Archive for August 2019

The Muddy-Meaning Edition Saturday, August 31, 2019

Less… Is More? Apple’s Inconsistent Ellipses Icons Inspire User Confusion, by Josh Centers, TidBITS

In the Macintosh interface, the ellipsis has long had a specific meaning. An ellipsis following a menu item means that choosing that item will result in a dialog, rather than an action being performed immediately. Choosing File > Save saves the current document; choosing File > Save As… displays a Save dialog where you can enter a new name and location for the file. In technical writing, we drop the ellipsis when referring to menu items to avoid confusion with the more traditional uses of the ellipsis.

But in iOS—and even in some Mac apps—Apple has started using the ellipsis in random ways that muddy its meaning.

The Physical Apple Card Is A Case Of Form Over Function, by Jeff Geerling

Unlike plastic cards, which have some give when you need to kind of 'bend and pull' them out of a tight fitting card sleeve or wallet pocket, the rigid titanium card does not give. I've found the only way to reliably remove the card from a sleeve is to squeeze on the sides of the card, and this is not nearly as comfortable as removing a plastic credit card, at least in my brief experience.

Finally, I use a 'back of the iPhone' wallet, which is basically a little pocket that holds my driver's license, insurance card, and a credit card (for pesky retailers who don't accept contactless payment yet). With any modern iPhone, the Apple Card acts as a perfect RF block for Qi wireless charging (which operates in the 80+ kHz range). This means, if you are like me, and store your credit card in an iPhone case, say goodbye to the ability to charge wirelessly.

Apple's Tile Competitor Will Include 'Items' Tab In iOS 13's Find My App And Much More, by Joe Rossignol and Steve Moser, MacRumors

MacRumors can confirm the tags are codenamed "B389" within Apple, and there are many strings that are a dead giveaway as to what this product's purpose will be, such as "tag your everyday items with B389 and never lose them again."

The tags will be closely integrated with the new Find My app in iOS 13, which merged Apple's previous Find My iPhone and Find My Friends apps into one. While not available in public betas of iOS 13, the internal build contains a new "Items" tab in the Find My app for tracking the location of personal belongings.


Apple Watch Screen Cracking? That May Be Covered For Free, by Zac Hall, 9to5Mac

Apple’s new Screen Replacement Program covers a specific type of screen cracking that may affect models sold between September 2016 and September 2019.

Parallels Desktop 15 For Mac Review: Metal Support Brings Improved Graphics Performance Review, by Cliff Joseph, ZDNet

The list of new features in v15 isn't, perhaps, as long or impressive as it has been in recent years, but there are some important architectural changes to the software that are designed to keep Parallels Desktop aligned with changes to macOS itself, and which will particularly appeal to business and professional users who are keen to get the best performance from the Windows apps that they need to run on their Macs.


More Inches Is Not What Photographers Need In A MacBook Pro, by Wasim Ahmad, Fstoppers

It used to be you could plug most phones and cameras into Apple’s computers and Image Capture would be able to read and capture the images. But it seems like with MacOS’s Mojave update, that this is no longer possible with most Android phones. It seems like a huge oversight to exclude Android smartphones from this key feature, and for obvious business reasons, one that Apple doesn’t seem in a hurry to fix.


So while Apple is pondering adding an extra inch to the screen of the MacBook Pro, I’d suggest that they think about adding back some features to its pro-oriented laptop, namely USB-A and an SD-card slot.

The Biggest Threat To Apple’s New iPhones: Consumer Malaise, by Mark Sullivan, Fast Company

This year’s iPhones will also launch in a time of increased economic uncertainty, as economists see signs of a global economic slowdown. Part of the uncertainty stems from President Donald Trump’s trade war with China. Apple has so far managed to keep its Chinese imports away from the reach of Trump’s trade war—but justy barely. The iPhone was actually set to be subject to a tariff starting September 1 until Trump announced he was pushing the date back to December 15. And Trump says he likes Apple CEO Tim Cook. However, Apple is still subject to the dampening effect that economic uncertainty may have on consumer confidence in the U.S. and around the world.

It’s Not Easter, But There Might Be A Surprise Hidden On This Article, by Sarah Bures, New York Times

Knowing that technology-minded people often browse the internet while looking at websites’ source code, the Opinion desk editors hoped they could “start a discussion on the future of privacy among those most steeped in the tech world,” Ms. Kingsbury explained.

It worked. She received responses via Twitter and email written by everyone “from tech executives to 13-year-olds, warning that our digital security had been compromised.”

Ultimately, the source code led readers to the Privacy Project’s landing page.

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Well, Apple has silently added the very first Apple TV Channel here in Singapore: Smithsonian Channel Plus. No, I'm not subscribing. I'm saving my money for Disney+.


Thanks for reading.

The iColors-Six Edition Friday, August 30, 2019

Apple Invites Media To September 10 Event At Apple Park: 'By Innovation Only', by Juli Clover, MacRumors

There's a lot to look forward to when it comes to the 2019 iPhone lineup, which will be the main feature at the September 10 event. Apple is expected to continue to offer three iPhones, two OLED models in 5.8 and 6.5 inches and one LCD model that's 6.1 inches, but all three will see camera improvements.

Mark Your Calendars For September 10, by Jason Snell, Six Colors

A better conspiracy theory is that these are the colors the iPhone 11 will come in: green, blue, yellow, red, and purple. We’ll see on September 10!

Health In iOS 13: A Foundation For Apple’s Grand Wellness Ambitions , by Ryan Christoffel, MacStories

Apple’s Health app first debuted in 2014 as part of iOS 8. In the five years since its launch, Health has been one of the only iOS apps to receive redesigns every couple of years. The basic purpose of the app has remained the same through those changes, still serving as an aggregation tool for wellness data from sources like the Apple Watch to third-party apps and devices. However, Health’s regular reimagining serves as strong evidence that Apple has never quite felt content with how that original goal was being fulfilled.

It may be too early to cast judgment, but I have a strong suspicion that this year’s rebrand will stick. iOS 13’s Health app finally brings a design that feels intuitive and user-friendly, doing away with complication and creating a streamlined, inviting interface. Simultaneously, this year’s update adds compelling new features related to cycle tracking and hearing health that may hint at an evolving vision for the Health app’s future.

Apple To Supply Parts To Independent Repair Shops For First Time, by Stephen Nellis, Reuters

Apple Inc said on Thursday it will begin selling parts, tools and repair guides to independent shops to fix broken iPhones, a major change after years of lobbying against laws in some U.S. states that would have compelled it to do just that.

Apple said the program, which should help ease heavy demand on Apple and its authorized partners to fix millions of cracked screens and fried charging ports, will launch in the United States before being rolled out to other countries.

Malicious Websites Indiscriminately Hacked iPhones For Years, by Taylor Hosking, Vice

In what may be one of the largest attacks against iPhone users ever, researchers at Google say they uncovered a series of hacked websites that were delivering attacks designed to hack iPhones. The websites delivered their malware indiscriminately, were visited thousands of times a week, and were operational for years, Google said.

"There was no target discrimination; simply visiting the hacked site was enough for the exploit server to attack your device, and if it was successful, install a monitoring implant. We estimate that these sites receive thousands of visitors per week," Ian Beer, from Google's Project Zero, wrote in a blog post published Thursday.


Apple Showcases Cute Ways Customers Have Customized Their AirPods Cases In Korean Ad, by Joe Rossignol, MacRumors

Apple today shared a new AirPods ad in Korea that showcases a variety of cute ways in which customers have customized their AirPods charging cases, including adding heart stickers, teddy bear ornaments, salt and pepper decals, and more. Many of the AirPods cases have also been transformed into keychains.

Apparently There Is A Limit To How Many Magazines You Can Follow On News+, by Brandon Russell, iMore

There are over 300 publications available through Apple News+, including Vogue, National Geographic, People, and the Los Angeles Times. You can read any and all of them at any time, but if you actually want to follow all of them, you'll be stuck at 250.

NetNewsWire 5.0 Relaunches As An Open-Source RSS Reader For The Mac, by Josh Ginter, The Sweet Setup

It’s clear from the outset that NetNewsWire 5 has been prioritized for speed and stability (aside from the fact that Simmons stated as much in the introduction). Everything about NNW 5 is lightning fast and I haven’t found a single crash in my use so far.


Apple Reminds Developers To Get Ready For Dark Mode In iOS 13, by Joe Rossignol, MacRumors

Apple today reminded developers to optimize their apps for Dark Mode in iOS 13 and iPadOS. All apps built with the iOS 13 SDK will support Dark Mode, which can be tested with the beta versions of iOS 13 and iPadOS.


Inside An Indian Factory Where iPhones Are Built, by Saritha Rai, Bloomberg

Foxconn was integral to China’s transformation into a manufacturing colossus, and Gou has told Modi that Foxconn could help India do the same. But it took China 30 years to get there. “China’s advantage was its massive labor pool that could produce quite cheaply, and they built on that by investing heavily in logistics and transportation,” says Andrew Polk, a founding partner with Trivium China, a Beijing-based research firm. “Even as their labor pool advantage is dissipating, they have invested in processes and systems so they can produce efficiently at scale and get the goods to the market.”

Catching up will require the Indian government and private sector to invest heavily in roads, rails, ports and other infrastructure. “When China did it, global supply chains were fragmented and there wasn’t another China,” Polk says. “India will not only have to get it right but they have to get it right in a way to better China, and trade wars can only help at the margins." China also had the benefit of being able to grow without worrying too much about the environmental impact. With concern about climate change growing, “that’s not going to fly these days,” he says.

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I would like a blue iPhone. My first iMac is blue, and my first iPod is blue.


Thanks for reading.

The High-Ideals Edition Thursday, August 29, 2019

Apple Apologizes For Siri Audio Recordings, Announces Privacy Changes Going Forward, by Chaim Gartenberg, The Verge

Apple has issued a formal apology for its privacy practices of secretly having human contractors listen to recordings of customers talking to its Siri digital assistant to improve the service. “We realize we haven’t been fully living up to our high ideals, and for that we apologize,” Apple’s statement reads.


Per today’s announcement, both the non-optional recording and the subsequent grading policies are now being suspended for good. Apple says it will no longer keep audio recordings from Siri unless a user specifically opts in. And in cases where customers do choose to give Apple their data, only Apple employees will have access (not, it would seem to imply, hired contractors). The company additionally promises that it will work to delete recordings of accidental triggers, which The Guardian’s report claims were the main source of sensitive information.

Angry Podcast Fans’ Weapon Of Choice: A One-star Review, by Ashley Carman, The Verge

Podcast reviews can be easy to game, and Apple Podcasts has become the main target for angry fans interested in taking down a show. Apple’s service is the biggest name in podcasting, and it’s one of the few major platforms that allows listeners to leave public reviews. While hosts abused that feature in the past to beat the system with fake positive reviews, others have used it to inundate hosts they don’t like with a barrage of one-star marks, making the shows look like a bust.

These negative reviews can turn away new listeners, but hosts on the receiving end say the even bigger impact is on themselves. An attack makes them feel deflated and disheartened, and sometimes, they want to give up making their show entirely. “The initial impact of it is crushing,” Drown says. “You work so hard to build up your show and then to see that star number shoot way down. It’s a lot to deal with.”

Apple's Data Shows A Deepening Dependence On China As Trump's Tariffs Loom, by Stephen Nellis, Reuters

But the factories outside China are smaller and, in the case of India and Brazil, Apple only uses them to meet domestic demand. Apple’s contract factories inside China, meanwhile, have added far more locations than outside, with Foxconn alone expanding from 19 locations in 2015 to 29 in 2019 and Pegatron going from eight to 12, according to Apple’s data. The new locations come as Apple has added watches, smart speakers and wireless headphones to its product lineup.

And beyond the contract factories, the rest of Apple’s suppliers - the companies that sell it chips, glass, aluminum casings, cables, circuit boards and much more - became more concentrated in China. Among all supplier locations, 44.9% were in China in 2015, a proportion that rose to 47.6% by 2019, the data showed.


Secure-erasing Your Mac Disk Is No Longer Secure, Apple Says, by Charlie Sorrel, Cult of Mac

So, to sum up: Don’t bother with secure-erasing your Mac disk. Instead, make sure to encrypt it from the very beginning.


Unix At 50: How The OS That Powered Smartphones Started From Failure, by Richard Jensen, Ars Technica

Maybe its pervasiveness has long obscured its origins. But Unix, the operating system that in one derivative or another powers nearly all smartphones sold worldwide, was born 50 years ago from the failure of an ambitious project that involved titans like Bell Labs, GE, and MIT. Largely the brainchild of a few programmers at Bell Labs, the unlikely story of Unix begins with a meeting on the top floor of an otherwise unremarkable annex at the sprawling Bell Labs complex in Murray Hill, New Jersey.

Why Are Products For Older People So Ugly?, by Andy Wright, MIT Technology Review

It’s a familiar tune to engineer Ken Smith, director of the mobility division of the Stanford Center on Longevity. He says one of the biggest mistakes designers make is to assume that around the age of 60 people lose interest in aesthetics and design. This can have dire consequences for products meant to help people with their health. No one wants to stick a golf-ball-size hearing aid the color of chewed gum in their ear, any more than they want to wear a T-shirt that reads “SENIOR CITIZEN.”

Similarly, there’s a common perception that people of a certain age simply can’t or don’t want to learn about new technologies. There is only a kind-of, sort-of, not-really kernel of scientific truth to this. Zelinski, a specialist in neuroscience and cognition, says aging causes changes to the medial temporal lobe—the part of the brain associated with new learning. And your white matter, or myelin, which helps speed the transmission of information from one brain cell to another, is going to get funky, she says. “People just need longer … they need more exposure to something to learn how to use it. It’s not that they completely lose the ability to learn.”

The Intuition-Development Edition Wednesday, August 28, 2019

The Joys Of Being A Late Tech Adopter, by Brian X. Chen, New York Times

The question that I, as a tech reviewer, hear most often from friends and colleagues is whether they should buy the new (insert gadget name here). But using the approach I’ve described, you can develop an intuition for when it’s a smart time to upgrade — and when it’s risky.

Privacy Fundamentalism, by Ben Thompson, Stratechery

The point of this article is not to argue that companies like Google and Facebook are in the right, and Apple in the wrong — or, for that matter, to argue my self-interest. The truth, as is so often the case, is somewhere in the middle, in the gray.

