhou.

Stuff

Agenda 4.0 Brings Support For File Attachments, Improved iOS Automation, by Federico Viticci, MacStories

Agenda has the best implementation of adding image and file attachments I've seen in a note-taking app for iOS. Attachments can be added either by dragging them into Agenda (on iPad) or picking them from buttons that have been added to the copy & paste menu.

Taking Notes On An iPad With LiquidText, by MacDrifter

The most basic capability of LiquidText is extracting and highlighting PDFs. Highlights aren't that novel but the way LiquidText extracts annotations is marvelously unique. With an Apple Pencil, or a finger, I can select text in the PDF and instantly extract a linked note. LiquidText preserves the connection to the original document. Tapping the annotation in the sidebar immediately scrolls the main document and shows where it is linked.

Architects And The New iPadPro: Should You Buy One?, by Becky Quintal, ArchDaily

This powerful constellation of tools has the possibility of spawning a different, more efficient, mobile and imaginative workflow. If it takes off, this new suite of apps will facilitate a design process that is as smart as it is soft and experiential. Since architects frequently welcome new technology, it's not hard to imagine a future of architecture firms filled with desktops, sketchbooks...and tablets.

Develop

Apple Activates Mac App Store Analytics In App Store Connect, by Mikey Campbell, AppleInsider

Analytics include the number of times an app was seen on the App Store, product page views and downloads by new customers. Sales numbers for in-app purchases and paying users are also available for developer perusal, Apple says, as are other unspecified metrics.

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Rather than relying on artists to create content for Apple Music Connect, maybe Apple should try employing people to create content for the next iteration of its music social network?

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Christmas is almost here, and I'm now seeing websites that have added snowmen and snowwomen and snowflakes that litter my screen. And I've noticed that some of these snowflakes do not actually obey the laws of physics. Either that, or there are many strange winds blowing across our lands.

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Thanks for reading.

The Major-Expansion Edition Thursday, December 13, 2018

Apple Plans Major US Expansion Including A New $1 Billion Campus In Austin, by Jon Russell, TechCrunch

Apple has announced a major expansion that will see it open a new campus in North Austin and open new offices in Seattle, San Diego and Los Angeles as it bids to increase its workforce in the U.S. The firm said it intends also to significantly expand its presence in Pittsburgh, New York and Boulder, Colorado over the next three years.

The Austin campus alone will cost the company $1 billion, but Apple said that the 133-acre space will generate an initial 5,000 jobs across a broad range of roles with the potential to add 10,000 more. The company claims to have 6,200 employees in Austin — its largest enclave outside of Cupertino — and it said that the addition of these new roles will make it the largest private employer in the city.

Apple Now Has Dozens Of Doctors On Staff, Showing It's Serious About Health Tech, by Christina Farr, CNBC

Apple has dozens of medical doctors working across its various teams, say two people familiar with the company's hiring, showing how serious it is about health tech.

The hires could help Apple win over doctors — potentially its harshest critics — as it seeks to develop and integrate health technologies into the Apple Watch, iPad and iPhone. It also suggests that Apple will build applications that can help people with serious medical problems, and not just cater to the "worried well," as many have speculated.

Apple’s ‘Netflix For Magazines’ Getting A Chilly Reception, by Gerry Smith, Bloomberg

The tech giant is preparing to relaunch Texture, an app it agreed to buy in March that offers unlimited access to about 200 magazines. The company plans to make it a premium product within Apple News, which curates articles and comes preinstalled on iPhones, according to people familiar with the matter. A new version could be unveiled as soon as this coming spring, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the plans aren’t public.

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But some executives fear Texture could end up doing more harm than good. Their concern is Apple could steal their current subscribers, who would save money by reading articles on Texture instead. At $9.99 a month, Texture would be cheaper than an unlimited digital subscription to the New York Times -- after introductory prices expire.

Stuff

Carrot Weather Gets Major Update With New Weather Source Options, Apple Watch Complications, Much More, by Michael Potuck, 9to5Mac

The highly popular Carrot Weather iOS app has received a big update today that brings new data sources like The Weather Channel and AccuWeather, integration with personal weather stations like Netatmo, a new recent searches feature, new Apple Watch complications, and much more.

Djay 3.0 Debuts As A Free, Universal App With A Subscription Option For Pro Features, by John Voorhees, MacStories

The free version of the app allows users to mix songs using two onscreen turntables in what Algoriddim calls Classic Mode. A second mode called Automix uses an AI engine to create smooth, beat-matched transitions from one song to the next.

BOOST↑UP Wireless Charging Dock Is A Great Charger For Up To Three Gadgets, by Dennis Sellers, Apple World Today

You can wirelessly charge an iPhone and Apple Watch simultaneously — and even juice up a third device using the additional USB-A port. I’m using it with an iPhone Xs Max and Apple Watch Series 4 — with the extra USB-A port occasionally used to juice up my iPad Pro.

Develop

Waterfall, by Andreas Zwinkau

I believe we build software at the complexity frontier our tooling and education allows. This implies that we are unable specify programs in enough detail and in advance. And if you do it roughly and afterwards, it will not match the code.

Now give a bit more respect to the greybeards. They knew this already decades ago and most of them probably identified DODs Waterfall as the accident it was right from the start.

Notes

A Touch Of Touch, by Nick Heer

I’ve long been a staunch defender of 3D Touch — I use its features all the time, and it now feels strange to me when an iPhone does not have it. I would rather see continued investment on that front to establish consist guidelines for its use, and make it a more obvious part of the system. But if 3D Touch is truly on its way out, it should be a clean kill across the board. A piecemeal approach with a similar-but-not-quite-the-same feature on just one product is a confusing distraction.

Almost Everyone Involved In Facial Recognition Tech Sees Problems With It, by Dina Bass, Los Angeles Times

An unusual consensus emerged recently among artificial intelligence researchers, activists, lawmakers and many of the largest technology companies: Facial recognition software breeds bias, risks fueling mass surveillance and should be regulated. Deciding on effective controls and acting on them will be a lot harder.

This week, the Algorithmic Justice League and the Center on Privacy and Technology at Georgetown University Law Center unveiled the Safe Face Pledge, which asks companies not to provide facial AI for autonomous weapons or to law enforcement unless explicit laws are debated and passed to allow it. Last week, Microsoft Corp. said the software carries significant risks and proposed rules to combat the threat. Research group AI Now, which includes AI researchers from Google and other companies, issued a similar call.

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I don't see why Apple need to pursue newspapers to join Texture. Magazines and newspapers seems like incompatible businesses that require different monetary models.

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Thanks for reading.

The Hopefully-Better Edition Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Apple Offering Discounts On HomePod To Apple Music Subscribers As Holiday Promotion, by Benjamin Mayo, 9to5Mac

Apple is currently sending out emails to Apple Music subscribers with promo codes to buy a brand new HomePod with a significant discount. So far, UK customers are receiving codes worth £50, bringing the price of a HomePod down to £269 direct from Apple.

Make The iPad More Like The Mac, by Radu Dutzan, Medium

And though not all of these changes would necessarily work, the need for radical advances in the interaction model of professional touch devices is latent. The “old world” might be a good place to look for inspiration. Traditional “PCs” carry long baggages that touch-based devices might not need, but most of the Mac features I mentioned were introduced in Lion (10.7), which came out in 2011, the same year as iOS 5 and the iPad 2, and were clearly inspired by the fluidity of iOS. They could work on a touch-based device, and in fact, they kinda already do, even in the currently crummy state of the macPad “prototype.”

We should be thinking of the iPad Pro as a truly new, hyper-flexible computing category that combines the best of what we’ve learned on the iPhone and the Mac into something new, and hopefully better. Only then can it fulfill its promise of being a “real” computer for professionals, and do some justice to its lovely hardware.

Stuff

Nike Run Club For Apple Watch Series 4 Gains New Infograph Modular Complication With Run Summary And Guided Runs, by Zac Hall, 9to5Mac

Now Infograph Modular has a Nike Run Club complication on the middle slot which can present more data than other slots on the watch face. Nike Run Club uses this complication to show summaries of recent runs including pace, distance, and duration, or featured guided runs in the NRC watch app (although there doesn’t appear to be an option to control what NRC presents).

Luminar 3 For Mac Review: Serious Competition For Adobe Lightroom Has Arrived, by Bryan M Wolfe, iMore

At the heart of Luminar 3 is the new Library panel which adds the ability to organize and edit multiple images simultaneously. In other words, it's the software's digital asset management system. Highly customizable, the Luminar 3 library works with existing folders that reside on your hard drive, connected devices, and synced cloud storage. The panels, which look a lot like Lightroom's preview and catalog features, are easy to use, and perhaps more importantly, quick to learn.

Google Lens Launches On iOS To Power Visual Searches Within The Google App, by Shelby Brown, CNET

Google Lens can recognize text in images, look up words, save email addresses or call people. Lens is also designed to help shopping searches.

