The Worked-So-Well Edition Thursday, December 27, 2018

Welcome To The Walled Garden, We’ve Got Phones And Games, by Casey Johnston, The Outline

What’s funny is that for all of the flack Apple has taken for building its walled garden — criticism that lunged from chiding and superior (“You’ll never achieve market dominance that way”) to enraged and condemning (‘What right do you have to prevent people from putting whatever apps and music they want on their phones?”) — it worked, and worked so well that Apple never even needed to achieve market dominance to become the nation’s most valuable company ever. Apple’s gamble was that it could not only compete against sheer volume, but that it could eclipse it.


But the grand irony to the walled garden is that while it’s largely paid off, becoming such a large part of the world means Apple can no longer keep it out.

In 2019, Apple Needs To Change iPhone’s Call UI Because Robocalls Are Killing Us, by Spencer Dailey

It’s absolutely bonkers that millions of smartphone users get their full screen taken over by robocallers on a daily basis. Tapping Decline is not a great option because it actually tells the robocaller that you’re with your phone and are annoyed by the call, information I’d rather not give.


9 Apps To Help You De-stress Over The Holiday Season, by Joshua Rotter, CNET

But calm can be as close as your phone or tablet. So stop, take a breath and explore some of the most effective serenity-inducing techniques out there with our top apps to help you de-stress over the holiday season.

From coloring to cognitive behavioral therapy-based exercises, journaling to autonomous sensory meridian response and yoga to traditional therapy, you'll finally achieve that once-elusive zenned-out state that you can carry with you into 2019.


Why You Can’t Manage Humans Like They’re Software, by Cate Huston, Quartz

But the things we ask of humans are messier, more complicated, and not well defined in mathematics. If I follow the information API and learn that a project is off-track, and it’s a team or lead that I trust, I will start with “how can I help?” If there’s no trust there, especially when it’s something we need to rely on, or this kind of thing has happened too many times before, it’s tempting to start with “What on earth is going on?


Apple Music To Open Offices At May Hosiery Site In Wedgewood-Houston, by Sandy Mazza, Tennessean

Apple Music will open a content creation office in the historic May Hosiery complex in Wedgewood-Houston, officials close to the deal said Wednesday.

The music and video streaming service will have 30,000 square-foot offices as well as outdoor event space at the historic factory, which is currently being restored.

One Giant Step For A Chess-Playing Machine, by Steven Strogatz, New York Times

Tellingly, AlphaZero won by thinking smarter, not faster; it examined only 60 thousand positions a second, compared to 60 million for Stockfish. It was wiser, knowing what to think about and what to ignore. By discovering the principles of chess on its own, AlphaZero developed a style of play that “reflects the truth” about the game rather than “the priorities and prejudices of programmers,” Mr. Kasparov wrote in a commentary accompanying the Science article.

The question now is whether machine learning can help humans discover similar truths about the things we really care about: the great unsolved problems of science and medicine, such as cancer and consciousness; the riddles of the immune system, the mysteries of the genome.

Bottom of the Page

Yes, the phone-call modal-dialog thing on the iPhone is extremely irritating. Phone calls will also stop my audiobooks or podcasts from playing while I am standing in the subway train with my hands holding on to my dear life and am in no mood to listen to somebody yapping on the phone.

When Apple announced the iPhone many years ago — the computer phone that runs OS X, I was excited that I could start having finer control over how phone calls and text messages are handled. I was thinking of processing rules and cronjobs and so on.

I have been disappointed ever since.


Thanks for reading.