The Manual-Labor Edition Saturday, June 22, 2019

Inside The Department At Apple That Greenlights iPhone Apps For The App Store, by Kif Leswing, CNBC

Any app or update that runs on an iPhone needs a stamp of approval from a human being in order to be distributed on Apple's App Store. While Apple does use automated filters, people familiar with the department say it's always relied on manual labor.

Unlike content moderators at Silicon Valley companies like Facebook or YouTube that rely on tens of thousands of contractors, Apple's app reviewers work for Apple. They're paid hourly, have employee badges and get Apple benefits like health care. Everyone starts out reviewing iPhone apps, and as reviewers become more senior, they are trained to evaluate apps with in-app purchases, subscriptions, Apple Watch and Apple TV.

The department has over 300 reviewers and is based out of a pair of offices in Sunnyvale, California, not Apple's famous Apple Park campus or its older headquarters, Infinite Loop. Lots of reviewers are fluent in non-english languages, and some teams in the division specialize in individual languages. Apple says its reviewers speak 81 different languages.

My Quixotic Quest For Quiet In New York City, by John Surico, CityLab

The idea behind Hush City is that users can log on to find out where to seek refuge from the blare of urban living, in cities from Louisville, Kentucky, to Tehran, Iran. It’s Yelp, but for serenity. For instance, a user can now search near Canal Street, see that it’s “stressing,” and hear exactly what I heard. In “the city that never sleeps”—even now as I write this, late at night in my apartment, I hear an idling diesel engine from a truck on the streets outside, a car alarm going off, someone coughing downstairs—it can read like a treasure map, with the prize being sweet relief of the city’s sonic assault.

WHO has designated urban noise a serious environmental stressor and public health risk. It’s correlated with insomnia, cognitive and hearing impairments, cardiovascular and metabolic diseases, and depression. And, like so many other pollutants, its ill effects tend to be concentrated on low-income residents. WHO has repeatedly called on cities and countries everywhere to make reducing noise a serious priority. But in an urban center like Manhattan, where the conviviality and amenities that we seek out often come with racket attached, that can be a challenge.

Exclusive Leaked Images Show How Much Apple Card Weighs!, by Lory Gil, iMore

Apple employees that signed up for beta testing of Apple Card are starting to get their physical cards shipped to them. Our source, who prefers to remain unnamed, shared some exclusive photos with us, including its actual weight.


Apple Launches New Yoga Day Activity Challenge, by Mitchel Broussard, MacRumors

Apple today kicked off a new Activity Challenge, this one celebrating the International Day of Yoga. To earn the award, you'll have to complete a yoga workout that lasts 15 minutes or more at any time today.

A Million Streams And Nothing To Watch? Reelgood And JustWatch To The Rescue!, by Josh Centers, TidBITS

On the surface, Reelgood’s designers have created a better overall interface, especially for browsing, whereas JustWatch’s filters can help you quickly find things you might want to watch. My impression is that JustWatch provides better search results, but if you don’t find what you want on one service, it pays to check the other, since both have strengths and weaknesses.

The good news is that both services are free, so you can easily give them both a try, even without creating an account. If you find that you greatly prefer one over the other, you can sign up (also for free) to track your favorite shows and keep up with what you’ve already watched.

Typinator 8.0, by Agen Schmitz, TidBITS

Ergonis has released Typinator 8.0, a major new version of the text expansion tool that brings a new statistics mode, a Magic Keys feature, and integration with Ergonis’ PopChar character discovery utility.

Potent Firefox 0-Day Used To Install Undetected Backdoors On Macs, by Dan Goodlin, Ars Technica

Hackers exploited a pair of potent zero-day vulnerabilities in Firefox to infect Mac users with a largely undetected backdoor, according to accounts pieced together from multiple people.

Mozilla released an update on Tuesday that fixed a code-execution vulnerability in a JavaScript programming method known as Array.pop. On Thursday, Mozilla issued a second patch fixing a privilege-escalation flaw that allowed code to break out of a security sandbox that Firefox uses to prevent untrusted content from interacting with sensitive parts of a computer operating system.


Apple Publicly Acknowledges Contributors To iCloud, by William Gallagher, AppleInsider

Apple has now publicly acknowledged the many software developers whose work has been used under licence to make iCloud work. At least some of the information has been available before to developers, but now the 116 contributors are acknowledged in a publicly accessible support document.

Running to 39 pages in PDF and some 22,000 words, the new acknowledgements page consists of all the licence agreements allowing Apple to use this software.

3 Products That Would Be Hits For Apple If The Company Made Them, by Dan More, Macworld

Earlier this month, during the company’s annual Worldwide Developers Conference keynote, I noticed a few places where it seemed as though Apple was missing out on an opportunity. Some of these might be cases where the company has decided it doesn’t want to be in a specific business, and some might merely be a case of a future product not being ready yet—from the outside, there’s really no way to tell. But here are three cases in which it seems like an Apple product or service might be a welcome alternative to what exists, if not something that fills a gap no one else seems to be addressing.