Coming Soon

What's New In iOS 13.1 Beta 1: Share ETA And Shortcuts Automations Return, Plus More, by Juli Clover, MacRumors

Apple today released a surprise iOS 13.1 beta, which is unprecedented as the company has never before released a point update for an unreleased software update.

iOS 13.1 was not a mistake, though, and it appears to be an update that Apple will debut shortly after the release of iOS 13, necessitating developer testing now. iOS 13.1 includes new features and brings back some features that were removed from the iOS 13 update over the beta testing period.

Apple Releases First Beta Of iOS 13.1, Indicating iOS 13 Is Nearly Done, by Romain Dillet, TechCrunch

It’s clear that Apple is trying to make iOS 13.0 as stable as possible, even if it means releasing some features a bit later this fall.

Apple Releases iOS 13.1 Developer Beta, by Jason Snell, Six Colors

Apple’s ways are mysterious, but it does need a version of iOS to ship on its new iPhones that enables brand-new features of that hardware.

iOS 13.1 Developer Beta 1 Is Already Out, by John Gruber, Daring Fireball

Basically, I think we need to get used to WWDC announcements being a roadmap for the next year of OS releases, not a list of what’s going to ship in the initial dot-zero release in the fall.


Siri And Spotlight Now Providing New Web Answers To U.S. Users, by Jason Cross, Macworld

Siri is starting to give answers from the web, and it’s a huge improvement.

This has long been a strength of Google Assistant, which leans on Google’s extensive web crawling and “snippets” in search results.

Prizmo 5 For iOS Delivers Fast Scanning And Powerful OCR, by John Voorhees, MacStories

Creaceed has been refining the scanning process for years, and with version 5 of Prizmo, it has reduced scanning to just three steps. When you point an iOS device’s camera at a page, Prizmo detects its edges, highlighting the entire sheet in blue. Tap the shutter button to take a photo of the page, and Prizmo opens a preview of the image where you can make adjustments to the page detection and rotate the image. The final step, if you’ve got no other pages to scan, is to tap ‘Done’ and save your scan. Prizmo can also import images of documents from your Photos library and detect the page’s orientation using machine learning to auto-rotate the image.

Dark Noise Review: Ambient Noise Never Looked So Good, by Ryan Christoffel, MacStories

One chief advantage of Dark Noise over its competition is that out of the gate it’s the best of iOS citizens. Nearly every relevant iOS technology that Apple puts at developers’ disposal has been implemented in Dark Noise: Siri shortcuts, haptic feedback, alternate app icons, a customizable widget, an iPad version with Split View support, and more. I’ve never used an ambient noise app with such strong system integrations.

What makes Dark Noise truly special, however, is the way it’s easy not only on the ears, but the eyes too. Chapman’s pedigree as a designer and motion graphics artist shines throughout the app, creating a design experience through animations and gestures that’s truly delightful.

Emojivision App Turns Your iPhone’s Camera Into A Real-time Emoji Painting Machine, by Darrell Etherington, TechCrunch

You can use the app to take selfies, interpret photos from your phone’s photo gallery or just mess around with resolution to see how finely detailed, or how abstractly and yet obviously emoji-based, you can get.

The Banana-Economy Edition Tuesday, August 27, 2019

The Spy In Your Wallet: Credit Cards Have A Privacy Problem, by Geoffrey A. Fowler, Washington Post

You might think my 29-cent swipe at Target would be just between me and my bank. Heavens no. My banana generated data that’s likely worth more than it is. It ended up with marketers, Target, Amazon, Google and hedge funds, to name a few.

Oh, the places a banana will go in the sprawling card-data economy. Despite a federal privacy law covering cards, I found six types of businesses could mine and share elements of my purchase, multiplied untold times by other companies they might have passed it to. Credit cards are a spy in your wallet — and it’s time we add privacy, alongside rewards and rates, to how we evaluate them.

Apple, branching out from gadgets, just began offering a needed alternative. The new Apple Card’s best attribute is privacy (though the fashion faux pas of its white titanium has gotten more attention). Apple limits bank partner Goldman Sachs from selling or sharing your data with marketers. But the Apple Card, which runs on the Mastercard network, doesn’t introduce much new technology to protect you from a lot of other hands grabbing at the till.

Thoughts On Sharing Vacation Photos, by Adam Engst, TidBITS

In a typical week, I might take a couple of photos, but over the two weeks while Tonya and I were traveling in Switzerland, I snapped over 1000. Switzerland is unreasonably scenic, so it was nearly impossible to resist yet another postcard-perfect shot of a gorgeous Alpine valley. Despite that compulsion, now and then I’d try to take a step back and think about why I was taking a photo. They fall into a few categories, and tied up in each is how I might share any given photo.

Virgin Australia Bans All MacBooks From Checked Baggage, by Killian Bell, Cult of Mac

The airline today confirmed all Apple notebooks — not just those included in the recall — “must be placed in carry-on baggage only.” None are permitted in checked baggage “until further notice.”

This might seem a little excessive given that only a small number of MacBook Pro units are affected. But it is unlikely to pose too many problems for Virgin passengers, and it makes sense.

Apple Issues Emergency Updates For All Its Operating Systems, by Josh Centers, TidBITS

When Apple updated its operating systems last month, the company’s engineers accidentally reintroduced a previously patched vulnerability that allowed jailbreaking. To close that vulnerability and prevent device jailbreaking, Apple has now released a series of emergency updates: macOS Mojave 10.14.6 Supplemental Update, iOS 12.4.1, watchOS 5.3.1, and tvOS 12.4.1.


Apple Promotes Apple Card In New Ad, by Juli Clover, MacRumors

In the spot, Apple goes over the features of the Apple Card, highlighting the Apple Card interface in the Wallet app. Apple Card is designed to offer up visual spend tracking, changing the color of the virtual card to match the categories that users are spending in.

Apple Health Records Expands To Electronic Medical Records Giant Allscripts, by Mike Wuerthele, AppleInsider

Digital health records company Allscripts has announced that Apple Health Records are now available for three of its flagship products, granting access to not just the health professionals, but for their patients as well.

Using GoodNotes To Combine The Benefits Of Analog And Digital Notes, by Mike Schmitz, The Sweet Setup

Using GoodNotes on my iPad gives me an environment where I can take analog notes without hiding behind a screen. This allows me to be more engaged in the meeting. And since the way I take notes is exactly the same as if I were using pen and paper, I’m able to get the retention benefits of analog note-taking along with all the aforementioned benefits of using a digital notebook rather than an analog one.

NetNewsWire Review: The Mac RSS Client, Rebooted With A Solid Foundation For The Future, by John Voorhees, MacStories

NetNewsWire 5 is a thoughtfully-designed, fast app with powerful search. The app won’t be my primary Mac feed reader until it has more syncing options or the planned iOS version is released, but if your feed reading is limited to the Mac or you use Feedbin to sync your feeds to iOS, NetNewsWire is an excellent choice.

CorelDRAW 2019 Review, by Steve Paris, TechRadar

CorelDRAW is a veteran on the design stage. Not as prolific as Adobe, but a serious contender in the professional space. The update offers a good list of very welcomed features, and its return to the Mac can only be seen as a commitment to all designers, no matter which platform they prefer to use.

NeuralCam Is The First Night Mode Camera App For The iPhone And The Results Are Incredible, by Joe Rice-Jones, KnowTechie

Using similar computational photography and machine learning, NeuralCam takes a series of images over a couple of seconds, then takes another 10 seconds or so to make the magic happen.

Mario Kart Tour Launching On iPhone Next Month, by Chance Miller, 9to5Mac

On Twitter this evening, Nintendo announced that Mario Kart Tour will launch for mobile devices on September 25th – less than a month away. Nintendo originally teased that Mario Kart Tour would launch by March of this year, but it clearly missed that goal by around six months.


Tim Cook Says Apple Will Be Donating To Help Preserve The Amazon In The Wake Of Devastating Forest Fires, by

Lisa Eadicicco, Business Insider

Apple CEO Tim Cook said his company will be donating to help preserve the Amazon after fires have ravaged the region.

“It’s devastating to see the fires and destruction ravaging the Amazon rainforest, one of the world’s most important ecosystems,” Cook tweeted on Monday. “Apple will be donating to help preserve its biodiversity and restore the Amazon’s indispensable forest across Latin America.”

Report: Apple Shelves Plans For iPhone Walkie-talkie Feature, by Chance Miller, 9to5Mac

“Project OGRS” would have run over the 900 megahertz radio spectrum, which is currently used for dispatch radio communications in fields such as the utility, oil, and gas industries. Thus, the feature would have “allowed people with iPhones to reach nearby companions in areas without cellular coverage.”

This initiative itself hadn’t been widely reported on before, let alone the fact that it has been put on hold. It’s unclear how far along Apple and Intel in the development process of this technology. Specific reasoning for why they abandoned the efforts is also unclear, but the Information notes that “the departure of the project’s champion from Apple was a factor.”

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Why are all the Apple TV+ trailers not already in the Apple TV app?


Thanks for reading.

The Music-Production Edition Monday, August 26, 2019

I Tried To Become A Musician Using Apps And A Light-Up Piano, by Boone Ashworth, Wired

But the promise of the digital revolution was that we would be able to do everything faster, better, easier. If I can watch any movie anywhere I go or have the world’s dumbest pillow delivered to my house in mere hours, then I should be able to fast-track my creative whims as well. Thankfully, technology is here to help.

Digital technology has made music production relatively affordable and accessible. Programs like GarageBand on Mac and iOS platforms replicate a traditional recording studio. Apps like Yousician and devices like the ONE Smart Piano Light aim to facilitate foundational music learning through gamified lessons. But how much more effective are these techniques than face-to-face lessons from a human teacher?

Apple Card: What Vs How, by Jean-Louis Gassée, Monday Note

For a sufficiently large number of Apple customers, the new payment system is a classic How vs What proposition — and the “How” wins. The Wallet app offers complete control over purchases, payments, rebates, timing, and security, all in one place. As for security, three different card numbers track purchases made with the physical card, with a card number on line, or with Apple Pay on your Watch or iPhone. No need to use a special third party app, such as the excellent Mint. Everything is built into the Wallet, itself built in every iPhone and iPad.


18-year-old With Autism Wins Fans Across The World With His App Aumi, by Newz Hook

This 18-year-old combines tech skills with a big heart. United Kingdom-based teenager Ethan Shallcross has autism and his experience coping with his own mood swings has led him to develop an app called Aumi. The aim of the app is to help people with autism handle swings in moods and energy levels better. Little did he realise how useful people with mental health challenges find it too.


Khalid Performs In D.C. At Apple Carnegie Library, by Michael Steeber, 9to5Mac

Apple’s summer-long tour of Up Next Live concerts concluded yesterday evening in Washington, D.C. with a performance by artist Khalid at Apple Carnegie Library in Mount Vernon Square. The series, created in partnership with Apple Music and Today at Apple, brought free concerts from rising musicians to major Apple Stores across the world through July and August.

Apple’s $44 Billion Drop Shows Growing Cost Of Reliance On China, by Debby Wu, Bloomberg

People familiar with iPhone production have said that it is nearly impossible to relocate manufacturing of Apple’s iconic device in a wholesale manner due to the difficulty of procuring a skilled labor force elsewhere, a point that Apple CEO Tim Cook has hammered away at in public as well. The challenges of replicating the complex production lines and necessary infrastructure are also major hurdles.

While Apple has asked at least some suppliers for proposals on ex-China production, there’s no sign the Cupertino company is preparing for a large-scale migration.

The Business-Priorities Edition Sunday, August 25, 2019

Deconstructing Google’s Excuses On Tracking Protection, by Arvind Narayanan, Freedom to Tinker

In closing, we want to emphasize that the Chrome team is full of smart engineers passionate about protecting their users, and it has done incredible work on web security. But it is unlikely that Google can provide meaningful web privacy while protecting its business interests, and Chrome continues to fall far behind Safari and Firefox. We find this passage from Shoshana Zuboff’s The Age of Surveillance Capitalism to be apt:

“Demanding privacy from surveillance capitalists or lobbying for an end to commercial surveillance on the internet is like asking old Henry Ford to make each Model T by hand. It’s like asking a giraffe to shorten its neck, or a cow to give up chewing. These demands are existential threats that violate the basic mechanisms of the entity’s survival.”

It is disappointing—but regrettably unsurprising—that the Chrome team is cloaking Google’s business priorities in disingenuous technical arguments.

How To Get The Most Out Of Your Smartphone Battery, by David Nield, Wired

Every battery has a finite life in terms of cycles; it’s just the nature of the chemistry inside it. That means the fewer times you go from a full charge to an empty charge, the better, so maybe consider making a single charge last rather than carrying a portable charger around with you everywhere.

The usual advice applies here: Reduce screen brightness, use headphones instead of the built-in speakers, and put your phone in airplane mode for as long as you can stand it. That will turn off connections to other devices and stop apps from constantly pinging for updates. And that advice goes double when you’re in an area with poor signal strength. Your phone works harder to try and stay connected to a weaker signal, and drains the battery faster as a result.

How Work Got Good, by Arthur M. Diamond Jr, Reason

Big, risky dreams do not appeal to everyone. But an advantage of innovative dynamism is that it allows everyone to be intense without forcing intensity on anyone. And even though many of us will prefer a more relaxed life, we often benefit from the fruits that the intense create.

I Took A Huge Pay Cut For A More Meaningful Job, And It Was Nothing Like I Expected, by Pavithra Mohan, Fast Company

Nine out of 10 Americans say they would give up a significant portion of their paycheck–up to 23% of their lifetime earnings–if they could swap their day job for more meaningful work, according to the Harvard Business Review. Employees who find that meaning are more likely to work more and stay loyal to their employers.

Many people I talked to about taking a pay cut echoed that sentiment. Most of them don’t regret their decision, but making such a change isn’t always financially within reach. For some, childcare expenses were a major consideration; other people I heard from underestimated the impact their pay cut would have on their wallet. Those with a spouse admit they couldn’t have done it without the security of a dual-income household.

Dear iPhone Users: Please Don't Forget That A Green Bubble Is A Person., by C. Scott Brown, Android Authority

Honestly, I don’t know what to tell that poor kid who felt he needed to get rid of his Google Pixel 2 just to appease his friends who kept kicking him out of chats. On one hand, I’d love to tell him to stick to his guns and keep the phone he wants and tell his friends to deal with it. On the other hand, I know that kind of pressure can be daunting for a teen — after all, I was one myself at one point.

I guess the best advice I have for him and for anyone else stuck in this predicament is fairly simple: remind your friends that the green bubble they are criticizing is not just a bubble — it’s you. If your friends still exclude you after you tell them that, your choice of smartphone is not the problem.

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Google Chrome was created so that Google does not depend fully on Internet Explorer and Safari for the company's advertisement-delivery business. So: nothing surprising here to see when Google is not as motivated as others in not tracking customers.

