Archive for December 2019

The Erase-Mac Edition Tuesday, December 31, 2019

‘Erase Mac’ Doesn’t?, by Howard Oakley, The Ecletic Light Company

What does the terse phrase Erase Mac mean? If you think that it means completely erase your Mac, then I’m with you. But that apparently isn’t what Apple means, at least not when it comes to the Find My service and Activation Lock.

How On-Demand Tech Companies Redefined Urban Life, by Laura Bliss, CityLab

The 2010s were the decade the city became an App Store: an online marketplace where our choices were closely tracked, where that data became part of the products we were using, and where digital clusters of activity displaced real-world transactions. Yes, we still go downtown for drinks, meals, and shopping experiences. But, more and more, we live in cities of the cloud.


Blackmagic Releases New eGPU Firmware With Pro Display XDR Support, by Juli Clover, MacRumors

The update is available via the Latest Downloads section of the Blackmagic website, and it allows the Pro Display XDR to be used as a display when connected to a Mac with TB3 or with a Blackmagic eGPU.


KVO, My Enemy, by Brent Simmons, Inessential

KVO is a false convenience — it’s often easier than setting up a delegate or old-fashioned notification. But to use KVO is to just ask for your app to crash.


Jimmy Iovine Knows Music And Tech. Here’s Why He’s Worried., by Ben Sisario, New York Times

And the streaming music services are utilities — they’re all the same. Look at what’s working in video. Disney has nothing but original stuff. Netflix has tons of original stuff. But the music streaming services are all the same, and that’s a problem.

What happens when something is commoditized is that it becomes a war of price. If you can get the exact same thing next door cheaper, somebody is going to enter this game and just lower the price. Spotify’s trying with podcasts. Who knows? Maybe that will work.

Apple Ink Supplier In Japan Makes Mark With iPhone 11 Pro Colors, by Rurika Imahashi, Nikkei Asian Review

Usually, producing green ink involves pollutants like halogens. The company, however, developed a cleaner way that offers high color accuracy and durability, said Yukinori Kabe, a sales manager. This appealed to the environmentally conscious Cook, who also praised Seiko Advance's plans to switch to renewable solar and wind power in 2020.

Midnight Green is not the only color Seiko Advance provides for the iPhone 11 Pro -- it is also behind the Gold, Space Gray and Silver models. "We are the sole supplier of colors for the iPhone 11 Pro and iPhone 11 Pro Max," said Kabe.

Apple Escalates Legal Fight With iOS Virtualization Tool Provider Corellium, by Mike Wuerthele, AppleInsider

On December 27, Apple amended its lawsuit that it filed versus Corellium —a company that provides the frameworks of an iOS simulator used by security researchers. While Apple has stopped short of calling a jailbreak illegal, it is taking the tack that developing an emulator or similar iOS emulation to facilitate a jailbreaking tool's creation is a copyright infringement.

Bottom of the Page

My achievement of the year, achieved on Dec 31st, 2019: completed a New York Times Sudoku puzzle at Hard level within 30 minutes.

Of course, this is only the Monday's version. I assume, like the crossword puzzle, the daily puzzles get progressively harder towards the end of the week?

(I wrote this on the morning of Tuesday local time, which is still Monday evening over at New York.)


I've always wondered why the music labels didn't do a Hulu and sell music subscriptions to consumers directly? Are they secure in the knowledge that neither Spotify nor Apple Music will gain monopoly powers that they can afford to just sit back and get all that profits?


Happy New Year, and thanks for reading.

The Craft-Narratives Edition Monday, December 30, 2019

Why Apple, Google, And Other Big Tech Companies Create Their Own Fonts, by Haidee Chu, Mashable

"Typefaces kind of act like a sponge, and all the connotations — when it was made and what companies it was used for — get absorbed by them," Samarskaya said. "It makes sense that all these companies are coming up with their own. They want to have control to craft their own narratives."

How Smartphone Cameras Changed The Way We Document Our Lives, by Jane C. Hu, Slate

Search the Instagram hashtag #2009to2019 or #10yearchallenge and you’ll notice bangs are out and flannel is in. But there are two basic changes related to technology that are easy to miss. The first is unsurprising: Image quality has gotten much better. The second showcases how our photo taking style has changed. While most people’s 2009 photos are obviously taken by someone else—full-body shots from a distance, often containing little bits of forearm or cheek that reveal friends or family cropped out—most people’s current photos are mirror selfies where their smartphone is visible, or a flattering front-facing camera snap. Just as video killed the radio star, the smartphone has largely replaced the stand-alone camera.

A 7-Eleven In Japan Might Close For A Day. Yes, That’s A Big Deal., by Ben Dooley, New York Times

“They don’t want to let me take New Year’s off. That’s all there is to it,” said Mr. Matsumoto, 57, who has made a name for himself in Japan by publicly defying the company’s demands that franchisees stay open 24 hours. “If they allow me to do this, others will start rising up here and there.”

His decision in February to shorten store hours inspired other franchisees to demand that 7-Eleven allow them to do the same. But the company has been slow to change, he said, so he decided to take New Year’s off in protest.

The standoff has supercharged a national debate over the business practices of the country’s 24-hour convenience store industry. Japan’s declining population has made workers harder to find. Tales of punishing work schedules have struck a chord in a country that holds a sometimes lethal corporate devotion to working long hours.

Bottom of the Page

Are there any retail business that is not in any sort of trouble?


Thanks for reading.

The Perambulating-Soul Edition Sunday, December 29, 2019

Look Up, by Clyde Haberman, New York Times

Richard F. Shepard, as keen and joyful a chronicler of New York as ever graced the pages of The Times, had simple advice for anyone out and about on the city streets. Look up, he said. Look especially at second-floor windows above storefronts. That, he liked to say, is where a lot of absorbing action takes place. Why would a perambulating soul wish to miss any of it?

One can imagine Mr. Shepard shaking his head at many of today’s New Yorkers. He died in 1998, so he never held an iPhone or, I’m willing to bet, any of its forerunners. But there’s little question that he would have found something hollow about this smartphone age, when so many people routinely violate the Shepard rule, New Yorkers being no exception. At any given moment, thousands of them are so focused on their little screens that they fail to look up. Truly, they don’t know what they’re missing.

Apple Shares New 'Slofie' Videos Shot On iPhone 11, by Joe Rossignol, MacRumors

Apple today shared four new "Slofie" videos on its YouTube channel, each shot on the iPhone 11.


Monopoly Mobile Review: Fun If You're Single, Buggy If You're Not, by Abby Espiritu, The Gamer

In my opinion, no features of the original game have been watered down or axed, and if you're a single player looking for a digital Monopoly fix, this game doesn't disappoint.


What Happens When Your Career Becomes Your Whole Identity, by Janna Koretz, Harvard Business Review

While identifying closely with your career isn’t necessarily bad, it makes you vulnerable to a painful identity crisis if you burn out, get laid off, or retire. Individuals in these situations frequently suffer anxiety, depression, and despair. By claiming back some time for yourself and diversifying your activities and relationships, you can build a more balanced and robust identity in line with your values.


‘We Have A Huge Problem’: European Regulator Despairs Over Lack Of Enforcement, by Nicholas Vinocur, Politico

Ireland and Luxembourg have faced special scrutiny because so many U.S. tech companies have set up shop in those tiny nations, which have actively courted them thanks to a mix of low corporate tax rates and business-friendly regulation. Those close relationships have created a strong degree of economic dependency, particularly in the Irish case, which raises questions as to whether these countries are best suited to regulating Big Tech.

The Architects Of Our Digital Hellscape Are Very Sorry, by Rose Eveleth, Wired

Perhaps my desire to see a meaningful apology for our current digital hellscape is wishful thinking. It might, in fact, be impossible to properly apologize for any of this. (In fact, some research hints that apologies are always better when we imagine them than when we actually receive them.) But that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try. “Maybe the apology is the first step in trying to think about doing that affirmative, forward-looking work,” Zuckerman told me.

So this December, I’m channeling a sentiment that several celebrities have lately shared on Instagram earlier this year: “I don’t want to end this year on bad terms with anybody. APOLOGIZE TO ME.”

Bottom of the Page

I sympathize with Adam Driver: I don't like to look at myself or listen to myself. I don't like to look at mirrors, and I am, more often than not, in photographs only because of social pressure.

So, no. No slofies for me.


Thanks for reading.

The Rolling-Out Edition Saturday, December 28, 2019

Revamped Apple Maps Expands To The Southeast And Central United States, Completing Rollout, by Juli Clover, MacRumors

“Apple in December began testing an expansion of its more detailed Apple Maps app in the Central and Southeastern parts of the United States, along with Alaska, and that updated Maps content is now rolling out to all customers.

The revamped Maps app features more extensive geographical details, with updated buildings, roads, parks, sports fields, parking lots, foliage, pools, pedestrian pathways, and bodies of water.”

The iPad’s Identity Crisis, by Emily Lipstein, Gizmodo

“Apple is pushing the iPad at people like me, people who have an iPhone, likely have AirPods, and are looking for a device that they can use at home when their only real computer is what they’re given at work. We’re deep in the Apple ecosystem, and have been for years, and here’s another opportunity to stay in it without paying too much of a premium. That’s the idea at least.

The iPad is pretty good—and it could be a lot better if I could get over the identity whiplash I get every time I use it. My biggest problem is that while it’s leaning hard towards being a laptop, Apple’s indecisions about its other qualities keep dragging it back into this murky grey area that doesn’t make it the perfect substitute that Apple’s marketing wants it to be. This isn’t about the OS or the keyboard. It’s almost entirely an apps problem.”


Sweet Streams, Baby: Are Netflix’s Algorithms Genius Or Devious?, by Madeleine Morley, Adobe

“But the UX design of many of the major streaming services has increasingly dictated our viewing habits, most notably with the post-play experience of Netflix or Hulu, where credits are skipped after five seconds and a new episode automatically begins. People wind up watching more than they intended, not only because the episodes are so good, but because the platform’s functionality makes it so easy. We are Dionysus lying on our bellies, being fed great, purple grapes while not having to lift a finger.”

What A Decade Of Netflix Did To Hollywood, by Tara Lachapelle, Bloomberg

“The so-called streaming wars didn’t begin on any particular date, but an important one was April 2, 2010. That was the day the Netflix app appeared on the Apple iPad. Within a few months it was in the iPhone app store and suddenly streaming could fit right in our pockets, traveling wherever we went.”


Anker Unveils First MFi Certified iPhone 11 Flash, Shipping Next Month For $49.99, by Nick Statt, The Verge

“Popular USB charging company Anker has an all-new iPhone accessory that should elevate your mobile photography game in the lighting department. It’s an LED flash that connects to the iPhone 11 via the Lightning connector.”


How We Run The NetNewsWire Open Source Project, by Brent Simmons, Inessential

“People ask me, “So — I can just show up, see something I feel like doing, do it, and then it will just show in the app?”

The answer, perhaps surprisingly, is no. Or, mostly no.

Well, kind of yes. It’s complicated. I’ll explain.”


Apple To Donate Money To Support Fire Relief Efforts In Australia, by Juli Clover, MacRumors

“For the last two months, bushfires have been burning across Australia due to one of the worst droughts in history and record-breaking heat waves. More than nine people have died and more than 800 homes have been destroyed. Koalas and other wildlife have also been impacted by the ongoing fires.”

