Archive for February 2019

The Marry-with-Technology Edition Thursday, February 28, 2019

Huntington Beach Educators Mold Musicians Of Tomorrow, by Apple

“We don’t just focus on the technology,” Knight says. “It’s that performing arts experience that gives them leadership skills, confidence, team work, all of those soft skills that businesses want. You have to perform to get that, and then when you marry that with the technology and you give the kids the ability to have a real recording studio to work with, they’re going to be the next Steven Spielberg, or the next Paul McCartney.”

With A Free Phone App, Nancy Baker Cahill Cracks The Glass Ceiling In Male-dominated Land Art, by Deborah Vankin, Los Angeles Times

Enormous desert blossoms — in fuchsia, gold and poppy orange — materialize above the windmills. They bloom until they burst, the petals flipping in the air before drifting south toward the Salton Sea.

This is Nancy Baker Cahill’s augmented-reality artwork “Revolutions” — part aerial, mechanical garden and part digitally rendered mirage. The animation is visible only through a free smartphone app that Baker Cahill created, and only when the viewer is standing in the specific location she delineates — in this case, a Palm Springs wind farm.

Singaporean Photographer Darren Soh Wins Apple’s Global Shot On iPhone Challenge, by Jovi Ho, Channel NewsAsia

As an architectural photographer, much of Soh’s work involves capturing the facades of residential buildings, especially Housing Development Board (HDB) flats. Among the photos he submitted to Apple, he is delighted that “the photo that was chosen was of a block of flats”.

“I think the image very much represents what we are. We have one of the more successful, if not the most successful, public housing schemes in the world. Some people may see it as a pigeonhole in the sky but if you step back and look at what the HDB has done for home ownership, it’s actually a very amazing thing,” said the 42-year-old.

Apple Combines 32 iPhone XRs In A Bullet Time Rig, by Jeff Loch, Cinema 5D

Apple just released a new video for the “Shot on iPhone” ad campaign, which is entitled “Shot on iPhone XR — Experiments II: Full Circle.” For the making of this video, the team at Incite – Donghoon Jun and James Thornton – used 32 iPhone XRs mounted on a bullet time rig.

Privacy and Security

Tech We’re Using: Limiting Your Digital Footprints In A Surveillance State, by Paul Mozur, New York Times

In some parts of China, the police will demand to check your phone, usually to delete photos. Having two phones helps with this — to make it even trickier, I have the same case on both phones. But it’s also good to have other ways to protect your data. I use a few apps that disguise themselves as something innocuous but in fact hide and protect data. It’s also always handy to have a USB drive that can plug into your phone and be used to save stuff quickly.

Storing Health Records On Your Phone: Can Apple Live Up To Its Privacy Values?, by Laura Sydell, NPR

In an interview with NPR, Cook says acquiring user data to sell ads is something his company has avoided. "People will look at this and feel that they can trust Apple," he says. "That's a key part of anyone that you're working with on your health."

Cook says Apple's commitment to privacy isn't simply a marketing ploy. "It's not the way we look it in terms of advantages," he says. "The reality is that I know for me, I want to do business with people that have my health data, people that I deeply trust."

Apple's Intensifying Privacy & Encryption Stance Worsening FBI Struggles With Lawbreakers 'Going Dark', by Roger Fingas, AppleInsider

The "going dark" problem "infects law enforcement and the intelligence community more and more so every day," Amy Hess told the Wall Street Journal. As companies like Apple, Facebook, and others have instituted end-to-end encryption in messaging, government agencies — particularly the FBI — have complained that terrorists and other criminals have been able to conduct business outside of surveillance.

Podcast Economics

Apple's New Podcast Metadata Rules Ban Episode Numbers, Threaten Removal, by William Gallagher, AppleInsider

The email from Apple is not at all clear about whether a show like this will have to strip out the numbers forcing a re-index the content. Series like 99% Invisible are among the very best-produced podcasts on iTunes and Apple's email is not at all clear about whether it or others will have to re-do the metadata for hundreds of episodes.

Apple Dominates The Podcast Market. But For How Long?, by Jason Snell, Macworld

On one level, it’s admirable that Apple has not exploited its huge influence in and leverage over the podcast market. It’s allowed the podcast world to thrive in a largely open environment without rent-seeking from major players that would crush innovation. Apple has been an advocate for podcasts without trying to control them.

And yet, with Spotify on the move, I have to wonder if Apple is going to need to take a more active approach in this area. The economics driving Apple Music and Spotify are quite similar; I’m a bit surprised Apple hasn’t invested in premium, subscriber-only audio content (because if it’s subscriber-only it’s not really a podcast) for subscribers of Apple Music. We hear about Apple spending billions on video content for its new streaming service, but not a peep about Apple using its power in podcasting to boost Apple Music or at least keep Spotify’s expansion at bay.


Today At Apple Supports International Women's Day With Sessions Highlighting Creative, by Michael Steeber, 9to5Mac

Beginning in March, Apple will offer a unique collection of Today at Apple sessions in select retail stores around the world to celebrate International Women’s Day 2019. The series, titled “Made by Women,” highlights creative achievements by and for women in various creative disciplines.

Apple's Shot On iPhone Campaign Is Turning Hockey Stars' Candid Photos Into Giant Ads, by David Griner, AdWeek

In new ads launching today on arenas across the U.S. and Canada, Apple features photos taken on the iPhone XS by some of today’s top hockey pros and featuring candid moments with their teammates.

MidiWrist Lets You Control Musical Instruments From Your Apple Watch, by Charlie Sorrel, Cult of Mac

For Apple Watch-owning musicians, the MidiWrist app is pretty wild. It lets you control almost any music hardware or software just by tapping the Apple Watch. The possibilities are almost literally endless — and you can even map the smartwatch’s Digital Crown as a custom controller.


BBEdit 12.6 To Return To The Mac App Store, by Michael Tsai

BBEdit being able to return to the Mac App Store is great news for customers (modulo bugs) and for Bare Bones, but I’m not sure what it means for the store in general. Although there has finally been some progress, this feels like Apple giving up. They can’t or don’t want to really fix the sandbox to work well with pro apps, but they do want them to be in the store, so they’ll just let them ask for blanket permissions. BBEdit gets to be in the store, and Apple gets to say that everything (except Xcode) is sandboxed, even though it’s kind of security theater.


Apple Self-driving Car Layoffs Hit 190 Employees In Santa Clara, Sunnyvale, by Roland Li, San Francisco Chronicle

The layoffs were disclosed, along with new details, in a letter this month to the California Employment Development Department. CNBC reported last month that layoffs were occurring in the self-driving car division, known as Project Titan. Tom Neumayr, an Apple spokesman, confirmed that the letter to the state referenced the same layoffs.

Most of the affected employees are engineers, including 38 engineering program managers, 33 hardware engineers, 31 product design engineers and 22 software engineers. The layoffs will take effect April 16, according to the filing.

Bill Gates Explains Why We Should All Be Optimists, by Gideon Lichfield, MIT Technology Review

"Look at how long people are living, the reduction of under-five mortality, the reduction in how poorly women are treated. Globally, inequity is down: poorer countries are getting richer faster than the richer countries are getting richer. The bulk of humanity lives in middle-income countries today. Fifty years ago, there were very few middle-income countries. Then there’s the ability of science to solve problems. In heart disease and cancer we’ve made a lot of progress; in some of the more chronic diseases like depression and diabetes … Even in obesity, we’re gaining some fundamental understandings of the microbiome and the signaling mechanisms involved."

"So, yes, I am optimistic. It does bother me that most people aren’t."

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It's time that all the non-Apple podcast player makers team up and create an alternative podcast directory service, as an insurance against Apple doing anything funny to the Apple Podcast directory service.


What happened this morning:

I wanted to do something on my phone. I picked up my phone. I swipe up to get to the home screen. Then I forgot what I wanted to do. I looked at the rows of app icons, trying to remember what I had wanted to do. Half a minute later, I still cannot remember. I gave up and put the phone down.

Half an hour later, I finally remembered what I actually wanted to do.


Thanks for reading.

The Data-Sources Edition Wednesday, February 27, 2019

Why The Siri Face Is All I Need From My Apple Watch, by Ryan Christoffel, MacStories

I've used the Siri face nearly every day since it first became available in watchOS 4. Though I like how several other watch faces look, none can compare with the sheer utility of the Siri face; the Infograph face is the only one that comes anywhere close, thanks to its whopping eight complication slots. Yet even with Infograph, you're limited to the same eight things at all times.

The Siri face currently includes 20 first-party data sources built in – a number that keeps growing – ranging from Activity to Calendar, News, Now Playing, Photos, Wallet, and more. Though you can toggle off any sources you don't care for, there's ultimately no limit to how many are turned on – if you choose, all 20 sources can be enabled at once, feeding data to the face at times the system believes are most relevant.

Shift Keyboard Lets You Tap Out Your Messages On Apple Watch, by Luke Dormehl, Cult of Mac

“I originally created a keyboard for Apple Watch app, which got rejected despite it being a useful addition,” he explained. “I myself have wanted a better way to input text on an Apple Watch. I’ve often heard users say they want [one too]. My initial keyboard got rejected by Apple for being a keyboard for Apple Watch, so I went away and created an iPhone keyboard app. [I then] added the Apple Watch app as an extension to this app.”

Apple rejected the app several times due to the text and buttons being too small. However, he kept revising it and eventually Apple gave its stamp of approval.

Google Blames Bug For Apple Music Appearing On Home Speakers, by Mark Gurman, Bloomberg

“We have nothing to announce regarding updates to Google Home,” the spokesman said.


Next Apple Watch Activity Challenge Kicking Off On International Women's Day, by Zac Hall, 9to5Mac

The rules for the upcoming Apple Watch Activity Challenge simply require users to complete a 1 mile walk, run, or wheelchair workout on March 8th. Upon completion, a special Activity achievement will be unlocked in the Activity app on the iPhone. The challenge will be available to Apple Watch customers globally.

Linea Update Brings New Stroke, Grids, And Template Options To Its iPhone And iPad Apps, by Peter Cao, 9to5Mac

Linea, a popular sketching application for iPhone and iPad, is getting an update with support for new strokes, grids, and template options, and more for musicians and designers.


How To Become A ‘Digital Nomad’, by Kristin Wong, New York Times

“It was amazing to have the flexibility to build a temporary home anywhere in the world — as long as it had internet,” said Stephanie Lee, a writing consultant who backpacked through Asia for nine months in 2016, using apps like Slack and Google Translate to organize work and travel.

But whether you travel frequently or want to stay put in one country, the logistics of digital nomad-ing can be extraordinarily complicated. Yes, you’ll need to store your belongings and sell your car, but here are a few not-so-obvious to tasks to handle before you join their ranks.

Virtual Phone Number Apps Are Gaming The App Store With Duplicates, by Romain Dillet, TechCrunch

Releasing multiple versions of the same app is a great App Store optimization strategy. This way, you can pick a different name, different keywords and different categories. Chances are potential customers are going to see your app in their App Store search results.

While Apple is usually quite strict when it comes to App Store guidelines, it hasn’t enforced some of them. And this is unfair for app developers who play by the rules. They can’t compete as effectively with companies that know that they can ignore some rules.

Apple Removes VoIP App Clones From The App Store, by Romain Dillet, TechCrunch

Following my report from yesterday, Apple has removed many of the apps I pointed out. When you try to find them on the App Store, they are no longer available.


Apple's Ad Business Borrows A Page From Facebook, by George P. Slefo, AdAge

On Thursday, Apple Search Ads updated its partner page to include Bidalgo as its second campaign management partner. Apple Search Ads appear at the very top of a user's app search results; someone who searches for the Uber app, for example, might see an ad for the Lyft app.


The news is significant as Apple previously only had mobile measurement partners on its page, which provide tools to measure, analyze and optimize app install campaigns. Coupling mobile measurement partners with campaign management partners is a spitting image of Facebook's own program, Facebook Marketing Partners, more commonly known as FMP.

USB-IF Confusingly Merges USB 3.0 And USB 3.1 Under New USB 3.2 Branding, by Juli Clover, MacRumors

If the swap between USB 3.1 Gen 1 and Gen 2 to USB 3.2 wasn't confusing enough, each of these specifications also has a marketing term.

The Death Of The Landline Is Harming Investigative Journalism, by Daniel Walters, Inlander

There are stories I haven't written because I could never find a way to contact a key figure. It's one thing to say "Harold Sourceman did not return multiple messages asking him to comment on his alleged involvement in the goat catapult scandal." It's another thing to say, "we had no idea how to let Sourceman know he was going to be the front page star in a goat-hurling related controversy."

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I find it difficult to imagine what sort of bugs will cause the name "Apple Music" to appear in a list of supported services, if there are no plans whatsoever to add this particular service in the near future...


When I wake up my iPhone, I always see the same background, same clock, same media controls, same notification list.

Yes, it is comfortable in having the same things appearing all the time without fail. But I do wish Apple will do something a little more exciting in the lock screen. I get a little envious of all the Apple Watch customers, with their watch faces and complications. I'm also reminded about how 'boring' the iPhone wallpaper is whenever I visit

(Okay, I actually don't visit that often. But I do have my Mac to rotate wallpapers every day.)


Thanks for reading.

The How-We-Listened Edition Tuesday, February 26, 2019

Apple Announces The 10 Winners Of Its Shot On iPhone Contest, by Benjamin Mayo, 9to5Mac

Apple has today announced the winning photographers, and their photos, of its Shot on iPhone contest that it ran at the end of January. The winning images will be featured on Apple billboards, in Apple retail, and as part of online Shot on iPhone features.

Why Did Music Visualizers Disappear?, by Steve Rousseau, Digg

There is currently a single working web-based visualizer that will work in conjunction with Spotify. You can still use the one that's survived in iTunes if you're an Apple Music subscriber, sure. Heck, you can even install a plugin that will recreate the MilkDrop visualizer found in Winamp. And you can even hack together a solution through Winamp on Windows, or pay $30 for a standalone visualizer program and just pipe Spotify through that.

The music visualizer never went away in the way old software or websites have disappeared from the web, at least not yet. What changed is how we listened to music on our computers now.

California Moves To Ban All School Dissection, by Kat Smith, LiveKindly

Once thought necessary for teaching students anatomy, technology has given rise to cruelty-free dissection.

“With the development of technological alternatives, virtual and computer-based science teaching practicum offer more humane teaching methods that help to better prepare students for higher education and careers in science,” Kalra continued.

One such option is Froggipedia, a virtual dissection app that was named Apple’s iPad App of the Year in 2018. The app allows students to learn about frog anatomy by dissecting a realistic 3D frog.

Behind The Workflow: Designer Neil Vilppu Combines iPad Artistry With Mac Familiarity, by Michael Steeber, 9to5Mac

Skateboarding graphics, linocut prints, and the Apple Pencil inspire designer Neil Vilppu. His distinctive illustration style is the product of merging traditional and contemporary ideas. It’s this willingness to experiment that has led Neil to success in a workflow that combines the creative freedom of the iPad Pro with the powerful familiarity of the Mac.

iMac Brief Cameo In M. Night Shyamalan Sequel ‘Glass’ And Other Examples Of Macs On The Big Screen, by Joe Leo, Low End Mac

There’s a star among stars in the 2019 film Glass by renowned screenwriter and filmmaker M. Night Shyamalan which has its origins from Cupertino, California, and it briefly shares screen time with some high profile Hollywood actors — and the cameo is made by none other than? The iMac G3!

Apple Music Integration Possibly Coming To Google Home Devices, by Juli Clover, MacRumors

We were able to track down the Apple Music listing within the Google Home app for iOS devices, but at the current time, it can't be linked to a Google Home device.


Day One 3.0 For Mac Introduces Cleaner Design And Simplified UI, by Josh Ginter, The Sweet Setup

The latest version of Day One for iOS included new audio snippets, a beautiful new dark mode, and more. Today, Day One for the Mac catches up to its iOS counterpart.

From a fresh design, to a new toolbar, improvement range management, and new pop out entries, Day One 3.0 for macOS continues to improve on what we love so much about Day One.

[BBEdit 12.6]), by Agen Schmitz, TidBITS

Bare Bones Software has released BBEdit 12.6, which introduces a major architectural change to the long-standing text editor. Now a “sandboxed” application, BBEdit is compatible with security policies and practices built into macOS and required by Apple for participation in the Mac App Store. Be sure to read the release notes for details on the implications of sandboxing.

Big Grocery Update Adds Recipe And Meal Planning Support Along With Other Refinements, by John Voorhees, MacStories

With version 2.0, Grocery has added a new level of power to the app by creating a flexible system that allows you to do everything from storing a template grocery list that you can reuse over and over to recipe management and meal planning. The new features add some complexity to Grocery, but if you invest a little time in understanding how the app works and take advantage of its Shortcuts integration, the update opens up interesting uses far beyond what was possible before.

Mophie's iPhone Battery Case Is A Great Alternative To Apple’s, by Ed Hardy, Cult of Mac

This battery case can get power from any Qi-enabled wireless charger, or through its built-in USB-C port.


iOS 12 Adoption Rate Hits 80% On All iOS Devices, by Buster Hein, Cult of Mac

Apple published its latest adoption percentages for iOS 12 today revealing that 80% of all iOS devices in the world are now running iOS 12, far outpacing iOS 11’s adoption last year.

Apple Will Soon Let Developers Entice Past Subscribers With Discounted iOS, macOS, And tvOS Subscriptions, by Joe Rossignol, MacRumors

In an article posted to App Store Connect, Apple has detailed how iOS, macOS, and tvOS app developers will soon be able to offer discounted subscriptions to past subscribers in an attempt to win those customers back.

TestFlight For iOS Update Adds Dynamic Text Support, 38 Additional Languages, by Peter Cao, 9to5Mac

TestFlight now supports an additional 38 languages, essentially expanding the availability of TestFlight for many more users. In addition, the system-level Dynamic Type feature is now supported within TestFlight, making text size more consistent across applications.

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I was just enjoying my iTunes Visualiser the other day, and I was remembering the old bondi blue iMac that I used to own. (Just because the first time I was using iTunes was on that machine.)

Other software I remember running on that iMac:

a) CodeWarrior (and all the unfinished projects I've was messing around)

b) Games from Ambrosia Software (and all the hours I've wasted)

c) Internet Explorer (and all the color options one can have for the browser, to better match your mood or the color of your iMac)


How did I get anything done with a screen that measures only 1024 x 768?


Thanks for reading.

The Egalitarian-Company Edition Monday, February 25, 2019

Apple's COO Gives Rare Speech At Elon University, by Jessica Williams, The Times-News

“The stories that come out about the cost of our products [have been] the bane of my existence from the beginning of time, including our early days,” Williams said. “Analysts don’t really understand the cost of what we do and how much care we put into making our products.”


But Williams did say cost is something they’re working to address.

“It’s something we’re very aware of,” he said. “We do not want to be an elitist company. That’s not — we want to be an egalitarian company, and we’ve got a lot of work going on in developing markets.”

The Deadly Truth About A World Built For Men – From Stab Vests To Car Crashes, by Caroline Criado Perez, The Guardian

In the tech world, the implicit assumption that men are the default human remains king. When Apple launched its health-monitoring system with much fanfare in 2014, it boasted a “comprehensive” health tracker. It could track blood pressure; steps taken; blood alcohol level; even molybdenum and copper intake. But as many women pointed out at the time, they forgot one crucial detail: a period tracker.


