The What-Good-Really-Was Edition Saturday, April 20, 2019

Beats And The Battle For Your Ears: How Apple Changed The Sound Of Dr Dre's Cans, by Olivia Tambini, TechRadar

So how has that acquisition changed Beats as a company, and more importantly, the quality of its headphones? We spoke to Beats President, Luke Wood about the company’s first true wireless earbud, the Powerbeats Pro, which he tells us is “the culmination of the full integration of [Beats and Apple] working together from a technological standpoint.''

“We thought we were pretty good until we got to Apple, and then we started learning what ‘good’ really was”, he admits between sips of green tea.

What was Apple doing that Beats wasn’t? “Apple had so much incredible discipline and rigor around product quality” Wood says.

Apple Said Qualcomm's Tech Was No Good. But In Privage Communications, It Was 'The Best.', by Reed Albergotti, Washington Post

The sealed documents, obtained by Qualcomm through the discovery phase ahead of the trial, offer a rare window into the decision-making process of one of the most secretive and powerful companies on the planet, and how Apple’s internal discussions about Qualcomm differed from what it said publicly. Apple’s criticism of Qualcomm underpinned more than 80 lawsuits around the world and influenced governments to change laws and regulations in Apple’s favor. The emails and slide-show presentation, seen by a Washington Post reporter in court, could soon be made available in the docket for all to see, since they were shown at trial. The two sides settled their dispute Tuesday, shortly after the trial began.

The documents also raise questions about the methods Apple used to inflict pain on Qualcomm and whether Apple really believed its own arguments to lawmakers, regulators, judges and juries when it tried to change not just its long-standing business agreement with Qualcomm but the very laws and practices that have allowed inventors to profit from their work and investments. Apple has argued that Qualcomm’s patents were no more valuable than those of competitors like Ericsson and Huawei, but Qualcomm argued in court that the documents show otherwise.

Marzipan's Siri

Siri Shortcuts, Screen Time, And Other iOS Features Coming To The Mac With 10.15, by Guilherme Rambo, 9to5Mac

Supporting the feature on macOS is important so developers of iPad apps can more easily port their Shortcuts-enabled apps to the Mac, with the new SDK becoming available at WWDC. According to sources, only Marzipan apps will be able to take advantage of the Shortcuts support on macOS. Engineers are also working on bringing the assistant on macOS closer to its iOS counterpart by porting over features such as the ability to set timers and alarms and ask about air quality, currently unavailable on the Mac.

Shortcuts Coming To The Mac?, by Jason Snell, Six Colors

Automation on the Mac is in danger of becoming a real mess. Automator and AppleScript haven’t changed much over time, and probably won’t ever be able to control Marzipan apps. Bringing over Shortcuts as the macOS automation tool of the future sounds good to me, but if it’s limited to Marzipan apps only, things get weird. The Mac would end up with two entirely different classes of apps, each with their own automation system, both walled off from the other.


How To Recycle Your Old Phone, Laptop And Other Electronics Without Harming The Environment, by Shelby Brown, CNET

Devices can pile up over the years -- just look in your drawers, the garage or a dark corner of your closet. Unless you're a self-disciplined cleaning guru, chances are you've held onto batteries, cables and older devices for nostalgic reasons, or because you thought you might be able to use it down the line.

Leave the tech museum to somebody else. You have better things to do than let dust collect on that creaky old laptop, ancient flip phone or a camera you thought you'd one day save for your kids. Whatever the tech, when it's finally time to say goodbye, there's a right way to dispose of your old gadgets and a lot of wrong ways.


Apple Helping Rebuild Notre Dame Is A Perfect Example Of How It’s Changed Under Tim Cook, by Andy Meek, Salon

Inside and out, Apple has turned itself into one of the most charitable of America’s major corporations, with employees nudged to give back and donate to worthy causes in a way that wasn’t done during Apple’s earlier years. Related to that, Cook has also been clear that he wants Apple to be seen as a force for good, not mostly a retailer of super-luxe consumer electronics.

The Dark Side Of Fitness Tracking, by Caroline Cox, Medium

Saftler has seen countless clients with aches, pains, stress, and poor relationships with food or exercise and statistics that depict them as healthy. Tracking can be useful for some, she adds, but you don’t want to become dependent on the data and lose the ability to listen to how your body is responding.

“Whether it’s helpful or harmful depends on what we’re measuring,” Rosenfeld says, “and how quickly, potentially, that behavior could become out of control.” In the pursuit of well-being, hitting quantitative targets isn’t the same thing as feeling healthy and happy. Ultimately, the latter is the more important goal.

Bottom of the Page

I don't think I really understand -- and I definitely don't buy -- a lot of the science mumbo-jumbo in this second season of Star Trek: Discovery.

Of course, any stories that deal with the breaking of physical laws -- time travels, spore drive -- will have a high bar to make all the science make sense.

Sometimes, it is better not to explain at all.


Thanks for reading.