Her Job Requires 7 Apps. She Works Retail, by Andy Newman, New York Times

“This is the job of a retail clothing worker at the end of 2019: dashing back and forth between stockroom and fitting room and sales floor, online and in-store, juggling the hats of cashier and cheerleader and personal shopper and visual merchandiser and database manager.

As brick-and-mortar stores scramble to justify their continued existence, they’re trying to be all things to all customers, to blend instant gratification and infinite selection. And it falls upon the workers on the front lines to make it all happen.”

Bottom of the Page

If Apple is serious that keyboard and touch doesn't mix, then it also need to be serious about not needing to touch the iPad screen when I start using a keyboard.


Thanks for reading.

The Too-Much-Plastic Edition Friday, December 27, 2019

Giving The Gift Of Surveillance, by Alex Kingsbury, New York Times

What to make of all the new data-gobbling devices given by the millions? I’d say cast them into the sea, but there’s far too much plastic there as it is.

I reached out to some of the dozens of technology experts, government officials, lawyers, privacy professionals and several others who have served as a sort of informal brain trust since the Privacy Project started in April.

Enhance Your File Search With Alfred, by Rosemary Orchard, The Sweet Setup

Many people use Alfred to search for files on their Mac and to launch applications, but these functions barely scratch the surface of this great app! Today I’m going to show you how to make the most out of the files integration in Alfred.

Self-Checkout In France Sets Off Battle Over A Day Of Rest, by Liz Alderman, New York Times

French labor rules prohibit most shops from employing workers past 1 p.m. on Sundays. But as e-commerce and online giants like Amazon usher in an era of round-the-clock spending, retailers are amping up the use of automated cashiers to help them compete.

The move has caused an outcry in France, where Sundays are traditionally a rest day for workers and families. While self-checkout machines are often used alongside cashiers, labor unions say that tilting toward fully cashierless operations threatens the French way of life by encouraging American-style consumerism and automation, putting thousands of jobs at risk.

Publishers Determined To Kill Electronic Books, by Howard Oakley, Eclectic Light Company

What amazes me about all this is that the many penalties and drawbacks of eBooks aren’t the result of the medium itself, but have been cunningly devised and implemented by eBook publishers. It’s almost as if they don’t want us to license eBooks in the first place. Or have they just become so greedy that they think they’ll win either way?

California Is Rewriting The Rules Of The Internet. Businesses Are Scrambling To Keep Up, by Sam Dean, Los Angeles Times

A sweeping new law that aims to rewrite the rules of the internet in California is set to go into effect on Jan. 1.

Most businesses with a website and customers in California — which is to say most large businesses in the nation — must follow the new regime, which is supposed to make online life more transparent and less creepy for users.

The only problem: Nobody’s sure how the new rules work.

The How-Loud Edition Thursday, December 26, 2019

Apple Watch Health App Cuts Through The Noise, by Alice Clarke, Brisbane Times

The app works by having the watch sample background noise every 30 seconds using the second microphone introduced to the Apple Watch from Series 4 (2018’s model), and processes it on the device. It doesn’t record, share info, or listen to what’s being said: It just tells you how loud the environment is. If it’s been at 90dB or above (or a custom level you’ve set) for more than three minutes, it’ll send an alert to let you know.

You can have the Noise app as either a complication on the face to easily check how loud things are at any time. Or, if you don’t feel the need to constantly monitor your environment, you can just wait for it to give you the heads up. You can then see the trends in the Health app on your phone and see if any patterns stick out.

How Smart Tech Could Transform Disabled People's Lives, by Sandy Murray, BBC

Smartphones and other devices are an added layer of convenience for many people - but they are making it possible to create innovations which could transform the everyday experiences of disabled people.


Apple Holding New Year's Shopping Event In Japan On January 2, by Joe Rossignol, MacRumors

Apple today announced that it will be holding a one-day New Year's shopping event in Japan on Thursday, January 2, offering customers an Apple Store gift card worth up to ¥24,000 with the purchase of select Apple products.

10 Things New Users Should Do With A New Mac, by Peter Cohen, Macworld

Got a new Mac this holiday season? If this is the first Mac you’ve ever owned, a hearty congratulations! Your new Mac is easy to use and incredibly powerful. As easy as the Mac is, doing some things may not be instantly obvious, and you owe it to yourself to make sure you’re getting the most out of your new investment.

Here are ten things that you can do right away that will help you get started down the path towards being a Mac power user. Most of these will cost you absolutely nothing except a bit of time to set up.

Did You Just Get Your iPhone 11? Do These 10 Things First!, by Jason Cross and Macworld Staff

Congratulations! You’re the proud owner of a new iPhone 11, iPhone 11 Pro, or iPhone 11 Pro Max. You probably want to dive right into the phone the moment you get the box in your hands, but take a beat and do a little prep first! We have a little setup advice you’re going to want to pay attention to. Sure, it seems like an unnecessary drag, but this stuff is going to really save you a lot of time and frustration later.

The New-Fitness Edition Wednesday, December 25, 2019

Apple Watch: The Best Fitness Features To Make Sure You Achieve Your Health Goals, by Andrew Griffin, Independent

The Watch can be a powerful tool to track your fitness and keep you motivated as you head into January with fresh resolutions and new goals. But like any powerful tool, you have to use it right: it is packed with a variety of exercise and health tracking features, but the sheer number and depth of them can sometimes be confusing.

Getting to grips with both a new workout regime and a new smartwatch can be as taxing as the exercise itself. But thankfully there are plenty of ways to make it easier – and focus on putting that effort into your new fitness.

Using iPhone's 'Night Mode' To Shoot 40 Days Of Darkness In Russia's North, by Amos Chapple, PetaPixel

For my latest photo essay “Forty Days Of Darkness,” I bought the new iPhone 11 Pro and went to Russia’s Murmansk, the biggest city in the Arctic circle. From December until January the sun never rises over Murmansk. With the iPhone camera (most of the time) set to “night mode,” I shot life in the darkness there.

Using The New Mac Pro And Pro Display XDR, by Lunar Animation

The fact that it’s possible to have a simulation running and a scene rendering while being able to review and edit animation, really shows the potential for a professional user. This capacity really blew us away.


So we can safely say that the Mac Pro and Pro Display XDR levelled up (excuse the pun) what we could do within the timeframe we had on the Jumanji project. As a complicated single animation scene, we were able to watch the sequence in real-time with the full resolution assets and their textures. We could quickly make fixes and changes, and save out a play blast to showcase to the client (saving out at 139 frames-per-second). We could run our simulations and render out frames faster. To make this even better, we were able to do all these things at the same time and with the Pro Display XDR, we were able to ensure that our final deliverables were an accurate representation of what we wanted to send to the client.

Voice Control Shows Why Apple's Focus On Accessibility Is So Important, by Luke Filipowicz, iMore

Recently, I broke my pinky finger on my left hand and required surgery (which I had about a month ago) and physical rehab (which I'm still going through) to correct. I went from having a partial cast to a full cast and then having a splint. During this time, I have been using iOS 13's Voice Control feature heavily and have very quickly come to appreciate that Apple has developed such a great accessibility feature.


How Apple’s Push To Rule The Smartphone Industry Has Made Apple Store Employees Feel Like Robots, by Lisa Eadicicco, Business Insider

Business Insider spoke to current and former employees who said they noticed a shift in recent years in the spirit of the tech giant’s retail stores. Some said it had become more difficult for retail staff to focus on customers as they felt pressure to boost numbers. Changes to individual store goals and priorities have also made the job feel more transactional and less like they were making personal connections with customers.

Moreover, many of the current or former employees expressed concerns about changes with the Genius Bar, Apple’s in-person technical support. They said that its workers were increasingly encouraged to push upgrades, and that Apple Geniuses, the position once promoted by the company as coveted IT career paths, were no longer receiving technical training that’s as comprehensive as it once was.

How Classroom Technology Is Holding Students Back, by Natalie Wexler, MIT Technology Review

In fact, the evidence is equivocal at best. Some studies have found positive effects, at least from moderate amounts of computer use, especially in math. But much of the data shows a negative impact at a range of grade levels. A study of millions of high school students in the 36 member countries of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) found that those who used computers heavily at school “do a lot worse in most learning outcomes, even after accounting for social background and student demographics.” According to other studies, college students in the US who used laptops or digital devices in their classes did worse on exams. Eighth graders who took Algebra I online did much worse than those who took the course in person. And fourth graders who used tablets in all or almost all their classes had, on average, reading scores 14 points lower than those who never used them—a differential equivalent to an entire grade level. In some states, the gap was significantly larger.

Bottom of the Page

I think I've realize what I want to do, for the remaining of my life, that combines books, magazines, and programming. This is probably a 2020 thing, but it is equally likely to be a 2021 thing.


Thanks for reading.

The More-Dominant-Than-Ever Edition Tuesday, December 24, 2019

The 2010s Were Supposed To Bring The Ebook Revolution. It Never Quite Came., by Constance Grady, Vox

Ironically, by winning when it comes to ebook pricing, publishing seems to have hurt its ability to convince readers that print books are worth spending money on.

“Amazon can still discount whatever they like on the print side,” explains Jane Friedman, a publishing consultant and the author of The Business of Being a Writer. On the ebook side, however, Amazon now lists publisher-mandated prices, often with the petulant italic addition “Price set by seller.” “So the market is very weird, and often the ebook costs more than the print,” Friedman says. “Sometimes it feels like Amazon is trying to make the publishers look ridiculous.”

And because ebooks are often more expensive than Amazon’s heavily discounted print books, traditional publishing’s ebook sales seem to have fallen off — and Amazon is more dominant than ever in the print book market. “It’s so much cheaper,” says Friedman.

Apple Offering Week Of App Store Freebies For The Holidays, by Malcolm Owen, AppleInsider

Starting Christmas Eve, Apple will be giving away a series of surprises for customers of the App Store, in what appears to be a reworking of its long-canceled "12 Days of Gifts" promotion.

How To Set An Apple Watch Move Goal That's Right For You, by Graham Bower, Cult of Mac

The Apple Watch Activity app sets us three daily goals, for standing, exercise and movement. The first two are the same for everyone: Stand for a minute during at least 12 hours of the day, and do at least 30 minutes of exercise. But the Move goal is different.

For it, you must choose an appropriate goal for yourself, and that can prove a little tricky. Set it too high and it’ll be demotivating. Too low, and it’s just not challenging enough.

So how do you pick the perfect Move goal on Apple Watch?


Apple Requiring Notarization For Non Mac App Store Apps Starting February 2020, by Juli Clover, MacRumors

Apple this afternoon announced that developers who create Mac apps outside of the Mac App Store will need to submit them for the notarization process starting on February 3, 2020.

Apple temporarily relaxed the notarization requirements for non ‌Mac App Store‌ apps in September after the launch of macOS Catalina, and at the time, said developers would have until January 2020 to get used to the new rules.

All I Want For Christmas Is To Sign In With Apple, by Viorel Sfetea

I am just not willing to pay that at the moment. I don’t plan to have a mobile app and I don’t want to pile up costs at this stage of the project.

And frankly, if you’re put before the decision of implementing Sign-in with Facebook for free vs Sign-in with Apple for 100€, which one are most likely to choose?

The Engineering-Music Edition Monday, December 23, 2019

We Drowned AirPods, Powerbeats Pro And Galaxy Buds, by Vanessa Hand Orellana, CNET

With the highest IP rating among the three wireless headphones we tested, it's no surprise that the Powerbeats Pro performed the best overall. The Galaxy Buds seemed to have the least amount of damage occur to its microphones, but the buds themselves only played sound on one side. Even then, we had to crank the volume to its maximum level to hear much at all.