From smartwatches that are too big for women’s wrists, to map apps that fail to account for women who may want to know the “safest” in addition to “fastest” routes; to “measure how good you are at sex” apps called “iThrust” and “iBang” the tech industry is rife with other examples. While there are an increasing number of female-led tech firms that do cater to women’s needs, they are seen as a “niche” concern and often struggle to get funding.

'Hard To Back Out': Publishers Grow Frustrated By The Lack Of Revenue From Apple News, by Max Willens, Digiday

Today, publishers are still having trouble selling their Apple News inventory directly, sources said. Three cited Apple News’s limited user targeting, which doesn’t allow the use of third-party data or IP addresses, as reasons for them being unable to sell a meaningful amount of ads on Apple News. A fourth source cited Apple News’s incompatibility with the publisher’s current sales strategy, which relies heavily on programmatic advertising, which Apple News prohibits, as a reason for seeing minimal ad revenue from the platform.


With few opportunities to sell the inventory directly, most publishers are at the mercy of the NBCUniversal sales team, which began selling Apple News’s remnant ad inventory in the second half of 2017. Those ads fetch a CPM of between $3 and $4, a reasonable rate for remnant inventory, multiple sources said.

The problem, those sources added, was that little of their leftover ad inventory was being filled.


Apple Shows Off iPhone XR/XS Portrait Mode Depth Control With Comical New 'Alejandro' Ad, by Chance MIller, 9to5Mac

Apple today is continuing its ad campaign focusing on the Portrait Mode and Depth Control features on the iPhone XR and XS. The latest ad is called “Alejandro” and focuses on using Depth Control to remove someone from the background of an image.


Remembering A Programming Language That Helped Shape The Digital New York Times, by New York Times

The developers had concerns that CGI wouldn’t scale to handle traffic on the homepage, which even then was growing quickly. They were also skeptical that Meyer’s vision for personalizing would end with the addition of a username.

Instead, they created Context, a lightweight language that was compiled to run on The New York Times’s servers and optimized for speed. Damens said they were able to get speeds a hundred times faster than CGI in early tests.

But they didn’t stop at creating a language.


Google: Software Is Never Going To Be Able To Fix Spectre-type Bugs, by Peter Bright, Ars Technica

Researchers from Google investigating the scope and impact of the Spectre attack have published a paper asserting that Spectre-like vulnerabilities are likely to be a continued feature of processors and, further, that software-based techniques for protecting against them will both impose a high performance cost. In any case, the researchers continue, the software will be inadequate—some Spectre flaws don't appear to have any effective software-based defense. As such, Spectre is going to be a continued feature of the computing landscape, with no straightforward resolution.

New Flaws In 4G, 5G Allow Attackers To Intercept Calls And Track Phone Locations, by Zack Whittaker, TechCrunch

A group of academics have found three new security flaws in 4G and 5G, which they say can be used to intercept phone calls and track the locations of cell phone users.

The findings are said to be the first time vulnerabilities have affected both 4G and the incoming 5G standard, which promises faster speeds and better security, particularly against law enforcement use of cell site simulators, known as “stingrays.” But the researchers say that their new attacks can defeat newer protections that were believed to make it more difficult to snoop on phone users.

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Will Apple choose to do a cheaper regular iPhone, or a better iPhone SE?


Thanks for reading.

The Dear-Tim Edition Sunday, February 24, 2019

Apple Employees Read The Letters Customers Send To Tim Cook, And Sometimes They Inspire Action, by Christina Farr, CNBC

According to people familiar with how the process works, Apple Cook has an assistant whose job it is to read the mail, forward some to him for personal attention, and share others to a group distribution list of executives on the relevant teams. They forward the letters to their reports, and so on down the chain. Many of these "Dear Tim" letters are ultimately passed around by rank-and-file employees, according to one current and two former employees.

The letters have had a particularly large impact on Apple's health team.

In Defense Of The HomePod,by Jonathan Kim, Medium

The HomePod is, without question, the best-sounding piece of audio equipment I’ve ever owned. I’ve never had speakers that make music sound so clear, bright, full, expansive, and rich, almost like it was being performed right in front of me.


Perhaps as importantly, HomePod has me listening to more music and appreciating it in new ways.

Drivetime Trivia App Turns Your Daily Commute Into A Gameshow, by Sasah Lekach, Mashable

The San Francisco-based company wants to become the go-to place for games in the car. With three Zynga and Rocket Games alumnus founding the company, it makes sense that they are working with the latest trend in tech: speech recognition.

CEO Niko Vuori told me out of their South of Market apartment-turned-office, "The car is a place for interaction and entertainment." Drivetime is targeting the millions of commuters between the ages of 30 and 60 who sit in their cars for an average of one hour a day. Power users include a lot of Uber and Lyft drivers and truckers who spend more time in the car than the average commuter.

The Microphones That May Be Hidden In Your Home, by Sidney Fussell, The Atlantic

“At the very least, people need to know what they’re buying and, to the extent that they can, have a sense of what the risk entails,” said Lindsey Barrett, a teaching fellow and staff attorney at Georgetown Law’s Institute for Public Representation. “That’s an incredibly difficult ask for consumers in this day and age. But [this] seems like a pretty basic kernel of information that they’d need to know.”

It’s difficult to stay fully informed not just because companies sometimes fail to disclose what technology their products contain, but also because the technology can be reworked very quickly. Microphones meant to pick up on glass breaking can also be used to record human voices. Cameras can be turned on. Devices can be recalibrated for new uses, and the data they collect can be used in ways that aren’t what customers signed up for.

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Are we bringing back letter-writing campaigns?


Thanks for reading.

The Customer-Stories Edition Saturday, February 23, 2019

Apple's Health Strategy: Democratize Patient Data, by Jonah Comstock, Mobihealthnews

"Listen, as a doc I’m cynical too. It’s part of the DNA of being a physician — we [tend to worry] about a lot of things. … We were very concerned about ‘What is the impact this is going to have on the medical community?’ Because we don’t want to add to the burden. I mean, many of us are physicians and we still see patients. So this isn’t a group of doctors who don’t actually practice anymore. So we were very thoughtful about that."

"The feedback has been pretty decent so far. I’ve heard some cardiologists say ‘Yep, I started getting ECGs mailed to me right away.’ And their biggest frustration isn’t around so much getting the ECG, because they’ve found that helpful, but it’s that the health systems are still figuring out the right way to handle that type of incoming."

"But the customer stories have actually been really amazing. We’ve gotten a number of letters to Tim where we have customers saying ‘I took an ECG. I found this issue of atrial fibrillation. I went into the emergency room. They confirmed my ECG was indeed atrial fibrillation and I had X, Y, Z happen and my physician told me that had I not come in at that time I actually could have had a worse outcome or it could have been serious.’"

Popular Apps Caught Secretly Sending Health Data And More To Facebook, Should Apple Intervene?, by Michael Potuck, 9to5Mac

A new investigative report from The Wall Street Journal today looks into the controversial practice of popular third-party iOS and Android apps sending very personal user data to Facebook. In some cases, this happened immediately after an app recorded new data, even if the user wasn’t logged into Facebook or wasn’t a Facebook user at all. Notably, the report highlights that Apple and Google don’t require apps to divulge all the partners that user data is shared with.


The tricky part for users is that iOS and Android apps aren’t required by Apple and Google to disclose all of the partners that have access to your data. What’s more, with the apps tested, there was no clear way to prevent them from sending data to Facebook.

Period Tracking App Says It Will Stop Sharing Health Data With Facebook, by Karissa Bell, Mashable

The extremely personal nature of period tracking apps makes this type of data sharing all the more alarming. Millions of women use these apps, not just to track their menstrual cycles, but to log aspects of fertility including ovulation and attempts to conceive. Flo also has a "pregnancy mode," which lets users input and save information related to their pregnancy.

That this information could be used for targeted advertising without making that clear to users is cause for concern, according to privacy advocates. Flo and other developers may have valid reasons to use analytics tools that help them learn about how their apps are used, but the company's privacy policy stated that users' health data was not shared to third parties, according to The Wall Street Journal. Flo's privacy policy was updated Feb. 19, according to its website.

Phone Relationship

Do Not Disturb: How I Ditched My Phone And Unbroke My Brain, by Kevin Roose, New York Times

I’ve been a heavy phone user for my entire adult life. But sometime last year, I crossed the invisible line into problem territory. My symptoms were all the typical ones: I found myself incapable of reading books, watching full-length movies or having long uninterrupted conversations. Social media made me angry and anxious, and even the digital spaces I once found soothing (group texts, podcasts, YouTube k-holes) weren’t helping. I tried various tricks to curb my usage, like deleting Twitter every weekend, turning my screen grayscale and installing app-blockers. But I always relapsed.

Eventually, in late December, I decided that enough was enough. I called Catherine Price, a science journalist and the author of “How to Break Up With Your Phone,” a 30-day guide to eliminating bad phone habits. And I begged her for help.

Mercifully, she agreed to be my phone coach for the month of January, and walk me through her plan, step by step. Together, we would build a healthy relationship with my phone, and try to unbreak my brain.

What I Gave My Kid Instead Of A Smartphone, by Anastasia Basil, Medium

Since publication, the question I’m most often asked is: Did you buckle under pressure and give your daughter a smartphone for middle school, or did you strap some old soup cans to her body and tell her to shake wildly if she needs to reach you? The answer: I bought her a Gizmo Gadget watch. And it’s been great! I call her, she calls me. I can text and send reminders from my smartphone to her watch, for which I pay a monthly fee of $5. She can text back limited characters. She can also leave me voice messages, which she sometimes does in whisper-screams from school: “You packed me apples again! Everyone else gets Doritos. This needs to STOP!”

I’m not sure how long she’ll have the watch, but it’s been the perfect device for our needs since she started school last fall. I’ve been looking at the Light Phone II — a “dumb” 4G phone that seems too good to be true. It’s beautifully designed, non-addictive, and smart in its own Zen way. It’s not available yet, but when it is, I’ll take two: one for my daughter and one for me! It’s high time I break up with my soul-sucking smartphone.

That question is one of dozens I’ve received about raising kids who abstain from social media. (I don’t like the word abstain, it sounds like asbestos. Let’s say opt out.) After talking and emailing with hundreds of parents over the past year, I’ve compiled the most common questions — and my answers — below.

Business of Retail

Apple Confirms Its Plans To Close Retail Stores In The Patent Troll-Favored Eastern District Of Texas, by Sarah Perez, TechCrunch

Apple has confirmed its plans to close retail stores in the Eastern District of Texas — a move that will allow the company to better protect itself from patent infringement lawsuits, according to Apple news sites 9to5Mac and MacRumors, which broke the news of the stores’ closures. Apple says that the impacted retail employees will be offered new jobs with the company as a result of these changes.

The company will shut down its Apple Willow Bend store in Plano, Texas as well as its Apple Stonebriar store in Frisco, Texas, MacRumors reported, and Apple confirmed. These stores will permanently close up shop on Friday, April 12. Customers in the region will instead be served by a new Apple store located at the Galleria Dallas Shopping Mall, which is expected to open April 13.

Also: Apple Wants Federal Cicuit To Undo A $439 Million Patent Judgement, by Apple World Today

Genius Barred: What To Do When You Can't Wait For Apple Support,by Molly McHugh, The Ringer

But in reality, consumers don’t need more space to kill time and play with their iPhones—the existing Apple Stores have already filled that role very well. What is lacking and what they do need are well-trained and readily available support services to help with them. Slivka says that while Ahrendts did redesign the Genius Bar to be more physically integrated into Apple Store’s layouts, little else changed on the support side. He says he’s optimistic about what her replacement, Deirdre O’Brien, a 30-year Apple veteran, will do with the retail operations moving forward.

In the meantime, mounting consumer frustration and less-than-preferable work environments have created a market for third-party, Apple-certified businesses.


An Office Designed For Workers With Autism, by Susan Dominus, New York Times

The challenges of navigating the social complexities of a workplace is one reason unemployment even among college-educated people with autism appears to be disproportionately high. No good national data exist, but various small studies suggest the problem of joblessness is chronic, says Paul Shattuck, a professor of public health at Drexel University who studies autism outcomes. Anxiety, commonly experienced in people with autism, can make typical workplace competition unbearable; one Auticon employee, in a BBC report, compared his experience at his last job to the television show “Survivor.” The interview process alone is a sociability test that many people with autism are destined to fail or inclined to avoid altogether. (Some members of the autism community prefer to be described as “autistic.” Others, including those I interviewed at Auticon, preferred to be described as “on the spectrum” or as “a person with autism.” “Just don’t call me late for dinner,” said one who did not have a preference.)

Major technology businesses like Microsoft and SAP have made significant efforts over the past several years to hire more people with strong cognitive skills who are on the spectrum, recognizing that they represent untapped potential in the job market. Human-resource departments have modified interview processes, trained staff to accommodate certain sensitivities (to sounds or disruptions) and helped co-workers and managers adjust to those colleagues’ needs (for example, closer supervision). Auticon goes one step further; it is an office where people who have autism are a majority. Employees on the spectrum do not make up a pod within a company; instead, they define the predominant culture.

Has Samsung Killed The Blu-ray Disc?, by Ty Pendlebury, CNET

Whether it's the latest artist or the hip new show on Netflix, streaming media is the norm today, and owning a streaming movie is more convenient than ever, thanks to digital copies and services like Movies Anywhere. One result is that the popularity of cheap media streamers like Roku and Amazon Fire TV are on the rise, while Blu-ray player sales are declining.

But people still continue to buy disc players, and 4K Blu-ray delivers best audio and video quality you can buy in home video -- without the need for a fast Internet connection. Samsung made the first 4K Blu-ray player, the UDB-K8500, and still makes plenty of high-end TVs, so as a Blu-ray player reviewer, its exit came as a surprise to me. Some experts say that Samsung's new partnership with Apple had an influence on the decision. But I can't help but wonder how long the Blu-ray format can survive without the Big S.

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I think I still have some DVDs that I've bought years ago that I haven't even watched.


Thanks for reading.

The Creates-Uncertainty Edition Friday, February 22, 2019

Apple's Move To ARM-Based Macs Creates Uncertainty, by Ina Fried, Axios

Although the company has yet to say so publicly, developers and Intel officials have privately told Axios they expect such a move as soon as next year.

Some Apple Music Users Unable To Load 'For You' Tab In iTunes Recently: 'An Error Occurred', by Joe Rossignol, MacRumors

While some affected users can temporarily access the "For You" tab in iTunes after signing out and back in to their Apple ID account, the error message eventually returns. On our affected machine, nothing we have done has restored access to the tab, including force quitting iTunes and restarting the Mac.

Netflix Is Shrinking The World, by Farhad Manjoo, New York Times

In the process, Netflix has discovered something startling: Despite a supposed surge in nationalism across the globe, many people like to watch movies and TV shows from other countries. “What we’re learning is that people have very diverse and eclectic tastes, and if you provide them with the world’s stories, they will be really adventurous, and they will find something unexpected,” Cindy Holland, Netflix’s vice president for original content, told me.

The strategy may sound familiar; Hollywood and Silicon Valley have long pursued expansion internationally. But Netflix's strategy is fundamentally different. Instead of trying to sell American ideas to a foreign audience, it’s aiming to sell international ideas to a global audience.


Apple Updates Compatible eGPU List For macOS With Details On RX 560 Support, by Chance Miller, 9to5Mac

With today’s change, however, the RX 560 is once again officially supported with the all-in-one Sonnet Radeon RX 560 eGFX Breakaway Puck. Users have had luck with using the RX 560 in the past, but today’s update to Apple’s webpage offers official confirmation.

Adobe Issues Premiere Pro Fix For Bug That Caused Blown-Out MacBook Pro Speakers, by Tim Hardwick, MacRumors

While Adobe is urging all users to update their software, there's still no word on how affected users might be recompensed following damage to their Macs.

Samsung’s Galaxy Buds Vs. Apple’s AirPods: How Do They Compare On An iPhone?, by Leif Johnson, Macworld

Samsung’s Galaxy Buds are a reminder of what a great job Apple did with the AirPods. These buds cost “only” $30 less than the AirPods, but Apple’s true wireless earbuds deliver much better speaker and audio quality on the iPhone, along with customizable taps, easy pairing, and a case that offers many hours of charging.

The Galaxy Buds have clear advantages in fit, passive noise cancellation, a wirelessly charging case, and price, but the limitations are such that I still feel safe in recommending that you skip these and pick up the AirPods with an iPhone instead.

Ejector Is A New macOS App That Makes It Easy To Manage Drives W/ Your Keyboard & Touch Bar, by Chance Miller, 9to5Mac

With Ejector installed, simply press the eject key on your Mac’s keyboard to see a list of all connected volumes. This includes external drives, disk images, network drives, and partitions.

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Given how well Apple has done Macintosh chip transitions in the past -- 68K to PowerPC to Intel -- it will be a shame if it messes up the next transition and spoil its perfect record.

In particular, it is the Marzipan portion that seems to be really on shaky grounds. There need to be a difference in priorities between the different platforms, and Marzipan seemingly doesn't address these differences.

(Of course, we have no idea what Marzipan will ultimately be. All we have is a sneak peek.)


Thanks for reading.

The Blue-Shirt Edition Thursday, February 21, 2019

Advice For Visiting An Apple Store, by Ryan McRae, The Sweet Setup

Most of us have been inside an Apple store. We need a charger or we need to check out the latest thing. Maybe we need our phone fixed or our computer looked at.

Having worked there for five years, most people of the customers I interacted with didn’t take advantage of most of the services Apple offers. This is your quick and dirty guide to finding what your local Apple store has to offer, the questions you should ask, and how to get the quickest help you need. So envision a blue shirt, and here we go.

Wish List: Whole-home AirDrop, by Jason Snell, Six Colors

With AirDrop, Apple has come up with a simpler way to pass files around. In doing so, it’s made traditional file sharing seem old and fussy. So my modest proposal to Apple is to take AirDrop and expand its powers. Let people in homes and offices use it to drop files to each other, even if they’re not fortunate enough to be sitting right next to each other. Apple, you did your job and you did it well—I’ve utterly embraced AirDrop. But now I want more.

PowerPC Mac In 2019: Is It Still Useful?, by Ernie Smith, Tedium

But the real problem is that, even if this was a reasonably good machine for 2005, an era when switchers were rampant, web technology has totally left it behind, making using it for its original purpose an exercise in frustration.


So using this thing like a Chromebook is totally out of the question. On the plus side, creature comforts that come with using a modern-day Mac are well-represented. It’s strange to think about now, but many popular apps that are widely used in the modern day—most famously Dropbox and Evernote, but also popular utilities such as Alfred and 1Password—were a part of the Mac ecosystem from their beginnings. And tools that I use on a daily basis, such as the word-manipulation utility TextSoap, have robust PowerPC versions that work not unlike their modern peers. It’s bizarre to think about, but the Mac ecosystem has influenced a lot about the way we use computers, in part because of all these software tools that can be used to this day on a G4 Mac Mini.


Apple Teacher Updated With New Professional Learning Experience, by Apple World Today

Apple Teacher — a a free professional learning program designed to support and celebrate educators using Apple products for teaching and learning — has been updated with a new professional learning experience.

Pennies — A Simple & Elegant Way To Budget Your Expenses, by Akshay Pathare, Beautiful Pixels

Pennies is a super elegant and beautiful budget tracking app for iPhone and iPad. The app, made by Emile Bennett, is designed to be a simple way to manage and track your expenses. Pennies helps you create budgets and lets you track your expenses and spends within those budgets. This straightforward approach by Pennies makes it a very effective finance tracking app for your iPhone, iPad, and Apple Watch.


