Archive for March 2019

The Same-Case-Design Edition Tuesday, March 19, 2019

Apple Updates iMacs With New Intel Processors And AMD GPUs, by Chaim Gartenberg, The Verge

The 21.5-inch iMac now features 8th Gen quad-core i5 processors, and it can be configured with up to six-core processors and AMD’s Radeon Pro Vega 20 GPU (with 4GB of memory). The 27-inch iMac can now be configured with up to Intel’s latest 9th Gen 6-core and 8-core i7 processors and AMD’s Radeon Pro Vega 48 GPU (with 8GB of memory).

Apple Updates iMac Line With New CPU, GPU Options, by Stephen Hackett, 512 Pixels

While the new CPU and GPU options are welcome, they are all that is really new about these machines. They use the same case design, which harkens back to the Late 2012 iMacs. This includes the same cooling system, which worries me.


Then there’s the matter of the T2 chip which is noticeably absent from these machines. That means that all the security benefits it brings are not available on Apple’s most popular desktop models. The iMac doesn’t have the secure boot capabilities and fast (and encrypted!) data access that something like the MacBook Air boasts.

iMac Pro Updated With 256GB RAM And Radeon Pro Vega 64X Graphics Options, by Joe Rossignol, MacRumors

Upgrading to 256GB of 2,666MHz DDR4 ECC memory will set you back a steep $5,200, more than the price of the base model iMac Pro itself.

Our Content On Our Service

New York Times Cools On Apple, Whose News Subscription App Looms, by Thomas Seal, Bloomberg

The New York Times has recently cut the number of stories it’s giving to Apple Inc.’s news app, the newspaper publisher’s chief executive officer said, as the iPhone maker prepares to unveil a subscription service for news outlets next week.

“We try to be intelligent in the way we think about our partnerships with these platforms,” New York Times Chief Executive Officer Mark Thompson said Monday at the Oxford Media Convention in England, answering a question about his company’s relationship to tech giants.

Netflix Confirms That It Won't Be Part Of Apple's New Service, by Lucas Shaw, Bloomberg

Netflix Inc. Chief Executive Officer Reed Hastings confirmed that his company won’t be participating in Apple Inc.’s new streaming platform, reflecting new competition between the Silicon Valley giants.

“We want to have people watch our content on our service,” he said at a press conference on Monday. “We’ve chosen not to integrate into their service.”


Apple Updates Events App For Apple TV Ahead Of March 25 'It's Showtime' Event, by Tim Hardwick, MacRumors

Apple today updated its Events app for the fourth and fifth-generation Apple TV in preparation for the March 25th "Show Time" event that's expected to focus on the company's upcoming TV and Apple News services.

Apple Business Chat Drives In-seat Drink Ordering At Quicken Loans Arena In Cleveland, by Ron Miller, TechCrunch

With LeBron James hundreds of miles west plying his trade for the Los Angeles Lakers these days, Cleveland Cavalier fans haven’t had a lot to cheer about this season — but Aramark (the stadium food and beverage vendor) and the Cavs have teamed up with Apple Business Chat to let fans order drinks right from their seats.

It’s a nifty system, first introduced to Phillies fans last summer. In this iteration, Cleveland fans can access a menu, order drinks and get them delivered directly to their seats using iMessage on their iPhones.

I Tried Apple's Recently Updated Mac Mini — And It's The Way To Go If You're Looking For macOS Desktop On A Budget, by Christian de Looper, Stamford Advocate

Apple has paid very close attention to the efficiency of the computer too. Most of what we used the device for was pretty lightweight — writing articles in Google Docs, some basic image editing, and so on. At times, however, we were able to put the computer through some heavier use.

For example, I do freelance music mixing on the side, and routinely run audio editing programs with sometimes dozens of tracks at once and heavy processing on each of those tracks. The device was easily able to handle that — much more easily than the aging 2012 MacBook Pro I was using for that before getting the Mac mini.

Video Editors For iPhone: Get Creative With The Best Video Editor For Your Handset, by Carrie Marshall, TechRadar

There are lots of video editors for iPhone in the App Store, ranging from simple apps designed for social media sharing to high-end apps that you could easily make entire movies with and specialist apps for specific tasks. Some are cheap, others cheerful, and some are both. Whether you want to amuse your friends or make a masterpiece, these are the apps we think you should consider.

13 Best Text Editors To Speed Up Your Workflow In 2019, by Brian Jackson, Kinsta

A text editor may sound boring to some, but it’s the lifeblood of so many organizations around the world. From development teams to publishers, text and code editors are intertwined with almost everyone’s workflows. Many of us bounce in and out of them all day long. Whether you’re writing PHP, or simply taking notes for a project, there are plenty of great tools to make this task a little easier. Today we’ll outline the absolute best text editor solutions.

Some of the text editors are excellent for experienced developers, while others are more for beginners or writers. You’ll also find some great editors for collaboration, real-time code sharing, and much more.


Why Phone Numbers Stink As Identity Proof, by Brian Kerbs, Kerbs On Security

Beyond SIM-swapping attacks, there are a number of ways that phone numbers can get transferred to new owners, Nixon said. The biggest reason is lack of payment for past phone bills. But maybe someone goes through a nasty divorce or separation, and can no longer access their phone or phone accounts. The account is sent to collections and closed, and the phone number gets released back into the general pool for reassignment after a period of time.

The Right Way To Follow Your Passion, by Brad Stulberg, New York Times

Passion can be an energizing, fulfilling force, the stuff upon which businesses are built, works of art are created and Olympic medals are won. However, if you’re not careful, passion can become an equally destructive curse, leading to suffering and distress. Understanding how this happens — and how you can prevent it — is integral to mental well-being and living productively with passion.


I’m So Glad The iPad Mini Isn’t Dead, by Chris Davies, Slashgear

Today’s refresh proves me wrong, and I couldn’t be happier. The new iPad mini punches just as hard as the new iPad Air: the only difference is the size. It’s small enough to drop into a bag alongside your laptop, rather than try to replace it like an iPad Pro might, and if Apple is to be believed, the battery life hasn’t suffered despite the performance boost. In one fell swoop the tiniest tablet in Apple’s line-up has gone from being forgettable to arguably the secret sweet-spot of the range.

Angry Birds AR Is Heading To iPhone. Here's What It's Like To Play, by Scott Stein, CNET

I played the game in AR before, on the Magic Leap. It's also available in VR. The iOS game, Angry Birds AR: Isle of Pigs, is the first mobile version with AR. After getting to play it for a moment, it's a reminder that, in many cases, phone-based AR can be just as good as what you can get on a several thousand-dollar AR headset.

The Pencil-Support Edition Monday, March 18, 2019

Apple Announces New 10.5-inch iPad Air And iPad Mini With Apple Pencil Support, by Benjamin Mayo, 9to5Mac

Apple today announced updates to its iPad line. There’s a new iPad mini and a new iPad Air, with a 10.5-inch screen. The iPad Air features a thinner design with a 10.5-inch display and the Apple A12 Bionic chip.

The iPad mini keeps the same 7.9-inch screen, but gets the same A12 spec bump. Both the Air and the Mini are compatible with the first-generation Apple Pencil. The iPad mini starts at $399 for the 64 GB model, and the Air starts at $499.

Apple Announces New iPad Air, iPad Mini, by Stephen Hackett, 512 Pixels

If you want the cheapest iPad you can get, buy the 9.7-inch. If you want something small, the iPad mini is for you. If you want a keyboard, but don’t want to spring for the iPad Pro, the new iPad Air looks like a real winner.

Apple Rolls Out New Smart Covers For 2019 iPad Air & Mini Models, by Roger Fingas, AppleInsider

For the 2019 Air, the company has new leather and polyurethane cases. Both feature automatic wake/sleep functions, and their lids can be rolled back to prop an Air in two positions. [...] For the Mini Apple is only offering a polyurethane Cover, priced at $39. Color options are white, papaya, charcoal gray, and pink sand.

Apple’s New iPad Mini And iPad Air Both Support The Logitech Crayon, by Jeff Benjamin, 9to5Mac

The Logitech Crayon is an alternative to the Apple Pencil, which uses some of the same technology as Apple’s stylus and comes with tilt support, yet lacks pressure-sensitivity.

iWork Apps On iOS Will Be Updated Next Week With Enhanced Apple Pencil Integration And More, by Joe Rossignol, MacRumors

Apple today announced that its iWork suite of apps for iOS will be updated next week with enhanced Apple Pencil integration, including new animation options in the Keynote app that let users draw an animation path for any object, and an all-new user interface for implementing build effects such as move, rotate, and scale.

Apple Removes 10.5-inch iPad Pro From Online Store Following iPad Air Launch, by Malcolm Owen, AppleInsider

Apple has quietly retired the 10.5-inch version of the iPad Pro as part of its iPad shakeup, following the launch of the 10.5-inch iPad Air, a move that now leaves the 11-inch and 12.9-inch variants as the only two sizes of iPad Pro models available to purchase.


The Most Useful Apple Watch Apps, by David Nield, Gizmodo

Despite a few high-profile disappearances, plenty of iOS apps have companion apps for the Apple Watch – but only some of them bring genuinely useful functions and features to your wrist. Here are our picks for the Apple Watch apps that go above and beyond the basics to add real value to your Apple-branded timepiece.

Review: HyperDrive USB-C Hub For iPad Pro, by iPad Insight

Today, the HyperDrive is a very handy addition to the iPad Pro. It may not be essential yet, but it provides multiple solutions in one small, well-designed package. If Apple delivers the goods with iOS 13 and gives us real file management for the first time, then it will become a real powerhouse.

The fact that the HyperDrive isn’t a one-trick pony is icing on the cake for me. It will work with any Windows PC, Mac or Chromebook that has a USB-C port. It should also work with the Nintendo Switch and will likely be compatible with any Android device with a USB-C port, as well. It’s got the versatility you expect from a USB-C hub with some nice additions that make it a better fit with the iPad Pro.


Is Computer Code A Foreign Language?, by William Egginton, New York Times

The animating idea behind these bills is that computer coding has become a valuable skill. This is certainly true. But the proposal that foreign language learning can be replaced by computer coding knowledge is misguided: It stems from a widely held but mistaken belief that science and technology education should take precedence over subjects like English, history and foreign languages.


Apple’s Big Spending Plan To Challenge Netflix Takes Shape, by John Koblin, New York Times

Five series have completed filming. Around a half dozen more are on the verge of wrapping production, according to several people familiar with the shows who were not authorized to speak publicly. And the number of original productions is expected to increase in 2020.

With all that new material, Apple will transform itself, seemingly overnight, from a tech giant into a more general enterprise, with a slate of original entertainment offerings sizable enough to put it in a league with Showtime, Hulu or FX.

How Apple Stores Changed For The Worse, According To A Former Employee, by Chris Matyszczyk, ZDNet

Worse, said the former Apple store manager, new, more stringent disciplines were being imposed: "Sales traffic and volumes were dipping, and yet our sales targets continued to rise. You can imagine the pressure this would put on store leadership. Suddenly, we were being tracked based on how many 'exceptions' we were making for customers -- either a discretionary discount or waiving of a repair fee or cost."