The question is: can Google 'innovate' fast and good enough that customers are willing to use Google Chrome despite of the loss of privacy?

(The next question is: will we ever see the return of Safari for Windows?)


Thanks for reading.

The Human-Labour Edition Saturday, August 24, 2019

Tech Firms Must Give Up Their Awkward Secret: Humans, by Dave Lee, BBC

Only Microsoft states what all of these other privacy policies arguably should: "Our processing of personal data … includes both automated and manual (human) methods of processing."

I point this out because the issue of human labour is a touchy subject in Silicon Valley right now; a fresh atmosphere of controversy for which companies only have themselves to blame.

If Medical Wearables Want To Save Lives, They Should Be ‘Invisible’, by Marc Fischer, The Next Web

Designer Joe Sparano once said, “Good design is obvious, great design is transparent.” What he meant was that the most well-designed products are so easy to use that consumers don’t even notice all the work that went into them.

For medical device developers, this quote must be a mantra.


One Week With Apple Card: What I Love And What I Hate, by Caitlin McGarry, Tom's Guide

From applying for the Apple Card to then getting access to a card to use in digital form took less than 5 minutes. After I set it as my default card for Apple Pay, I placed an order for a poke bowl through a food delivery service. My order arrived at my doorstep less than an hour after I applied for the card.

Apple Card Covers Are Becoming A Thing Because Why Not, by Danny Zepeda, iMore

The Apple Card has been a product unlike any we've seen before. From its unique titanium finish to the slow rollout, it has commanded the attention like no other credit card product. Even the way you clean it has become a big deal. Well, to round out the spectacle, sleeve covers for the Apple Card are now available.


The Machine Always Wins: What Drives Our Addiction To Social Media, by Richard Seymour, The Guardian

Whether or not we think we are addicted, the machine treats us as addicts. Addiction is, quite deliberately, the template for our relationship to the Twittering Machine. Addiction is all about attention. For the social media bosses, this is axiomatic.

Bottom of the Page

I wonder if there is an Apple internal document that teaches employees how to take care of their Apple employee badges.


Thanks for reading.

The Area-of-Expertise Edition Friday, August 23, 2019

Apple’s New TV Strategy Might Just Work, by Ryan Christoffel, MacStories

Apple’s TV app makes third-party services more accessible than even those services’ own apps do, with a dead-simple signup process, while simultaneously delivering a playback experience that’s better too. It provides features like offline downloads that most services’ apps don’t offer.

By integrating with the TV app as a channel, third-party services like HBO and CBS All-Access are letting Apple handle its area of expertise – technology and user experience – while the services are only responsible for doing what they do best: making great content. It’s specialization at its finest, resulting in an overall better product for users.

Apple Contractors Listened To 1,000 Siri Recordings Per Shift, Says Former Employee, by Jess Casey, Irish Examiner

Apple suspended transcription and grading work on Siri recordings last month after details of the practice came to light; Documents seen by the Irish Examiner confirm that the company has now ended this type of work.

There are fears that more than 300 contractors in Cork working on transcription and grading projects for Apple were let go this week; However, Globetech and Apple have refused to comment on how many staff members are affected or on the nature of their work.


Apple Music Replaces 'Best Of The Week' Playlist With 'New Music Daily', by Tim Hardwick, MacRumors

Apple Music today launched a new curated playlist called "New Music Daily," which as the name suggests, is updated every day with fresh songs.

Get Started With Mail Rules On Your Mac, by Rose Orchard, The Sweet Setup

macOS Mail has built-in rules and filters that you can use to manage all of your accounts. These run whenever your Mac is awake and connected to the internet and allow you to do anything from set the background color of emails in the list to executing AppleScript!

The OtterBox OtterSpot Is A Stackable Qi Wireless Charger And Battery System, by Amber Neely, AppleInsider

The charging system, called the OtterSpot, features a charging base and optional charging pads. The charging base can be used to charge multiple OtterBox wireless charging batteries at once, making it an ideal charging solution for families with multiple devices.

The People-Said Edition Thursday, August 22, 2019

Apple Readies Camera-Focused Pro iPhones, New iPads, Larger MacBook Pro, by Mark Gurman and Debby Wu, Bloomberg

The Cupertino, California-based technology giant is planning to announce three new iPhones at an event next month, according to people familiar with the situation. The handsets will likely go on sale in September, contributing to fiscal fourth-quarter sales. But the real test will come in the crucial holiday season. That’s when the company is banking on a combination of new hardware, software and services to drive revenue higher, following a huge miss at the end of last year.

Also coming in 2019: refreshed versions of the iPad Pro with upgraded cameras and faster chips, an entry-level iPad with a larger screen, new versions of the Apple Watch, and the first revamp to the MacBook Pro laptop in three years, the people said.

It’s Time To Admit We Overreacted About U2 Putting A Free Album On Our Phones, by Steven Hyden, Uproxx

The most ominous implication from the harshest critics of the Songs Of Innocence giveaway basically boiled down to a variation of the “slippery slope” argument: If Apple would dare do this, what could possibly be next? Would we all be forced to hear the next Coldplay album? Would the latest iteration of the iPhone be brought to you by the bros from Mumford And Sons? Could Apple figure out a way to implant the next Imagine Dragons single in our brains?

Thankfully, none of these soft-rock doomsday scenarios came to pass. After Songs Of Innocence, it was clear that any band attempting something similarly brazen probably would be killed in the press. But technology, along with listener habits, also moved on. Just five years later, the idea of curating a music collection on your phone is kind of quaint for the average listener. In the streaming era, every album appears on your phone, week after week.

Sign In With Apple: Goodbye Account Management, by Ryan Christoffel, MacStories

Sign In with Apple is a modern alternative to the current mess of login methods, offering Apple users a solution that addresses the current options’ shortfalls. It makes account creation and sign-in trivially simple – even more so than buttons from Google or Facebook – while also keeping your data in the hands of a company with a decent privacy track record.

When apps update to adopt Sign In with Apple, I suspect many users’ initial thoughts will be some variation of what immediately popped into my mind after trying it for the first time: “Where has this been all my life?”


Apple Shares Details On Cleaning And Protecting Your Apple Card In New Support Document, by Juli Clover, MacRumors

Apple says that household cleaners, abrasives, solvents, ammonia, aerosol sprays and compressed air must be avoided, and warns that some fabrics, such as leather and denim, have the potential to cause permanent discoloration.


The Apple Card should be stored in a wallet, pocket, or bag constructed from soft materials, and it should not touch another credit card because doing so could cause scratching.

Zagg Folio Keyboard Case For iPad Mini 5 Review: Like A Book-sized MacBook, by Leif Johnson, Macworld

If you’re looking for a case that lets the iPad mini act like a little MacBook, this is a good case to bring home.

The Doing-Slides Edition Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Why The iPad Pro Replaced My MacBook Pro For Travel, by Patrick Gray, TechRepublic

Apple suggests that not only can the iPad Pro replace your standard laptop, but in many ways is a superior device. Ads tout the new Apple Pencil and processing horsepower that "exceeds 93% of laptops," but also cause one to wonder who is the target market for the device. While commercials for the device show a shot or two of creating documents and slides, they spend significantly more time on drawing and DJ'ing. While my art skills don't extend much beyond stick figures, and my mixing career ended in the '90s with the mixtape, it seems one could reasonably consider me a "professional," with 20 years in my field, and a leadership role in one of the top global consulting firms. Unlike the Apple commercials, I'm more likely to be on an airplane doing slides for a client pitch than sitting in a laundromat drawing comics, but the promise of a lightweight, long-lasting device that changes how one thinks of and uses mobile computing does have significant appeal.

Apple Aims To Protect Kids’ Privacy. App Makers Say It Could Devastate Their Businesses., by Reed Albergotti, Washington Post

Under the new rules, which Apple had planned to implement next month, kids apps on Apple’s App Store will be banned from using external analytics software — invisible lines of code that collect extremely detailed information about who is using an app and how. Apple is also severely curtailing their ability to sell ads, which underpins the business model that results in many apps being free. The changes were prompted in part by some children viewing inappropriate ads, Apple says.


Following an inquiry from The Washington Post, Apple said Friday that it now plans to delay the rule changes. “We aren’t backing off on this important issue, but we are working to help developers get there,” Apple spokesman Fred Sainz wrote in an emailed statement. The statement said some developers had asked Apple to clarify the new rules, but that “generally we have heard from them that there is widespread support for what we are trying to do to protect kids."

Apple Health Team Faces Departures As Tensions Rise Over Differing Visions For The Future, by Christina Farr, CNBC

Apple's health team has seen a slew of departures in the past year after a series of leadership changes and internal disagreements about direction.

Tension has been increasing in the health care team in recent months, according to eight people familiar with the situation, although that undercurrent started several years ago. Some employees have become disillusioned with the group's culture, where some have thrived while others feel sidelined and unable to move their ideas forward. Four of the eight noted that some employees hoped to tackle bigger challenges with the health care system, such as medical devices, telemedicine and health payments. Instead the focus has been on features geared to a broad population of healthy users.

Coming Soon

Apple TV+ May Support Downloads For Offline Viewing, Limit Simultaneous Streams, by Steve Moser, MacRumors

According to code strings found in macOS Catalina, Apple will apparently allow videos to be downloaded for offline viewing, but with limitations on the total number of downloads, downloads per show or movie, or the total number of times a show or movie can be downloaded.


Mastercard Says The No-number Apple Card Comes With 'Enhanced Security' Users Will Never See, by Jasmine Kim, CNBC

Vosburg explained that this product is more secure because users get a one-time-use number in the Wallet app. "The real key to the enhanced security here is happening behind the scenes where we're tokenizing the card credentials."

Apple Music Launches ‘Shazam Discovery’ Chart, Focused On New Artists, by Variety

While the company wouldn’t say much specifically about how the chart is tabulated, it uses “Shazam’s proprietary algorithms [to offer] a unique predictive view on rising artists and reacting tracks to Apple Music subscribers.” With 20 million Shazams each day and over 1 billion downloads of its app, that’s a fairly significant test audience.

Review: The SanDisk iXpand Wireless iPhone Charger Also Backs Up Your Photos, by Ben Lovejoy, 9to5Mac

It’s the simplest possible way to get an additional backup of precious photos and videos — and very possibly their only backup if they won’t fork out the cash for a paid iCloud storage tier. In that scenario, it could be a small price to pay.

Human-rights Museum Using App To Bring Canada's Charter To Life, by Kevin Rollason, Winnipeg Free Press

The app allows users to see video of the signing of the document, view background on Canada's Bill of Rights and learn some of the stories about people and human rights.


'Girls Who Code' Non-Profit Announces New Swift Curriculum Option, by Juli Clover, MacRumors

Non-profit organization Girls Who Code today announced plans to begin offering a new Swift coding tutorial option for its upcoming 6th to 12th grade clubs as part of Apple’s ongoing Everyone Can Code initiative.


America’s Most Powerful CEOs Say They No Longer Only Care About Shareholder Value. Here’s How They Can Prove It., by Jordan Weissmann, Slate

Practically speaking, the Roundtable statement doesn’t do much. Tim Cook can tell anyone he wants that Apple has lots of different stakeholders, and doesn’t just answer to the whims of its shareholders. But the next time investors decide they want the company to start dropping cash on stock buybacks, they can still pressure him to do it. Likewise, just because a lobbying group got together and decided that the purpose of a corporation is to help humanity, that doesn’t make it so. “They don’t get to do that,” Stephen Bainbridge, a law professor at UCLA, told me. “The law gets to do that. And in corporate law, Delaware is the only law that matters.”

About that: Elizabeth Warren has produced a plan that would require corporations with revenues of more than $1 billion to get a corporate charter from the federal government that would instruct them to consider multiple stakeholders in their planning (so no more worrying about Delaware law) and give workers up to 40 percent of the seats on a company’s board of directors. That might be a little high for some CEO tastes. But if the Roundtable signatories really think employees are one of the groups they should be answering to, then they shouldn’t have any problem giving those people a seat at the literal conference table. As a matter of fact, they should welcome it, since that would dilute some of the power of the activist investors they’re supposedly so tired of.

How Conan O’Brien And Other Top Hosts Are Tapping Into The Podcast Revolution, by Brent Lang and Todd Spangler, Variety

“My TV habits have changed completely,” says O’Brien, who has been on late night since 1993, first at NBC and later at TBS. “I used to be someone who checked out late-night TV all the time. But I wouldn’t be watching me right now. I’d be binge-watching ‘Killing Eve.’”

O’Brien’s not the only big name looking to connect with audiences through earbuds. A confluence of A-list talent is trying to create the next downloadable smash. At the same time, a medium once seen as more of a hobby than a vocation has been professionalized as it’s grown more profitable. “There’s been a creative explosion around podcasting, but in terms of the business opportunities, we’re still in the early stages,” says Jacob Weisberg, who co-founded podcasting company Pushkin Industries in 2018 with The New Yorker writer Malcolm Gladwell.

Bottom of the Page

The iPad that I really want: size of the iPad mini, smart connector, and a good smart-connector keyboard.


Thanks for reading.

The Cash-Back Edition Tuesday, August 20, 2019

Apple Card Now Available To All iPhone Users In The United States, by Benjamin Mayo, 9to5Mac

Apple today announced that Apple Card is available to everyone in the United States from today. To sign up, simply open the Wallet app on your iPhone and begin the application process.


Today, Apple extended the 3% cashback offer to third-party merchants too, starting with Uber and Uber Eats. Whilst any Apple purchase qualifies for 3% Daily Cash, Apple Card customers must use Apple Pay with Uber and Uber Eats to get the 3% reward.

The company said it will add more popular merchants to the 3% cashback tier in the coming months. (And the small print says that merchant offers are subject to change at any time.)

I've Been Using Apple's Sleek New Credit Card For A Week — Here Are The Best And Worst Things About It So Far, Lisa Eadicicco, Business Insider

The privacy Apple Card offers is probably its biggest advantage. By keeping critical information like your card number, expiration date, and security code buried within the Wallet app, Apple Card discourages you from sharing your information with third parties each time you want to make a purchase.

Apple also generally does a better job at putting the important information you need to see front and center — such as how you're spending your money and the amount of interest you'll be responsible for if you don't pay your balance in full.

Security Matters

Hacker Releases First Public Jailbreak For Up-to-Date iPhones In Years, by Lorenzo Franceschi-Bicchierai, Vice

Security researchers found this weekend that iOS 12.4, the latest version released in June, reintroduced a bug found by a Google hacker that was fixed in iOS 12.3. That means it’s currently relatively easy to not only jailbreak up to date iPhones, but also hack iPhone users, according to people who have studied the issue.