Apple Answers Two-Factor Authentication Questions Raised By Developers, by John Voorhees, MacStories

The concern I’ve heard voiced most often by developers is whether someone who uses one Apple ID to log into their developer account would be able to do so using an Apple device that is logged in using a different Apple ID. Today, Apple published a new support page answering this and many other questions.

How To Set Up Two-Factor Authentication For Multiple Apple IDs On One Device, by Eric Slivka, MacRumors

Apple has posted a developer support document that outlines a few ways to enable two-factor authentication on a non-primary Apple ID, but Apple's suggestion for iOS involves signing out of your primary iCloud account. That can be a hassle as your phone unsyncs and tries to delete content associated with that account, so it's better to use other methods if you can.

Turning on two-factor authentication for an alternate Apple ID and getting it to work properly with trusted iOS devices without signing out of your primary Apple ID requires a few steps, but once they're done the feature should work seamlessly.


When Kids Realize Their Whole Life Is Already Online, by Taylor Lorenz, The Atlantic

For several months, Cara has been working up the courage to approach her mom about what she saw on Instagram. Not long ago, the 11-year-old—who, like all the other kids in this story, is referred to by a pseudonym—discovered that her mom had been posting photos of her, without prior approval, for much of her life. “I’ve wanted to bring it up. It’s weird seeing myself up there, and sometimes there’s pics I don’t like of myself,” she said.

Like most other modern kids, Cara grew up immersed in social media. Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube were all founded before she was born; Instagram has been around since she was a toddler. While many kids may not yet have accounts themselves, their parents, schools, sports teams, and organizations have been curating an online presence for them since birth. The shock of realizing that details about your life—or, in some cases, an entire narrative of it—have been shared online without your consent or knowledge has become a pivotal experience in the lives of many young teens and tweens.

A Philosopher Argues That An AI Can Never Be An Artist, by Sean Dorrance Kelly, MIT Technology Review

On March 31, 1913, in the Great Hall of the Musikverein concert house in Vienna, a riot broke out in the middle of a performance of an orchestral song by Alban Berg. Chaos descended. Furniture was broken. Police arrested the concert’s organizer for punching Oscar Straus, a little-remembered composer of operettas. Later, at the trial, Straus quipped about the audience’s frustration. The punch, he insisted, was the most harmonious sound of the entire evening. History has rendered a different verdict: the concert’s conductor, Arnold Schoenberg, has gone down as perhaps the most creative and influential composer of the 20th century.

You may not enjoy Schoenberg’s dissonant music, which rejects conventional tonality to arrange the 12 notes of the scale according to rules that don’t let any predominate. But he changed what humans understand music to be. This is what makes him a genuinely creative and innovative artist. Schoenberg’s techniques are now integrated seamlessly into everything from film scores and Broadway musicals to the jazz solos of Miles Davis and Ornette Coleman.

Creativity is among the most mysterious and impressive achievements of human existence. But what is it?

The Dances-Amongst-the-Cloud Edition Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Apple Shows The ‘Freedom Of Cellular’ In New Apple Watch Series 4 Ad, by Benjamin Mayo, 9to5Mac

Apple has released a cool new ad today called Flight that highlights the cellular capabilities of the Apple Watch. In the ad directed by film director Jonathan Glazer, skydiver Inka Tiitto, runs through the forest with her watch and then is catapulted into the sky where she dances amongst the clouds, to then plummet back into the ocean.

Jonathan Glazer Directs Epic Flight Commercial For Apple Watch, by Tom Seymour, Creative Review

Using a wind tunnel to create a sequence that might be termed ‘aerodynamic ballet’, Glazer audaciously captures the athlete as she takes a second to acclimatise herself to her new surroundings before swooping in curlicues through the clouds, with Glazer’s camera equally mobile as it soars around her. Glazer then has his athlete plunged from the skies above into the dark of a mountainous lake – a neat way to demonstrate the new watch’s waterproof capabilities.

Apple Mocks Itself With Superb Social Commentary, by Chris Matyszczyk, ZDNet

It's beautifully played and such an accurate view of the human sensibilities that have been wrecked by technology's relentless embrace of human life.

The fact, though, that Apple is happy to pokeh fun out of its bokeh is a charming development.

Thanks, Apple: 'Bokeh' Is Now A Verb, by Michael Zhang, Petapixel

Perhaps Webster will soon need to add a second definition.

Run Everywhere

Apple To Target Combining iPhone, iPad And Mac Apps By 2021, by Mark Gurman, Bloomberg

Later this year, Apple plans to let developers port their iPad apps to Mac computers via a new software development kit that the company will release as early as June at its annual developer conference. Developers will still need to submit separate versions of the app to Apple’s iOS and Mac App Stores, but the new kit will mean they don’t have to write the underlying software code twice, said the people familiar with the plan.

In 2020, Apple plans to expand the kit so iPhone applications can be converted into Mac apps in the same way. Apple engineers have found this challenging because iPhone screens are so much smaller than Mac computer displays.


Apple Shares New Tutorial Videos Highlighting iPhone XR And XS Camera And Photos Features, by Juli Clover, MacRumors

Apple today shared two new iPhone XS and iPhone XS tutorial videos on its YouTube channel, both of which are designed to highlight available features on the new devices.

Best Home Weather Station: Which One Should Be Your Personal Meteorologist?, by Ed Oswald, TechHive

Owning a personal weather station is one way to stay on top of mother nature. Yes, you can open an app, but the information there is from a remote station miles away and up to an hour old. With a home weather station, you get up-to-minute information on what she’s up to doing right outside your door.

We’ve performed extensive evaluations on a number of home weather stations and picked our favorites. We’ll also discuss the features you should look for when shopping for one of these systems.

Pocket Lists 2 — Simple And Elegant Productivity, by Mikhail Madnani, Beautiful Pixels

Pocket Lists 2 has an interface that looks great — but one that doesn’t sacrifice simplicity. It is also built to be as simple or as complex as you’d like it to be.

'Google Keep' Note Taking App Now Available On Apple Watch, by Juli Clover, MacRumors

With Google Keep for Apple Watch, you can create new notes or reminder lists, pin items to lists, and check off items on existing lists.

Eve Flare Is An Apple HomeKit-enabled Color-changing Portable LED Orb Lamp, by Brian Fagioli, Beta News

"The lamp offers 6 hours of untethered illumination, wireless charging, and IP65 water resistance. The Eve app makes it easy to explore ready-made shades or fine tune custom colors. Leveraging the power of Apple HomeKit and a direct Bluetooth connection to the iPhone or iPad, Eve Flare ensures an extremely simple setup that eliminates the need for a bridge," says Eve Systems.


Apple Revamps Affiliate Program With New Interface And Navigation, More, by Chance Miller, 9to5Mac

Apple today announced that it has revamped its Affiliate Program with a handful of changes. The Affiliate Program now features a redesigned interface with a new navigation system, more powerful reporting, and more.

Lessons From 6 Software Rewrite Stories, by Herb Caudill, Medium

The correct answer, of course, is that it depends a lot on the circumstances. Yes, sometimes it makes more sense to gradually refactor your legacy code. And yes, sometimes it makes sense to throw it all out and start over.

But those aren’t the only choices. Let’s take a quick look at six stories, and see what lessons we can draw.

The Modern Trap Of Turning Hobbies Into Hustles, by Molly Conway, Man Repeller

That’s not to say there isn’t joy to be found in turning something you love into your life’s work — it’s just to say that it’s okay to love a hobby the same way you’d love a pet; for its ability to enrich your life without any expectation that it will help you pay the rent. What would it look like if monetizing a hobby was downgraded from the ultimate path to one path? What if we allowed ourselves to devote our time and attention to something just because it makes us happy? Or, better yet, because it enables us to truly recharge instead of carving our time into smaller and smaller pieces for someone else’s benefit?


Stop Looking At My Screen, by Suzannah Showler, Real Life Magazine

Here is something I’ve been made to understand: Using my phone and computer might feel like nothing more than the static of passing time, but all the micro-decisions I make as I search and swipe and scroll are secretly valuable commodities. Every time I touch a device, I leave a trail of digital DNA that can be used to reverse-engineer some version of me that is used to sell me things.

It’s not that I don’t believe this — it’s just that my belief is an act of will. Understanding myself as data requires a large measure of abstraction, so when I think about how my data is used and by whom, I would say it makes me feel abstractly very bothered. Theoretically totally creeped out. Vaguely over-exposed.

Aid From Apple Would Deliver ‘Critical Mass’ For NPR’s Podcast Analytics Tool, by Tyler Falk, Current

NPR has “worked hard” to keep Apple in the loop, “and ultimately, they’ll make whatever decision they will,” Sucherman said. “But … there’s no doubt in my mind that we share the same goals of improving podcast analytics for the entire industry.”


But gaining the participation of Apple, the largest platform for podcast listening, would help NPR reach its goals for RAD “overnight,” Sucherman said, and “immediately bring a critical mass to help programmers and publishers with greater speed than implementing smaller platforms one at a time.”

Bottom of the Page

Looking at I am using my iPad today, there isn't an iPad app that I wish is also on my Mac. There is already something on the Mac that is just as good or better already (sometimes, by the same maker).

(For the Coda by Panic app, though, I didn't purchase the macOS equivalent. Rather, I have a whole bunch of other apps for my web developement.)


I drink happy tea (almost) every day.

What is actually my happy tea? Nothing more than chamomile tea. According to some, this has health benefits such as making me sleep better and reducing stress level. But what I tell myself is that if I just drink this tea, I will be able to survive through the day by making me more happy and less sad.

I think I can also call this my placebo tea.


I don't believe in magic. But I do believe in rituals.


Thanks for reading.

The Never-Quit Edition Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Apple Partners With Dream Corps To Expand Swift Coding Lessons To Larger Audience, by Roger Fingas, AppleInsider

Beginning in Oakland, Calif., Apple is partnering with Dream Corps to expand "educational and workforce development opportunities" across the U.S., and has Swift programming at the core of the expansion.

A Career In Tech, Built With Coding And Determination, by Apple

“The main thing that the Marine Corps teaches you is never to quit,” said Ingraham. “So I didn’t quit.” But after months of struggling with online tutorials, he knew he needed help. And that’s when he discovered the Dream Corps #YesWeCode initiative.

Shazam For iOS Sheds 3rd Party SDKs, by AppFigures

Shazam, the song identification app Apple bought for $400M, recently released an update to its iOS app that got rid of all 3rd party SDKs the app was using except for one.

The SDKs that were removed include ad networks, analytics trackers, and even open-source utilities. Why, you ask? Because all of those SDKs leak usage data to 3rd parties one way or another, something Apple really really dislikes.


Adobe Lightroom For iOS Review: Industrial-strength Image-editing Tools On Your iPhone Or iPad, by Jeff Carlson, CNET

The mobile version of Lightroom CC started off as a pretty bare satellite editor with the desktop version of Lightroom as the planetary center. It has since matured into a full complement to Lightroom CC (and to a lesser extent Lightroom Classic) as an organizer and editor -- and can stand on its own, if necessary.

The Meater Will Mean You Never Have Overcooked Meat Again, by Duncan Bell, T3

It's of no use to vegans, and minimal use to fish eaters, but if you regularly enjoy large portions of expensive meat, and want to do justice to all the effort that has gone into rearing, butchering and delivering it to you, Meater is a revelation. Even if you're already in the habit of using a meat thermometer, it will probably teach you new things about cooking meat. It certainly did for me.


I Am Not The Next Big Thing: On Creativity And Aging, by Mike Pace, The Creative Independent

I’ll continue to record songs in a way that works for me and put them out in a similar fashion, and do my best to let the world know they exist. Maybe someone somewhere will hear it, but I’ve only got so much control over that. Then I’ll play with my kids and make dinner with my wife and go to work and go on vacation and eventually do it all again because I’m addicted to the joy the music itself brings. The context changes but the passion remains.

Burned Out And Overwhelmed: Should You Embrace The Joy Of No?, by Moya Sarner, The Guardian

What brings you joy? It is a question that is hard to avoid these days, as joy seems to be the new buzzword. It is on the cover of two new books, The Joy of No (#Jono) by Debbie Chapman, published at the end of last year, and The Joy of Missing Out, by the philosopher and psychologist Svend Brinkmann, published earlier this month. It is also on Netflix, in the show Tidying Up with Marie Kondo, in which the decluttering guru and author tells us to discard any possessions that do not “spark joy”. Truly, a surfeit of joy!

But joy is not the only idea linking these three approaches: Chapman, Brinkmann and Kondo all tap into the same zeitgeisty wish to clean up our cluttered lives. For Kondo, it is about household clutter; for Chapman and Brinkmann, it is life clutter.

The Trap Of Early Feedback, by Seth GOdin

If you’ve created something that will delight and astound 10% of the marketplace, there’s a 90% chance that the first person who encounters your work will dislike it. He might even hate it. In fact, if you do the math, you’ll see that there’s more than a 70% chance that the first THREE people will hate it. And if you give up then, you’ve just walked away from serving the people you set out to serve.


Will AI Achieve Consciousness? Wrong Question, by Daniel C. Dennett, Wired

One can imagine a sort of inverted Turing Test in which the judge is on trial; until he or she can spot the weaknesses, the overstepped boundaries, the gaps in a system, no license to operate will be issued. The mental training required to achieve certification as a judge will be demanding. The urge to attribute human-like powers of thought to an object, our normal tactic whenever we encounter what seems to be an intelligent agent, is almost overpoweringly strong.

Indeed, the capacity to resist the allure of treating an apparent person as a person is an ugly talent, reeking of racism or species-ism. Many people would find the cultivation of such a ruthlessly skeptical approach morally repugnant, and we can anticipate that even the most proficient system users would occasionally succumb to the temptation to “befriend” their tools, if only to assuage their discomfort with the execution of their duties.

Bottom of the Page

So, there are all sorts of 'leaks' and speculation about Apple's upcoming March event. How can Apple still surprise us, beyond announcing crazy things like buying Disney or something?

a) Get Oprah to host the March event;
b) Put new iPod Touches under every seat;
c) Announce Apple is making a "Steve Jobs" movie;
d) Buy New York Times.


Thanks for reading.

The One-On-One Edition Monday, February 18, 2019

Group FaceTime Still Partly Broken After Security Update, Apple Aware, by MacRumors

As it turns out, it appears that users are no longer able to add a person to a one-on-one FaceTime call. The "Add Person" button remains greyed out and inactive in this situation. The only way to add another person to a Group FaceTime call at this time is to start the call with at least two other people. This slight distinction appears to be the source of confusion for many users.

His iPad Pro Was Bent. An Apple Genius Found A Sneaky Way To Get It Replaced, by Chris Matyszczyk, ZDNet

"The genius kindly said, 'Well, if you had connectivity issues with your WiFi for example, I would have to order a replacement. So what is wrong with your iPad?". I replied, 'The WiFi I guess.'"

It's a beautiful tale of one human simply trying to help another, rather than be bound by corporate strictures.

A $10 Accessory Proves Smartphones Are Too Big, by David Pierce, Wall Street Journal

As we invent new things to do with our phones, we need more space to do them. I get the logic—but it has gone too far. Some phones are now so large only NBA players can palm them. Developers have been forced to move important buttons and menus to the bottom of the screen where you can actually reach them. And every day you face a choice: Risk your phone slipping out of your hand and shattering on concrete, or put a case around it and make it even bigger.

As our phones grew in size and power, their purpose shifted. They became objects to look at and get lost in, not tools to be used. Their job is to keep you so busy you never look away. To that end, bigger and brighter far outweighs usable and easy.

I want it back the other way, and I’m not the only one. You know how I know? PopSockets.


6 Apps For Taking A Bit Of The Work Out Of Your Workday, by Lydia Horne, Wired

Managing your tasks shouldn't be a distraction unto itself. These desk mates let your phone handle the hard stuff.

Why The Aeron Is Still The Most Coveted Seat In The Office, by Jonathon Keats, Wired

Introduced in 1994, the Aeron was designed to cradle a person in any posture. They engineered the tilt mechanism so the seat and backrest moved together in one motion for more supportive reclining. They also switched out leather upholstery for an elastic polymer mesh. The stretchy webbing—originally created to protect the elderly from getting bed sores—was added to let the body breathe. It also gave the Aeron an engineered look.


Man Discovers 30 Year Old Apple Computer Still In Working Order, by Amanda Jackson, CNN

A New York professor has Gen Xers reminiscing about their childhood after he posted images of his decades old Apple lle computer on Twitter Saturday night.

John Pfaff dusted off the old computer that has been sitting in his parent's attic for decades, and to his surprised it still turned on.

Kuo Outlines Apple's 2019 Hardware Updates, by Benjamin Mayo

Kuo believes there will be a new MacBook Pro update with a 16 to 16.5-inch display. This is apparently an “all-new design” which, in Kuo parlance, means a substantial change to the chassis. This isn’t going to be the same MacBook Pro chassis we know today made to accommodate a 16-inch display. The obvious direction is to make the bezels smaller. Kuo provides no more details, but let’s hope the keyboard is “all-new” too.

Interestingly, a 16-inch panel implies that the laptop will almost certainly get larger. Even if you removed 100% of the black frame surrounding the current MacBook Pro screen, you would just reach a 16-inch diagonal. In reality, there is of course going to be some minimal expanse of bezel, and the report has enough wiggle room that screen could be up to 16.5-inches, so the dimensions simply have to be getting a little longer and wider. Maybe this will be a MacBook Pro that does not tout thinner, lighter and smaller as one of its flagship improvements. That’s significant in itself.

Bottom of the Page

I know that I do not need to point the Apple TV remote towards the Apple TV when I'm clicking and swiping... but I still, very often, do.


Thanks for reading.

The Wrist-Amulet Edition Sunday, February 17, 2019

Smartwatches Are Changing The Purpose Of The EKG, by Andrew Bomback and Michelle Au, The Atlantic

Shrinking and wearing an EKG is a symptom of technology’s drive to subsume health and wellness, and it renews a belief in humanity’s mastery of the heart, that most important muscle. EKGs might start to seem capable of producing meaning on their own, instead of producing pictures that can be interpreted by medical professionals.

That aligns the continuous, single-lead, wearable EKG with the set designer’s intentions for the symbol. The EKG—especially the 12-lead device—offers real diagnostics, but not nearly as often as its traces convey the symbology of health. As it shrinks, that secondary meaning could become more primary. The wearable EKG offers the comforting weight of medicine itself, worn on the wrist like an amulet warding off evil, whether it ever gets used or not.

'I Knew Something Was Wrong:' Watch Alerts Nurse To Heart Problem,by Steve DeVane, Fayetteville Observer

“I knew something was wrong,” she said. “I shouldn’t be sitting still and my heart racing.”

A feature on Stamps’ Apple Watch let her know the situation was serious and showed emergency medical workers that she needed to go to the hospital immediately.

One Semester In The Digital Flagshp Era, by Michael Lee, The Latern

Breitman said the app Notability, which allows students to import and take notes directly on presentations, has been especially helpful to her. The iPad allows her to switch between platforms like Carmen and TopHat — an interactive education software —and back to her notes with much more ease than a laptop.

Breitman said while she has already gained a lot from the Digital Flagship initiative, she sees where it could grow in the years to come. Right now, teachers provide materials and the students use the technology, but in the future more teachers could actively use the technology along with students.


