Archive for May 2019

The Come-Together Edition Friday, May 31, 2019

Thousands Of Stories, One WWDC, by Apple

On June 3, more than 5,000 people from 86 countries will come together in San Jose for Apple’s 2019 Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC). Among them will be Erika Hairston, a first-time attendee, and David Niemeijer, who will be marking his 17th consecutive visit.

Hairston, a 23-year-old Yale grad working in San Francisco, just launched her first app, Zimela, to promote diversity in tech. Niemeijer, a 50-year-old father of two in Amsterdam, is CEO of AssistiveWare, a company he founded 20 years ago that designs communication aids for people with disabilities.

Though they are at two different points in their journeys, Hairston’s and Niemeijer’s paths have much in common.

Marzipan: A Chance To Revitalize The Mac App Ecosystem, by John Voorhees, MacStories

At bottom, the problem is that Apple is at risk of losing control of the Mac's future. Web services are a bigger part of the productivity app market than ever before, and few seem interested in building traditional Mac apps. Exacerbating the problem is the rather thin competition in some app categories and limited migration of iOS apps to the Mac. Instead of letting third parties with little stake in the Mac's success control the direction of the Mac experience through a patchwork of inferior apps, I'm eager to see a solution from Apple that leverages the strength of iOS.

Does Apple’s Boss Have A Plan B In China?, by The Economist

Given his reputation as a logistical mastermind, it is worth asking why he has ignored the first rule of supply-chain management: the risk of keeping too many important eggs in one basket. In Mr Cook’s case, that basket is China. The trade bust-up is getting uglier. If it leads to an anti-American backlash in China, it could spell trouble for Apple—and for Mr Cook personally.


Whereas Huawei claims to have a Plan B to survive its blacklisting by America, and Samsung, a rival smartphone-maker from South Korea, is shifting supply chains from China, Apple appears to have no clear alternative to assembly in China. Few other places possess the expertise to produce the high-end components that Apple needs. The existing network would take years to unscramble.

Health Matters

Using Augmented Reality, Altoida Is Identifying The Likely Onset Of Neurodegenerative Diseases, by Jonathan Shieber, TechCrunch

Altoida uses an iPad or a tablet accelerometer, a gyroscope, and touch screen sensors to detect what the company calls “micro-errors” as patients complete a series of AR and VR challenges. It’s basically a game of hide-and-seek where patients put virtual objects in different physical spaces in a clinical environment and then try to collect them.

Right now, the company’s technology is only available as a clinically supervised test in a doctor’s office, but the company is beginning to look at bringing its diagnostic tools into the home.


Apple Increases iPhone Cellular Download Limit From 150 MB To 200 MB, by Benjamin Mayo, 9to5Mac

One important gotcha when testing iOS’s cellular download limits is that the limit is tested against the thinned, compressed file size.

Apple Releases AirPort Base Station Firmware Update 7.9.1, by Eric Slivka, MacRumors

According to a support document, the update addresses a number of security issues on the affected models.

Smart Battery Cases For iPhone XS, XS Max, And XR In Short Supply And Won't Ship Until July, by Juli Clover, MacRumors

There's no word on why the Smart Battery Cases are temporarily unavailable from Apple, but there could have been a manufacturing delay or issue that has caused available supply to dry up.

Macs Have Evolved, But It Took Third Parties To Innovate The Clipboard, by Bob Levitus, Houston Chronicle

I’m not sure why Apple hasn’t tackled this issue and added a Clipboard history over the course of three decades. On the other hand, for as long as I can remember there have been numerous third-party utilities that include a modern, multi-item Clipboard history. I don’t like to use a Mac without one.

Castro Podcast Player For iOS Adds Support For Creating And Sharing Podcast Clips, by Chance Miller, 9to5Mac

In Castro, you can access clip sharing by opening the player screen and then tapping and holding the red button to record a clip. You can also tap the red button once to automatically record a 30-second clip, and then use the built-in editor to clean up your recording.

How To Make Music On An iPad Pro, by Mark Kavanagh,

Making tunes and crafting beats is accessible for all on iOS thanks to a large selection of free and fun apps for beginners.

But there is plenty on an iPad to appeal to professionals too.


Apps Purged By Apple Say It Holds The Key They Need To Get Back In, by Jack Nicas, New York Times

Because Apple has demonstrated that it can enable people to track the time they spend on their phones — as well as what their children are doing — without invading privacy, the developers said Apple should give them an A.P.I. that would allow them to do the same.

The companies said they had wanted such an A.P.I. for years but were forced to use workarounds.

How A Caseless iPhone Became A Status Symbol, by Maria Teresa Hart, Vox

Kuang believes companies are simply responding to our own desires for something that’s increasingly more slender, more delicate. “They are not designing in a vacuum,” he says. “I can guarantee there have been versions and concepts that were more durable.” But they didn’t make it to market, he insists, because models that aren’t “stone-cold beautiful” are far harder to sell.

In several ways, the arc of cellphone design has curved toward the increasingly fragile. Kahney reflects on the first iPhone: “That was definitely a tough device. But over the years, they’ve tried to make it slimmer and sleeker and sexier.” He notes that the iPhone X “was like a slippery bar of soap. Of course, the first day I had it, it went flying out of my hands and onto the concrete.”

How Qualcomm Shook Down The Cell Phone Industry For Almost 20 Years, by Timothy B. Lee, Ars Technica

The story of Qualcomm's battle with Apple and Intel illustrates how Qualcomm has used its patent portfolio to buttress its chip monopoly.

10,000 Steps A Day? How Many You Really Need To Boost Longevity, by Allison Aubrey, NPR

In fact, women who took 4,400 steps per day, on average, were 40 percent less likely to die during the follow-up period of about four years compared to women who took 2,700 steps. The findings were published Wednesday in JAMA Internal Medicine.

Another surprise: The benefits of walking maxed out at about 7,500 steps. In other words, women who walked more than 7,500 steps per day saw no additional boost in longevity.

Bottom of the Page

The different ways my iPhone misunderstands me:

Confusing between 3D Touch and Tap-and-hold;
Turning on the flashlight or the camera when I'm just putting my phone into my pocket;
Turning on the flashlight or the camera when I'm just taking my phone out of my pocket;
Confusing between going home and going to app switcher;
Cannot decide the previous app is on the left or on the right in the app switcher.


Thanks for reading.

The Cover-the-Money Edition Thursday, May 30, 2019

What Really Happens To AirPods When They Die, by Will Oremus, Medium

Most of all, Apple wanted to make clear that you can recycle AirPods — or at least important components of them — and you can go through Apple to do it. There’s a link on the company’s website to order a prepaid shipping label, which you can use to send the device to one of Apple’s recycling partners by dropping it in a FedEx box. Apple says that it has accepted AirPods for recycling ever since they were released, although it was only this year that the company added the product as a specific category of return on the website.


Wistron’s representative disclosed to me that Apple pays his company to work on AirPods to cover the money it loses on each one. If recycling AirPods is a money-losing venture, that might help to explain why only Apple’s contracted partners are willing to do it. They are recyclable — but apparently not yet in an economical way.

It’s Time For Apple To Kill 3D Touch, by Jason Cross, Macworld

This has happened with at least a half-dozen people to whom I tried to explain how to do something on their iPhone. They trigger 3D Touch, don’t know how they did it or why it did something other than what they wanted, and don’t know how to go back.

For a small percentage of the billion iPhone users out there, 3D Touch is indispensable. For hundreds of millions of others, it is either unavailable (because they have an iPhone XR, 5S, SE, etc.), ignored, or worst of all, confusing.

App Competition

Apple’s Latest Defense Of The App Store Just Shows How Hard It Is To Compete With Apple, by Chris Welch, The Verge

The company fails to mention that none of these apps can be chosen as the default messaging app, maps service, email client, web browser, or music player. That limitation isn’t always a deal-breaker — just ask WhatsApp, which is more popular than iMessage in many countries — but it still gives Apple’s services an advantage.

$99 Is Not Nothing, by John Gruber, Daring Fireball

Any developer distributing an app through the App Store, free or paid, must pay Apple $99 per year for a developer account. You can build apps using Xcode free of charge, but you need a paid developer account to distribute them through the App Store.

Coming Soon

Exclusive Screenshots Reveal New Music And TV Apps For Mac, by Guilherme Rambo, 9to5Mac

In both apps, the sidebar icons use the tint color of the app, have a drop shadow and follow a continuous color gradient from top to bottom, very different from the monochrome icons that are common in sidebars in previous versions of macOS.


Step Tracker Pedometer++ Features Dark Mode And More With A New Update, by Brent Dirks, AppAdvice

The biggest change is support for fixed timezones. You’ll set a home time zone, and the app will always display your step count in that location. That means streaks and achievements won’t be messed up when traveling.

Alfred 4 Brings Dark Mode, Rich Text Expansion, And More, by Chance Miller, 9to5Mac

Alfred 4 also includes new workflow objects, which “make it even easier to create workflows without any coding skills.”

Flotato Is A Wildly Clever Way To Get Web Apps On Your Mac, by Dieter Bohn, The Verge

When you launch Flotato, it shows you an array of possible web apps with a little button that says “get.” When you click that button, Flotato creates an app for that thing in your Applications folder. You open it, it opens the web app you chose, and you log in. It’s simple enough, but what it’s actually doing is kind of amazing.


How To Be Happy? A Nearly 90-Year-Old Has Some Advice, by Judith Viorst, Glamour

“What’s been your favorite time of life?” I was asked a couple of months ago. My answer astonished my questioner—and me. For instead of a choice that approximated when I fell in love, or gave birth to my first baby, or held my first published book in my hot little hands, I looked back on my 80-plus years, my nearing 90 years, and said, “Right now.”


Who Is The New iPod Touch Good For? Privacy Hawks, by Patrick Howell O'Neill, Gizmodo

Starting at $199, the iPod Touch makes a solid “burner” device. The reasons for needing a burner can vary from person to person. For traveling journalists, for instance, passing through borders and into foreign countries means their privacy is at risk. Border areas around the world, including in the United States, are notorious for intrusive device searches thanks to policies allowing unlimited suspicionless and indiscriminate device searches. Being in a new country also means a high-risk individual like a journalist may be more easily targeted for surveillance. In that situation, a separate but powerful device that’s trickier to track and that is free from all the data on your personal smartphone can be a useful tool.

Apple And WhatsApp Condemn GCHQ Plans To Eavesdrop On Encrypted Chats, by Alex Hern, The Guardian

A GCHQ proposal that would enable eavesdropping on encrypted chat services has been condemned as a “serious threat” to digital security and human rights.

In an open letter signed by more than 50 companies, civil society organisations and security experts – including Apple, WhatsApp, Liberty and Privacy International – GCHQ was called on to abandon its so-called “ghost protocol”, and instead focus on “protecting privacy rights, cybersecurity, public confidence, and transparency”.

Why Tracking Your Symptoms Can Make You Feel Worse, by Michele Cohen Marill, Wired

Fifteen percent of adults in the US use an app regularly or occasionally to track symptoms of a disease. About as many use a sleep-tracking app to figure out whether they get enough shut-eye.

Thinking (or worrying!) about symptoms, including insomnia, will make them more likely to occur. That is the nocebo effect, the dark sibling of the placebo effect—the mind-over-matter tendency for people to feel better if they take a sugar pill that they believe is an effective medication.

Bottom of the Page

My current phone, iPhone X, is my first phone that has 3D Touch. I've turned off 3D Touch after using it for a while.

My iPad does not have 3D Touch.

And I don't have a trackpad for my Mac that have 3D Toucn. (Or is that called Force Touch? I cannot remember Apple's marketing terms anymore.)

So, I will not miss 3D Touch if Apple removes it this fall.


The reason I turned off 3D Touch: I sometimes get 3D Touch when I meant tap-and-hold, and I sometimes get tap-and-hold when I meant 3D Touch. So, in the end, I told my phone: stop guessing what I meant. From now, it's all tap-and-hold.


Thanks for reading.

The Substantial-Investments Edition Wednesday, May 29, 2019

Apple Defends Itself Against Monopolistic App Store Claims In New Webpage, by Ben Lovejoy, 9to5Mac

Apple also notes that the App Store doesn’t just offer paid apps from which it takes a commission. There are actually eight different categories of apps, and Apple makes no money on four of them.


The company also points out the substantial investments in makes to help developers create apps – everything from compilers and SDKs to the Apple Developer Academy and WWDC scholarships.

Inside The Apple Team That Decides Which Apps Get On iPhones, by Mark Gurman, Bloomberg

App reviewers worked in small conference rooms with Macs, iPhones, and iPads to test applications. Reviewers would come in each morning, pick 30 to 100 apps from a web tool, and download them devices for testing. It was a job that required long hours, Shoemaker recalled. Apple has hired more reviewers since then, and the work spaces in California are more open and collaborative now.

Apple made sure that Shoemaker’s review team treated all third-party developers equally, even if they were giant technology companies supplying important apps for iPhones and iPads. “I was calling out Facebook all the time” on Twitter, he said. “Even though they were one of these privileged developers, they had some of the worst code at the time.”

Refreshing the Mac

What The Mac Needs Now Is Courage, by Dieter Bohn, The Verge

In fact, I think Apple should do more than double down on these iPad-style apps on the Mac. I think Apple should go all in and make nearly all of its consumer Mac apps with the new UIKit / Marzipan frameworks, including Mail, Notes, Messages, FaceTime, Photos, Reminders, and Calendar. Apple should just go for it, sooner rather than later, and ideally right now.

My reasoning is pretty simple: whether you think these apps should be the future of macOS development, they’re absolutely coming either way, and Apple should want to ensure that they’re great. The surest way to improve iPad apps on the Mac is for Apple to force its own employees to use them and then fix them.

Exclusive Screenshots Reveal iOS 13 Dark Mode And More, by Guilherme Rambo, 9to5Mac

On iPad, the new Reminders app has a large sidebar with separate boxes for “Today”, “Scheduled”, “Flagged” and “All”, which also includes a search box and a collection of a user’s lists of reminders.


Apple Events App Updated For WWDC Keynote, Music Memos Now Supports iPhone X, by Michael Potuck, 9to5Mac

After a long stretch without any changes, Apple’s Music Memos iOS app has received an update today bringing support for the latest iPhone screens.

OmniFocus For Web Review: Access Your Tasks Everywhere, by Rosemary Orchard, MacStories

The best task manager you can have is the one that's always with you, no matter which device you're using. Many people started with paper notebooks or index cards, and nowadays we have iPhones and iPads that can go with us everywhere, and even Apple Watches that can be independent devices if we need them to be.

The web is a ubiquitous platform – it's everywhere, the framework behind much of what we interact with, and something we nearly always have access to. OmniFocus for the Web is a brand new product that makes the most of the web platform to allow you to manage your tasks on any computer – be that Windows, Linux, or a Mac.

1Password 7.3 Is Available For Mac And Brings Major Updates To 1Password Mini, by Mike Schmitz, The Sweet Setup

Some of the improvements here include the ability to pin a password from 1Password mini to the screen so you can get back to it quickly, the ability to search tags inside of 1Password mini, and the addition of VoiceOver support for the 1Password mini window.


Moving The Needle, by David Sparks, MacSparky

As I go through each day and spend time on work that moves the needle, I log it on this page. Consider it time-tracking light. I’m not keeping track of how much time I spend doing everything. I’m just keeping track of the time I spend moving the needle. This has several benefits.


One of the effects on me is that I’m more vigilant about asking myself the question, “Does this move the needle” throughout the day and even before agreeing to additional projects.


Apple’s $3 Billion Purchase Of Beats Has Already Paid Off, by Billy Steele, Engadget

Working on its own, this could've taken years to build, and even then, it may not have been as good as what it has done with the help of Iovine, Dr. Dre, Reznor and others. Apple bought a company, commandeered its assets and retained its talent to keep the records spinning as it's done many times, and will continue to do. Five years later, business is booming, and that's business as usual in Cupertino.

The New iPod Says A Lot About Apple As A Company Right Now, by Dave Smith, Business Insider

The new iPod says a lot about Apple right now: It will innovate, but only when it's strategic and/or profitable to do so. Otherwise, it's not worth the risk.

Google’s Chrome Becomes Web ‘Gatekeeper’ And Rivals Complain, by Gerrit De Vynck, Bloomberg

Google won by offering consumers a fast, customizable browser for free, while embracing open web standards. Now that Chrome is the clear leader, it controls how the standards are set. That’s sparking concern Google is using the browser and its Chromium open-source underpinnings to elbow out online competitors and tilt entire industries in its favor.

Bottom of the Page

I have gout.


(Well, it could be worse.)


Thanks for reading.

The iPod-AR Edition Tuesday, May 28, 2019

Apple Releases New iPod Touch Featuring A10 Fusion Chip, 256 GB Storage Option, by Benjamin Mayo, 9to5Mac

Apple has just announced a new iPod touch featuring an Apple A10 Fusion chip. The new Touch looks the same as the previous generation, with a 4-inch screen flanked by large bezels and a non-Touch ID physical home button.

It’s The Middle Of The Night. Do You Know Who Your iPhone Is Talking To?, by Geoffrey A. Fowler, Washington Post

IPhone apps I discovered tracking me by passing information to third parties — just while I was asleep — include Microsoft OneDrive, Intuit’s Mint, Nike, Spotify, The Washington Post and IBM’s the Weather Channel. One app, the crime-alert service Citizen, shared personally identifiable information in violation of its published privacy policy.

And your iPhone doesn’t only feed data trackers while you sleep. In a single week, I encountered over 5,400 trackers, mostly in apps, not including the incessant Yelp traffic. According to privacy firm Disconnect, which helped test my iPhone, those unwanted trackers would have spewed out 1.5 gigabytes of data over the span of a month. That’s half of an entire basic wireless service plan from AT&T.


I've Been Switching Between The Powerbeats Pro And Apple's New AirPods For Weeks, And These Are The Most Important Differences Between Them, by Lisa Eadicicco, Business Insider

While they do share many characteristics, there are some important differences between the two, particularly when it comes to customization, comfort, and sound quality. I've spent the past several weeks switching between Apple's second-generation AirPods and the Powerbeats Pro, and here are some of the biggest differences I noticed.

Using An iPhone 8 Underlines The Benefits Of The iPhone X, by Ben Lovejoy, 9to5Mac

There is one iPhone X feature I miss massively – and that’s Face ID. To me, the difference is night-and-day. Somewhat for unlocking the phone. Swiping up on the iPhone X can be done very casually, and Face ID unlocks instantly; having to position a thumb on the Touch ID button feels clunkier in comparison.

Todoist iOS App Updated With Custom Icons And Apple Watch Complications To Show Tasks Remaining, by Michael Potuck, 9to5Mac

For watch faces like Infograph and Infograph Modular, users will see a status ring around the icon for how many tasks are left for the day or for an upcoming task.

The Best Apps For Teachers And Educators, by Jackie Dove, Yahoo

While school districts continue to integrate technology into the classroom, hardware is only one part of the puzzle. You also need the right software to inspire young minds. From creating lesson plans and keeping attendance to behavior records and communicating with students and parents, we’ve compiled a set of the best apps for teachers that enable them to leverage tech instead of fighting it.


Productivity And The Joy Of Doing Things The Hard Way, by Rob Walker, Wired

For now, this is one of the ways I try to resolve, or at least confront, the push-and-pull between the efficient and the unstructured. And I really think this has less to do with technology than with our own behavior. Our tech addictions exploit human nature—the tendency toward instant gratification, the instinct for paying attention to what everyone else is paying attention to. But one of the things that makes humans human is our ability (not always utilized) to override our immediate instincts, exercise personal agency, and act rather than merely react.