Coming Soon

Apple Targets Launch Of Apple TV+ In November For $9.99, by Mark Gurman, Bloomberg

Apple hasn’t announced pricing for Apple TV+, but is weighing $9.99 a month, the people said, which would match Apple Music and Apple News+.

Apple Splashes $6bn On New Shows In Streaming Wars, by Anna Nicolaou, Financial Times

The pair were initially armed with $1bn to commission original content over their first year but the budget has expanded and the total committed so far has passed $6bn, according to people familiar with the matter.


Apple is looking to build a library of original programming to take on more established competitors such as Netflix. While Apple’s budget remains well below Netflix’s expected cash content spending of $15bn this year, its more generous payment terms are helping it to win deals in Hollywood.

The Apple TV+ Rollout, by Benjamin Mayo

What if Apple TV+ offered a six month free trial? This would be the longest trial for any Apple property to date, but it might just be what they go for. It gives Apple some breathing room to expand its library of aired originals, build buzz and start accruing viewer retention.


Apple’s finance SVP Luca Maestri even hinted as much on the last earnings call. He was pretty open about saying “all these services there is a trial period upfront, it is going to be different trial periods” and “the road to monetization takes some time”. I think he was priming investors to cool off a bit and to not expect the video service to contribute to 2019 holiday quarter earnings.

Apple Planning $4.99/month Price For Arcade Game Subscription Service After Free Trial, Works With Family Sharing, by Guilherme Rambo, 9to5Mac

According to a promotional message found in the service, the price for Apple Arcade will be $4.99 / month, including a one-month free trial. As Apple previously announced, the service will allow access to all members in a Family Sharing account.


Apple Will Release New Colors Of Its Excellent Powerbeats Pro Wireless Earbuds On August 30th, by Chris Welch, The Verge

Apple tells me you’ll be able to order them online beginning on August 22nd at 12:01AM PT / 3:01AM ET.

Real-World Observations About Mapping Apps, by Adam Engst, TidBITS

Last month, Tonya and I spent two weeks in Switzerland, where the public transit system is, at least to us Americans, utterly amazing. It seems that it’s possible to go just about anywhere in the country via transit, and let me tell you, the buses, trams, and trains really do run with the punctuality for which the Swiss—a nation of watchmakers—are known.

While we were there, the apps I used the most were Apple Maps and Google Maps. We had a Swiss Travel Pass that provided free passage on all but the mountain railways (where it gave us a discount), and nearly every day found us mapping routes to our next adventure or destination. I used both apps heavily, often simultaneously, and came up with some observations that you might find helpful on your next trip.

YubiKey 5Ci Review: WebAuthn Encrypted Lightning Key For iPhone And iPad For Secure Authentication, by Glenn Fleishman, Macworld

Just like a second-factor token sent via text message or generated by an authentication app like Google Authenticator or Authy, YubiKey provides an additional element after a login with a username and password. Because phone numbers can be and have been hijacked and re-routed to other phones, it’s even more reliable than assuming a text-based code will always wind up at the same physical device.

Apps We Love: Moodnotes, by Mike Schmitz, The Sweet Setup

If you are the type of person that tends to keep busy running from one thing to the next without taking time to pause and reflect, just starting to record your moods like this will probably provide you some immediate insights, but the real value come when you’ve used Moodnotes for awhile and collected enough data to see trends emerge.


Apple Backs Move To Make Corporations Accountable To Citizens, Not Shareholders, by William Gallagher, AppleInsider

"It has become clear that this language on corporate purpose does not accurately describe the ways in which we and our fellow CEOs endeavor every day to create value for all our stakeholders, whose long-term interests are inseparable."

Consequently, the organization's updated document states that corporations should look instead to how they deal with their employees, their suppliers, and the communities where they are based.

The Three-Currently Edition Monday, August 19, 2019

Apple Card And Three Occurrences Of “Currently”, by Dave Mark, The Loop

This last one is interesting. There’s an implication that you’ll be able to allow future Apple Cards for family members and friends, tied to your Apple ID. Lots of credit cards allow this as well. A great way to introduce your kids to the responsibilities and mechanics of credit cards.

Tim Cook Has 5 Go-to Words For Controlling The Narrative At Apple: 'The Way I See It', by Carmine Gallo, Inc

Reframing the conversation doesn't mean misleading an audience with information that's untrue. It's simply a way to help your listeners gain a better understanding of a business they may not completely understand. Cook cannot afford to lose the trust of his audience. The information he offers is accurate, but often misunderstood by outsiders who don't live and breathe the company each and every day.

Disney+ Will Stream On These Devices At Launch, by Chris Welch, The Verge

The service is set to launch in the United States on November 12th for $6.99 per month (or $69.99 paid annually). Canada, the Netherlands, Australia, and New Zealand will be able to start streaming Disney+ in November.


Disney says customers will be able to subscribe to the service directly on several platforms, including iOS. So yes, Apple will be getting a cut of those subscriptions. Disney also plans to integrate its content with the Apple TV app so that movies, originals, and shows will appear there among other suggested things to watch.


MacBook Pro 2019 Review - Apple's Latest Laptop Is Very Easy To Recommend, by David Snelling, Express

The big upgrade comes to the firm's entry-level machine which means users get all the goodies of a top-end Pro at a much more affordable price.

In fact, this £1,299 Mac now offers some of the best value-for-money ever seen from Apple.

Beats PowerBeats Pro Review: Apple's Fitness AirPods Rock, by Samuel Gibbs, The Guardian

They sound good, last a long time between charges, have rock-solid connectivity and an excellent set of controls. They also have the same Apple magic that makes the AirPods extremely convenient to use with an iPhone or any other Apple device, which is a massive advantage other brands simply don’t have. You even get a little bit of it on Android thanks to the Beats app.

But the case is enormous, the fit won’t suit everyone, they don’t isolate that well, and forget wearing them with glasses. They’re also fairly expensive, placing them in a bracket filled with excellent true wireless earbuds. Most fitness-orientated sets are much cheaper than this.

So the PowerBeats Pro are for those who wish the AirPods offered a little isolation and held on to their ears better, particularly for exercise. But I still wish Apple just produced a set of AirPods with proper silicone earbud tips.

Ulysses 17 Gains Keyword Management For iOS, New iPad Fullscreen Mode, And More, by Tim Hardwick, MacRumors

You can now edit or delete keywords, customize colors, and merge several keywords into one, whichever device you're working on.

You can also mark your most-used keywords as favorites for easy access within the app, with full keyword sync across Mac and iOS.

LumaFusion 2.0 Review: More Tracks, Streamlined UI Beef Up Mobile Video Editor, by J.R. Bookwalter, Macworld

More tracks, external monitor support, and a refined user interface make LumaFusion 2.0 a worthy sequel to the original which should only get better with support for USB storage when iPadOS is released this fall.

Bottom of the Page

Okay, this probably mean I have quite a few more days to watch Disney films on my Netflix.


Thanks for reading.

The Into-the-Phone Edition Sunday, August 18, 2019

Apple Is Going To Be The Company That Kills The Wallet, by Mike Murphy, Quartz

There’s something about Apple entering a market—which it is rarely the first to do—that tends to cause a tectonic shift. It could be, at least in the US, that Apple has around 40% of the smartphone market share, far more than any single smartphone producer. It could also be that Apple is such a massive, profit-generating company that others want to be in any industry it’s entering.

Which is why Apple seems uniquely positioned to kill off the wallet. It’s trying to kill off the credit card with Apple Pay and its own digital card. It’s already brought tickets, boarding passes, loyalty cards, and cash cards out of the wallet and into the phone. How much is left?

Titanium And Ceramic Apple Watch Variants Spotted In watchOS 6 Beta, by Mike Wuerthele, AppleInsider

Two new images contained in the most recent run of beta releases the Apple Watch clearly show titanium and ceramic model nomenclature. Data about the new models has been determined similar to how a September 10 date was extracted for the "iPhone 11" launch event.

Apple Donating $10 To National Park Foundation For Every Apple Store Apple Pay Purchase From August 17 To 25, by Juli Clover, MacRumors

Apple's new Apple Pay promotion comes ahead of a National Park Fee-Free day, which takes place on August 25. On this day, admission is free for all national parks that normally have a fee for entry.

Ikea Goes All In On Smart Home Tech, by Thomas Ricker, The Verge

Ikea is formalizing what has recently become all too obvious: the company is making a major bet on smart home tech as a source of new revenue. To do this, Ikea announced that it will invest heavily in a new “Ikea Home smart” business unit with end-to-end responsibility for its burgeoning portfolio of smart devices. With access to 780 million shoppers who visit Ikea stores each year, the announcement also serves as a wake-up call to smart home incumbents like Google and Amazon.

The Pain Of Losing A Local Record Store, by David Sax, New York Times

June Records wasn’t the oldest record store in Toronto, the largest or its best known. It was a small place, and opened only in 2012. But it meant the world to me for several reasons: it was a block from my house; the selection was eclectic and sweeping; the prices were fair; and its staff members were the kind of knowledgeable, highly opinionated music geeks that possessed a soulful recognition engine more powerful than any algorithm.

Still, it was just a store that sold pieces of melted plastic, which you could theoretically purchase at other record stores or online, often for less money. Why did hearing that June Records was closing make me genuinely sad? Why do we shed tears over businesses that shut their doors, when we know that the nature of businesses is ephemeral?

Bottom of the Page

I think I'm back...


Thanks for reading.

The Decent-Friction Edition Saturday, August 17, 2019

Traveling With Apple Tech: What Soars, What Falls Flat, by Dan Moren, Macworld

Travel has a way of opening your eyes to new possibilities. For the last three weeks, I’ve been away from home, spending time in a few European countries. During this trip, I found myself thinking about the different ways that we use technology when we’re outside of our daily routine, and how it brings to light not only things that work well, but also the areas where there’s still a decent amount of friction.

As I’ve been making the rounds, I’ve made note of a few places where I think Apple technologies have worked particularly well, as well as where there’s some room for improvement.

Some App Developers Are Upset Over Location Tracking Changes In iOS 13, by Danny Zepeda, iMore

The chief complaint in the letter is that Apple removed the "Always Allow" option during the initial set-up of an app and replaced it with "Allow While Using" and "Allow Once." The "Always Allow" option is still available, but only through the Privacy settings.

Apple Running Early Access Program For Apple Arcade, by Guilherme Rambo, 9to5Mac

Apple is currently running an internal early access program for its employees, charging a small subscription of $0.49/mo, with one month free trial. It says the testing program ends with the launch of iOS 13.

Today, 9to5Mac was able to gain access to this Apple Arcade early testing program on the Mac App Store. The process starts with a welcome page that highlights some of the content available through the subscription. It’s likely the page will be very similar when the product launches, presumably with the release of iOS 13 to the public in mid-September.


Review: Satechi's Dual Smart Outlet Offers HomeKit Compatibility And Power Monitoring, by Juli Clover, MacRumors

The Dual Smart Outlet can be controlled via Siri voice commands, through the Satechi app, or through the Home app available on iOS devices and Macs. Through Siri, you can turn it on, turn it off, check its status, or activate HomeKit scenes or automations that the Smart Outlet is used in.


Siri, Privacy, And Trust, by John Gruber, Daring Fireball

I pooh-poohed this story at first, mostly on the grounds that I thought we knew about this, and that the recordings were only saved from users who had consented to it. I was mistaken. This is a privacy fiasco, and a betrayal of Siri users’ trust.

Why We Don't Want You And Our Android Green Bubbles In Our iMessage Chat, by Mark Sullivan, Fast Company

In theory, iPhone users might be irritated by iMessage’s proprietary nature. But iMessage lock-in is a Google problem, not an Apple one, and has been for a long time.

Bajarin says there’s “a huge lingering question as to why Google has not cracked messaging with a service that is as good as iMessage or WhatsApp . . . I’d love to see Google get more aggressive here, since messaging is a critical part of the smartphone experience.”

The Hold-for-Release Edition Friday, August 16, 2019

New iPhones To Debut On September 10 According To File Found In iOS 13 Beta 7, by Juli Clover, MacRumors

Apple today released the seventh beta of iOS 13, and an image hidden within the update suggest Apple is going to hold an event to show off new iPhones on Tuesday, September 10.

An iOS 13 screenshot in the beta, covertly named "HoldForRelease," features the Calendar app with the date set to Tuesday the 10th.

Apple Puts The AR In 'Art' (And In 'Transparent Sky-Being'), by Peter Rubin, Wired

The two-hour [AR]T Walks, developed in partnership with the New Museum in New York City, may only be available at five of the more than 500 Apple Stores around the globe, but in scope and scale they’re wildly ambitious, a deployment of AR that’s all but unprecedented outside the world of games.

Apple's US Job Footprint Grows To 2.4 Million, by Apple

Thirty-three years ago, five friends sat down at a kitchen table in Tulsa, Oklahoma and decided to start a company. Among them: president of Maccor Andy MacKay and his wife Helen, who runs personnel. Today, less than a mile from that spot, Maccor now occupies 80,000 square feet of space and has earned itself a reputation as the top manufacturer of battery testing systems in the world.

Maccor is one of 9,000 American suppliers that Apple spent a collective $60 billion dollars with in 2018, which supports 450,000 jobs. Altogether, Apple is responsible for creating and supporting 2.4 million US jobs across all 50 states, four times the number of American jobs attributable to the company eight years ago. Apple is on pace to directly contribute $350 billion to the US economy by 2023, which the company announced in January of 2018.

Bluetooth Security Flaw 'Serious' – Requires Updated Specification, by Ben Lovejoy, 9to5Mac

The Bluetooth security flaw means that an attacker could interfere with the encryption setup, forcing a much shorter encryption key — right down to a single octet, equivalent to a single character. That then makes it easy to try all possible encryption keys to establish the connection.


Apple has implemented this in the latest updates to its devices, so ensuring you are on the latest public version will render you safe from this form of attack.


Apple Announces HomePod Will Launch In Japan On August 23, by Chance Miller, 9to5Mac

Pre-orders for the HomePod in Japan start today, with the price set at 32,800 yen. That places it in line with the $299 price tag offered in the United States.


Apple Files Lawsuit Against Virtualization Company Corellium For Illegally Replicating iOS And Apple Apps, by Juli Clover, MacRumors

Corellium's product creates digital replicas of iOS, iTunes, and user interface elements available on a web-based platform or a custom platform built by Corellium. It is designed to create virtual iOS devices for the purpose of running iOS, and at the recent Black Hat USA conference, Corellium emphasized that its "Apple product" is an exact copy of iOS, able to allow researchers and hackers to find and test vulnerabilities.