Makeblock Neuron Explorer Kit Is A Useful Addition To A STEM Lab, by Bradley Chambers, 9to5Mac

We’re taking work we are doing on the iPad and seeing the results of it with items kids can touch. Makeblock has built a really fun kit, and if you have a need, I recommend you check it out.


How Smart Are Gmail's 'Smart Replies'?,by Séamas O'Reilly, The Guardian

The major stumbling block to my ever having used smart replies before was tone. Smart replies always gave me a sense of alien weirdness, so much so that when I did begin seeing them, I’d go out of my way to make sure the wording I did use in my reply was nothing like those suggested. It was as if I was spiting this assistant out of fear I’d be revealed as a Big Data techno-stooge. It’s not just that the replies are curt and impersonal, they’re also so chipper as to sound demented. I have a reputation to uphold, and it’s not as a perky yes man.

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While taking my iPhone X out of my pocket and putting it on my desk, I accidentally turned on the camera.

So I picked back up my phone to quit the camera app and, while putting it back on the desk, I accidentally turned on the flashlight.

(No, I did not accidentally turned on Siri, nor did I accidentally called emergency services today. These are turned off in the settings app.)

Of all the stuff that Mr Jony Ive has put into iOS to annoy me, the two little buttons on the lock screen annoy me the most.


This is how I type accent characters when I am on my iPad Pro's smart keyboard.

a) Lift up my iPad Pro with my right hand, so as to disconnect the smart keyboard from the iPad.

b) Wait for the on-screen keyboard to appear.

c) Press and hold the character I want to type on-screen using my left hand. Choose the correct accent.

d) Put back my iPad Pro on my Smart Keyboard.


Thanks for reading.

The Like-This Edition Saturday, February 16, 2019

My 2018 Apple Report Card, by John Gruber, Daring Fireball

I heard a story years ago about Steve Jobs after the release of the original iPad. Jobs had been on medical leave in 2009 and when he returned to Apple, he was focused almost entirely on the iPad. In 2010, after the iPad was introduced, he had a meeting scheduled with engineers on the MacBook team. The meeting was big picture — What’s the future of the MacBook?, that sort of thing. These engineers had prepared a ton of material to present to Jobs. Jobs comes into the meeting carrying an iPad. He goes to a then-shipping MacBook on a table and wakes it up. It takes a few seconds. He says something like “Look at how long this takes.” He puts it to sleep, he wakes it up. It takes a few moments each time. Then he puts the iPad on the table and hits the power button. On. Off. On. Off. Instantly. Jobs said something like “I want you to make this” — and he pointed to the MacBook — “like this” — and he pointed to the iPad. And then he walked out of the room and that was that.

Is this story true? I don’t know. But it sounds true — and MacBooks do wake up a lot faster than they used to. I’d like someone at Apple to go to the MacBook team with a Magic Keyboard and do the same thing. “I want you to take this keyboard and put it in these MacBooks.”

Classical Music On Apple Music: What's Wrong And How Apple Can Fix It, by Mitchel Broussard, MacRumors

Frustrations with classical music streaming are nothing new, but as Charles tells us, this is a problem that affects nearly every streaming music service, including Apple Music rival Spotify. In an effort to find out exactly what's wrong with classical music on Apple Music -- and what steps could be taken to address these problems -- we asked Charles and Rumiz to detail the biggest issues with classical music on Apple Music.

Apple Customer Service Has Jumped The Shark, by Patrick J. Bradley, Medium

My recent set of experiences attempting to have an iPhone repaired was awful. I believe that the days of great customer service from Apple are now a thing of the past. There could be a lot of explanations or theories as to why but I believe it’s probably just the natural progression for a large corporation. There is a period of innovation, a period of huge profits and the eventual commoditization of their products. At the commoditization stage a company needs to focus on cutting costs. Tightening up the Apple Repair policies is one way to reduce costs. I believe the customer service decline could be a result of too many stores, too many employees and lower quality control with training and hiring.


Comical iPhone XR Ad Shows Off Portrait Mode Depth Control: 'Did You Bokeh My Child?', by Peter Cao, 9to5Mac

Apple has today rolled out a new ad titled “Bokeh’d” focused on the computational bokeh effect found on iPhone 7 Plus and later. With newer iPhone generations, users can adjust the amount of bokeh.

Apple Music Users Able To Gift A Month Subscription To A Friend, by Juli Clover, MacRumors

Apple is today sending out notifications to Apple Music subscribers that, when tapped, allows them to send a referral to friend to sign up for a free one-month subscription to Apple Music.


Don't Get Clever With Login Forms, by Brad Frost

As time goes on I find myself increasingly annoyed with login forms. As password managers like 1Password (which is what I use) and Chrome’s password manager (which I also sorta use) become more popular, it’s important for websites to be aware of how users go about logging into their sites.

Let’s walk through some login patterns and why I think they’re not ideal. And then let’s look at some better ways of tackling login. TL;DR; create login forms that are simple, linkable, predictable, and play nicely with password managers.

No, You Can't Ignore Email. It's Rude., by Adam Grant, New York Times

“I’m too busy to answer your email” really means “Your email is not a priority for me right now.” That’s a popular justification for neglecting your inbox: It’s full of other people’s priorities. But there’s a growing body of evidence that if you care about being good at your job, your inbox should be a priority.


The Phone Trend You Least Expect Makes You Crave Your Phone More, by Jessica Dolcourt, CNET

The color of your phone should be the last thing on your mind. It's the camera quality, battery and screen size that pull you toward the upcoming Galaxy S10, iPhone XS or Google Pixel 3 when you're ready to buy. But flashy colors and finishes are more important than you think.

The Soothing Promise Of Our Own Artisanal Internet, by Nitasha Tiku, Wired

To put our toxic relationship with Big Tech into perspective, critics have compared social media to a lot of bad things. Tobacco. Crystal meth. Pollution. Cars before seat belts. Chemicals before Superfund sites. But the most enduring metaphor is junk food: convenient but empty; engineered to be addictive; makes humans unhealthy and corporations rich.

At first, consumers were told to change their diet and #DeleteFacebook to avoid the side effects. But now, two years into the tech backlash, we know that cutting the tech giants out of our lives is impossible. So among some early adopters, the posture is shifting from revolt to retreat.

In The Future We Will Own Everything And Nothing, by Chenoe Hart, Real Life Magazine

The automation of physical space may take away the consistent reassurances which our belongings have traditionally given us, just as many of our hours may seem to have already been “lost” while staring at illuminated rectangles. Life within a world of constantly circulating goods could make their physical presence more closely resemble the persistence of the refreshing screen. But that change may only make the kinds of hands-on experiences which we tend to already seek and share on social media seem even more reassuring. The experience of watching a plant grow or a candle burn down with the passage of time might leave a more vivid memory than we can now possibly imagine, if our things themselves begin to seem less real in a world where they no longer collect any dust.

The Public-Place Edition Friday, February 15, 2019

How To Use Your Mac Safely In Public Places, by Jonny Evans, Computerworld

Coffee shops across the planet are populated by earnest Apple Mac-wielding remote and/or freelance workers – but are they taking steps to protect themselves in a public place? Follow this checklist to make sure you are protected.

Apple Removed Five Minerals Suppliers In 2018 For Failing To Pass Human Rights Audits, by Ben Lovejoy, 9to5Mac

The company said that all of the remaining 253 companies in its supply chain passed its third-party audit process, which aims to ensure that there is no financial benefit to those engaged in armed conflict.

Apple To Show First Original Series Clips At March Event But Launch Still Months Away, by Janko Roettgers, Cynthia Littleton, Variety

Apple is going to give the world a first glimpse at its marquee video content at a press event in Cupertino, Calif., at the end of next month, where the iPhone maker is expected to show clips of its original series. However, sources familiar with the company’s plans told Variety that the service may not launch until the summer, or even fall.

Think Different

Lee Clow Announces Retirement And Looks Back On A Career That Helped Define Advertising, by Patrick Coffee, AdWeek

Lee Clow—the legendary creative behind such campaigns as “Think Different,” the Energizer bunny and the Taco Bell chihuahua—has retired after 50 years in the business, 30 of which he spent turning Apple into a case study on the effectiveness of creative marketing.

“During his long partnership with Steve [Jobs] and Apple, Lee told powerful visual stories that elevated new technologies with the passion, creativity and ingenuity that define our own humanity,” read a statement from Apple CEO Tim Cook. “He helped Apple carry itself through times of challenge, and his work inspired audiences to look beyond the horizon as an exciting future came into view. Lee’s body of work over five decades hums with cleverness, warmth and enthusiasm—and there is no doubt that it will inspire and motivate generations of ‘Crazy Ones’ still to come.”

Timeline: Lee Clow's 50 Years In Advertising, by David Griner, AdWeek


Apple's Beats By Dre Brand Unveils New NBA Collection, by Juli Clover, MacRumors

Apple's Beats by Dre brand today unveiled a new NBA collection, with Beats Studio 3 Wireless Headphones available in six colorways representing the Golden State Warriors, Los Angeles Lakers, Houston Rockets, Philadelphia 76ers, Toronto Raptors, and Boston Celtics.

Battery Case Showdown: Apple's Smart Case Vs. Mophie's Juice Pack Access, by Juli Clover, MacRumors

In our testing, the Smart Battery Case lasted for a longer period of time than the Juice Pack, which is not surprising given that it offers a bit more power.

The Smart Battery Case has the edge over Mophie's version when it comes to checking battery level. Because of the tight iOS integration, you can see your Smart Battery Case battery level on the Lock screen and in the Notification Center, with Apple offering exact charge numbers.

Agenda 5.0, by Agen Schmitz, TidBITS

In conjunction with the first anniversary of Agenda‘s 1.0 release, Momenta has issued version 5.0 of the note-taking and task management app. This major new release (also available for iOS devices) now enables you to choose an extra small text size, adds the option of creating a new project from the Move To menu, stops editing a note with the press of the Escape key, enables you to use arrow keys to navigate the whole app with the keyboard, and adds support for multi-tag and multi-person search.


The Internet Was Built On The Free Labor Of Open Source Developers. Is That Sustainable?, by Daniel Oberhaus, Motherboard

The ascendancy of open source has placed a mounting burden on the maintainers of popular software, who now handle more bug reports, feature requests, code reviews, and code commits than ever before. At the same time, open source developers must also deal with an influx of corporate users who are unfamiliar with community norms when it comes to producing and consuming open source software. This leads to developer burnout and a growing feeling of resentment toward the companies that rely on free labor to produce software that is folded into products and sold back to consumers for huge profits.

From this perspective, Heartbleed wasn’t an isolated example of developer burnout and lack of funding, but an outgrowth of a systemic disease that had been festering in the open source software community for years. Identifying the symptoms and causes of this disease was the easy part; finding a cure is more difficult.

How Amazon Lost New York, by Brad Stone, Bloomberg

Bezos and colleagues, along with New York Governor Andrew Cuomo and New York Mayor Bill de Blasio, the primary backers of the deal, will now have to puzzle over how one of the most prominent development deals in recent history went wrong. According to urban policy experts and other observers of the fracas, there’s plenty of blame to go around: regional politicians who didn’t properly consult local interests, local officials who turned the debate into a national bully pulpit on unrelated issues such as the merits of facial recognition technology, and an economic development process that for decades has pitted U.S. city against city in a destructive battle to court the largest companies in the world.

And Amazon, too, is to blame. "For them to not have anticipated a political backlash to this kind of incentive package, when it sits right in the backyard of people like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, just shows complete incompetence,” says Richard Florida, an urban studies professor at the University of Toronto.

The Streaming-Television Edition Thursday, February 14, 2019

Apple Aims For April Launch Of TV Service With CBS, Viacom And Starz, by Kenneth Li, Stephen Nellis, Reuters

Apple Inc is targeting an April event to introduce a streaming television service that will likely include subscription TV services from CBS Corp, Viacom Inc and Lions Gate Entertainment Corp’s Starz among others as well as its own original content, sources familiar with the matter told Reuters on Wednesday.


Apple is also in discussions with HBO, part of AT&T Inc-owned WarnerMedia, to become part of the service and it could yet make it in time for the launch, according to a person familiar with the matter.

Apple Invites Hollywood Stars To Video Service Launch, by Anousha Sakoui and Mark Gurman , Bloomberg

Apple Inc. is planning to unveil video and news subscription offerings next month, the first major new digital services from the company since 2015.

The Cupertino, California-based technology giant is planning a March 25 event to announce both services, according to people familiar with the plan. The iPhone maker invited Hollywood stars, including Jennifer Aniston, Reese Witherspoon, Jennifer Garner and director JJ Abrams, to attend, one of the people said.

The Logic Behind Apple’s Give-us-half-your-revenue Pitch To News Publishers, by Peter Kafka, Recode

Apple has already signed many publishers to deals where they’ll get 50 percent of the revenue Apple generates through subscriptions to its news service, which is currently called Texture and will be relaunched as a premium version of Apple News this spring.

And some publishers are happy to do it, because they think Apple will sign up many millions of people to the new service. And they’d rather have a smaller percentage of a bigger number than a bigger chunk of a smaller number.


That argument seems unlikely to persuade the big newspapers, including the New York Times and the Washington Post, that Apple is trying to add to its service. Both of them have built their own digital subscription businesses over the past few years, and they may feel that they’re better owning 100 percent of a product they control than a piece of a collective run by a giant tech company.

Apple’s iOS Update Makes It Easier To Get To Your Subscriptions, by Sarah Perez, TechCrunch

Apple has made a small but important change to iOS that will allow users an easier way to manage their app subscriptions. In the latest release of the mobile operating system (iOS 12.1.4 and 12.2 beta), the company has relocated the “Manage Subscriptions” setting so it’s only one click away when you tap on your profile in the App Store, instead of being buried more deeply within the settings.

This may seem like a minor change, but it was a much-needed one.

Pirates of the Apps

Software Pirates Use Apple Tech To Put Hacked Apps On iPhones, by Stephen Nellis, Paresh Dave, Reuters

Using so-called enterprise developer certificates, these pirate operations are providing modified versions of popular apps to consumers, enabling them to stream music without ads and to circumvent fees and rules in games, depriving Apple and legitimate app makers of revenue.


After Reuters initially contacted Apple for comment last week, some of the pirates were banned from the system, but within days they were using different certificates and were operational again.

Love Is In The Air

Love In The Time Of Read Receipts, by Kelsey McKinney, Digg

Read receipts are divisive, controversial and can be easily misread. They can also help you communicate more effectively if both parties mutually agree to them — or mutually decide against them. "For those relationships where this has created distress or conflict, deciding to mutually turn off the read notifications can be romantic," says Forshee. "This entails learning to trust, sit with discomfort, increases awareness into our own behaviors and allows for closeness by giving freedom. Healthy relationships require freedom."

I Hack Because I Love, by Ernie Smith, Tedium

In 2006, it might have been the case that people Hackintoshing were trying to experiment or get a deal. These days, I think there are a lot more people in this community who simply want Apple to give them what they want so they can do their jobs, and then to get out of the way. These people still want iPhones and iPads, will still buy Apple accessories, and gladly want to be part of the company’s ecosystem. But if they can’t get in the front door, feeling burned by thin keyboards and slow updates, they’ll go in through the back, even if there’s more broken glass on that side of the building.

Earliest Towering Innovators

The Secret History Of Women In Coding, by Clive Thompson, New York Times

Today Wilkes is retired and lives in Cambridge, Mass. White-haired at 81, she still has the precise mannerisms and the ready, beaming smile that can be seen in photos from the ’60s, when she posed, grinning, beside the LINC. She told me that she occasionally gives talks to young students studying computer science. But the industry they’re heading into is, astonishingly, less populated with women — and by many accounts less welcoming to them — than it was in Wilkes’s day. In 1960, when she started working at M.I.T., the proportion of women in computing and mathematical professions (which are grouped together in federal government data) was 27 percent. It reached 35 percent in 1990. But, in the government’s published figures, that was the peak. The numbers fell after that, and by 2013, women were down to 26 percent — below their share in 1960.

When Wilkes talks to today’s young coders, they are often shocked to learn that women were among the field’s earliest, towering innovators and once a common sight in corporate America. “Their mouths are agape,” Wilkes says. “They have absolutely no idea.”


Apple Tweaks British And Australian Speaking Voices For Siri On HomePod, by Mitchel Broussard, MacRumors

The change appears to be very subtle. MacRumors readers described the Australian Female and British Male voices as "more natural" and "much clearer," and similar reports have emerged about other voices. Although there are many different descriptions for each voice, the consensus appears to be that the tweaks make Siri sound more human-like.

Review: Mophie Juice Pack Access Keeps Your iPhone Running Wirelessly, by Andrew O'Hara, AppleInsider

These latest cases —available for the iPhone X/XS, iPhone XS Max, and iPhone XR —show a drastic departure in design. Instead of interfacing with your iPhone via the Lightning port at the bottom, Juice Pack Access powers up your iPhone with Qi wireless charging.

The case can draw power from a wireless charger and can power your iPhone the same way. This leaves the bottom completely open and accessible.

Pixelmator Pro Adds Support For iPhone Portrait Mode Depth Masks, by Dami Lee, The Verge

Photos taken in Portrait Mode on iOS 12 or later will be imported with the depth data in a separate layer mask, so you can easily edit backgrounds or swap them out entirely.

Pixelmator Pro: How Does It Compare To Photoshop CC?, by Victor Agreda, TidBITS

[I]f you’re a photographer whose needs include tonal adjustments, some pixel replacement, and maybe a little bit of vector work added on top—all deployed with the speed and beauty of a proper Mac app—you just may be delighted by Pixelmator Pro’s capabilities and low price.


Apple Says All Developer Program Members Must Enable Two-factor By The End Of This Month, by Chance Miller, 9to5Mac

Apple has seemingly required new Apple Developer Program signups to have two-factor authentication enabled for a while now. This change, however, is targeting existing developers who have yet to enable the security measure on their account.

Adding A Separate Developer Account To Your iOS Device, by Kyle Seth Gray

This has led to a lot of confusion because a lot of developers have separate accounts for good reason. Here’s how you can add your developer account to your device to get authentication codes.


The one problem is enabling it in the first place - the easiest way is to create a temporary user on your Mac and enable it there, but damn if that isn’t a clunky solution.


SEC Files Insider Trading Lawsuit Against Former Apple Lawyer, by Sara Salinas, CNBC

Gene Levoff, senior director of corporate law and corporate secretary until September, "traded on material nonpublic information about Apple's earnings three times during 2015 and 2016," according to the lawsuit filed Wednesday in the U.S. District Court of New Jersey.


Levoff was put on leave from Apple in July 2018 and terminated in September, the suit says. Before his termination, Levoff was "responsible for Apple's compliance with securities laws," the SEC complaint says.

Apple To Sell Modified iPhone 7 And iPhone 8 In Germany To Skirt Sales Ban, by Tim Hardwick, MacRumors

The California-based company said it had "no choice" but to replace Intel chips in the iPhone models with chips from Qualcomm in order to allow them to be sold again in the country.

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Thanks for reading.

The Proper-Oversight Edition Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Apple Fails To Block Porn & Gambling “Enterprise” Apps, by Josh COnstine, TechCrunch

Facebook and Google were far from the only developers openly abusing Apple’s Enterprise Certificate program meant for companies offering employee-only apps. A TechCrunch investigation uncovered a dozen hardcore pornography apps and a dozen real-money gambling apps that escaped Apple’s oversight. The developers passed Apple’s weak Enterprise Certificate screening process or piggybacked on a legitimate approval, allowing them to sidestep the App Store and Cupertino’s traditional safeguards designed to keep iOS family friendly. Without proper oversight, they were able to operate these vice apps that blatantly flaunt Apple’s content policies.