At a time when the pressure to maximize productivity seems particularly intense, we should give ourselves permission, now and then, to pass some time that serves no obvious purpose. We should allow ourselves to be surprised, to encounter the unexpected.

Power? No, Thanks, I’m Good., by Tim Kreider, New York Times

The wish to have power over others is altogether alien to me; I just don’t get it, any more than I get why anyone wants to have kids or play Settlers of Catan. Even sexual fantasies based on power dynamics don’t particularly appeal to me. Why would I want to boss other people around? What would I make them do? My taxes, maybe? It just sounds awkward, and like a huge hassle. I don’t even like being waited on by people I’d rather have a beer with; I’m uncomfortable holding the meager (and mostly illusory) power of grades over my students.

However: Doing what I want, and not being made to do things I don’t want to do, has been one of my main priorities in adulthood, the principle around which I’ve structured my life.


Pegatron Eyes Up To $1 Billion Indonesia Investment To Assemble Apple Phone Chips: Deputy Minister, by Cindy Silviana, Reuters

Taiwan electronics company Pegatron has signed a letter of intent stating it intends to invest 10 trillion to 15 trillion rupiah ($695 million to $1 billion) in an Indonesian factory to produce chips for Apple smartphones, the Indonesian deputy industry minister said on Tuesday.

A Goldman Sachs Rival Pulled Out Of The Apple Card Deal On Fears It Will Be A Money Loser, by Hugh Son, CNBC

Within the industry, the deal is widely perceived as one that's risky for a bank to take on. Citigroup was in advanced negotiations with Apple for the card, but pulled out amid doubts that it could earn an acceptable profit on the partnership, according to people with knowledge of the talks. Other banks, including J.P. Morgan Chase, Barclays and Synchrony also bid on the business. Apple and the banks declined to comment on this story.

The Privacy-Test Edition Monday, May 27, 2019

Inside Apple's Top Secret Test Labs Where iPhone Defences Are Forged, by Andrew Griffin, Independent

In a huge room somewhere near Apple's glistening new campus, highly advanced machines are heating, cooling, pushing, shocking and otherwise abusing chips. Those chips – the silicon that will power the iPhones and other Apple products of the future – are being put through the most gruelling and intense work of their young and secretive lives. Throughout the room are hundreds of circuit boards, into which those chips are wired – those hundreds of boards are placed in hundreds of boxes, where these trying processes take place.

Those chips are here to see whether they can withstand whatever assault anyone might try on them when they make their way out into the world. If they succeed here, then they should succeed anywhere; that's important, because if they fail out in the world then so would Apple. These chips are the great line of defence in a battle that Apple never stops fighting as it tries to keep users' data private.

It is a battle fought on many fronts: against the governments that want to read users' personal data; against the hackers who try and break into devices on their behalf; against the other companies who have attacked Apple's stringent privacy policies. It has meant being taken to task both for failing to give up information the US government says could aid the fighting of terrorism, and for choosing to keep operating in China despite laws that force it to store private data on systems that give the country's government nearly unlimited access.

Can We Revive Empathy In Our Selfish World?, by Jamil Zaki, Nautilus

As cities grow and households shrink, we see more people than ever before, but know fewer of them. Rituals that bring us into regular contact—attending church, participating in team sports, even grocery shopping—have given way to solitary pursuits, often carried out over the Internet. At a corner store, two strangers might make small talk about basketball, school systems, or video games, getting to know all sorts of details about each other. Online, the first thing we encounter about a person is often the thing we’d like least about them, such as an ideology we despise. They are enemies before they have a chance to be people.

If you wanted to design a system to break empathy, you could scarcely do better than the society we’ve created. And in some ways, empathy has broken. Many scientists believe it’s eroding over time. For the past four decades, psychologists have measured empathy. The news is not good. Empathy has dwindled steadily, especially in the 21st century. The average person in 2009 was less empathic than 75 percent of people in 1979.

Dating Apps Are Messing With Us—It's Time To Fix It, by Adam Haworth, Charged

Without giving too much of my personal life away, I think it's important to say that like millions of others globally, I'm a user of these apps, and I will continue to use them. I have felt the full spectrum of emotional effects and sometimes wish I didn’t use them, but they’re a part of modern life.

And not only are some of the negative effects preventable, but I think dating apps have a responsibility to prevent them.


Ulysses Gains Native iPad Editor Split View And Ghost Publishing Support, by Tim Hardwick, MacRumors

With this version, split view editing comes to iPad, enabling Ulysses users to not just display and edit two texts at a time, scroll both texts simultaneously, and apportion the available screen space between the two editors. With a split view containing two app windows, they can also navigate and show an export preview next to an editor, to see what the finished article is going to look like when they write.”

Adonit PhotoGrip Qi Review: Grip, Tripod, Remote, And Charger, by Karen S Freeman, iMore

The grip itself serves several purposes. Its main purpose is the give you a better grip on your iPhone, but it does much more than that. Amazingly, it's a wireless charger and 3000mAh battery. Pop it on your wireless-compatible iPhone and it'll charge your phone while you're busy taking photos.


Your Syntax Highlighter Is Wrong, by James Fisher

The comment is washed out. While the rest of the text exists in black, boldface, and bright colors, the comments fade into the background. I’m not picking on GitHub here; the same approach is taken by virtually every highlighting scheme. The implication is obvious: the comment is less important than the code. As a consequence, our eyes skip directly over the comment and it goes unread.

How To Talk About Your Salary With Co-Workers, by Alison Green, Slate

These conversations are critical if employees are to have any shot at evening the playing field with employers, getting paid what they’re worth, and shrinking pay disparities by race and gender.


I Spent An Hour With Apple Support. These Are The Crazy Problems People Reported, by Chris Matyszczyk, ZDNet

I wondered, though, what other problems people around the world reported to Apple every single day.

So I spent a random hour wafting down the Apple Support Twitter feed, just to hear the ululations of the faithful.

I didn't know what to expect. What I found was deeply sobering.

Bottom of the Page

My body, as I am getting older, has prepared a new game for me. The name of the game: what will go wrong this week?

(Currently, my left ankle is both sore and painful. And I have no idea why.)


My apartment has also prepared a new game for me, with the same name.

(Currently, one of the air-con's sensor doesn't recognize any of our remote controls.)


Thanks for reading.

The Drives-and-Shares Edition Sunday, May 26, 2019

Researcher Exposes Vulnerability In macOS Gatekeeper Security Mechanism, by Chance Miller, 9to5Mac

In its current implementation, Gatekeeper considers both external drives and network shares as “safe locations.” This means that it allows any application contained in those locations to run without checking the code again. He goes on to explain the user can “easily” be tricked into mounting network share drive, and that anything in that folder can then pass Gatekeeper.

Apple’s Abacus Emoji Is Wrong, by Chaim Gartenberg, The Verge

Apple’s abacus emoji is wrong. Or, technically not “wrong” per se, in that you can probably still use it do math if you actually know how to use an abacus (I do not). But still, that ever useful emoji — added in the Unicode 11.0 update to the emoji standards as part of iOS 12 — is apparently incorrect on Apple devices when compared to nearly any abacus used across the whole of human civilization.

Tim Cook Shows Off 'Chronicles Of San Franciso' Mural, by Chance Miller, 9to5Mac

Through the JR Murals iOS app, people can use their iPhone’s camera to explore the mural. The app is able to recognize the different people and events in the mural, allowing you to tap on people and events to hear audio, read detailed information, and more. The app works whether you’re looking at the actual video mural, or at a picture. You can buy the book version of “The Chronicles of San Francisco” on Amazon, and use the iPhone app to dive deeper into the images.


You Need A Password Manager. Here Are The 4 Best Ones, by Scott Gilbertson, Wired

Password managers are the vegetables of the internet. We know they're good for us, but most of us are happier snacking on the password equivalent of junk food. For seven years running that's been "123456" and "password"—the two most commonly used passwords on the web.

The problem is, most of us don't know what makes a good password and aren't about to remember hundreds of them every day.

Free App Safely Records Your Doctor's Visits, by Kim Komando

Regardless of whether it's you or a close relative who has been diagnosed with a serious disease, it is important to understand the information a doctor is giving you. With consultations lasting only 20 minutes or sho, it is difficult to digest what is being said, much less understood.

Then there is the issue of updating family members about what the doctor told you. If you can't understand or remember everything, how are you expected to pass that information along?

A new app has been developed to help you record the information the doctor is relaying to you and share it with members of your family.

Why Your Phone Gets So Damn Hot And How To Keep It From Overheating, by Jason Cipriani, CNET

While a phone can overheat while you're using it, that's a relatively uncommon occurrence. It's more likely that internal temperatures will rise when you're spending a day at the beach after it's been in the sun for too long.

If you find yourself staring at a warning message that your phone is too hot, don't freak out! It only takes a few minutes to get it back down to a suitable temperature.


The Difference Between Keyboard And Screen Reader Navigation, by Léonie Watson, Tink

People often include screen reader users in the much larger group of keyboard-only users. Whilst this is correct (most screen reader users don’t use a mouse), it also creates a false impression of the way screen reader users navigate content.

How To Get Every Email Returned, by Trish Hall, New York Times

In the course of doing research for a book on how people actually change their minds, and what gets them to say “yes” rather than “no,” I was distressed to find that I knew much less about it than I thought I did. I figured that my nearly five years as the New York Times Op-Ed editor gave me a pretty strong vantage point on what worked and what didn’t. It did — but I didn’t always know why. What I sensed intuitively about effective writing turned out to rest on some deep psychological truths. Understanding them provides tactics that can be exploited in both personal and written interactions.

Some of these rules can be used both in writing and in real life. Until we’ve banished written communication entirely, we’re going to have to keep doing it — so you might as well get your text messages returned.


Do Not Trust That Stranger's 5-Star Review, by Joanne Chen, New York Times

The experts confirmed what I knew, but resisted, all along. If you really want to find the best product or service for your needs, you’ll need to exert some effort. But it’s also worth remembering that if you don’t, it’s no big deal.

In Baltimore And Beyond, A Stolen N.S.A. Tool Wreaks Havoc, by Nicole Perlroth, New York Times

For nearly three weeks, Baltimore has struggled with a cyberattack by digital extortionists that has frozen thousands of computers, shut down email and disrupted real estate sales, water bills, health alerts and many other services.

But here is what frustrated city employees and residents do not know: A key component of the malware that cybercriminals used in the attack was developed at taxpayer expense a short drive down the Baltimore-Washington Parkway at the National Security Agency, according to security experts briefed on the case.

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After so many years, I still haven't gotten used to Safari's placement of the refresh button inside the URL box.


Thanks for reading.

The Empowering-Device Edition Saturday, May 25, 2019

Smartphones Are Toys First, Tools Second, by David Cain, Raptitude

The smartphone should be, and perhaps still could be, the most personally empowering device ever invented, yet many people are now trying to reduce or eliminate their role in their lives.

I’m one of those people, and I still wonder: why is it such a close tradeoff? Why do these superpowers outweigh the downsides by such a small margin that anyone would consider giving them up? The downsides must be pretty bad.

Apple's Ex-Retail Chief Brushes Off Criticism, Says 'I Know The Facts', by Mark Gurman, Bloomberg

Ahrendts dismissed the criticisms. “I don’t read any of it, and none of it is based on fact, it’s everyone trying to find stories,” she said. “When I left, retention rates were at an all-time high, up over 20 points in the five years,” and customer loyalty scores “were at historic highs. Again, I know the facts,” Ahrendts said.

Apple Bought A Start-Up That Was Working On Monitoring Asthma In Children, by Christina Farr, Steve Kovach, CNBC

Tueo Health was developing a mobile app that worked with commercial breathing sensors to help manage asthma symptoms in children. The app would send alerts to parents if their child's breathing changed at night.


Apple Releases iOS 12.3.1 Today With Fixes For Messages And VoLTE Bugs, by Eric Slivka, MacRumors

According to Apple's release notes, iOS 12.3.1 addresses a handful of bugs related to the Messages app and VoLTE calls.

Apple Confirms ECG App For Smartwatch Coming To Canada But Timing Isn't Known, by The Canadian Press

The company says in a statement to The Canadian Press that it will bring the heart health features of Apple Watch Series 4 to Canada "as quickly as possible" but a spokeswoman declined to provide an estimated time of arrival.


An iOS 13 Wish: A Return Of Vibrant Tapdown States, by John Gruber, Daring Fireball

The classic iOS look-and-feel made it feel fun just to tap buttons on screen. I miss that. Again, put aside specific techniques like photorealistic textures and depth effects. To me the fundamental weakness in post-iOS-7 look-and-feel is simply that it’s been drained of joy.

Apple Accused Of Selling iTunes Customers' Listening Data, by Robert Burnson, Bloomberg

"For example, any person or entity could rent a list with the names and addresses of all unmarried, college-educated women over the age of 70 with a household income of over $80,000 who purchased country music from Apple via its iTunes Store mobile application," the customers said. "Such a list is available for sale for approximately $136 per thousand customers listed."

When Will Emergency Alerts Finally Come To Netflix?,by Jane C. Hu, Slate

Should streaming companies adopt these messages, it’s not clear what they would look like, which could determine how effective they are at getting people to take action. Currently, the best hope for reaching someone watching a show, listening to music, or playing video games in the moments before a breaking emergency is to send them an alert via their cellphone. (Even so, if users are relaxing at home, their phone might not be close enough for them to see or hear the alert. Others might have opted out of receiving emergency messages on their phone entirely.) The current Wireless Emergency Alert system is limited to 90 characters, which doesn’t exactly allow for nuance or instructions.

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When Apple first introduced Screen Time, I dutifully turned it on, enable the Today widget, and set a reminder to check my 'score' every night.

It took me a while to realize this: keeping my 'score' low is not what I desire.

Here's what my iPhone is to me: books, radio, newspapers, magazines, and, well, phone. I do not want to reduce the amount of time spent on my iPhone to read, to listen, or to be in touch with my family.

There has to be a better Screen Time that works for me. But for now, Screen Time is not for me.


Thanks for reading.

The Still-Tweaking Edition Friday, May 24, 2019

Apple’s Keyboard ‘Material’ Changes On The New MacBook Pro Are Minor At Best, by Dieter Bohn, The Verge

According to iFixit, Apple made two changes to the new keyboards that are on its just-announced, spec-bumped MacBook Pro. The changes seem to amount to a new membrane that might be more effective at repelling debris and a new dome switch that might be more resilient. And though it’s much too early to say whether or not those changes will make a difference in improving the keyboard’s reliability, what is clear right now is that Apple is still just tweaking its design instead of overhauling it.

Let It Grow: The Appification Of Plants Is Helping Owners Keep Them Alive, by Molly McHugh, The Ringer

On-demand order and delivery is a natural space for houseplant entrepreneurs to target, but the tech startup interest in the market extends beyond shopping logistics. Once those plants are in their homes, people need help taking care of them. The App Store is full of watering, care-reminder, and note-taking apps (such as Happy Plant, Plant Watering Reminder, and Waterbug) so users can keep track of their plants. For deeper insight, there are digital tools for analyzing the specifics of plants’ environments and customizing care plans.

Apple Pulls Popular iOS Game After Chinese Company Steals Its Name, by Killian Bell, Cult of Mac

Apple has removed titles from the App Store for puzzling and frustrating reasons in the past. This is another one of those cases.

Developer Playsaurus has done nothing wrong. It didn’t break any App Store rules or regulations. But thanks to a shady Chinese company, its game had to get the boot.


New 'Source' Wireless Charger From Spansive Charges Four iPhones At Once Thanks To Unique Design, by Juli Clover, MacRumors

Spansive says the Source uses "software-designed induction to shape magnetic fields" to create a device that allows four smartphones (or other Qi-based devices) to charge at once using a three-dimensional charging field that can "sense where devices are located."


The Best Resources To Help You Learn Apple's Swift 5 Programming Language, by Nik Rawlinson, Macworld UK

Apple’s Swift is billed by the tech giant as a programming language that "lets everyone build amazing apps." Now, that may be true, but don’t expect to dive into Swift coding today and write the next Candy Crush tomorrow. As with any language, spoken or coded, learning it takes both time and effort.

Help is at hand, though, with both free and commercial resources available online covering the language in depth. Whatever your ability, you’ll find plenty here to advance your skills.


Apple's App Store Ads Make Finding The App You Want Frustrating, by Adrian Kingsley-Hughes, ZDNet

I get it that ads in the App Store are a revenue stream for Apple – and you're going to see more of them in future – but it feels sort of weird and very un-Apple for the ads to be so poorly targeted. In fact, as far as ad targeting goes, this feels as dumb as a bag of rocks.

The iPhone-Signature Edition Thursday, May 23, 2019

Android And iOS Devices Impacted By New Sensor Calibration Attack, by Catalin Cimpanu, ZDNet

This new technique -- called a calibration fingerprinting attack, or SensorID -- works by using calibration details from gyroscope and magnetometer sensors on iOS; and calibration details from accelerometer, gyroscope, and magnetometer sensors on Android devices.

According to a team of academics from the University of Cambridge in the UK, SensorID impacts iOS devices more than Android smartphones. The reason is that Apple likes to calibrate iPhone and iPad sensors on its factory line, a process that only a few Android vendors are using to improve the accuracy of their smartphones' sensors.

Apple Pledges To Be 'Clearer And More Upfront' With iPhone Users About Battery Health And Performance In UK, by Joe Rossignol, MacRumors

In a pledge submitted to the Competition and Markets Authority or CMA, Apple committed to several actions it has already taken, including providing consumers with "clear and comprehensible information" about lithium-ion batteries, unexpected shutdowns, and performance management in iOS and on its website.

Apple added that if a future iOS update materially changes the impact of performance management when installed on an iPhone, it will notify consumers "in a clear manner" of those changes in the release notes for the update.

One Inventor’s Race To Manage His Parkinson’s Disease With An App, by Peter Andrey Smith, Medium

Finucane has Parkinson’s disease, a condition that occurs when cells in the substantia nigra, a region in the midbrain, deteriorate and die. These cells produce dopamine, a chemical messenger that is essential for normal muscle movement. To replenish dopamine levels, doctors prescribe levodopa, a drug that remains the gold standard for treatment despite the fact that it is now more than a half -century old. But because there’s no practical way to monitor the concentration of dopamine in the body, it’s difficult to perfectly tailor the dosing of levodopa to an individual patient’s needs. Too much levodopa can mean overfilling the brain’s tank with dopamine; too little can mean running out of steam. While doctors do their best, Parkinson’s is a fluctuating condition — symptoms come and go — and clinicians are limited in their insight into how patients respond to medication. So in 2015, Finucane decided to treat his disease like an engineering problem, and build a tool that would better match his medication with the onset of symptoms.

“What I have done is to come up with a way to predict the cumulative effect of a specified prescription, and a scheme to derive a pill schedule to meet the desired end point goal,” Finucane wrote me in an email. “It involves something akin to unwinding a blockchain, if that makes sense to you.”

Getting Ready For Marzipan Apps

Apple Sends Out Invitations For June 3 WWDC Keynote, by Raymond Wong, Mashable

Right on cue, the tech giant sent out media invites for its 30th annual WWDC keynote. Like previous years, the developer conference keynote starts at 10 a.m. PT (1 p.m. ET) at the McEnery Convention Center in San Jose, California.

Apple Updates WWDC App With Customizable Icons, Hidden Session Info And iMessage Stickers Ahead Of 2019 Event, by Juli Clover, MacRumors

There have been no design changes to the app aside from a new neon icon that better matches the darker theme of the 2019 conference, but according to Apple's release notes, the update adds a new profile area for managing notifications, virtual queuing for labs, and app icon selection.