Giphy Launched A Keyboard Extension And Sticker Maker For iOS 12 Users, by Shannon Liao, The Verge

Users with iPhone X or newer devices will be able to record their own animated Giphy stickers to send to others through Apple’s TrueDepth camera technology.

End Of An Era: The ‘Infinity Blade’ Trilogy Is No Longer Available For Purchase On The App Store, by Touch Arcade

If you already own them, you can re-download them, but all the IAP has been disabled and the games should be accessible for the “foreseeable future." The reason for their removal, according to Epic is, “it has become increasingly difficult for our team to support the Infinity Blade series at a level that meets our standards."

Develop

CEO Interview Series: Michael Seibel On Leadership Attributes In Successful Startup Leaders, by Cameron Yarbrough, Torch

I think a lot of people think that being a CEO means playing the CEO card a lot. I like to imagine that you have an extremely limited number of CEO cards and you should use them sparingly because it costs you credibility when you use them.

Level Two thinking is about creating an environment and empowering people such that they do produce great outcomes without you having to tell them. If they can get into a mental model of what’s good for the company, and if they can be motivated and feel empowered, then they start doing great things. You don’t have to direct them. You can keep the CEO cards in your pocket and wait for the really important times to play them. The more sparing you are with your CEO cards, the more impactful you are.

Checking In? No Thanks. I’m Just Here To Use The Wi-Fi., by Talya Minsberg, New York Times

So what does this mean for the future of hotels? For freelancers and digital nomads, it may mean larger, trendier selection of free co-working spaces. For travelers, it may mean that instead of coming back to a quiet hotel room to finish the day’s work, you may find yourself in a vibrant lobby filled with locals and business travelers alike.

Notes

Why So Many Recommendation Sites Promise To Help You Find The Best Stuff, by Eliza Brooke, Vox

Say you want to buy a travel mug. You could go to Target, but staring at the display isn’t going to tell you which one is difficult to clean and which is likely to spill coffee down your sweater during your morning commute. So you Google “best travel mugs.” A new problem arises: Multiple product recommendation sites have published articles perfectly tailored to your query. How do you proceed? Do you cross-reference them all and pick the brand that appears most frequently, your brain quietly short-circuiting when you discover that some reviewers support the Contigo “Byron Vacuum-Insulated” mug while others swear by the Contigo “Autoseal West Loop”? Target is starting to seem like a good idea.

Consumer Reports has been subjecting everyday products to rigorous testing since 1936, but the past decade has seen a flurry of growth in the product review space, with the launch of publications like Wirecutter (2011), Best Products (2015), New York magazine’s the Strategist (2016), BuzzFeed Reviews (2018), and the Inventory (2018). Apart from the standalone sites, plenty of properties like The Verge (which, like Vox.com, is owned by Vox Media) have robust reviews programs. That’s not to mention the many, many individuals who review products on blogs and YouTube. As ever more authorities enter the fray, the question is this: When everyone claims to have identified the “best” product in a category, who do you trust?

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Why macOS (and Windows, too) should have attention detection, just like on iOS: So that if I am reading something on my current window, new windows should be launched behind the current window, and not take up my attention. Otherwise, go nuts.

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Thanks for reading.

The Object-of-Consumption Edition Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Cold Discovery, by Drew Austin, Real Life Magazine

If covers can be construed as misleading or superficial wrappers, platform algorithms are hardly more honest. They introduce their own form of deception, feeding users content according to biases and affordances that are frequently opaque, obfuscated, concealed, or misleadingly represented. At their most transparent, streaming services like Spotify reductively mirror your past choices back to you; Netflix, however, has gone as far as to covertly recontextualize movie screen shots for its menu displays based on individual viewers’ data, in order to entice those viewers to watch more — an algorithmic subversion of the physical cover that is slightly different for everyone.

These dynamics highlight how, on platforms like Spotify and Netflix, specific artists and their works are not the objects offered to the users for consumption — a focus that covers supported. Instead, the object of consumption is the platforms themselves. More than watching certain shows, we watch Netflix; more than listening to songs, we listen to Spotify; more than reading particular books, we read our Kindles. We can choose not to pay attention to the details beyond that. Our peers frequently don’t know what we’re watching, listening to, or reading, but we don’t necessarily know either.

Super Micro Says Review Found No Malicious Chips In Motherboards, by Joseph Menn, Reuters

Computer hardware maker Super Micro Computer Inc told customers on Tuesday that an outside investigations firm had found no evidence of any malicious hardware in its current or older-model motherboards.

In a letter to customers, the San Jose, California, company said it was not surprised by the result of the review it commissioned in October after a Bloomberg article reported that spies for the Chinese government had tainted Super Micro equipment to eavesdrop on its clients.

Selling Phones

Qualcomm Wins Import Ban Against Several Apple iPhones In China, by Stephen Nellis, Reuters

The preliminary order affects the iPhone 6S through the iPhone X. [...] Because the patents concern software, Apple could make changes to its software to avoid the patents and still be able to sell its phones.

Huawei Arrest Puts 'Bullseye' On Apple, by Dave Lee, BBC

On Tuesday, a Chinese court banned the sale of older iPhone models as part of a long-running patent infringement lawsuit between Apple and Qualcomm. Most legal observers had expected China to reject Qualcomm’s request for an injunction.

There is no direct link between this action and the Huawei row. But taken against the backdrop of Ms Meng’s arrest, and ongoing tariff disputes, it’s being seen as a muscle-flexing display on the part of the Chinese.

Stuff

iPad Pro Bug Makes Music Apps Stutter And Crackle, by Charlie Sorrel, Cult of Mac

Load up a couple of synthesizer apps inside AUM, and maybe add a few effects, then take a look at the CPU meter. It’ll be up way higher than it would be on an older iPad. But you won’t need to look at that meter, because the audio is probably crackling and stuttering already.

iPad Pro's Potential Becomes Clear With This $99 USB-C Hub, by Stephen Shankland, CNET

The hub's top feature is letting people use nice headphones or speakers connected with the 3.5mm jack while keeping the iPad plugged into power, Sanho Chief Executive Daniel Chin said. "With our dock, you can listen to your music and charge your iPad Pro at the same. You can't do that with any of Apple's adapters," he said.

Other possibilities: connecting both MIDI musical instruments over USB-A and headphones over 3.5mm audio; copying photos from a memory card while looking at photos on an external monitor; and using a full-size external keyboard and monitor like an ordinary laptop user. All of course while connected to power.

Day One 3.4 Introduces New Fonts, Drawing, And Apple Watch Improvements, by Josh Ginter, The Sweet Setup

Day One’s Premium subscribers can now insert a brand new type of entry into their journal: drawings. Although not limited to the Apple Pencil, Day One 3.4’s new drawing capabilities are best used with either of Apple’s drawing utensils.

Develop

The Thumb Zone, by Joe Cieplinski

Large screens on phones are not going away anytime soon. At the same time, our thumbs aren’t going to magically start getting longer. That shrinking percentage of reachable screen real-estate needs to become the focus of interactivity, while the outer regions of the screen are devoted mainly to information display. The more designers and developers consider this, the better time we will all have with our apps, regardless of our screen-size preferences.

Shutting Down, by Aaron Harris, Y-Combinator

The unintuitive thing about figuring out if you should shut down your company is that it isn’t the path of least resistance. The “easiest” thing to do for a struggling company is to fall into zombie mode – neither growing nor truly dead. This is easy because it doesn’t require an active decision, it just involves continuing to do the bare minimum to keep the company alive. This involves a series of seemingly small compromises that lead to stasis or failure.

Shutting down is hard because it means publicly admitting that you were wrong, unlucky, or incompetent. Because of this difficulty, we’ve evolved a set of terms that often mean “shut down” without saying “shut down.” In no particular order these are: pivot, hard pivot, rebrand, strategic shift, change customer focus, and platform switch.

Notes

US Tech Giants Decry Australia’s ‘Deeply Flawed’ New Anti-encryption Law, by Zack Whittaker, TechCrunch

“The new Australian law is deeply flawed, overly broad, and lacking in adequate independent oversight over the new authorities,” said the Reform Government Surveillance coalition in a statement. The tech companies added that the law would “undermine the cybersecurity, human rights, or the right to privacy of our users.”

Sorry, Your Data Can Still Be Identified Even If It’s Anonymized, by Kelsey Campbell-Dollaghan, Fast Company

While the MIT group wasn’t trying to unmask specific users in this dataset, they proved that someone acting in bad faith could merge such anonymized datasets with personal ones using the same process, easily pinning the timestamps together to figure out who was who.

The takeaway is not just that a malicious actor or company could use this process to surveil citizens. It’s that urban planners and designers who stand to learn so much from these big urban datasets–for instance, Ratti’s own lab recently used such data for a project on reducing parking, while other groups use it to study everything from urban poverty to accessibility–need to be careful about whether all that data could be combined to deanonymize it.

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I love reading e-books on my iPhone, because I will always have a book with me, and I can easily whip out my iPhone to read another page no matter where I am.

Except this morning, when the e-book app refuses to load my half-read e-book, and started complaining about some server issue.