The situation shows further evidence that Apple has been neglecting its responsibility to police the Enterprise Certificate program, leading to its exploitation to circumvent App Store rules and forbidden categories. For a company whose CEO Tim Cook frequently criticizes its competitors for data misuse and policy fiascos like Facebook’s Cambridge Analytica, Apple’s failure to catch and block these porn and gambling demonstrates it has work to do itself.

Now Is The Time For Apple To Re-think Its Retail Priorities, by Jason Snell, Macworld

Still, perhaps what Ahrendts was hired to do five years ago isn’t what Tim Cook and the rest of Apple’s leadership want out of retail today. Ahrendts’ fashion-industry resume may have seemed more relevant when Apple was planning on launching that gold Apple Watch Edition, but that strategy has been folded. The beautiful new stores and detailed course curriculum suggest a company that viewed massive retail sales as a given—when current sales suggest that the iPhone is no longer selling itself and that Apple Store staff needs to spend time actively convincing customers to buy.

My hope for the future of the Apple Store is that it goes back to basics, focusing not just on product sales but on service. Back in the day, the Genius Bar made Apple’s retail efforts stand out—but today I hear far more complaints than compliments about post-sale support in Apple Stores. Some of that is understandably due to Apple’s enormous growth, of course, but Apple Retail has to figure out a way to cope with that growth.

Apple Reports Self-Driving Car Disengagements To DMV, Earns Worst Rank, by Juli Clover, MacRumors

Apple's total number of disengagements was higher than any other company doing autonomous vehicle testing, suggesting Apple drivers need to take over for the self-driving vehicle more frequently than other companies as it works out kinks in the software. This could be because Apple is driving more challenging routes, Apple drivers are abundantly cautious, or it could be because its self-driving software is less evolved.

Health Matters

Apple Is Getting So Serious About Health, It's Started Hosting Heart-health Events At Apple Stores, by Christina Farr, CNBC

Apple hosted its first health-focused event at its Union Square store in San Francisco on Monday evening. It started with a panel on the topic of heart health and ended with an walk around the block to demonstrate the activity features on the Apple Watch.

Cutting Your Screen Time Isn't Curbing Your Phone Addiction, Survey Says, by Abrar Al-Heeti, CNET

But 54 percent said cutting back on technology, particularly smartphones and other personal devices, didn't lead to them spending less time on their devices, or they were unsure if it had that effect. In addition, one in three respondents said their usage either went up when they began using their device again or it didn't have any effect.

Team San Jose

WWDC 2019 Dates Confirmed: June 3-7 In San Jose, by Joe Rossignol, MacRumors

We discovered that San Jose requires permitting for large public events such as Apple's WWDC Bash, which took place at the Discovery Meadow park next to McEnery in 2018.

[...] we unearthed a 2019 events calendar from the City of San Jose's Office of Cultural Affairs that lists this year's WWDC Bash at Discovery Meadow on the evening of Thursday, June 6. The event is named "Team San Jose 2019 WWDC" and is organized by "Apple."

MacRumors Projects WWDC Dates: June 3-7 In San Jose, by John Gruber, Daring Fireball

Hotel rates in downtown San Jose are higher than they’ve been the last two years, but that’s been true for these dates for months. They’ve already gone up since MacRumors published this story this morning, though.

Subscription Services

Apple Plans News Event For March 25, by John Paczkowski, BuzzFeed

Sources tell BuzzFeed News that the company plans to hold a special event on March 25 at the Steve Jobs Theater on its Apple Park campus. Headlining the gathering: That subscription news service that has been all over the news today. Unlikely to make an appearance: next generation Airpods, or that rumored new iPad Mini.

WSJ: Apple Wants 50% Revenue From $10/month News Subscription Service, by Peter Cao, 9to5Mac

The Wall Street Journal has published a new report describing the ongoing negotiations between Apple and major publishers over an upcoming subscription news service. While the service would go through Apple’s built-in News app on the iPhone, iPad, and Mac, Apple is reportedly pitching a revenue split that sees it keep 50% of a suggested $10/month membership fee with the remaining 50% shared among participating publishers. The WSJ says negotiations are ongoing, adding that publishers aren’t likely to accept the revenue split as presented.

Apple’s New Deal For Journalism Should Send Publishers Running, by Casey Newton, The Verge

Usually, I’m glad when tech platforms offer publishers new ways to make money. More money in journalism means more journalists investigating the darker corners of our republic. But Apple’s approach seems to designed to ensure that the company makes the absolute most it can get away with.

Welcome to capitalism, I know. But every few months, Tim Cook gets on stage and asks the world to hold his company to a higher standard. This proposal doesn’t meet it. When he takes the stage next month, here’s hoping he has better news.

The Cost Of Apple News, by Ben Thompson, Stratechery

To that end, I am sure that a significant number of publications will sign up for Apple’s offering; clearly the company is confident enough to leak a date. And, frankly, many publications should: most publishers are already locked into the volume game when it comes to their editorial direction, and Apple News subscription payouts will be additive to the bottom line.

Publishers that have truly committed to subscriptions, though, should say no: not only will it be difficult to make up revenue that will be cannibalized lower per-customer payouts from Apple News, but more importantly a reversion to a model predicated on page views will hurt their business in the long run. This is especially the case if Apple News becomes a major revenue driver; yes, digital content can be distributed with zero marginal cost, but the incentive cost should not be discounted — it works directly against the quality imperative that is the critical factor in making the Aggregator-avoiding direct-to-consumer business model work.

Restrict Movement

Tim Cook Says Apple Will Investigate App That Lets Saudi Men Track And Control Women, by Jon Porter, The Verge

Apple CEO Tim Cook has said the company will look into an app that can be used to track and limit the travel freedom of women in Saudi Arabia. “I haven’t heard about it,” the CEO said in an interview with NPR. “But obviously we’ll take a look at it if that’s the case.”

Apple & Google Directed By Senator Paul Wyden To Pull Saudi Tracking App, by Roger Fingas, AppleInsider

"It is hardly news that the Saudi monarchy seeks to restrict and repress Saudi women, but American companies should not enable or facilitate the Saudi government's patriarchy," Sen. Wyden wrote in part of the letter. "By permitting the app in your respective stores, your companies are making it easier for Saudi men to control their family members from the convenience of their smartphones and restrict their movement. This flies in the face of the type of society you both claim to support and defend."

Why Are Apple And Google Hosting An App That Subjugates Saudi Women?, by Charles Kenny, Slate

U.S. companies should not provide products or services that materially abet violations of women’s fundamental rights in countries practicing gender apartheid. That would include hosting an application specifically designed to help enforce laws that prevent women from leaving the house or the country of their own volition.


The Best GTD App For Apple Watch, by Matt Birchler, The Sweet Setup

Testing a bunch of task managers for this comparison made us realize that the state of task managers on the Apple Watch is currently very good. Even if Things is not your cup of tea, Todoist is a fantastic alternative that excels in different ways, and TickTick, OmniFocus, Goodtask, and Remember the Milk could all be your personal favorite. While other app categories may have one or two decent options on the watch, task managers are a general smorgasbord of great choices.


The Hip New Open Plan Office Trend? Cubicles, by Mark Wilson, Fast Company

As many as 70% of offices in the U.S. are now of the “open plan” variety, where shared areas take priority over personal offices, according to an oft-cited stat from the International Facilities Management Association. In the 2000s, open offices certainly had a certain cachet, as a pointed rejection of ’90s cubicle culture. They were thought to increase collaboration. Prized by startups, these build-outs were also less expensive than traditional offices–and the seating arrangements allowed more people to be crammed into a smaller space.

As companies have migrated from suburban parks back to urban high-rises, real estate costs have grown while square footage has shrunk. Open offices are essentially sardine cans that offer a bohemian feel–like you’re in a casual relationship with your employer rather than a legal contract. They seemed so cool!

That was, until we learned about their psychological and social costs. In an open workspace, everyone is working on display all the time. In turn, making a simple phone call can feel like an intrusion to your coworkers, and women in particular feel as if they’re being constantly judged. Even productivity took a hit. And now employers want that productivity back–within the same open office footprint.


Your Smart Light Can Tell Amazon And Google When You Go To Bed, by Matt Day, Bloomberg

In other words, after you connect a light fixture to Alexa, Amazon wants to know every time the light is turned on or off, regardless of whether you asked Alexa to toggle the switch. Televisions must report the channel they’re set to. Smart locks must keep the company apprised whether or not the front door bolt is engaged.

This information may seem mundane compared with smartphone geolocation software that follows you around or the trove of personal data Facebook Inc. vacuums up based on your activity. But even gadgets as simple as light bulbs could enable tech companies to fill in blanks about their customers and use the data for marketing purposes. Having already amassed a digital record of activity in public spaces, critics say, tech companies are now bent on establishing a beachhead in the home.

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Apple has already said that its video streaming service will not be availabe worldwide at launch. I suspect the news service will also not be available internationally. (The current Apple News is still quite limited goegraphically till today.) Texture was never available outside of a few selected countries.

I suspect most of us outside of U.S. will not get anything out of the rumored March event.


Thanks for reading.

The Wearables-Ecosystem Edition Tuesday, February 12, 2019

AirPods Have Gone Viral, by Neil Cybart, Above Avalon

AirPods demonstrate Apple’s significant lead when it comes to developing a wearables ecosystem and possessing a design / fashion acumen that other companies lack.

It won’t be enough for a company to just sell a smartwatch or a pair of wireless headphones. Instead, the key to mastering wearables will be to offer an ecosystem of devices that work seamlessly together. This dynamic will require companies to have an expertise in combining hardware, software, and services, something Apple has been focused on for decades.

Veterans Can View Health Records On Their iPhones Starting This Summer, byPaul Sisson, San Diego Union-Tribune

Starting this summer, veterans will be able to direct their iPhones to automatically populate with information on allergies, health conditions, immunizations, lab results, medications, procedures and vital signs. Those are the same seven data types already available to a growing number of patients who get their care from certain health institutions that have already signed up with the program. In San Diego County, the two main participants are UC San Diego Health and Scripps Health.

Kevin Lynch, Apple’s vice president of technology, said in a telephone interview Monday that the VA has adopted Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources, the same communications protocol that Apple has used to enable encrypted health records synchronization with other private and public health systems and individual doctors offices.

Security Matters

Hackers Keep Trying To Get Malicious Windows File Onto MacOS, by Dan Goodin, Ars Technica

Researchers from antivirus provider Trend Micro made that discovery after analyzing an app available on a Torrent site that promised to install Little Snitch, a firewall application for macOS.


By default, EXE files won’t run on a Mac. The booby-trapped Little Snitch installer worked around this limitation by bundling the EXE file with a free framework known as Mono. Mono allows Windows executables to run on MacOS, Android, and a variety of other operating systems.

Larger Stores

Multiplying Apple's Store Count Isn't The Sweet Solution To Customer Experience Many Hope For, by Michael Steeber, 9to5Mac

“We are now opening fewer, larger stores so that you can get the full experience of everything that’s Apple,” Angela Ahrendts said just last month in an interview with Vogue Business. Betting against official company language is rarely productive, even when the person that spoke it will soon be succeeded.


Assuming the company’s global store number will hover just above 500 for the foreseeable future, we should encourage Apple to apply razor-sharp focus to the strained support and service offered at existing locations rather than stretch already exhausted resources. Outside of stores, enhancements to the Apple Support app and improved software ease of use can reduce the support burden across the board.

Apple Reportedly 'Furious' After Stockholm Rejects Plan For Flagship Store, by The Local SE

Swedish property magazine Fastighetsvärlden reports that the city's decision left Apple "furious".

"Yes, that's true," Björn Ljung, a Liberal councillor on Stockholm City Council's urban planning committee, told the magazine. "There were definitely no kind words, it was nasty words that I do not want to repeat."

The Other Side of the Glasses

Apple Taps iPhone Executive To Be First Head Of Marketing For AR, by Mark Gurman, Bloomberg

Apple Inc. assigned a longtime iPhone executive as its first head of marketing for augmented reality, demonstrating the importance of the technology to the company’s future.


The decision by Apple to name its first head of product marketing for AR underscores the technology’s importance to the company’s quest for major new products.

AR Will Spark The Next Big Tech Platform—Call It Mirrorworld, by Kevin Kelly, Wired

Every December, Adam Savage—star of the TV show MythBusters—releases a video reviewing his “favorite things” from the previous year. In 2018, one of his highlights was a set of Magic Leap augmented reality goggles. After duly noting the hype and backlash that have dogged the product, Savage describes an epiphany he had while trying on the headset at home, upstairs in his office. “I turned it on and I could hear a whale,” he says, “but I couldn’t see it. I’m looking around my office for it. And then it swims by my windows—on the outside of my building! So the glasses scanned my room and it knew that my windows were portals and it rendered the whale as if it were swimming down my street. I actually got choked up.” What Savage encountered on the other side of the glasses was a glimpse of the mirrorworld.

The mirrorworld doesn’t yet fully exist, but it is coming. Someday soon, every place and thing in the real world—every street, lamppost, building, and room—will have its full-size digital twin in the mirrorworld. For now, only tiny patches of the mirrorworld are visible through AR headsets. Piece by piece, these virtual fragments are being stitched together to form a shared, persistent place that will parallel the real world. The author Jorge Luis Borges imagined a map exactly the same size as the territory it represented. “In time,” Borges wrote, “the Cartographers Guilds struck a Map of the Empire whose size was that of the Empire, and which coincided point for point with it.” We are now building such a 1:1 map of almost unimaginable scope, and this world will become the next great digital platform.


I've Been Living With The Google Home Max And Apple's HomePod Side By Side For Almost 6 Months, And They Both Have One Major Problem, by Avery Hartmans, Business Insider

I have been a proponent of smart speakers for a while now. I've never been overly concerned about them listening to me, or spying on me, or recording my conversations and sending them to people in my contacts. Those fears are valid, but they're not my fears.

Lately, though, I've been growing more concerned.

Both the HomePod and the Google Home Max have been randomly speaking — or lighting up and listening in without being prompted — several times a week. Both devices will listen in when anything is said that remotely resembles their wake words, or they'll just jump in on conversations, uninvited.

2018 MacBook Air Review: Getting The Band Back Together, by Stephen Hackett, 512 Pixels

With the 2018 MacBook Air, Apple has attempted do bring back a classic design, updating it for the modern era. For the most part, it works. The tapered design still looks great, and while it can’t keep up with the MacBook Pro, the dual-core CPU doesn’t have to. The second-generation MacBook Air was fast enough for just about everyone, and Apple has managed to maintain that level of performance here as well. Even the stellar battery life reminds me of the old machine.

Everything on paper checks out, but I’m not sure the new MacBook Air feels as special as the old one did.

Heart Analyzer For Apple Watch Adds Live Heart Rate Support, Improved Complications, More, by Chance Miller, 9to5Mac

With support for live heart rates, Heart Analyzer will now record your heart rate in real-time when you have the app open. This allows you to get detailed information about your heart rate at specific times, and view trends and graphs over time.


A Giant Coalition Of Companies Including Amazon And Apple Urges Congress To Save 'Dreamers', by Yun Li, CNBC

In a letter to lawmakers, the coalition of companies urged the Congress to pass bipartisan legislation that enables more than 700,000 immigrants, known as "Dreamers," to legally work and live in the U.S. The letter ran Monday as a full-page ad in The New York Times.

CEOs who signed the letter include Apple's Tim Cook, Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg, Amazon's Jeff Bezos, Google's Sundar Pichai and Twitter and Square's Jack Dorsey.

Making An App To Make A Difference? Good Luck, by Tina Rosenberg, New York Times

Financial apps can often figure out a business model; Alice, for example, takes half of the amount of money it saves employers on payroll taxes. But tech companies like JustFix and Good Call are nonprofits that must raise money from philanthropy. “It was an uphill battle for us initially, as traditional philanthropic sources of capital are not used to funding technology,” said Georges Clement, co-founder and president of JustFix. Fund-raising is a constant preoccupation for both companies.

Most venture capitalists won’t look at investing in tech firms that have no chance to bring big returns — 30 times the value of their investment, or more. To choose those companies, they usually look to what’s worked in the past. “Being different is not something venture capitalists are excited by,” Mr. Clement said.

Bottom of the Page

Things me-at-age-20 ddin't realize I will enjoy when I am me-at-age-50:
a) Listening to radio shows.
b) Listening to books-on-tape.
c) Listening to classical music.

I think I smell a trend.


By the way, I haven't reach age 50 yet. I am just rounding up.


Thanks for reading.

The Limits-of-Our-Devices Edition Monday, February 11, 2019

Autocomplete Presents The Best Version Of You, by Gretchen McCulloch, Wired

In eight years, we've gone from Damn You Autocorrect to treating the strip of three predicted words as a sort of wacky but charming oracle. But when we try to practice divination by algorithm, we're doing something more than killing a few minutes—we're exploring the limits of what our devices can and cannot do.

Apple Retail Employees Aggressively Pushing iPhone Upgrades, by Benjamin Mayo

It’s the fact Apple is instructing retail staff to also prey on people coming in to get help at the Genius Bar that is unequivocally distasteful, and not something that you expect from a premium brand. It’s offensive behaviour. These are tactics that try to inflate iPhone sales in the short term that risk damaging Apple’s long-term reputation and image.

What It's Like To Work Inside Apple's 'Black Site', by Joshua Brustein, Bloomberg

Apple’s new campus in Cupertino, California, is a symbol of how the company views itself as an employer: simultaneously inspiring its workers with its magnificent scale while coddling them with its four-story café and 100,000-square-foot fitness center. But one group of Apple contractors finds another building, six miles away on Hammerwood Avenue in Sunnyvale, to be a more apt symbol.

This building is as bland as the main Apple campus is striking. From the outside, there appears to be a reception area, but it’s unstaffed, which makes sense given that people working in this satellite office—mostly employees of Apple contractors working on Apple Maps—use the back door. Workers say managers instructed them to walk several blocks away before calling for a ride home. Several people who worked here say it’s widely referred to within Apple as a “black site,” as in a covert ops facility.

Inside the building, say former workers, they came to expect the vending machines to be understocked, and to have to wait in line to use the men’s bathrooms. Architectural surprise and delight wasn’t a priority here; after all, the contract workers at Hammerwood almost all leave after their assignments of 12 to 15 months are up.

Mini Rumor

Report: New iPad Mini 5 Will Look The Same As iPad Mini 4 Design, Aimed As Lower Cost Product, by Benjamin Mayo, 9to5Mac

The iPad mini 5 is not going to be the most exciting of updates according to recent reports. Macotakara says informed accessory manufacturers indicate the new iPad mini will look almost identical to the iPad mini 4 design.


How Did Apple's AirPods Go From Mockery To Millennial Status Symbol?, by Elena Cresci, The Guardian

But fast-forward to 2019 and, somehow, the £159-a-pair little pods have transformed into a bona fide status symbol.

Everybody Has A Newsletter, So Here's A Great App To Help Manage Them All, by Todd Haselton, CNBC

There's an app called Stoop, available for iPhone and Android, that makes discovering and reading newsletters a lot more enjoyable. You get a unique e-mail address that sends them right to the app, so you don't have dozens of newsletters collecting in your regular email inbox.