I Was Wrong About The iPad Pro, by Owen Williams, Charged

There are two things that the iPad excels at: battery life—despite a constant 4G connection—and the ways it forces you to multitask: slowly, with intent.

I've tested a lot of computers for getting work done, but the majority of my day job involves writing words—not code—which is a perfect fit for the iPad Pro. It feels backwards to say it, but because the iPad doesn't have multiple floating windows, and no mouse, I'm able to focus on on thing at a time.

Hands-On With The New 4K 23.7-Inch LG UltraFine Display, by Juli Clover, MacRumors

The display is crisp and vivid, rivaling the Retina display on Apple's Macs, and we liked the high gloss finish despite the fact that it tends to add more glare. With 500 nits brightness, it's fairly bright, and because it has P3 wide color support, all the colors are rich and true to life.


Panic Reveals Plans To Sell A Handheld Gaming System Called The Playdate In 2020, by John Voorhees, MacStories

The Playdate's hardware is not like anything currently available on the market, and Panic says the device isn't meant to compete with other handheld systems either. Instead, the goal is to complement existing systems for those times in between using other devices when you want to play a game.

That message seems to have resonated with independent game developers because Panic has announced an impressive lineup of game developers who are making games exclusively for the Playdate.

How AirPods Became An Unlikely Status Symbol, by Kaitlyn Tiffany, Vox

The absurd cultural reaction to AirPods defies exact explanation. They are a deeply boring-looking item and not a particularly innovative one either. The choice to own them is not really as revolting or funny as anyone makes it out to be. It seems closest to say that our collective reaction is against a superwealthy tech company mandating that we do something a little bit strange with a body part super near to our face. And then some of it is just the joy of having someone to dunk on — a rich doofus with AirPods, a swagless late adopter without them. AirPods can turn everyone into the butt of the joke.

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It is never a good idea to add scripting to HTML. We've successfully removed plug-ins. Time to remove Javascript, as well as whatever version of Basic that Microsoft still supports in its browser.

Replace whatever we are doing in Javascript with new HTML tags, if you must. <hamburger>, anybody?



Thanks for reading.

The Another-Butterfly Edition Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Apple Updates MacBook Pro Processors And Keyboard, Extends Keyboard Service Program, by Jason Snell, Six Colors

Apple says these new models also feature another change (I think this is the fifth?) to the butterfly keyboard in response to customer complaints that the keyboard would end up in a sad state where key presses were ignored or doubled. While Apple is quick to say that the vast majority of MacBook Pro customers haven’t experienced any keyboard issues, the company still keeps tweaking this design. It claims that the change made in these new MacBook Pro models will substantially reduce the incidence of ignored or doubled characters.

Beyond that, Apple is also seeking to reassure its customers that they shouldn’t avoid buying a Mac laptop out of fear of having keyboard problems. As was reported last month, Apple is working to shorten the time it takes to repair keyboards in Apple Store. And today it’s extending its Keyboard Service Program to cover all laptops with butterfly keyboards, including not just these new MacBook Pros, but also all of its laptops released in 2018, including the new MacBook Air. That program is separate from the standard Apple warranty and covers keyboard repairs for four years after the first retail sale of the laptop.

Some Good Old-Fashioned Speed Bumps For The MacBook Pro Lineup, And A Tweak To The Butterfly Key Mechanism, by John Gruber, Daring Fireball

So on the keyboard front, these new models can’t be worse and are likely better. That’s good. The best that we could hope for while waiting for a true next-generation keyboard design — which for all we know might be a year or more out — is a mid-generation tweak. At the very least, talking about this material tweak and including all butterfly keyboard models in the service program is an acknowledgement that last year’s keyboards were not good enough. That was the worst case scenario — that Apple didn’t see a problem.

But what pleases me more is that Apple is updating Mac hardware on an aggressive schedule. I wrote “just speed bumps” a few paragraphs ago, but speed bumps are important in the pro market.

Apple Finally Did The Right Thing (Sort Of), by Adam Clark Estes, Gizmodo

It seems like any computer company would stress test a new key design, maybe in the way that Ikea stress tests its chairs: by making a robot pound on them a few thousand times. We’re not talking about any computer company here, either. We’re talking about Apple, the company that’s famous for its obsession with perfection!

Maybe that obsession is what kept Apple from dealing with this keyboard properly sooner. After all, it’s been going on for years, and Apple has only offered incremental temporary fixes for a select number of its customers, people who paid thousands of dollars for devices that proved to be defective. The whole debacle reminds me of the recent controversy over Apple secretly throttling iPhones in order to extend battery life. It took Apple a few years to address that issue and ultimately to offer discounted battery replacements to certain iPhone customers. It’s taken Apple years to admit that it screwed up the first three generations of the butterfly key design. And now, we’ll just have to wait and see if the fourth generation fails, too.

Apple’s New MacBook Keyboard Fix Is Reassuring And Worrying At The Same Time, by Sean Hollister, The Verge

For all we know, Apple’s all but eliminated the issue. We won’t truly know until after months of real-world usage, if ever. But even if you assume that Apple has a fix and is genuinely trying to do right by its customers, today’s move still isn’t totally reassuring.

Apple Will Repair 2016 MacBook Pros With ‘Flexgate’ Display Issues For Free, by Jacob Kastrenakes, The Verge

Apple will offer free repairs to owners of 2016 MacBook Pros with backlight issues — a problem that’s increasingly started to appear on the laptops as they age. The repair program, announced this afternoon, covers only the 13-inch MacBook Pro model that debuted in 2016, though both the Touch Bar and non-Touch Bar versions are eligible. Repairs will be covered for four years after a laptop was first purchased.

Privacy Matters

Apple Has A Plan To Make Online Ads More Private, by Zack Whittaker, TechCrunch

Apple’s thinking, outlined in a blog post Wednesday, is that ads don’t need to share that you bought something from an online store with anyone else. Ads just need to know that someone — and not an identifiable person — clicked on an ad on a site and bought something on another.

By taking the identifiable person out of the equation, Apple says its new technology can help preserve user privacy without reducing the effectiveness on ad campaigns.

Haptical Buttons

Good Vibrations: How Apple Dominates The Touch Feedback Game, by Taylor Dixon, iFixIt

In its endless quest to produce an iPhone that has even fewer physical features than the last, Apple made its iconic home button virtual in 2016, then killed it entirely last year. This is not necessarily a bad thing. Buttons are an ingress point for water (among other liquids) and dust, and internal water damage is nigh impossible to repair. Buttons are also a moving part, and fewer moving parts means fewer potential points of failure.

One of the most interesting and overlooked parts of Apple’s switch from familiar to the futuristic, though, is the effort that went into their Taptic Engine. This work helped Apple move away from physical buttons without alienating too many fans, while also making their watches and laptops feel responsive. It’s a remarkable bit of engineering, and a strategic advantage. Yet it retains the company’s emphasis on a simple, effortless user experience. Having watched Apple’s haptics technology advance inside every one of its devices we’ve taken apart, we’re more than a little impressed, and curious where it will lead in the future.

Town Square

Foster + Partners Converts Historic Washington DC Library Into Apple Store, by Jenna McKnight, Dezeen

"We felt a great sense of responsibility in giving this much-loved monument a new life," the team said. "After a period of neglect, Apple Carnegie Library continues the traditions of the building by creating a new platform for learning, performance and art for a new generation."

Apple's Newest Store And The Perverse Logic Of Philanthro-Capitalism, by Benjamin Soskis, Boston Review

It is true that plenty of knowledge will be diffused on the screens sold there. But in two fundamental respects, the Apple Carnegie Library embodies recent developments that betray the principles that animated Carnegie’s giving: the uncritical valorization of philanthro-capitalism and the privatization of public goods and public spaces. Carnegie’s philanthropy was certainly not unimpeachable—it was often warped by his own ego and eccentricity—but we don’t need to idealize it in order to admire elements of it, especially his library campaign. Indeed, reexamining that campaign should help us appreciate the problem with using Carnegie’s philanthropic legacy to promote the opening of an Apple store in the shell of Washington’s old public library.


Beyond The Tablet: Seven Years Of iPad As My Main Computer, by Federico Viticci, MacStories

I realized when writing this story that I've been running MacStories from my iPad for longer than I ever ran it from a Mac. The website turned 10 last month, and I've managed it almost exclusively from an iPad for seven of those years. And yet, I feel like I'm still adapting to the iPad lifestyle myself – I'm still figuring out the best approaches and forcing myself to be creative in working around the limitations of iOS.

Hands On: Newly Updated FileMaker Pro 18 Focuses On Improvements For Long-time Users, by William Gallagher, AppleInsider

The more you already know and use FileMaker Pro, the more you are going to find to make you very happy with the new FileMaker Pro 18. There's less for brand-new users than there has been with versions 16 and last year's FileMaker Pro 17, but the company is continuing to aim at making this powerful tool a place for people to create their own apps.


What I Wish I'd Known When I Made A Drastic Career Change, by Anna Goldfarb, Medium

While there are no statistics on how many people make a dramatic career change, most of us hopscotch through our working life to some degree. In fact, the U.S. Department of Labor found that the average person changes jobs a dozen times in their career. For anyone making a drastic career change, settling in means learning new things about your goals, your skills, and yourself. Some of those lessons are easy to anticipate; others, like in Jones’ experience, are learned on the fly.


iPhones, Armed Robbery, And Hacking, by Gustavo Duarte, Many But Finite

This past summer I was walking around in the neighborhood where I grew up, happy-go-lucky, when some guy jumped off a motorcycle pointing a gun at me. It was my first time at gunpoint, and from the outset the weapon was positively spellbinding. As I gazed at it, strange thoughts hit me: "Am I going to get shot by this rusty piece of shit? What a sorry way to die! And what if I get tetanus?"

Those were thoughts I wouldn't have anticipated, but as Dan Carlin says, humans in extreme situations often behave unexpectedly. And while a gun-toting thug is a far cry from the Battle of Verdun, it is pretty extreme for me. This post tells the story of the robbery and its surprising information security developments. There are lessons here for both users and designers of technology.

Reading The Room, by M.G. Siegler, 500ish Words

What if rather than having someone with veto powers over individual products, you just need someone taking the high level temperature of their industry. That is, someone who could “read the room” and could make sure that many initiatives at a company aren’t directionally incorrect, or worse: dangerously amiss.

AI Voice Assistants Reinforce Harmful Gender Stereotypes, New UN Report Says, by Nick Statt, The Verge

The paper argues that by naming voice assistants with traditionally female names, like Alexa and Siri, and rendering the voices as female-sounding by default, tech companies have already preconditioned users to fall back upon antiquated and harmful perceptions of women. Going further, the paper argues that tech companies have failed to build in proper safeguards against hostile, abusive, and gendered language. Instead, most assistants, as Siri does, tend to deflect aggression or chime in with a sly joke. For instance, ask Siri to make you a sandwich, and the voice assistant will respond with, “I can’t. I don’t have any condiments.”

“Companies like Apple and Amazon, staffed by overwhelmingly male engineering teams, have built AI systems that cause their feminized digital assistants to greet verbal abuse with catch-me-if-you-can flirtation,” the report states. “Because the speech of most voice assistants is female, it sends a signal that women are ... docile and eager-to-please helpers, available at the touch of a button or with a blunt voice command like ‘hey’ or ‘OK’. The assistant holds no power of agency beyond what the commander asks of it. It honours commands and responds to queries regardless of their tone or hostility.”

The Blue-Follow Edition Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Eddy Cue Says Apple Has ‘Hundreds’ Of People Working To Make Apple News+ Better, by Benjamin Mayo, 9to5Mac

The new follow button was included as a bullet point in the iOS 12.3 release notes but now Apple has decided to give it more exposure with its own press release.

The change is that there is now a blue ‘Follow’ button attached to the cover of every magazine from the catalog view. Tapping ‘Follow’ immediately adds the publication to the user’s collection and new issues are downloaded automatically, so users can read their favorites offline.

Apple Appeals To Ramadan Celebrators With iPhone Ads And Features, by Kyle O'Brien, The Drum

To celebrate the season of Ramadan and Eid, Apple is championing local creativity in the UAE and Middle East with a new ‘Shot on iPhone’ campaign called, ‘Finding Balance’. As people take time for self-reflection, and to connect with friends and family, Apple’s new campaign captures the reflective purpose of the season through the lens of the iPhone XS, complete with features to help people observe.

How Apple’s Deal With Amazon Screwed Over Small Recycling Businesses, by Nick Statt, The Verge

Companies that want to sell Apple products through Amazon now have to meet one of two requirements. The first is to purchase at least $2.5 million worth of refurbished inventory every 90 days from Apple itself or through a retailer with more than $5 billion in annual sales, like a wireless carrier or big-box retailers like Target or Walmart. The second is to reach out directly to Apple to become an authorized reseller. Apple has yet to make its reseller requirements known to the public, but to become an Apple-authorized provider of repairs requires a physical retail space for customers to enter.

By cutting this deal, Apple and Amazon benefit while knocking out millions of dollars worth of business for small sellers. For Apple, the move to sell on Amazon and its aftermath highlight the company’s long-standing adversarial relationship with repair providers and resellers. Even those within the confines of Apple’s strictly controlled network have faced byzantine restrictions to acquiring proper equipment.


Apple Debuts LG's All-New 23.7-inch UltraFine Display, by Julio Ojeda-Zapata, TidBITS

To my surprise, an employee told me I should consider forgoing the 21.5-inch model. Why? “Because we have a larger LG display for the same price.” Laid out for me on the floor were boxes for the two monitors—including the 23.7-inch version that had seemingly come from nowhere.

Here’s the weird thing: I could find virtually nothing about the 23.7-inch LG UltraFine Display online. It’s not listed on Apple’s online store or LG’s Web site. A Google search for its model number, 24MD4KL, turns up little, just a page showing an FCC ID and another showing Energy Star certification.

Health Canada Approves Apple Watch ECG App, Hinting Launch Imminent, by Gary Ng, iPhone In Canada

According to Health Canada’s website, two active licenses from Apple are now showing as approved: 102864 for the ECG app and 102866 for the irregular rhythm notification feature.

‘Listen On Apple Podcasts’ Replaces ‘iTunes’ For Podcast Previews Ahead Of Standalone Mac App, by Chance Miller, 9to5Mac

Clicking on the button still opens iTunes on the Mac, but that is likely to change sooner rather than later.

Timery For Toggl: The MacStories Review, by John Voorhees, MacStories

Time tracking is a habit that’s as hard to establish as regularly exercising or eating better. When you get busy, it’s far too easy to stop. Maybe you’ll come back to it later or perhaps you won’t, but either way, a big part of the benefit of time tracking is consistency, and that’s lost when you stop.

With saved timers, easy access to recent timers, a Today widget, and Siri shortcuts, Timery makes starting and stopping timers second nature. It’s so easy that I find myself using the app even if I’m working on my Mac and have Toggl’s web app open. A lot of the time, it’s just simpler to ask Siri to stop a timer or tap a saved timer in Timery than it is to switch to the web app. It’s also why I’d like to see Timery add an Apple Watch version of the app. The more ways I have to manage timers, the easier it is to maintain my time tracking habit.

Bunch Launches Groups Of Apps From The Mac’s Dock, by Charlie Sorrel, Cult of Mac

Bunch is a new Mac utility from Brett ‘I Just Made This’ Terpstra, the developer of the nvAlt Mac notes app. Bunch sits in your Mac’s Dock, and lets you launch groups, or bunches, of app with one click. You could, for instance, have a Work bunch, which launches your writing app, your mail app, your calendar app, and more. You get the idea.

CARROT Weather Enables Notifications For Storm Cells, Precipitation, Lightning Strikes, Government Alerts, And More, by Ryan Christoffel, MacStories

Though the types of notifications available depend on your subscription plan due to the different costs associated with each data source, in total there are a ton of options available to satisfy anyone’s needs. Whether you simply want to avoid getting caught in the rain without an umbrella, or finding yourself outdoors when a storm hits, or one of many other weather situations, CARROT Weather can now keep you informed with timely notifications for a variety of weather events.

Tado Launches Smart AC Controller With HomeKit Support, by Tim Hardwick, MacRumors

The controller connects compatible air conditioners and heat pumps to a home's Wi-Fi network, allowing users to adjust the temperature with their mobile device rather than the remote control that came with their AC unit.


Microsoft Publishes First Edge For macOS Preview, Promises To Make It Truly “Mac-like”, by Peter Bright, Ars Technica

The macOS version resembles the Windows 10 builds that we've seen so far, but it isn't identical. Microsoft wants to be a good citizen on macOS by producing not just an application that fits the platform's standards—using the right fonts, icons, spacing, and so on—but which also adapts to Apple's unique hardware. To that end, the company is working on support for the Touch Bar found on some of Apple's portable systems, using it for media control, tab switching, or access to bookmarks. Microsoft will also work to ensure that Edge's support as a Progressive Web App host properly adopts macOS behaviors with regard to interaction with the Dock, app switcher, and Spotlight.

The Ants Are My Friends, They're Blowing In The Wind, by Jason Snell, Six Colors

Over the last few months I’ve noticed some remarkably terrible lyrics transcriptions in iTunes and Music. I can’t quite figure out where Apple’s getting its lyrics—I’ve seen some song lyric errors that were mirrored in Genius, and others in Musixmatch, and still others don’t seem to show up on the web at all.

Your Internet Data Is Rotting, by Paul Royster, The Conversation

Free storage is a great offer, but sometimes you only get what you pay for. The internet is neither secure nor permanent. It never promised to be, and users should not assume that it will become so. Parts are rotting and corroding and collapsing as I type this. Just hope and plan to not be resting on that platform when it falls.

Bottom of the Page

Apple Books is not available in many parts of the world. And so is Apple TV Channesl. And so is Apple News. Only Apple Music is available all over the world.

Does Apple not know how to make international deals, or does it not care to make them?


Thanks for reading.

The 3,000-Pages Edition Monday, May 20, 2019

Bluetooth's Complexity Has Become A Security Risk, by Lily Hay Newman, Wired

As with any computing standard, there's always the possibility of vulnerabilities in the actual code of the Bluetooth protocol itself, or in its lighter-weight sibling Bluetooth Low Energy. But security researchers say that the big reason Bluetooth bugs come up has more to do with sheer scale of the written standard, development of which is facilitated by the consortium known as the Bluetooth Special Interest Group. Bluetooth offers so many options for deployment that developers don't necessarily have full mastery of the available choices—which can result in faulty implementations.

"One major reason Bluetooth is involved in so many cases is just how complex this protocol is," says Ben Seri, one of the researchers who discovered BlueBorne and vice president of research at the embedded device security firm Armis. "When you look at the Bluetooth standard it’s like 3,000 pages long—if you compare that to other wireless protocols like Wi-Fi, for example, Bluetooth is like 10 times longer. The Bluetooth SIG tried to do something very comprehensive that fits to many various needs, but the complexity means it’s really hard to know how you should use it if you’re a manufacturer."

The Quiet Power Of Sound Design, by Jonathon Keats, Wired

Sound design is ubiquitous in technology, though the most memorable examples tend to be the failures. There's the ceaseless beeping of your microwave, berating you for neglecting your leftover casserole, and the harsh bleating of the chip reader at the grocery store, more punishing than the alarm triggered by shoplifting. In both cases, the signal is inappropriate, an auditory overreaction.

Yet for all the missteps, sound design is becoming more essential as we use our devices in new ways. Today, many gesture and voice interfaces lack sufficient feedback. How do you know whether Siri heard you? Just as in human interaction, good communication is about the flow of conversation, the ongoing exchange of information.