The AirPods were the outliers of the bunch, given they aren't rated for sweat or water and turned out to be the biggest surprise in our test. After all of our testing, they didn't sound as good as when we first took them out of the box, but they are certainly still usable, even after going through the wash.

AirPods Pro Bluetooth Latency, by Stephen Coyle

Looking to the AirPods first, there's a very encouraging trend occurring. They drop from 274ms to 178ms going from the first to second generation, and the AirPods Pro take it down even further, to 144ms. While a 130ms reduction may not seem like a lot, the perceptual difference from this makes the AirPods Pro tantalisingly close to seamless.

Why Big Data Has Been (Mostly) Good For Music, by Allyson McCabe, Wired

All of this creates a lot of questions about what’s at stake and for whom. Big data can help streaming services make music recommendations and offer exclusive content in an effort to expand their market share. It can also help labels partner with buzzy artists that are likely to yield a significant ROI. And in cases where talent, luck, and industry interests align, it can help artists to make smart decisions about how to sustain their breakout success.

But if data mining supplants traditional A&R altogether, labels will become even less willing to take chances on artists whose music isn’t engineered to maximize profit. That would mean more homogeneity and less incentive for creativity and innovation. That might work for casual listeners, but for music lovers, it’s the opposite of value.


Birding Today: Apps Bring Birding To Your Phone, by Deb Hirt, Muskogee Phoenix

Technology has done some remarkable things for the birding world. If John James Audubon and other pioneering ornithologists were alive today, they would be both in awe and jealous. However, the point is that had they not done what they did for birding, we’d never be where we are today.

Ready yourselves to get a couple of apps for your Android and iPhone if you don’t already have them to improve your birding game.

Lego Builder's Journey Is A Surprisingly Beautiful And Poetic Puzzler, by Cameron Bald, AppSpy

A more emotional take on Lego isn't something I thought we needed, but along comes Builder's Journey to (hopefully) prove me wrong.


Apple Removes Popular Chat App ToTok After Reports That It’s A Govt Spy Tool, by Ben Lovejoy, 9to5Mac

Apple has removed ToTok from the App Store after a classified intelligence assessment and a New York Times investigation said that the app was a spy tool used by the United Arab Emirates.

Bottom of the Page

Has anyone ever throw a Christmas party for introverts? Because I think I need that.


Thanks for reading.

The Very-Same-Technology Edition Sunday, December 22, 2019

How Your Phone Betrays Democracy, by Charlie Warzel, New York Times

The future for the world’s activists may look increasingly like Hong Kong. The leaderless protest movement of the past six months has been made possible by technology. The messageboard LIHKG and encrypted chat apps like Telegram have allowed for the kind of organization that has kept the protests going. But the movement has also been undermined by the very same technology. Protesters and journalists and even law enforcement have been doxxed (had their private information published) by the thousands. A real-time location tracking app used by protesters to identify the positions of law enforcement was taken down by Apple’s App Store — suggesting that governments will have a competitive advantage when it comes to the resource.

And while protesters have rebelled by wearing masks, blocking government cameras with lasers and even tearing down lampposts they suspected were outfitted with beacons and surveillance equipment, their efforts are being quietly undermined by the spies in their pockets. Like the rest of us, they are only as secure as the least secure apps on their phones.

Food App Moderation Adds Siri Support And More To Help You Track Your Meals, by Oliver Haslam, iMore

But the idea is that simply by being more aware of what you're eating is enough to help you make better decisions going forward. And by making you decide whether your meal was healthy or not, the app forces you to actually think about it.

Few Apps For Depression & Suicide Prevention Meet Clinical Guidelines, by Traci Pedersen, PsychCentral

Most (93 percent) mobile apps for suicide prevention and depression management do not provide all six suicide prevention strategies commonly recommended in international clinical guidelines, according to a new study led by Nanyang Technological University (NTU), Singapore.


Wong Lai Chun, senior assistant director at Samaritans of Singapore, a non-profit organization focused on crisis intervention and suicide prevention, advised against over-reliance on mobile apps.

San Francisco Spent A Decade Being Rich, Important, And Hating Itself., by Scott Lucas, BuzzFeed News

In December, San Francisco’s Planning Commission approved the construction of five duplexes in Bernal Heights, where the median home price is just under a million and a half dollars. In the middle of the region’s excruciatingly well-documented and seemingly near-permanent housing crisis, it didn’t take the commission a month to approve the construction, or even a year. It took 41 years — four decades to approve just 10 new units of housing on a vacant hillside, kept that way by the opposition of neighbors who opposed construction, quite literally, in their backyards, and a system that prioritized their preferences over our needs.

This isn’t an anomaly. Across the street from Apple’s headquarters in Cupertino, a developer proposed to convert an all-but-empty mall into 2,400 homes. City voters said no. In 2013, San Francisco voters rejected a 141-unit condo building on the waterfront. Across the region, city councils, beholden to voters concerned about their own property values, dragged their feet in approving new housing. And so, when the tech industry reignited our economy, we — newcomers and locals alike — didn’t have the capacity to grow.

Politics is much less about who your friends are than who your enemies are. And in the last 10 years, the easiest enemies to find were the techies and the nimbys.

Bottom of the Page

I can still remember it fondly: a whole afternoon without a single email arriving in my inbox at work. I was so happy, feeling so productivity, doing 'real' work.

Then, just before I leave for office for the night, I discovered that actually, even though everything still looked normal, my email client had actually crashed. There were, in fact, many many emails waiting for me in my inbox.

I was so sad.

(There was probably a lesson in there somewhat that I failed to grasp.)


Thanks for reading.

The Equal-Opportunities Edition Saturday, December 21, 2019

Apple Suppressed Competitors In Its App Store--until It Got Caught, A Lawsuit Alleges, by Reed Albergotti, Washington Post

“Multiple different types of Apple app competitors enjoyed a sudden, unexplained rise in search rankings,” according to Blix’s latest filing in court, which appeared Friday. The spike came roughly two weeks after a New York Times article examined how Apple ranked its own apps higher than competitors.

Apple spokesman Fred Sainz declined to comment on the litigation. On its website, Apple says its App Store provides “equal opportunities to developers to deliver their apps and services across iPhone, iPad, Mac, Apple TV, and Apple Watch.”

Email Usernames And Passwords Can Be Extracted From Locked iPhones On iOS 13.3, by Ben Lovejoy, 9to5Mac

Elcomsoft, a company which sells tools to law enforcement agencies to access locked iPhones, says that it is now able to extract some data from devices running any version of iOS from 12.0 to 13.3.

It relies on the checkm8 exploit of a vulnerability present in most A-series chips, which made possible the Checkra1n jailbreak.

MacBook Pro Anti-Reflective Coating Repair Program Remains In Effect, But 2013-2014 Models No Longer Eligible, by Joe Rossignol, MacRumors

Apple continues to authorize free display repairs for eligible MacBook and MacBook Pro models with anti-reflective coating issues for up to four years after the affected notebook's original purchase date, the company said in an internal memo distributed to Apple Authorized Service Providers this week.

AirPods Pro Owners Scratch And Sniff … Blueberries, by Brad Gibson, Cult of Mac

Some AirPods Pro owners report an unusual smell emanating from the plastic and rubber casings of Apple’s hot new earbuds. Of all things, they say they detect a whiff of … blueberries.

One expert tells Cult of Mac the aroma could be deliberate, or simply a result of chemical compounds in the plastics.

Bottom of the Page

Today, I went through all the movies in my Netflix queue that scored less than a 7.0 in IMDB. Because life's too short.

Oh, and then I watched The Post.


Thanks for reading.

The Platform-Security Edition Friday, December 20, 2019

Apple's Platform Security Guide Details How Customer Data Is Protected, by Malcolm Owen, AppleInsider

The Apple Platform Security guide is a 157-page document that gives an overview of how Apple treats security across its entire ecosystem. The guide which details how security technology and features are implemented on the platforms, is Apple's way to reassure curious and concerned users that its products are secure as they can be.

The documentation is also intended to help organizations combine Apple's platform security technology with "their own policies and procedures to meet their specific security needs," the guide mentions.

Apple Opens Public Bug Bounty Program, Publishes Official Rules, by Catalin Cimpanu, ZDNet

Apple has formally opened its bug bounty program today to all security researchers, after announcing the move earlier this year in August at the Black Hat security conference in Las Vegas.


Starting today, the company will accept vulnerability reports for a much wider spectrum of products that also includes as iPadOS, macOS, tvOS, watchOS, and iCloud.

In addition, the company has also increased its maximum bug bounty reward from $200,000 to $1,500,000, depending on the exploit chain's complexity and severity.

Apple Launches New IT Section Of Apple At Work To Spotlight More Of Its Business Services, by Lori Gil, iMore

Today, Apple has updated its Apple At Work web portal with a new IT section that explains how Apple's Business Manager can help companies get iPhones, iPads, Macs, and Apple TVs into the hands of their employees without having to go office-to-office to help set them up.

IT teams can automate the setup of new devices, implement certain configurations and manage them remotely, distribute apps across all devices, and ensure that corporate data is secure.

Coming Soon

Apple Introduces Specs For Photography Strobe Accessories That Augment iPhone 11's Flash, by Jordan Kahn, 9to5Mac

Apple’s iPhone 11 models could soon support new strobe and flash accessories for photography that connect via the device’s built-in Lightning connector, according to sources briefed on new specs shared with manufacturers in Apple’s Made-for-iPhone (MFi) licensing program.

The specs could allow for new types of accessories like a Made-for-iPhone battery case with a built-in flash that connects over Lightning.

Apple Held Preliminary Talks With Pac-12 Conference, MGM, by Tripp Mickle, Wall Street Journal

Though the conversations with MGM and the Pac-12 were preliminary and have yet to reach an advanced stage, the talks show Apple’s openness to striking a multibillion-dollar content agreement in support of its TV service— even as it forges ahead with a preferred strategy of developing its own shows, these people said. A deal with the Pac-12 would be Apple’s first foray into live sports.

Apple Has Secret Team Working On Satellites To Beam Data To Devices, by Mark Gurman, Bloomberg

Apple Inc. has a secret team working on satellites and related wireless technology, striving to find new ways to beam data such as internet connectivity directly to its devices, according to people familiar with the work.

The Cupertino, California-based iPhone maker has about a dozen engineers from the aerospace, satellite and antenna design industries working on the project with the goal of deploying their results within five years, said the people, who asked not to be identified discussing internal company efforts. Work on the project is still early and could be abandoned, the people said, and a clear direction and use for satellites hasn’t been finalized. Still, Apple Chief Executive Officer Tim Cook has shown interest in the project, indicating it’s a company priority.


Adobe Capture For iOS And Android Brings Full-color Vector Shapes To Mobile, Pattern Builder For Tablets, by Michael Potuck, 9to5Mac

Adobe has released an update for its Capture app for iOS and Android that brings a new pattern builder tool for tablets and for the first time, the ability to make full-color vector shapes on mobile devices.


FCC Retest Vindicates Apple On iPhone RF Exposure Claims, by Malcolm Owen, AppleInsider

The iPhone complies with standards for RF exposure, the FCC has confirmed, after the regulator performed extra tests on the Apple smartphone following claims in August by the Chicago Tribune that the model was breaching consumer safety rules.

