The Internet-Communicator Edition Monday, October 21, 2019

How The Smartphone Became The Remote Control Of Your Life, by Roger Cheng, CNET

Steve Jobs' pitch for the original iPhone in 2007 as a phone, music player and internet communicator was a landmark moment in the tech world. It crystalized the iPhone's almost mythic reputation from the start -- remember the nickname, the Jesus phone? -- and helped usher in the idea that smartphones could be chic. But looking back, those three capabilities barely scratched the surface of what we can do with the modern smartphone.

What can you do with one now? Everything.

"We never imagined how a decade later iPhone would become such an essential part of our lives, from streaming TV shows and playing games, to finding directions when traveling, to managing health and fitness, to opening garages in smart homes, to sharing beautiful memories with stunning photos and videos," Phil Schiller, head of marketing for Apple, said in an email.

Inside Apple's High-Flying Bid To Become A Streaming Giant, by Peter Rubin, Wired

Though the timing of Apple's announcement seemed comically coincidental, Erlicht and Van Amburg had been talking to Apple for some time. In its quest to develop content that could hold up to fare from Netflix and Hulu, the company had been discussing possible partnerships with numerous studios, including Sony. “Obviously we were intrigued,” Erlicht says. At the time, “there wasn't an agency, production company, or studio that wasn't trying to hunt down what Apple would be doing.” When they were eventually offered the job (and accepted), one of their first calls went to Van Amburg's old friend: Ronald Moore.

If Apple were a person—if it truly took mortal form—that form might be Ron Moore. Like Apple, Moore has created epochal works that improve on the halting steps of their predecessors. And like Apple, he imagines a future that meshes with how humans actually behave and what they expect. Apple might call that Human Interface Design; Moore has called it “naturalistic science fiction.”

Proceed With Caution

How macOS Catalina's New Security Features Work, by Tim Brooks, How-To Geek

macOS Catalina introduces new security controls. For example, apps are now required to ask your permission before accessing parts of the drive where documents and personal files are kept. Let’s take a look at what’s new for security in Catalina.

Why I Haven't Upgraded To macOS Catalina, by Henry T. Casey, Laptop Magazine

While I see the overall, big-picture value for macOS Catalina for many — especially Apple, as the update does a better job of integrating the platform with iOS, iPadOS and tvOS — getting it on my Mac is just not a pressing concern for me yet. I'm probably going to get to it, and I'm guessing that others will also be waiting.

Why macOS Catalina Is Not Apple's Finest Moment, by Erik Eckel, TechRepublic

Apple boasts a long track record of elegant operating system upgrades. But as these issues—most all confirmed to be widespread—indicate, macOS Catalina wasn't quite up to those typical standards. Hopefully, future releases prove to be more polished.


Some Apple TV Owners Experiencing Repeated Crashes When Browsing In The TV App On tvOS 13, by Benjamin Mayo, 9to5Mac

The issue appears to affect both Apple TV HD and Apple TV 4K devices alike, running tvOS 13.0 (the current public release). It’s not a universal issue but the problem appears wide enough from reports that we have seen to our tips inbox and on social media to be worthy of coverage.

Beats 1 Launches Weekly 'Rap Life' Show With Ebro Darden, by Chris Eggertsen, Billboard

Rap Life With Ebro Darden will spotlight the playlist's latest additions with extensive discussions around hip-hop culture. Hosted by Beats 1 on-air personality Ebro Darden -- who was named Apple Music’s global editorial head of hip-hop and R&B in January -- the show will be a mixture of interviews, original reporting and chatter with fellow Beats 1 personalities Nadeska Alexis and L-Boog, among others.


Yes, Estimate Software Projects, by Gergely Orosz, The Pragmatic Engineer

Yes, it's ridiculously hard to do good estimates on software. Yes, most engineers are bad at it. And yes, being good at this will make you stand out. Saying that "software is just too complex" is an easy way out over asking the hard questions on why estimating is hard and how you can get better at it. Start with sensible project management, focusing on principles to reduce risk, over one-size-fits-all practices like Scrum. Reflect on why you under- or over-estimated. Adjust for next time. Rinse and repeat. I could write a post about just on this - wait, I actually did - but this is the gist of it.

If you never give estimates, you'll never become good at them. If you practice and learn from how things went, you'll keep improving and slowly build up the reputation of that person who's pretty reliable on how long things take.

A Forty Year Career., by Will Larson, Irrational Exuberance!

At Uber, another friend told me I was looking at a frustrating situation the wrong way, the way they viewed their work was, “Each day I walk into work, and this slot opens up above my head, and money falls out of it into my hands, then the slot closes. I go about my day, and the next day I come back, and the slot reopens; more money falls out.”

This is a surprisingly dark way to view your life’s work. So as I pondered my father’s retirement, the question that caught hold of me was: How would I approach my work differently if focused on growth and engagement, and if I measured eras not in equity and IPOs but instead in decades? I’d focus on a small handful of things that build together, with each making the others more impactful as they compound over time.


As Platforms And Ad Tech Circle, Podcasting's Small, Beautiful Age Is Drawing To A Close, by Max Willens, Digiday

That means podcasting will inevitably become more like the display ad ecosystem: commoditized, automated, audience-driven rather than contextual. The podcast ad world has been craft; it’s destined to be mechanized.

“It’s really hard to scale the program-specific, custom host-read stuff,” said an executive at one media agency that invests in audio. “It used to be death by a thousand cuts. … If you were interested in doing podcasting as a client, and you could work with two or three big partners, that is much more interesting than trying to do a hundred different deals.”

Steps To Prevent Dementia May Mean Taking Actual Steps, by Austin Frakt, New York Times

To ward off age-related cognitive decline, you may be tempted to turn to brain training apps. Last year, consumers spent nearly $2 billion on them, some of which claim to improve cognitive skills.

Evidence suggests you’d be better off spending more time exercising and less time staring at your phone.

Bottom of the Page

Dear Apple, if you are going to name your radio station Beats 1, you got to follw up with Beats 2 and Beats 3 and Beats 4 and so on.

(Just don't name them Beats 360 and Beats 1S.)


Thanks for reading.