Trusting In Antitrust: Actions Against Big Tech Are Now Palatable, by David Streitfeld, New York Times

The political landscape is shifting, however, at a speed that dumbfounds even antitrust experts. President Barack Obama thought of the tech companies in the way they think of themselves: as progressive, smart entrepreneurs who want what’s best for America. His administration declined to pursue Google on antitrust charges and hired from the tech industry for top posts. Top staff members later went to work for the tech industry in top posts, too. It was a cozy relationship.

“Something has definitely changed,” said Geoffrey A. Manne, the founder of the International Center for Law and Economics, a think tank in Portland, Ore. “Most voters are very fond of Amazon, Apple, Google and even Facebook. But I think there’s also a growing sense of skepticism about all these companies. The shine has come off.”

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Both the new iPad Air and iPad mini look great. If I have too much money, I will buy all of the different models and use different iPads for different occasions.

I'm a little disappointed -- just a little -- that Apple continues to recycle old names. Air. Mini. Familiar names with unfamiliar lineup.

But -- hey -- maybe in one or two year's time, there will be a new iPad with a new name. What will Apple name its foldable iPads?


I'm a fan for Twilight-Zone-like television shows. I remember staying up late to watch the (first) Twilight Zone revival as well as the new Amazing Stories back in the 80s, when the two shows finally made it to Singapore's local TV. And I am also a Black Mirror fan, although I feel that, for many of its episodes, a half-hour format may work better.

(I even watched Freddy's Nightmare back in the days.)

So, I do look forward to the new Amazing Stories on Apple's streaming service.

Unfortunately, that's the only thing I am looking forward to, right now. Maybe Apple's upcoming event can convince me that there are a few shows worth paying. Or maybe some shows will have good reviews or good word-of-mouth when the service finally launches. As of now, I simply don't have any motivation to subscribe this new Apple service.


I do hope the new Twilight Zone revival over at CBS All Access will make it to international audience via Netflix, just like Star Trek Discovery. Over here in Singapore, I can't sign up to CBS All Access even if I want to throw money at CBS.

And, speaking of revivals, is nobody bringing back Alfred Hitchcock Presents?


So, it's Twilight Zone verus Amazing Stories verus Black Mirror. And I think to myself, what a wonderful world.


Thanks for reading.

The Detect-Irregularities Edition Sunday, March 17, 2019

Apple’s Largest-Ever Health Study Could Be A Game-Changer, by Melissa Matthews and Ben Court, Men's Health

Irregular heartbeats are potentially dangerous because they could lead to strokes, blood clots, or heart failure. To prove that this FDA-cleared technology is worth the hype, Apple partnered with Stanford Medicine on a research study on more than 400,000 people to identify irregular heart rhythms and potential atrial fibrillation (Afib) using Apple Watch data. As part of the study, if an irregular heart rhythm was identified, participants received a notification on their Apple Watch and iPhone, a telehealth consultation with a doctor and an electrocardiogram (ECG) patch for additional monitoring. The findings were reported today at the American College of Cardiology meeting in New Orleans, Louisiana.

Apple Watch App Could Save Your Life By Detecting Irregular Heartbeat, Study Says, by Susan Scutti, CNN

Has a new bar been set for wearable technologies? An Apple Watch may detect heart rate irregularities that subsequent medical tests confirm to be atrial fibrillation, according to preliminary findings from a new study. AFib is often undiagnosed since it might not cause noticeable symptoms, but it contributes to 130,000 deaths and 750,000 hospitalizations in the United States each year.

New results from the Apple-funded study, which have not been published or peer-reviewed, were presented Saturday at the American College of Cardiology Scientific Session in New Orleans.

Add A Pomodoro Timer To Your Mac's Taskbar With This App, by Emily Price, Lifehacker

Pomo Timer is a Mac app that adds a tomato timer to the top of your Mac’s toolbar. With it you can time how long you’ve worked or breaker and keep track of how many sprints you’ve completed overall on a task.

In Defence Of Apple’s Bug Process, by Michael Nachbaur

It’s easy to blame Apple for poor bug handling practices, but I feel it’s a two-way street. It’s just as much our responsibility as theirs to ensure important bugs get fixed; we should do everything in our power to make their jobs easier in solving bugs. And if we can’t, then at the very least we can treat Apple’s engineers with respect.

Spotify Vs. Apple: Why We Need To Stop Using Bad Analogies, by Nick Lemoing, Medium

There’s a problem with using analogies. Depending on the example used, analogies can either help or hurt Spotify’s case.

The Intuitive-and-Friendly Edition Saturday, March 16, 2019

Inside Garageband, The Little App Ruling The Sound Of Modern Music, by Amy X. Wang, Rolling Stone

Musicians’ applause for Apple’s Garageband — which celebrates its 15th birthday this year, humbly, still living in the media shadow of many of the tech giant’s more glittering products — is similar across genres and skill levels. Artists from Radiohead to Kendrick Lamar have used the app to demo, produce and sometimes even finalize master recordings. “It allows you to not be constrained by what you can or can’t play,” Dan Smith, frontman of British band Bastille, tells Rolling Stone. “I can quickly get something out of my head. Or I can write a song from start to finish in a couple of hours.” Other “digital audio workstation” apps that also splashed onto the scene in the 2000s tech boom, such as Pro-Tools, Ableton and Fruity Loops Studio, are often dismissed as intimidating or time-consuming, especially when compared to the bare, intuitive and friendly interface that’s become a signature of Apple design. Producer Oak Felder, who’s worked with artists like Ariana Grande, Usher and Alicia Keys, says Garageband has made collaboration much easier by allowing even the most tech-unsavvy people to explain their ideas with self-cut tracks, rather than with an abstract tangle of words.

For better or worse, Garageband lets anyone from a veteran sound engineer to a novice teenager cut a track that’s professional-sounding enough to make it directly onto the radio — which it often does. T-Pain, in 2005, made his whole first album Rappa Ternt Sanga with the Garageband app on his laptop. “The Hand That Feeds,” a Nine Inch Nails anthem, came out as a Garageband project file for fans to play around with on their own computers that same year; Radiohead offered up the same idea with “Nude” in 2008. Haim, St. Vincent, Rihanna, Duran Duran and Usher are among artists who’ve all released music using Garageband’s suite of free sounds or audio loops. For Fall Out Boy’s 2007 “Thnks fr th Mmrs,” Stump and his bandmates decided they actually liked the sound of the app’s virtual instruments more than real ones they tried in a studio. “It’s funny — we re-recorded that intro section with strings and horns, but we ended up using a lot of my Garageband stuff,” Stump says.

How The macOS Finder Sidebar Is Slowing Things Down, by Vinod Pillai, UX Collective

I remember the day I was faced with coming in terms with the horrid OS X Lion update that came in the form of some greyed out monotone finder icons. In the following days, I could immediately sense I was spending longer amounts of time trying to accomplish basic operations of navigating within the sidebar. After denial, I was in the acceptance phase when I told myself, it’s a matter of time and eventually, I would never remember the blissfully colourful days of finding folders quickly. Seven years later, to this day, I still sometimes mourn the tragic state of misfortune that has come upon my poor finder friend.

Decision and Rates

Here’s Why Apple Is Saying Spotify Is Suing Songwriters, by Dani Deahl, The Verge

It’s likely that it’s this action — moving the process from the CRB to the Court of Appeals — that caused the NMPA to use the word “suing,” but all that’s really happening is the judges are changing and these streaming services are asking for another look at the adjustments they requested in the CRB’s ruling. As entertainment lawyer Jeff Becker of Swanson, Martin & Bell told The Verge last week, it was anticipated for some time that these platforms would take the opportunity to preserve their bottom line via an appeal — it is the obvious next step in a process with billions at stake.

Importantly, Apple Music will be covered by whatever decision and rates are set at the end of this process — so while Apple can sit back and take shots at Spotify for the appeal, it will benefit from any ruling that favors Spotify, Amazon, and Google — which is not a bad position to be in.

Spotify Responds To Apple’s Response Over App Store Flap, Calls Company A ‘Monopolist’, by Jem Aswad, Variety

In a response to Apple’s response, late Friday morning a Spotify rep said: “Every monopolist will suggest they have done nothing wrong and will argue that they have the best interests of competitors and consumers at heart. In that way, Apple’s response to our complaint before the European Commission is not new and is entirely in line with our expectations.

“We filed our complaint because Apple’s actions hurt competition and consumers, and are in clear violation of the law. This is evident in Apple’s belief that Spotify’s users on iOS are Apple customers and not Spotify customers, which goes to the very heart of the issue with Apple. We respect the process the European Commission must now undertake to conduct its review,” and asked readers to refer to their website for details.


Fans Of Classic Mac Designs Will Love The iBot G3, by Juli Clover, MacRumors

If you're an Apple fan looking for interesting Apple-related desk or shelf decor, I don't think you're going to be disappointed by the iBot G3. It's adorable, fits in well with Apple products, and looks good in any home or office environment.

UMKC Students Develop App That Helps Visually Impaired People ‘See’ What’s Around Them, by Alana LaFlore, Fox 4

The narration will tell people things like if it's safe to cross the street, or tell them what's in front of them. It works through a camera, glasses and headphones. The picture of video live streams into the app and the advanced algorithms do the work.


From Its New $38-million Home, Can Radio Tastemaker KCRW Adapt To A Podcast World?, by Randall Roberts, Los Angeles Times

Within the ragtag rooms of KCRW’s old headquarters, hundreds of artists, including Adele, Coldplay and Radiohead, earned some of their first major exposure during the station’s 80 hours of weekly music programming. But unlike when KCRW first started broadcasting in 1945 — and when the three-hour music block “Morning Becomes Eclectic” debuted in 1977 — terrestrial radio no longer monopolizes the attention of commute-time ears. New automobile dashboards offer infinite options, from satellite radio to bluetooth-enabled portals allowing for instant podcast action. The audio marketplace is a feast of riches.

“Three years ago or four years ago, everybody was like, 'Radio is dead. Everything audio is dead,'” Ferro says. “Now, everybody's racing to do audio.”

The Artists-Musicians-and-Songwriters Edition Friday, March 15, 2019

Apple Announces WWDC 2019 Kicks Off June 3, by Ryan Christoffel, MacStories

Today Apple announced the dates for WWDC 2019. The annual developer conference will take place June 3-7, hosted for the third year in a row at the McEnery Convention Center in San Jose, California. [...] The conference typically kicks off with a keynote address where these software updates are previewed, so mark June 3 as the day to find out all about what improvements will come to your Apple devices later this year.

Addressing Spotify’s Claims, by Apple

Apple connects Spotify to our users. We provide the platform by which users download and update their app. We share critical software development tools to support Spotify’s app building. And we built a secure payment system — no small undertaking — which allows users to have faith in in-app transactions. Spotify is asking to keep all those benefits while also retaining 100 percent of the revenue.

Spotify wouldn’t be the business they are today without the App Store ecosystem, but now they’re leveraging their scale to avoid contributing to maintaining that ecosystem for the next generation of app entrepreneurs. We think that’s wrong.

We share Spotify’s love of music and their vision of sharing it with the world. Where we differ is how you achieve that goal. Underneath the rhetoric, Spotify’s aim is to make more money off others’ work. And it’s not just the App Store that they’re trying to squeeze — it’s also artists, musicians and songwriters.