It's Hard To Ban Facial Recognition Tech In The iPhone Era, by Tom Simonite, Wired

After San Francisco in May placed new controls, including a ban on facial recognition, on municipal surveillance, city employees began taking stock of what technology agencies already owned. They quickly learned that the city owned a lot of facial recognition technology—much of it in workers’ pockets.

City-issued iPhones equipped with Apple’s signature unlock feature, Face ID, were now illegal—even if the feature was turned off, says Lee Hepner, an aide to supervisor Aaron Peskin, the member of the local Board of Supervisors who spearheaded the ban.

Twelve Million Phones, One Dataset, Zero Privacy, by Stuart A. Thompson, New York Times

Every minute of every day, everywhere on the planet, dozens of companies — largely unregulated, little scrutinized — are logging the movements of tens of millions of people with mobile phones and storing the information in gigantic data files. The Times Privacy Project obtained one such file, by far the largest and most sensitive ever to be reviewed by journalists. It holds more than 50 billion location pings from the phones of more than 12 million Americans as they moved through several major cities, including Washington, New York, San Francisco and Los Angeles.

Each piece of information in this file represents the precise location of a single smartphone over a period of several months in 2016 and 2017. The data was provided to Times Opinion by sources who asked to remain anonymous because they were not authorized to share it and could face severe penalties for doing so. The sources of the information said they had grown alarmed about how it might be abused and urgently wanted to inform the public and lawmakers.

Bottom of the Page

Digitial minimalism may be the only kind of minimalism I enjoy. Let's push things a bit further...


Thanks for reading.

The Enhance-Naturalness Edition Thursday, December 19, 2019

How Apple Strives For The Perfect Sky And Revives Cities, by Thomas Schielke, ArchDaily

Since Steve Jobs opened the first Apple Store in 2001, the brand has changed its store and lighting design concept five times. Thereby change appears as a central factor when a brand grows and expands internationally. For each period Apple developed sophisticated details and has strived for the perfect sky in their store - a smart strategy to enhance naturalness and sustainability.

The Buzz Around AirPods, by The Economist

Apple has the clout to make the industry more profitable. It could use its strong position with AirPods, Apple Music, podcasts and Siri to create a swirl of audio content around the iPhone—an ecosystem in the jargon—and take the lion’s share of advertising. For the time being, though, it appears to be more focused on creating video content, in its battle for eyeballs with Netflix. That is lucky for Spotify. It gives it a bigger opening in the audio market. It is good for listeners, too. The last thing anyone wants is a Big Tech behemoth controlling the next best thing to a brain implant.

Photo Roulette, The Hot App That Makes Teens Cringe And Parents Fret, by Julie Jargon, Wall Street Journal

It isn’t surprising that Photo Roulette got through the vetting process of Apple and Google’s app stores: Just as with messaging apps, the images shared with Photo Roulette aren’t made public outside the group and aren’t necessarily the responsibility of the developer to police.


Apple Open-sources HomeKit Accessory Development Kit To Spur Adoption, Grow New Standard, by Andrew O'Hara, AppleInsider

Apple has published an open-source version of its HomeKit Accessory Development Kit, allowing more users to experiment with the development of HomeKit accessories. The release is designed to accelerate development of a new universal smart home standard created by a consortium of companies including Apple, Amazon, Google and the Zigbee Alliance.

IBM Has Abandoned A Plan To Make Apple's Swift Programming Into A Big Enterprise Technology, by Julie Bort, Business Insider

IBM will no longer be working on Apple's Swift programming language in 2020, the Swift organization said last week.

IBM's departure puts a cloud over work that was supposed to turn Swift into a powerhouse technology for corporate app development.


Former Apple Store Genius Bar Staffer Sues Apple For Inadequately Supporting His Disability As Required By Law, by Jack Purcher, Patently Apple

As Apple opens a new 'flagship' store in Canada a 33-year-old person with a disability who was employed for more than eight years as an "Apple Genius" working at an Apple Inc. store in Ontario is claiming that he was dismissed by the computer giant because he requires a wheelchair and is suing for lost wages and damages.

Robert Shaw alleges in a Statement of Claim that Apple repeatedly refused to work on an individual accommodation plan with him, opting instead to provide piecemeal solutions to his disability.

Ikea 2.0: Inside The Furniture Giant's Big Bet On The Smart Home, by Thomas Ricker, The Verge

I am in Sweden to meet with Block and his team to better understand the extent of Ikea’s smart home ambitions. What I discover is a company that’s aware of its missteps, with a clear understanding of how it wants to improve and expand. Ikea believes its advantage in the smart home stems from what at first looks like its greatest disadvantage: Ikea is not a tech company. As a furniture maker, Ikea has a thorough understanding of life at home and a unique ability to marry technology with ordinary furniture. Ikea’s unimaginable scale matches up well with Big Tech. And historically speaking, it’s been a formidable and ruthless competitor in every segment it focuses on. Ikea is now focused on the smart home.

The digital transformation of Ikea could improve the lives of billions. At stake is the democratization of the smart home — intelligent homes that improve the daily lives of everyone, not just the resident geeks who can already afford them.

Westpac Joins Rivals In Rolling Out Apple Pay, by Clancy Yeates, Sydney Morning Herald

Westpac is the final big four bank to allow its customers to make tap-and-go payments with their iPhones, announcing plans to roll out of Apple Pay across its various brands by mid-2020.

Bottom of the Page

I am tired. Everything is mixed up in one big messy soup.


Thanks for reading.

The Royalty-Free Edition Wednesday, December 18, 2019

Apple, Amazon, Google, And Zigbee To Develop Open Standard For Smart Home Devices, by Joe Rossignol, MacRumors

Apple, Amazon, Google, and the Zigbee Alliance today announced a new working group that plans to develop and promote the adoption of a new, royalty-free connectivity standard for smart home products, with a focus on increased compatibility, security, and simplified development for manufacturers.

The Big Story Of Podcasting In 2019 Was All About Spotify. Will 2020 Be The Year Apple Strikes Back?, by Nicholas Quah, Nieman Lab

Not that the prospect of Apple matching Spotify pound for pound with an exclusives/originals strategy is something that should be universally embraced, of course. There are more than a few podcast folk who feel weary about a Balkanized future, given podcasting’s historical relationship with openness. I, for one, am one such weary-wort. For what it’s worth, I subscribe to the perspective that Apple doesn’t have to match Spotify pound for pound in order to preserve its influence over the space. (To the extent that it wants to, which still seems like an open question.) Apple can, and should, match Spotify on other stuff — like being accessible on smart speakers or, you know, improving on its horrendous app — but I do sincerely believe there is a future where Apple can maintain its commitment to the open ecosystem and hold the line against Spotify.


Tim Cook’s Apple Had A Great Decade But No New Blockbusters, by Walt Mossberg, The Verge

But Cook does bear the responsibility for a series of actions that screwed up the Macintosh for years. The beloved mainstream MacBook Air was ignored for five years. At the other end of the scale, the Mac Pro, the mainstay of professional audio, graphics, and video producers, was first neglected then reissued in 2013 in a way that put form so far ahead of function that it enraged its customer base.

Some insiders think Cook allowed Ive’s design team far too much power and that the balance Jobs was able to strike between the designers and the engineers was gone, at least until Ive left the company earlier this year.

First, The Smartphone Changed. Then, Over A Decade, It Changed Us., by Joanna Stern, Wall Street Journal

Have we learned from our experience with the smartphone over the past decade? Will we be more prepared and better able to guide how the gadgets of tomorrow will change us? Or will we be just as buffeted about by the coming decade’s big technological leaps, surprised yet again by how little control we have over these inanimate objects that have so much control over us?

I like to think we’ve learned something, but at least I know one thing for sure: When the 2030 ball drops, I’ll blow the dust off my iPhone 11, and be shocked by the things it can’t do—and by the things I no longer think or feel.


Apple Really Doesn't Want Us Thinking About Touchscreen MacBooks—and Sidecar Proves It, by Leif Johnson, Macworld

I don’t think Apple grasps this simple point. It’s overthinking how people would use touchscreen laptops. Apple seems to assume users would want to use nothing but touch support on their MacBooks, but when I see colleagues and visitors using touchscreen Windows laptops in meetings, they’re not using them for complicated tasks like clone-stamping textures in Photoshop. They’re usually not diving deep into menus, and they’re certainly not trying to recreate one of Monet’s haystacks. Instead, they’re usually standing over their laptops and quickly swiping to different parts of a page or opening files or links, thereby saving a few seconds over what using a mouse or the trackpad would have taken. It’s sure a heck a lot more convenient than the Touch Bar, which has been Apple’s only concession to touch-based interaction on MacBooks to date.

Not Such A Bright Idea: Why Your Phone’s ‘Night Mode’ May Be Keeping You Awake, by Tim Dowling, The Guardian

‘Night mode” is one of those features you may be aware of only because your phone keeps telling you about it. At some point while you are lying in bed at night sending texts, your screen may politely suggest you activate a function that shifts the colours of your screen from the colder to the warmer end of the spectrum. It is supposed to help you sleep better.

Findings in a study led by Dr Tim Brown and published in Current Biology suggest this is the very opposite of correct. The research, carried out on mice, appears to rubbish the notion that blue light disrupts sleep. All things being equal, warm yellow light is worse.


Get Six Months Of Apple Music Free This Christmas, by Karen Haslam, Macworld UK

From now until New Years Eve you can get a six months subscription to Apple Music for free. All you need to do is Shazam something with the Shazam iPhone app. When you do so you will automatically be able to sign up for six months Apple Music for free.

Mac Pro Demonstrates 'Masterclass In Repairability' In Teardown, by Amber Neely, AppleInsider

Due to the nature of the Mac Pro's modular design, iFixit has given it an extremely high repairability score - a 9 out of 10. For many repairs and upgrades, users won't need any tools, and for the repairs that do, a basic repair kit is all that is needed.

iDevices Finally Get Key-based Protection Against Account Takeovers, by Dan Goodin, Ars Technica

Developed by the cross-industry FIDO alliance and adopted by the World Wide Web consortium in March, WebAuthn has no shortage of supporters. It has native support in Windows, Android, Chrome, Firefox, Opera, and Brave. Despite the support, WebAuthn has gained little more than niche status to date, in part because of the lack of support from the industry's most important platform.

Now, the standard finally has the potential to blossom into the ubiquitous technology many have hoped it would become. That's because of last week's release of iOS and iPadOS 13.3, which provide native support for the standard for the first time.


Meet The Mad Scientist Who Wrote The Book On How To Hunt Hackers, by Andy Greenberg, Wired

That fantasy version of Cliff Stoll is hard to make out in the mad scientist, klein bottle-selling Cliff Stoll of today. But, it turns out, underneath 30 years of layered polymath whimsy, the obsessed hacker hunter is still there.

‘The Far Side’ Is Back. Sort Of. Gary Larson Will Explain., by George Gene Gustines, New York Times

“I’m not ‘back,’ at least in the sense I think you’re asking,” said Gary Larson, the cartoonist who created it, via email last week ahead of a website revival. “Returning to the world of deadlines isn’t exactly on my to-do list.”

Beginning Tuesday, the “Far Side” site will provide visitors with “The Daily Dose,” a random selection of past cartoons, along with a weekly set of strips arranged by theme. There will also be a look at doodles from the sketchbooks of Larson, who said: “I’m looking forward to slipping in some new things every so often.”

