The Bridge-that-Divide Edition Wednesday, June 12, 2019

When Words Aren’t Enough, Teachers Find A Common Language With iPad, by Apple

The diversity of this classroom is a reflection of the changing face of Germany and Europe. Over the last five years, the region has seen the largest influx of immigrants and refugees since World War II. Many have fled violence and war in the Middle East, which presents a unique set of challenges to educators, who are not only contending with different languages, but entirely different alphabets. In some cases, new arrivals have never stepped foot in a classroom before.

For Kyriakidis, 47, and his colleague Sinaan El Haq Hadjeri, 31, who alternate teaching the class on different days, one of the most powerful tools they have to bridge that language divide is iPad.

SwiftUI And Catalyst: Apple Executes Its Invisible Transition Strategy, by Jason Snell, Macworld

In the shorter term, iOS app developers will be able to reach to the Mac via Catalyst. But in the longer term, Apple is creating a new, unified development approach to all of Apple’s devices, based in Swift and SwiftUI. Viewed from this perspective, Catalyst feels more like a transitional technology than the future of Apple’s platforms.

But we’re talking about the long game here. Transitional technologies are all a part of the long game. Catalyst will bring those apps to the Mac. iOS and Mac developers will pick up Swift and SwiftUI. Mac apps can integrate iOS stuff via Catalyst. iOS apps can integrate Mac stuff for use on the Mac. And all developers can begin experimenting with SwiftUI, building new interfaces and replacing old ones in a gradual process.

I Wrote This On A 30-Year-Old Computer, by Ian Bogost, The Atlantic

Everything about this computer is loud: The groan of the power supply is loud. The hum of the cooling fan is loud. The whir of the hard disk is loud. The clack of the mechanical keyboard is loud. It’s so loud I can barely think, the kind of noise I usually associate with an airline cabin: whoom, whoom, whoom, whoom.

This is the experience a computer user would have had every time she booted up her Macintosh SE, a popular all-in-one computer sold by Apple from 1987 to 1990. By today’s standards the machine is a dinosaur. It boasts a nine-inch black-and-white display. Mine came with a hard disk that offers 20 megabytes of storage, but some lacked even that luxury. And the computer still would have cost a fortune: The version I have retailed for $3,900, or about $8,400 in 2019 dollars.


iMovie For iOS Updated With New Green Screen Effect, 80 Fresh Soundtracks, More, by Michael Potuck, 9to5Mac

The latest version of iMovie for iOS comes with a host of new updates and changes. Highlights include the new green screen effect and the ability to adjust it with a 4-point mask and strength slider.

Apple’s All-new iCloud For Windows App, Now Available In The Microsoft Store, by Giorgio Sardo, Microsoft

The new iCloud for Windows app introduces a new iCloud Drive experience for Windows 10 users powered by the same Windows technology that also powers OneDrive’s Files On-Demand feature, enabling users to be more productive offline on mobile devices and quickly share files on iOS.

How Dropbox Is Finally Breaking Free Of The Folder, by Harry McCracken, Fast Company

For the first time, Dropbox is emerging from Windows and MacOS’s file systems and setting up shop in a full-fledged app of its own, where it can do things its own way and meld itself with other key productivity offerings such as Slack and Zoom. The new app, according to Houston, is about “turning Dropbox from the filing cabinet to the conference room. There’s people, and there’s content, and you can have conversations, and it can be on the whiteboard. That’s metaphorically the evolution of the experience we thought no one was really building.”


What’s most intriguing are the new Dropbox’s collaborative features—many of which the service probably couldn’t have shoehorned into File Explorer or Finder, at least in a way that many people would want to use. The existing menu that pops out from Windows’ tray and MacOS’s menu bar doesn’t look much different, but it’s been retooled to show the files that your colleagues are sharing, editing, and commenting upon: “It’s not just about your sync activity or files that you’ve edited, but what’s going on with everyone in your group,” explains Adam Nash, Dropbox’s VP of product. The menu also offers newly sophisticated search, similar to that in the web version, that plumbs the content of files rather than just scanning their names.


iOS 13’s Expanded NFC Will Support Japanese Identity Cards, by Sam Byford, The Verge

One of the less heralded features in iOS 13 is its broader support for NFC functionality, which first came to the iPhone alongside Apple Pay in 2014 but hasn’t seen the same diversity of use cases as are commonplace on Android. iPhones running iOS 13 will be able to scan a wider variety of NFC tags, including those commonly found in official documentation, and one of the first examples will be Japan’s national identity cards.

Apple’s Attempts To Limit Data Sharing On Kids’ Apps Is Negatively Impacting PBS, by Emily Stewart, Vox

Apple earlier this month said it would change its guidelines and bar apps in the kids category from including third-party advertising and analytics software; kids apps will now also be prohibited to transmit data collected in-app to third parties. The changes, which are set to go into effect on September 3, would prevent PBS from being able to track whether its content and game features are working, and it would make it more difficult for it to tweak the apps to make them more effective educational tools.

“We’ll have to pull down the apps, and we have millions of kids that are using our apps. So it’s a challenge,” Kerger said. She later added, “We’re not selling stuff to kids.” Apple did not respond to a request for comment.

Bottom of the Page

If I have a choice of any 30-year-old computer to place on my desktop, I will choose the NeXTStation. (Okay, technically, it is 29-year-old today.) I think I will enjoy sending audio e-mails to everyone, check out all the quotations from Shakespeare, and play Tetris all night long.


Thanks for reading.