Apple Partners With Photographer Christopher Anderson To Teach Portrait Photography Skills, by Michael Steeber, 9to5Mac

A new collaboration between Apple and celebrated photographer Christopher Anderson aims to change the way you think about photography. Beginning soon, Apple Stores will offer a new Today at Apple Photo Lab with a focus on portraits. The lab is the latest in a series of special in-store sessions designed with iconic voices in the creative community.

Apple Watch Replacement Constraint Means Some Series 3 Repairs Will Get Series 4 Upgrade, by Jordan Kahn, 9to5Mac

Apple appears to be running low on inventory for Apple Watch Series 3 repairs as the company informed store staff today that it will substitute some Series 3 repairs with the newer Apple Watch Series 4. Apple announced the change in an internal memo that was delivered to Apple Store repair staff and Apple’s Authorized Service Providers, according to sources briefed on the update.

New PDFpen 11 Introduces Split View And Font Bar, by Michael E. Cohen, TidBITS

The latest iterations offer numerous useful conveniences to PDF-editing users: a new Split View capability, a text-formatting Font Bar, and support for Apple’s Continuity Camera are the marquee features, but the PDFpen apps include other enhancements as well.


How To Do Hard Things, by David R. MacIver

This is a system I only somewhat tongue in cheek refer to as “The Fully General System For Learning To Do Hard Things”. It’s a useful conceptual framework for how to get better at things that you currently find difficult.


What Online Chess Taught One Teen About Digital Life, by Hannah W. Duane, Wired

I'm trying to learn to care less about achievements outside of things that go on my transcript. I guess a lot of teenagers go through this, understanding when to embrace technology and when to step back. Moments of connection and mock competitiveness sprinkled across the day is relief in a world of high school teachers crying because the current political climate is just too much, and where on earth will I go to college?

Inside Google's Civil War, by Beth Kowitt, Fortune

It was the first time the world had seen such a massive worker protest erupt out of one of the giants of the technology industry—and certainly the first time outsiders got a glimpse at the depth of anger and frustration felt by some Google employees. But inside the Googleplex, the fuel that fed the walkout had been collecting for months. Tensions had been on the rise as employees clashed with management over allegations of controversial business decisions made in secret, treatment of marginalized groups of employees, and harassment and trolling of workers on the company’s internal platforms. “It’s the U.S. culture war playing out at micro-scale,” says Colin McMillen, an engineer who left the company in February.

To many observers, the tech workforce—notoriously well-paid and pampered with perks—hardly seems in a position to complain. And it’s a surprising tune to hear from employees of one of the titans of Silicon Valley, a place that has long worshipped at the altar of meritocracy and utopian techno-futurism. But in the past few years, the industry’s de facto mission statement—change the world (and make money doing it!)—has been called into question as examples of tech’s destructive power multiply, from election interference to toxicity on social media platforms to privacy breaches to tech addiction. No one is closer to tech’s growing might, as well as its ethical quandaries, than the employees who help create it. “People are beginning to say, ‘I don’t want to be complicit in this,’ ” says Meredith Whittaker, who leads Google’s Open Research group and is one of the walkout organizers. Workers are beginning to take responsibility, she says: “I don’t see many other structures in place right now that are checking tech power.”

Bottom of the Page

The only thing that frustrate me with the Magic Mouse is that sometimes my right-clicks didn't register as right-clicks but left-clicks. On those occasions, I will wish that the mouse has actually two buttons, instead of just one button and have Apple try very hard to decide whether I mean left-clicks or right-clicks.

Then, I remember that one shouldn't really fight Apple. Just embrace whatever the hell Apple's designers were thinking, and go with it.

So, I turned off right-clicks. I will now revert back to the ctrl-clicks as right-clicks that we all used to do so many years ago.

Wish me luck.


Thanks for reading.

The Addicted-to-IndieWeb Edition Sunday, May 19, 2019

Can “Indie” Social Media Save Us?, by Cal Newport, New Yorker

Could the IndieWeb movement—or a streamlined, user-friendly version of it to come—succeed in redeeming the promise of social media? If we itemize the woes currently afflicting the major platforms, there’s a strong case to be made that the IndieWeb avoids them. When social-media servers aren’t controlled by a small number of massive public companies, the incentive to exploit users diminishes. The homegrown, community-oriented feel of the IndieWeb is superior to the vibe of anxious narcissism that’s degrading existing services. And, in a sense, decentralization also helps solve the problem of content moderation. One reason Mark Zuckerberg has called for the establishment of a third-party moderation organization is, presumably, that he’s realized how difficult it is to come up with a single set of guidelines capable of satisfying over a billion users; the IndieWeb would allow many different standards to emerge, trusting users to gravitate toward the ones that work for them. Decentralization still provides corners in which dark ideas can fester, but knowing that there’s a neo-Nazi Mastodon instance out there somewhere may be preferable to encountering neo-Nazis in your Twitter mentions. The Internet may work better when it’s spread out, as originally designed.

Despite its advantages, however, I suspect that the IndieWeb will not succeed in replacing existing social-media platforms at their current scale. For one thing, the IndieWeb lacks the carefully engineered addictiveness that helped fuel the rise of services like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. This addictiveness has kept people returning to their devices even when they know there are better uses for their time; remove the addiction, and you might lose the users.

Apple Removed A Teen's Award-winning anti-Trump Game "Bad Hombre" Because They Can't Tell The Difference Between Apps That Criticize Racism And Racist Apps, by Cory Doctorow, Boing Boing

George appealed the removal and Google quickly reinstated the app, but Apple refused to do so. Instead, she and her father -- and eventually Phillip Shoemaker, former head of the App Store for Apple -- got embroiled in a long, kafkaesque process with Apple's support reps who seem to have mistaken an app that makes fun of Donald Trump's use of racist epithets for an endorsement of racism. Despite the fact that the satire is obvious to anyone who pays even cursory attention, none of them have been able to get any kind of reconsideration from Apple.

It seems Apple has a blanket ban on depicting things like swastikas and Klan hoods, even to criticize or mock them. Eventually, George's dad was able to get a full accounting from Apple's rep on what would have to change to make the app acceptable, and it's genuinely farcical.

Apple Lied To Me About The MacBook Air And Now We Have A Problem, by Chris Matyszczyk, ZDNet

Yes, despite Apple's third attempt at fixing it, I was yet another of the keyboard victims. Or, as some would surely prefer, losers.

Perhaps some crumb or speck of dust had inveigled its way beneath this one key. Was it a butter croissant crumb or one from a pain au chocolat? Could it have been ordinary wheat toast?

Perhaps it was an eyebrow, an eyelash or one of my last head-hairs.

And now it was my problem. A first-world problem, of course, so please forgive the whining. It's merely a sad, existential whining, caused by a faith gone awry.


iPad Pro Keyboard Case Face-Off: Apple Vs. Brydge Vs. Logitech, by Henry T. Casey, Laptop Magazine

We tested the 12.9-inch iPad Pro with three of the top keyboard cases — from Apple, Brydge and Logitech — to find out which one might be right for you. Surprisingly, there's no clear winner: One provides the best typing experience, another is easiest to use and the third is the most affordable.

My Never Ending Internal Debate: Dedicated Camera Or iPhone Only, by Ben Brooks, The Brooks Review

I know without a doubt that any picture I take with the Fuji is a picture that I will like better than the same picture taken with my iPhone. Except, that I also know I might miss the focus on the Fuji or get a blurry picture. Whereas I know the iPhone I will nail a useable image every time.

Which is better?


Tim Cook Tells Graduates What It Really Means To Love Your Job, by Ed Hardy, Cult of Mac

During a commencement speech at Tulane this morning, Apple CEO Tim Cook gave graduates a new twist on the old adage about finding a job you love. He also talked about Apple’s vision to “move humanity forward.”

Cook’s advice to young people about to start their careers is “There’s a saying that if you do what you love you’ll never work a day on your life. At Apple, I learned that’s a total crock. You’ll work harder than you ever thought possible… but the tools will feel light in your hands.”

Apple CEO Tim Cook To The Class Of 2019: 'My Generation Has Failed You', by Catherine Clifford, CNBC

"Whatever you do, don't make the mistake of being too cautious," said Cook. "Don't assume that by staying put, the ground won't move beneath your feet. The status quo simply won't last. So get to work on building something better."

I Wanted To Order My Breakfast From A Waiter Not An iPad, by Rachel Cooke, The Guardian

It’s bad enough that we’re already encouraged to eat so poorly by food manufacturers and supermarkets without major companies and institutions – an entire airport! – insisting that we also ignore our fellow men and women as we consume this stuff. I know they have their reasons: the cost of manpower, a desire to hurry people along. But it’s also inhumane. Buttering the cold toast I wanted to send back, but couldn’t (no key for that), I lifted my eyes from the iPad’s blue light and looked around me. The word dystopian is much overused, but in this case it was entirely apt – save, of course, for the fact that the scene was not imagined. I was there, and my eyes ached, and so did my heart.

Bottom of the Page

I do want to buy my breakfast without talking to anybody.


Thanks for reading.

The Park-Opening Edition Saturday, May 18, 2019

Apple Holds Apple Park Opening Ceremony And Tribute To Steve Jobs, by Chance Miller, 9to5Mac

Apple yesterday held its formal opening of Apple Park, including a concert on the rainbow stage at the center of the campus. Lady Gaga performed at the event, with Apple Park employees taking to Twitter and Instagram to share photos and videos.


Tim Cook took to Twitter to express his love for Steve Jobs. He thanked Lady Gaga for her performance in a separate tweet. “We came together today, in the home you imagined for us, and celebrated your spirit. We love you, Steve,” Cook wrote.

Everybody Complains Apple Isn't Innovating, But R&D Spending And Patents Tell A Different Story, by Kif Leswing, CNBC

The amount of money going into R&D in Cupertino shows that Apple is spending heavily both to fend off new technologies which could threaten its dominance in smartphones and tablets, as well as investing in technologies that could help the iPhone maker enter into new product categories, such as wearables, fitness and health.

"The patents around wearables suggest that Apple could be targeting AirPods with biometric sensors, Apple Watch with UV monitoring, gesture recognition for AR/VR applications, machine learning projects to enable autonomous driving and integration of various existing devices with a car," according to the note.

Apple Promotes Music-Making On Mac In New Ad, by Joe Rossignol, MacRumors

"From bedroom studio to stadium tour, the British music scene is alive," the video description said. "See the emerging and the iconic, the graft and the glory, a glimpse behind the scenes and behind the music."


Discovering Apple TV Channels, by Josh Centers, TidBITS

Apple TV channels are, in the end, largely uninteresting apart from some slight integration benefits of keeping multiple subscriptions within Apple’s walled garden. There aren’t even significant user interface advantages because the Apple TV app already lists the content in these channels, and Netflix remains an outsider.

Powerbeats Pro Are The Bluetooth Earbuds To Beat, by Brian Heater, TechCrunch

Removable silicone tips offer a more adaptable fit, coupled with a better seal. That, in turn, means less sound leak. The headphones might be tuned a little high for some tastes, but it honestly beats the old days when the company leaned entirely too heavily on bass to make up for other shortcomings. As is, the sound is quite good, so far as fully wireless Bluetooth earbuds go.

I will say that the design wore on one of my ears a bit after a marathon listen while working at my desk, but I was able to wear them for a lot longer than most of the earbuds I’ve tested, with minimal annoyance.

Fiery Feeds Adds iCloud Accounts, Three-Pane iPad View, New Customization Tools, And More, by Ryan Christoffel, MacStories

Fiery Feeds, the modern, flexible RSS client for iOS, was updated today with a variety of new features that take the app to new heights: enabling iCloud-based accounts for RSS and Read Later so you don’t need third-party services, adding a three-pane layout on iPad, offering new, configurable methods for navigation, and a lot more.


Google Uses Gmail To Track A History Of Things You Buy — And It's Hard To Delete, by Todd Haselton, Megan Graham, CNBC

Last week, CEO Sundar Pichai wrote a New York Times op-ed that said "privacy cannot be a luxury good." But behind the scenes, Google is still collecting a lot of personal information from the services you use, such as Gmail, and some of it can't be easily deleted.

A page called "Purchases " shows an accurate list of many — though not all — of the things I've bought dating back to at least 2012. I made these purchases using online services or apps such as Amazon, DoorDash or Seamless, or in stores such as Macy's, but never directly through Google.

But because the digital receipts went to my Gmail account, Google has a list of info about my buying habits.

In San Francisco, Tech Money Doesn’t Buy Happiness, by Anna Wiener, New Yorker

Almost everyone I know is down on San Francisco these days, and for good reason. Few can envision a future here. The city is undergoing an accelerated identity transformation. On pastel blocks, developers are gutting elegant Victorians and mid-century homes and painting them staid shades of gray. Traffic congestion is spiking, boosted by rideshare vehicles. Fundamental civic infrastructure is in crisis, despite the city’s new wealth: teachers are leaving, and the 911 dispatch center is understaffed. The emerging city is a tapestry of boutique fitness studios and finicky New American restaurants, of private clubs (including one for dogs) and cryotherapy spas. Fast-casual restaurants cater to the efficiency-oriented; a newly opened salad shop, Mixt, offers a mood-lit, wallpapered “salad lounge.” Upscale cafés proliferate, some of them backed by venture capital: investors have put seventy-five million dollars into Philz, a local third-wave coffee chain.

The Legal-Mess Edition Friday, May 17, 2019

Apple Ruling Opens A Can Of Worms For Digital Storefronts, by Rob Fahey,

One potentially enormous corollary to the ruling is that consumers now have standing to take cases over the nature not just of a store's treatment of them as customers, but over any knock-on impact the terms of the store's business agreement with developers may have on said consumers. If App Store consumers have standing to sue over Apple's revenue split with its developers, then consumers of any store can presumably sue over any aspect of the store's business relationship with developers that they consider to have negatively impacted them -- which is going to open the door to a lot of legal messes.

That's why the lawyers will be earning their big bucks this week, even for companies a long way from the smartphone app space. Valve and Epic are two firms that will no doubt be watching this closely, since the competition that's heating up between them in the PC space is increasingly using developer agreements -- revenue shares, exclusivity deals and so on -- as a battleground. The very existence of that competition will shield the dominant Steam platform from most anti-trust claims, of course, but if consumers have standing to take legal cases based on the content of those developer agreements, it means there's now a whole new legal minefield for these companies to tiptoe around as they try to go head-to-head over the future of the PC digital distribution space.

Minecraft Earth Wants To Be The Next Pokémon Go—But Bigger, by Peter Rubin, Wired

Minecraft Earth, which Microsoft announces today, is an augmented reality-driven mobile game that blockifies the planet. When it comes out later this summer, iOS and Android users will be able to construct a “build,” as the block-based environments are known, anywhere they want—on a tabletop, on their couch, on the floor—and even invite their friends to help. When they’re done, they can make that build life-size and walk around inside it. Out in the world, in parks and at other landmarks, players can take part in short adventures by themselves or with anyone else in the area, then use the spoils to level up their character and make their build even more impressive. It’s a massive undertaking that quite literally covers the entire globe in Minecraft—and is the biggest step yet taken toward the two-ply world of shared, persistent augmented reality.


Amazon, Roku, And Apple TV "Channels" Are A Well-intentioned Mess, by Jared Newman, TechHive

The whole concept just makes a big mess out of what is already a potentially confusing situation, and it doesn’t help much in the end because most streaming services don’t support Channels anyway.

Review Of The “New” Brydge Pro Keyboard For The 2018 12.9-inch iPad Pro, by Desmond Fuller, Apple World Today

The Brydge Pro is a keyboard that is well made and easily converts your iPad Pro into a laptop. You can just as quickly change it back to a tablet by removing it from the clips. If you want the best typing experience on an iPad, you can not beat the Brydge Pro keyboard.

Japan's Seven-Eleven Stores Will Sell Apple's Own iPhone Accessories, by William Gallagher, AppleInsider

The majority of Japan's 20,925-strong chain of Seven-Eleven convenience stores will stock official Apple iPhone accessories including cables, power adapters and EarPods.


The Best Ideas Are The Ones That Make The Least Sense, by Rory Sutherland, Entrepreneur

While the modern world often turns its back on this kind of illogic, it is uniquely powerful. Alongside the inarguably valuable products of science and logic, there are also hundreds of seemingly irrational solutions to human problems just waiting to be discovered, if only we dare to abandon conventional logic in the search for answers.

At Ogilvy, the advertising agency I’ve been at for more than 30 years, I founded a division that employs psychology graduates to search for illogical solutions to problems. We look at human behavior through a new lens. Our mantra is “Test counterintuitive things, because no one else ever does.”

The Full-Mitigation-Mode Edition Thursday, May 16, 2019

Apple Posts Instructions On How To Enable Full Mitigation Against Intel CPU Attacks On Mac, Up To 40 Percent Performance Penalty, by Benjamin Mayo, 9to5Mac

Most users do not need to worry about enabling full mitigation. macOS 10.14.5 includes the most important and most relevant patches, like preventing JavaScript exploits through Safari. Apple rolled these critical fixes for all customers as the performance penalty was small/negligible.

The full mitigation mode may be of interest to customers who are particularly at risk, like members of government or high-ranking business executives.

Apple Invests In Tomorrow's Coding Talent, by Jonny Evans, Computerworld

While Apple CEO Tim Cook doesn’t think a four-year degree is necessary to be a proficient coder, he’s still prepared to invest in the nurturing next-generation engineering talent. And today Apple opened up the application process for new students to join its Developer Academy in Naples, Italy.


The program focuses on software development, startup creation, and app design with an emphasis on creativity and collaboration.

Why AirPods — And Earbuds Like Them — Are Especially Bad For Your Hearing, by Angela Lashbrook, Medium

While there’s only so much we can do about loud workplaces and bustling bars, we can mitigate the potential damage from listening to headphones or earbuds. For the safest volume levels, Portnuff recommends “80 for 90” meaning you can listen to 80 percent of the maximum volume for 90 minutes before you start damaging your hearing.

And you should think about ditching the AirPods for quality over-the-ear — and preferably noise-cancelling — headphones, or snug-fitting, in-ear canalphones. If you like the convenience of AirPods, which quickly and seamlessly pair with your iPhone, try BeatsX or the new Powerbeats Pro, both of which contain the same proprietary Apple chips used by AirPods.


Apple Highlights Global Accessibility Awareness Day With Front-Page Feature, by Mitchel Broussard, MacRumors

Today is Global Accessibility Awareness Day, an event that promotes inclusion and access to technology for anyone with a disability. As it has over the past few years, Apple is marking the day by updating in a few regions around the world with a message promoting accessibility: "Technology is most powerful when it empowers everyone."

6 Powerful Utilities That Make The Mac Feel Like Home, by Jason Snell, Macworld

I love using my Mac. And yet when I am confronted with a fresh new device running macOS, I am taken aback by the barren expanse that is the default Mac experience. That’s not on the Mac, that’s on me—I have become incredibly reliant on some fantastic utilities that enhance the Mac experience in countless ways.

Every now and then I mention these utilities to friends who are Mac users, or they see me using them, and they are often completely baffled. This reminds me that, quite shockingly, there are lots of Mac users who never take advantage of utilities to make the Mac far more powerful than it comes out of the box.

Steam Link Officially Debuts On iOS And Apple TV Following Initial Rejection Last Year, by Chance Miller, 9to5Mac

Almost exactly a year after its initial rejection from the App Store, Valve today has officially released Steam Link on the App Store. Valve touts that Steam Link “brings desktop gaming to your iPhone or iPad.”