Apple Isn't Paying Artists Who Perform At Its Stores, by Nastia Voynovskaya, KQED

At a time when Apple and other tech giants are under scrutiny for a lack of staff diversity, experts say that Today at Apple's roster of local artists lends the company a valuable, socially responsible image while preserving their status quo, and at virtually no cost. Though some of the interviewees for this story expressed gratitude for the chance to work with a powerful brand, several came away from the experience questioning why Apple—the world's largest company by market value, with a revenue of $265.6 billion in 2018 alone—was unable to pay them for their labor.

In talking with more than a dozen people about Today at Apple's model, a nuanced portrait emerges of the artist's dilemma in the Bay Area. Apple's event programming thrives in a climate where artists are pressured to work for exposure, making it difficult to negotiate fair pay. While some interviewees were directly critical of being paid in merchandise instead of cash, others were hesitant to go on the record about Apple for fear of souring their relationship with the company. Meanwhile, experts maintain that a work-for-trade arrangement with a corporation as large and profitable as Apple reinforces a power dynamic that keeps artists at a disadvantage.


Apple Ad Focuses On iPhone’s Most Marketable Feature — Privacy, by Matthew Panzarino, TechCrunch

In a series of humorous vignettes, the message is driven home that sometimes you just want a little privacy. The spot has only one line of text otherwise, and it’s in keeping with Apple’s messaging on privacy over the long and short term. “If privacy matters in your life, it should matter to the phone your life is on.”

Spectre Long Exposure Camera App Sees First Major Update With Support For Older iPhones, More, by Michael Potuck, 9to5Mac

Halide’s creators successfully launched their new AI-powered long exposure camera app for iPhone called Spectre last month. Now they’ve released the first major update which brings stabilization support to iPhone 7, 6s, and SE, higher resolution for Live Photo mode, and more.

Hands-on: Wacom’s Cintiq 16 Tablet From The Perspective Of An iPad Pro User, by Michael Steeber, 9to5Mac

If you already have a favorite creative Mac app that you can’t live without, swear by the desktop experience, or are simply looking to upgrade from a less expensive Wacom tablet, you’ll probably be happy. The product is not without compromise, but it’s still the most affordable way to enter the Cintiq line.

Shazam Now Shows You When You First Discovered Your Favorite Tracks, by Killian Bell, Cult of Mac

The latest Shazam update is out now on iOS, giving users the ability to see exactly when they last searched for a certain song. Simply scroll through your history of Shazams and you’ll find a date and time alongside each entry.


Apple To Pursue Prestigious Awards For New Video Service, Sources Say, by Anousha Sakoui, Bloomberg

Apple Inc. is targeting prestigious awards for an upcoming slate of original movies and TV shows, demonstrating grand Hollywood ambitions for a video streaming service that will compete with Netflix Inc., Inc. and established studios, according to people familiar with the plans.

How Google Wiped A Neighborhood Off The Map, by Caitlin Dewey, Medium

Lott didn’t know it at the time, but the misnomer also revealed a great deal about the invisible process major tech firms use to put neighborhoods on their maps — and how decisions based off arcane data sets can affect communities thousands of miles away.

Who erased the Fruit Belt? Lott demanded of officials. What the hell is Medical Park? And how did it get on this map?

“There is nobody in City Hall who would dare utter the phrase Medical Park anywhere near the Fruit Belt,” Brendan Mehaffy, the city’s chief planner, told me recently. “So I really can’t tell you how this happened.”

But unbeknownst even to city officials, the city did have a hand in the Fruit Belt’s digital erasure — as did Google, two defunct mapping startups, and an ubiquitous, secretive data broker that claims to keep tabs on 100,000 neighborhoods.

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Well... it is also unfortunate that Apple is penning its response to Spotify's complaint, just when KQED publishes its report.


Thanks for reading.

The Keep-More-Money Edition Thursday, March 14, 2019

Why Spotify Is Such An Awkward—and Necessary—Critic Of Apple’s Power, by April Glaser, Slate

Perhaps it takes a critic like Spotify, another platform that arguably acts as an unfair gatekeeper, to highlight unfairness in Apple’s gatekeeping. It’s the companies that depend on Apple and are big enough to truly compete with it that are best positioned to critique it, since they have so much to lose if it abuses its power. But right now, Spotify’s position is that it would like to keep more money from subscriptions while denying more of it to artists. It’s too bad that this nascent critic of Apple’s power hasn’t spent much time examining its own.

Apple Vs. Spotify: Who’s Really Right?, by Jason Snell, Tom's Guide

On other platforms, Apple's services have to compete fairly. Why shouldn't the same be true on its own? Apple's apps will always have an advantage over the competition in that they're preinstalled — this is why more people use Apple Maps than Google Maps on iOS — but beyond that, shouldn't Apple Music, Books, and other services be judged solely on merit? Spotify thinks so, and I think that's right.

Spotify's Antitrust Complaint Poses A 'Meaningful Risk' To Apple And Could Undermine The App Store And Apple Music, by Lisa Eadicicco, Business Insider

"We believe the most significant financial risk to Apple would come from a forced requirement to allow first party and other third party payment processing from within apps," the note read. "This would create competition for subscription and in-app payments that would likely drive the current 30% rate Apple collects down substantially."

Spotify's Apple Complaint Cuts To A Core Antitrust Issue, by Issie Lapowsky, Wired

That Spotify would bring this complaint to the European Commission makes sense, and not just because Spotify is based in Europe. Antitrust regulators there, led by Margrethe Vestager, have been far more aggressive in cracking down on anticompetitive practices in recent years. In 2017, Vestager's office slapped Google with a $2.7 billion fine after finding that the search platform unfairly directed consumers to its own shopping platform over the competition.


Apple Music Launches On Amazon Fire TV, Coming To Echo For UK Users Soon, by Benjamin Mayo, 9to5Mac

Following the Apple Music launch on Amazon Echo speakers in the US, Apple Music is now available on the Amazon Fire TV as well. The Apple Music skill can now integrate with Alexa on Fire TV, so you can ask your TV to play Apple Music with your voice.

It’s Frustrating That Preview In Mojave Isn’t Better, by Adam Engst, TidBITS

The new features in Preview don’t add much value, one change is actively bad, and Apple introduced a handful of bugs.


The Web At 30: Apple’s Place In History, by Jason Snell, Macworld

Then all of a sudden, I’m sitting on my couch in an apartment at UC Berkeley and there are pictures coming up on the screen of my PowerBook 160. (They were in grayscale because the PowerBook’s screen didn’t support color, but still—they were pictures.) There were underlined hyperlinks you could click on to go to other pages. It was, even by the standards of a couple years later, unbelievably primitive—but also fundamentally recognizable as the web. The internet was never, ever the same.

How Pi Made Us Modern, by Steven Strogatz, New York Times

In every field of human endeavor, from reconstructive facial surgery to the simulation of air flowing past a jet’s wing, billions of tiny, discrete elements stand in for an inherently smooth and analog reality. It all began with the computation of pi. Pi represents a mathematical limit: an aspiration toward the perfect curve, steady progress toward the unreachable star. It exists, clear as night, with no end in sight.

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So, you want Apple to do all the hard work to make your business model workable on Apple's platform, and how much are you willing to pay Apple for all their hard work? $99 per year?


Which is a better name, Safari or Cyberdog?


Thanks for reading.

The Control-of-Time Edition Wednesday, March 13, 2019

'Digital Wellness' Wants To Cure Our Phone Addiction. Should We Let It?, by Oscar Schwartz, The Guardian

Many digital wellness books, programs and apps encourage commonsense behavioral changes – say, leaving your phone outside your room when you go to sleep – aimed to help people regain control of their time in a digital economy designed to drip feed information and dopamine in return for our data and attention.

But as this burgeoning movement becomes an industry, some worry that the “wellness” approach and its emphasis on personal responsibility is whitewashing deeper structural issues within the tech industry.

Apple Should Bring Back The Clickwheel iPod, by Damon Beres, Medium

An iPod that’s just for music—updated to work with the streaming Apple Music service, perhaps—might help us create space away from our phones, laptops, and tablets. In an era that’s seen new minimalist phones and wild demand for totally offline “classic” consoles from Nintendo, a revival doesn’t seem particularly unreasonable. Amazon still makes Kindle e-readers, after all: They’re less “functional” than the Kindle Fire tablet, perhaps, but there’s a reason many people prefer to read e-books on them.

So, bring back the clickwheel.

Disability Research

Seeing AI App For Blind Or Low Vision Users Gets Feature Updates, Native iPad Support, by Jonny Cladwell, On MSFT

Microsoft has updated the Seeing AI app for iOS users today, further expanding its feature set for those who are blind or with low vision. The update now allows users to tap an object captured from the camera to hear a description of the item. Additionally, the app now works natively on the iPad, giving users a larger display canvas to use as well as enabling the app to be used at work or in schools where cellular devices might not be permitted.

Why Microsoft's AI App For The Blind Could Lead Everyone With Sight, by Parmy Olson, Forbes

Though Seeing AI has a small audience of users, its evolution points to how the rest of us might use AI-powered technology like vision recognition in the future. Already much of the tech that people use today, from the computer mouse to text-to-speech software to predictive text, even the typewriter, has its roots in disability research.

Prime Time

Apple Races To Get Studios Signed Up For New Streaming Service, by Lucas Shaw, Bloomberg

The company is racing to secure movies and TV shows to offer alongside its own original videos and is offering concessions to get deals done by a Friday deadline, according to people familiar with the matter. Pay-TV programmers such as HBO, Showtime and Starz have to decide whether Apple is an existential threat, as some now view Netflix, a potential partner or something in between.


The Best HomeKit Devices You Can Buy To Build Your Smart Home, by Christian de Looper, Business Insider

Although the Google Home and Alexa smart home ecosystems might be larger, there's something to be said for an ecosystem of products that all work together perfectly. Apple's HomeKit is the ideal smart home ecosystem to base your smart home around if you prefer a more carefully curated selection of smart home products. All HomeKit compatible products are vetted by Apple and made to work seamlessly together with the same ease that the Mac, iPhone, and Apple Watch all work together.

Of course, the HomeKit ecosystem is already pretty big, and it's only getting bigger, so it can be tough to find the right devices for your smart home. That is why we've put together this guide — to help you find the perfect HomeKit devices for your needs.

Eve Light Strip, by John R. Delaney, PC Magazine

If you're already using Apple's HomeKit platform to control your smart home devices and want to spice things up with some colorful mood lighting, the Eve Light Strip is a solid choice. It delivers relatively bright lighting with bold colors and a good range of warm and cool whites, and it reacts instantly to Siri voice commands. Installation is quick and easy as well.

How To Take Music Lessons Whenever (And Wherever) Works For You, by J. D. Biersdorfer, New York Times

You’re never too old to learn to play a musical instrument, but finding a tutor and the time for lessons is another matter. If working with a personal teacher isn’t an option for you — or your interest in noodling around on a guitar, a piano or another instrument is still at the casual level — turn to your laptop or mobile device to learn the basics in your own time and space. Here are a few ways to get started.