Italian Apple Homepage Forced To Add iPhone Battery Throttling Advisory As Result Of Lawsuit, by Benjamin Mayo, 9to5Mac

Apple has been compelled to add a statement regarding the outcome of a ‘planned obsolescence’ lawsuit to its homepage in Italy. The court ruled showed that Apple did not provide adequate information about the impact of performing the iOS 10.2.1 update, which introduced the infamous iPhone performance throttling for degraded batteries.

Bottom of the Page

If the rumor is to be believed, it seems that the new iPad mini's main attraction will have to be a low-enough price for a decent-enough tablet. Maybe something that can also be pushed to schools, alongside with the regular iPad?


I haven't read much about the new Netflix show Russian Doll before I started watching the show, and I was pleasantly surprised at how good the show is.

If you are a Netflix subscriber, do go ahead and watch the show. Do not read any reviews or find out about the storyline. Just go watch it.


Thanks for reading.

The Three-More-Months Edition Sunday, February 10, 2019

Apple Sending Push Notifications To Former Apple Music Subscribers Offering New Free Trial, by Chance Miller, 9to5Mac

Over the last week, it appears that Apple has been sending iOS users mass push notifications with Apple Music free trial offers. The notifications seem to target who were at one point an Apple Music user, but canceled their membership or never used the service beyond their initial free trial.

iTunes U And iBooks Author Are Suffering From Software Rot, by Bradley Chambers, 9to5Mac

iTunes U could have been at the center of Apple’s K–12 strategy. It could have been where everything ended up and where everything started. Instead, it’s gone years without meaningful updates to either the application side or the server-side component. While Apple is still working on other classroom apps, it’s not even close to being a 1:1 replacement for iTunes U. Even the Classroom app has gone over a year without a meaningful update.

New Voices At The Bedside: Amazon, Google, Microsoft, And Apple, by Casey Ross, STAT

At first it was a novelty: Hospitals began using voice assistants to allow patients to order lunch, check medication regimens, and get on-demand medical advice at home.

But these devices, manufactured by Amazon, Google, Apple, Microsoft and others, are now making deeper inroads into patient care. Hospitals are exploring new uses in intensive care units and surgical recovery rooms, and contemplating a future in which Alexa, or another voice avatar, becomes a virtual member of the medical team — monitoring doctor-patient interactions, suggesting treatment approaches, or even alerting caregivers to voice changes that could be an early warning of a health emergency.


New App Helps Autistic Travelers Navigate Las Vegas Airport, by Ricardo Torres-Cortez, Las Vegas Sun

Signing up for the free MagnusCards app, travelers with cognitive special needs — such as those with autism — can be guided through the facilities by “Magnus,” a boy with a magician-style hat.

How Safe Are Teen Apps?, by Chris Stokel-Walker, The Guardian

Since 14-year-old Molly Russell killed herself in 2017, the apps and services our teenagers and children use – and their safety – have become a key concern for parents. Last week, the digital minister, Margot James, stated that “the tragic death of Molly Russell is the latest consequence of a social media world that behaves as if it is above the law”. James went on to announce plans to introduce a legally binding code and duty of care towards young users for social media companies.

Britain’s children are not just using the likes of Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp, YouTube, Pinterest and Snapchat on a daily basis. There is a wealth of apps targeted at teens and children that have their own ecosystems and controversies.


My Single Best Productivity Hack!, by Dave Brock, Making A Difference

As disciplined as I am, all these apps, web sites, and windows keep trying to pull me from what I need to do right now.

But then I had an “Aha” moment. What if I completely closed everything except the single app or window that I’m working on. For example, right now, I only have the word press window open in my browser. There’s nothing else. No flashing messages from LinkedIn or Gmail. No word document in another window, just a single window and a single task, complete this post.

Designing Magical Interfaces (Without Going To The Dark Side), by Steve Turbek,

“If there is one rule of UX design, it is that the user should not need a manual to perform an application’s primary functions — just as for most physical tools, which are designed so it’s obvious how to hold and use them. But the new generation of user interfaces that rely on gesture, voice, and chat have one obvious similarity to the command-line interface: they lack affordances — cues such as buttons, links, or menus that help users know what they can do next.

The loss of affordances in applications risks our returning to the bad, old days of personal computing, when the user was responsible for somehow divining how to use an application.


How A Vermont Social Network Became A Model For Online Communities, by Andrew Liptak, The Verge

Front Porch Forum had come to Moretown just months before, but the site had spread throughout much of the state, town by town, since it was founded in 2000 in Burlington. The site looks like a relic from another era; its website is clean and minimal, without the pictures, reaction buttons or comment fields that most social platforms have implemented today. Users register using their real name and address, and gain access to the forum for their town or neighborhood. This network of 185 forums covers each town in Vermont, as well as a handful in neighboring New York and New Hampshire. While most towns possess their own forum, the more populated areas of the state, such as the cities of Burlington and Montpelier, are split up into more manageable districts. During normal times, people might use it to alert their neighbors about everything from runaway Roombas to notices about garage sales or public meetings. But in a pinch, it proved essential when it came to coordinating disaster relief.

Apple Store Opponents Crowdfund To 'Buy' Federation Square Building Set For Demolition, by Calla Wahlquist, The Guardian

“It’s never been about the architecture, it’s about preserving that public space for the public,” he said. “There’s no design that is going to satisfy us.”

The Yarra Building has been slated for use as a commercial structure since Federation Square opened in 2002 and was not part of the original design competition, though it was built using the same concepts and materials.

Arianna Huffington On The Next Big Thing In Tech: Disconnecting From It, by Donovan Russo, CNBC

Internet entrepreneur Arianna Huffington sees a bright future for a new kind of technology — the kind that helps individuals disconnect from the damage done by the internet's first generation. And it can't come soon enough, she says, as the next generation of technology may pose an ever greater threat to our lives and jobs.”

Bottom of the Page

If one were to start the 3-month trial with Apple Music now, can one have another 3-month trial with the new Apple streaming television service later?

(My guess is Yes.)


Thanks for reading.

The Network-Effect Edition Saturday, February 9, 2019

Can Subscriptions Save All Media Companies, Or Just The New York Times?, by Max Read, New York Magazine

You don’t have to buy a platform interpretation of the digital subscription business. But if you do, you can begin to pick out possible futures for the digital news media industry. One outcome might be that the generalist news subscription market will become, like other software-platform markets, winner-take-all, or, at least, highly concentrated. (I specify “generalist news subscription” because it seems obvious that publications serving specific markets, like trade magazines, aren’t directly competing with papers like the Times.) The same kind of network-effect-driven virtuous growth cycle we’re used to with most software platforms could take hold: More readers will attract more writers; more writers will attract more readers. In a sense, that’s the way the paper has always worked. But in a digital world, there is no physical, geographical, or bureaucratic ceiling to growth. Like a software platform, the Times can grow unimpeded, its attractiveness to both readers and writers only increasing while its rivals are left out in the cold. It’s true that for now people seem willing to pay for more than one subscription, even for largely overlapping coverage. But if the Times (or one of its rivals) can sufficiently chip away at its competitors, poaching journalists, generating big stories, and attracting larger audiences in that same virtuous cycle, it could potentially crowd other papers out. Why pay for two or more subscriptions if everything you want comes in one paper?

Talking Through Technology Helps Local Boy Communicate – And Get His Favorite Pizza, by Deborah Allard, The Hearld News

When Jayden ordered one of his favorite dishes, pizza and apple sauce, it was a proud moment for him and his mom, Crystal Medeiros.

That’s because Jayden, age 12, has lots to say. And, now he has a voice with the assistance of some very user-friendly, yet advanced, technology.

Report: Apple Looks To Sell Stockholm Property Following Blocked Flagship Store Plan, by Michael Steeber, 9to5Mac

As the sun sets on plans to transform a historic park in Stockholm with the addition of a flagship Apple store, Apple is now looking to unload the property it planned to occupy and distance itself from the project, according to a new report from Swedish publication Fastighetsvärlden. The property sale would mark a disappointing end to an extensive and expensive investment for Apple as it seeks to expand and modernize its retail experience worldwide.


Blur Is The New Black In Apple’s Latest iPhone Ads, by David Pierini, Cult of Mac

Apple debuted an ad showing off the Depth Control feature on the new X-class iPhones, a 38-second subliminal sales pitch to get you thinking of an upgrade.

Charging An iPhone X With Passthrough Charging Using An iPad Pro Results, by Matt Benedetto, Medium

The main thing I was surprised at how much battery the iPad Pro still had after the iPhone was charged up. It makes it a pretty viable option to charge up your iPhone but still have your iPad Pro with plenty of battery to get some decent use out of it.

On Covering Webcams, by John Gruber, Daring Fireball

There’s nothing in Stern’s story that makes me worry in the least bit about the security of my Mac webcams, and I don’t see anything that should worry someone running Windows 10 with Windows Defender (Microsoft’s built-in security software). The path to compromising Stern’s cameras was like a test of your home security that starts with a request that you leave your door unlocked and turn off your alarm system.


Why Is It So Hard To Design A Decent Office Space?, by Whet Moser, Quartz

If there’s a lesson to the cubicle, it’s that the best-laid offices often go awry. Propst’s action-oriented brainstorm became a dull-gray spreadsheet for people, which is why it was replaced by the open office, which sought to break down divisions among co-workers and create a fluid environment of frequent encounters and discussion.

And the result seems to be that people talk less. Why? For the same reason cubicles started to replace open-office plans in the first place: privacy.


My Disabled Son — The Nobleman, The Philanderer, The Detective, by Vicky Schaubert Oslo, BBC

Robert and Trude mourned what they thought had been a lonely and isolated life for their disabled son. But when Mats died, they discovered that people all over Europe lit candles in his memory.

Bottom of the Page

I have five things on my table that need to regularly charged with a lightning cable. Three of which, daily.

The good news, though, is that I don't have regularly buy a whole bunch of double-A batteries anymore.


Thanks for reading.

The Security-Audit Edition Friday, February 8, 2019

Apple Releases iOS 12.1.4 To Fix Group FaceTime Security Flaw, by Tom Warren, The Verge

Apple is releasing iOS 12.1.4 today to fix a security flaw in the company’s Group FaceTime feature. Discovered last week, the bug allowed anyone to call a phone or Mac and listen in before the other person picked up. Apple has now fixed the flaw that let you add yourself to a FaceTime call before the recipient picked up, tricking FaceTime into thinking it was an active call.

Apple To Compensate Teenager Who Found Group FaceTime Eavesdrop Bug, by Zack Whittaker, TechCrunch

“In addition to addressing the bug that was reported, our team conducted a thorough security audit of the FaceTime service and made additional updates to both the FaceTime app and server to improve security, an Apple spokesperson told TechCrunch. “This includes a previously unidentified vulnerability in the Live Photos feature of FaceTime.”

“To protect customers who have not yet upgraded to the latest software, we have updated our servers to block the Live Photos feature of FaceTime for older versions of iOS and macOS,” said Apple.

Google Warns About Two iOS Zero-days 'Exploited In The Wild', by Catalin Cimpanu, ZDNet

A Google top security engineer has revealed today that hackers have been launching attacks against iPhone users using two iOS vulnerabilities. The attacks have happened before Apple had a chance to release iOS 12.1.4 today --meaning the two vulnerabilities are what security experts call "zero-days."

The revelation came in a tweet from Ben Hawkes, team leader at Project Zero --Google's elite security team. Hawkes did not reveal under what circumstances the two zero-days have been used.

Texas Software Engineer Daven Morris Also Reported FaceTime Bug To Apple One Day Before It Made Headlines, by Joe Rossignol, MacRumors

The Wall Street Journal today shared a few details about Morris, noting he is a 27-year-old software engineer who reported the bug to Apple on January 27, several days after the Thompsons but one day before it made headlines. He apparently discovered the bug a week earlier while planning a group trip with friends.

Privacy Matters

Apple Tells App Developers To Disclose Or Remove Screen Recording Code, by Zack Whittaker, TechCrunch

TechCrunch began hearing on Thursday that app developers had already been notified that their apps had fallen afoul of Apple’s rules. One app developer was told by Apple to remove code that recorded app activities, citing the company’s app store guidelines.


Apple gave the developer less than a day to remove the code and resubmit their app or the app would be removed from the app store, the email said.

Apple People

Apple Recently Hired A Prominent Obstetrician, Signaling Interest In Women's Health, by Christina Farr, CNBC

Apple's health team has hired an obstetrician, Dr. Christine Curry, to look into how the company can bolster its efforts in women's health, among other projects, according to three people familiar with the hire.

Angela Ahrendts’ Post-Apple Plans, by Lisa Lockwood, WWD

“I plan to take the summer off,” said Ahrendts, who declined to disclose what type of job she’d be interested in next. She said she plans to enjoy some traveling before making any new commitments. On her agenda are a Rwanda mission and visiting two of her children in London. Ahrendts said that throughout her marriage, her husband has constantly been moving with her to London and then San Francisco, and now it’s time for him to get a turn.

Apple Puts Modem Engineering Unit Into Chip Design Group, by Stephen Nellis, Reuters

Apple Inc has moved its modem chip engineering effort into its in-house hardware technology group from its supply chain unit, two people familiar with the move told Reuters, a sign the tech company is looking to develop a key component of its iPhones after years of buying it from outside suppliers.


Apple’s effort to make its own modem chips could take years, and it is impossible to know when, or in what devices, such chips might appear.

Distruptive Force In Film

Steven Soderbergh’s ‘High Flying Bird’ And The Rise Of iPhone Films, by Ben Lindbergh, The Ringer

High Flying Bird is a product of what Soderbergh believes to be a similar upheaval in the Hollywood system. Shot entirely on an iPhone 8, High Flying Bird is Soderbergh’s second smartphone film, following last year’s psychological thriller Unsane, which he shot in two weeks on an iPhone Seven Plus. Soderbergh, who has habitually sought to upend the economics of movies, remove impediments to production, and concentrate control in filmmakers’ hands, is a predictable proselytizer for a relatively unproven method of moviemaking. In January 2018, just prior to the release of Unsane, Soderbergh declared phones “the future” of filmmaking and, when asked whether he’d use smartphones exclusively for subsequent projects, added, “I’d have to have a pretty good reason not to be thinking about that first.”

The case for smartphones as a disruptive force in film—both as a democratizing implement for low-budget directors and as a budget-slashing or artistically liberating tool for higher-profile projects—is growing stronger as smartphone-camera hardware and the software supporting it improves, and as the list of past precedents lengthens. In addition to helping smartphone manufacturers jockey for market share, each incremental camera upgrade shrinks the visual gap between pocket-containable cameras and the big rigs endemic to studio sets. Even so, it’s not just inertia that’s making iPhone-filmed movies outliers among major projects; some technological limitations are still relegating releases like High Flying Bird to the realm of curiosity. Despite Soderbergh’s unreserved endorsement, taking the smartphone plunge remains a complicated balance of benefits and tradeoffs for most mainstream moviemakers.


Apple's T2 Proving Troublesome For Some Professional Audio Interface Users, by Roger Fingas, AppleInsider

Those affected by the issue are encountering dropouts, pops, and other similar issues with gear brands like Apogee, Focusrite, Native Instruments, Yamaha, RME, and MOTU, according to complaints on Reddit, Logic Pro Help, Apple's support forums, and elsewhere. USB interfaces have been the most commonly impacted, but trouble may manifest to a lesser extent with Thunderbolt hardware.

iPad Diaries: Using A Mac From iOS, Part 1 – Finder Folders, Siri Shortcuts, And App Windows With Keyboard Maestro, by Federico Viticci, MacStories

Aside from recording podcasts using Mac apps, I rely on the Mac mini as a server that performs tasks or provides media in the background. Any server requires a front-end interface to access and manage it; in my case, that meant finding apps, creating shortcuts, and setting up workflows on my iPad Pro to access, manage, and use the Mac mini from iOS without having to physically sit down in front of it.

In this multi-part series, I'm going to cover how I'm using the 2018 iPad Pro to access my Mac mini both locally and remotely, the apps I employ for file management, the custom shortcuts I set up to execute macOS commands from iOS and the HomePod, various automations I created via AppleScript and Keyboard Maestro, and more. Let's dive in.

Netflix iPhone, iPad Apps Get Smart Download Feature, by Janko Roettgers, Variety

Netflix is bringing smart downloads to its iOS app: The streaming service’s iPhone and iPad apps will now automatically download the next episode of a show when users have finished watching a downloaded episode.


Reflecting On My Failure To Build A Billion-Dollar Company, by Sahil Lavingia, Medium

For years, my only metric of success was building a billion dollar company. Now, I realize that was a terrible goal. It’s completely arbitrary, and doesn’t accurately reflect impact.

I’m not making an excuse or pretending that I didn’t fail. I’m not pretending that it feels good. Even though everyone knows that the failure rate in startups, especially venture-funded ones, is super high, it still sucks when you do.

I failed, but I also succeeded at many other things. We turned $10 million of investor capital into $178 million and counting for creators. And without a fundraising goal coming up, we are just focused on building the best product we can for them. On top of all that, I’m happy creating value beyond our revenue-generating product, like these words you’re reading!

I consider myself “successful” now. Not exactly in the way I intended, though I think it counts. Where did my binary focus on building a billion-dollar company come from in the first place?


How NYT Cooking Became The Best Comment Section On The Internet, by Alison Herman, The Ringer

In a satirical post for the now-defunct website The Toast, writer Daniel Mallory Ortberg once cataloged “All the Comments on Every Recipe Blog.” The results are funny, but also an accurate taxonomy of the species that populate the internet’s open spaces, food-related or not: the user error attributed to the original author (“I didn’t have any eggs, so I replaced them with a banana-chia-flaxseed pulse. It turned out terrible; this recipe is terrible”). The total non sequitur (“[600-word description of what they ate today] so this will make a great addition!”). The public shaming (“If you use olive oil for any recipe that’s cooked over 450°F, the oil will denature and you will get cancer. This post is irresponsible”). Small wonder, then, that comment sections—designated areas for free-flowing discussion and principled debate—have become notorious for being anything but. Whether the topic at hand is border walls or beef bourguignonne, the tragedy of the commons is the same.

There is, however, at least one exception to this otherwise ironclad rule. While I generally go out of my way to avoid comments (including and especially on my own work) like the plague, one form of crowdsourced feedback has become an attraction rather than a repellent—as much of an attraction, even, as the original content it’s attached to. The posts attached to the recipes on The New York Times’ stand-alone Cooking site are everything the archetypal internet comment is not. Held up against Ortberg’s fictional-but-also-too-real responses, Cooking’s are genuinely additive, have a ready-made takeaway, and best of all, inspire downright bonhomie toward my fellow man.

From Selfie Taker To Lifesaver: The Smartphone Grows Up, by Matthew Wall, BBC

As the smartphone falls in price while its capabilities improve, it is becoming a valuable tool in the diagnosis of a growing number of diseases and ailments around the world.

Jeff Bezos Accuses National Enquirer Of ‘Extortion And Blackmail’, by Jim Rutenberg, New York Times

The richest man on earth accused the nation’s leading supermarket tabloid publisher of “extortion and blackmail” on Thursday, laying out a theory that brought together international intrigue, White House politics, nude photos and amorous text messages.

Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon and the owner of The Washington Post, made his accusations against American Media Inc., the company behind The National Enquirer, in a lengthy post on the online platform Medium. Last month, The Enquirer published an exposé of Mr. Bezos’ extramarital affair with Lauren Sanchez, a former host of the Fox show “So You Think You Can Dance.”