Perfect Tempo Brings Tempo Control To Apple Music Tracks, by John Voorhees, MacStories

The app is a simple utility designed for musicians and dancers who want to slow down or speed up music without affecting its pitch and loop it as they learn a song. Other apps have similar functionality that I’ve covered before, but what makes Perfect Tempo unique is that it can slow down and speed up streamed Apple Music tracks, which other apps can’t do.

A Smartphone App Could Help Diagnose Ear Infections More Accurately — And At Home, by Shraddha Chakradhar, STAT

The funnel is placed on the outside of the ear, at which point the app sends a bird chirp-like sound into the ear. Depending on the sounds that the app picks up in return, a machine learning algorithm built into the app is able to tell whether or not there is liquid in the ear. “It’s like tapping on a wine glass,” Chan said. “Depending on whether it’s empty or not, it’s going to sound different.”


Designing A Dark Theme For OLED iPhones, by Vidit Bhargava, Medium

Dark Modes offer a soothing experience in low-light conditions and are power efficient on OLED displays. But it can be tricky to pick the colours for a dark mode, especially in OLED displays, where slight variations can play a role in the user experience.

Falsehoods Programmers Believe About Unix Time, by Alex Chan

Time is straaaaaange.


Incognito No More: Publishers Close Loopholes As Paywall Blockers Emerge, by Lucinda Southern, Digiday

In February, The New York Times started tightening its paywall so readers couldn’t access paywalled content by switching their device to incognito mode. A New York Times spokesperson said it’s too early to glean the impacts of these tests.

The Washington Post has blocked users from accessing paywalled content using incognito mode, as has The Boston Globe, Los Angeles Times and The Dallas Morning News. In 2016, The Wall Street Journal experimented with Google to prevent people from accessing paywalled content. Google’s ending of first-click free now means that subscription publishers can still appear in Google search results without offering access.

Hershey's Redesigns Its Chocolate Bar For The First Time In Over 100 Years To Include Emojis, by Eric Todisco, People

Smiley faces, thumbs up, blowing a kiss, open hands and even the smiling poop emojis are among the special ideograms featured on the new chocolate bars.

Bottom of the Page

Who has a bigger problem? Is it Intel, who need to figure out how to do better chips faster? Or is it Microsoft, who need to figure out how to not sink with Intel?


Thanks for reading.

The New-Facebook Edition Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Group Chats Are Making The Internet Fun Again, by Max Read, New York Magazine

In some ways, group chat feels like a return to the halcyon era of AOL Instant Messenger, once the most widespread method of messing around with your friends on the internet. But in my life, group chats — on Apple’s iMessage, WhatsApp, Slack, Instagram, Twitter, Facebook Messenger, or any number of other apps or platforms — aren’t simply additional modes of socialization, drawing on the IM conversation or the chat room. They’re an outright replacement for the defining mode of social organization of the past decade: the platform-centric, feed-based social network. For me, at least, group chats aren’t the new AIM. They’re the new Facebook.


The key advantage of the group chat is that “social graph” of your friend network exists in your head, and not only on a server in Iceland, which means you can easily abandon one platform for another without any trouble — or, as most of us do, occupy many platforms at once. The result, as Facebook knows all too well, is an internet much closer to the one we might want. “The only thing I still enjoy doing online/with technology is texting,” Sam, the friend who wanted to share something mildly amusing, told me. “All of the rest of it is torture/agony/hell. But I fucking love iMessage.”

Apple Takes Another Step Toward Becoming A Health Giant And A Tech Giant, by Danny Paez, Inverse

Apple wants to let users track their health with the help of the iPhone in their pockets and the Apple Watch on their wrist. The company cannonballed into the consumer health market with the introduction of the Apple Watch Series 4’s ECG and fall detection features. Now, it’s working on taking this strategy to the next level by developing sensors for mattresses and pillows.

Security Matters

It’s Almost Impossible To Tell If Your iPhone Has Been Hacked, by Lorenzo Franceschi-Bicchierai, Vice

“Of all the mainstream operating systems kernels, you compare the Windows kernel to the Linux kernel to the OSX kernel and iOS kernel, iOS and OSX kernel is routinely the one with more disastrous bugs,” the security researcher said.

The result is that—for the vast majority of people—the iPhone is still a very secure device. But all software, be it a secure messaging app like WhatsApp, or an operating system like iOS, have vulnerabilities. And when those vulnerabilities are exploited on an iPhone, there's often no way of knowing.

New Secret-spilling Flaw Affects Almost Every Intel Chip Since 2011, by Zack Whittaker, TechCrunch

“ZombieLoad,” as it’s called, is a side-channel attack targeting Intel chips, allowing hackers to effectively exploit design flaws rather than injecting malicious code. Intel said ZombieLoad is made up of four bugs, which the researchers reported to the chip maker just a month ago.

Almost every computer with an Intel chips dating back to 2011 are affected by the vulnerabilities. AMD and ARM chips are not said to be vulnerable like earlier side-channel attacks.


Apple Pay Now Accepted For iTunes, App Store, Apple Music, And iCloud Purchases In Some Countries, by Joe Rossignol, MacRumors

There are a handful of benefits to Apple Pay billing for Apple ID account-tied purchases, including the ability to conveniently add multiple credit or debit cards, the improved security of Apple Pay, and the ability to better manage Apple Music and iCloud storage subscriptions from the Wallet app.

Apple Music Updates 'For You' With New Layout Featuring More Frequent Song Recommendations, by Mitchel Broussard, MacRumors

As part of the iOS 12.3 release yesterday, Apple Music updated with a brand-new "For You" section. This refreshed tab now updates multiple times per day with new music suggestions based on genres you love, artists you might enjoy, and moods that match certain themes.

Apple Lowers Maximum iPhone Trade-In Values, Best Deals Now Limited To Trade-Ins With Purchase, by Juli Clover, MacRumors

The $349 maximum seems to apply only to direct trade-ins that don't involve a purchase. If you use the trade-in process while purchasing a new iPhone, which puts the cost of that trade-in towards the new device, you can get higher prices.

Apple’s New TV App Is Still Terrible For Actually Watching TV On iPhones, by Chaim Gartenberg, The Verge

If your device is set in rotation lock — as most iPhones tend to be in my experience — there is no way to watch video in landscape. The only way is to disable rotation lock, which requires swiping down into the control center (since there’s no way to access it directly on the playback screen), and then rotate the device. There is also no way to lock it in landscape mode once rotated, so better make sure to hold that phone steady.

What makes this all the more galling is that Apple didn’t use to do this! Back in iOS 10, videos in the TV app — even the new TV app rolled out with iOS 10.2 in December 2016 — would default to landscape mode, because of course they would.

GoodNotes Vs. Notability: A Comparison Review Of The Best Handwriting Notes Apps For iPad, by Drew Coffman, The Sweet Setup

Each of the apps has their own sets of strengths and weaknesses, making the choice of which to use more of a personal preference than a solid answer. We get the question of “which is better” all the time, but the feature-set and user interfaces are different enough to warrant a nuanced conversation.

Here is our breakdown of what differentiates the two applications, and the major features which define not only the two apps, but the category of note-taking apps as a whole.


Apple Keeps iPhone 6S Going With "Made In India" Campaign, by Vlad Savov, The Verge

The iPhone 6S, now in its fourth year of existence, is the subject of a new marketing campaign in India where its local manufacturing is prominently advertised. With India in the midst of a contentious general election and concerns about nationalism prominent in many people’s minds, the usually benign phrase of “made in India” is taking on a stronger meaning and tone.

Disney Takes Full Control Of Hulu As Comcast Steps Aside, by Valentina Palladino, Ars Technica

Today, Disney takes the reins at Hulu. Disney and Comcast announced a deal that states Disney will assume full operational control of Hulu, effective immediately. In turn, Disney and Comcast have entered a "put/call" agreement—that means that, as early as January 2024, Comcast can require Disney to buy NBCUniversal's 33-percent interest in Hulu. On the flip side, Disney can require NBCUniversal to sell its interest in Hulu by January 2024 for fair market value.


As part of the agreement, Comcast has agreed to extend Hulu's licensing of NBCUniversal content until late 2024. That means, despite Disney's immediate takeover, Hulu will retain NBCUniversal content for the next few years. This goes for on-demand content as well as Hulu Live.

Bottom of the Page

What makes me happy? A cup of coffee in my hand, an e-book in my other hand or an audiobook in my ears, and an absolute lack of urgency to rush to somewhere else.

Maybe this should be my living will? When I no longer can read or listen and understand, you can pull my plug.

(That cup of coffee? I probably don't really need.)


Thanks for reading.

The Watch-Now Edition Tuesday, May 14, 2019

Apple’s Vision For The Future Of TV Is Starting To Take Shape — Here’s Everything That’s New In Its Revamped TV App Launching Today, by Lisa Eadicicco, Business Insider

The Watch Now section has a new card-style interface that pulls up a page with artwork and additional details when clicking on individual shows. You can also swipe to cycle between titles in this mode without having to exit to the main interface.

Apple is also injecting more personalization into the Watch Now tab. Titles listed in the What to Watch row, for example, will be ranked based on your tastes. Apple uses a mix of human and algorithmic curation to tailor content appropriately.

Apple Releases iOS 12.3 With New TV App And Channels Feature, by Juli Clover, MacRumors

Apple added a new "Channels" feature in the TV app, which is a major component of the company's new services push. Channels are subscription services that you can sign up for and watch within the TV app without having to open up another app, and when you use them, Apple gets a cut of the subscription revenue.

You Can Now Finally Watch ‘Game Of Thrones’ Without An Internet Connection — But Only If You Subscribe To HBO Through Apple, by Lisa Eadicicco, Business Insider

In a release announcing the launch, Apple called its app "the first and only place" where HBO subscribers would be able to download shows like "Game of Thrones."


Apple Announces Support For Apple Pay NFC Stickers, Partners With Bird Scooters And More, by Benjamin Mayo, 9to5Mac

Apple’s VP of Apple Pay Jennifer Bailey today announced a new NFC feature for iPhone: special tags that trigger Apple Pay purchases when tapped, without the need to download a special app first. The company is partnering with Bird scooters, Bonobos clothing store, and PayByPhone parking meters for the initial rollout.

Apple also announced that inside the Wallet app, users will soon be able to sign up for loyalty cards in one tap, presumably presented to users as recommendations when they make eligible purchases.

Apple Pay Will Let You Rent A Bird Scooter Without Downloading The App, by Andrew J. Hawkins, The Verge

Finding and renting a Bird scooter today isn’t particularly difficult, so the fact that Apple and Bird see this as an opportunity to make a relatively frictionless experience even more frictionless (frictionless-ier?) is interesting. Right now, you download the Bird app, find the closest scooter on the map, scan the QR code, and away you go. This new function would eliminate all of those steps and allow you to just tap your phone against the e-scooter to initiate the transaction and start your ride.

Only From The App Store

Supreme Court Rules Against Apple, Allowing Lawsuit Targeting App Store To Proceed, by Tony Romm, Washington Post

The 5-4 decision allows device owners to proceed with a case that alleges Apple has acted as a monopoly by requiring device owners to download apps only from its portal while taking a cut of some sales made through the store.

The ruling could have serious repercussions for one of Apple’s most lucrative lines of business, and open the door for similar legal action targeting other tech giants in Silicon Valley. But the court’s opinion -- led by conservative Justice Brett M. Kavanaugh, who joined its liberal justices in the majority -- did not rule on the merits of the lawsuit itself.

Apple Failed To Close Off A Big Antitrust Threat, But It Probably Won't Feel The Harm For Years, by Kif Leswing, CNBC

“Today’s decision means plaintiffs can proceed with their case in District court. We’re confident we will prevail when the facts are presented and that the App Store is not a monopoly by any metric,” Apple said in a statement.


Apple Support App Now Lets You Chat With An Expert In Messages, by Juli Clover, MacRumors

Apple says that this feature is limited to the United States and is available for select topics only.

Apple's New Warren Buffett Game Pulled From App Store Outside Of United States, by Joe Rossignol, MacRumors

Just one week after Apple surprised us all with its first iPhone game since 2008, starring billionaire investor Warren Buffett, the game has been pulled from the App Store outside of the United States.

The Statue Of Liberty Gets An AR App To Celebrate Its New Museum, by Brian Heater, TechCrunch

This week, the new $100 million Statue of Liberty Museum opens in the shadow of one of America’s most iconic landmarks. The 26,000 square foot space offers insights into the statue’s storied history, along with context for that majority of visitors who ultimately can’t make it inside the structure.

For those who can’t don’t make it to Liberty Island at all, meanwhile, there’s the brand new Statue of Liberty app, which hits the iOS App Store today. Led by fashion designer Diane von Furstenberg, the Yap Studios-developed app offers myriad methods for bringing New York Harbor’s landmark to life.

Snapthread 2.0 Adds A Refined UI, An Improved iPad Experience, And New Tools, by John Voorhees, MacStories

With version 2.0, which is out today, Hansmeyer has refined the existing user experience, added useful new functionality without complicating the app, and leveraged the iPad to create a more versatile video creation tool that works equally well for quickly sharing your creations on social networks as it does with small groups of friends and family.

6 To-do List Apps For IOS And Android That Seriously Boost Your Productivity, by Brittany Vincent, Mic

To-do lists can be an integral part of being more productive and getting things done on your terms. But it can be frustrating to carry around a notepad and pen, especially when you're on the go trying to cross off items on the list in the first place. Thankfully, there's a veritable smorgasbord of options when it comes to digital to-do list apps.

Adobe Updates Lightroom Apps For Mac And iOS With New Tutorials, Texture Tool And More, by Juli Clover, MacRumors

Starting today in all versions of Lightroom, there are updated collaboration features for inviting others to add photos to your album. You can also share a link that will let people request access to an album.

Also new to all versions of Lightroom is a Texture tool that will accentuate or smooth medium-sized details like skin, bark, and hair. It's able to smooth skin without affecting pore details or accentuate hair without increasing the presence of noise because it's specifically designed for medium-sized details.

Adobe Sends Out First Beta Invites For Photoshop CC For iPad, by Tim Hardwick, MacRumors

Adobe is now accepting applications to a beta version of its forthcoming Photoshop CC for iPad app, due to be released later this year.

Adobe Warning Of Legal Problems If Subscribers Keep Using Old Versions Of Creative Cloud Apps, by William Gallagher, AppleInsider

Users of older versions of Creative Cloud apps, including Photoshop, Premiere Pro and Lightroom Classic, have been told by Adobe that they are no longer licensed to use them, and anyone who continues to use these versions could face "infringement claims" from other companies.

WhatsApp Discloses Vulnerability That Allowed Israeli Spyware To Be Installed On iPhones, by Chance Miller, 9to5Mac

A report from The Financial Times this afternoon details a vulnerability in WhatsApp that allowed attackers to inject Israeli spyware onto phones. The malicious code was developed by Israeli company NSO Group and transmitted by calling users via WhatsApp on iOS and Android.


Signature Features, by Dr. Drang, And Now It's All This

When apps get reviewed, there’s often a signature feature that gets all the attention and skews the public perception of them. It’s not that the attention paid to the signature feature isn’t warranted, but I suspect that many people think of these apps as having only the signature feature and therefore either don’t use the app to its fullest extent or don’t use it at all.


Microsoft Failed Developers — And Now It Has A Plan To Win Them Back, by Owen Williams, Medium

Over the last few years, Microsoft has tried to flip the narrative and win coders back. Last week, its master plan culminated in a major announcement: Microsoft will include Linux as part of the Windows 10 operating system, starting this summer.

Hell has officially frozen over. This would have seemed impossible just a few years ago — but this is the new Microsoft. Years of hard work to redefine its business may finally pay off as developers are finally able to access a slate of modern tools to do their work on Windows.

Angry Birds And The End Of Privacy, by Kaitlyn Tiffany, Vox

As the first wildly successful mobile game, it’s an avatar for the way our understanding of what’s private and what’s personal has collapsed in the past decade. It’s not the only mobile game that’s sucked away intimate information, and it’s not the worst offender, but it was the first global hit. It was a Trojan horse — the first colorful, fun, utterly unthreatening game that was downloaded onto a billion phones, and the start of a decade of downloading free apps without having any real idea what they were getting from us.

A Pew study published this January found that 76 percent of Americans knew basically nothing about Facebook’s tracking and targeting policies, even though other research shows that most people understand that they shouldn’t trust the company. (Researchers at Georgetown University and NYU recently named it one of the least trusted American institutions, across political parties.) If the tactics of even the largest, most public, most well-documented violator of our privacy are a black box to the average person, what do most of us know about the tactics of, say, a Finnish game developer?

Why I (Still) Love Tech: In Defense Of A Difficult Industry, by Paul Ford, Wired

The things we loved—the Commodore Amigas and AOL chat rooms, the Pac-Man machines and Tamagotchis, the Lisp machines and RFCs, the Ace paperback copies of Neuromancer in the pockets of our dusty jeans—these very specific things have come together into a postindustrial Voltron that keeps eating the world. We accelerated progress itself, at least the capitalist and dystopian parts. Sometimes I’m proud, although just as often I’m ashamed. I am proudshamed.

And yet I still love the big T, by which I mean either “technology” or “trillions of dollars.” Why wouldn’t I? I came to New York City at the age of 21, in the era of Java programming, when Yahoo! still deserved its exclamation point. I’d spent my childhood expecting nuclear holocaust and suddenly came out of college with a knowledge of HTML and deep beliefs about hypertext, copies of WIRED (hello) and Ray Gun bought at the near-campus Uni-Mart. The 1996 theme at Davos was “Sustaining Globalization”; the 1997 theme was “Building the Network Society.” One just naturally follows the other. I surfed the most violent tsunami of capital growth in the history of humankind. And what a good boy am I!

Bottom of the Page

So, Apple launched the all new TV app, here in Singapore, with exactly zero TV Channels...

(I was expecting just one HBO channel in the TV app. Turns out, the local streaming TV provider and local free-to-air monopoly may have an exclusive deal with HBO. The HBO Go app, even though is on iPhones and iPads, is still missing in the Singapore's versio of the Apple TV app store.)


Thanks for reading.

The Getting-Started Edition Monday, May 13, 2019

New Today At Apple Session Helps Aspiring Podcasters Get Started With Their Own Shows, by Michael Steeber, 9to5Mac

The growing number of podcasts appealing to just about every interest imaginable has inspired many listeners to create their own shows. But getting started can feel daunting. How do I record? How do I edit my tracks? What can I do to make my show stand out? These are some of the questions a new Today at Apple session designed for aspiring podcasters will try to answer.

Photos: Here’s What The Apple Card Will Look Like Out Of The Box, by Benjamin Mayo,9to5Mac

Over the weekend, Benjamin Geskin posted on Twitter claiming that a wave of Apple employees are now receiving their own branded Apple Card credit cards as part of a semi-private beta. Geskin posted photos of the purported card units, but note he has photoshopped over the engraved name to supposedly hide the source’s identity.


Newest iPhone XR Ad Promises That 'You'll Lose Power Before It Will', by Roger Fingas, AppleInsider

The spot features the song "Stay Awake" by Julie Andrews, and depicts people like a parking attendant and a new father struggling to stay conscious. "The longest battery life in an iPhone ever," text claims, adding that "You'll lose power before it will."