Bottom of the Page

I've never really enjoyed Facebook, so it's not a surprise that I don't miss it after I quit.

Then, this past few months, I've quitted Twitter. And, it is a little of a surprise, I find that I don't miss Twitter either.

The only social network that I am following right now is MetaFilter.


Thanks for reading.

The Coverage-Collaboration Edition Tuesday, December 17, 2019

Apple Partners With ABC On 2020 Presidential Coverage In The Apple News App, by Sarah Perez, TechCrunch

Apple announced today it will collaborate with ABC News on coverage of the upcoming 2020 U.S. presidential election in its Apple News app. The efforts will kick off with the Democratic primary debate on February 7, 2020, in New Hampshire, and will feature ABC News videos, live streams, plus FiveThirtyEight polling data, infographics and analysis during key moments in the 2020 election.

Apple Shareholders Set To Vote On Human-rights Policies, by Sam Shead, BBC

Apple removed a mapping app during the Hong Kong protests, leading to criticism that it pandered to Beijing.

Campaign group SumofUs called on Apple to disclose certain human-rights policies in a resolution filed on 9 September.

The US Securities and Exchange Commission rejected Apple's appeal to block the resolution this month.

Catalina 10.15.2 Has Changed Gatekeeper’s Dialogs To Confuse Notarization Status, by The Ecletic Light Company

Do you remember that dialog shown by Gatekeeper when you first open a notarized app, telling you that “Apple checked it for malicious software and none was detected”? Well, that sentence has now vanished. Instead, that dialog now looks very similar to the pre-Catalina dialog for non-notarized apps.


Apple Releases New Firmware For AirPods 2 And AirPods Pro, by Juli Clover, MacRumors

Putting the ‌AirPods‌ in the case, connecting the ‌AirPods‌ to a power source, and then pairing the ‌AirPods‌ to an iPhone or an iPad should force the update after a short period of time.

Photoshop For iPad Gains ‘Select Subject’ Feature, by Darrell Etherington, TechCrunch

Adobe says the 2019 version of Select Subject on iPad and on desktop provides better selection edges and works almost instantly, even on iOS. Behind the scenes, the feature is actually a bunch of different machine learning algorithms working together to make the selection, refine the selection, de-artifact the edge and more. The end result is that you can get a very usable subject cut out that allows you to easily recompose, or independently edit subject and background very quickly and with very little, if any, manual refinement required.


Apple And Hackergal Take Hour Of Code To The Next Level, by Rene Ritchie, iMore

Hackergal runs workshops using Everyone Can Code, Swift Playgrounds, and Xcode all the time. When I asked why Apple and Apple technologies, instead of Chromebooks and the like, Lucy explained that the experience for the children, being able to use a friendly and intuitive device, with software that gets out of their way and doesn't keep getting in their way, just leads to better results. And Lucy's team was incredibly good at engaging with the children. They played a few games to get started, then dove right into Swift Playgrounds.

Turning Ideas Into Action, by Mike Schmitz, The Sweet Setup

I know that when you get inspired, it can be tempting to to just jump in and start working while motivation is high. But I want to caution you not to just jump in and do the work without thinking about it first. Resist the urge to begin a project as soon as you see the first thing you need to do to get started. You’ll save yourself a lot of headache if you take a little bit of time to think about it first.


Apple’s ‘Assembled In USA’ Mac Pro Is Made In China For International Customers, by Michael Potuck, 9to5Mac

Today, the Mac Pro is arriving to the first customers who ordered the new modular machine and >em>MacGeneration received a picture from a reader that the Mac Pro for Europe is indeed made in China, not the US.

'Helpsters' Pop-up Appears In New York City's Chelsea Neighborhood, by AppleInsider

Apple is taking to the street (quite literally) to promote its Apple TV+ original series "Helpsters," with the company preparing to open a show-themed pop-up location in New York City.

Apple CEO, Pakistani Activist At SJSU To Talk Tech, Educating Girls, by Jessica Aguirre, NBC Bay Area

Apple CEO Tim Cook joined Malala Yousafzai, the Pakistani girl shot by the Taliban as she rode the bus to school, to talk about their shared goal of educating girls around the globe.


The partnsership is aimed at educating girls in Aghgnaistan, Pakistan, Lebanon, Turkey and Nigeria, countries where girls are routinely denied the right to learn and where Apple and Yousafzai are now pushing for equity and education for all.

Bottom of the Page

Will Apple go into the journalism business as well as magazine business to boost it's News+ business?

Anyone remember how MSNBC and Slate started?


Thanks for reading.

The Growth-in-Gaming Edition Monday, December 16, 2019

Apple Arcade Now Available With $49.99/Year Subscription Option, by Joe Rossignol, MacRumors

To switch to the annual subscription plan on an iOS device, open the App Store, tap on your profile photo in the top-right corner, tap on Subscriptions, tap on Apple Arcade, and select the one-year option.

How Apple Arcade Changed Mobile Gaming In 2019, by Shelby Brown, CNET

Among all of these, Apple Arcade stands as the most polished service that offers the clearest value, CNET noted in its review.

Apple also likely knows that mobile games and casual games are where most of the growth is in gaming, and planting the flag with Arcade will give it a bigger piece of that pie moving forward.

Things 3.11 Update Brings Enhanced Quick Find Bar And Other Improvements, by Tim Hardwick, MacRumors

The Quick Find bar is used to quickly switch between lists, find to-dos, and search for tags. That functionality has been expanded and now includes the ability to generate lists for specific types of data.

Apple And Google Named In US Lawsuit Over Congolese Child Cobalt Mining Deaths, by Annie Kelly, The Guardian

A landmark legal case has been launched against the world’s largest tech companies by Congolese families who say their children were killed or maimed while mining for cobalt used to power smartphones, laptops and electric cars, the Guardian can reveal.

Apple, Google, Dell, Microsoft and Tesla have been named as defendants in a lawsuit filed in Washington DC by human rights firm International Rights Advocates on behalf of 14 parents and children from the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). The lawsuit accuses the companies of aiding and abetting in the death and serious injury of children who they claim were working in cobalt mines in their supply chain.

Could Apple Take A Political Stand That Would Make You Stop Buying Its Products?, by Cam MacMurchy, 9to5Mac

We know that companies will always put money first, and most of us accept that. But is there a line? Is there a point at which values matter?

The Score-Deals Edition Sunday, December 15, 2019

7 Tricks That Will Save You Money At The Apple Store, by Mike Peterson, iDropNews

An Apple Store (or is not really the place where you see the words “sale,” “discount,” or “clearance” very often. In fact, you probably won't see any sort of sales at all. But, despite that, there are still a number of ways that you can score a great deal on Apple products and gear. Continue reading to browse seven tips to find the best prices at and Apple Stores around the globe.

Google, Apple Asked If Apps Like TikTok Must Disclose Foreign Ties, by Mark Hosenball and Diane Bartz, Reuters

“Recent press reports have shed light on allegations that certain foreign companies and developers may be providing sensitive data on U.S. citizens via their mobile applications to their host governments, thereby creating significant national security risks,” Lynch wrote in similar letters to Google chief executive Sundar Pichai and Apple’s Tim Cook.

“U.S. laws permit mobile applications to collect massive amounts of personal information about their users,” the letters said, noting that some of the data is sensitive.

To Err Is Human – Is That Why We Fear Machines That Can Be Made To Err Less?, by John Naughton, The Guardian

Our politics tell us that some people would rather die than change their minds. There’s something distinctively human about inconsistency, cognitive dissonance and sheer cussedness. And maybe that’s really why we fear AI: because it would be all the things that we are not.

Bottom of the Page

Handoff works great for Safari -- except cookies aren't transferred over. So I can't continue my Sudoku game.

Oh well.

(What I did was copy-and-paste my half-completed puzzles over using eyeballs and hand.)


Thanks for reading.

The Everyone-Shine Edition Saturday, December 14, 2019

Apple's Head Of Accessibility On The Company's Determination To Make Gadgets That Work For Everyone, by Amelia Heathman, London Evening Standard

Ensuring that this is baked into everything Apple makes, from devices to apps and services, is Sarah Herrlinger, Apple’s global head of accessibility. We recently sat down with Herrlinger to talk about this mission and the surprising learnings along the way.

“We all want to be productive members of society and do good things and show the whole of who we are. Being able to create technology that levels the playing field and lets everyone shine is really important," she says.

You Can Now Ask Alexa To Play Apple Podcasts On Amazon Echo Speakers, by Benjamin Mayo, 9to5Mac

Apple has partnered with Amazon to launch support for Apple Podcasts on Amazon Echo devices. Starting today, Echo owners in the United States can ask Alexa to play any of the 800,000 shows in the Apple Podcasts directory.


Apple 'Spaceship' Open House Miffs Neighbors Who Didn't Get Invites, by Marisa Kendall, San Jose Mercury News

But after the event was publicized, neighbors started complaining they were left out — including some who live blocks from the campus.


Apple says the company invited its closest Apple Park neighbors, as well as some community members who were early supporters of the project. But the company would not provide more specific details about how invitees were chosen, or comment on how many people were invited.

Apple Is Offering Free Genetic Tests To All Its Silicon Valley Employees, by Christina Farr, CNBC

The idea is to move health care at Apple's clinics from reactive to proactive, as genetic tests can offer a window into health risks down the line. In some cases, patients can take preventative steps to reduce their likelihood of getting a disease.

Shopping Sucks Now, by Casey Johnston, Vice

I'm realizing what I actually want is not the perfect glove; what I want is for the world to be small again. This infinite-market stuff was all well and good when being able to buy almost anything was an opportunity, but now that I can consider everything in the interest of saving time and money on buying subpar stuff, it’s an obligation I can’t ignore. But then I inevitably end up wasting a lot of time and money trying to save that time and money, making everything about this my fault.

The Haven't-Been-Invented Edition Friday, December 13, 2019

Can Apple Keep Growing Without Extracting Anything More From The Earth?, by Cassie Werber, Quartz

The world’s most valuable company aims to eventually manufacture every new iPhone, Apple Watch, and glitzy yet-to-be-invented gizmo using 100% renewable power, and (this is the big one) without mining any new raw materials from the planet.


Apple already has steered billions of dollars into environmental efforts. But technology constraints, cost constraints, and the imperative to shore up its high standing with investors, mean the dream—of good old luxury consumerism but without the environmental consequences—is incredibly far from being a reality, especially bearing in mind that techniques for recycling some of the materials Apple uses haven’t yet been invented.

So is Apple’s a story of “green” branding, or genuine effort, or both?

Apple's New iPhone Software Is Supposed To Limit Who Your Kid Talks To, But A Bug Lets Them Get Around It, by Todd Haselton, CNBC

But we discovered that when an unknown number texts the kid's phone, the kid is given the option to add the number to their address book. After the kid adds the number to the address book, they can call, FaceTime or text that number.

First Mac Pro Orders Begin Shipping Out To Customers, Delivery Expected On Monday, by Juli Clover, MacRumors

Apple's initial delivery estimates were at one to two weeks after purchase, but orders placed now will not be delivered until December 31 to January 8 due to demand for the machine.


The Mac "Pro", by Martin Pilkington

All in all, the Mac Pro is a powerful machine. For certain workflows it is even worth the cost. But the problem is that Apple has priced out a huge swathe of the professional market by making its lower end Mac Pros prohibitively expensive for what is frankly underwhelming hardware.