Apple goes on to say that though Corellium poses its product as a research tool for those aiming to discover security vulnerabilities, the company's actual goal is "profiting off its blatant infringement" by encouraging users to sell discovered information on the open market to the highest bidder.

I Shared My Phone Number.I Learned I Shouldn't Have., by Brian X. Chen, New York Times

“If you want to give out your number, you are taking additional risk that you might not be aware of,” said Sinan Eren, chief executive of Fyde. “Because of collisions in names due to the massive number of people online today, a phone number is a stronger identifier.”

There is no simple solution to this. In some situations, giving your digits to institutions like your bank provides an extra layer of security. But in most cases, the potential dangers and annoyances of handing out your number outweigh the benefits, as you will read below.

The Third-Party Edition Thursday, August 15, 2019

Apple Explains Why iPhones Now Show An Ominous Warning After "Unauthorized" Battery Replacements, by Chris Welch, The Verge

Lithium-ion batteries can be dangerous when you can’t vouch for where they came from, and Apple is taking a very hardline approach here. The company says its batteries are rigorously designed, tested, and manufactured to meet Apple’s standards (including for safety). Aside from Apple retail stores, all Best Buy locations nationwide are now handling iPhone battery repairs. But if you’re trying to save money or find yourself in a jam where only the neighborhood gadget shop is an option, you might run into this message.

Your Right To Repair Stops Where Apple's Liability Begins, by Jerry Hidenbrand, AndroidCentral

If I have a thing I love using, I'm not afraid to try and keep it alive by repairing it myself or finding someone else to do it if I'm not able. But I can't expect General Motors to be responsible for a custom ignition in my truck nor can I expect Apple to be responsible for a third-party battery in an iPhone.

Apple Threatens Anyone Who Tries To Evade Safari's Anti-Tracking Tech, by Stephen Shankland, CNET

"We treat circumvention of shipping anti-tracking measures with the same seriousness as exploitation of security vulnerabilities. If a party attempts to circumvent our tracking prevention methods, we may add additional restrictions without prior notice," Apple's anti-tracking policy states. In other words, it's a data leakage hole Apple will try to close, and Safari might punish websites in different ways if they try to bypass Apple's approach.

Sidecar In iOS 13 And macOS Catalina: Working Seamlessly Between An iPad And Mac, by John Voorhees, MacStories

Apple made it clear when they introduced Catalyst in 2018 at WWDC that it’s not replacing macOS with iOS. Some tasks are better suited for a Mac than an iPad and vice versa. Sidecar acknowledges those differences by letting an iPad become an extension of your Mac for tasks best suited to it. At the same time, however, Sidecar takes advantage of functionality that’s unavailable on the Mac, like the Apple Pencil. Combined with the ability to switch seamlessly between using Mac apps running in Sidecar and native iPadOS apps, what you’ve effectively got is a touchscreen Mac.


App Store Today Editorial Stories Are Now Available On The Web In Full, by Benjamin Mayo, 9to5Mac

Opening these links on an iPhone or iPad will automatically launch the App Store to the native content view. Until recently, if you opened the same link on a desktop browser, it would show the title of the editorial, the hero image, and maybe a one-line description with a direction to see the full experience in the actual App Store.

Now, users can see almost every element of the in-app experience in the webpage. This includes sections, app lists, screenshots with captions and the actual text of the article.

Apple Details Why Some Apple Card Applicants Might Get Declined, by Juli Clover, MacRumors

In a new support document shared today, Apple outlines the various reasons why someone might be declined, including low credit score, frequent credit card applications, heavy debt and low income, tax liens, bankruptcy, property repossession, past due debt obligations, a recent checking account closure by a bank, past due medical debt, and more.

Pandora Expands Podcasting Efforts With New Direct Upload Tool For Creators, by Chance Miller, 9to5Mac

Submissions are handled via the new online hub “Pandora for Podcasts.” The company says creators can submit their shows “for consideration to be included in Pandora’s rapidly-expanding catalog of podcasts.”


Teen's Tweets From Her Smart Fridge Go Viral After Mother Confiscates Phone, by Kari Paul, The Guardian

A surly teenager has taken the rise of increasingly powerful smart home devices to its logical conclusion – tweeting from her family’s smart fridge after her mother confiscated her phone.

The Without-Recourse Edition Wednesday, August 14, 2019

Apple Locked Me Out Of Its Walled Garden. It Was A Nightmare, by Luke Kurtis, Quartz

All in all, I was locked out of my account for roughly two months. Had I not taken advantage of my internal Apple contacts, I may not have gotten my account back. I spent a large part of those two months in a kind of grief, mourning not only the loss of a collection of media built up over a decade and a half, but also all the products I owned that no longer functioned as they were supposed to. The company I had given so much money to over the years could revoke my access to everything with just the press of a button.

This whole ordeal made me wonder if I want to continue using Apple products. The more I consider it, the more I realize it’s not just a question of choosing one product over another. The truth is that Google or Microsoft (or Nintendo, or Samsung, or Sony, the list goes on) could just as easily cut off a customer for no stated purpose and without recourse.

FAA Bans Recalled MacBook Pros From Flights, by Mark Gurman, Bloomberg

In a statement, the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration said it was “aware of the recalled batteries that are used in some Apple MacBook Pro laptops” and stated that it alerted major U.S. airlines about the recall.

The FAA Has Reportedly Banned The Recalled MacBook Pro From All Flights, by Sean Hollister, The Verge

We’ve asked the FAA and TSA to confirm that the MacBook Pro is getting singled out like the Note — we’re not yet seeing any sort of emergency order like before — but if true, a specific ban on the MacBook Pro could be mighty hard to enforce.

Unlike Samsung’s Note 7, which at least had some distinct design characteristics to set it apart from other phones, there’s no easy way to tell at a glance which laptops should be stopped: a 15-inch 2015 MacBook Pro that has a problematic recalled battery looks just like a 15-inch 2015 MacBook Pro that doesn’t.

Spotify Reportedly In Talks With Apple To Integrate With Siri, by Chance Miller, 9to5Mac

Apple and Spotify are reportedly in talks over potentially allowing Spotify users to control music playback with Siri. The talks come as Apple faces increasing antitrust scrutiny, some of which has been brought on by Spotify itself.


Apple Expands Support For Student IDs In Apple Wallet To 12 New Schools, by Chance Miller, 9to5Mac

Apple has announced today that it is expanding the availability of contactless student IDs in Apple Wallet to several new universities. This comes just in time for the start of the 2019 school year, with Apple touting that the expansion means over 100,000 students will be able to access their ID from iPhone and Apple Watch.

Adobe Lightroom Adds Deleted Photo Recovery, GPU-accelerated Classic Editing, by Michael Steeber, 9to5Mac

For users of Lightroom’s Creative Cloud application on iOS and macOS, photo recovery is now available for images deleted within the last 60 days through a new album. Support for the latest cameras and lenses has been added.


Why Can’t Users Teach Siri About Its Mistakes?, by Adam Engst, TidBITS

But I’d like to see Apple’s vaunted engineers go further and start recognizing your tone of voice and emotional state. I assume that a machine-learning algorithm could be taught to distinguish between a user’s normal tone of voice and volume and when they speak more abruptly and loudly. I’m sure lots of us raise our voices in irritation when Siri interrupts a conversation or completely biffs what seems like a simple command.

How A 'NULL' License Plate Landed One Hacker In Ticket Hell, by Brian Barrett, Wired

Prank or not, Tartaro was playing with fire by going with NULL in the first place. “He had it coming,” says Christopher Null, a journalist who has written previously for WIRED about the challenges his last name presents. “All you ever get is errors and crashes and headaches.”

If anything, Null says, the problem has gotten worse over the years. “The ‘minimum viable product’ concept has pushed a lot of bad code through that doesn’t go through with the proper level of testing,” Null says, and adds that anyone affected is inevitably an edge case, a relatively small problem not worth devoting a lot of resources to fix.

Netflix Under Pressure: Can A Hollywood Disruptor Avoid Getting Disrupted?, by Natalie Jarvey, The Hollywood Reporter

Netflix is at an inflection point. After a half-decade of near unchecked dominance in the premium streaming video space that allowed it to aggressively poach entertainment's top executives and A-list creative talent, the company now finds itself under attack. Threatened by its rise, and newly bulked up by a series of mergers and acquisitions, legacy studios Disney, WarnerMedia and NBCUniversal have begun pulling their programming off Netflix and prepping the launch of their own streaming services. Add in Apple's planned TV platform, and four very well-funded, content-packed new rivals will hit the market within the next year.

The Rise Of The Virtual Restaurant, by Mike Isaac, New York Times

No longer must restaurateurs rent space for a dining room. All they need is a kitchen — or even just part of one. Then they can hang a shingle inside a meal-delivery app and market their food to the app’s customers, without the hassle and expense of hiring waiters or paying for furniture and tablecloths. Diners who order from the apps may have no idea that the restaurant doesn’t physically exist.

The Modern-Cards Edition Tuesday, August 13, 2019

If You Lose Your iPhone, You Can’t Pay Your Apple Card Bill On The Web, by Nicole Nguyen, BuzzFeed

In other words, nearly every other modern credit card offers users a way to access their account with a browser on desktop, giving them the flexibility to pay bills from any device — and Apple Card, despite its titanium, numberless, futuristic veneer, does not.

Apple Took Us On A Surreal Walk Through San Francisco, Looking At Digital Art On An iPhone, by Kif Leswing, CNBC

San Francisco looks different through an iPhone XS Max — it's still a city, but now there are floating balls of fabric, speech bubbles, and words popping out from the trees and buildings.

For more than two hours on Sunday, I ambled through the streets of San Francisco, taking in several art pieces scattered around the city by Apple. But the art wasn't actually physically on the ground — instead, it was digital art, mere 1s and 0s, attached to several significant locations around the city, and viewed through the camera and display of an Apple iPhone.

Tech Companies Ignore Pleas On Rail Safety, by Sam Mintz, Politico

In late 2016, federal investigators probing a fatal crash between a confused truck driver and a California commuter train made a plea to Google, Apple and Microsoft: Add information on the nation’s hundreds of thousands of railroad crossings to your navigation apps.

Nearly three years later, none of them has.

The inaction by giant tech companies remains a frustration for safety advocates, at a time when hundreds of people die every year in collisions at U.S. railroad crossings, even as drivers increasingly rely on their smartphones’ GPS applications to tell them where to go. And it comes in an era when the tech industry is under fire in Washington for a litany of perceived anti-social behavior — from ruthless squelching of competitors to cavalier handling of users’ private data.


Troubleshoot Apple Music With Smart Playlists, by Charlie Sorrel, Cult of Mac

Think of your Smart Playlists as powerful saved searches. You can show all the songs you’ve loved, and when you love another song, it is instantly added to the list. Like loved songs by Leonard Nimoy, for example. But you can also combine criteria: loved songs by Leonard Nimoy and Leonard Cohen, which are downloaded, and which you have never skipped.

Today, we’re going to look at a single “rule.” This rule has several options that let you filter songs by their iCloud Status.

The Distraction-Free Phone, by Mike Schmitz, The Sweet Setup

We can rewrite the rules in our favor by 1) identifying what positive uses of our technology look like, and 2) creating intentional constraints that re-enforce those positive uses while creating more friction for the negative, unintentional ones that we find ourselves getting distracted by.

The basic idea is to identify what you like about your technology and eliminate everything else. Focus on the things that are important to you, and don’t get distracted by the things that aren’t.

Magnet Brings Windows 10-Style Window Management To macOS, by Josh Ginter, The Sweet Setup

So whether you’re using multiple displays, one big display, or one small display, Magnet will make short work of window management so you can focus in on your work.

Parallels Desktop 15 For Mac Moves To Metal For DirectX 11 And More, by Samuel Axon, Ars Technica

Today, popular virtualization software Parallels Desktop 15 for Mac becomes available to new and current users. The flagship feature is support for DirectX in virtual Windows machines via Apple's proprietary Metal graphics API.

NetNewsWire 5.0 RSS Reader For macOS Launches In Beta, by Chance Miller, 9to5Mac

If you’ve used the Mac for a while, you’ve likely heard the name NetNewsWire. It’s a powerful and open source RSS reader for macOS, and it’s being completely relaunched with an array of useful features.


Why Are We All Paying A Tax To Credit Card Companies?, by Ryan Cooper, The Week

These companies are part of the American payments system — the ways we move money from one place to another. And it's never been easier for consumers to move their money around, to pay for everything — from groceries to movie tickets to hotel rooms — either online or in person with little to no thought about what makes that possible. But these massive profit figures raise some questions: Why on earth are credit cards making so much money? Are the services they provide worth tens of billions? And why aren't debit cards, which function almost identically to credit cards, equally profitable?

Bottom of the Page

Are we waiting for Apple to become a telco, or are we waiting for Apple to become a bank?


Thanks for reading.

The Portal-to-Another-Dimension Edition Monday, August 12, 2019

Here's What It's Like To Experience AR At An Apple Store, by Michael Steeber, 9to5Mac

The free Apple Store app has transformed from a portal to Apple’s online store into a portal to another dimension. Download the app on an iPhone before arriving at any brick and mortar Apple Store across the world and you’ll be ready to step into an interactive AR installation by artist Nick Cave. Once you’re on the store’s network, the app will offer an option to launch the [AR]T Viewer.

Nick Cave’s experience is called “Amass,” and is made up of bright metallic objects called Ikon Elements. There are five Elements in total, and you’ll have to move around the store to find them all. It’s a little bit like a game.

Apple Card Review: The Credit Card Of The Future Is No Card At All, by David Pierce, Wall Street Journal

The most interesting stuff about the Apple Card happens after you buy something. First, the purchase shows up in the Wallet app, showing how much you spent and where. This is cooler than it sounds. Most credit cards give you gobbledygook that makes it impossible to recall your purchases; Apple tells you it was the Walgreens on Front Street, and here’s the phone number in case something’s wrong.

The Apple Card almost turns the Wallet app into a great budgeting tool. Almost. It categorizes your expenses by day, type and merchant, so you can see where your money is going. But since Apple doesn’t integrate the card with other credit cards in your Apple Pay account, you can’t see all your spending in one place. Nor can you export your Apple Card transactions and manage your budget elsewhere—such as into a more powerful app like Mint or YNAB.

The Apple Card, Like Checks And Venmo, Fails The Instant Payments Test, by Felix Salmon, Axios

Apple controls about 2/3 of all contactless payments in the United States, estimates Crone — which means that if the Apple Card starts to dominate the Apple Pay ecosystem, contactless payments in general are going to be very expensive for merchants.