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Thanks for reading.

The Accurate-to-Within-a-Few-Yards Edition Monday, December 10, 2018

Your Apps Know Where You Were Last Night, And They’re Not Keeping It Secret, by Jennifer Valentino-DeVries, New York Times

At least 75 companies receive anonymous, precise location data from apps whose users enable location services to get local news and weather or other information, The Times found. Several of those businesses claim to track up to 200 million mobile devices in the United States — about half those in use last year. The database reviewed by The Times — a sample of information gathered in 2017 and held by one company — reveals people’s travels in startling detail, accurate to within a few yards and in some cases updated more than 14,000 times a day.

These companies sell, use or analyze the data to cater to advertisers, retail outlets and even hedge funds seeking insights into consumer behavior. It’s a hot market, with sales of location-targeted advertising reaching an estimated $21 billion this year. IBM has gotten into the industry, with its purchase of the Weather Channel’s apps. The social network Foursquare remade itself as a location marketing company. Prominent investors in location start-ups include Goldman Sachs and Peter Thiel, the PayPal co-founder.

How To Stop Apps From Tracking Your Location, by Jennifer Valentino-DeVries, New York Times

Some apps have internal settings where you can indicate that you don’t want your location used for targeted advertising or other purposes. But the easiest method is to go through your device’s main privacy menu.

How The Times Analyzed Location Tracking Companies, by New York Times

To examine the practices of the location tracking industry, The New York Times tested apps on the Google Android and Apple iOS platforms, and evaluated data from a company that analyzed thousands of mobile apps.

To See What She Sees

Rediscovering My Daughter Through Instagram, by Helene Stapinski, New York Times

Social media has been blamed for ruining our democracy, shortening our children’s attention spans and undermining the fabric of society. But through it, I was able to be with Paulina out in the world again, to see what she sees, to virtually stand beside her and witness the people and places she moves through, in nearly real time. Not in a parent-policing role, but in a wonderful-world sort of way.

Why We All Take The Same Travel Photos, by Laura Mallonee, Wired

The standardization of travel all started in the 18th century, as guidebooks began directing visitors to “picturesque” views that looked like paintings. They recorded them with the gadgets of the day: Claude glasses reflected tinted, fisheye scenes that were easy to sketch, while Camera Lucidas actually transposed them onto the page. Nifty as those tools were, they couldn't hold their own against the daguerreotype, a heavy wooden box camera introduced in 1839 that gentleman travelers soon began lugging to Greece and Egypt. But the early technology was still too cumbersome and time-consuming for most people, who just bought postcards.

Until Kodak. The introduction of George Eastman's lightweight, foolproof camera in 1888 meant hordes of tourists could quickly press a button to capture their individual experiences … which turned out to be more or less identical.

Stuff

These Crocheted AirPods Cases Make Me Want To Buy AirPods, by Dami Lee, The Verge

AirPods accessories are having sort of a moment in South Korea, with online stores selling keychains, skins, and cases for the wireless earbuds with an enthusiasm that can’t be matched anywhere else. Although there are plenty of official accessory companies that offer AirPods cases that come with keychain holes and keychain accessories made specifically for AirPods cases, the real innovation is coming from artists and small business owners who sell their handmade goods through social networks like KakaoTalk and Instagram.

Hands On: Must-have Mac Audio Tool Loopback Reworked With Major Visual Changes, by William Gallagher, AppleInsider

The tool for routing audio between apps and audio devices gets a makeover and doesn't add new features but greatly refines what it has.

Notes

50 Years In Tech. Part 12: Cupertino Culture Trouble, by Jean-Louis Gassée, Monday Note

At Apple France, I was allowed to question anything about our work, all the way to the top of the organization, even if that meant that I would occasionally be sent back to my corner by a loyal, competent team that was as vociferous in their retorts as I was in my critique.

You see what’s coming. In Cupertino I fall into the classical trap of continuing to do one’s past job in the new one.

The Problem With Studies Saying Phones Are Bad For You, by Rachel Becker, The Verge

The actual research hasn’t come to one neat conclusion, and that may be because the field has relied on self-reports. It’s possible to measure how much time you spend on your phone; it’s just that most research — some 90 percent of it, estimates David Ellis, a lecturer in computational social science at Lancaster University — hasn’t. People are notoriously unreliable reporters of their own behavior: people misremember, forget, or fudge their responses to make themselves look better. We’ve seen it before with food diaries; we’re bad at remembering or even noticing how much we eat. Sometimes we lie to ourselves and, as a result, our food diaries, too. The unreliability of self-reports has been a major problem for nutrition research.

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Just finished reading: A Ladder to the Sky, by John Boyne. I thoroughly enjoy reading this book, which reminded me of both Chekhov's Gun, where a gun introduced in Act 1 will be fired in Act 3, as well as Alfred Hitchcock's bomb under the table. I do recommend this novel, especially if you enjoy suspense more than surprises.

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Thanks for reading.

The Copy-and-Paste Edition Sunday, December 9, 2018

The Future, Revisited: “The Mother Of All Demos” At 50, by Andy Horwitz, Los Angeles Review of Books

A mild-mannered engineer stands onstage at San Francisco’s Civic Auditorium. A massive video screen looms behind him, displaying a close-up of his face in the lower right half of the screen, with a close-up of his computer display superimposed over his face to the left. Introducing his team, he sounds a bit nervous, saying, “If every one of us does our job well, it’ll all go very interesting, I think.”

He starts by typing text, and then copying and pasting the word “word” multiple times, first a few lines, then paragraphs. He cuts and pastes blocks of text. He makes a shopping list his wife has requested — bananas, soup, paper towels — creating numbered lists, categories and subcategories, using his cursor to move around the document. Narrating as he works, he sounds not unlike Rod Serling. When he makes the occasional self-deprecating joke, we hear genial laughter from the audience.

Today, this presentation would be completely unremarkable. But it’s not 2018 — it’s December 9, 1968. The engineer is Douglas C. Engelbart, founder of the Augmented Human Intellect Research Center at the Stanford Research Institute, and nobody in his audience — or in the history of the world — has ever seen anything like it before.

How Doug Engelbart Pulled Off The Mother Of All Demos, by Adam Fisher, Wired

Doug Engelbart was the first to actually build a computer that might seem familiar to us, today. He came to Silicon Valley after a stint in the Navy as a radar technician during World War II. Engelbart was, in his own estimation, a “naïve drifter,” but something about the Valley inspired him to think big. Engelbart’s idea was that computers of the future should be optimized for human needs—communication and collaboration. Computers, he reasoned, should have keyboards and screens instead of punch cards and printouts. They should augment rather than replace the human intellect. And so he pulled a team together and built a working prototype: the oN‑Line System. Unlike earlier efforts, the NLS wasn’t a military supercalculator. It was a general‑purpose tool designed to help knowledge workers perform better and faster, and that was a controversial idea. Letting nonengineers interact directly with a computer was seen as harebrained, utopian—subversive, even. And then people saw the demo.

Where Is The Boundary Between Your Phone And Your Mind?, by Kevin Lincoln, The Guardian

Many of the boundary lines in our lives are highly literal, and, for the most part, this is how we’ve been trained to think of boundaries: as demarcations shored up by laws, physical, legal, or otherwise, that indicate exactly where one thing ends and another begins. Here is the border of your property; here is the border of your body; here is the border of a city, a state, a nation – and to cross any of these boundaries without permission is to transgress. But one of the most significant boundary lines in our lives is not this way, and one piece of ubiquitous technology is making this line increasingly permeable and uncertain, at a cost that we may only be starting to comprehend.

Here’s a thought experiment: where do you end? Not your body, but you, the nebulous identity you think of as your “self”. Does it end at the limits of your physical form? Or does it include your voice, which can now be heard as far as outer space; your personal and behavioral data, which is spread out across the impossibly broad plane known as digital space; and your active online personas, which probably encompass dozens of different social media networks, text message conversations, and email exchanges?

This is a question with no clear answer, and, as the smartphone grows ever more essential to our daily lives, that border’s only getting blurrier.

Stuff

Lifx Adds Improved HomeKit Integration To Its Entry-level Day & Dusk Bulbs, by Chance Miller, 9to5Mac

This means that in the Home app on iOS, you can long-press on the Day & Dusk to manually choose from an array of color options. Further, the colors can now better integrate with things such as scenes and scheduling in the Home app.

Develop

Little Languages, by Max Hallinan

Programming languages are collections of ideas. Learning a programming language means learning to apply the ideas found in the language. But sometimes it is hard to isolate the ideas.

Language details might obscure ideas in the language. For example, some typeclasses in Haskell obey some algebraic laws. Because I was exposed to those typeclasses first, I expected this to be true of every typeclass. I misunderstood the idea of a typeclass as a way to group types by laws.

Notes

Apple's Sitting Out The 5G Party — It's The Right Move, by Jason Snell, Tom's Guide

Catastrophe! How can Apple survive without 5G iPhones until 2020?