Yes, these users can get by with iMacs and Macbook Pros, and even the iMac Pro (if they ever update it). But none of these offer the expandability that many professionals desire.

Apple’s Next Step With The Mac Should Be Consumer-focused, by Dan Moren, Macworld

This gets to the heart of something that Apple seems to finally be recognizing: Mac users and iOS users aren’t the same. Sure, many folks use both platforms, but there are always going to be customers who prefer one or the other, so why not appeal to both? The company has, in recent declarations, staunchly upheld that the Mac is the Mac and iOS is iOS, and never shall the twain meet—or, less poetically, what works for iOS users doesn’t always work for Mac users. Mac customers buy Macs because they want the Mac, not just because they want any consumer-level computing device. To many of them, an iPad—comparable though it may be to a Mac laptop—simply doesn’t fill the same niche.


Apple Arcade Debuts New ‘Ultimate Rivals’ Exclusive Sports Game Franchise, by Chance Miller, 9to5Mac

Apple has announced a major new sports game franchise that is now available on Apple Arcade. “Ultimate Rivals,” developed by Bit Fry Game Studios, Inc., brings together athletes from hockey, basketball, football, baseball, and soccer.

Connect AirPods To Almost Anything With AirFly Pro, by Ed Hardy, Cult of Mac

Because we don’t live in a world where every audio device offers Bluetooth, the AirFly Pro can make AirPods even better. In-seat entertainment systems on long flights are the most obvious place to plug one in, but there are many others, such as the Nintendo Switch.

‘Snowflake Weather’ Is Powerful New Weather App Designed For iPhone, iPad, And Apple Watch, by Chance Miller, 9to5Mac

The app is designed to offer a detailed look at weather data, in a sleek and consistent interface across platforms.


We Need To Adopt A No-commute Culture, by Chris Horn, Irish Times

Rather than the carbon emissions of literally hundreds of thousands of commuters; rather than the intense pressure on urban planning, housing and on personal lifestyle; and rather than investing heavily in yet further major infrastructure arteries, should we not now rapidly foster a national culture of no-commute whenever possible? The improvement in our national quality of life would be truly transformative, and benefit across all our society.


Apple Buys U.K. Startup To Improve iPhone Picture Taking, by Mark Gurman, Bloomberg

Spectral Edge uses a type of AI called machine learning to make smartphone pictures crisper, with more accurate colors. Its technology takes an infrared shot and blends it with a standard photo to improve the image.

Apple News Co-hosting Its First Presidential Debate Between Democrats In February, by Chance Miller, 9to5Mac

When an organization co-hosts a debate, there is generally a financial commitment involved. Apple could also play a role in the behind-the-scenes technology of the debate. In general, someone from the organization will also serve as a moderator, but it’s unclear if that will be the case with Apple’s partnership.

The Highest-Level Edition Thursday, December 12, 2019

Apple’s 2019 Mac Pro – First Impressions, by Vincent Laforet's Blog

For tech geeks, this is the equivalent of punching the accelerator of a top of the line sports car. It’s brought a smile to my face more than once – due to both it’s speed, and also the ability to work on, an in turn see one’s work at the very highest level of detail.

Scrubbing through ultra-high resolution footage can be so painless that it almost feels like you’re getting away with something. It’s made me a bit giddy more than once.

The Thermodynamics Behind The The Mac Pro, The Hypercar Of Computers, by Alexander George, Popular Mechanics

Most high-grade PCs and displays cool things off with big fans or pump-driven water systems. But if you’ve used a Mac in the past decade, near-silent operation is a non-negotiable requirement for Apple laptops. That means Apple engineers have to find creative ways to exploit the laws of thermodynamics.


Amazon And Apple Will Be Our Doctors In The Future, Says Tech Guru Peter Diamandis, by Ruth Reader, Fast Company

Diamandis believes the involvement of home health devices has the potential to lower costs by shifting care away from hospitals, where expenses can be much higher. This is the general idea behind telemedicine, but Diamandis thinks that big consumer tech companies will play a big role in driving that vision. He also thinks that these companies, which have mastered using personal data to anticipate user behavior, can use personal health data to make predictions about a person’s long-term health prospects and advise them accordingly.

Diamandis posits that the more information is available about you—your genetic makeup, your health history, what you ate for breakfast, the bacteria in your bowel movement, how you slept last night, what kind of sound you’re exposed to every day—the better artificial intelligence will be at spotting your potential for illness and suggesting care before the problem becomes intractable. This approach might shift the medical establishment from a structure that treats disease once it’s wreaking havoc in your body to one that prevents the disease from striking in the first place. “It is literally hundreds if not thousands of times cheaper to do that,” he says.

How Apple News Editors Quietly Influence UK's Election Reading, by Jim Waterson, The Guardian

Journalists who work for Apple News have scrubbed the company’s name from their social media accounts, a move that reduces the risk of them being accused of bias but adds to the lack of transparency around their decisions.

People at British media organisations who deal with Apple News say the editors have a welcome reputation for promoting exclusives and high-quality news featuring original reporting in their “top stories” section. If the Apple News editors like what they see, their backing can deliver enormous numbers of readers – which gives these editors a power akin to an old-school newspaper boss choosing a front-page story.

Silicon Valley Is Listening To Your Most Intimate Moments, by Austin Carr, Bloomberg

By 2019, after Apple brought Siri to products such as its wireless headphones and HomePod speaker, it was processing 15 billion voice commands a month; 0.2% of 15 billion is still 30 million potential flukes a month, or 360 million a year. The risks of inadvertent recording grew along with the use cases, says Mike Bastian, a former principal research scientist on the Siri team who left Apple earlier this year. He cites the Apple Watch’s “raise to speak” feature, which automatically activates Siri when it detects a wearer’s wrist being lifted, as especially dicey. “There was a high false positive rate,” he says.


Apple AirPods Pro Review: The ‘Hearable’ At Its Best, by Brian X. Chen, New York Times

While there are bulkier headphones on the market that do a better job at noise-canceling, the AirPods Pro are adequate in most situations, and their compact size make them more convenient. They are a major improvement; I hesitate to recommend older versions because the new model is far superior.

Listen Up: These New Hearing Aid Apps Go Way Beyond Helping You Hear Better, by Randy Rieland, MarketWatch

The truth is that hearing aids have changed dramatically in recent years, reimagined through the digital technology that has transformed so many of the devices of our daily lives. They have not only become more discreet, but also are adding functions far beyond helping us hear better.

One of the biggest advances in hearing aids is their ability to use wireless Bluetooth technology to directly stream audio from other devices. No more annoying, whistling feedback. Instead, live sound from a TV, laptop or tablet is transmitted to a hearing aid through an app downloaded on your smartphone. Usually, it’s an app tied to the specific hearing aid model. Because you control the volume through your phone, you can turn it up without actually making the TV louder in the room.

TechTool Pro 12, by Agen Schmitz, TidBITS

The update also includes an option to install a driver that provides access to the SMART Data available on USB drives.


Apple Neighbors Get Rare Chance To Explore ‘Spaceship’ Campus, by Marisa Kendall, San Jose Mercury News

But by opening its campus for a limited time this weekend, Apple is fulfilling a promise it made years ago, Sinks said. During a 2013 joint meeting of the council and planning commission, while Apple and the city were hashing out plans for the new campus, Dan Whisenhunt, Apple’s vice president of global real estate and development at the time, suggested the audience would one day get the chance to see the campus for themselves.

Apple Used The DMCA To Take Down A Tweet Containing An iPhone Encryption Key, by Lorenzo Franceschi-Bicchierai, Vice

Apple confirmed that it sent the original DMCA takedown request. The company said that it retracted the request but Twitter had already complied with it and had taken the tweet down. Apple then asked Twitter to put the tweet back online.

A Google Engineer Thought He'd Have To Stop Coding Because Of A Health Condition That Makes It Incredibly Painful To Type. Now, He Programs With His Voice And Helps Others Learn To Do It, Too., by Rosalie Chan, Business Insider

Today, Stout works as an engineer on the accessibility team to help users more easily use Google's products. For example, Stout is working on features that help people use their voice to navigate apps in a natural way. And on the side, Stout writes a blog called Hands-Free Coding, where he writes about how to to make voice coding work.

"I solved my problems, and now it's time to go help other people who are where I was," Stout told Business Insider. "I got these comments on this blog from people saying it had saved their careers. If this is what a weekend project in the space of accessibility can do, what would happen if I can devote my full-time job to accessibility?"

As products like Amazon Alexa and Apple Siri catch on with consumers, providing a convenient, hands-free way to hear the latest sports scores or order groceries, Stout's experience shows the potential for voice-based computing to improve lives in more fundamental ways. Stout's work creating his own voice-based system saved his career and could open the door to even broader innovations to help people overcome physical limitations.

The Price Of Free, by Amanda Mull, The Atlantic

Etsy and Miceli share the same goal: to induce shoppers to buy from Etsy instead of ordering mass-produced goods from the uncountable conventional retailers that would also like to ship you a pair of feather earrings. Now she and the platform are in conflict because of how those other retailers—especially Amazon—have warped our idea of what it means to shop online. There’s scarcely tastier bait for American shoppers than free shipping, and it’s been transformed from an occasional incentive into something that closely resembles a consumer requirement. But shipping isn’t free for the people who send packages, and an insatiable demand for this perk might be the thing that breaks mom-and-pop retail for good.

The Do-Not-Add-Water Edition Wednesday, December 11, 2019

Apple Begins Accepting Pre-Orders For The New Mac Pro And Pro Display XDR With Shipping Beginning In 1-2 Weeks, by John Voorhees, MacStories

First revealed at WWDC this past June, Apple has begun taking pre-orders for its next-generation Mac Pro and 32-inch Pro Display XDR with in-store availability and shipping beginning in 1-2 weeks.

Apple Details How To Install Mac Pro Parts, Upgrade RAM And More, by AppleInsider

Following a start to Mac Pro sales, Apple on Tuesday revamped a dedicated support webpage with new informational assets covering a range of Mac Pro-related topics including the upgrade of system memory, installation of PCIe cards and more.

Magic Keyboard And Mouse In Silver And Black Require Buying $6000 Mac Pro, by Ed Hardy, Cult of Mac

A black-and-silver Magic Keyboard, Mouse 2, and Trackpad 2 debuted in Apple’s product lineup today, but only a fortunate few can order them. As it stands now, these accessories are only available for people who also buy a 2019 Mac Pro.

Only Use Apple's Special Cloth To Clean Pro Display XDR, by Mikey Campbell, AppleInsider

While a soft microfiber cloth and cleaning solution might be fine for conventional displays, Pro Display XDR owners are told to "use only the dry polishing cloth that comes with your display to wipe dust or smudges off the screen. Don't add water or use other liquids to clean the nano-texture glass.

Logitech Made A $200 Webcam For Apple's $5,000 Pro Display, by Jon Fingas, Engadget

It just released a 4K Pro Magnetic Webcam built with the Pro Display XDR in mind. As the name implies, it sticks to your display without clips or other mounts, even when you rotate the monitor into portrait mode.

OSes Updates

Apple Releases iOS And iPadOS 13.3 With Communication Limits, Removable Memoji Stickers, And tvOS 13.3 With Alternate Top Shelf For TV, by Ryan Christoffel, MacStories

Communication Limits have been added to Screen Time, and Memoji stickers can be removed from the emoji keyboard. On the tvOS side, 13.3 re-introduces the option for the TV app to display your Up Next queue as its Top Shelf behavior rather than auto-playing video instead.