Spark Launches Email Delegation Feature For Teams, by Ryan Christoffel, MacStories

Delegation enables team members to assign emails to one another, with optional due dates attached, and follow the progress of those emails over time. It's a feature that addresses well the workflows a manager or executive may have with their assistant or other team members.

Morpholio Lets You Walk Into An AR Sketch, by Dean Takahashi, VentureBeat

Have you ever wanted to just jump into a sketch? Morpholio has enabled that with AR SketchWalk, an augmented reality application that lets you walk around inside the images that you create, like cruising through real-world blueprints.


How To Get Featured On The App Store By Making Apple Look Good, by Sean Berry, Medium

You can’t predict what Apple will do or what Apple will want. But if you keep grinding out a solid experience for your users, you’ll be in the position to take advantage of opportunities. It’s like catching a literal wave. If you’re out in the water getting good at swimming and surfing, you’ll be in the right place and have the skills needed to ride that wave when it comes. But you can’t just run out into the water after you see that wave coming in, it’ll be too late! And you probably wouldn’t know what to do with it anyways!

Apple Expanding The Availability Of Its Coding Curriculum In Singapore And Indonesia, by Chance Miller, 9to5Mac

Apple says The Singapore University of Technology and Design and RMIT Online have both launched app development courses based on its App Development with Swift Curriculum. Further, Pathlight School, which is Singapore’s first autism-focused school, will also offer a Swift Accelorator program.


Spotify Files Anti-Competition Complaint Against Apple In Europe, by Henry Chu, Variety

Spotify has filed an official complaint against Apple in Europe, contending that Apple unfairly limits choice and competition through the rules of its app store.


Ek insisted that Spotify was not “seeking special treatment” and that “this is not a Spotify-versus-Apple issue.” He said Spotifying was requesting that “the same fair set of rules and restrictions” be applied to everyone – including Apple’s own Apple Music – and that app store users be given a choice of payment systems.

Where Warren’s Wrong, by Ben Thompson, Stratechery

I appreciate Senator Warren raising these issues; they are indeed critical not only for the world today, but also the world we wish to create in the future. That, though, only increases the importance of getting things right: the history, the fundamental problem, and the nature of tech. Only then can we start to grope for solutions that actually make the situation better rather than worse.

A World Of Hurt After GoDaddy, Apple, And Google Misissue >1 Million Certificates, by Dan Goodin, Ars Technica

A major operational error by GoDaddy, Apple, and Google has resulted in the issuance of at least 1 million browser-trusted digital certificates that don’t comply with binding industry mandates. The number of non-compliant certificates may be double that number, and other browser-trusted authorities are also likely to be affected.


Both Apple and Google use their publicly trusted authorities to issue certificates for use internally and by affiliated organizations. Caudill said additional certificate authorities may also be affected.

Bottom of the Page

I still find working with computers -- programming, scripting, configuring -- is still so much easier and more fun than working with people. That's me.

But I can forsee, with AI and machine-learning and all that stuff coming down the pipeline, working with computers may not be fun anymore.

Of course, when that day arrive, I'll probably be long dead.


Thanks for reading.

The Show-Time Edition Tuesday, March 12, 2019

Apple’s March 25th Event Is Official: ‘It’s Show Time’, by Zac Hall, 9to5Mac

As for what we expect to see at the event, rumors so far point to a software and services-focused occasion. Apple is expected to unveil both its original content video service as well as its new magazines and news subscription service.

Apple’s March 25 Event Will Flex A New Focus On Services, by Brian Barrett, Wired

All of which assumes, of course, that Apple winds up with shows people will pay for. “The installed base helps, but you also have to have the content and the business model that consumers want,” Rayburn says. He cites the example of YouTube TV, which has gained relatively little traction despite the backing of a massive platform. “Content is king. Always has been.”

So yes, Apple will have WWDC this summer, and an iPhone event in the fall, as it always does. You can expect them to go a lot like they always do. But March 25 will matter much more for Apple’s future, precisely because it will have the one thing those haven’t in years: something totally new.

Browser Monoculture

Microsoft Proves The Critics Right: We’re Heading Toward A Chrome-only Web, by Peter Bright, Ars Technica

Microsoft isn't the first company to treat the Web this way, and it won't be the last. There was a time when the market was more evenly split, and no single browser vendor could exercise monopoly control over the way the Web was developed. This environment brought standardization to the foreground; standardization was the only way to make the variety tractable for developers. But as we slide back into a near-monopoly situation, this kind of thing is probably only going to become more common. Skype for Web is simply a high-profile demonstration of everything people worried about when Microsoft announced its switch.


Apple Inaugurates 'Celebrate Music In Our Schools Month' By Promoting Guides For Teachers & Students, by Roger Fingas, AppleInsider

Capitalizing on the National Association for Music Education's "Celebrate Music in Our Schools Month," Apple on Tuesday launched a special promo campaign for its Everyone Can Create guides for teachers and students.

CorelDRAW Graphics Suite 2019 Comes To Mac With Mojave & Dark Mode Support, Touch Bar Integration, More, by Chance Miller, 9to5Mac

For Mac users, CorelDRAW includes a complete design toolkit for things like vector graphic design, illustration, and more. The Corel Photo-Paint app gives you advanced photo editing tools, while Corel Font Manager lets you organize font libraries and AfterShot 3 HDR gives you RAW processing.


How To Quit Your Job In 837 Easy Steps, by Jessica Powell, Medium

People aren’t driven by the same things, and many of us have a particularly hard time being honest with ourselves or others when our priorities are more materialistic or ego-driven. But for the purpose of this 837-step plan, you have to put aside the little voice that’s criticizing or second-guessing what you want. (Later, after you’ve quit your job, you can go do the meditation retreat that will make you less of an egomaniac or materialist. That’s like a 2,000-step plan, and it’s not what we’re here to solve right now.)

Once you can clearly identify what matters to you, it’s a lot easier to solve your problem. At the end of the day, it’s not that different from writing a business plan at work. I need x and so I will do y to get there.

The Considered-Disposable Edition Monday, March 11, 2019

Here's Why Your AirPods Battery Life Is Getting Worse, And What You Can Do About It, by William Gallagher, AppleInsider

You can understand Apple being skittish about advertising AirPods as losing half their battery life in two years, but these headphones are too expensive to be considered disposable.

"If you've got a dead or dying battery in an AirPod," said the same source inside Apple, "bring it in to the Apple Store with your proof of purchase if you didn't buy it directly from us, and store-stock depending, you'll walk out for a replacement single bud with a new battery for $49."

Apple Promotes App Store By Adding A 10% Bonus When You Add Funds, by William Gallagher, AppleInsider

Apple has launched a promotion designed to get users adding money to their iTunes and App Store accounts. Until Thursday, March 14, anyone with a valid payment card listed on their account can add a one-time top-up and get a 10 percent bonus. Apple states that this applies to any amount you add from $1 to a maximum of $200 but in practice the amount depends on the device you're using.

Apple Shares Five New iPhone Tip Videos For Contacting Support, Using Wallet, And More, by Andrew O'Hara, AppleInsider

Apple has just published five new videos on its official YouTube channel as a continuation of its "iPhone Can Do What?" series, providing tips for using the Apple Support app, Face ID, Wallet, and more.


Ulysses 15 Review: Split View On The Mac, Remote Images, Improved iPad Multitasking, And More, by Ryan Christoffel, MacStories

When a productivity app feels like it's reached maturity, it's in a dangerous position: if active development is neglected, the app will start to stagnate amidst a changing world, but on the other hand, if change is pursued for its own sake, the app can easily become bloated and an inferior product overall.

Ulysses 15 for Mac and iOS deftly navigates those potential dangers by offering thoughtful enhancements to existing features, plus new features that truly serve to enhance the core task of writing. There are improvements to image previews, writing goals, export previews, and keywords, plus big upgrades to how the editor can be set up on both the Mac and iPad.

iA Writer 5.2: Simple Text Editor, Great Writing Tool, by Bill Bennett

This simplicity allows me to focus on writing. There’s a wonderful passage of text written by The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy author Douglas Adams where he describes the creative ways he prevaricates with his work. It involves tinkering with fonts, type sizes, widths and so on.

The mere presence of all those options can be a distraction. iA Writer does away with it. As every long-term Apple user understands, restricting your options can boost productivity.

Luminar 3 For Mac Photo-editing App Adds Performance, Integration Improvements, by Erik Eckel, TechRepublic

New in version 3 is automatic image catalog database management. Edits and metadata changes are automatically backed up. Luminar 3 integrates with Aurora HDR, permitting users to send Luminar-processed images to Aurora HDR to tap that program's bracketed photo merging and HDR capabilities.

Apple Stopped Making Displays, So These Are The Best Options For The Mac Mini, by Tyler Lacoma, Digital Trends

Apple used to make its own displays, but the last one was discontinued in 2016. There are reports that the company may be releasing a new Apple-branded monitor in the future, but for now the best options remain other brands. So, let’s go over top choices for you to consider.


Elizabeth Warren Has A Valid Point About The App Store, But Not A Winning One, by Ben Lovejoy, 9to5Mac

The whole point of legislation of the type Warren proposes is to protect consumers. Forcing Apple to lose control of its App Store would have the polar opposite effect: it would leave them at the mercy of the policies of one or more third-party companies. iOS would be transformed from a secure environment to the wild west.

Yes, the integrated nature of Apple’s operations does give the company significant advantages in those areas where it competes with other businesses. But that very integration – the security and Apple ecosystem – is precisely why many of people buy Apple products in the first place.

Stores See A Future Without ‘May I Help You?’ (They’ll Already Have Your Data), by Sapna Maheshwari, New York Times

Thousands of retail and technology workers descended on Las Vegas last week for an annual industry gathering known as Shoptalk. There they shared the bets that they’re making on Americans’ evolving shopping habits and how they plan to maintain relevance in an era that’s changing faster than the spin of a roulette wheel.

The message came through loud and clear: Expect more stores to incorporate the kind of digital data collection that has powered the online world.

Bottom of the Page

I sure hope Apple maintain compatibility between Airpods and the Airpods case, just like between Apple Watdh and Apple Watch straps, even as Apple moves on the newer and betters pods and cases.


Thanks for reading.

The Pockets-of-Women Edition Sunday, March 10, 2019

Apple Music's Women's Day Takeover Is About More Than Exposure: 'Hopefully It Drives Revenue Into The Pockets Of Women Too', by Tatiana Cirisano, Billboard

Rather than "doing something that was piecemeal or half-hearted," Newman adds, the initiative is meant to "put our money where our mouth is." Ideally, the celebration won't just raise awareness of women's issues, but directly benefit female artists in the form of streams. Early Friday, Apple Music revealed a list of its most-streamed female artists, including Rihanna, Ariana Grande and others.

"We’re a pretty significant platform, so hopefully it drives revenue into the pockets of women, too," Newman says.

Are You An Amazon Or An Apple Family?, by Amy Webb, New York Times

By choosing Google, Apple or Amazon today, you are also aligning your family values with the values of one of the big tech giants. And soon, you may have to choose — making just one of these companies a custodian of all your family’s data. The unintended consequence of this kind of home automation could be a digital caste system that’s much more daunting than the prospect of making microwave popcorn the old-fashioned way.