Here's how: The same way the company survived being way behind on 3G and LTE technologies, both of which it embraced long after its competitors did.

Bottom of the Page

I've tasted all of them, and I enjoy eating eight of the thirteen things you must eat in Singapore.

What I miss about eating in Singapore, though: a good Mexican restaurant.

~

Thanks for reading.

The Native-Mac Edition Saturday, December 8, 2018

Electron And The Decline Of Native Apps, by John Gruber, Daring Fireball

Another one I just ran into on Mojave is the new Mac App Store app. It certainly looks nice, but I noticed a few days ago that it doesn’t support the Page Down and Page Up keys for scrolling (nor the Home and End keys for jumping to the top and bottom) in any of its views. Open an article and hit Page Down, and instead of scrolling down, it just beeps. Beeps, I say. The only way to scroll is with a mouse or trackpad. In an app from Apple, used by nearly everyone. Even the Marzipan apps support these keys for scrolling, which shouldn’t be surprising, because support for these keys and other standard behavior comes for free with the underlying developer frameworks. The Mojave App Store app must be doing something very strange for these keys not to work.

The Mojave App Store app certainly isn’t written using Electron. But the problem with Electron apps isn’t really Electron — it’s the decline in demand for well-made native Mac apps. And that is ominous. The biggest threat to the Mac isn’t iPads, Chromebooks, or Windows 2-in-1’s — it’s apathy towards what makes great Mac apps great.

Looking Back At 2018: Why I Changed My Mind About The Apple Watch's Data Plan, by Jason Cipriani, ZDNet

It still fascinates me that a set of Apple's AirPods and a watch on my wrist is all I need to leave my phone behind and remain reachable.

I mean, think about that: A watch and a pair of Bluetooth headphones -- it doesn't even have to be Apple's AirPods, but they're my choice -- and you have what amounts to a smartphone with you at all times.

Apple’s Sleep Tracking Company Beddit Releases New ‘3.5’ Sleep Monitor, by Zac Hall, 9to5Mac

The first revision to the Beddit Sleep Monitor since Apple bought the sleep tracking company includes a slight design change to the actual hardware, and the iOS app for managing the sleep monitor has a new version as well. All mentions of Android support are also removed from the Beddit website as far as we can tell.

Stuff

Anker’s Vertical Mouse Provides Cheap RSI Relief, by Josh Centers, TidBITS

Was the Anker vertical mouse worth $15? Absolutely. Within a day of connecting it to my Mac, years of forearm pain vanished. And the pain hasn’t returned in subsequent weeks. But how does it work as a mouse, given its odd shape?

Pretty well, actually. It takes a bit of getting used to, but not as much as you might think. It took me a day to accustom myself to it. I’m not much of a PC gamer these days, but I fired up Counter-Strike: Global Offensive to put the Anker mouse through its paces. I made it through the tutorial just fine and can safely say that my mediocre results were not limited by the mouse. Crippling RSI was one of the reasons I shifted away from computer gaming, and this mouse might make it enjoyable again.

Luna Display Turns An iPad Into A Responsive Mac Screen, by Julio Ojeda-Zapata, TidBITS

The Luna Display is an impressive feat of engineering that—minor performance issues aside—keeps its promise to transform an iPad into a dependable and useful Mac display. It may cost more than comparable software-only solutions, but it’s well worth considering if you crave maximum flexibility and performance in your Mac-iPad setup.

Hands-On: Belkin’s USB-C To HDMI Adapter For The 2018 iPad Pro, by Federico Viticci, MacStories

If you're not concerned about the lack of power delivery and need an adapter to play 4K content with Dolby Vision/HDR right now (particularly if you don't already own an Apple TV 4K), and if you live in Europe, Belkin's USB-C adapter gets the job done.

The Epic Games Store Is Now Live, by Jon Russell, TechCrunch

First announced earlier this week, the Epic Games Store is targeted squarely at Steam — the giant in the digital game commerce space — and it quietly went live today.

Right now there’s a small cluster of games available, including Hades, a new title from Supergiant Games that is in “early access” for $19.99, and Epic’s own Fortnite and Unreal Tournament, both of which are free. But Epic is saying that’s there’s a lot more to come. In particular, the store will offer a free game every two weeks, starting with Subnautica from December 14-17 and Super Meat Boy from December 28 until January 10.

Develop

How iOS Developers Can Build Better Apps, by Jonny Evans, Computerworld

While it’s still possible since the 2008 App Store launch for relatively inexperienced developers to create hit products, it’s a lot less likely. And while you still get stories of young developers making it, for the most part it’s all about the big dev firms.

I’ve been thinking about this for a bit, and thought I’d try to put together a few ideas that may help people thinking about making an iPhone or iPad app.

Notes

Health Canada: We Have Not Received An Application For Apple Watch EKG Feature, by Gary Ng, iPhone In Canada

According to Health Canada’s latest update, the federal government body replied to our inquiry to say, “To date, Health Canada has not received an application for the Apple Watch Series 4 with the EKG feature. The decision to submit a medical device licence application rests with the manufacturer.”

‘I Was On Instagram. The Baby Fell Down The Stairs’: Is Your Phone Use Harming Your Child?, by Jemima Kiss, The Guardian

More worryingly, evidence is building that screen use, particularly of smartphones, has a negative impact on the conversational development of very young children. Chris Calland, a child behaviour expert and adviser to parents, schools and nurseries across the UK on what has been dubbed “technoference”, says a clear relationship has emerged over the last five years between adults who are glued to their phones and children who arrive at school without the language and interpersonal skills expected of a four- to five-year-old. “I was recently asked into a school reception class to help teachers find new ways to get through to parents who were persistently talking or scrolling on their phones, even as they collected their children, took their hands and walked them away from the school gates.”

They concluded that one solution would be to write scripts that could be handed out to parents to re-educate them in talking to their children. For example: “Look at that dog”, or “Tell me one nice thing you’ve done today.” At one nursery Calland worked with, staff put up pictures of phones with red lines through them, because they were struggling so hard to gain parents’ attention. Perhaps this is not surprising, when parents can now buy a phone holder that clips on to a pram or even a “swipe and feed” accessory that can be attached to a baby bottle. “This is not about judgment,” Calland says. “Being drawn into our phones is insidious. But the first three years are the most formative for children, and when parents have their attention locked on their phones, they are missing countless cues to interact with their kids.”

The Wired Guide To Data Breaches, by Lily Hay Newman, Wired

Yes, it’s a difficult, never-ending process for a large organization to secure its inevitably sprawling networks, but for decades many institutions just haven’t really tried. They’ve gone through some of the motions without actually making digital security a spending priority. Over the past 10 years, however, as corporate and government data breaches have ramped up—impacting the data of billions of people—institutional leaders and the general public alike have finally begun to understand the urgency and necessity of putting security first. This increased focus is beginning to translate into some concrete data protections and security improvements. But collective inaction for decades has created a security deficit that will take significant time and money to make up. And the reality that robust digital security requires never-ending investment is difficult for institutions to accept.

Bottom of the Page

I like buttons. Ten years after stopping to use my precious iPod Nano regularly, I still miss having a physical play/pause button on my podcast+audiobook listening device (aka iPhone).

And I think the pull-to-refresh convention on iOS apps is clever in avoiding a refresh button, but I hate pull-to-refresh. So many problems with this gesture.

So, as you can guess by now, I don't think I can get along with the new proposal out there to use two-fingers-tap as the undo gesture. Sounds to me a disaster in the making.

~

How about putting an universal undo button in the control center?

~

Thanks for reading.

The Improve-Instead-Of-Consuming Edition Friday, December 7, 2018

The Complete History Of The iPhone—and What's Coming Next, by David Pierce and Lauren Goode, Wired

The iPhone didn’t just make Apple a metric crap-ton of money: it reoriented the entire tech landscape, helping change the way we work and play. It helped create a new class of mega-corporation, started the world thinking about how everything else might change when it, too, was connected to the internet. Next, Apple has to figure out how the iPhone can improve a user’s life instead of consuming it, all while it works on the next crazy design that’ll change everything all over again.

iPad Diaries: The Many Setups Of The 2018 iPad Pro, by Federico Viticci, MacStories

We haven't seen the full picture of built-in USB-C with the new iPad Pro: external drives still aren't supported by iOS' Files app, and other peripherals often require app developers to specifically support them. However, I believe the removal of Lightning is already enhancing the iPad's innate ability to adapt to a plurality of work setups and transform itself into a portable computer of different kinds. For the past few weeks, I've been testing this theory with Bluetooth and USB keyboards, a 4K USB-C monitor, USB-C hubs, and a handful of accessories that, once again, highlight the greater flexibility of the iPad Pro compared to traditional laptops and desktops, as well as some of its drawbacks.

A Somewhat Negative Review Of A Product I Love: The New iPad Pro, by M.G. Siegler, 500ish Words

Don’t get me wrong, it’s still great. Really great, in many ways. But if I’m being honest, I think I prefer the old design for the iPad Pro more than this updated version. Yes, even though the screen has been embiggened (and rounded) substantially. I just don’t like the way it feels in the hand as much.