Apple Releases macOS Catalina 10.15.2 Update With Apple News Improvements, iPhone Remote Control Support For Music And TV Apps, by Juli Clover, MacRumors

The update includes a new layout for Apple News+ new stories, introduces Stocks improvements, includes Music bug fixes, adds support for using an iPhone to remotely control the Music and TV apps on a Mac, includes Photos and Mail bug fixes, and more.

macOS 10.15.2 Restores iTunes Column Browser To Music, by Jason Snell, Six Colors

I’m happy to report that as of today, the macOS 10.5.2 update returns the Column Browser, which as far as I can tell works just as it did in iTunes.


iPhone 11 Pro Romps Through Saudi Arabia In Dirty New Apple Ad, by Buster Hein, Cult of Mac

The minute-long ad follows a group of Saudi ATV riders as they push themselves, their vehicles and the iPhone 11 Pro camera to the absolute limit. It’s pretty much the exact opposite of the wintery Shot on iPhone ad Apple put out last week and will have you ready to hit some warmer weather.

Apple Arcade Review: Mobile Gaming Gets A Massive Upgrade For $5 A Month, by Jason Hiner, CNET

For now, it's a terrific platform for putting a lot of games at the fingertips of individual casual gamers. There's plenty of good stuff to cycle through -- even if you've never heard of most of it. And the fact that you can download a ton of games and run them on a relatively inexpensive device like the Apple iPad 10.2 -- also a CNET Editors' Choice -- makes this a great deal for a lot of people.

Apple Card’s Interest-free iPhone Installment Plan Goes Live, Now With 6% Back On Apple Holiday Purchases, by Sarah Perez, TechCrunch

The new iPhone installment program is a first-party offering with all the advantages that entails, including the 3% or 6% back — depending on when the purchase is made — as well as the ability to manage payments directly within the Apple Wallet app on the iPhone.

Drafts For Mac Adds Actions Support For Deep Integration With Other Apps And Services, by Chance Miller, 9to5Mac

Drafts is a powerful app available for Mac, iPhone, iPad, and Apple Watch, focused on allowing you to quickly capture, share, and create text. Today, Drafts for Mac has been updated with support for actions, allowing it to integrate closely with an array of third-party applications.

Edison Mail Comes To The Desktop With A New Mac App, by Filipe Espósito, 9to5Mac

Among the main features is the One-Click Unsubscribe option to leave mailing lists quickly. Users can also block specific senders and prevent advertising emails from being able to track them.


Apple Touts 'Best' Supplier Mix In China, Japan And US, by Keiichi Murayama, and Francesca Regalado. Nikkei Asian Review

"The way that we do manufacturing is we look at all countries and look to see what skills are resident in each country, and we pick the best," Cook said, pointing to Seiko Advance. "They're the reason that we're able to put this color on the iPhone. We've worked with them for years and we've grown together. Both parties enjoy working together, we push each other to innovate more."

Apple CEO Tim Cook Has Breakfast At Tiong Bahru Hawker Center, by Coconuts Singapore

Both photographers are very close to the tech brand. Soh, an architectural photographer, won the company’s Shot On iPhone Challenge in February for a photo he took of residential flats in Potong Pasir using an iPhone XS Max, while street photographer Chia is known for hosting photography workshops at the Apple Orchard Road store.

Retailers Don't Like Paying The Fees For Your Apple Card, by Jennifer Surane, Bloomberg

Merchants in the U.S. saw the costs tied to accepting electronic payments balloon to a record $108 billion in 2018, according to the Nilson Report. Some of the increase can be attributed to the rise in the overall use of cards, but many stores also blame the profusion of high-end rewards cards. According to a report from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, the share of credit card purchases made with any kind of rewards card rose steadily from 2015 to 2018, and is above 80%. (Some basic rewards cards don’t carry the extra transaction fees.)

Bottom of the Page

If… When Apple comes out with the Apple Car, that will be another Apple product that I neither need nor want.

(Out of all the major Apple platforms today, I don't have a desktop, and I don't have a watch.)


Thanks for reading.

The Online-Shopping Edition Tuesday, December 10, 2019

Apple Store App Redesigned With New Shopping Experience, by Michael Steeber, 9to5Mac

Apple released a major update to the Apple Store app today with a redesigned Shop tab that completely overhauls the online shopping experience. Products are now presented with richer visuals, featured recommendations, and more.

Many App Store And iTunes Customers No Longer Receiving Email Receipts For Purchases, by Chance Miller, 9to5Mac

An odd annoyance has emerged among many App Store and iTunes users. Over the last several weeks, many Apple customers have reported that they are no longer receiving email receipts for purchases they made via the App Store or iTunes.

Online Publishing

Apple’s Safari Privacy Features Are Driving Down Prices For Advertisers At The Cost Of Accuracy, by Michael Potuck, 9to5Mac

Executives in the online publishing industry speaking with The Information say that Apple has been “stunningly effective” with its goal of Intelligent Tracking Prevention stopping websites from knowing what users are doing on the web. One of the results of this over the last two years is that costs for advertisers have dropped significantly for Safari users while they’ve gone up for Chrome.

That's Just The Way The Cookie Crumbles, by Ronan Shields, Adweek

The cat-and-mouse game between developers attempting to bypass Apple’s cookie prohibition has (in part) led to Google’s upcoming “fingerprinting” (hacks developers used to continue tracking Safari users) crackdown.

Many observers, such as Ian Johnson, chief product officer at IPG’s data outfit, Kinesso, believe such workaround tactics are part of the reason the platform providers such as Apple and Google have adopted such a hardline strategy toward privacy.


Apple MacBook Pro Review (2019, 16-Inch): A Return To Form, by Julian Chokkattu, Wired

All products have problems, but for the last few years, MacBooks have been suffering from a plague. If it's not the keyboard, it's performance throttling, or even potentially hazardous batteries. Media exposure around these issues has been omnipresent, and Apple has taken enough heat in the tech press to make this reengineered MacBook feel like an apology.

It's a very good apology and, at $2,399 and up, a very expensive one. But rather than rely a radical new design, the new MacBook Pro plays it safe, adding small improvements and fixing the big problems. While that might make it a bit boring, it could be exactly what Apple needs after years of misfires.

Direct Import, Advanced Export Arrive In Lightroom For iPad, by Michael Steeber, 9to5Mac

Direct Import works exactly as you’d expect. Connect an SD card reader or camera to your device running iOS or iPadOS 13.2 or later, and files will import directly into Lightroom without having to be shuttled through your camera roll in the Photos app. RAW import is supported, and Adobe says imports will take less time than they did in Photos.

Microsoft To Finally Shut Down To Do List App Wunderlist On May 6, 2020, by Sarah Perez, TechCrunch

Microsoft has for years promised it would eventually shut do to-do list app Wunderlist, which it acquired in 2015, in favor of its own app, To Do — after it felt the latter was able to offer a competitive experience that included Wunderlist’s best features. Today, Microsoft is finally announcing a shut-down date for Wunderlist of May 6, 2020. After this date, Wunderlist to-do’s will no longer sync but users will still be able to import their content into Microsoft’s own To Do app.

Swiss Fiber TV Service 'Salt' Launches Alternative Apple TV 4K Remote Control For Frustrated Customers, by Tim Hardwick, MacRumors

Costing just under 20 Swiss francs, the optional remote was reportedly developed in close collaboration with Apple, after a sizable section of Salt TV's customer base apparently complained about the poor usability of the Apple Remote that comes with every ‌Apple TV‌ 4K.


Apple’s ‘The Morning Show’ Gets Nominated For Multiple Golden Globes Awards, Including Best TV Series, by Benjamin Mayo, 9to5Mac

Apple’s flagship original show received multiple nominations across a couple of categories, most significantly as a candidate for best TV series drama. Stars Jennifer Aniston and Reece Witherspoon also picked up best actress nominations for their roles in Apple’s show.

Apple To Speak At CES Conference For First Time In Decades, by Mark Gurman, Bloomberg

Apple Inc. is officially returning to the Las Vegas CES technology conference for the first time in decades to discuss its stance on consumer privacy -- rather than pitch a new hardware product.

The company’s senior director of privacy Jane Horvath will be speaking on a “Chief Privacy Officer Roundtable” on Jan. 7, according to the CES agenda.

Bottom of the Page

It's Mac Pro day!

(Why am I excited about a product that I neither want nor need?)


Thanks for reading.

The Effortless-Magic Edition Monday, December 9, 2019

AirPods Pro Review: A Touch Of Apple Magic, by Samuel Gibbs, The Guardian

The AirPods Pro are a triumph for Apple. They’re small, comfortable, last long enough for most listening sessions, slot into an unrivalled truly-pocketable case and – finally – offer not only proper noise isolation thanks to silicone tips, but also surprisingly effective active noise cancellation.

They have the same magic that makes the standard AirPods effortless to use, particularly with Apple’s devices. They simply work, even with Android or Windows machines.

Procreate 5 Review: A Rebuilt Graphics Engine Drives Fantastic Animation, Color, And Brush Tools In An Art App Perfectly Tailored To The iPad, by John Voorhees, MacStories

That streamlined design is one of the keys to Procreate. It conceals a lot of power under the hood, including most of the features that are new to version 5, and makes it easy to get started with the app. Buttons to access the app’s brush, eraser, smudge, and color picker tools should be familiar to anyone who has tried an art-creation app before. However, behind the buttons in Procreate’s toolbar is a deep set of tools and settings to explore.

JustStream Review: Mac Utility Mirrors, Streams Video To Any TV In The House, by J.R. Bookwalter, Macworld

With JustStream, delivering video and audio to any screen in the house is a snap, even with files in non-native formats like AVI or MKV. That’s because the app does all the heavy lifting by transcoding in real time when needed, complete with optional subtitles where available in your chosen font, color, and size. You can also import subtitles, as well as play embedded or external audio tracks in sync with the video.

Review: The BenQ 27-inch DesignVue UHD Thunderbolt 3 Is An Asset For Designers, Photographers, And Video Editors, by Amber Neely, AppleInsider

With the advent of high definition video and photography, digital artists have had to step up their display game in order to get the most out of their work. The DesignVue is a reasonably priced monitor geared toward designers, video editors, and photographers.

Resources For Adapting To Zsh In Catalina, by Josh Centers, TidBITS

macOS 10.15 Catalina brought many big changes to the Mac, like lack of support for legacy 32-bit apps, but one change you could have easily missed is the default Terminal shell being changed from bash (the Bourne-again shell) to zsh (Z shell). It’s an easy change to miss if you don’t use the Terminal, but also because if you upgraded from an older version of macOS, bash remains the default, though you’re prompted to switch.

The Save-the-Date Edition Sunday, December 8, 2019

Apple To Release Mac Pro And Pro Display XDR On December 10, by Juli Clover, MacRumors

Apple plans to release the new Mac Pro and the Pro Display XDR on Tuesday, December 10, according to "Save the Date" emails that Apple began sending out to some customers this afternoon.


Pricing on the ‌Mac Pro‌ will start at $6,000, and will go up based on configuration. The base ‌Mac Pro‌ features an 8-core Xeon W chip.

Apple Investigating 16-Inch MacBook Pro Popping Sound Issue, Fix Planned In Future Software Updates, by Joe Rossignol, MacRumors

Apple is investigating a popping sound issue with the new 16-inch MacBook Pro and plans to make a fix available in future software updates, the company has indicated in an internal document obtained by MacRumors.