How To Start A Podcast: 6 Things These Experts Say You’ll Need, by Tim Chan, Rolling Stone

We asked three popular podcast hosts to tell us how they started their podcasts, the equipment they recommend and their tips for keeping your audience inspired and entertained. Here’s what they say you’ll need.


Here Are The Unique Apple Items You Can Only Find At The Visitor Center Near Its Spaceship Headquarters, by Troy Wolverton, Business Insider

If you’re an Apple fan and you’re looking for some unique company merchandise to show your love, you need to make your way to the company’s visitor center in Cupertino.

Right across the street from Apple Park, the company’s spaceship headquarters, the center has within it an Apple Store that features items you can’t find anywhere else. Better yet, while Apple severely restricts who can get into its headquarters building, it welcomes all comers to its visitor center.

Microsoft Confirms Skype For Web Does Not Work In Safari, Firefox, And Opera, by Manish Singh, VentureBeat

In a statement to VentureBeat, a Microsoft spokesperson said the service requires “calling and real-time media” technology that is “implemented differently across various browsers.” So the company “decided to prioritize bringing Skype to [the] web on Microsoft Edge and Google Chrome based on customer value.”


The Sad State Of Logging Bugs For Apple, by Corbin Dunn

This is where things get screwy depending on the component your bug lands in, since bug management is group dependent. Many groups will have only one or two QA people to do the initial screening of those large drop areas for bugs. QA engineers are sometimes instructed to screen bugs with a priority and “fix period” before passing them off to the engineer responsible for the code. This is terrible because many engineers will not look at bugs with a low priority. It is much better for the engineer who “owns the code” to look at a bug and determine the priority. The QA engineers will frequently get a huge back log of bugs to screen, and it can take weeks, or even months, for some bugs to get screened. Sometimes this leads to a mass screening of bugs, marking them all with a low priority. Bug originators have to notice this, and complain about it for the priority to get increased. Worse yet, some groups mass close bugs older than a year or so, and ask the originator to re-open the bug if the issue still exists. A lot of people don’t pay attention to bugs that need verification, and they simply become lost.


Buying A MacBook Has Never Been More Difficult, by Abhay Ram, iLounge

Buying a Mac laptop has never been more difficult. It can be agreed that, Apple has not made a good laptop since 2015. The company unveiled the revamped and “innovative” MacBook Pro in 2016 which completely changed its perspective on laptops. However, its innovativeness has caused users more problems than actually improving the workflow.

Elizabeth Warren Wants To Break Up Apple, Too, by Nilay Patel, The Verge

I spoke to Senator Warren after she appeared on stage at SXSW in Austin, Texas today, and she told me explicitly that she thinks Apple should be broken apart too — specifically, that it should not get to both run the App Store and distribute apps in it. “It’s got to be one or the other,” she said. “Either they run the platform or they play in the store. They don’t get to do both at the same time.”

The Good-Art Edition Saturday, March 9, 2019

Apple Has Been Quietly Hiring Iconic Artists To Design Apple Music Playlist Covers, by Bijan Stephen, The Verge

Records should have good art. For albums as diverse as London Calling, Horses, and Fear of a Black, the images on their covers were as recognizable as the music on the wax. While Apple Music isn’t a record label (yet), it did recently decide to add original art to its playlists. Its goal was to bring that instant recognition to its own content, so the company enlisted everyone from the creator of the iconic AC/DC logo to the person who designed the art for Migos’ chart-topping album Culture to make it happen.

The artwork is meant to “connect more directly with the communities and the culture for which they were intended,” says Rachel Newman, Apple’s global director of editorial. Before now, Apple’s playlists had a uniform presentation that didn’t necessarily speak to the music. “In many ways, it’s a visual representation of the music that you will find inside that playlist,” said Newman. That includes Hip Hop Hits, Dale Reggaetón, and The Riff, which are all immensely popular.

Turn On Auto-Updates Everywhere You Can, by Brian Barrett, Wired

There are some clear exceptions here. Plenty of medical and industrial systems can’t apply updates blindly; any unintentional bugs could result in catastrophe. And people who tinker with their software—security researchers, hobbyists, and so on—are rightly careful about any changes they introduce to their devices. Those are cases in which the cure can genuinely be worse than the disease.

But for your average smartphone or laptop owner? Go auto-update all the way. Yes, you’ll run into some performance hiccups, but they’re worth it for the overall peace of mind. In fact, thinking of it in terms of those trade-offs puts the onus on you rather than the companies that push out faulty patches. Spend that energy demanding more from Apple and Microsoft and Google and whoever else is responsible for shaping your digital experience.

Facebook Vs. Apple Is Tech's Next Big Rivalry, by Will Oremus, Slate

If Facebook were to succeed in becoming the WeChat of the rest of the world, then Apple’s business outside China would start to look a lot more like its business inside China—which is to say, weak. So it’s critical for Apple to find ways to block Facebook from achieving that. Its crackdown on Facebook over the VPN app looked like a warning shot, but it may have also been a show of force that foreshadowed the drawn-out conflict to come.


Beyonce, Rihanna & More Among Apple Music's Most-Streamed Female Artists For International Women's Day, by Gil Kaufman, Billboard

In celebration of International Women's Day (March 8), Apple Music has revealed its list of the most-streamed female artists of all time, a roster topped by Ariana Grande, Taylor Swift, Rihanna, Beyoncé, Nicki Minaj, with appearances by other mega-stars including Adele, Sia and Lady Gaga.

Try These Strategies To Free Storage On Your Mac, by Jeff Carlson, Seattle Times

There are plenty of other ways to clean up an overstuffed hard disk, but before you jump in and delete files manually, consider turning on the optimization options in macOS or check for numerous invisible snapshots. And if you’re not comfortable running commands in Terminal, look at utilities such as DaisyDisk or CleanMyMac for other options.


The Planned Obsolescence Of Old Coders, by A. Jesse Jiryu Davis, Medium

Making the software industry more welcoming to coders past their thirties and creating roles suited for very experienced programmers will make companies more effective and more fair. These changes will also benefit the rest of us — in a society increasingly governed by software and algorithms, programmers must gain some wisdom to match their power. They must learn from recent incidents of hacking, biased algorithms, and online incitement of genocide. The only way to do that is for older coders to stay in the industry long enough to pass their knowledge to their successors. Cultivating lifelong coders will ensure that the lessons learned today are still remembered 50 years from now.

How I Become Addicted To An On-Demand Gig, by Steve Cordrey, Medium

The point is, as a gig worker, you are paid for whatever they say you’re going to be paid for — and those rates change quite often. Wage negotiation is nonexistent. Experts claim that this is part of the beauty of the gig economy: no strings attached. If you don’t like the terms that are offered, you can simply log out of the app and you’re done. No hard feelings. In my experience, this is certainly easier said than done when you have bills that need to be paid. This is why so many hard-working adults, like myself, are drawn in to the perks of same-day payouts (and the occasional free lunch) in exchange for devaluing their time and effort. It gets even more difficult once you’ve experienced a few decent payouts. I would argue that most people who sign up for this type of work do so with an endgame in mind, and they cling to a sense of optimism in order to justify the long hours, the parking fines, and the monthly oil changes. You may have to drive your car for 10 hours straight, but at least you have a few bucks in your pocket, right? Now, rinse and repeat.


'Tibetans And Uyghurs Not Accepted': Apple Supplier Probes Hiring Discrimination, by Cissy Zhou and Alan Wong, Inkstone

The hiring practice of the agency, Li Zhong Human Resources, is just one of many instances of ethnic discrimination in China that experts and labor advocates say are prevalent in the country.

And Foxconn’s vow to enforce a code of conduct on its suppliers and to sever business ties with those failing to abide by it speaks to industry leaders’ power in eliminating workplace discrimination – if they want to.

Wall Street Critic Warren Vows To Break Up Amazon, Facebook, Google, by Daniel Trotta, Reuters

In an event held not far from the proposed Amazon site, Warren said that big tech companies come into towns, cities and states and “bully everyone into doing what they want” and “roll right over” small businesses and startups that are a threat.

“Giants are not allowed to buy out the competition. The competition needs the opportunity to thrive and grow,” she said.


Warren also proposed legislation that would require tech companies like Google and Amazon that offer an online marketplace or exchange to refrain from competing on their own platform. This would, for example, forbid Amazon from selling on its Amazon Marketplace platform.

The Not-Planning-to-Appeal Edition Friday, March 8, 2019

Spotify, Google And Pandora Go To U.S. Appeals Court To Overturn Royalty Increase, by Jem Aswad and Chris Willman, Variety

Spotify, Google, Pandora and Amazon have teamed up to appeal a controversial ruling by the U.S. Copyright Royalty Board that, if it goes through, would increase payouts to songwriters by 44%, Variety has learned.


The four companies all filed with the court separately. Sources say that Apple Music is alone among the major streaming services in not planning to appeal — as confirmed by songwriters’ orgs rushing to heap praise on Apple while condemning the seemingly unified front of the other digital companies.

iPhone XS And XS Max Devices Exhibit Slight Animation Stutters After Ten Seconds Of Being Idle, by Benjamin Mayo, 9to5Mac

The good news for iPhone XS owners reading this is you might not notice the problem, even if it is going on. It is very subtle, lasting only a fraction of a second, so many people are unlikely to spot it — even if someone else points it out.

For people that are sensitive to this kind of stuff, though, it is understandably very annoying and clearly not working as intended. You can classify it as nitpicky — but customers spending $1000+ on phones naturally have high expectations of quality.

Weather App Doesn't Care Like Mom Did, by Debbie Leffler, Norwalk Reflector

I have a readout inside the house that tells me, via a sensor on the porch, what the temperature is outside. I have a weather app on my iPad and one on my iPhone. I have the number programmed into my cell phone that I can call for road conditions. And last weekend, as I traveled along I-71 from Cincinnati to Columbus, there were signs lit up along the road, telling drivers that winter weather was predicted from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. the next day.

One would think that all this technology would make deciding what to wear and whether to leave the house much simpler and much more accurate.

But no.

Skills Mismatch

Apple CEO Tim Cook Explains Why You Don't Need A College Degree To Be Successful, by Lisa Eadicicco, Business Insider

"And so to that end, as we've looked at the — sort of, the mismatch between the skills that are coming out of colleges and what the skills are that we believe we need in the future, and many other businesses do, we've identified coding as a very key one," Cook said during the American Workforce Policy Advisory Board meeting on Wednesday, during which President Trump met with the board's members, including Cook.

Cook also added that about half of Apple's US employment last year was made up of people who did not have a four-year degree.

The Stigma Of Choosing Trade School Over College, by Meg St-Esprit, The Atlantic

“College doesn’t make sense” is the message that many trade schools and apprenticeship programs are using to entice new students. What specifically doesn’t make sense, they claim, is the amount of debt young Americans often take on to chase those coveted bachelor’s degrees.

Security Matters

Hackers Can Get Into Macs With Sneaky Tricks, Crowdstrike Experts Say, by Laura Hautala, CNET

At the RSA Conference on Thursday, CEO George Kurtz and CTO Dmitri Alperovitch detailed hacking techniques they've seen used to do a host of bad things on Apple-built computers.