At first, I was sure I would love this new design. It hearkens back to the iPhone 4 design with the flat sides. But while that made for a device that felt great to hold in your hand, such design doesn’t work as well for a larger device you grasp a portion of with one hand, or hold with two. At least not in my opinion.

Mac App Notarization And Customer Privacy, by Jeff Johnson

Mac app notarization raises privacy issues for Mojave users. On first launch of every app you download, Mojave phones home. At the very least, Apple sees your IP address, the exact app version that you downloaded, and the exact time that you first launched the app. [...] However, given all of the information that Apple already has on you, they could probably associate your IP address with your Apple ID. It's likely that Apple keeps logs of these Gatekeeper notarization checks, because if customers are launching malware, Apple would want to know how widespread the malware was.

It's important to note that no explicit consent has been given for this information to be transmitted to Apple.

I’m A Developer. I Won’t Teach My Kids To Code, And Neither Should You., by Joe Morgan, Slate

Every step—precisely measuring ingredients, gauging mixed dough for smoothness and consistency, placing precision cuts to minimize waste—taught him something about quality. It’s hard to teach the difference between merely executing steps, such as following a recipe, and doing something well. It can only be passed on through feel and experience. And every time you involve your kids when you work on something you value, you are teaching them how to do things well. You are preparing them to write code.

But you’re not only teaching them that. You’re teaching them the world is full of interesting things to discover. You’re showing them how to be passionate and look for that ephemeral sense of quality in everything they do. The best part is that even if they don’t become coders—most shouldn’t and won’t—the same skills can be used in nearly any career, in every hobby, in every life. When we force kids to learn syntax, we reinforce the idea that if something is not a blatantly employable skill, it’s not valuable. Adults can learn syntax. Only kids can learn to embrace curiosity.

Chrome Is The New IE6

Microsoft Is Rebuilding Its Edge Browser On Chrome And Bringing It To The Mac, by Tom Warren, The Verge

The software giant is beginning to rebuild Microsoft Edge to run on Chromium, the same open-source web rendering engine that powers Google’s Chrome browser. This means Edge will soon be powered by Blink and the V8 JavaScript engines. It’s a big move that means Microsoft is joining the open-source community in a much bigger way for the web.

[...]

Edge has fallen massively behind Chrome in terms of market share, and it’s getting to the point where Chrome is the new IE6. Developers are optimizing for Chrome, and Google has also been creating Chrome-only web services because it’s often the first to adopt emerging web technologies. Microsoft has struggled to keep its Edge rendering engine in stride with Chromium.

Edge Dies A Death Of A Thousand Cuts As Microsoft Switches To Chromium, by Peter Bright, Ars Technica

If every Edge user were using the very latest version of Edge, it wouldn't be so bad, but that's not the case, and that's because of how Microsoft has bundled Edge with Windows 10. Most home users will end up running the latest feature update to Windows 10 within a few months of its release. But enterprise users are more diverse.

Microsoft Retools Its Edge Browser, But Internet Explorer Is Forever, by Brian Barrett, Wired

“In many cases, because Internet Explorer was the default, it was the path of least resistance. A lot of people are just accustomed to using IE. There were some major interface changes in Edge that might have made it unattractive to some users,” says Tsai. “IT departments don’t want to have to retrain users. They don’t want to have a flood of help desk tickets asking them how to do common stuff that they used to know how to do.”

Stuff

Changing Your Apple Watch Or iPhone's Region Won't Enable ECG App Outside Of United States, by Joe Rossignol, MacRumors

Many software features on Apple devices are initially limited to the United States, but international users have often been able to simply change their iPhone or Apple Watch region to the United States to gain access.

That's not the case with the the ECG app on the Apple Watch Series 4, though, as it only functions on models purchased in the United States. Those who live in and bought an Apple Watch in Canada, the UK, or elsewhere abroad can't use the region-switching trick to enable the ECG app — it doesn't work.

The World’s Shortest Review Of Apple’s $40 iPhone XR Clear Case, by John Gruber, Daring Fireball

Feel-wise it’s sort of half plastic-y, half rubbery. Plastic-y enough that it doesn’t stretch from the edges of the phone. Rubbery enough that it feels nice and grippy without being too grippy — it slides in and out of a jeans pocket easier than an Apple silicone case.

[...]

Also, Apple’s clear case has no aroma.

Hands On: Twelve South Leather Cases For iPhone XS, XS Max, And XR, by Andrew O'Hara, AppleInsider

As they do every year, Twelve South refreshed their lineup of cases —Journal, BookBook, and SurfacePad —for the latest iPhones. We tested them out on our new iPhone XS Max to see how they hold up.

Remote For Mac Turns An iPhone Or iPad Into A Remote Control For Your Mac, by Cult of Mac

It turns your iPhone or iPad into a fully loaded remote control for all kinds of functions on your Mac. It brings full trackpad and keyboard control to your phone, so you can use your Mac without leaving the couch.

Lego's Augmented Reality iOS App Is Ready For Adventure, by Joe Fingas, Engadget

Point your iPad or iPhone at a compatible Lego set (more on that in a bit) while you're using the app and you'll see bricks liven up with animations, interactive moments and full-fledged games. You'll have a strong incentive to complete a set besides the usual opportunities for imaginative play.

Develop

On Using Stock User Interface Elements On The Mac, by Brent Simmons, Inessential

Mac users love the Mac because of the user interface, not despite it. Remember this.

Notes

Google, Apple, Facebook Face World-first Encryption Laws In Australia, by Claire Reilly, CNET

Tech companies and civil liberties advocates argue that weakening encryption for one device or one case has the potential to break it for everyone, opening a door to hackers and compromising the security that underpins our modern, digital world. For the tech world, encryption is a matter of simple mathematics (even if politicians disagree).

But as a member of the Five Eyes security alliance (alongside the US, UK, Canada and New Zealand) the ramifications of the Australian laws could be felt across the world.

Apple Acquires A&R And Creative Services Company Platoon, by Music Business Worldwide

MBW understands that Apple has acquired Platoon, the London-based creative services firm founded in 2016 by music industry veteran Denzyl Feigelson and LoveFilm co-founder, Saul Klein.

Platoon has developed a raft of early-stage artists in the UK and US over the past two years who have gone on to make waves in the global business.

Bottom of the Page

I'm sad to report that both Instapaper and Pocket have bugs.

(Yes, I know that it is not news that software has bugs. I just want to get it off the chest that I've been inconvenienced.)

~

I so love the latest episode of The Good Place.

~

Thanks for reading.

The Undo-and-Redo Edition Thursday, December 6, 2018

Apple Watch Electrocardiogram And Irregular Heart Rate Features Are Available Today, by Dieter Bohn, The Verge

Today, with an update to watchOS, Apple is making its electrocardiogram reading feature available to Apple Watch Series 4 owners. It’s also releasing an irregular rate notification feature that will be available on Apple Watches going back to Series 1. Both are a part of watchOS 5.1.2.

The Apple Watch EKG Detected Something Strange About My Heart Rhythm, by Vanessa Hand Orellana, CNET

"This would be really useful to screen for this or to have the first understanding that you have these early heart beats," said Dr. Marcus. "What's missing in the single lead Apple Watch is the information that tells us more specifically where exactly this is coming from."

Apple Puts Third-party Screen Time Apps On Notice, by Sarah Perez, TechCrunch

Though not all apps were getting the boot, it seemed, Apple did seem to have a problem with screen time apps that took advantage of mobile device management (MDM) and/or VPNs to operate.

[...]

But sources familiar with Apple’s thinking dismissed this as being some sort of targeted crackdown against third-party screen time apps. Rather, the pushback developers received was part of Apple’s ongoing app review process, they said, and noted that the rules these apps violate have been in place for years.

Proof That iOS Still Hasn’t Gotten Undo Right, by John Gruber, Daring Fireball

The whole story is only seven paragraphs long, and one of them is devoted to explaining how to invoke Undo and Redo. This is — inadvertently on the part of the App Store editorial team — a scathing indictment of the state of iOS’s user interface standards.

[...]

Personally, if I were designing an iOS drawing app I’d probably go the first route, and follow Apple Notes’s lead with “↺” and “↻” buttons. But to Procreate’s credit, they clearly know these multi-finger tap gestures are both unusual, not intuitive, and utterly non-discoverable, because the very first thing they do when you first launch the app is teach you about them. Think about that: iOS user interface conventions are so shallow, so widely and wildly inconsistent, that an app proclaimed by Apple as the very best of the year has to start, as the very first thing you see when you launch it, by teaching you how to use Undo. That’s a sad state of affairs.

Stuff

You Can Now Once Again Flip The Camera During FaceTime Calls With Just One Tap, by Greg Kumparak, TechCrunch

As of iOS 12.1.1, released today, the camera swap button is returning to the main call screen. Basically every FaceTime call I’ve had since this change was made has started with someone asking “Wait, how do I flip the screen. What the hell, where’d that button go?” so changing this back is the only right call.