Bottom of the Page

There are too many things to watch on Netflix, and there are too many shows to listen in my podcast queue.


Thanks for reading.

The iPad-Creativity Edition Thursday, February 7, 2019

Talking iPad Workflows And Adobe’s Project Gemini With Illustrator Tracie Ching, by Michael Steeber, 9to5Mac

For creative professionals, the prospects of a new artistic tool are incredibly exciting. New tools mean new workflows, and new workflows mean new opportunities to work free from the constraints that hold back creativity. One of the most promising new artistic tools on the horizon is Adobe’s Project Gemini, a bold new drawing and painting app arriving on the iPad later this year.

Shaping the future of iPad creativity are the Gemini 10, a small group of artistic professionals given exclusive access by Adobe to work with and provide feedback on Project Gemini prior to release. We talked with illustrator and Gemini 10 member Tracie Ching to learn more about the new app and how the iPad has transformed her work.

I Work On My iPad Every Day, And Here's What Drives Me Nuts, by Charlie Sorrel, Cult of Mac

Some of these gripes seem small, but the beauty of the Mac is that all those small parts have been tended to over the years, and are so streamlined we don’t notice them. Fine, you say, but who cares if the ⌘-Tab switcher doesn’t work? iOS is a touch-based operating system, after all.

I’ll tell you who: Apple. Apple cared enough to bring all kinds of keyboard shortcuts familiar to Mac users over to the iPad, and yet it apparently doesn’t care enough to make sure they work properly.

The Retail Business

Meet The 30-year Apple Veteran Who's Taking Over The Company's Stores Around The World, by Kif Leswing, Business Insider

O'Brien is the third head of Apple retail in seven years, and she's the first Apple insider to take the job since the original retail chief, Ron Johnson, who opened the first store in 2001.

As a longtime Apple executive, she lives a private life, but it's clear she's a major force inside Cupertino.

Read Tim Cook's Email To Apple Retail Employees Announcing The Management Shakeup, by Kif Leswing, Business Insider

"Angela has inspired and energized our retail teams with the vision of stores as a place where the best of Apple comes together to serve customers and communities. During her tenure, the in-store experience has been redefined with programs like Today at Apple, and our relationship with customers is stronger than ever."


"Deirdre was part of the team that planned and launched Apple's very first online and retail stores," Cook wrote in the email. "She has been a part of Retail's exciting expansion and every product launch since."

5 Ways Angela Ahrendts Changed Apple And The Apple Store Forever, by Michael Simon, Macworld

The news of retail chief Angela Ahrendts departing Apple in April isn’t quite as earth-shattering as Jony I’ve or Tim Cook announcing their retirement, but it’s close. Ahrendts has been the public face of Apple for the past five years, whether on stage, at stores, or in the media. And she’s certainly leaving big shoes for Apple veteran Deirdre O’Brien to fill.

Since she took over in 2014, Ahrendts has made an indelible mark on Apple’s retail presence around the world, transforming the brick-and-mortar stores and raising Apple’s luxury and fashion status to heights hitherto unseen. Here are five ways Ahrendts has forever changed Apple, for better or worse.

What Happens To Apple’s Stores When Angela Ahrendts Leaves?, by Jeremy Horwitz, VentureBeat

Yesterday’s announcement has the feel of a temporary move — a way to avoid what happened with Browett, whose dismissal was followed by an extended retail leadership vacuum until Ahrendts was hired. O’Brien already has a large HR-related portfolio at Apple, and there’s no way the company could reasonably expect her to oversee “Retail and People” for several years.

In that light, I wonder how Ahrendts’ departure will positively or negatively impact Apple’s retail stores, a question I suspect won’t be answered conclusively for a year or more.

Privacy Matters

Many Popular iPhone Apps Secretly Record Your Screen Without Asking, by Zack Whittaker, TechCrunch

Many major companies, like Air Canada, Hollister and Expedia, are recording every tap and swipe you make on their iPhone apps. In most cases you won’t even realize it — or ask for permission.


Apps like Abercrombie & Fitch, and Singapore Airlines also use Glassbox, a customer experience analytics firm, one of a handful of companies that allows developers to embed “session replay” technology into their apps. These session replays let app developers record the screen and play them back to see how its users interacted with the app to figure out if something didn’t work or if there was an error. Every every tap, button push and keyboard entry is recorded — effectively screenshotted — and sent back to the app developers.

Apple Removes Useless 'Do Not Track' Feature From Latest Beta Versions Of Safari, by Juli Clover, MacRumors

According to Apple, Do Not Track is "expired" and support is being eliminated to prevent its use as, ironically, a fingerprinting variable for tracking purposes.


It is entirely up to the advertising companies to comply with the "Do Not Track" messaging, and it has no actual function beyond broadcasting a user preference. All it does is say something to the effect of "hey, I prefer not to be tracked for targeted advertisements," which websites, advertisers, and analytics companies are free to ignore.

Enterprising Criminal Activities

How Hackers And Scammers Break Into iCloud-Locked iPhones, by Joseph Cox and Jason Koebler, Motherboard

The iCloud security feature has likely cut down on the number of iPhones that have been stolen, but enterprising criminals have found ways to remove iCloud in order to resell devices. To do this, they phish the phone’s original owners, or scam employees at Apple Stores, which have the ability to override iCloud locks. Thieves, coders, and hackers participate in an underground industry designed to remove a user’s iCloud account from a phone so that they can then be resold.

Making matters more complicated is the fact that not all iCloud-locked phones are stolen devices—some of them are phones that are returned to telecom companies as part of phone upgrade and insurance programs. The large number of legitimately obtained, iCloud-locked iPhones helps supply the independent phone repair industry with replacement parts that cannot be obtained directly from Apple. But naturally, repair companies know that a phone is worth more unlocked than it is locked, and so some of them have waded into the hacking underground to become customers of illegal iCloud unlocking companies.


AirPods Are Now One Of Apple’s Most Important Products, by Lance Ulanoff, Medium

It’s like a tiny, dangling advertisement for how you can join the iOS ecosystem and enjoy Apple’s in-ear technology without ever worrying if you look like a dork — because we all do and yes, we’re proud of it.

Carrot Weather Update Brings Apple Watch Location Search, Custom Complications, New Data Source, More, by Michael Potuck, 9to5Mac

The latest version brings location search to Apple Watch along with custom complications, shortcuts, forecast options for the Infograph Modular watch face, a new data source, and more.

Review: The USB-C Uni Dock And Hub Are Great Portable And Rugged Accessories For Mac Owners, by Andrew O'Hara, AppleInsider

Of all the USB-C hubs and docks that have come out —even the ones designed to be portable —none have really embraced a rugged mindset. They also permanently affix the cable which makes it useless should it get damaged or if it is too short. That's why uniAccessories designed the uni Dock and uni Hub. A pair of USB-C accessories that fix those issues with impressive results.

Review: Grovemade's Wireless Charging Pad Is A Gorgeous Luxury Accessory, by Andrew O'Hara, AppleInsider

Grovemade has cut no corners when designing their new wireless charging pad for the iPhone, giving those yearning for a premium experience a great option with few rivals.


Whose Facade Is It, Anyway?, by Alexandra Marvar, Curbed

But since Instagram exploded into the world in 2010, photography—travel photography in particular—has evolved faster than the law can accommodate. Where the law falls short, we have ethics—moral principles that guide our conduct in business and life. And in the application of our ethics, we have etiquette—a societal code that shows us how to be polite.

This concept of etiquette can feel anachronistic, relegated to “real life,” to a pre-internet time when small communities relied on social codes that helped people coexist. Social media has become an inseparable part of how we live, work, and interact, but what and how we post is not explicitly governed by the same codes of conduct that interacting with people face to face is—if it’s governed by any code at all.

This Typewriter Repairman Was Told Computers Were King. Twenty Years Later, He’s Still In Business, by Matthew Ormseth, Los Angeles Times

Twenty years ago, Martin Quezada was told the end was nigh. The sun was setting on the typewriter. Computers were king.

Twenty years later, Quezada’s shop, International Office Machines in San Gabriel, is still in business. The downturn happened. But it did not defeat Quezada, now 61, who kept his doors open.

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I learnt typing on a typewriter, and I have no idea how to type on glass.


Thanks for reading.

The Retail-Challenges Edition Wednesday, February 6, 2019

Chief Of Apple Stores Is Leaving After 5 Years In The Job, by Jack Nicas, New York Times

Angela Ahrendts, the former Burberry chief hired by Apple five years ago to oversee its stores, said Tuesday that she will leave the company in April.

The departure is an unusual move for a top executive at Apple, which is facing retail challenges as sales in China have dropped and iPhone sales have turned sluggish.

Apple Names Third Retail Chief In Seven Years For Post-iPhone Era, by Mark Gurman, Bloomberg

In December, as Apple executives worried about demand, the company asked retail employees to promote the new iPhones using methods not seen before. Technicians were told to push iPhone upgrades to consumers with out-of-warranty devices. Senior sales staff had to make sure other retail workers were suggesting upgrades, and easels offering generous trade-in deals for the iPhone XR were erected in stores. Apple’s online homepage was also replaced with reduced iPhone pricing that required a trade-in of older models.

Those tactics may not have gelled with the retail environment Ahrendts tried to create. In an interview with Vogue magazine last week, she said "the tragedy in retail is that it has become about numbers." She also said she missed some things about the fashion industry.

Apple SVPs, by And Now It's All This

To me, Ahrendts’s five years in charge of Retail has been similar to Ive’s time as Chief Design Officer. The Apple Stores look better than ever, but they don’t work as well as they used to. No one I know looks forward to going to an Apple Store, even when it’s for the fun task of buying a new toy. No doubt a lot of this is due to Apple’s success and the mobs of people milling about, but Ahrendts didn’t solve the problem of efficiently handling the increased customer load.

Angela Ahrendts Leaving Apple, by Stephen Hackett, 512 Pixels

From where I sit, this announcement feels unexpected, and I have a lot of questions about how a single person can oversee Apple’s HR and Retail operations.

Sure, Retail is the company’s largest division, but I am concerned Retail is losing a full seat at the table, so to speak. Not everyone agrees, though, and it will be interesting to see how it shakes out.

Sydney Dad Said Staff At An Apple Store Were So Frustrating, He Walked Out, by

“I felt frustrated and I felt like my intelligence was being questioned. I’m not really concerned by the legalities (of whether a store can force you to use a certain payment method) as much as I am the stupidity that transpired.

“Very simply, it was poor salesmanship to insist I should use Apple Pay even though I told them I wasn’t interested.

Security Matters

Security Researcher Demos macOS Exploit To Access Keychain Passwords, But Won't Share Details With Apple Out Of Protest, by Benjamin Mayo, 9to5Mac

Henze is frustrated that Apple’s bug bounty program only applies to iOS, not macOS, and has decided not to release more information about his latest Keychain invasion.

Selling Apple

Apple Goes Behind The Scenes Of 'Shot On iPhone' Film Celebrating Chinese New Year, by AppleInsider

"As a director I need to capture as many details as I possible while dealing Years In Twith different shooting conditions," Zhangke says. "Smart HDR adds texture to my photos and bring memories of home to life. This is how you touch the viewer's heart."

Apple Music Billboards Go Up Around LA Featuring Memoji Grammy Nominees, by Alex Allegro, 9to5Mac

With the Grammy Awards approaching this Sunday, Apple has posted a series of new billboards in Los Angeles featuring nominated artists as Animoji characters alongside the title of their work for which they’re nominated. The billboard reminds us that we can listen to the Grammy nominated albums on Apple Music.

Buying Online

Why People Still Don't Buy Groceries Online, by Alana Semuels, The Atlantic

Back then, ordering groceries online was complicated—most customers had dial-up, and Peapod’s web graphics were so rudimentary customers couldn’t see images of what they were buying. Delivery was complicated, too: The Parkinsons drove to grocery stores in the Chicago area, bought what customers had ordered, and then delivered the goods from the backseat of their beat-up Honda Civic. When people wanted to stock up on certain goods—strawberry yogurt or bottles of Diet Coke—the Parkinsons would deplete whole sections of local grocery stores.

Peapod is still around today. But convincing customers to order groceries online is still nearly as difficult now as it was in 1989. Twenty-two percent of apparel sales and 30 percent of computer and electronics sales happen online today, but the same can be said for only 3 percent of grocery sales, according to a report from Deutsche Bank Securities. “My dream was for it to be ubiquitous, but getting that first order can be a bit of a hurdle,” Parkinson told me from Peapod’s headquarters in downtown Chicago.

The Internet Saved The Record Labels, by Angelina Rascouet, Bloomberg

The rebound can be traced to the same boogeyman that almost killed the business in the first place: the internet. These days, music fans have largely shifted from illegal downloads to paid streaming platforms such as Spotify, Apple Music, Amazon Prime, and Pandora, which generally charge $5 to $10 a month for unlimited access to millions of songs. Even though the labels only get about 0.3¢ each time a tune is streamed, according to the Trichordist, a musician advocacy blog, the pennies add up. Since 2014, record company sales have jumped an average 7 percent annually and streaming has become the top source of revenue, generating $6.6 billion in 2017, up from $1.9 billion in 2014, the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry estimates.


The Apple iPhone XR Review, by Andrei Frumusanu, AnandTech

I think the iPhone XR is also priced a tad too high, and if you’re not entrenched in the iOS ecosystem, there are better value alternatives. I count myself among those who wouldn’t buy a smartphone at this price, and certainly not if it does compromise on some features.

A Review Of The iPhone XS Max Smart Battery Case, by Rose Orchard, The Sweet Setup

The first thing you’ll notice about the battery case is that it looks quite similar to the silicone case for the iPhone — it’s actually made of the same material and comes in black or white, which means it’s grippy and resistant to sliding even on the smoothest of surfaces. It’s also heavy. The weight is quite possibly the most negative feature about the case, but it’s unavoidable — even Apple hasn’t figured out how to make batteries weigh less yet.

Apple Lists New 'Neymar Jr. Custom Edition' Beats Studio3 Wireless Headphones, by Tim Hardwick, MacRumors

Apple has added a listing for a new custom-designed pair of Beats Studio3 Wireless headphones that celebrate the 27th birthday of Brazilian soccer star Neymar Jr.

Multiple Users Report That Adobe Premiere CC Bug Blew Their MacBook Pro Speakers, by Ben Lovejoy, 9to5Mac

The incidents seem to occur when using one of a number of Adobe Premiere CC audio enhancement tools, such as cleaning up the audio or enhancing the speech.


House Democrats Want Apple To Answer Questions On FaceTime Flaw, by David Shepardson, Reuters

House Energy and Commerce Chairman Frank Pallone and Representative Jan Schakowsky, who chairs a subcommittee overseeing consumer issues said in a letter they were “deeply troubled” over how long it took Apple to address the security flaw.

An Arrest At Apple Shows How Corporate Spies Worm Their Way Into The System, by Scott Stewart, Stratfor

Corporate espionage is a persistent — and growing problem. Great power competition among the United States, Russia and China is driving Moscow and Beijing in their efforts to step up their corporate espionage efforts as they seek to achieve technological parity with the West.

The Chen and Zhang cases bear some striking similarities but also feature some intriguing differences. Together, they illustrate that the threats to in-demand intellectual property will persist even after a successful prosecution and that agents will alter their tactics in response to efforts by corporate security departments to better protect their company's critical information.

Spotify Bets Big On Podcasting To Power Battle Against Apple, by Lucas Shaw, Bloomberg

Spotify Technology SA acquired podcasting companies Gimlet Media Inc. and Anchor FM Inc., a declaration that their specialty is the next big area of growth for the world’s largest paid music service.

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Personally, I like to do shopping without having to talk to anybody.

In fact, there are days when my goal in life is to see how long I can last through the day before having to talk to somebody.


Podcasting is not a single business. You can be a toolmaker, and you'll be competing with Adobe and Rogue Amoeba. You can be a creator, and you'll be competing with NPR and BBC. Or you can be in the business of making client software, and only then will you be competing with Apple and NPR and BBC and Overcast.

There isn't a Netflix-for-Podcasts business out there. Audible (an Amazon company) tried and left the business. A content walled garden hasn't been a viable business yet in the radio programming world. (I don't think one can call audio programming podcasts when they are only available on specific clients.)


Thanks for reading.

The Nineties-Mentality Edition Tuesday, February 5, 2019

Do-Not-Disturb On iPhone Really Sucks (And How Apple Can Fix It), by David Gewirtz, ZDNet

The app economy has changed everything, including how we communicate. For an OS like iOS to assume that phone calls are the primary thing we either want to block or let through is a 1990s mentality.

Do Money Apps Make Us Better Or Worse With Our Finances?, by Padraig Belton, BBC

Comprehensive evidence is hard to come by, but Reykjavik-based Georg Ludviksson, chief executive of fintech firm Meniga, says people who start using finance apps spend 7% less on average in the following six to 12 months.

But he admits that simply cutting up your credit cards can have a more dramatic effect on your spending.

The Tortured Case For Deleting Instagram, by Adam Clark Estes, Gizmodo

What’s definitely true: Instagram is powered by one of the world’s most sophisticated data collection operations, and by using it, you’re feeding the beast. You don’t have to delete Instagram for that reason. There’s no other photo-sharing app that’s as popular or as culturally relevant as Instagram. It is, as I’ve said, simple and fun. It is also owned by Facebook and will continue to be controlled by Mark Zuckerberg for the foreseeable future. We can only hope the billionaire won’t ruin this fun thing, too.

Apple Money

Apple Could Pay A Reward To The 14-Year-Old Boy Who Found The FaceTime Snooping Bug, by Matthew J. Belvedere, CNBC

She said a high-level Apple executive flew to Tucson, Arizona, on Friday afternoon to meet with Grant. The executive, whom she declined to name, "thanked us in person and also asked for our feedback, asked us how they could improve their reporting process."

"They also indicated that Grant would be eligible for the bug bounty program. And we would hear from their security team the following week in terms of what that meant," she said. "If he got some kind of bug bounty for what he found, we'd certainly put it to good use for his college because I think he's going to go far, hopefully. This is actually a field he was interested in before and even more so now."

Apple Agrees To Pay Back-Taxes To French Authorities, by Simon Carraud, Reuters

U.S. technology giant Apple said it had reached a deal with France to pay an undeclared amount of back-dated tax, with French media putting the sum at around 500 million euros ($571 million).

Apple Is Squirreling Away Money To Pay For Lawsuits Related To Its iPhone 'Batterygate' Throttling Scandal, by Business Insider

Apple said in a recent SEC filing that it has set aside some money to pay for the litigation as a contingency.

When I Fall On My Face

A Secret To Success: The Failure Résumé, by Tim Herrera, New York Times

When things go right, we’re generally pretty good at identifying why they went right — that is, if we even take time to analyze the success at all. Preparation, proper scheduling, smart delegation and so on. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. But falling on our face gives us the rare opportunity to find and address the things that went wrong (or, even more broadly, the traits or habits that led us to fail), and it’s an opportunity we should welcome.

That’s where the failure résumé comes in. Whereas your normal résumé organizes your successes, accomplishments and your overall progress, your failure résumé tracks the times you didn’t quite hit the mark, along with what lessons you learned.


Target Stores Now Accepting Apple Pay In The U.S., by Luke Dormehl, Cult of Mac

While it’s big news for any retailer with 1,821 stores to be hopping on the Apple Pay bandwagon, this is especially significant since Target was previously a notable holdout to this technology.