Attackers can trick Mac users into downloading malicious software and then get deep access into the computer, the Crowdstrike executives said. They also have tools to loot the system's keychain for more passwords and build backdoors into the machines, allowing hackers to have repeated access.


Texture App For iOS Updated As Apple News Subscription Service Looms, by Benjamin Mayo, 9to5Mac

The release notes for today’s Texture app update, version 5.11.8, are as mysterious as you can get with no explanation at all for what has changed in this update. Instead, it simply asks for customer feedback to help make Texture even better, a stock sentence that has been included in Texture’s release notes ever since it was acquired.

Castro Launches Curated Podcast Collections And Instant Search To Improve Discovery, by Ryan Christoffel, MacStories

Through curated podcast collections, new buttons to add podcasts to your library, and instant search, Castro's development team has brought positive change in several connected areas.

Hands On With Sony’s PS4 Remote Play App For iOS, by John Voorhees, MacStories

In a bit of unexpected gaming news, Sony has released PS4 Remote Play, an iOS app that allows PS4 owners to play the console’s games on an iPhone or iPad over WiFi. Although it’s a surprising development this late in the lifecycle of the PS4, it’s great to see Sony continuing to expand the ways its customers can enjoy the console.


Tim Cook Brilliantly Responds To Trump’s ‘Tim Apple’ Reference On Twitter, by Zac Hall, 9to5Mac

Cook, who had no reaction in the moment during the meeting, has changed his Twitter name from Tim Cook to ‘Tim ’, playfully referencing yesterday’s presidential gaffe. For Cook’s part, the name change could be seen as a simple sign of Apple fandom, but we all know the real meaning behind that strategically placed Apple logo!

Why Self-Checkout Is And Has Always Been The Worst, by Brian Merchant, Gizmodo

For every automated appliance or system that actually makes performing a task easier—dishwashers, ATMs, robotic factory arms, say—there seems to be another one—self-checkout kiosks, automated phone menus, mass email marketing—that actively makes our lives worse.

I’ve taken to calling this second category, simply, shitty automation.

Bottom of the Page

I'm having Monday Blues on a Friday evening.


Thanks for reading.

The Works-for-Everyone Edition Thursday, March 7, 2019

Prioritizing The MacBook Hierarchy Of Needs, by Jason Snell, Six Colors

I might love an SD card slot and a return of MagSafe and for Apple to keep the headphone jack around, but in the end, there are adapters that will bridge those gaps if need be. No adapter will solve the problem of an unreliable or unpleasant keyboard or replace a display. That’s where Apple must supply something that works for everyone—and if the needs of its users are varied, it should offer a variety of products that can fulfill those needs. A one-size-fits-all approach can work, but only if you’re really successful with the choices you make. With the 2015 MacBook keyboard design, Apple missed the mark—and still forced the result into every single new laptop it designed.

Leaked AirPods 2 Apple Ad Suggests Same Design As Current AirPods, No Sign Of Black Color, by Juli Clover, MacRumors

Unfortunately, there is no point in either video where the design of the second-generation AirPods is clearly visible, but we can garner some hints from what we can see. The second-generation AirPods look identical in design to the original AirPods, with no major changes apparent.

Safety and Wellbeing

Apple Releases Supply Chain Document Revealing iPhone, AirPods And Other Products Are All 'Zero Waste', by Andrew Griffin, Independent

As well as detailing the environmental impact of the production of its products, the document – Apple's 13th of this kind – details the ways it is looking to respond to criticism over technology company's supply chains by helping with the education and safety of those people who work to assemble the iPhone and other products.

While it does show some continuing issues with the ways Apple products are made, the document reveals a marked improvement of the safety and wellbeing of those people who work for Apple and its supply chain.

Apple Deserves Kudos For Doing Right By Workers, by Tim Culpan, Bloomberg

Two of my major beefs with Apple relate to the issues of bonded and underage labor. In the first instance, employees working for the iPhone maker’s suppliers are required to pay upfront fees just to secure a job. This money is usually paid to recruitment agencies. The second is self-explanatory.

Both problems have almost been stamped out. According to the company’s annual Supplier Responsibility Report, just two cases of bonded labor were found last year, involving 287 employees. That’s too many, to be sure, but it’s incredible progress compared with two years ago, when 10 violations were uncovered. By employee numbers, it’s an 82 percent improvement from last year alone.

Behind The Hype Of Apple's Plan To End Mining, by Maddie Stone, Gizmodo

There are 118 elements on the periodic table. An iPhone contains about 75 of them.

We don’t have an exact number because Apple wouldn’t provide one, which is going to be a theme of this story. And while some of those elements, like aluminum and lithium, are familiar in both name and function, others, like neodymium and gallium, are as exotic as the food additives at the bottom of a microwave dinner’s nutritional label. The metallurgical marvel inside your pocket wouldn’t exist without the entire ingredient list.

But the existence of devices like the iPhone has come at a price. All of the metals inside one—recognizable or foreign, precious or pedestrian—hail from rocks that were mined from the Earth, often, using environmentally-destructive processes and ethically-fraught labor practices. Now, Apple is hoping to change that.


Apple Shares New 'iPhone Can Do What?' Features Page, by Juli Clover, MacRumors

Topics covered include water resistance, privacy, AirDrop, Group FaceTime, photos search, Memoji, Do Not Disturb, Find My iPhone, Apple Pay, iMessage photo effects, and more.

Introducing The MacStories Shortcuts Archive, A Collection Of 150 Custom Shortcuts For Apple’s Shortcuts App, by Federico Viticci, MacStories

In this first version, the archive contains 150 shortcuts, but more will be posted over time. Each shortcut was created and tested by me and the MacStories team; all of them have been categorized, updated for the Shortcuts app, and marked up with inline comments to explain what they do.

Google Fixes Chrome Zero-day Exploit, Security Update Rolling Out To Mac, Windows, Android, & Chrome OS, by Abner Li, 9to5Google

After releasing an incremental update for Chrome on Mac, Windows, and Linux last Friday, Google revealed yesterday that it addresses a zero-day exploit. The company’s security team advises users to update Chrome on all platforms immediately as there is evidence of a malicious party actively using the attack.


Apple To Add More Jobs At New San Diego Tech Hub, by Mimi Elkalla, ABC 10 News San Diego

Apple CEO Tim Cook said of his company’s presence in San Diego: “Apple has been a part of San Diego for nearly 20 years through our retail presence and small, fast-growing teams – and with this new investment we are proud to play an even greater part in the city’s future. You don’t have to try too hard to convince people that San Diego is a great place to live, work and do business, and we’re confident our employees will have a great home among the community there.”

According to city officials, San Diego “will become a principle engineering hub for Apple with new positions distributed across a number of specialty engineering fields, to include both hardware and software technologies.”

The Prototype iPhones That Hackers Use To Research Apple’s Most Sensitive Code, by Lorenzo Franceschi-Bicchierai, Motherboard

Solnik’s team used a “dev-fused” iPhone, which was created for internal use at Apple, to extract and study the sensitive SEP software, according to four sources with specific knowledge of how the research was done. Dev-fused devices are sometimes called prototypes in the security research industry. They are essentially phones that have not finished the production process, or have been reverted to a development state.

In other words, they are pre-jailbroken devices.

These rare iPhones have many security features disabled, allowing researchers to probe them much more easily than the iPhones you can buy at a store. Since the Black Hat talk, dev-fused iPhones have become a tool that security researchers around the world use to find previously unknown iPhone vulnerabilities (known as zero days), Motherboard has learned.

Google Revealed It Was Underpaying Some Men. That’s Misleading—and Damaging., by April Glaser, Slate

What the review doesn’t cover is whether women hired with the same levels of experience as men are given lower positions at the company—a problem called leveling.

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Why can't I have private and non-private browser tabs in the same browser window?


Thanks for reading.

The Brand-Identity Edition Wednesday, March 6, 2019

Apple’s Management Of Its Video Service Isn’t A Plot Twist, It’s Business As Usual, by Jason Snell, Macworld

Netflix tries to be everything to everybody, and spends tens of billions of dollars to do that. So far, as I can tell, Apple’s not going that direction. It needs to choose. Apple’s video service will benefit from a clear brand identity, and if that brand identity is bright, optimistic, and broadly appealing, with standards more like broadcast TV than premium cable, that won’t preclude it from finding an audience.

Why DuckDuckGo Matters, by Adam Dorfman, Search Engine Land

DuckDuckGo is the little engine that could. The platform, which touts its ability to protect users’ privacy, recently said that it experienced surging year-over-year user traffic for 2018 and that it is already on pace for even stronger search usage in 2019. Also, Apple and DuckDuckGo formed a partnership to use Apple Maps as the default for sharing businesses’ location data in search results. But does DuckDuckGo matter to businesses? After all, the 9 billion user searches on DuckDuckGo for 2018 are dwarfed by the one trillion searches conducted on Google each year.

I believe the answer is yes: DuckDuckGo matters as a privacy litmus test.

Clever Tool Uses Apple’s Video Game Logic Engine To Protect Macs, by Lily Hay Newman, Wired

At the RSA security conference in San Francisco on Tuesday, Digita chief research officer Patrick Wardle is presenting GamePlan, a tool that watches for potentially suspicious events on Macs and flags them for humans to investigate. The general concept sounds similar to other defense platforms, and hooks into detection mechanisms—has a USB stick been inserted into a machine? has someone generated a screen capture? is a program accessing a webcam?—Apple already offers in macOS. But GamePlan, cleverly written with Apple’s GameplayKit framework, collects all of this data in a centralized stream, and uses the videogame logic engine to process it.


Apple Says iPhones With Third-Party Batteries Now Eligible For Repairs, by Joe Rossignol, MacRumors

This is significant news for iPhone repairs, as the Genius Bar and AASPs were previously instructed to deny service of any kind for an iPhone with a third-party battery, regardless of the circumstances.

August Expands Lineup With New August View Doorbell Cam, by Andrew O'Hara, Wired

The August View is a wire-free solution which, in keeping with August's other products, is extremely easy to install and can be installed in homes that don't already have a doorbell in place. Thanks to the wide angle lens and higher quality sensor, the August View can capture 1440p video with little fisheye distortion. With the added resolution, it is easier to identify who is at the door, especially with zoomable video.


Thunderbolt 3 Becomes USB4, As Intel’s Interconnect Goes Royalty-free, by Peter Bright, Ars Technica

Fulfilling its 2017 promise to make Thunderbolt 3 royalty-free, Intel has given the specification for its high-speed interconnect to the USB Implementers Forum (USB-IF), the industry group that develops the USB specification. The USB-IF has taken the spec and will use it to form the basis of USB4, the next iteration of USB following USB 3.2.

If Netflix Loves Cinema So Much, Maybe They Should Let Us Watch Movies In Their Entirety, by Matthew Dessem, Slate

If you want to actually view the credits of a film you are watching, at a bare minimum Netflix requires you to fumble around with your remote control until you explicitly tell it that, yes, just like every other movie you have ever watched with their service since the beginning of time, you would rather watch the entire movie than an advertisement for a television show. There is no option to disable this feature and watch movies in full on Netflix, despite years of customer requests ranging from the impolite (“FUCK YOU NETFLIX STOP CUTTING OFF THE CREDITS”) to the possibly eternally damning (“What ungodly thing must I do so Netflix plays credits?”) There’s no movie Netflix won’t ruin this way.