Apple Beats Powerbeats Pro Review: Throw Away Your AirPods, by Christian Thomas, SoundGuys

While the decision to go with AirPods or the Powerbeats Pro might have more to do with money (for most), I’m a fan of the Beats over the AirPods because they address what I believe to be some of the most egregious design flaws of a set of true wireless earbuds on the market. Though the up-front cost of the Powerbeats Pro is between $50-100 more than the latest iteration of AirPods, the Beats in-ears offer isolation, better sound quality, tactile controls, sweat resistance, better fit, and even some earhooks to relieve pressure on your ear canals.

Procreate Pocket 3 For iPhone Brings Feature Parity With Popular iPad Drawing App, by Tim Hardwick, MacRumors

This latest version aims to bring the full artistic power of Procreate from your iPad to your pocket, with an overhaul of the user interface allowing the introduction of iPad app-originating tools, without taking the focus away from the canvas.


There’s No Such Thing As A “Dream Job”, by Alison Green, Slate

Rather than thinking in terms of “dream jobs,” job seekers would do far better to look for “interesting possibilities” and “openings I’d like to learn more about.” These more-grounded frameworks, which preserve a healthy skepticism and leave the idealizing out of it, will keep your head out of the clouds.

The World Is My Office: Why I Chose To Become A Digital Nomad Worker, by Greg Lea, The Guardian

The ability to travel and connect with people all over the world while still earning a living is my favourite thing about being a digital nomad. As Bill Nye, the US “science guy”, once said, “Everyone you will ever meet knows something you don’t.”

The constant sense of adventure that stems from being far from home is another plus. Many of my days here are not too dissimilar to my life in London – filing articles, editing copy for football websites The Set Pieces and FourFourTwo, consuming too much caffeine – but the unfamiliarity means there is excitement in the most mundane tasks, such as ordering lunch or taking a (motorbike) taxi. Using a popular co-working space also offers me the chance to regularly meet new people, and there is a thrill in not knowing who might walk through the door each day. Alas, no fellow Crystal Palace fan has yet shown up.


The Myth Of Convenience, by L. M. Sacasas

I once suggested that the four horsemen of the digital apocalypse will be called Convenience, Security, Innovation, and Lulz. These were the values, so to speak, driving the production and enthusiastic adoption of digital technologies regardless of their more dubious qualities.

I was reminded of the line while reading Colin Horgan’s recent piece, “The Tyranny of Convenience.” Horgan rightly highlights the degree to which the value of convenience drives our choices and informs our trade-offs.

Bottom of the Page

Yes, a fellow reader contacted me: there's a RSS app on the iPhone that can import from subscriptions from an OPML file locally, without a need to use a web-app.

This app is the new Reeder.

Thank you, dear reader.


Thanks for reading.

The Bicycle-Room Edition Sunday, May 12, 2019

It’s Amazing That Anyone Upgrades Their iPhone, by M.G. Siegler, 500ish Words

I just can’t believe this is our current state of the art for setting up a new iPhone in 2019. I’m pretty savvy about such things, and I was still confused or dumbfounded by various aspects of the process. I can’t imagine a “regular” user trying to do these things. In a time when Apple is worried about fewer people upgrading their iPhones, I view it as a minor miracle that anyone upgrades their iPhones given such hoops.

Tim Cook And D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser Greet Customers At The Grand Opening Of Apple Carnegie Library, by Michael Steeber, 9to5Mac

Apple fans in Washington, D.C. were treated to an exciting Saturday morning at Mount Vernon Square. Crowds, cameras, and special guests gathered to celebrate the grand opening of Apple Carnegie Library, the most ambitious store project Apple has ever completed. Tim Cook and D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser had the honor of opening the store’s doors, and Apple executives Deirdre O’Brien and Phil Schiller were also in attendance to welcome customers.

Siri, Show Me Photos Of The New Apple Store Inside The Historic Carnegie Library, by Eliza Berkon, DCist

Downstairs, a gallery of historic D.C. images curated by the Historical Society now occupies what was once known as the bicycle room (quite literally, a space where visitors parked their bikes before moving upstairs to the library). One of the building’s most charmed features is its Guastavino-vaulted, terracotta ceilings on the basement level. There, guests are invited not only to take a gander at historic photos of the building’s history, but to also employ an art app called Smartify. By scanning an image with the app, users can immediately pull up more information about the piece on their smartphone—technology that Historical Society of Washington, D.C. Executive Director John Suau says can eventually be employed throughout the building.

“I thought that we were something that Apple was going to have to contend with,” Suau says. “But as the project progressed, I understood that Steve Jobs had articulated that Apple is about where technology and the humanities intersect. So when I started to hear that language and learn about them creating an experiential retail opportunity—where you’re not necessarily coming here to transact but you’re coming here to learn or engage—it made a lot more sense.”


iPhone XR And XS Review: Seven Months In, What's Good And What's Bad, by Scott Stein, CNET

The iPhone is still a really great phone, but it continues to feel familiar in a world of increasingly changing tech. It's almost, dare I say, the comfort choice? It's the device that connects to all my things, and it powers the connections to most of the tech I test and wear. It's a cornerstone device and it does a good job at being exactly that. It's the product Apple makes that feels the most recommendable. And yet, as the shape of phones (figuratively and literally) begins to transform to farther-off possibilities, the iPhone remains the familiar, stable -- almost boring -- device, not the more exciting and unpredictable new one.

Bottom of the Page

I was looking for a RSS client for my iPhone, that doesn't require any of the web-based RSS service log-ins, that does RSS subscriptions locally on my iPhone, and that does import of OPML files.

After a lot of downloading and then deleting of apps, I declare failure. I can't find a single app that does this.


Thanks for reading.

The Promise-and-Peril Edition Saturday, May 11, 2019

Meditation Apps Want To Calm You Down On The Same Device That Stresses You Out, by Eleanor Cummins, Popular Science

Self-improvement apps like Journey Live comes at an interesting time in the history of technology. Americans are more aware of the addictive design strategies built into their smartphones and smartwatches than ever before. Yet most feel powerless to cut back or quit. At the same time, a cultural emphasis on “wellness” and “self-care” has crested. In lieu of real systemic change, people turn toward individual pseudo-solutions, many sold by the same companies creating the problem. Even after the hyped launches of Apple’s Screen Time control and Google’s Digital Wellbeing initiative, users young and old still struggle to put their phones down.

Meditation apps are perhaps the purest distillation of this peculiarly 21st century problem. They encapsulate, in just a few pixels, the promise and peril of these thin black bricks we navigate, communicate, sleep, pee, poop, and, now, improve ourselves with. Curious, I downloaded a few of the products on offer, and set about answering a question we’ve all been forced to ask: Can one good app cure the sickness caused by the other 99?

The iPhone And The Mountain Goats, by Yonina Schlussel, Jewish Press

This incredible, yet completely true, story of my iPhone’s journey gives me tremendous emunah. As a busy wife and mother, when a very difficult challenge arises, I often find myself beginning to despair. Occasionally, I even feel like I have been “dropped off a ski lift” and “stuck in a foot of snow.” Yet, when I look at my phone, I remember that even in extreme situations, things that seem impossible can be possible. And that gives me the hope and faith that I need to keep doing my part.

Is Do Not Disturb While Driving Reducing Car Crashes?, by Adam Engst, TidBITS

As much as it’s frustrating to say this, 18 months after DNDWD appeared, we simply don’t yet know if DNDWD is making a difference. Gathering, analyzing, and compiling all this data clearly takes time, and even though we’re nearly halfway into 2019, the NHTSA hasn’t yet released the full 2018 numbers.

The 2017 stats—which encompass just 3 months of DNDWD’s tenure so far—were tentatively positive, showing small raw number drops in fatalities, even if the percentages remained the same. And the 2017 cell phone usage numbers also showed small decreases. Since the preliminary 2018 numbers indicated a 2.0% drop in overall fatalities, we can hope that cell phone usage and deaths associated with cell phone-associated distracted driving will also have dropped.


Apple Shares New 'Inside Joke' Privacy-Focused Video Highlighting iMessage Encryption, by Juli Clover, MacRumors

In the minute-long video, a woman is at a nail salon getting a pedicure, and she's receiving iMessages and cracking up at them over and over again. The viewer is never given a look at what she's seeing that's so funny, which emphasizes the fact that messages are private.

The Powerbeats Pro Raises The Bar For Wire-Free Earbuds, by Jeffrey Van Camp, Wired

These are the best wire-free earbuds for workouts I've ever used. They stay in place, come sweatproof, sound incredible, get twice the battery life of similar buds, and work well whether you're on an iPhone or Android phone. On top of that, they also smartly recognize when you take them out of your ears and route calls appropriately.

The Cooking App That Changed My Life, by Whitson Gordon, Medium

My collection of recipes doesn’t live in a physical container, though: It’s in an app called Paprika. And while Paprika bills itself as a “recipe manager,” it’s far more than a simple list of dishes. It’s really more like a cookbook shelf, grocery list, personal assistant, and fancy calculator rolled into one, and it’s become one of the most important apps on my phone.

Postal Address Insanity: Why I Switched From Spotify To Apple Music, by Josh Centers, TidBITS

If you wish to use Spotify and might ever want to sign up for a family plan, I strongly recommend copying down the exact address you enter somewhere, or you can do what I did and switch to Apple Music because I refuse to play these stupid games.


Annual Layers Design Conference Speaker Lineup Announced For WWDC Week, by Michael Steeber, 9to5Mac

One of the most popular community events coinciding with WWDC in San Jose each year is Layers, a conference about design, technology, creativity, and more. As June creeps up, the annual speaker schedule for Layers has once again been announced. This year’s lineup includes some familiar faces and new voices the Apple design community will enjoy.


An Interview With Khoi Vinh, Principal Designer At Adobe, by John Voorhees, MacStories

Earlier this week I had the opportunity to sit down with Khoi Vinh, Principal Designer at Adobe who leads its Design Practices group and author of Vihn, who was in Chicago to speak at the HOW Design Live conference, talks about how Adobe is using Adobe XD to integrate UX and UI design and prototyping into the product creation process for everyone from freelancers to big companies. He also discusses designers' role in addressing the problems social media is facing, how artificial intelligence is beginning to play a role in design, and his podcast, Wireframe.

From 'Putt Putt' To 'Freddi Fish' — How Humongous Entertainment Made Edutainment Fun, by Nicole Clark, Vice

But when we look back at these artifacts of our childhood, we usually forget what I’ll lovingly call "the grind," which—unlike recreational games that involve endless foraging, crafting, and killing—asked young players to repeatedly solve math, logic, or word problems in activity gated environments. As much as I loved, and continue to love, these classics, there was never a question in my mind as to intent. Most of them were obviously education over entertainment.

Humongous Entertainment created a major wrinkle in that formula. The company, founded in 1992 by Ron Gilbert and Shelley Day, offered something different—a series of kid’s games that were based around narrative, character, and world-building rather than lesson gated modules. The two had come from LucasArts—Day worked as a games producer and Gilbert worked as a programmer and game designer—and specialized in creating adventure games aimed at adults. After seeing how much kids enjoyed playing adventure games, they decided to apply the same principles to games aimed at younger players.

Microsoft: The Open Source Company, by Peter Bright, Ars Technica

The news from Microsoft's Build developer conference that surprised me most was that Microsoft will ship a genuine Linux kernel—GPLed, with all patches published—with Windows. That announcement was made with the announcement of Windows Terminal, a new front-end for command-line programs on Windows that will, among other things, support tabs.

Microsoft's increased involvement with open source software isn't new, as projects such as Visual Studio Code and the .NET runtime have operated as open source, community-driven projects. But this week's announcements felt a bit different.

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I wonder if there will be any TV Channels on the upcoming TV app besides, maybe, HBO?


Thanks for reading.

The Defining-Privacy Edition Friday, May 10, 2019

What Apple, Facebook And Google Each Mean By “Privacy”, by Scott Rosenberg, Axios

Apple, Facebook, and Google are all firmly on the record now: they agree that privacy is a good thing, that government should protect it, and that you can trust them to respect it.

The catch: Each company defines privacy differently and emphasizes different trade-offs in delivering it.

New macOS 10.15 Music App Code Based On iTunes, Not iOS, by Guilherme Rambo, 9to5Mac

The new standalone Music app on macOS will actually be an AppKit application, based off of iTunes. It will include many of the advanced features iTunes users are accustomed to, including things such as smart playlists, advanced library management, syncing with iPods and iOS devices, and even disc reading and burning.

How (And Why) Jony Ive Built The Mysterious Rainbow Apple Stage , by Lewis Wallace, Cult of Mac

Apple and its collaborators are supposedly rushing to complete the brightly colored stage prior to a May 17 special event for employees at Apple Park. That event reportedly will do double duty. It will serve as a celebration of the formal opening of Apple Park, the sprawling headquarters of the world’s most powerful tech company. And it will pay tribute to Steve Jobs, the late Apple co-founder whose vision drove the design of the unique Cupertino campus with the spaceship-like circular building.


The multicolored arches that frame the nearly completed Apple Stage took months of hard work and meticulous planning by teams inside and outside Apple, according to an article on AppleWeb, the company’s internal platform for employee communications.

Preserve and Honor

Apple Store Moves Into Former Carnegie Library, by Katherine Schwartz, The Georgetowner

While the process has provided Apple with its “most extensive historic restoration project to date,” the company has sought to preserve and honor the history of the building. Inside, the open rooms now feature wooden tables of tech devices and numerous decorative trees, creating grove-like tech spaces. Glass ceilings provide an abundance of natural light and white marble surfaces reflect brightness throughout the building, adding to the quasi-utopian ambiance.

But the facility is designed to be more than just an elegant Apple Store. It is a space to learn, “where everyone is welcome to come and discover all kinds of creativity, connect with new ideas, and share their stories.” In this way, the refurbished library will maintain Carnegie’s vision of an open and free facility, fostering curiosity and celebrating creativity.

Apple Carnegie Library: An Inside Look At Apple’s Most Ambitious Store Yet, by Michael Steeber, 9to5Mac

Science. Poetry. History. These three words set the tone as you pass through the doors of Apple Carnegie Library, the latest in a careful collection of global flagship stores. It’s been over 116 years since each art was carved into marble and hung above the library’s entrance, but the studies remain as relevant to Apple today as they were when the building was built. Apple Carnegie Library is far more than a store — it’s the clearest public expression of Apple’s values.

Apple Carnegie Library Opens Saturday In Washington, D.C., by Apple

Carnegie Library on Mount Vernon Square also features the new DC History Center, which includes the Kiplinger Research Library, three galleries and a museum store, all owned and operated by the 125-year-old Historical Society of Washington, D.C. To restore the building to its original grandeur, Apple worked with conservation experts to carefully preserve the historic facades, return interior spaces to their original footprints, and restore distinctive early 20th-century detailing. Foster + Partners worked in close collaboration with Apple’s Chief Design Officer Jony Ive to give this cultural icon a new lease of life.


Review: Brydge Pro Keyboard For iPad Pro Beats Apple's Offering In Nearly Every Way, by Mark Linsangan, AppleInsider

Build quality is superb, the keyboard feels great to type on, although not the best we've tried. The almost unlimited viewing angle options are something that we really appreciate, and the fact that it feels like a MacBook when you're lugging it around really helps sell the Brydge Pro that much more.

Reeder 4 Gets A Long-Overdue Overhaul, by Julio Ojeda-Zapata, TidBITS

Its marquee features aside—I don’t find Bionic Reading helpful, and as a Pocket user I’ll never use Reeder’s new Read Later functionality—the interface tweaks make the app easier and more pleasurable to use. Thumbnails in the headline column alone are worth the price of admission for those who like to identify article sources. And I think it’s worth spending a few bucks for a top-flight Mac or iOS app to get the best possible newsreader experience.

Nike Says You Might Be Wearing The Wrong Size Shoe, So It Created An AR Tool To Help, by Dalvin Brown, USA Today

Nike is introducing a feature to its app that lets you scan your feet using your smartphone camera to determine what size shoe will be the perfect fit.

Aptly titled, Nike Fit, the AR tool seeks to replace the steel measurement device that you find under the seats at your local shoe store.


Selfies Don't Kill People, by Wes Siler, Outside

No one has ever been killed by a selfie. A lot of people have been killed by stupid behavior. No beautiful destination has ever been ruined by an Instagram post. A lot of beautiful places have been ruined by irresponsible assholes. When it comes to social media’s impact on the outdoors, all of us are getting mad about the wrong thing. And that anger is one of the reasons why we have a problem.

Melinda Gates Wants Tech To Wake Up To Women's Empowerment, by Emily Dreyfuss, Wired

For almost 20 years, Melinda Gates has been on a mission to make the world better. When she and her husband launched the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation in 2000, they knew only that they wanted to use their Microsoft wealth to stop children born in poverty from needlessly dying of ailments that were easily cured in developed nations. Since then, their mandate has evolved to include curing disease, developing and delivering new medications, lifting communities out of poverty, and increasing access to opportunity and education. A few years ago, Gates realized one thing unified all those goals: empowering women.

The Memorized-Everything Edition Thursday, May 9, 2019

I Wrote The Book On User-Friendly Design. What I See Today Horrifies Me, by Don Norman, Fast Company

Take the screen design for Apple’s phones. The designers at Apple apparently believe that text is ugly, so it should either be eliminated entirely or made as invisible as possible. Bruce Tognazzini and I, both former employees of Apple, wrote a long article on Apple’s usability sins ,which has been read by hundreds of thousands of people. Once Apple products could be used without ever reading a manual. Today, Apple’s products violate all the fundamental rules of design for understanding and usability, many of which Tognazzini and I had helped develop. As a result, even a manual is not enough: all the arbitrary gestures that control tablets, phones, and computers have to be memorized. Everything has to be memorized.

These thoughtless, inappropriate designs are not limited to Apple. New technologies tend to rely on display screens, often with tiny lettering, with touch-sensitive areas that are exceedingly difficult to hit as eye-hand coordination declines. Physical controls are by far the easiest to control–safer too, especially in safety-critical tasks such as driving a car, but they are disappearing. Why? To save a few cents in manufacturing and in a misplaced desire to be trendy. Speech can be a useful substitute for physical controls, though not as helpful as proponents claim.


Beats Powerbeats Pro Review: A True Wireless Sports Headphone With Big Sound And Long Battery Life, by David Carnoy, CNET

Beats says these guys use new upgraded piston drivers that are supposed to cut down on distortion. They sound significantly better than the AirPods, which isn't that high a bar to clear, but the Powerbeats Pro deliver richer, cleaner sound with bass that's not only much bigger but tighter. As I said, a full seal is crucial to maximizing sound quality with these types of noise-isolating headphones, so if the tips aren't sitting snugly in your ear canals you can lose some bass.

Powerbeats Pro Review: Better Than AirPods, But Not For Everybody, by Jason Cross, Macworld

If you want to block outside noise, wear your earbuds during rigorous activity, listen for long periods without recharging, or if you really care about sound quality, the Powerbeats Pro are a better choice. If you need to hear your surroundings, or you put a premium on pocketability and quickly placing or removing your earbuds, or just if price is a critical factor, you’d be better off with AirPods.


Appreciating AppKit, Part 1< by Martin Pilkington

I often feel that AppKit is under-appreciated by those who don't have a lot of experience with it, and especially with switching back and forth between Mac and iOS development. To help try and fix that, I am going to go through some of the features in AppKit that don't exist in UIKit. In this post I'll cover the many controls of AppKit, and in a future post I'll go into some of the less user-facing features.

This will by no means be a comprehensive list, but will hopefully show you some of the key differences, some of the cool but rarely used features, and some of the things Apple will need to look at adding to UIKit to aid building truly great Mac apps.