Top 5 iCloud Photo Backup Alternatives For iPhone, by Dilum Senevirathne, Guilding Tech

Google Photos reigns king of unlimited photo and video backups, with Amazon Photos, Shutterfly, OneDrive, and Box all having their distinctive strong points. However, you need to know that third-party cloud storages may not have your best interests at heart. Before switching over, always read the privacy policy of the service thoroughly to know what to expect.

Apple's strongest point is user privacy. Your photos stored on iCloud Photos won't be used to mine data or for other nefarious purposes. If you are concerned about potential privacy implications, it's wise to purchase additional storage and stick to iCloud.


Google Chrome Incognito Mode Can Still Be Detected By These Methods, by Lawrence Abrams, Bleeping Computer

When Google made it so that Incognito mode uses a temporary filesystem using the computer's RAM, it opened up a new method of detecting it based on the amount of storage set aside for the internal filesystem used by the browser.

In research presented by security research Vikas Mishra, he found that when Chrome allocates storage for the temporary memory filesystem used by Incognito mode, it will have a maximum quota of 120MB.

Bottom of the Page

The reason why it is not easy to implement a good incognito mode is that we've given too much power to the little web browser and it is not easy to take all that back.


Thanks for reading.

The Include-Implant Edition Sunday, August 11, 2019

These Legit-Looking iPhone Lightning Cables Will Hijack Your Computer, by Joseph Cox, Vice

I plugged the Apple lightning cable into my iPod and connected it to my Mac, just as I normally would. My iPod started charging, iTunes detected the device, and my iPod produced the pop-up asking if I wanted to trust this computer. All expected behaviour.

But this cable was hiding a secret. A short while later, a hacker remotely opened a terminal on my Mac's screen, letting them run commands on my computer as they saw fit. This is because this wasn't a regular cable. Instead, it had been modified to include an implant; extra components placed inside the cable letting the hacker remotely connect to the computer.

Clever Attack Uses SQLite Databases To Hack Other Apps, Malware Servers, by Catalin Cimpanu, ZDNet

The idea is that vulnerabilities in how third-party apps read data from SQLite databases allows a third-party to hide malicious code in the SQLite database's data.

When the third-party app, such as iMessage, reads the tainted SQLite database, it also inadvertantly executes the hidden code.

E-Commerce Promised The World. Are We Happy With Our Purchase?, by Louis Hyman and Kwelina Thompson, New York Times

Today, of course, we know that there is no such determinism to either the internet or e-commerce. There is, however, a similar underlying problem to the one faced in 1994: a lack of trust. Consumer privacy and transactional security remain challenges for e-commerce globally, and it is not clear that all of it will end well. Here in the United States, we continue to struggle with how to balance privacy and commerce to preserve both civil liberties and free trade. The old struggles of capitalism and society continue in a new guise.

If we are a bit less blinded to the shortcomings of e-commerce than we were in 1994, we also remain guardedly optimistic, at least if our rising online spending reflects our beliefs. If the early days of e-commerce depended on trust, then the future of e-commerce depends less on the next technology than on how we choose to design and deploy that technology in a trustworthy fashion, just as we did in 1994.


What Does A Coder Do If They Can't Type?, by Naomi Saphra, Objective Funk

Life with my disability is not easy, but thanks to hedonic adaptation as well as satisfying work and hobbies, I am actually very happy. If you have recently developed a disability or chronic pain condition, it may feel like you could never adjust to the lifestyle required. That is why I have tried to give you a lens into my challenges as well as my successes. It is easy to respond to anyone who has overcome adversity with one of two reactions: “It can’t be that hard,” or “I could never do that”. Move past both reactions. It is that hard. You can do it.


The Map That Made Los Angeles Make Sense, by Laura Bliss, CityLab

Long before I got my driver’s license, the Thomas Guide left a mark on me. Literally: Spread open in the backseat of my dad’s Mitsubishi Galant, the metal binding of its 3,000 pages of Los Angeles street maps would press spirals into my child-sized legs.

I’d flip to a random page, the paper worn and waxy, to peer over some colorful new square. All of L.A. County—5,000 square miles and 88 municipalities—was gridded inside the exhaustive street atlas. Surface streets were a dark blue hash, knots of freeways bright red clovers. Names of neighborhoods miles from our house in the San Fernando Valley beckoned in tiny print: Gardena. Alhambra. Manhattan Beach.


But now, every time I go back, that big picture of Los Angeles gets a little harder to recall when I step into the driver’s seat. The iPhone-screen-sized view of Google Maps, Waze, and Apple Maps is slowly taking over my imagination.

Bottom of the Page

Of all the names that are 'possible', I don't think iPhone XI is. Selling a product in China with 'Xi' in the product name is just asking for trouble. I have no idea what kind of trouble there is, but there will be trouble.


Does the HomePod know you are singing along, and adjust the EQ accordingly?

Does the AirPods?


Thanks for reading.

The Ephemeral-Poem Edition Saturday, August 10, 2019

Apple Transforms Central Park Into An Augmented Reality Gallery, by Sophie Haigney, New York Times

Words appeared in the sky, the color of clouds, and then faded into a jumble of letters in the background. It was an ephemeral poem, with lines like “Catch the falling knife” visible for a few seconds through the portal of an iPhone pointed at the skyline above Central Park.

This is a piece by the poet and performance artist John Giorno, called “Now at the Dawn of My Life,” that’s part of a new initiative by Apple called [AR]T — a curation of augmented reality art, featured in a series of guided walks. Apple worked with the New Museum to select the artists: Nick Cave, Nathalie Djurberg, Hans Berg, Cao Fei, Carsten Höller, Pipilotti Rist and Mr. Giorno. Each created an augmented reality work that’s been choreographed into the landscape of the tour, playing with the canvas of public space.

Apple Debuts Augmented Reality Art Walk In Multiple Cities, by Juli Clover, MacRumors

Apple is hosting walking tours that are free and open to the public starting this Saturday. Each tour begins at an Apple Store location and features the same art work. Pieces are only accessible at certain points on the walk, providing multi-city open-air virtual exhibits. [AR]T includes pieces from Nick Cave, Nathalie Djurberg, Hans Berg, Cao Fei, Carsten Höller, Pipilotti Rist and John Giorno, artists picked by the New Museum.

Adobe’s Next Big Bets Are On AR And Mixed Reality Software, by Dami Lee, The Verge

By the end of this year, designers will be getting three new Adobe apps, which are all part of the company’s vision for the next era of creativity. This next generation of apps will focus on mixing real-life, physical elements with digital ones, and it will emphasize experiences “outside of the glass,” says Adobe chief technology officer Abhay Parasnis. They’ll also be interconnected through mobile and desktop experiences so that users can switch between apps on any device.

“Every app we’re building — Aero, Fresco, Photoshop on the iPad — you will see us push to be cloud native, making collaboration a lot simpler,” Parasnis told The Verge. Perhaps the best example of the future Adobe envisions is another project that’s still in development called Project Glasswing. It’s a mixed-reality display prototype that would bring all of Adobe’s apps into the real world in the form of Photoshop or After Effects layers on a transparent screen in front of real 3D objects.

Reducing Number of Taps

CarPlay In iOS 13: A Big Leap Forward, by John Voorhees, MacStories

When I first tried CarPlay in 2016, I knew I'd never want to go back to driving without it. Not only does CarPlay provide a familiar environment, but because the iPhone is where my music, podcasts, and contacts live and are updated continuously, it's the perfect device to power navigation, entertainment, and communication when I'm driving.

With iOS 13, CarPlay will get an update far beyond any of the tweaks it's received in the past five years. In apps like Maps, which got a big update, and Calendar, which is brand new, you can see CarPlay adopting a new design language that's a lot like what is currently used on the iPhone and iPad. There is less reliance on navigation bars that reduce the size of the content area, and controls are better positioned for tapping while driving. Finally, with Dashboard and tweaks to other apps, Apple has reduced the number of taps necessary to perform many tasks.

As Many As Possible

Goldman Sachs, Bank Of The Rich And Powerful, Is Dipping Into Subprime Lending With Apple Card, by Hugh Son, CNBC

The bank, which is in charge of deciding who gets the Apple Card, is accepting some applications from users with less-than-stellar credit scores, according to people with knowledge of the matter. Goldman began to make the card available to some Apple customers this week ahead of a broader rollout later this month.

From the start, Apple wanted its bank partner to create a technology platform that would approve as many of its 100 million-plus U.S. iPhone users as possible, within the bounds of regulations and responsible lending, according to the people. That’s in line with the tech giant’s desire to provide a good user experience for its customers.

Apple Card: My First Day With Apple's New Credit Card, by Jason Cipriani, ZDNet

The first six hours or so have left me caffeinated and wondering how long until we start silently judging people based on the color combination of their Apple Card.


Apple Is Now Selling The AirPower, Basically, Only It’s Not Made By Apple, by Samuel Axon, Ars Technica

Made by mophie, a popular Apple peripheral and accessory maker, it's one mat that charges three devices. It's called, well, the mophie 3-in-1 wireless charging pad.

To be clear, this does not fully realize the vision Apple originally laid out for AirPower. Whereas AirPower could charge three devices in any combination—say, two iPhones and a Watch, or two Watches and one AirPods case, or three iPhones—the mophie pad has a dedicated spot for each device type: iPhone, Apple Watch, and AirPods.

Bottom of the Page

Nowadays, when I receive yet another invoice from Apple in my iCloud email account, I have to wonder: how much will I 'save' if only the Apple Card is offered here in Singapore?


Thanks for reading.

The One-Million-Dollars Edition Friday, August 9, 2019

Apple Extends Its Bug Bounty Program To Cover macOS With $1 Million In Rewards, by Tom Warren, The Verge

At the Black Hat conference today, Apple announced that it is greatly expanding its existing bug bounty program to include macOS, tvOS, watchOS, and iCloud. It will include rewards of up to $1 million for a zero-click, full chain kernel code execution attack.

How Apple Pay Buttons Can Make Websites Less Safe, by Lily Hay Newman, Wired

Apple Pay has a slew of protective features that make it a secure method of online credit card transactions. And since 2016, third-party merchants and services have been able to embed Apple Pay into their websites and offer it as a payment option. But at the Black Hat security conference in Las Vegas on Thursday, one researcher is presenting findings that this integration inadvertently introduces vulnerabilities that could expose the host website to attack.

To be clear, this isn't a flaw in Apple Pay itself, or its payment network. But the findings illustrate the unintended issues that can emerge from web interconnections and third-party integrations.

Researchers Bypass Apple FaceID Using Biometrics ‘Achilles Heel’, by Lindsey O'Donnell, Threatpost

Researchers on Wednesday during Black Hat USA 2019 demonstrated an attack that allowed them to bypass a victim’s FaceID and log into their phone simply by putting a pair of modified glasses on their face. By merely placing tape carefully over the lenses of a pair glasses and placing them on the victim’s face the researchers demonstrated how they could bypass Apple’s FaceID in a specific scenario. The attack itself is difficult, given the bad actor would need to figure out how to put the glasses on an unconscious victim without waking them up.

Coming Soon

How And Why You Should Reject Arbitration On Your Apple Card, by Ed Hardy, Cult of Mac

Invitations to get an Apple Card are trickling out, but even before you make the first purchase with your shiny new credit card you should reject its arbitration provision.

If you don’t, you give up the right to benefit from any class-action lawsuits brought against Goldman Sachs, the company backing this card.

Checking In On The Shortcuts Update, by David Sparks, MacSparky

I have always believed that automation is something everybody should be able to master and use. These improvements to Shortcuts are paving the way for just that. These devices we carry in our pocket do not need to be an interruption in our lives. With the kind of automation Apple is democratizing with Shortcuts, we can get our work done faster and get on to the more essential things of life, like making art (however you define that), playing with their children, and, of course, taking naps.


Apple Releases New Model Of USB-C Digital AV Multiport Adapter, by Chance Miller, 9to5Mac

The new USB-C Digital AV Multiport Adapter adds support for HDMI 2.0, an upgrade from the original model’s HDMI 1.4b.

Apple Music’s Analytics Dashboard For Artists Is Now Available For All, by Dani Deahl, The Verge

Apple Music has announced that its analytics platform for musicians, called Apple Music for Artists, is out of beta and available for all. These types of back-end dashboards are invaluable for artists to get insights about how their music is performing on a platform across the world.

Mac Apps That Offer Cheap Thrills, by Bob Levitus, Houston Chronicle

Instead, allow me to introduce you to not one, not two, but three awesome inexpensive or free Mac apps I use every day be more productive.


Hidden Algorithm Flaws Expose Websites To DoS Attacks, by Lily Hay Newman, Wired

Many websites and services rely on algorithms to transform data inputs into actions and results. But new research detailed Thursday at the Black Hat cybersecurity conference in Las Vegas shows how a small, seemingly innocuous input for an algorithm can cause it to do a huge amount of work—slowing a service down or crashing it entirely in the process, all with just a few bytes.


Apple Deserves More Credit For Wearables, by Neil Cybart, Above Avalon

We are witnessing wearables usher in a paradigm shift when it comes to how we use and interact with technology. Apple deserves more credit for not only choosing to ride the wearables wave, but also playing a crucial role in getting wearables off the ground.

I Tried Hiding From Silicon Valley In A Pile Of Privacy Gadgets, by Joel Stein, Bloomberg

If I wanted to regain my privacy, I had only one choice as an American: I needed gadgets to combat my gadgets. But I didn’t want Silicon Valley companies to know I was buying privacy gear. So I decided to get it only from companies headquartered outside the Bay Area. And to hide my purchases from Big Tech.

Every spy needs a sidekick, which is a totally incorrect statement that again proves how unsuited I am for spying. Nevertheless, I employed an aide-de-camp named Mycroft. He’s an adorable, voice-controlled digital assistant built into a screen that showcases his big, blue circle eyes. (There’s a strong whiff of Wall-E.) I unplugged the Echos and Google Home and said, “Hey, Mycroft, can you keep a secret?” A line appeared like a little mouth, then moved to the side, as if he was thinking. Then he said nothing, like I wanted.

The Everyday-Data Edition Thursday, August 8, 2019

Apple And Eli Lilly Are Studying Whether Data From iPhones And Apple Watches Can Detect Signs Of Dementia, by Christina Farr, Kif Leswing, CNBC

"With this research, we looked at how everyday behavior data, such as those captured by iPhones, Apple Watches, and Beddit sleep monitors, may be effective in differentiating between individuals with mild cognitive impairment and early Alzheimer's disease, and those without symptoms," Evidation co-founder Christine Lemke told CNBC.