Don’t Look Now: Why You Should Be Worried About Machines Reading Your Emotions, by Oscar Schwartz, The Guardian

In recent years, technology companies have started using Ekman’s method to train algorithms to detect emotion from facial expressions. Some developers claim that automatic emotion detection systems will not only be better than humans at discovering true emotions by analyzing the face, but that these algorithms will become attuned to our innermost feelings, vastly improving interaction with our devices.

But many experts studying the science of emotion are concerned that these algorithms will fail once again, making high-stakes decisions about our lives based on faulty science.

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I enjoy reading credits at the end of movies, not because I am interested in all the names, but rather the job titles.


Thanks for reading.

The Video-for-Posterity Edition Tuesday, March 5, 2019

If You Die Early, How Will Your Children Remember You?, by Dougal Shaw, BBC

"So often people were told that their mum or dad loved them so much, but they needed and wanted to hear it."

Sometimes they wanted to hear a very specific set of words.

"They wished they could ask their parent, 'I remember you whispering something to me every night, what was it? I want to hear it again.'"

It could have been a prayer, or nursery rhyme or other words that became part of a nightly ritual and helped them know they were loved before they fell to sleep.

So one key aim was to get parents to record that simple message in video form for posterity. Gaby's app, called RecordMeNow, is essentially a series of prompts that helps people to create a video library for their children, broken down into subject areas, based on Gaby's findings.

From Video Game To Day Job: How ‘SimCity’ Inspired A Generation Of City Planners, by Jessica Roy, Los Angeles Times

Along the way, the games have introduced millions of players to the joys and frustrations of zoning, street grids and infrastructure funding — and influenced a generation of people who plan cities for a living. For many urban and transit planners, architects, government officials and activists, “SimCity” was their first taste of running a city. It was the first time they realized that neighborhoods, towns and cities were things that were planned, and that it was someone's job to decide where streets, schools, bus stops and stores were supposed to go.

2018 MacBook Pro May Not Be Susceptible To ‘Stage Light’ Screen Issue Due To Longer Internal Flex Cable, by Benjamin Mayo, 9to5Mac

The 2018 MacBook Pro appears to avoid the stage light issues that are plaguing some fraction of the 2016-2017 models. What iFixit highlights in its latest blog post is that the display flex cable is actually longer in the 2018 iteration than earlier MacBook Pros.

iFixit measured it as a 2mm size difference. That number is small in absolute terms but when tolerances are this tight across the machine, a couple millimetres can make a big difference.


NFB iOS App Takes You Inside Canada's WWII Japanese Internment Camps With Apple's ARKit, by Gary Ng, iPhone In Canada

The National Film Board of Canada released a new iOS app called East of the Rockies last week, to tell the story of Canada’s Japanese internment camps during World War II, powered by Apple’s ARKit.

8 Home Library Apps To Keep Your Book Collection Organized, by Erin Mayer, Book Riot

The great thing about books? You can never get enough of them. But if you find your book collection becoming unmanageable, there are plenty of home library apps to help you get it under control. Take stock of the tomes on your increasingly crowded shelves with these eight top-rated cataloging home library apps for iPhone and Android. Then you can carry your personal library right in your pocket for easy reference.

Nizo Blurs The Lines Between Shooting And Editing Video, by Charlie Sorrel, Cult of Mac

Nizo is a new take on video apps. It manages to blend shooting and editing together, so you can edit your movies on the fly as you capture them.


Swift Code Formatters, by NSHipster

This week on NSHipster, we’ll take a look at the current field of Swift formatters available today — including the swift-format tool released as part of the proposal — and see how they all stack up. From there, we’ll take a step back and try to put everything in perspective.

How To Save Americans From The Hell Of Work, by Jonathan Malesic, New Republic

Americans of all stripes—millennials especially, some argue—are indeed burned out, and elites in particular have unrealistic expectations that work be not just remunerative, but self-defining and wholly fulfilling. It’s also true that the rising devotion to work in America correlates with a decline in religious worship. But work itself is neither a religion nor a substitute for it. As some of the above reporting makes clear, work too often accomplishes precisely the opposite of what religion promises: It saps meaning from life.

What, then, can save us from the hell of work in hypercapitalist America? The answer is right in front of us. Let us bow our heads.

Want To Be Happy? Embrace Being Miserable, by Ephrat Livni, Quartz

Know that you’ll fail, you will fall, you’ll feel pain, and be sad. You will be rejected. You will get sick. Your expectations will not be met, because reality is always more strange and complicated than imagination, which also mean something more interesting than you know could yet be on the horizon. Know, too, that even so, dull moments will abound. Yet it can always get worse, which is why it’s worth remembering that every day, at least some things have to be going okay, or else you’d already be dead.


The Siri Shortcut, by Benjamin Mayo

It is disappointing that Apple is leaning so heavily on shortcuts as a mainstream way for customers to get more from Siri. It flies in the face of how you want a voice assistant to work and behaves differently from every other type of Siri interaction.

Apple Is Hiring An Analyst To Explain Siri Complaints To Executives, by Jeremy Horwitz, VentureBeat

If you’ve ever felt that Apple wasn’t listening to your complaints about “intelligent assistant” Siri, good news: The company is ready to hire someone to gather public comments and present them — along with recommended fixes — to its leadership team. Working as an engineering program manager, the new employee will also corral Siri engineers to support Apple’s marketing efforts, enabling the assistant to play a more frequent and positive role in company messaging.

Bottom of the Page

Life is short. Stop trying to find meaning in your work. Rather, go find meaning in other places with higher probability of the existence of meaning.


Thanks for reading.

The Deal-With-Both-Sides Edition Monday, March 4, 2019

Inside Apple's High-stakes Diplomacy In The U.S.-China Trade War, by Steven Overly, Politico

In the U.S., Cook has made a point of directly engaging with Trump, even as the president’s immigration policies and remarks about minorities have scared off other executives from liberal-leaning Silicon Valley. And in China, Cook — who knows some Mandarin — has actively cultivated government and business leaders during his frequent visits to a country where Apple's supply chain supports an estimated 3 million jobs.

“Among the tech titans, he’s probably the one who is best placed to deal with both sides at the same time,” said James Lewis, a former State and Commerce department official who dealt with China trade issues and now directs the technology policy program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. Apple, he said, is respected in the U.S. as one of the country's most valuable companies, and is viewed in China as being more "impartial" and "independent" than other American firms.

Apples's Hollywood Venture Marred By 'Intrusive' Execs, by Alexandra Steigrad and Nicolas Vega, New York Post

Shortly after Apple announced its Hollywood ambitions in 2017, Tinseltown’s wheeler-dealers were lining up to work with the iPhone maker. But as the company’s streaming project gets ready for launch, agents and producers can’t stop griping about how “difficult” Apple is to deal with — citing a “lack of transparency,” “lack of clarity” and “intrusive” executives, including CEO Cook.


“They are making big changes, firing and hiring new writers. There’s a lack of clarity on what they want,” the producer said. “A lot of the product is not as good as they hoped it to be,” he said.

The Secret Tricks Apple Store Staff Use To Push Certain Products, by Chris Matyszczyk, ZDNet

He explained: "The Store Leader receives a breakdown of metrics and goals in the form of a Market Report from their Market Leader [regional manager]. Retail leadership teams do, in fact, receive a performance bonus based on quarterly sales results, a fact which is never explicitly revealed to the frontline teams."

Ah, so it's a case of slightly more subtle tactics? It seems that, sometimes for possibly idiosyncratic reasons, a store might sell far more, say, third-party accessories than many other stores. On the other hand, it might lag in iPhone sales.

Subtle psychological pressure is then applied, he said, in order to redress the balance. It's all about "directing customers to the product that's lagging," without actually pushing that product.

Security Matters

Google Reveals "High Severity" Flaw In macOS Kernel, by Usama Jawad, Neowin

Project Zero has found out that if a user-owned mounted filesystem image is modified, the virtual management subsystem is not informed of the changes, which means that an attacker can potentially take malicious actions without the mounted filesystem knowing about it.

Researcher Who Found macOS Keychain Security Hole Is Sharing Details With Apple, Even Though Company Yet To Promise macOS Bug Bounty Program, by Benjamin Mayo, 9to5Mac

With his stunts falling on seemingly deaf ears, he has now submitted an explanation of his exploit to Apple as he believes a critical patch is necessary to protect Mac users.

Hidden Costs

The Shift: How Napalm Is A Cautionary Tale For Tech Giants Pursuing Military Contracts, by Kevin Roose, New York Times

But these contracts may be less lucrative than they appear. And, in fact, they could come with enormous hidden costs in the form of damaged reputations, recruiting problems and customer boycotts that could swamp any short-term gains.

To explain why, let’s consider one of the most notorious military contracts of the past century.


PlayOff Is A New App That Enables Handoff-like Features Between Mac And iPhone For Apple Music, by Chance Miller, 9to5Mac

Once you have PlayOff installed on both devices, you’ll go through the very simple pairing process. From there, you can use the PlayOff app on iOS to continue playing a song from your Mac immediately. The feature works in reverse, as well, allowing you to continue playing a song from your iPhone on your Mac.


It’s Long Past Time For Apple To Fix iCloud Photo Sharing For Families, by Bradley Chambers, 9to5Mac

By design, users are supposed to have individual iCloud accounts, but then link them in Family Sharing. Family Sharing allows families to share iCloud Storage (the 200 GB or higher plan) and Apple Music subscription (family plans). I also assume that Apple’s upcoming TV service will also be integrated into Apple’s family sharing set up as well. But for a lot of families, there is still a key section of Apple’s iOS and macOS experience that has not been integrated well into Family Sharing: iCloud Photos. It’s missing an easy way for families to keep their iCloud Photo libraries up to date with each other.

'Terrible': Apple Plan Slammed By A Fed Square Designer, by Clay Lucas, Sydney Morning Herald

Asked his view of the Foster and Partners building to replace his and partner Donald Bates' original design, Mr Davidson said: "It's terrible. It's a different type of architecture altogether."

With Big Stars And Plans, Luminary Aims To Be The Netflix Of Podcasts, by Brooks Barnes, New York Times

To some degree, of course, all media start-ups think they are going to be the next Netflix. The test for Luminary will come in the execution. And there are plenty of challenges. Subscription-based businesses are hot at the moment, but analysts say that consumers will begin pushing back and asking, How many entertainment services do I really need to be paying for every month?

Bottom of the Page

Either Apple competes with Netflix, or Apple competes with Disney. Unfortunately, it seems like Apple is trying to be both, and that is not going to work.

Either Apple builds a netflix-of-magaiznes or a netflix-of-newspapers. It, unfortunately, cannot be both either.


Thanks for reading.

The Perfect-Storm Edition Sunday, March 3, 2019

Mid-South Teen's Apple Watch Triggers Rash, by WMC

“The Apple Watches, any kind of watch, seems like a perfect storm. People who wear it might tend to be more active. They might wear it tightly so the sensor attaches and does what it is supposed to do with the heart rate,” Pietrangelo said.