Apple Begins Selling A Clear Case For The iPhone XR And 18W iPad Pro Charger, by John Voorhees, MacStories

Apple describes the case as ‘thin, light and easy to grip.’ The company also says that the case includes a scratch-resistant coating inside and out and works with wireless Qi chargers.

Apple News Is Secretly Really Great, by Ben Brooks, The Brooks Review

What I have come to realize is that you can only check Apple News once per day. I know that seems counterintuitive, so allow me to explain why.

Pixelmator Pro Update For macOS Adds Redesigned Color Balance Tool, by Andrew O'Hara, AppleInsider

The newly updated adjustment was inspired by professional video editors color grading tools, allowing users to more easily add incredible details to your photos.

Duet Display For iPad Adopts Hardware Acceleration, Now Recognized As A True External Display By macOS, by Michael Potuck, 9to5Mac

Duet Display has been a good option for users looking to leverage their iPad as a second screen with macOS. However, some users have experienced latency issues. Now, with a free software update and the latest macOS version, Duet Display says it is able to use hardware acceleration for a smooth and fast experience and is now seen as a true external display in macOS.

Belkin Launches Wireless Charging Dock For iPhone And Apple Watch, USB-C To HDMI Adapter For Mac And iPad Pro, by Federico Viticci, MacStories

The Boost Up is Belkin's latest take on an integrated charging dock that allows users to simultaneously charge an iPhone and Apple Watch on a single charging station. Unlike the old Belkin Valet dock, which was based on Lightning, the Boost Up is entirely designed around wireless charging and supports the Qi charging technology with up to 7.5W of power delivery – what Apple refers to as fast wireless charging for iPhones.

Develop

Safari Tests USB Security Key Support To Help Fix Our Password Problems, by Stephen Shankland, CNET

The company on Wednesday released Safari Technology Preview version 71 with support for the Web Authentication (WebAuthn) technology, which lets websites authenticate your identity when you insert a hardware security key into your computer's USB port. Those security keys are typically paired with another authentication factor, most often a password, but they can work with biometric factors like fingerprints and with time-based codes from mobile apps like Authy.

Notes

Apple Squid Emoji Error Has Monterey Aquarium Up In Tentacles, by Bonnie Burton, CNET

On Wednesday, Monterey Bay Aquarium tweeted a few pun-filled comments to draw attention to the fact that Apple's squid emoji has its siphon in the wrong place.

Apple Receives FCC Approval For ‘Sleep Monitor’ That Looks Like Acquired Beddit Product, by Zac Hall, 9to5Mac

Apple has received FCC approval for a new ‘sleep monitor’ product today, but it’s likely not an Apple Watch-based solution. Instead, the product description suggests the Apple sleep monitor is either an existing version of the Beddit sleep monitor product acquired by Apple or a new version of the same product.

WALL·E, by Dave Addey, Typeset In The Future

From a trash-filled Earth to the futuristic Axiom and back again, WALL·E is a finely crafted balance between consumerist dystopia and sixties space-race optimism. Please join me, then, for a detailed dive into the uniquely robotic future of a remarkably human film, as seen through the eyes of its eponymous hero, WALL·E.

Before we get started, there is an important detail we must clear up. Our hero’s name is not, as you might think, WALL-E. Moreover, it definitely isn’t WALL•E. His name is WALL·E, and that dot is an interpunct, not a hyphen or a bullet.

The Full-Fat-Version Edition Wednesday, December 5, 2018

The 2018 Apple iPad Pro (11-Inch) Review: Doubling Down On Performance, by Brett Howse & Andrei Frumusanu, AnandTech

There is little doubt the Apple A12X SoC is potent. Apple claims it is faster than 92% of laptops available on the market, and there isn’t much evidence to refute this, but there really just isn’t a good breadth of evidence at all. A12X on iOS is very fast, and the less complicated applications on iOS are not going to cause this tablet to even break a sweat. A more telling test, perhaps, will be once Adobe has ported over the full-fat version of Photoshop to the iPad, which is expected next year.

[...]

So is the iPad Pro an Xbox One S class of GPU? Likely it is. The Xbox One S is only slightly quicker than the original Xbox One launched in 2013, and that console would struggle to achieve 1080p in games of that vintage. The Vega iGPU in the Ryzen 7 2700U offers more theoretical FLOPS than the Xbox One S, although at a higher TDP of 15-Watts, compared to the iPad Pro. In the synthetic tests, the iPad Pro scored higher than the Vega GPU, albeit at a lower precision, but regardless, there’s little doubt that the GPU in the iPad Pro is quite powerful. Add in the efficiency and the lower TDP, and results are even stronger. On the sustained performance run, the iPad was averaging just under 8 Watts of draw for the entire device.

Reading Comics On The New iPad Pros, by Jason Snell, Six Colors

That all said… if there’s an ideal comic-reading iPad, it’s the new 11-inch model. That new aspect ratio, which is taller when held vertically, gives comics far more room to breathe. And the device is thin and light enough to be held comfortably with one hand while reading, which isn’t really the case with the larger model. I’m sticking with my 12.9-inch iPad Pro, but the size increase on the smaller model makes it a much closer thing.

I can’t advocate buying a $799 iPad Pro just to read comics—if you don’t use an iPad for anything else, maybe consider the sixth-generation iPad?—but evaluated just as a reading device, the 11-inch iPad Pro is the best combination of screen size and weight.

Stuff

Can This Little Magic App Make Your Headphones Sound Perfect?, by Mario Aguilar, Gizmodo

These days there’s digital fingerprints over all the music we listen to—all manner of transcription and translation as encoded music passes from cloud servers to computers to wireless headphones. I suspect that technology like True-Fi is only the very beginning of the processing technologies that will be deployed to optimize our listening. From that point of view, True-Fi is a fascinating peek at what’s to come, and certainly worth taking for a spin on a trial.

Linea Sketch Adds Fill, Blend, ZipShape, And Versioning Features, by John Voorhees, MacStories

With each update, the app has added functionality that makes it more powerful and flexible without increasing complexity. Version 2.5, which is out today, continues that trend with four new core features, support for Apple Pencil gestures, a new background paper, and other refinements.

Sofa Review: A Simple Tool For Tracking Movies, TV Shows, Books, And Podcasts, by Ryan Christoffel, MacStories

It's like saving items in Apple Notes, but with several added benefits: each saved item includes artwork in the list view, plus a handy synopsis in its detail view, and items can be checked off as they're enjoyed, which adds them to your Activity log.

Develop

Mac Developers Reminded To Have Their Apps Notarized As Apple Tightens Security, by Eric Slivka, MacRumors

Apple today reminded Mac developers that it is encouraging them to have their apps notarized, meaning that the apps have been scanned by Apple and checked for malware and other security issues.

A Year In, Apple’s Podcast Analytics Have Been An Evolution, Not A Revolution, by Nicholas Quah, Nieman Lab

But 12 months in, the legacy and impact of Apple’s new analytics is still very much a work in progress: trending positive, but complicated. The data has certainly proved useful, helping some publishers to better understand things like unlistened downloads, ad skipping, and episode retention rates. But based on the exchanges I’ve had, the general feeling seems to be that the data hasn’t fundamentally changed podcasting’s prehistoric perception among advertisers. Many argued that as long as the podcast business remains pegged to the download, trouble is afoot.

This isn’t to say that publishers weren’t able to secure more brand advertisers over the past year. (As many were quick to assure me.) Rather, some sources argue that until measurement actually shifts away from the download, the podcast ecosystem will never structurally unlock brand advertising dollars. One argued the nature of the problem has only worsened over the past year, given the increase in participation from competing platforms — Google, Pandora, iHeart, Spotify, and so on — that could, with their respective user bases and expertise in data and targeting, potentially end up assuming gatekeeper control between brand advertisers and podcast publishers, should any of them gain real traction against Apple.

Google Launches Flutter 1.0, Its Android And iOS Mobile App SDK, by Emil Protalinski, VentureBeat

At Flutter Live in London today, Google launched version 1.0 of Flutter, the company’s open source mobile UI framework that helps developers build native interfaces for Android and iOS.

Notes

The New Word Processor Wars: A Fresh Crop Of Productivity Apps Are Trying To Reinvent Our Workday, by Tony Lystra, GeekWire

Nearly 30 years after Microsoft Office came on the scene, it’s in the DNA of just about every productivity app. Even if you use Google’s G Suite or Apple’s iWork, you’re still following the Microsoft model.

[...]

But that way of thinking about work has gotten a little dusty, and new apps offering a different approach to getting things done are popping up by the day. There’s a new war on over the way we work, and the old “office suite” is being reinvented around rapid-fire discussion threads, quick sharing and light, simple interfaces where all the work happens inside a single window. In recent years, the buzzwords in tech have been “AI” and “mobile.” Today, you can add “collaboration” to that list — these days, everybody wants to build Slack-like communication into their apps.