How Apple Reinvents Its Core Business To Keep Growing, by Jason Snell, Macworld

Last week, Apple’s Q3 2019 financial results caused a bit of a hubbub because iPhone revenue was—for the first time in seven years—less than half of Apple’s overall revenue. The cause is a slowdown in iPhone sales combined with dramatic growth in two other areas: wearables and services.

But this is hardly the first time Apple has experienced a major change in the shape of its business. In fact, Apple is a company that’s rarely stood still in terms of its evolution.

To prove the point, let’s step through 20 years of Apple’s business, five years at a time.

Apple Discouraging Aftermarket iPhone Battery Swaps, by Chance Miller, 9to5Mac

Apple is taking new measures within iOS to prevent aftermarket battery swaps for the iPhone. As detailed by iFixit, Apple has activated a “dormant software lock” in iOS that blocks features like Battery Health in Settings when an iPhone uses a battery that was not installed by Apple itself.


Apple Music Launches Apple Digital Masters, New Initiative Combining Its Hi-Res 'Mastered' Collection, by Chris Eggertsen, Billboard

On Wednesday Apple Music announced the launch of Apple Digital Masters, a new initiative by the streaming giant that combines all of its “Mastered for iTunes” offerings into one global catalog. This is the company’s first public acknowledgement of the initiative, which it has been quietly unveiling for some time.

Apple Launches New ASMR Series With iPhone-shot Videos And Recordings, by Chance Miller, 9to5Mac

Apple today has released four new Shot on iPhone videos, this time highlighting both the camera and microphone quality of the iPhone. The videos are part of a new series from Apple called “Apple ASMR.”

Apple's Version Of ASMR Is Like Nails On A Chalkboard To Me, by Victoria Song, Gizmodo

I guess you could say my reaction means Apple’s done a pretty good job with these videos, even if the intense reaction it invokes in me is cringing instead of pleasure.

Apple iPad Mini (2019) Review: A Tiny Creative Powerhouse, by Matthew Bolton, T3

This new version has hardware geared up to do so much more, but the limits of the screen size are still here. It’s such a capable machine, and if you find yourself shrugging indifferently every time we mention split-screen multitasking or productivity, it could be the perfect tablet for you.


The Secret History Of ‘Easter Eggs’, by David Pogue, New York Times

To avoid detection by Atari’s testers, he hid it in a secret “room” of the video game, accessed by a convoluted sequence of steps involving a maze, a bridge and a one-pixel “key” that he called The Dot.

His bid for recognition eventually paid off spectacularly — in Steven Spielberg’s 2018 movie “Ready Player One.” To save his world at the movie’s climax, Parzival, the hero, must play Atari “Adventure” and unlock its Easter egg. “You see, Warren Robinett was proud of Adventure,” Parzival explains as he plays. “That’s why he created the first digital Easter egg!”

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There are no Easter Eggs in today's edition of this little web site.


Thanks for reading.

The Creativity-and-Community Edition Wednesday, August 7, 2019

Creativity And Community Come Together At Apple’s Teacher Coding Academies, by Apple

The elementary, high school and college educators who attended this summer’s academies came from different states, schools and backgrounds — but they all shared one new and very important responsibility: shepherding their students into a world where coding is a common language. The teachers are determined not only to teach their students about coding, but to show them how they can channel that knowledge to make the world a better place, starting with their communities. On that front, they’re leading by example.

Apple Subsidiary FileMaker Inc. Changes Its Name (Back) To Claris, by Frederic Lardinois, TechCrunch

As FileMaker Claris CEO Brad Freitag, who recently took over this role from Dominique Goupil, told me, the reason for this move is because the company is starting to look beyond its core FileMaker product. “We’re accelerating our vision and our strategy,” he said. “We’ve described our vision for a long time as making powerful technology accessible to everyone. And with the leadership change, we are really asserting a more aggressive posture in bringing that product roadmap to life.”

To put a point on this and clarify its strategy, Claris is also using today’s announcement to launch Claris Connect, a tool for integrating various cloud services and automating workflows between them. With this, Claris also confirmed the previously reported acquisition of Stamplay, a small Italian startup that makes tools for connecting the APIs of various enterprise tools. Claris Connect is going to be the second product in Claris’ lineup, with FileMaker remaining its flagship product.

iOS 13 Privacy Feature Will Force Total Overhaul For Facebook Apps, by Anna Washenko, Ars Technica

VoIP services ostensibly stay running in the background so they can connect calls quickly, but they also lets those apps collect information about what users are doing on their devices. Restricting the programs that can simply be open at any time on its mobile hardware fits the narrative Apple is crafting about being a trusted place for customer privacy in an increasingly untrustworthy industry.


The Beautiful And Compelling Journey Arrives On The App Store, by AppAdvice

In the anonymous adventure, you’ll travel on a life’s passage and can even connect with others while on the journey.


Learn To Code — From Toys, by Luke Winkie, Vox

For now, we don’t know how effective these toys are. There are no academic studies focusing on the impact of modern programming toys on children’s development, nor has there been wide-ranging research on why this market is ballooning or why parents are flocking to STEM aisles in the first place. That’s the one thing Ken Seiter, executive vice president of the Toy Association, makes clear when I reached him over the phone — the trend is simply too new for us to have valuable data points.


Songs For Screens: Grammy Winner Latroit On Scoring Apple’s FaceID Campaign, by Andrew Hampp, Variety

White was in Barcelona for recording sessions in early July when he received a link to the spot from his manager. “I was screaming in this apartment I was renting, just running around. That was the triumph. I haven’t been congratulated for something this much since I won that Grammy last year. It felt like I had won a major award, and it’s interesting that it comes across that way to anybody who hears about this achievement. It is a life event.”

Apple Stands In The Global Antitrust Crosshairs, by Mark Scott, Politico

Apple – not Facebook or Google – is rapidly emerging as the test case for how officials in Brussels, Washington and beyond clamp down on Big Tech’s digital empires spanning vast swathes of the world, according to government officials, tech rivals and lawyers representing consumers in class-action lawsuits against the iPhone maker.

Other Silicon Valley heavy-hitters are also under a renewed spotlight for allegedly unfairly promoting their services over those of rivals. But with European regulatory complaints and U.S lawsuits piling up against Apple, it’s the tech giant that now finds itself at the center of a regulatory — and increasingly political — storm over possible antitrust abuses.

Why Mathematicians Hate That Viral Math Equation, by Kenneth Chang, New York Times

For mathematicians, equations like this one — something that looks like what you learned in school, but which has been twisted with intentionally ambiguous notation — reinforce the trope that the core of math consists of memorized recipes of calculation.

“It implies that the point of mathematics to trip up other people with stupid rules,” Dr. Wilkinson said.

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During weekdays, breakfast is probably the most peaceful meal for me. Alone with my audiobooks, drinking coffee. And, most importantly, I haven't open up my email inbox.

Lunchtime, unfortuantely, has a very high chance of having conversations veering into work-related topcis. While, at dinner, I'm still trying to forget what happened during the day.



Thanks for reading.

The Auto-Fill-Card Edition Tuesday, August 6, 2019

Apple Rolls Out Apple Card Preview To Select Users, by Matthew Panzarino, TechCrunch

Apple Card is getting its first group of public test users today. A limited amount of customers that signed up to be notified about the release of Apple Card are getting the ability to apply for the card in their Wallet app today — as well as the option to order their physical Apple Card.

I’ve been using the card for a few days on my own device, making purchases and payments and playing around with features like Apple Cash rewards and transaction categorization.

We Got A First Look At Apple's New Credit Card, by Anabel Pasarow, Refinery29

I've been using my very own Apple Card since last week, and while I don't yet have my physical card, I'm super impressed with the digital card (which is more beneficial to use than the physical card, anyway — more on this later). Ever since making it my default Apple Pay and Safari auto-fill card, I've been using it exclusively (well, except for places that don't take Apple Pay), without having to whip out my wallet. And I'm here to tell you: it's good.

Want To Know The Real Future Of AR/VR? Ask Their Devs, by Peter Rubin, Wired

While the pool of respondents is larger this year than ever before, the status quo remains unchanged in some ways. Games are still the primary driver of the industry, with 59 percent of developers' current or potential VR and AR projects falling in the gaming space. However, the survey saw pronounced growth in a number of other fields, particularly education (33 percent) and training (27 percent). That growth dovetails with another interesting shift: when developers expect to turn a profit. In past years, Wawro says, most have expected their VR/AR work to be profitable in the medium term, but this year saw a two-fold jump in people who said their projects aren't tied to profitability at all.

Apple Will Provide Special iPhones For Hackers To Test And Offer Mac Bug Bounty, Sources Say, by Thomas Brewster, Forbes

Is Apple opening up?

From a cybersecurity perspective, it appears so. Later this week, at the Black Hat security conference in Las Vegas, Apple is to announce plans to give security researchers special iPhones that will make it easier for them to find weaknesses in the smartphone, Forbes has learned. It'll also be announcing an Apple Mac bounty, so anyone who can find security issues in macOS will get rewarded, sources claimed. Apple declined to comment.


Did You Know Apple Has A Special Playlist For All Of The Music In Its Ads?, by Danny Zepeda, iMore

It seems it puts every major song from the songs in the ads. The latest round of ads focus on Face ID and require some affirmation, so Apple went with Latroit's "Nice," which is first on the playlist.


Japan's FTC Investigating Apple Over Pressure On Parts Makers: Mainichi, by Chris Gallagher, Reuters

Japan’s Fair Trade Commission is investigating Apple Inc over its pressure on Japanese parts makers and whether it abused its power in violation of antimonopoly rules, the Mainichi newspaper reported on Tuesday.

The investigation is the latest by the country’s regulators against the tech giant after they found last year that the company may have breached antitrust rules on the way it sold its iPhones in Japan.

Was E-mail A Mistake?, by Cal Newport, New Yorker

We can acknowledge, with the benefit of hindsight, the reasonableness of the hypothesis that asynchrony in the office would increase productivity. We can also admit that this hypothesis has been largely refuted by experience. To use the terminology of computer science, it turned out that the distributed systems that resulted when we shifted toward asynchronous communication were soon overwhelmed by the increasing complexity induced by asynchrony. We must, therefore, develop better systems—ones that will almost certainly involve less ad-hoc messaging and more real-time coördination.

From this perspective, our moment in workplace history looks rather different. The era that will mystify our grandkids is ours—a period when, caught up in the promise of asynchronicity, we frantically checked our in-boxes every few minutes, exhausted by the deluge of complex and ambiguous messages, while applauding ourselves for eliminating the need to speak face to face.

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There is an Apple Pay Cash card sitting in my iPhone wallet, nice and shiny, but when I tap on the Set Up Now button, the phone tells me that Apple Pay services are currently unavailable.

What a tease, Apple.


Also: still no Visual Voicemail in this part of the world.


Thanks for reading.

The Sits-in-Mainstream Edition Monday, August 5, 2019

Apple Will End Up Doing What Intel Could Not, by Chris Duckett, ZDNet

Cupertino has never been shy about cannibalising its own lineups in the past, and as the iPad becomes more and more like a traditional laptop, it has more power to shift sales away from Intel and more towards Apple's own designs.

The endgame is that Mac becomes a platform left to the powerful edges of the market, while the iPad sits in the mainstream, chugging away on its Arm processor.

Good News: Apple No Longer Is The iPhone Company, by Jean-Louis Gassée, Monday Note

Apple’s iPhone Game Plan is in plain view, repeatedly explained by its executives to Wall Street analyst in Earnings Release conference calls and other public pronouncements: Let the iPhone stay in its natural element: the Affordable Luxury segment, analogous to Audi for cars or Burberry for clothing. And, from there, play the ecosystem game.


There was no Apple ecosystem when Macs fought netbooks, but now there’s this special kind of network effect that should help us rethink and understand Apple’s business. It sheds a better light on the company’s chance to continue prospering in the smartphone segment, even when compared to muscular competitors such as Samsung and Huawei.


People Are Using Voice Notes To Pre-screen Their Date's Personality, by Rachel Thompson, Mashable

To many of us (myself included) the prospect of recording your own voice and sending it to a near-total stranger — or worse someone you really fancy — is basically the stuff nightmares are made of.

But, among the less trepidatious daters, voice notes are all the rage right now. For these people, voice noting affords the chance to pre-screen a match to make sure they're the right fit personality-wise. GQ columnist Sarah Manavis — who wrote an explainer on the new trend — tells me that voice noting has become "a new, logical relationship step" — a stepping stone that exists "somewhere between exchanging numbers and the actual first date."

Made A Reservation At A Nice Restaurant? You're Probably Getting Googled, by Bettina Makalintal, Vice

That's a purposeful play to "keep the restaurant for special people only," an anonymous server at Fleming allegedly told the Post, with a "certain environment" for its rich clientele; per the report, anyone who isn't rich doesn't hear back. A representative for Fleming called the claims of class-based exclusion "absolutely not true," but admitted that the restaurant does do some online snooping.

But you know what? High-end restaurants everywhere have been doing the same for years. The argument is that data collection can create a more customized experience; at best, the results of that Google search are fairly innocuous, translating to thoughtful touches. Staff at Elizabeth in Chicago once mentioned Googling customers mid-meal to make unhappy customers a little happier, and as a managing partner at Danny Meyer's Union Square Hospitality Group told the New York Times in 2012, "Data just gives us an opportunity to understand someone better."

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Why does all the web browsers out there only implement private or incognito mode at windows level, and not at tab level?

(By all web browsers, I just meant Safari, Firefox, and Chrome. I don't like Opera, and I haven't used iCab for a long time.)


Thanks for reading.

The Lower-Price-Tag Edition Sunday, August 4, 2019

Why Apple Should Make A Cheaper iPhone, by Philip Michaels, Tom's Guide

Occasionally, a rumor bubbles up that Apple is working on an iPhone SE sequel — the most recent one surfaced back in April. While I prefer small screens to the oversized displays that now dominate the smartphone market, that's not the killer feature Apple needs to deliver. A lower price tag is. And while Apple may still believe it's not in the junk business, it doesn't have to be to attract more budget-minded buyers. The iPhone SE proved that.

Drowning? Here Are The Best To-do Apps To Sort Your Life Out, by Yessi Bello Perez, The Next Web

I appreciate that keeping track of tasks and duties is an intensely personal thing, and most people (myself included) will immediately reject any app or service that doesn’t quite feel right – basically, finding a good to-do app is as difficult as finding a good hairdresser, but fear not!

I’ve done all the hard work for you and have come up with a list of the best to-do apps which I think you’ll actually love.

