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.