The Raising-the-Bar Edition Tuesday, December 4, 2018

Claps And Cheers: Apple Stores' Carefully Managed Drama, by Jonny Bunning, The Guardian

How do you create an engaged, happy, knowledgeable workforce that can pass, however implausibly, as an entire battalion of geniuses in towns across the country? More importantly, how do you do all of that without the stick of the authoritarian boss or the carrot of a juicy commission?

Apple’s solution was to foster a sense of commitment to a higher calling while flattering employees that they were the chosen few to represent it. By counterintuitively raising the bar of admission, crafting a long series of interviews to weed out the mercenary or misanthropic, Johnson soon attracted more applicants than there were posts. Those keen enough to go through the onerous hiring process were almost by definition a better “fit” for the devotional ethos of the brand, far more receptive to the fiction that they weren’t selling things but, in an oft-repeated phrase, “enriching people’s lives”, as if they’d landed a job at a charity.

Apple Announces Its ‘Best Of 2018’ Lists Across Apps, Games, Music, Podcasts And More, by Sarah Perez, TechCrunch

The best app of 2018 on iPhone was the iPhone version of the popular Procreate drawing app for iPad, Procreate Pocket.

Meanwhile, the top iPad app was Froggipedia, an AR app that lets you virtually dissect a frog so you don’t have to actually dissect a frog.

Six Years With A Distraction-Free iPhone, by Jake Knapp, Medium

I’ve had a distraction-free iPhone for six years now. And there have been costs. I lost my reputation for instant email response and immediate task turnaround. Without the tug of my phone, I drifted off of Facebook and lost touch with some friends.

But there were rewards as well. Without infinite friends, I paid better attention to moments with my wife and kids. This, for me, was and is the most important reason to redesign my relationship with my phone. It’s also very personal and specific to me, so I’m not going to linger on it.

It’s the second benefit I want to focus on — a very unexpected benefit.

Dodgy iOS Apps Scammed Users By Abusing The iPhone’s Touch ID Feature, by Dan Goodin, Ars Technica

The scam worked by displaying a message as soon as the app was opened. It told users to scan their fingerprint to view a calorie tracker or receive another personal service. When users complied, the apps displayed a popup window that said they had been charged a fee. Less than two seconds later, the popup disappeared, but by then it was too late for many users. Anyone with a card linked to their Apple account was already charged.

Stuff

Apple Launches Dedicated Store For Military And Veterans With Discounted iPhones, iPads, And More, by Michael Potuck, 9to5Mac

Apple has today opened up a new online store for active military personnel and veterans to make purchasing its products at a discount more accessible. Different from its education pricing, eligible military customers will receive 10% off Apple products, and the new discounted pricing even includes iPhones, Apple Watch, accessories, and more.

How Ring's Neighbors App Is Making Home Security A Social Thing, by Ben Fox Rubin, CNET

Pointing to the early benefits of Neighbors, Siminoff and Kuhn said there was a spike in activity on the app when the Hill Fire and Woolsey Fire hit Southern California last month. People were able to ask about specific streets and share safety tips. While users typically get two to five alerts per week, post and comment volume surged over 1,000 percent in the affected areas, the company said.

"We had 30,000, if you will, camera reporters in the field able to report how things were where they were," Siminoff said. "It is hyper, hyper, hyper local."

5 Alternatives To Apple’s Discontinued Print Services For Photo Books, Calendars, And Cards, by Michael Potuck, 9to5Mac

Custom photo books and calendars make great gifts, and it’s fun to set yourself apart with unique holiday greeting cards. However, after Apple announced it would be discontinuing its native photo printing services this past fall, this is the first holiday season that users will need to find a substitute. Follow along for five alternatives to print your photo books, calendars, and cards with the Photos App on Mac as well as iPhone.

Review: Nanoleaf Canvas Pulls Double-duty As A Functional HomeKit Wall Light & A Piece Of Art, by Andrew O'Hara, AppleInsider

For some, it may be hard to overcome the high price tag of the Canvas. But it is such a cool product we had a hard time not showing it off. It can get quite dim which makes it a great nightlight. HomeKit can automate it by turning it on or off with geofencing, or through a motion sensor in your home's setup. And, the touch functionality is fun if a bit on the gimmicky side.

Develop

Optimizing Siri On HomePod In Far‑Field Settings, by Audio Software Engineering and Siri Speech Team, Apple Machine Learning Journal

The typical audio environment for HomePod has many challenges — echo, reverberation, and noise. Unlike Siri on iPhone, which operates close to the user’s mouth, Siri on HomePod must work well in a far-field setting. Users want to invoke Siri from many locations, like the couch or the kitchen, without regard to where HomePod sits. A complete online system, which addresses all of the environmental issues that HomePod can experience, requires a tight integration of various multichannel signal processing technologies. Accordingly, the Audio Software Engineering and Siri Speech teams built a system that integrates both supervised deep learning models and unsupervised online learning algorithms and that leverages multiple microphone signals. The system selects the optimal audio stream for the speech recognizer by using top-down knowledge from the “Hey Siri” trigger phrase detectors. In this article, we discuss the machine learning techniques we use for online signal processing, as well as the challenges we faced and our solutions for achieving environmental and algorithmic robustness while ensuring energy efficiency.

Notes

Tim Cook To White Supremacists: "You Have No Place On Our Platforms", by Julia Alexander, The Verge

“Apple is a technology company, but we never forget the devices we make are imagined by human minds, built by human hands, and meant to improve human lives,” Cook said. “I worry less about computers that think like people and more about people that think like computers. Technology should be about human potential. It should be about optimism.

“We believe the future should belong to those who view technology as a way to build a more inclusive and hopeful world.”

Apple Sucked Tumblr Into Its Walled Garden, Where Sex Is Bad, by Jason Koebler and Samantha Cole, Motherboard

We don’t know for sure whether Tumblr made this final decision under pressure from Apple, or because the platform felt like it could not competently moderate the platform any longer. But the decision to get rid of adult content wholesale is consistent both with the corporatization and sanitization of the internet that Apple has led the charge on.

Tumblr’s decision is even more disappointing because it’s obvious in D’Onofrio’s explanation that Tumblr leadership does not understand the important role that Tumblr held in the adult content community.

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I've just unsubscribed from a podcast simply because they pushed out a new episode that is nothing more than an announcement that their upcoming episode has been delayed, followed by a rather-long advertisement.

It is fine, dear podcast creators, if you want to keep to a regular publication schedule. But if you can't make it, you don't have to pad your schedule with reruns or clip shows or, worse, an announcement of you not able to keep to the regular publication schedule that you imposed on yourself. All podcast clients, I imagine, are able to regularly check for new episodes of subscribed podcasts. You can publish new episodes only when there are really new episodes. The audience will still be here.

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Growing up, I always confused between the Star Wars theme and Superman theme.

I'm glad I am not the only one.

~

Thanks for reading.

The Can-Be-Recommended Edition Monday, December 3, 2018

State Of The Mac In 2018, by Bradley Chambers, 9to5Mac

While the Mac Pro desperately needs an update, all of the rest of Apple’s computers can be recommended.

I've Spent A Week With The New MacBook Air And I'm In Two Minds, by Chris Matyszczyk, ZDNet

When you've been used to an 11-inch screen for so long, the necessary leap to 13 inches is jarring.

Sometimes, I find myself leaving two inches of space around the edges and keeping my browser window at the old 11-inch mark.

It's creepy how habit can storm your life and dictate its every move.

Simplify Your Life By Creating Routines For Alexa, Siri, And Google Assistant, by David Nield, Popular Science

For instance, you could set a routine up so that, when you say "Alexa, good morning," your lights would turn on and that morning-motivation playlist would start blaring from the speakers. Or an iPhone use might say "Siri, I'm going home" to trigger a shortcut that sends an update to a family member in a text message, pulls up navigation directions on Apple Maps, and tells the smart thermostat to start heating up.

The real beauty of routines lies in the way you can customize them to suit your own needs and schedule. In this guide, we'll show you how to start building your own shortcuts for Alexa, Google Assistant, and Siri.

Notes

50 Years In Tech. Part 11: Getting The Mac Out Of The Ditch, by Jean-Louis Gassée, Monday Note

Having formed a (somewhat) unified engineering team, it’s time to get down to business. May, 1985: Apple ][ sales are falling; the Mac has yet to take off. We need to make some changes, pronto, that will attract new customers and keep the old ones coming back.

The Friendship That Made Google Huge, by James Somers, New Yorker

One day in March of 2000, six of Google’s best engineers gathered in a makeshift war room. The company was in the midst of an unprecedented emergency. In October, its core systems, which crawled the Web to build an “index” of it, had stopped working. Although users could still type in queries at google.com, the results they received were five months out of date. More was at stake than the engineers realized. Google’s co-founders, Larry Page and Sergey Brin, were negotiating a deal to power a search engine for Yahoo, and they’d promised to deliver an index ten times bigger than the one they had at the time—one capable of keeping up with the World Wide Web, which had doubled in size the previous year. If they failed, google.com would remain a time capsule, the Yahoo deal would likely collapse, and the company would risk burning through its funding into oblivion.