Try On Your Next Pair Of Glasses Using Just Your iPhone, by Arielle Pardes, Wired

Eyewear-makers stand to gain loads from these apps. For one thing, advances in face-mapping technology translate well to stuff you wear on your face—which is why cosmetic brands like L'Oreal, Cover Girl, and Sephora have each developed their own versions of virtual try-on for makeup. It also reduces some of the friction in buying eyeglasses, and not only for the consumer; brands like Warby Parker can't keep their show floors stocked with every single frame or offer all of them for home try-on.

Eve's HomeKit-Enabled Light Strip Now Available For Purchase, by Juli Clover, MacRumors

First announced at CES, the Eve Light Strip is advertised as the brightest HomeKit-enabled LED strip to date with 1,800 lumens and support for full-spectrum white and millions of colors.


Navigation Should Be Boring, by Allen Pike

With a delightfully boring navigation scheme, users don’t need to learn how to explore your app. Their “attention span budget” can thus be spent considering how your new thing can fit into their lives, rather than trying to recall how many fingers they’re supposed to drag from the left side of the screen in order to pull out the Alternate Quick Access Wheel.

Despair, Ty Name Is App Store, by Daniel Kennett

When this tiny blip in the App Store’s CDN propagation goes away, I’ll forget about it soon enough. Hell, in the morning this post will probably seem melodramatic even to me, even if the problem is still ongoing. Especially if it’s resolved.

I’m writing this for the next time I’m sitting at my laptop at 2am, head in my hands, wondering why I’m gambling my livelihood and reputation on a company that takes 30% of my app’s sales and delivers, well… this.

Tech Is Splitting The U.S. Work Force In Two, by Edurado Porter, New York Times

The forecast of an America where robots do all the work while humans live off some yet-to-be-invented welfare program may be a Silicon Valley pipe dream. But automation is changing the nature of work, flushing workers without a college degree out of productive industries, like manufacturing and high-tech services, and into tasks with meager wages and no prospect for advancement.


The Inventor Of The Hololens Just Left Apple, by Janko Roettgers, Variety

AR/VR pioneer and Hololens co-inventor Avi Bar-Zeev left Apple last month, Variety has learned. Bar-Zeev had been working on Apple’s augmented reality headset, which the company has been developing in secret for a possible 2020 launch.

Bar-Zeev confirmed his departure when contacted by Variety, saying: “I left my full-time position at Apple in January. I had the best exit one can imagine. I have only nice things to say about Apple and won’t comment on any specific product plans.” He added that he planned to consult in the AR space while “noodling” on the next big thing.

How Slack's New Logo Became A Lightning Rod For Everything Bad On The Internet, by Nicole Nguyen, BuzzFeed

Designers in 2019 face all kinds of challenges. One of them: figuring out how trolls are going to turn their logos into swastikas or human genitalia.

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Welcome to the Year of the Pig. Here's another chance to set New Year resolutions.

(Of course, there is no reason why one can only set New Year resolutions at the transition to a new year on some random calendar system. One can definitely set new resolutions, form new habits, or change to a new diet anytime.)


I uses my iPhone for both work and personal life. (This is probably what many iPhone customers do too.) And I want to set a different Do-Not-Disturb schedule for work-related notifications and personal-life notifications.

There are some apps that I only use for work (hello Microsoft!) and there are other apps that I only use outside of work. And then there are also apps that I use for both work and play.

Getting the user experience just right for a finer control of Do-Not-Disturb is not going to be easy. (There is a team messaging app that I use at work that has such a 'fine' control of notifications that I've spend multiple days playing around with the settings to get things right.) But if anybody can solve a UX problem, it has to be Apple, right?


Thanks for reading.

The Wearable-Devices Edition Monday, February 4, 2019

Healthcare Wearables Level Up With New Moves From Apple And Alphabet, by Jonathan Shieber, TechCrunch

Announcements that Apple has partnered with Aetna health insurance on a new app leveraging data from its Apple Watch and reports that Verily — one of the health-focused subsidiaries of Google‘s parent company — Alphabet, is developing a shoe that can detect weight and movement, indicate increasing momentum around using data from wearables for clinical health applications and treatments.

For venture capital investors, the moves from Apple and Alphabet to show new applications for wearable devices is a step in the right direction — and something that’s been long overdue.

Apple Watch Fall Detection Credited With Saving User In Norway After Severe Overnight Fall, by Chance Miller, 9to5Mac

“As reported by NRK, 67-year-old Toralv Østvang was found “bloody and unconscious” on his bathroom floor by emergency authorities. According to the report, Østvang fell in his bathroom, with the Apple Watch automatically alerting emergency authorities.”

Rich Kids Are Cheating In School With Apple Watches, by E.J. Dickson, The Outline

“Most people do not like the Apple Watch. It’s expensive. It’s annoying. And while Apple has tried to pivot to marketing it as a health and fitness tracker, unless you want to find out if you’re having a heart attack while you’re actually having a heart attack, its functionality is fairly limited.

There is, however, one demographic that has embraced the Apple Watch with open arms: tech-savvy, upper middle-class teens and tweens. The watch is a convenient workaround for classroom cell-phone bans; it can be used for everything from texting to cheating on tests.”


Why I Hatefully Love Apple Music’s Android App, by Ivan Mehta, The Next Web

I’ve been using Apple Music since it launched nearly four years ago – even after I subsequently switched to Android devices. While I love its music library, and appreciate the curated dashboards, its Android app has frustrated me constantly.

What's The Best Simple List App For iPhone?, by Bardley Chambers, 9to5Mac

“I’m a big fan of the “Getting Things Done” methodology from David Allen. I’ve been following it for most of my professional career, and I attribute it to being able to stay organized and on task with my full-time job and writing here at 9to5Mac. With that being said, I don’t put everything in my GTD app. There are a lot of items like grocery lists, home repair plans, or even simple weekend tasks that end up in a list app. I want it to be easy to add to, easy to mark off, easy to organize, and simply get out of the way. It’s the heaviness of my GTD app that allows my simple list app to be light. I’ve tried a bunch of apps, so here’s my round-up of the best list apps for iPhone.”

I Played All 17 Angry Birds Games And I Have Some Thoughts, by Zack Zwiezen, Kotaku

There are 17 Angry Bird games available to download and play on your mobile device. I decided to download all of them and play them in chronological order of release and document my journey and maybe learn something.


6 Reasons Why You’re A Bad Listener (And How To Change It), by Stephanie Vozza, Fast Company

To help others succeed you have to become good at listening. Listening is more than simply hearing what someone has to say. You also need to be thinking how you can help the other person achieve the best results by carefully considering their words and asking thoughtful questions, says Halstead.

“If you just hear the words without hearing what the person actually intends to say, you will miss the opportunity to gain the essential clarity and results you seek,” he says.


'It's Definitely Going To Break Things': Apple Is Prepping An iOS Change That May Hurt AR And VR Advertising, by Digiday

Apple appears poised to make it more difficult for sites to track iPhones’ and iPads’ motions and orientations in order to power web-based AR and VR experiences. According to a document published to Apple’s developer site, the next update to Apple’s mobile operating system, iOS 12.2, will add a setting that will enable people using its mobile Safari browser to prevent sites from being able to access a device’s accelerometer and gyroscope in order to track the device’s motion and orientation.

Why CAPTCHAs Have Gotten So Difficult, by Josh Dzieza, The Verge

“The problem with many of these tests isn’t necessarily that bots are too clever — it’s that humans suck at them. And it’s not that humans are dumb; it’s that humans are wildly diverse in language, culture, and experience. Once you get rid of all that stuff to make a test that any human can pass, without prior training or much thought, you’re left with brute tasks like image processing, exactly the thing a tailor-made AI is going to be good at.”

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With the arrival of wearable technologies all over our bodies, there is only one logcial solution in preventing cheats: test while naked.

Alas, I suspect implantable technologies are also coming.


Once upon a time, Microsoft was the largest Mac developer outside of Apple.

To be good in services, perhaps Apple need to aim to be the best Android developer outside of Google.


Thanks for reading.

The Mandated-to-be-Factual Edition Sunday, February 3, 2019

The iPhone XR Is Apple's Top Phone, And Other iPhone Sales Secrets, by Jason Snell, Tom's Guide

In an unusual disclosure in early January, Apple CEO Tim Cook warned the world that Apple's prior rosy forecast for the holiday quarter had proved to be inaccurate. This week, the company finally released the official figures for that period, and hopped on a phone call with financial analysts to provide a little more detail about what's going on with Apple's business.

These statements, while obviously self-serving, are legally mandated to be factual. And anytime Apple lets a bit of information about its business leak out, it's worth paying attention. In fact, we learned quite a few tidbits about Apple's iPhone business thing week.

Butterfly Keyboard Reliability Has Delayed My Next Apple Lease For My School, by Bradley Chambers, 9to5Mac

Until Apple can get back to the reliability of the 2015 MacBook Pro and 2015 MacBook Air, I am going to struggle to purchase laptops in bulk.

App Of The Week: NanoStudio 2, by Craig Grannell, Stuff

The first thing most people do when armed with a new music app is head to the instruments. NanoStudio 2 has only two, but the Obsidian synth rivals the very best on iOS. Even if you go no further than the bundled presets, you’ll revel in 300 varied patches, and the list can be instantly filtered using AND and OR operators.

The Real Lesson Of Facebook's Apple Dust-up Shows Why Zuckerberg's 'Hacker Way' Is Even More Dangerous Than We Thought, by Troy Wolverton, Business Insider

But the fact that it was willing to risk even the wrath of Apple — a company that has no small amount of power over Facebook's ability to reach consumers, customers, and even its own employees — shows just how brazen the social networking company has become. Its appetite for data on its users and competitors is so ravenous that it's willing to cross seemingly any and every line to get it, no matter what the potential risk.

Ikea's Slow And Steady Plan To Save The Smart Home, by Brian Barrett, Wired

A year and a half ago, Ikea became a smart home company, introducing a line of connected light bulbs to complement its lingonberries. This spring, it adds its second product category to its Home Smart lineup: a set of smart blinds, called Fyrtur, that open and close with the tap of a wireless remote or a voice command. Blinds might seem an odd choice to build on Ikea’s IoT momentum. In fact, there’s no better sign that the company has a better grip on the smart home than just about anybody.

The Just-Say-Thanks Edition Saturday, February 2, 2019

Apple Says iOS Fix For Group FaceTime Bug Now Coming Next Week, Issues Apology, by Michael Potuck, 9to5Mac

The company says it has patched the flaw on its servers and will roll out an update to iOS users next week to bring back Group FaceTime with the bug fixed.

Meet The 14-year-old Who Discovered Apple’s Shocking FaceTime Bug, by AP

Apple has declined to say when it learned about the problem. The company also wouldn’t say if it has logs that could show if anyone took advantage of the bug before it became publicly known this week. The company reached out to the Thompson family on Tuesday offering to give some public credit for their efforts, according to an email Michele Thompson shared with The Associated Press.

“It would be cool to just have Apple say thanks to me,” Grant Thompson said before Friday’s announcement from Apple. “And of course, the bug bounty, that would be pretty awesome to get, but as long as we got rid of this pretty groundbreaking bug, and Apple said thank you, that would be pretty cool.”

Apple Removes Siri Team Lead As Part Of AI Strategy Shift, by Mikey Campbell, AppleInsider

Citing people familiar with the matter, The Information reports Stasior is no longer in charge of Apple's virtual assistant team, though the executive is still employed at the company.

Apple SVP of machine learning and AI strategy John Giannendrea reportedly made the decision in an attempt to shift the Siri program toward research rather than incremental updates. Giannandrea is anticipated to start a search for a new head of Siri, the report said.


Best Habit Tracking Apps For iPhone And iPad, by Christine Chan, iMore

It's a new year, so that means some healthy new habits, or keeping up with old ones. Whether you believe in New Year's Resolutions or not, it's always good to build up some positive habits, but keeping up with them can be a chore. That's why we've gathered up some awesome apps to help you keep up with your goals this year!

Apps And Services To Help You Get Around On Your Next Trip, by Sarah Amandolare, New York Times

The first challenge you face on arriving somewhere new is usually how to get around, but the right technology can make it easier. There are tools suited to specific destinations, or to modes of transport, whether you want to hail a ride in Tel Aviv, explore Paris by scooter or catch a bus from Bangkok to Chiang Mai.

Here are some free transportation apps, beyond the usual Google Maps and Google Translate, to consider downloading before your next trip.


Whatever Happened To Microsoft?, by Spencer Kelly, BBC

On Monday, it will be five years since Satya Nadella was announced as Microsoft's chief executive.

Since taking charge he has turned the tech firm's fortunes around, making it the most valuable company in the world for the first time since 2002.

Spotify Is Said To Be In Talks To Buy Gimlet In A Quest For More Podcasts, by Mike Isaac, New York Times

Spotify is in advanced talks to buy the podcast studio Gimlet Media, according to two people briefed on the proposed deal, a move that could help the music streaming service improve its profit margins and reduce its dependence on the major record companies.

Is It Really That Bad To Tweet At Authors Whose Books You Hated?, by Heather Schwedel, Slate

Giovanna Pompele is, in addition to being an adjunct professor in Miami, an avid reader who spends time on literary Twitter. It was there that she once committed the ultimate literary-Twitter faux pas: “I tagged [an author] on Twitter on a four-star review in which I explained why I docked the star,” she told me in an email. “I have regretted that ever since.”

If you didn’t know, now you do: “Don’t tag authors in reviews that criticize them” is the latest addition to the largely unwritten rules of Twitter etiquette, and it’s one for which authors have started banging the drum.

The Digital-Bucket Edition Friday, February 1, 2019

Apple Just Became The Tech Industry's De Facto Privacy Cop, by Cat Zakrzewski, Washington Post

But relying on one tech titan to take on another may not be the best solution, either. Apple — wrestling with digital security flaws of its own — is an inadequate privacy cop, advocates warn.

“Apple here is becoming the de facto FTC in the absence of what’s supposed to be America’s privacy regulator speaking out or acting,” said Jeffrey Chester, the executive director of the Center for Digital Democracy.

Advocates say the incident underscores the need for a tough federal privacy law, as well as stronger FTC enforcement of consumer privacy protections. “What Apple did today is significant, but it’s a tiny drop in the digital bucket,” Chester said.

Apple Stands Up For Privacy. Does It Matter?, by Kara Swisher, New York Times

The bigger problem is that such an important issue might turn out to be the real nothing burger. Facebook turned in another stellar quarter this week, which made its stock rise strongly. So despite all the sketchy things the company is accused of doing by Apple and many others, most investors and analysts don’t seem to care, and they will never care, as long as its digital advertising business — goosed by its astonishing and nakedly ambitious ability to suck in data, data and more data from all of us — continues to impress. Simply put, Wall Street does not care.

Apple Should Borrow These 4 Privacy Features From The Competition, by Michael Grothaus, Fast Company

If Apple needs some suggestions of what type of features to include, it need look no further than these features from other tech companies.

We Found People Who Let Facebook Collect All Their Digital Activity For $20 A Month. Here’s What We Learned., by Shannon Palus, Slate

The dollar sign that programs like Facebook Research put in front of its exchange made it easier to see the kinds of bad deals users are being offered (and Facebook Research was superlatively bad for the sheer scope of data it collected). But the reality is we’re awash in bad deals. In a landscape so full of companies prying their way into your online and offline life, I can see the nihilistic logic behind participants who said they understood what they were giving away to Facebook, and said they decided they preferred hard compensation to no compensation. I can also see it in my own rationalization that I’m willing to give up some privacy in exchange for seeing trashy movies in theaters at a steep discount, or for being able to request, “Hey Alexa, play ocean sounds” as I’m falling asleep.

Apple Restores Facebook’s Ability To Run Internal iOS Apps, by Nick Statt, The Verge

Facebook said today that Apple has restored its enterprise certificate, the software permission that allows the social network to load internal mobile apps onto the devices of employees, beta testers, and research participants.

Apple Restores Google’s Own Internal iPhone Apps After Privacy Brouhaha, by Cyrus Farivar, Ars Technica

For less than a day, Apple had briefly revoked Google’s iOS certificate that enabled those private apps to conduct various internal business such as company shuttles, food menus, as well as pre-release beta testing, and more.

Lights On

'Did I Do That?' Here's Why Your iPhone Flashlight Seems To Turn On By Itself, by Dalvin Brown, USA Today

The ever-present flashlight icon is located at the bottom left-hand corner of your smartphone, so when you grip the phone face-up with your right hand, your thumb can easily come in contact with the shortcut, whether intentionally or not.

Your palm comes in contact with the screen when you grip the phone face down, which can also trigger the flashlight.

Security Matters

New macOS Malware Steals Your Cookies To Swipe Your Cryptocurrency, by Matthew Beedham, The Next Web

It also attempts to steal passwords saved in Chrome, and text messages stored in iTunes backups. When all this information is in the hands of attackers, it’s quite easy for them to steal cryptocurrency from the victim’s exchange accounts.


Apple's Iconic Glass Cube In New York Will Re-open This Year, by Kif Leswing, Business Insider

John Powers, CEO of Boston Properties, which Apple leases the location from, said on Thursday that it will reopen "sometime in the first half of this year."

Review: ZenPod Turns Your AirPods Case Into A Fidget Spinner, by Andrew O'Hara, AppleInsider

When it comes down to it though, only die-hard fidget spinner fans will even care about this for that aspect. For the rest, it is simply a protective case for your AirPods charging case, and a fun novelty.


You Don’t Have To Get Up At 4 A.m. To Be Successful: 5 CEOs Who Wake Up After 10 A.m., by Pavithra Mohan, Fast Company

The typical workday may favor early birds, but in truth, your chronotype–a classification based on your natural sleep habits–determines how productive you are in the mornings.


Apple Takes A Hit In China, And Workers There Feel The Pain, by Ailin Tang, New York Times

More than a hundred Chinese workers who once assembled and tested Apple iPhones queued up on a recent morning outside Gate 7 of the vast Changshuo electronics factory to collect their severance and go on their way. They had once hoped that their assembly line jobs would give them big enough paychecks to propel them into a better life.

That was before consumers in China turned up their noses at Apple’s new iPhone XR and its nearly $1,000 price. Work slowed. Overtime evaporated. And now workers are giving up.

In Baltimore, The Future Of Film Culture Is An Old-school Video Store, by Brandon Soderberg, The Outline

In an era in which streaming services have forced nearly all video stores out of business, Beyond Video has a savvy philosophy: use the internet, don’t let the internet use you. After years spent gathering titles, with the help of a successful Kickstarter campaign, the volunteer-run store further crowdsourced its collection through a widely shared Google Doc. Subsequently, donated DVDs and Blu-Rays from all over the country poured in. Hatch, a well-known “Film Twitter” personality, runs a prolific account where he does everything from recommending a movie to commenting on film culture through memes, even winning recognition at the Rotterdam Film Festival for his proficiency at the latter.

Bottom of the Page

Of all the people who have my data, whether in Apple's address book or the various other apps that I use, how many has shared every intimate detail with Facebook or Google? And how can I get a share of all that money given out by Facebook and Google?


After Apple is done with the 'modular' Mac Pro, maybe it should start work on a 'modular' MacBook Pro? One that I can change out the keyboard with something else that I enjoy typing on?

(Some may say we are pretty close to a modern modular computer with the iPad Pro.)

I've just started using Microsoft's Comfort Desktop 5050, and I'm starting to really enjoy typing on it. One flaw for me though: the Esc key is really too small. (And there is no Cmd+. equivalent on Windows.)


Thanks for reading.