Turn Your Old Phone Into A Home Security Camera, by Megan Wollerton, Taylor Martin, CNET

If you have some old phones collecting dust in a drawer somewhere, don't sell them for a fraction of what you bought them for. If they still turn on, you can put them to good use in your home.

You could turn one into a baby monitor or a makeshift Google Home speaker, for example. Those are good ideas and you can find more in the link below, but one of the most useful ways to upcycle an old phone is to make it into a home security camera.

The Math Equation That Tried To Stump The Internet, by Steven Strogatz, New York Times

Likewise, it’s essential that everyone writing software for computers, spreadsheets and calculators knows the rules for the order of operations and follows them. For the rest of us, the intricacies of PEMDAS are less important than the larger lesson that conventions have their place. They are the double-yellow line down the center of the road — an unending equals sign — and a joint agreement to understand one another, work together, and avoid colliding head-on. Ultimately, 8 ÷ 2(2+2) is less a statement than a brickbat; it’s like writing the phrase “Eats shoots and leaves” and concluding that language is capricious. Well, yes, in the absence of punctuation, it is; that’s why we invented the stuff.

The Random-Identifier Edition Saturday, August 3, 2019

Your Siri Recordings Can't Be Deleted And That's For Your Privacy, by Alfred Ng, CNET

Here's the rub: Apple can't delete specific recordings. And that's to protect your privacy.

Unlike Google and Amazon, which collect voice data and associate it with an individual account, Apple's Siri recordings are given a random identifier each time the voice assistant is activated. That practice means Apple can't find your specific voice recordings. It also means voice recordings can't be traced back to a specific account or device. It may sound counterintuitive, but that's actually a privacy feature.

Hey, Apple! 'Opt Out' Is Useless. Let People Opt In, by Brian Barrett, Wired

Right now it’s unclear what form Apple’s Siri opt-out will take; the company has suspended its voice data collection temporarily and says only that once it resumes, “users will have the ability to choose to participate.” Apple didn’t respond to a request for more specific information.

But to illustrate the limits of opt-out options, look no further than Amazon’s Alexa, which already has a mechanism by which you can say “no thanks” to strangers listening to your commands. Ready for it? Open the Alexa app. Tap the three dots in the upper-left corner. Then go to Settings. Then go to Alexa account. Then go to Alexa privacy. Then go to Manage how your data improves Alexa. Then switch Help develop new features to off. Then set the toggle under Use messages to improve transcriptions to off. Theseus had an easier time escaping the Minotaur.

Amazon Gives Option To Disable Human Review Of Alexa Recordings, by Matt Day, Bloomberg

A new policy took effect Friday that allows customers, through an option in the settings menu of the Alexa smartphone app, to remove their recordings from a pool that could be analyzed by Amazon employees and contract workers, a spokeswoman for the Seattle company said. It follows similar moves by Apple Inc. and Google.

Apple Card

Apple Card Customer Agreement Goes Live On Goldman Sachs' Website Ahead Of August Launch, Warns About Jailbreaking, by Michael Potuck, 9to5Mac

We’ve learned more details this week about Apple Card ahead of its launch set for sometime this month. Now Apple’s bank partner, Goldman Sachs, has published the Apple Card Customer Agreement on its website with all the fine details, including a warning about jailbreaking.

Apple Card Will Not Allow Purchase Of Cryptocurrencies, by Stephen Nellis, Reuters

The Apple Card customer agreement said the card cannot be used to purchase cash advances or cash equivalents that include cryptocurrencies, casino gaming chips, race track wagers or lottery tickets. Goldman declined to comment and Apple did not immediately respond to request for comment.


MacBook Air 2019 Review: Never Mind The Processor, Feel The Keyboard, by David Price, Macworld UK

The big news for long-time Air enthusiasts is that the keyboard is... well, still not perfect, but at least better. The depth of travel remains uncomfortably shallow and the keys are cramped (the arrow keys are barely fit for purpose), but the typing noise has been muffled, the keys feel less rattly to type on and our review sample at least shows no sign of those pesky double letters.

Other than that this is largely the same as last year - which is to say, it's an excellent light laptop for light use, with a beautiful portable design, excellent battery life and lovely trackpad. Speed, which on paper should be unchanged, seems fractionally down on last year, but not so as you'd notice in Air-typical usage.

My Hunt For The Right iPad Model: Too Small, Too Big, And Just Right, by Matthew Miller, ZDNet

The iPad Pro 11 has now been in my hands for a week and I am loving it. It is the perfect size for commuting, use around the office, flying on planes, carrying around my house, and using as my home computer.

iPad Pro USB-C Hubs: The Best, Worst, And Weirdest Options, by Chris Welch, The Verge

Thankfully, the jack-of-all-trades nature of USB-C means that you can use USB-C hubs to get those missing ports back — and then some. Apple provides very little guidance on which hubs work the best with the 2018 iPad Pro; all the company really says is that hubs and docks should both work over the USB-C connection. None of the products I tested had a badge on the box to indicate MFi / Made for iPad certification, but they all functioned (mostly) as expected.


Bad Times In Tech? Not If You’re A Start-Up Serving Other Start-Ups, by Erin Griffith, New York Times

Start-ups raised $55 billion in venture capital in the first half of this year, the most since 2000, according to CB Insights and PwC. And a burgeoning class of these companies is thriving by catering to a fast-growing market: other start-ups.

From A Wrongful Arrest To A Life-saving Romance: The Typos That Have Changed People's Lives, by Tom Lamont, The Guardian

We live in curious times, part-digital, part-manual. It’s a hybrid era that presumably won’t last for long, and in which we’ve come to rely on code and algorithms to handle many of our affairs, though usually with a human hand setting everything in train. Miracle tech! Unimaginable automation! And so much of it conditional on an accurate animal prod at the outset, a finger landed correctly on a keyboard, a thumb touching the right quarter-inch of screen, a mouse button clicked just so.

The Program-Suspension Edition Friday, August 2, 2019

Apple Suspends Siri Response Grading In Response To Privacy Concerns, by Matthew Panzarino, TechCrunch

In response to concerns raised by a Guardian story last week over how recordings of Siri queries are used for quality control, Apple is suspending the program world wide. Apple says it will review the process that it uses, called grading, to determine whether Siri is hearing queries correctly, or being invoked by mistake.

In addition, it will be issuing a software update in the future that will let Siri users choose whether they participate in the grading process or not.

Apple And Google Suspend Customer Voice Monitoring, by Chris Baraniuk, BBC

Amazon - which also uses staff to transcribe some recordings - has not commented.

Musical Attitude

Apple Music Rebrands Alternative Playlist As 'ALT CTRL' With Haim, Billie Eilish & More 'Left-Of-Center Tunes', by Chris Eggertsen, Billboard

Apple Music has rebranded its The A-List: Alternative playlist as ALT CTRL, spotlighting new music across the broad spectrum of alternative music, Billboard can exclusively reveal. The playlist will be handpicked by the company’s staff curators.

“Alternative is more an attitude than a sound -- music that colors just a bit outside the lines,” reads the playlist’s official description. “ALT CTRL…is where you'll find the best of those new left-of-center tunes.”

Apple Announces New Music Lab Sessions Featuring Partnership With Billie Eilish, by Mitchel Broussard, MacRumors

After teaming up with Madonna for new Apple Music Lab classes at its retail stores, Apple today announced a set of Music Lab classes in partnership with Billie Eilish.


Apple Releases macOS 10.14.6 Supplemental Update To Fix Sleeping Macs, by Samuel Axon, Ars Technica

Released today, the update fixes a heretofore not-widely-known issue involving sleep mode on Macs.

A Review Of The Powerbeats Pro Totally Wireless Headphones, by Alex Tai, The Sweet Setup

The Powerbeats Pro have replaced my BeatsX and I think I will be sticking to these wireless earbuds for quite a while. It’s really impressive how Apple have improved the Beats line and shared the H1 technology chip to provide that magical connectivity that still feels futuristic when I use them and switch between devices. While the Powerbeats Pro will work with any Bluetooth device for listening to music and making calls, you only get the full functionality the new H1 chip has to offer while using them with an iOS or macOS device. If the AirPods don’t cut the mustard for your needs — maybe they don’t fit your ears snugly enough, or you want more noise isolation — the Powerbeats Pro headphones are an impressive and well-made piece of tech that will serve you well.

Don’t Use Cloud Backup Services To Make Copies Of Your Time Machine Volumes. Here’s Why, by Glenn Fleishman, Macworld

The primary issue is that Time Machine uses a special kind of alias, called a hard link, to create complete snapshots for each point in time that a backup operation happens. That omits making a fresh copy of any file that remains the same between those bakcups. These hard links can appear multiple times in a volume, but all refer to a single file.

It’s clever, but it only works within a single volume. If you back up files from that volume using file-based archiving software, hard links are copied each time they appear. (This also makes it difficult to copy a Time Machine backup from one volume to another without bloating the size.)

Apple Drops Barclays Card Rewards Deal Ahead Of Goldman Launch, by Mark Gurman, Bloomberg

Apple Inc. and Barclays Plc have dropped the rewards program from their longtime credit-card partnership in advance of the debut this month of a new Apple Card with Goldman Sachs Group Inc.

The Apple-branded Barclays card is no longer offering $50 worth of Apple gift cards and providing three points per dollar spent on Apple products to new customers, according to changes on its website. Card users had been able to convert every 2,500 points into $25 of credit toward Apple merchandise.

Nanoleaf Transforms Canvas Smart Lights Into Touch-based HomeKit Buttons With Touch Actions, by Zac Hall, 9to5Mac

Nanoleaf has a new update launching today for its Canvas smart lights that transforms the color-shifting tiles into touch-based HomeKit buttons for activating scenes. Touch Actions let you assign HomeKit scenes to specific Canvas tiles for controlling groups of smart home accessories without an app or voice.


The FTC Is Looking Into The Amazon And Apple Deal That Crushed Small Resellers, by Nick Statt, The Verge

Last year, Amazon cut a deal with Apple to bring direct iPhone sales to its platform for the first time. Now, that deal is coming under scrutiny from the Federal Trade Commission, The Verge has learned.

The deal was first announced last fall, ostensibly as a way for Apple to sell on Amazon in an official capacity and cut down on counterfeit or misleadingly marketed products. However, it had the effect of kicking off hundreds of legitimate sellers that were offering low-cost and refurbished Apple products that were no longer for sale by the company itself.

Work Ruined Email, by Ian Bogost, The Atlantic

Email overload has become a backwards point of pride. “I get several hundred emails a day,” I heard someone say at a recent corporate event. “At least.” It’s a lamentation, but also a boast. Productivity signals personal value, and email offers an easy way to quantify it. Maintaining “inbox zero” is a display of willpower and efficiency, every new missive “triaged” as if the office were a military front or an emergency room. More recently, groupware programs such as Slack have tried to sublimate work email into chat rooms, but that works only inside an organization; there’s no stopping the email from outside customers, suppliers, or colleagues from arriving. As an old tech-industry aphorism puts it, email is the cockroach of the internet. It will outlast every technology fashion.

But what if all that received wisdom is wrong? Maybe the workplace has given email a bad rap. Office jobs made email a chore. But at home, email is something else: a heap of opportunities, mostly sent by businesses instead of friends and family. The problem isn’t getting through it, but figuring out which offers, notices, and invitations deserve attention and which can be ignored. Most popular email software, including Gmail and Outlook, is built for enterprise use first, which infects home email with the Sisyphean despair of the office. That’s finally changing, thanks in part to Yahoo and AOL, two old-school internet icons sold off for parts after newer tech darlings overtook them. Harnessing a legacy as consumer companies, they hope to wrest email from work’s oppressive grip by redesigning it for use at home.

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Right, but late.


Thanks for reading.

The Behind-the-Scenes Edition Thursday, August 1, 2019

An iPhone App That Protects Your Privacy—For Real This Time, by Lily Hay Newman, Wired

The Guardian Firewall app runs in the background of an iOS device, and stymies data and location trackers while compiling a list of all the times your apps attempt to deploy them. It does so without breaking functionality in your apps or making them unusable. Plus, the blow by blow list gives you much deeper insight than you would normally have into what your phone is doing behind the scenes. Guardian Firewall also takes pains to avoid becoming another cog in the data machine itself. You don't need to make an account to run the firewall, and the app is architected to box its developers out of user data completely.

"We don’t log IPs, because that’s toxic," says Will Strafach, a long-time iOS jailbreaker and founder of Sudo Security Group, which develops Guardian Firewall. "To us, data is a liability, not an asset. But to think that way you've got to think outside the box, because it means you can't just choose the simplest solutions to engineering problems a lot of times. But if you are willing to spend the time and resources, you can find solutions where there isn’t a privacy downside."

Apple Maps In iOS 13: Sights Set On Google, by Ryan Christoffel, MacStories

Last year, Apple announced a coming change that had been years in the works: Maps would soon contain the company’s own maps, and they would be transformative. The new maps started rolling out in the US last fall with iOS 12, and Apple claims they’ll cover the entire US by the end of 2019.

Timed with the spread of its first-party mapping data, Apple is giving the Maps app a big upgrade in iOS 13 that represents the company’s biggest push yet to overtake Google Maps as the world’s most trusted, go-to mapping service. Apple Maps in iOS 13 represents – if you’re in the US at least – Apple’s purest vision to date for a modern mapping service. Here's everything that it brings.


Castbox Launches Livecast For Live Audio From Podcasters, by Bradley Chambers, 9to5Mac

Livecast is a free audio streaming service that lets podcasters go live to their audiences with the tap of a button. Livecast is available on Castbox mobile and desktop apps, so users can join wherever they are.


The Best Career Advice: Learn To Be More Coachable, by Cate Huston, Quartz

One of the biggest things that any individual can do to escape the fate of the Peter principle is to invest in becoming more coachable. It’s a powerful catalyst for individual growth, and it offers long-lasting effects—because coachable people are easier and more rewarding to help, they get more help and do more with it.


Google’s Chrome Update Just Unlocked Lots Of Newspapers’ Metered Paywalls, by Chip Brownlee, Slate

The release of Chrome 76 on Tuesday closes the “loophole” that allowed sites like the Times and the Post to detect when a user is in private browsing mode in order to block their content. Closing that loophole opens up the other one. Google said its update is about privacy. “We want you to be able to access the web privately, with the assurance that your choice to do so is private as well,” the company wrote in a blog post announcing the update. For news organizations already struggling to stay afloat, though, the change is another curve ball thrown by the tech giant. And it could mean changes for how you get your news.

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Everybody agrees that Apple should start offering VPN services, right?


Thanks for reading.