In a conference room by a set of stairs, the engineers laid doors across sawhorses and set up their computers. Craig Silverstein, a twenty-seven-year-old with a small frame and a high voice, sat by the far wall. Silverstein was Google’s first employee: he’d joined the company when its offices were in Brin’s living room and had rewritten much of its code himself. After four days and nights, he and a Romanian systems engineer named Bogdan Cocosel had got nowhere. “None of the analysis we were doing made any sense,” Silverstein recalled. “Everything was broken, and we didn’t know why.”

Silverstein had barely registered the presence, over his left shoulder, of Sanjay Ghemawat, a quiet thirty-three-year-old M.I.T. graduate with thick eyebrows and black hair graying at the temples. Sanjay had joined the company only a few months earlier, in December. He’d followed a colleague of his—a rangy, energetic thirty-one-year-old named Jeff Dean—from Digital Equipment Corporation. Jeff had left D.E.C. ten months before Sanjay. They were unusually close, and preferred to write code jointly. In the war room, Jeff rolled his chair over to Sanjay’s desk, leaving his own empty. Sanjay worked the keyboard while Jeff reclined beside him, correcting and cajoling like a producer in a news anchor’s ear.

Jeff and Sanjay began poring over the stalled index. They discovered that some words were missing—they’d search for “mailbox” and get no results—and that others were listed out of order. For days, they looked for flaws in the code, immersing themselves in its logic. Section by section, everything checked out. They couldn’t find the bug.

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Personally, I think a Mac Mini and iPad combo is pretty sweet. Especially if someone can create a good keybaord that can be shared between the two devices. Bonus points if the keyboard works via Bluetooth and the smart connector. And maybe with a trackpad that can move cursors in both macOS and iOS.

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Thanks for reading.

The Faster-Distribution Edition Sunday, December 2, 2018

iTunes Doesn't Encrypt Downloads—on Purpose, by Lily Hay Newman, Wired

Though it's initially surprising that a company as purportedly pro-privacy as Apple might not offer total HTTPS adoption on its backend, iOS researcher Will Strafach says he thinks the setup serves a specific purpose. By sending the downloads themselves over plaintext HTTP instead of an encrypted connection, system administrators, especially in large enterprise environments, can create a sort of way station to cache large apps and files on their local network for faster distribution. That means they won't eat up bandwidth if the app, update, or other file is being downloaded over and over again onto numerous devices. If the connection were encrypted between Apple's servers and the devices, that stopover wouldn't be possible.

"It seems non-standard and odd at first, but I don't think there is a security threat here since integrity checks still occur," Strafach says. He agrees that there are always potential downsides to sending data unencrypted, but notes that an attacker who wants to track what a target is downloading might still be able to do it even with TLS encryption, based on an app's size.

Two Simple Tricks To Make Your iPhone Battery Last All Day, by Adrian Kingsley-Hughes, ZDNet

The first one the simplest one, but also the most effective, and that is to switch on Low Power Mode.

As the name suggests, activating this setting puts your device into low power mode. And it really does work, giving you about three hours of extra battery life. If you are worried about your battery not making it through the day, this is the setting to activate.

Terrible iPhone Battery Life? Time Is Running Out FAST To Take Advantage Of Apple’s Discount Battery Replacement, by Aaron Brown, T3

Apple's discounted battery replacement programme ends on December 31, 2018. The scheme was introduced in December last year following a backlash over the revelation that Apple intentionally slows down the performance of older iPhone models in order to prevent unexpected shutdowns when the chipset draws too much power from an ageing battery cell.

Voice Messaging – Conversational Gain Or Pain?, by Chris Stokel-Walker, The Guardian

Trawl through social media or simply have the misfortune to be friends with an early adopter of tech trends and you’ll see that the next big form of communication is upon us. It isn’t a brand new app or some strange semaphore. In some ways, it’s a throwback to the 1980s era of answering machines. “Voice messaging” – sending recorded voice messages to recipients using apps such as WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger and Telegram – is having a moment. Unlike with voicemail, there’s no opportunity for the recipient to pick up and chat, and you can mix voice messages in with regular chat messages. For those who haven’t yet had the pleasure of encountering them, here’s what you need to know.

A Map That Tracks Everything, by Shannon Mattern, The Atlantic

Crypto-cartographers hope to use it for spatial verification—confirming that things are where they say they are, when they claim to be there. How might this be useful? Well, you could know precisely when an Amazon delivery drone drops a package on your doorstep, at which point the charge would post to your account. No more unscrupulous delivery drivers, and no more contested charges for packages lost in transit. Or when opening a new bank account, you could virtually confirm your permanent address by physically being there during a particular verification period, rather than providing copies of your utility bills. You could also submit a photo of your flooded basement or smashed windshield to the insurance company, supplementing your claim with time- and location-verified documentation. Or, as you pass by your local family-owned coffee shop, the owner could “airdrop” some Bitcoin coupons to your phone, and you could stop by to cash in before the offer expires a half hour later.

These examples are certainly appealing. But the physical world might not be as easy to map as crypto-cartographers believe.

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If I want a pair of AirPods, should I wait for the new model to arrive in stores, given that all the rumors seem to point to a good chance that Apple is releasing a new version soon? After all, I don't want to be stuck with the current and older model, which is full of regrets?

Or should I just not wait and just buy a pair and start enjoying them now, because chances are the new versions will be released at a higher price, and I will then purchase the current and older model anyway?

Decisions, decisions, decision.

(Thank goodness I don't actually want or need to buy AirPods.)

:-)

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Thanks for reading.

The Height-Above-Trend-Line Edition Saturday, December 1, 2018

Fun With Charts: The iPad Bests The MacBook, by Jason Snell, Six Colors

The real thing to measure in this chart is height above the trend line. And by that measure, the 2018 iPad Pro is way ahead. Meanwhile, the Touch Bar MacBook Pro models all retain a fairly consistent height above the trend line. (And the less said about the 12-inch MacBook, the better.)

Editing Your Travel Photos Can Make All The Difference — Here’s How To Do It, by Roy Furchgott, Washington Post

When she photographed the Cathedral Basilica of Our Lady of the Assumption in Santiago de Cuba, she used all of her know-how; she scouted ahead of time, found a rooftop vantage from which to shoot and waited until the light was perfect. But the resulting photo was a flop. “I wasn’t getting the emotion,” she said.

Then she applied the “art sauce” that virtually every travel photographer uses. She used software to tweak the image, turning the color photo into a dramatic black and white. “It just didn’t feel right until I removed the color,” she said. “I felt like this is what I was going for, and all that emotion and vintage feel was allowed to show through in the image.”

This is the secret of professional travel photographers. No matter how good the image they capture is, the editing — called postproduction, or “post” for short — makes it a little better. Sometimes, a lot better.

Stuff

The App That Makes Writing Less Lonely, by Dougal Shaw, BBC

Welcome to the world of Inkvite, one of a number of creative-writing platforms popular with teenagers and young adults in the US. It allows users to share stories, comment on them, and also collaborate.

3 Mac Apps To Get And Stay Organized, by Matt Elliott, CNET

The new Stacks feature that MacOS Mojave introduced is helpful in bringing order to the files littering my desktop, but I still find myself fighting the multitasking tide against too many open windows. Here's a trio of Mac apps that can help keep your windows organized and your head above water.

8 Mindfulness Apps You Need If You're Burnt TF Out, by Mallory Creveling, Cosmopolitan

The cure for literally everything: mindfulness. At least, that’s what science won’t shut up about lately. Over the last few years, researchers have suggested that being mindful, or tuning into the present moment, can help people focus at work, reduce anxiety, diminish junk food cravings, and motivate people to work out more. So, yeah, it’s magic.

But how the hell do you start living your best mindful life? Well, for starters, you can download these apps that that’ll teach you to live in the now. Here’s the best one.

TestCard Turns Your iPhone Into A Private, Clinical-grade Urinalysis Kit, by Daniel Eran Dilger, AppleInsider

A UK startup is launching an app that uses the iPhone camera and flash system to provide immediate and accurate results for a variety of issues ranging from pregnancy to blood glucose to prostate health, kidney disease, STIs and even illicit drugs —using low-cost test strips that arrive in the form of a postcard-sized mailer.

Apple Approves Indian Government’s Do Not Disturb App, Avoiding iPhone Ban, by Jeremy Horwitz, VentureBeat

The registration process appears to leverage the SMS/Call Reporting framework Apple recently introduced into iOS, tying reporting directly into the Phone and Messages applications, and sharing only specific spam content with authorities.

Develop

Rogue Heart Rate App Highlights Flaws In Apple's Closed-door Review Process, by Andrew O'Hara, AppleInsider

This highlights, yet again, the problem with Apple's app review process. We are all in support of the review process, but for a clearly fraudulent app to slide through unquestioned raises serious doubts. The chance that this was a one-off circumstance that Apple overlooked and it happened to be a scam is quite unlikely and makes us question how thorough the process is as a whole.