What To Expect From Marzipan, by Craig Hockenberry, IconFactory

For the past year, I’ve been working on a new product that runs natively on three operating systems: iOS, tvOS, and macOS. As a result, I feel like I can talk with some authority on the differences between these platforms. My biggest takeaway from this project is how different interaction models have a ripple effect throughout a product.


Apple Park Campus Shown Off In New Drone Video, Mystery Stage Included, by Juli Clover, MacRumors

Everything is looking lush and green thanks to heavy rains in the Bay Area over the course of the last few months.

There's A Good Chance A New Apple Monitor Will Arrive At WWDC, by Dennis Sellers, Apple World Today

Last month the LG UltraFine 4K was listed as sold out at Apple’s online store. Now the 5K model (pictured) is sold out, as well. These were the displays that the tech giant promoted for use with its Mac laptop and Mac mini lines.

The Internet Has A Cancer-Faking Problem, by Róisín Lanigan, The Atlantic

Around the time Marchand stopped posting in the Facebook group, she was arrested in Colorado for faking terminal cancer on the crowdfunding platform GoFundMe and accepting donations through multiple accounts. It seemed she had faked her illness to the Facebook group, too. At trial, she pleaded guilty and was sentenced to community service. “The entire group was devastated, angry, and in a state of disbelief,” Angelacos says. “Everyone felt they had come to know her so well. There was a huge sense of betrayal.” (Marchand and her lawyer did not respond to requests for comment.)

This was not the first time many of the group’s members had felt this way. As harrowing as the experience can be for those involved, people in online cancer support groups are routinely outed as healthy. It’s difficult to speculate exactly how common this phenomenon is: There have been no large-scale scientific investigations into the internet’s cancer fakers, and the evidence is limited to only those who have actually been suspected or caught. But among the internet’s cancer communities, it’s an often acknowledged problem, albeit still a shocking one. Among 10 people from three groups I spoke with recently, every person recalled someone being outed for faking in their communities at least once, if not more.

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I sure hope Apple employees over at Apple Park have stopped walking into glasses.


Thanks for reading.

The Coding-Club Edition Wednesday, May 8, 2019

Apple CEO Tim Cook Pays Surprise Visit To Orlando Teen Computer Whiz, by Marco Santana, Orlando Sentinel

The Lyman High School sophomore has grown a coding club he started in November to 16 people, equally split between boys and girls.

His mobile app, which converts images into art made up of symbols and numbers known as ASCII, has a 4.2 rating on the App store. He also has two other apps in development, including one that teaches musicians how to tune their instruments through game play.

Why The Mac Won’t End Up Locked Down Like iOS, by Jason Snell, Macworld

Despite the fear that the introduction of the Mac App Store meant that Apple would eventually limit the Mac software market to App Store apps only, that has never happened. In part, this is because a huge array of important Mac apps have not qualified for inclusion in the Mac App Store, something Apple seems now to be dedicated to rectifying.

But Apple has also spent the last few years finding alternate paths to offer software security outside of the Mac App Store—an approach that I doubt the company would bother with if it was planning on dropping the hammer and killing all non-App Store apps.

Sidestepping Apple: The Third-party Tinkerers Fighting For Your Right To Repair, by Oscar Schwartz, The Guardian

Proctor says that while in the past there was a legal balance between protecting manufacturers’ intellectual property and empowering consumers to tinker with, modify, and repair their own products, the rise of software in electronics has shifted power to manufacturers. Not only are the products more complex and harder to fix, the line between self-repair and hacking has become nebulous, meaning that manufacturers have been able to use digital copyright law to gain a legal monopoly over repair. This, in turn, has created a broader cultural anxiety around self-repair, a sense that when our devices malfunction, the problem can only be dealt with by so-called experts at a specific company.


Those at the forefront of the online repair community are sometimes met with hostility from manufacturers. Apple has brought suits against unauthorized repair shops and have had their intellectual property lawyers directly contacted some YouTube tinkerers.

iPad Typing

Review: Brydge Pro 12.9 Keyboard, by Jason Snell, Six Colors

Whether the Brydge 12.9 Pro keyboard will be the right choice of accessories to pair with your iPad Pro’s naked robotic core really depends on how you plan on using it. I have spend a couple of decades writing on laptops, and expect a stable laptop-style typing surface that can sit in my lap or on a desk or table.

While the Smart Keyboard Folio is more stable in a lap than its predecessor, it’s not as stable as the Brydge 12.9 Pro, nor is it as enjoyable to type on. It’s lighter, I’ll grant you, and if I needed to carry an iPad keyboard everywhere I went, I’d probably give the Smart Keyboard Folio strong consideration.

Review: Logitech Slim Folio Pro, by Jason Snell, Six Colors

The Slim Folio Pro traps the iPad Pro in a less than ideal form. Both Apple’s Smart Keyboard Folio and the Brydge Pro let you switch from keyboard to tablet quickly. Apple’s device excels because it’s small enough to carry around as a cover; Brydge’s excels because it provides the full laptop experience. I would choose either of those products over this one. But if you’re seeking value in an iPad keyboard case and don’t mind fussing with getting the thing on and off of your iPad, the Slim Folio Pro won’t let you down. It’s a solid product—as long as you know what you’re getting into. And out of.

Review: Zagg Slim Book Go For iPad Pro Adopts A Detachable Bluetooth Keyboard, by Andrew O'Hara, AppleInsider

From a physical standpoint, the Zagg stand is also so adjustable and takes up very little space. When we just want to lean back and watch a movie, the small footprint sans-keyboard is wholeheartedly welcomed.

Typing is a very enjoyable experience — not quite as nice as it is on the Smart Keyboard Folio — but solid overall. It also wins out by being backlit and including the function keys. Most would rather have those trade-offs.


Apple Challenges Customers To ‘Do One Last Great Thing’ With iPhone In New Trade-in Video, by Chance Miller, 9to5Mac

Apple is continuing its iPhone trade-in push today with a new ad imploring users to “do one last great thing with your iPhone.” Apple’s pitch is that by trading in your iPhone, it can be refurbished and sold to someone else, or recycled in a responsible manner.

Jamf School Simplifies Apple Device Management For Education, by Malcolm Owen, AppleInsider

Based on the Jamf Cloud infrastructure, Jamf School is a system for teachers to manage and use Apple devices in a learning environment. Created with a simpler interface than the more technically-minded versions, the system is used to control what can or cannot be used on Apple devices during classes.

Collision-detecting Suitcase, Wayfinding App Help Blind People Navigate Airports, by Carnegie Mellon University, TechXplore

Carnegie Mellon University researchers say a smart suitcase that warns blind users of impending collisions and a wayfinding smartphone app can help people with visual disabilities navigate airport terminals safely and independently.

The rolling suitcase sounds alarms when users are headed for a collision with a pedestrian, and the navigation app provides turn-by-turn audio instructions to users on how to reach a departure gate—or a restroom or a restaurant. Both proved effective in a pair of user studies conducted at Pittsburgh International Airport.


Dear Client, Here’s Why That Change Took So Long - Simple Thread, by Al Tenhundfeld, Simple Thread

Changes in complex software systems seem like they take forever, don’t they? Even to engineers it often feels like changes take longer than they should, and we understand the reasons for the underlying complexity in the system!

For stakeholders it can be even more obtuse and frustrating. This can be exacerbated by the incidental complexity introduced over time in systems that haven’t been properly maintained. It can feel like we are bailing water out of a ship with a thousand leaks.

So it can be incredibly frustrating and deflating when one day you get a message from a stakeholder saying, “Why in the world will this take so long?” But we have to remember that as software engineers we have a window into a world that our stakeholders often don’t have visibility into. They put a lot of trust in us to deliver for them, but sometimes a seemingly small change can end up taking a large amount of time. This leads to a frustration that results in a curt “explain to me why this takes so long.”


Apple Teams Up With SAP To Help Clients Develop iPhone Business Apps, by Douglas Busvine, Reuters

Business software maker SAP and Apple are teaming up to help clients develop their own mobile business applications using Apple’s machine-learning technology.

This will make it possible, with the help of augmented reality, to use iPhones or iPads for a range of business tasks, such as accurately stocking store shelves or machinery repairs.

Apple Design Lead Jony Ive To Discuss iPhone Design With Stephen Fry, by Malcolm Owen, AppleInsider

Taking place at the Dalkey Book Festival on June 15, the discussion between the well-known British celebrity and Apple's design chief is titled "The Object of Language and the Language of Objects," and is advertised as an event where the two will share "wit and wisdom" on a variety of subjects.

Google’s Sundar Pichai Snipes At Apple With Privacy Defense, by Jon Porter, The Verge

In the op-ed, Pichai contrasted Google’s approach to privacy with Apple’s. In a thinly veiled snipe at the iPhone-maker, Pichai said that “privacy cannot be a luxury good” that’s only available to “people who can afford to buy premium products and services.”

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I do agree that customers should have the right to repair. But, customers should also be notified by the manufacturer when it no longer can guarantee a device is secured. And, customers should also be notified that the end-to-end-encrypted communicaiton may not be secured because the other parties' devices may be compromised.

Discussions about customers' right-to-repair must go hand-in-hand with security and privacy considerations.


Sundar Pichai of Google, I feel, is being dishonest. Apple, as far as I am aware, has never justified its typcially-higher prices on better privacy. If you ask Tim Cook, I'm sure he will tell you that all products at all price-points -- even ad-supported free stuff like Facebook -- should respect customers' privacy.


Thanks for reading.

The Getting-Rid-of-Lines Edition Tuesday, May 7, 2019

How The Apple Store Lost Its Luster, by Mark Gurman, Bloomberg

Before her arrival, the Apple Store excelled at three key tasks: selling products, helping customers trouble-shoot their devices and teaching them how to get the most out of their gadgets. “Steve Jobs was really keen on stepping into the store and knowing what to do,” recalls a former Apple retail executive, who requested anonymity to speak freely. Mission shoppers who wanted to pick up a pair of headphones or an iPhone could get in and out quickly; those who wanted to learn more about their purchase could spend an hour getting trained by a Creative. If someone brought in a busted iPhone, a Genius would sort it out.

Over time, according to several current and former employees, Ahrendts upset that finely tuned balance. “You don’t feel like there is much engagement at the front of the store, there isn't a push to people,” says the former executive. “The store should be a place where you see upgrades happening.”

The overhaul of the Genius Bar has been especially controversial. Customers looking for technical advice or repairs must now check in with an employee, who types their request into an iPad. Then when a Genius is free, he or she must find the customer wherever they happen to be in the store. Ahrendts was determined to get rid of lineups, but now the stores are often crowded with people waiting for their iPhones to be fixed or batteries swapped out.

AirPods Are A Tragedy, by Caroline Haskins, Vice

Even if you only own AirPods for a few years, the earth owns them forever. When you die, your bones will decompose in less than a century, but the plastic shell of AirPods won’t decompose for at least a millennia. Thousands of years in the future, if human life or sentient beings exist on earth, maybe archaeologists will find AirPods in the forgotten corners of homes. They’ll probably wonder why they were ever made, and why so many people bought them. But we can also ask ourselves those same questions right now.

Why did we make technology that will live for 18 months, die, and never rot?

Elizabeth Warren Wants To Break Up Big Tech. Tim Cook Says Keep Apple Out Of It., by Emily Stewart, Vox

“We don’t get wrapped up in a pretzel about saying, ‘No, that doesn’t go on our platform. No, that app doesn’t work, and therefore it’s not going in the App Store,’” Cook said. “I know that that has opened us up for criticism. But it’s a part of being a shop owner or whatever. You know … if you own a shop on the corner, you decide what goes in your store.”


'Warren Buffett's Paper Wizard' Is Apple's First iPhone Game Since 2008, by Joe Rossignol, MacRumors

Warren Buffett's Paper Wizard, a free download on the App Store, tasks players with flinging newspapers to collect points. The game gradually increases in difficulty as players make their way from Omaha to Apple's hometown of Cupertino, California, with unique obstacles such as vehicles and birds.

Hands-on And First Impressions With Beats Powerbeats Pro Totally Wireless Earphones, by Zac Hall, 9to5Mac

Powerbeats Pro should fit ears that don’t take kindly to AirPods for two reasons: four changeable ear tips plus adjustable earhooks. Ear tips are also great for isolating sound and delivering richer audio to your ears, but earhooks can be problematic in some cases: the hook can interfere with glasses or shades and hats if it’s too bulky. In my limited testing with Powerbeats Pro so far, the ear hook design passes both tests for me (which is a relief since discomfort would be a dealbreaker!).

Review: The Upright Go Is The Most Annoying Gadget I’ve Ever Used, And I Recommend It, by Ben Lovejoy, 9to5Mac

Being alerted when you’re slouching is great, but nobody is going to go full cyborg and wear the Upright Go all the time. The idea of it is to retrain your body so that you stop slouching with or without the alerts.

I found that it did indeed achieve this within the space of a couple of weeks. I now become aware when I slouch, and correct that. Whether that’s a permanent change remains to be seen, but I’m pretty optimistic. At worst, I think using it every few months will do the trick.

Microsoft’s Edge Browser For Mac Leaks, Available To Download Early, by Tom Warren, The Verge

Microsoft just teased its Edge browser for macOS yesterday, but now, download links have appeared online a little early. Twitter user WalkingCat discovered official Microsoft download links to both the daily Chromium-powered Canary builds of Edge for Mac and the weekly Dev builds. Microsoft has been working to support Mac keyboard shortcuts, and it has been experimenting with button placement so its browser looks and feels like a Mac app.


Responsibility, Foundation, And Speed Biggest Lessons Learned By Angela Ahrendts During Apple Tenure, by Malcolm Owen, AppleInsider

Ahrendts also learned to "move faster than you could ever fathom," due to the expectations of consumers and employees to see how much technology changes everything. "They expect your leadership to be just like that because that's the world they are living in today. So you can't wait."

The third was to "never forget that you have a greater responsibility," greater than operating stores and selling hardware. "You have a much greater responsibility," insists Ahrendts. "And maybe that's what Steve meant when he talked about enriching lives and, when he talked about liberal arts and technology and the impact it could have on humanity."

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Will macOS, someday, be like iOS and only have one HTML rendering engine for all apps?

Is Microsoft wasting all its time with its new web browser on the Mac?


Thanks for reading.

The Watch-App-Store Edition Monday, May 6, 2019

Apple To Reveal New Home-Grown Apps, Software Features At WWDC, by Mark Gurman, Bloomberg

“Developers, from first-time engineers to larger companies, can rest assured that everyone is playing by the same set of rules,” Apple said in a recent statement rebutting Spotify’s complaint. “That’s how it should be. We want more app businesses to thrive -- including the ones that compete with some aspect of our business, because they drive us to be better.”

New features coming to the Apple Watch illustrate the balance the company must strike. Apple plans to add the App Store directly to the Watch so users can download apps on the go. This could open up huge new opportunities for outside developers, boosting app installations. But Apple has its own new Watch apps in the works, too. There will be new health applications, a Calculator and a Books app for listening to audio books from your wrist, the people familiar with the plans said.

Brussels Poised To Probe Apple Over Spotify’s Fees Complaint, by Financial Times

After considering the complaint and surveying customers, rivals and others in the market, the EU competition commission has decided to launch a formal antitrust investigation into Apple’s conduct, according to three people familiar with the probe.

Europe Is Reining In Tech Giants. But Some Say It’s Going Too Far., by Adam Satariano, New York Times

Heralded as the world’s toughest watchdog of Silicon Valley technology giants, Europe has clamped down on violent content, hate speech and misinformation online through a thicket of new laws and regulations over the past five years. Now there are questions about whether the region is going too far, with the rules leading to accusations of censorship and potentially providing cover to some governments to stifle dissent.


7 Apps To Relieve Stress When Wedding Planning Gets Overwhelming, by Chinea Rodriguez, Brides

If you've found it difficult to make time for self-care between balancing wedding planning with your schedule at work and at home, it could be time to pick up the phone. Self-care doesn't have to be pricey or time-consuming, so we've rounded up the best apps to relieve stress so you can unwind in no time. Best of all, they're all free to download and include plenty of free benefits and quick, easy activities.


Giving Up Is Not The Same Thing As Failing, by Tim Herrera, New York Times

Rather than fighting tooth and nail to find the “correct” solution to the problem in front of you, sometimes it’s worth the risk of looking foolish to ask: Why are we even trying to solve this problem, anyway?


How Apple News+ Could Be The Forbidden Fruit For Publishers, by John McDuling, Sydney Morning Herald

If News and Nine both bypass Apple News+ the product might seem undercooked in Australia but could still appeal to journalism junkies: as stated earlier, getting access to a vast array of international content on a single bill could be highly convenient.

Bypassing Apple News+ is not without risk - the device giant has a massive army of loyal users. Those deciding to do so just have to ensure their product (that is, their journalism) is strong enough to withstand it.

Apple Buys A Company Every Few Weeks, Says CEO Tim Cook, by Lauren Feiner, CNBC

In roughly the last six months alone, Cook said Apple has bought approximately 20 to 25 companies. Apple often doesn't announce these deals because the companies are small and Apple is "primarily looking for talent and intellectual property," Cook said.

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I survived Monday. Here's hoping you too.


Thanks for reading.

The Internet-Explorer-Six Edition Sunday, May 5, 2019

Hands-on: How The Brydge Keyboard For The 2018 iPad Pro Compares To Apple’s Smart Keyboard Folio, by Chance Miller, 9to5Mac

The Brydge Pro is an excellent alternative to Apple’s Smart Keyboard Folio for the iPad Pro. It packs a much sturdier design that matches perfectly with the unibody build of the iPad itself. It’s not perfect, but it’s a very enjoyable experience overall.

When it comes to deciding whether you should use the Brydge Pro or Smart Keyboard Folio with your iPad Pro, a lot of it boils down to how you use your iPad. If you’re regularly taking your iPad in and out of keyboard cases, the Brydge Pro slightly complicates that process due to its very tight prongs. If you plan on extended typing sessions, however, the Brydge Pro is a far better experience with backlighting, a function row, and more.

A Conspiracy To Kill IE6, by Chris Zacharias

IE6 had been the bane of our web development team’s existence. At least one to two weeks every major sprint cycle had to be dedicated to fixing new UI that was breaking in IE6. Despite this pain, we were told we had to continue supporting IE6 because our users might be unable to upgrade or might be working at companies that were locked in. IE6 users represented around 18% of our user base at that point. We understood that we could not just drop support for it. However, sitting in that cafeteria, having only slept about a few hours each in the previous days, our compassion for these users had completely eroded away. We began collectively fantasizing about how we could exact our revenge on IE6. One idea rose to the surface that quickly captured everyone’s attention. Instead of outright dropping IE6 support, what if we just threatened to? How would users react? Would they revolt against YouTube? Would they mail death threats to our team like had happened in the past? Or would they suddenly become loud advocates of modern browsers? We openly daydreamed about cubicle workers around the world suddenly inventing creative “business” reasons for needing upgraded browsers. Grandparents would hold their technically savvy grand-kids hostage, demanding they fix their “YouTubes”. What had begun as a team therapy session started to materialize into an actual plan, a plan we quickly realized we were uniquely positioned to execute on.

The Push To Break Up Big Tech, Explained, by Matthew Yglesias, Vox

Beyond the economic and legal details, there’s also a larger struggle over the cultural meaning of Big Tech. After a period in which technology entrepreneurs in particular were often celebrated as “good guys” of the business world — especially in contrast with the bankers of Wall Street — critics are aiming less at a specific legal point and more at a general sense that the richest companies in the world (and the billionaires who own them) are part of the problem. At the same time, antitrust law is a blunt-force weapon, having been developed over the decades to deal with a set of concerns that only partially overlap with the nexus of issues people have about modern technology conglomerates.