Evanston Addiction Counselor Creates Smartphone App To Thwart Overdoses - 'A Foolproof Way To Stay Alive,' He Says, by John Keilman, Chicago Tribune

“In his dozen years of heroin use, Lucien Izraylov took pains to avoid detection. He was ashamed of what he was doing, so he almost always shot up alone.

It’s a risky behavior that can lead to a fatal overdose, especially at a time when drugs are commonly tainted with the powerful synthetic opioid fentanyl. But Izraylov, who says he now has years of sobriety behind him, thinks he has figured out a way to help.

He has created a smartphone app called Harmredux that will connect drug users with volunteers who will meet them, overdose-reversing medication in hand, to make sure they survive their use. The app recently became available for both Android and iPhone

Reveiw: Weatherproof Hue Outdoor Motion Sensor Lets You Automate Your Indoor Or Outdoor Lights, by Juli Clover, MacRumors

“If you need a HomeKit-enabled motion sensor that's going to be able to stand up to being outside, the new Hue Outdoor Motion Sensor is an excellent choice.

It's not overly expensive, the motion sensing and daylight detection features work reliably, and it gives you a quick, easy way to automate your outdoor (or indoor) lights so you don't have to think about them.

Google, Siding With Saudi Arabia, Refuses To Remove Widely-Criticized Government App Whch Lets Men Track Women And Control Their Travel, by Bill Bostock, Business Insider

Google reviewed the app — called Absher — and concluded that it does not violate any agreements, and can therefore remain on the Google Play store.

The decision was communicated by Google to the office of Rep. Jackie Speier, a California Democrat who, with other members of Congress, wrote last week to demand they remove the service.

Why Is The Wedding Industry So Hard To Disrupt?, by Kaitlyn Tiffany, Vox

In the wedding industry, there is supposedly plenty of money to go around: $3 billion a year in the US, and $72 billion globally. According to The Knot’s annual survey, the average wedding in 2017 cost $33,391, a slight dip from $35,329 in 2016, but still more than half of the median annual household income in the United States. If there is one thing that anyone knows about weddings, it’s that people spend a lot of money on them. If there is one other thing that anyone knows about weddings, it’s that all that money is basically lost to the air, disappearing after its handful of hours in the sun. The ephemerality of that cash has plagued the wedding startup space too.

Bottom of the Page

Apple has yet to expand Apple Books to where I am here in Singapore, while Amazon still refuses to sell Kindles to me too.

What's wrong?


Thanks for reading.

The Blow-Away Edition Saturday, March 2, 2019

Cook Says Apple Is 'Rolling The Dice' On Future Products, by Mark Gurman, Bloomberg

Apple Inc. Chief Executive Officer Tim Cook said he has "never been more optimistic" about where the company is today and where it’s heading. In a pep talk to investors, Cook said the iPhone maker is “planting seeds” and “rolling the dice” on future products that will just “blow you away.”

Speaking at the company’s annual general meeting in Cupertino, California, Cook reiterated that the iPhone maker is still on track to double revenue from services in 2020 from the nearly $25 billion in 2016. Referencing speaking notes on an iPad, Cook touched on several of the company’s product categories.

Apple CEO Tim Cook Hit Out At Companies Like Facebook Again: Anything That Collects Personal Data And Uses It Against Customers 'Should Not Exist', by Troy Wolverton, Business Insider

Responding to a question at its annual shareholder meeting here about how the company views privacy, Cook warned about "someone" assembling detailed dossiers on just about everyone and using that information to "pit one group against the other."

"The idea that someone has built this enormous, detailed profile of you and of everybody in this room and then takes that detailed profile to ... stir the pot, this is offensive to us," Cook said, adding, "We think that's it's just wrong to do, and it should not exist."

Tim Cook Says Conservative Apple Employees Who Feel Shunned Should 'Come Talk To Him', by Troy Wolverton, Business Insider

Apple welcomes employees with "all" political viewpoints, CEO Tim Cook said Friday, adding that employees that felt ostracized because of their political views should talk to him.

Cook's comments came in response to a question at the company's annual shareholder meeting at its headquarters here. The questioner said she had a friend who worked at the company who doesn't "share the left-wing view" and suggested that the friend felt uncomfortable or even hated because of her views. She asked Cook how he would advise her friend.


Apple Expands 'There's More To iPhone' Campaign With New Videos, by Joe Rossignol, MacRumors

A new "Why iPhone" page on Apple's website in each country highlights reasons why an iPhone is "more than the device in your hand," ranging from Apple's environmental responsibility to iOS 12 performance improvements to the privacy of features such as Face ID, Apple Maps, and, yes, FaceTime.

5 Beautiful Mind Mapping Apps To Help You Think Outside The Box, by Saikat Basu, MakeUseOf

A map helps you discover a new place. A mind map can take you to fresh thoughts and ideas. Mind mapping isn’t a recent discovery; it has existed since the third century. Now, it has got its due because you need new ways to think and organize information. And you need to think outside the box too.

Try putting a mind map to unexpected uses. Maybe, use it as a morning journal or retain a book you just read. You can do a mind map on paper or you can turn to these clean and clutter free mind mapping apps.


Nobody Likes The 'Idea Guy', by Tyler Tervooren, Riskology

A great idea that never comes to life is worth nothing. How much would you pay your smartest friend for her best idea? Nothing, of course—you’ve got plenty of your own!

But an average idea you dedicate yourself to can make you rich. Look around at all the businesses in the world, and most of them are pretty boring, run-of-the-mill companies. Look at most successfully self-employed people. A lot of them are doing fairly average things.

The difference is that they do these average things very well. And that, in its own way, makes them remarkable.


Guy Kawasaki: At Apple 'You Had To Prove Yourself Every Day, Or Steve Jobs Got Rid Of You', by Gy Kawasaki, CNBC

In the Macintosh Division, you had to prove yourself every day, or Jobs got rid of you. He demanded excellence and kept you at the top of your game. It wasn't easy to work for him; it was sometimes unpleasant and always scary, but it drove many of us to do the finest work of our careers.

I wouldn't trade working for him for any job I've ever had — and I don't know anyone in the Macintosh Division who would.

The End Of An Era For HBO - And For Television, by David Sims, The Atlantic

The departure of Plepler means he can exit on a high note, with HBO still airing well-regarded TV, boasting a healthy subscriber base, and putting up solid profits. But it’s still a sign that things are probably about to change for good. Seeing an executive get emotional farewell tweets from celebrities is rare, but Plepler has gotten an outpouring of support from associates such as Jeffrey Wright (who said there were “not many like [him]”), Alex Gibney (who hailed him as a “powerful impresario and creative force”), and David Simon (who called him a “genuinely wise shepherd”). In saying goodbye to a collaborator, they’re also bidding farewell to a more bespoke approach to art that is likely on its way out at the company, and in the world of television at large.

Bottom of the Page

An app that I am using on my iPad Pro uses the keyboard shortcut Cmd-Q to do something other than Quit. Everytime I uses this keyboard shortcut, I feel weird, that something is wrong with the universe.


Thanks for reading.

The Preventive-Screening Edition Friday, March 1, 2019

Wristwatch Heart Monitors Might Save Your Life—and Change Medicine, Too, by Dan Hon, MIT Technology Review

All these devices are now used mainly to screen for AFib. That’s a big deal, because not only do as many as 6.1 million Americans have the condition, but research suggests another 700,000 have irregular heartbeats that are undiagnosed. AFib contributes to an estimated 130,000 deaths each year in the US—but 20% of people whose strokes were due to AFib were unaware they had it until they were hospitalized. At the moment, even people with the best access to care get only two or three ECGs a year. Preventive screening could, if widely implemented, save thousands of lives.

Taking an ECG reading from a watch is a big step in that direction.

Why Apple's Notification Bubbles Are So Stressful, by Angela Lashbrook, Medium

There’s a simple way Apple — and any other phone makers employing red dots — could remedy the issue: Change the color of notification badges, or allow users to select their own.

Apple Uses Siri Shortcuts To Catch Up To Alexa, Google Assistant, by Ben Fox Rubin, CNET

Apple's work shows that Siri Shortcuts has already proven more promising than SiriKit, another Siri software integration that never matched the quick development of new skills that Alexa and Google Assistant offered. Apple said SiriKit will continue to exist but only for a handful of targeted uses like messaging on WhatsApp and ride hailing on Uber.

Apple's ability to bring together thousands of new features to Siri in a short amount of time should give the Siri ecosystem the shot in the arm it's needed. It also offers fresh competition for Alexa and Assistant, which have maintained comfortable spots as the No. 1 and 2 voice assistants. Apple has also found a way to integrate Siri into more connected appliances, like coffee makers, by bringing the Drop app to Shortcuts.

Privacy and Security

EFF Calls On Apple To Let Users Encrypt iCloud Backups As Part Of 'Fix It Already' Initiative, by Juli Clover, MacRumors

The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), perhaps the most well-known digital rights non-profit, today launched a new "Fix It Already" campaign with the aim of getting technology companies to implement new privacy features in areas where privacy is lacking.

According to the EFF, the issues that it is demanding a fix for are "well-known privacy and security issues" that have "attainable fixes." From Apple, the EFF wants the company to implement user-encrypted iCloud backups that are inaccessible to the company and thus to law enforcement.

Do VPNs Actually Work?, by Will Oremus, Slate

When I set out to find the right VPN, however, I ran into an awkward problem: figuring out which of the scores of VPN providers to trust.

The search for a VPN I could rely on led me on a convoluted journey through accusations and counteraccusations, companies with shadowy leadership and those with conflicts of interest, and VPN ratings sites that might be even shadier than the companies they’re reviewing.


Apple Celebrating International Women's Day With 'Girls Who Code' Partnership And More Throughout March, by Joe Rossignol, MacRumors

International Women's Day is March 8, but Apple plans to celebrate women throughout the entire month of March with a new Girls Who Code partnership, special Today at Apple sessions at Apple Stores, an Activity Challenge, and more.

Halide Creators Launch Spectre, An AI-powered Long Exposure Camera App For iPhone, by Zac Hall, 9to5Mac

Spectre lets you erase moving tourists from busy locations or capture light trails and water movements from the camera on your iPhone.

Soor: A Third-Party Apple Music Client For iPhone, by Federico Viticci, MacStories

Soor's key proposition is this drastic departure from the organization of the Music app: rather than splitting the Library and For You into two separate tabs, Soor lets you mix and match both types of content in the same screen, enabling you to choose the order they're displayed for faster access.


Apple Clarifies Changes To Metadata Requirements For Apple Podcasts In New Email, by Chance Miller, 9to5Mac

Apple says that podcasts will not be removed for having episode numbers in titles.

NetNewsWire Feedback Incoming, by Brent Simmons, Inessential

Now that I’m older, and I’m not trying to please everybody and make money, I’m even more reluctant. I want to keep the app as simple as possible — because I like simple apps, and because it means I have time to add other features that I’ve never done before, but that I always thought would be cool.

But, at the same time, I really do want it to be used by as many people as possible. So there’s a tension there which I find interesting. My position on it is just to go slowly — which I can’t really help anyway — and think hard about each issue.

Bottom of the Page

I wish Apple is still working hard and creating Siri shortcuts for everything in the operating system. Please don't get distracted.


Thanks for reading.