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I am looking forward to the day when I no longer need to read emails or check my calendar.

(Or will this day be the day that I die?)


Thanks for reading.

The Central-Library Edition Saturday, May 4, 2019

Tim Cook Hopes Apple’s $30 Million Rehab Of D.C.’s Carnegie Library Will Do More Than Sell iPhones, by Jonathan O'Connell, Washington Post

As a company, Apple is less focused on selling stuff. It doesn’t sell as many iPhones as it once did and is more focused on selling subscriptions and services, none of which require a store for purchases or even consideration.

This is why it is striking that, under chief executive Tim Cook, the company has made it a priority to open a flagship store next week in Washington. Why spend two years and probably more than $30 million renovating the 116-year-old Carnegie Library into an Apple Store?

“Probably one of the least done things in an Apple Store is to buy something,” Cook said recently by phone. Instead, he said, people come to explore new products, of course, but also get training and services for iPhones or iPads they already own.

Apple’s Heavy Hand With Parental-control Apps Is About Trust, Not Anti-trust, by Michael Simon, Macworld

The Times’ point that Apple shouldn’t be “the most zealous guardian of user privacy and security” just doesn’t hold water. What if the developer of one of these parental control apps had been caught using its permissions to spy on what kids were watching and reading? That would have made much bigger headlines than a handful of disgruntled developers. Apple users take privacy seriously, and they want to know there’s a gatekeeper in place.

So while the Times certainly has a point when it says “the status quo is untenable” regarding the App Store and competition, the last thing we need is an “open” environment where anything goes.

Tim Cook Promises Expansion Of Screen Time In Interview With ABC, by Andrew O'Hara, AppleInsider

With Screen Time introduced in iOS 12, iPhones can give reports to users, or parents, how much time is being spent on a device. For Cook, it was around 200 times a day —a number that was double what he expected.

"We make money if we can convince you to buy an iPhone, but I don't want you using the product a lot." Cook said. "What we want to build are products to enrich your life, do something you couldn't do without it. That's what gets us excited."


Apple Watch Isn’t A Necessity Like A Smartphone, But It’s Handy, by Jeff Carlson, Seattle Times

The usefulness of notifications isn’t even that I think I’m so important I need to stay on top of every communication. It’s that I can flick my wrist when a new message comes in, see quickly whether it’s something I need to pay attention to and then ignore it or act on it. I don’t have to pull out the phone every time, which is far more distracting.

500 Days Of Duolingo: What You Can (And Can’t) Learn From A Language App, by Eric Ravenscraft, New York Times

Despite their differences, they have the same goal: use daily exercises on your phone to teach you an entire language. It’s an enticing promise, especially if you’re not already immersed in a culture or education system that will give you the exposure you need to pick up a second language. The question is, are they effective?

After I accumulated a Duolingo streak in excess of 500 days — a feat that, thanks to the app’s notoriously insistent reminders, has now come to define my self-worth — I found myself in a better place to judge just how much an app alone can really teach you. The short answer is that you can definitely learn some things from an app, but if you want to become fluent in a language — or even conversational — they won’t be enough.

Spotify’s Leanback Instant Listening App Stations Hits iOS, by Sarah Perez, TechCrunch

Unlike Spotify’s flagship application, the Stations app presents users with a minimalist interface where available playlists are displayed with an oversized font. You can scroll up and down between the playlists to select one, instead of typing in a search box or searching through voice commands.

When launching Stations, music begins playing automatically — a feature that had some calling it a “Pandora copycat” at the time of launch, given that instant music playback is something that Spotify’s rival Pandora already supports.

Number One, With A Bullet, by Thomas Breen, New Haven Independent

At the beginning of April, his company’s Photo Prints Now app, which allows iPhone and Android users to send photos from their phones to be printed out at CVS within the hour, reached the number-one trending spot on the Google Play app store charts. That same day, it reached the number six trending spot in the Apple app store, coming in just behind Apple and Google-designed behemoths like Instagram, Youtube, and Snapchat.

“Just dogged perseverance,” Seymour said during an interview in his second-story Elm Street office about what made a New Haven-designed app rise for a moment to the same level as those produced by international tech giants. “And just ignoring rejection, ignoring the no’s.”


How To Get Better At Coding Interviews, by AlgoDaily

First off, with the right approach-- which the rest of this article will explore, you can solve any problem.

Secondly, yes there is a chance you're asked something completely out of left field. But for the most part, interviewers really do want to see how you think. As someone who's been on the other end quite a number of times, know that we want you to do well.


The Making Of Amazon Prime, The Internet’s Most Successful And Devastating Membership Program, by Jason Del Rey, Vox

With it, Amazon single-handedly — and permanently — raised the bar for convenience in online shopping. That, in turn, forever changed the types of products shoppers were willing to buy online. Need a last-minute gift or nearing the end of a pack of diapers? Amazon was now an alternative to the immediacy of brick-and-mortar stores.

But the idea came with huge risks, and it spurred real tension inside Amazon. Some managers resented that their projects appeared to be deprioritized for a secret program they knew little about. Others feared that Amazon’s top customers were going to abuse the program and ultimately bankrupt the company with soaring shipping costs.

And if it succeeded, Amazon Prime was going to mean big, uncomfortable changes on everything from how managers were evaluated by superiors to how the company fulfilled orders and moved goods from point A to point B.

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The only show on Apple Music's Beats 1 Radio that I listen to, occasionally, is Elton John's Rocket Hour. I wish Apple can make this show a podcast, so that it will automatically download and be inside my podcast queue every week.


Thanks for reading.

The Industiral-Design Edition Friday, May 3, 2019

Apple's Famous Design Team Now Has No Original Members Left, by William Gallagher, AppleInsider

The ID team —previously sometimes referred to within Apple as IDg, for Industrial Design Group —is headed by Jony Ive and for decades has stayed the same. It has always been small, it has always been secretive, and it has also always been crucial to Apple.

One of the people leaving, Daniele De Iuliis, has been there 28 years and counts the Mac Color Classic among his projects. Rico Zorkendorfer, who appears to have worked on the iPhone and Apple Watch amongst other products, is leaving after 15 years.

And Miklu Silvanto, known for working on the iPhone, AirPods and Apple Watch, has been at Apple for eight years. The fourth person, reportedly leaving shortly, is Julian Honig, and he's been at Apple since 2010.

Why Does Apple Control Its Competitors?, by New York Times

Even if we take Apple at its word that it was only protecting the privacy and security of its users by removing screen-time and parental-control apps, the state of the app marketplace is troubling. Why is a company — with no mechanism for democratic oversight — the primary and most zealous guardian of user privacy and security? Why is one company in charge of vetting what users can or cannot do on their phones, especially when that company also makes apps that compete in a marketplace that it controls? Senator Elizabeth Warren’s proposal to bar Apple from competing in its own app marketplace is too drastic, and doesn’t take into consideration how intertwined the physical phone is with Apple’s in-house apps. For example, iMessage competes with Facebook’s WhatsApp and Google Hangouts, but what’s a cellphone without text messages?

Still, the status quo is untenable. It’s time for American regulators to take a good hard look at app stores and mobile operating systems. It might be time for another United States v. Microsoft.


Apple Highlights iOS Accessibility Functions In Four New YouTube Videos, by Malcolm Owen, AppleInsider

Apple is highlighting some of the accessibility-related capabilities of the iPhone in a series of four new videos, advising how users can access functions in iOS for AssistiveTouch, VoiceOver, use the Magnifier, and to invert the colors used on the screen of the smartphone.

These Smart Devices Protect Your Home While You’re On Vacation, by Jon Chase, New York Times

Besides convenience, there is a more practical value to installing smart devices: The Insurance Institute says that 98 percent of annual claims are from property damage, and although fires account for the highest costs, one in 50 homes suffers water damage — with an average claim over $10,000. What I find particularly appealing is that I can pick and choose the devices that work best for my needs, and that I’m not on the hook for yet another monthly fee. Here are several ways you can protect your home while you’re away, from the quick and cheap to the more involved and more costly.

Forest Is A Useful App That Helps You Go Phone-free By Inspiring You To Plant Trees, by Nicole Gallucci, Yahoo

With a simple mission to help users "stay focused" and "be present," Forest trains people to manage their time and become less dependent on their phones in a fun, purposeful way. By spending time away from their phones, users grow virtual trees and earn coins, which can then be saved up and used to help plant real trees in five countries in Africa — Cameroon, Kenya, Senegal, Uganda, and Tanzania. The app also gently shames you if you don't successfully complete your goal, which is apparently the component I've always been missing.

AirUnleashed Is A Three-device Qi Charging Pad With Apple Watch Compatibility, by Andrew O'Hara, AppleInsider

Instead of 30+ charging coils, AirUnleashed only uses three coils side-by-side, requiring devices to be placed in specific spots to receive a charge.

6 New Hacks For Your Old Android Or iPhone, by Katie Conner, CNET

Sure, you could trade in your old phone, give it to a relative or friend, or recycle it. Or, you could give it new life by turning it into something new that you'll actually want to use.


Streaming Music Is Changing The Way Songs Are Written, by Madis Kabash, Eduardo Araújo, Quartz

Musicians are adapting the way they make music as a result of how they get paid through streaming platforms like Spotify, Apple Music and Tidal. The shorter the song, the more it is favored to be played by platform algorithms, because they rotate in the cycle of data much faster than an eight-minute-long Led Zeppelin ballad. More plays mean more traction, which means more money.

Photographers Bridle As Adobe Tests Dropping Lightroom-Photoshop Subscription, by Stephen Shankland, CNET

Adobe is seeing how photographers respond to the removal of a $10 monthly subscription that combines Photoshop and Lightroom, and the answer when it comes to some shutterbugs is -- not well.

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Maybe it's the interface. Or maybe it's the discovery. But ever since I moved from listening to songs that I own to songs that I stream, I'm listening more albums than playlists.

Or maybe the playlists on Apple Music are not great?


Thanks for reading.

The Face-the-Future Edition Thursday, May 2, 2019

Are We Headed For A Mac Automation Schism?, by Jason Snell, Six Colors

I have a million questions about the future of user automation on Apple’s platforms, beyond just the scope of the changes in macOS 10.15. Are URL schemes really the future of inter-application communication, or is Apple working on a new system that’s a successor to AppleEvents that will offer a more robust pathway than a giant string of plain text? Is Shortcuts going to gain more low-level capabilities on both platforms? Will third-party automation utilities like Keyboard Maestro be able to control UIKit apps effectively?

In the end, I’m not as concerned with how user automation is preserved on macOS as I am concerned that it is preserved. Shortcuts is a remarkably powerful app, and even URL schemes can be richer than you might think—though they’re definitely inelegant. The Mac can help push automation technology forward across all of Apple’s platforms, if Apple wants to go in that direction. But whatever happens, it’s clear that iOS and macOS are going to face the future of user automation together, not separately.

Banned Parental Control App Fires Back At Apple, Calls Statement Misleading, by Shara Tibken, CNET

OurPact published a blog post Wednesday that disputed Apple's statement. The company laid out a detailed record of communication with Apple (for instance, on Oct. 6: "Apple removes the OurPact child app from the App Store without any prior communication." OurPact also sought to explain what MDM software is by contradicting Apple's recent statements with the iPhone maker's own documentation about the technology.

"Unfortunately, Apple's statement is misleading and prevents a constructive conversation around the future of parental controls on iOS," the company wrote. "Our hope is that Apple will work with developers in this space so that families continue to have a wide selection of parental controls to choose from."


The Truth About What's Actually Good And Bad About Apple News+, by William Gallagher, AppleInsider

It's been hugely hyped and roundly criticized, but after more than a month's intensive use, Apple News+ has proved to have very specific good and bad features. Before you sign up, or before you cancel, here's a true Pro/Con list for Apple News+.

MindNode 6 Brings Speed And Performance Refinements To Our Favorite Mind Mapping App, by Marius Masalar, The Sweet Setup

The most important new feature is Focus Mode, but version 6 also introduces multi-select, customizable panels, better support for external screens, and a host of smaller tweaks.

Focus Mode operates similarly to sentence or paragraph-level highlighting in writing apps like Ulysses or iA Writer, fading out everything but the active branch to keep you from getting distracted. You can separately toggle the visibility of all connections, and zooming out will subtly fade other branches and nodes back in so you can keep a sense of context.

Netflix Rolls Out Adaptive 'High-quality' Audio For Apple TV 4K Owners With Surround-sound Owners, by Roger Fingas, AppleInsider

"We expect these bitrates to evolve over time as we get more efficient with our encoding techniques," the company mentioned.

Your Dirty AirPods Are Grosser Than You Think, by Angela Lashbrook, Medium

How dangerous is all that crap on your earbuds? The answer is complicated, but at the very least, you’re unlikely to get ill from the months-old gunk left to build on the plastic and mesh. But there are certain circumstances in which you could be at some risk, so while there’s no need to panic — or, God forbid, remove the buds from your ears, which might mean you have to talk to someone — it’s never too late to start a healthy earbud-cleaning regimen.


It Is Perfectly OK To Only Code At Work, You Can Have A Life Too., by Marty Jacobs

There is often pressure inside Software development for Software developers to code outside of work hours. Coding is considered a passion for some, but others don’t think this way. They are more than happy to not code in their spare time. This is OK.


Qualcomm Sees Up To $4.7 Billion Payment From Apple, by Ian King, Bloomberg

Qualcomm made the disclosure in its earnings report Wednesday, while Apple declined to answer questions about the settlement during its own second-quarter earnings conference call on Tuesday. The figure was less than the $7 billion Qualcomm claimed Apple owed.

The New-Heights Edition Wednesday, May 1, 2019

Why Apple Believes iPhone Sales Are Finally Turning Around, by Jason Snell, Macworld

Specifically, Cook pointed out several times, the company’s weakness in China is at the root of a lot of its lagging numbers, pointing out that Apple “grew year over year in developed markets,” with “record [quarterly] results in a number of major markets including the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, and Japan.”

China, meanwhile, has lagged. But Cook and Maestri both said that stronger sales as the quarter went along, driven by fiscal stimulus moves by China’s government and improved trade discussions between the U.S. and China, gave them hope that things were going to keep getting better. China is such an important market for Apple that failure there can swamp good news in other markets, and that seems to be the case right now. But it sounds like Apple’s status in China may be headed back in a positive direction.

Apple's Financial Results: Learning To Sell The iPhone, by Jason Snell, Six Colors

There was a time when Apple didn’t need to exert much effort to sell iPhones. Those times may be over, but it’s still got a lot of tricks up its sleeve. I’m not surprised to hear that, as Cook and Maestri both pointed out, iPhone sales are already turning around. The execs said that November and December were the worst months of the current iPhone dip, that March was the best of the bunch, and that the last couple of weeks of March were the best weeks of the entire quarter.

That’s why Apple projected a much smaller dip in revenue between its second and third financial quarters than usually happens. The company’s executives seem quite confident that their iPhone sales techniques are working and that the product’s downturn has been smoothed out or stopped.

Apple's Services Revenue Hits New All-Time High Of $11.5 Billion In Q2 2019, by Juli Clover, MacRumors

Apple's services category, which includes iTunes, the App Store, the Mac App Store, Apple Music, Apple Pay, and AppleCare, has become an increasingly important revenue driver for Apple amid stagnating iPhone sales, and Apple has been focusing more than ever on its services category.

In Streaming Wars, Apple Says It Can Coexist With Netflix, by Stephen Nellis, Reuters

“There’s a huge move from the cable bundle to over-the-top,” Cook told investors during a call on Tuesday, referring to streaming television services delivered over the internet rather than a traditional cable service.

“We think that most users are going to get multiple over-the-top products, and we’re going to do our best to convince them that the Apple TV+ product should be one of them.”

This Is Tim: Transcript Of Apple's Q2 2019 Call With Analysts, by Six Colors

But we feel positive about our trajectory. Our year over year revenue performance in Greater China improved relative to the December quarter, and we’ve seen very positive customer response to the pricing actions we’ve taken in that market, our trade in and financing programs in our retail stores, the effects of government measures to stimulate the economy, and improved trade dialogue between the United States and China. Our App Store results are still reflecting the impact the slowdown and regulatory approval in gaming apps in China. But we’re encouraged by the recent increase in the pace of approvals. We believe strongly in our long-term opportunity in China thanks to our robust ecosystem, our talented developer community, and the country’s growing population of tech-savvy consumers who value the very best products and services.

For iPhone, while our worldwide revenue was down 17 percent from a year ago, declines were significantly smaller in the final weeks of the March quarter. Looking back at the past five months, November and December were the most challenging. So this is an encouraging trend. We like the direction we’re headed with iPhone, and our goal now is to pick up the pace. Importantly, our active installed base of devices continues to grow in each of our geographic segments, and set a new all-time record for all major product categories. That growing installed base is a reflection of the satisfaction and loyalty of our customers and it’s driving our services business to new heights. In fact, we had our best quarter ever for the App Store, Apple Music, cloud services, and our App Store search ad business, and we set new March quarter revenue records for Apple Care and Apple Pay.


Apple Will Debut Washington, D.C.’s Restored Carnegie Library On May 11th, by Michael Steeber, 9to5Mac

Apple Carnegie Library will join a small but growing number of global flagship stores worldwide — Apple’s most significant retail and event spaces. The building’s restoration has been planned for several years and was the result of a close collaboration between Apple, architects Foster + Partners, restoration firm Beyer Blinder Belle, and the Historical Society of Washington, D.C. Prior to revitalization, the spectacular Beaux-Arts structure was highly underutilized and in a state of decay.

Review: HyperDrive Is The Most Well-rounded iPad Pro USB-C Hub Yet, by Mark Linsangan, AppleInsider

Hyper's offering a six-in-one USB-C dock that houses a 3.5mm headphone jack, a full-size HDMI port, USB-A, USB-C, SD, and microSD ports. That's the most we've seen on a dedicated iPad Pro USB-C hub thus far.


The iPhone’s Cutesy “Reactions” Are Ruining Group Texts. HA HA!, by Shannon Palus, Slate

Right now, if you’ve got a friend who employs reactions you’re thinking, Oh God, those stupid things. For the blissfully uninitiated, there are six text reactions: thumbs up, thumbs down, double exclamation point, question mark, a heart, and “HA HA.” When you send someone a text on their iPhone, the recipient may choose to reply normally—you know, by texting back. Or the recipient may emit a reaction, a small blunt tool of confusion. Reactions are confusing and annoying. They’re quietly ruining group chats and therefore our society. Kill them!

The $70 Billion Quest For A Good Night's Sleep, by Elizabeth Segran, Fast Company

The good news for the sleep-deprived is that we’re living through a golden age of sleep aids. A decade ago, “sleep aid” was synonymous with sleeping pills, but these days, medication only makes up 65% of the market. The last three years have seen an explosion of other types of products designed to help people to fall asleep more easily and stay asleep longer. Initially, many of these sleep tools were tech gadgets, including sleep trackers, apps, lights, and noisemakers, many of which I tested for a story in 2017. But more recently, the trend has shifted toward low-tech products like weighted blankets, temperature-regulating duvets, and pillows with built-in hoods to block out light and keep the sleeper’s head warm. “I think we’re increasingly coming to understand that technology is partly what is causing us stress and insomnia,” says Kathrin Hamm, Bearaby’s founder. “Consumers seem to be gravitating toward products that take them away from all of this blue light.”

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My good mood for today is spoilt by either Microsoft, who made the Windows operating system, and Dell, who made the laptop that my daughter is using for her schoolwork, or both companies.


Thanks for reading.