Carrier Documents Confirm iOS 13.3 Will Be Released Next Week, by Benjamin Mayo, 9to5Mac

iOS 13.3 includes a handful of new user features, including the ability to set limits for contacts in Screen Time. Parents can restrict who their children can communicate with and at what times, like only allowing calls to immediate family after 9pm.


‘Apple Card Monthly Installments’ Offer 0% iPhone Financing, by Chance Miller, 9to5Mac

Apple explains that when you use Apple Card Monthly Installments to finance your iPhone, the monthly payment for that iPhone will simply be included in your minimum payment amount every month. The installments are not subject to interest like the rest of your balance, Apple points out.

'Zenia' Is The World's First AI-Powered Virtual Yoga Assistant, by Kishalaya Kundu, Beebom

Developed and marketed by Zenia Inc, the app monitors your yoga poses and provides real-time feedback on the quality of your asanas.


Administrative Assistant Jobs Helped Propel Many Women Into The Middle Class. Now They’re Disappearing., by Heather Long, Washington Post

Rita Maxwell had no idea she was about to lose the job she’d had for nearly 20 years when her boss told her to meet him in the conference room at the end of the work day.

In a short conversation, Maxwell’s longtime boss, the head of an executive search firm in Northern Virginia, informed her that he no longer needed an executive assistant because he could handle his own scheduling, errands and phone calls. He offered her a few weeks of severance pay and said he would stay late while she packed her belongings.

“I was completely taken aback when he called me into the meeting room to let me know my position had been eliminated,” said Maxwell, who was let go in early 2017. “There’s just not a lot of loyalty anymore.”

Bottom of the Page

I learnt typing -- on a 'real' typewriter -- by typing out magazine articles.

If I am born today, I wonder how I will learn to type.


Thanks for reading.

The Life-on-Campus Edition Saturday, December 7, 2019

The World At Our Fingertips: A Decade Of Smartphones On Campus, by Rebecca Carcieri, Chanikarn Kovavisarach, Nicholas Michael, Claire Liu and Elise Ryan, Brown Daily Herald

To get a ride downtown, you call the taxi dispatcher. To find a date, you sit at a bar. To share the details of your weekend, you call a friend. In 2007, this was life on a college campus.

But halfway through that year, the release of the first iPhone heralded a seismic cultural shift that no one anticipated. In September, a Brown Daily Herald article titled “Despite devotees, iPhone reception weak” announced the smartphone’s introduction to campus.

Why I Believe That Airpods Are The New iPhone., by Paul Michaelenko, Medium

People don’t like to be alone; even worse, to be seen alone.

It gives the impression that you’re socially inadequate or that you don’t have many friends. Consequently, we’re always on the phone, creating the impression that we’re needed by someone.

Airpods provide an elegant solution for this peculiar social conundrum.


Apple Advises iPhone 11 Smart Battery Case Users To Update To iOS 13.2 To Ensure Camera Button Works Properly, by Joe Rossignol, MacRumors

Before providing service, Apple has advised technicians to ensure the iPhone is updated to the latest iOS version, noting that the camera button will not function correctly unless the device is running iOS 13.2 or later.


Apple Park Holding Special ‘Neighborhood Open House’ With Toys For Tots Drive In California, by Michael Potuck, 9to5Mac

Apple is opening its doors to nearby residents with an open house scheduled for December 14 at Apple Park that includes a Toys for Tots holiday drive.

Who’s Hacking Your Spotify?, by Jonah Engel Bromwich, New York Times

Connor Ball, the 23-year-old bassist of the British pop band the Vamps, was in the shower when he realized something was up. The song he was listening to on Spotify, by the American singer Lauv, had suddenly stopped.

“That’s a shame,” Mr. Ball remembered thinking. (He couldn’t start it again; he was still showering.) Then another song started playing. The music was odd, like nothing he would choose to play for himself.

Bottom of the Page

These past weeks, I had been thinking back what I used to think I wanted to be when I grow up. I think I've narrowed to three things: magazines, books, and programming.

Now, I've got to figure out what I want to do with magazines, books, and programming for the remainder of my life.


Thanks for reading.

The Management-of-Compliance Edition Friday, December 6, 2019

Apple Says Its Ultra Wideband Technology Is Why Newer iPhones Appear To Share Location Data, Even When The Setting Is Disabled, by Zack Whittaker, TechCrunch

“Ultra wideband technology is an industry standard technology and is subject to international regulatory requirements that require it to be turned off in certain locations,” an Apple spokesperson told TechCrunch. “iOS uses Location Services to help determine if iPhone is in these prohibited locations in order to disable ultra wideband and comply with regulations.”

“The management of ultra wideband compliance and its use of location data is done entirely on the device and Apple is not collecting user location data,” the spokesperson said.

MacBook Pro 'Popping' Sound Bug Returns In New 16-inch Model, by William Gallagher, AppleInsider

A number of users are reporting a popping or clicking sound from the speakers on the new 16-inch MacBook Pro, similar to a recurring problem that has affected Apple's portable Macs over the last several years.

Apple Card Beginning To Show Up On Credit Reports, by Joe Rossignol, MacRumors

Goldman Sachs has confirmed that it is working with credit bureau TransUnion to begin reporting Apple Card information, informing cardholders that they will see full details on their credit report within the next five days. This includes the date the Apple Card account is opened, credit balance, payment status, and more.


Apple’s Clips App Updated With Animoji And Memoji Support, New Disney Stickers, More, by Chance Miller, 9to5Mac

Adding support for Animoji and Memoji characters to Clips allows users to create personalized videos using their custom characters. They integrate with other Clips features as well.

Dolby Vision On Apple TV 4K Failing For Some Apple TV+ Shows, by Ben Lovejoy, 9to5Mac

Many people are reporting that Apple TV+ shows are no longer playing in Dolby Vision on Apple TV 4K, instead reverting to less-sophisticated HDR10 standard.

Popular Manga Art App Clip Studio Paint Is Now Available On The iPhone, by Dami Lee, The Verge

Clip Studio Paint, the industry-standard software for manga artists, is now available on the iPhone. Unlike the iPad version, which is just an identical clone of the desktop app ported over for the tablet, the iPhone app is optimized for smaller screens. It features cloud integration so that work on the iPhone will also sync with files on the desktop and iPad versions.


Microsoft Wants Everyone To Follow Its Lead With Its New Mobile Design, by Tom Warren, The Verge

”The thing we learned in all of our research is that people spend about 4 hours a day on their phone, but the average session time of doing something is between 20 and 30 seconds long,” explains Friedman. That’s an extremely short burst of time to get something done on the go, and Microsoft is trying to improve its own apps, and others, to simplify those tasks with a design that makes it more familiar and less jarring when you switch apps.

That doesn’t mean every Microsoft app will look the same on iOS and Android, as the company is still trying to feel at home and native on these platforms. It means things like search should be in a similar place, and iconography will be reused so things feel more familiar. It’s these very subtle changes that can add up to improvements over time, and it’s a big part of Microsoft’s open design approach internally.


Apple Buys First-ever Carbon-free Aluminum From Alcoa-Rio Tinto Venture, by Stephen Nellis, Reuters

Apple Inc on Thursday said it has bought the first-ever commercial batch of carbon-free aluminum from a joint venture between two of the world’s biggest aluminum suppliers.

The metal is being made by Elysis, a Montreal-based joint venture of Alcoa Corp and Rio Tinto announced last year with $144 million in funding from the two companies, Apple and the governments of Canada and Quebec.

Phone-in-cheek: Spike Seen In Cellphone-linked Face Injuries, by Lindsey Tanner, Associated Press

Add facial cuts, bruises and fractures to the risks from cellphones and carelessly using them.

That’s according to a study published Thursday that found a spike in U.S. emergency room treatment for these mostly minor injuries.

The Bundle-of-Expectations Edition Thursday, December 5, 2019

The Mac Pro Is An Important Symbol, But You Probably Shouldn’t Buy It, by Jason Snell

The new Mac Pro is coming very, very soon—in the next couple of weeks, if we hold Apple to the astronomical definition of “coming this fall.” It’s safe to say that this is the most anticipated Mac in history—if only because its existence was pre-announced more than two and a half years ago, with the specifics following six months ago.

The Mac Pro is important and it’s platform defining. And unless you’re someone in the extreme high end of the Mac market, you will never use one. It’s a bundle of expectations built on a precision stainless steel space frame and sheathed in a machined aluminum housing.

Apple's Technology Transitions, by Martin Pilkington

A lot of the controversy comes down to people not understanding the how or the why of these transitions, and why Apple ultimately drops the old technology. So I thought it would be useful to explore Apple's history of transitions and try to explain some of the reasons for this latest one in a way everyone can understand.


While it can seem that Apple doesn't care about backwards compatibility at all, they spend a lot of time weighing up the pros and cons before dropping support for anything. It's also interesting in how much effort they do put into backward compatibility given the large sweeping changes they have undergone the past 30 years, even if that compatibility is only ever temporary.

Apple’s Activation Lock Will Make It Very Difficult To Refurbish Macs, by Craig Lloyd, iFixIt

Attempting any kind of hardware tinkering on a T2-enabled Mac activates a hardware lock, which can only be undone by connecting the device to Apple-authorized repair software. It’s great for device security, but terrible for repair and refurbishment.

While recyclers may not be dealing with as many locked Macs as locked iPhones (especially since Activation Lock on Macs is still very new, and there are specific software criteria that need to be met), it’s only a matter of time before thousands upon thousands of perfectly working Macs are scrapped or shredded, for lack of an unknown password.


Craigslist Gets Official iPhone App 11 Years After The App Store Launched, by Michael Potuck, 9to5Mac

There have been many third-party Craiglist clients for iOS over the years but yesterday marked the release of the first official app from the company.

Nomad Debuts Versatile New Leather ‘Active Straps’ For Apple Watch, by Chance Miller, 9to5Mac

Nomad says the Active Strap is built for heavy everyday use, but with a design that is also more formal than it is sporty. Because of the hydrophobic leather, the Active Strap is is made to resist water and sweat.

Readdle’s Calendars 5 For iOS Gains Support For Microsoft Exchange And More, by Michael Potuck, 9to5Mac

Readdle’s Calendars 5 for iPhone and iPad recently received an update that brings support for Microsoft Exchange calendars as well as the ability to use multiple iCloud, Google, or Exchange calendars.


5G Won’t Change Everything, Or At Least Probably Not Your Things, by Rob Pegoraro, Ars Technica

For some of us, the results will yield the billions of bits per second in throughput that figure in many 5G sales pitches, going back to early specifications for this standard. For everybody else, 5G will more likely deliver a pleasant and appreciated upgrade rather than a bandwidth renaissance.

That doesn’t mean 5G won’t open up interesting possibilities in areas like home broadband and machine-to-machine connectivity. But in the form of wireless mobile device connectivity we know best, 5G marketing has been writing checks that actual 5G technology will have a lot of trouble cashing.

Bottom of the Page

I am realizing that I now have superpowers since switching going pro with my AirPods: I can now go to the next track or go back to the previous track without taking out my iPhone. (I don't use Apple Watches, so your superpower mileage may vary.)

But, I do have some 'nit-picks'.

Firstly, the tap-tap gesture of the AirPods is more reliable than the squeeze gesture of the Pro version. It seems to me all my tap-tap will successfully play or pause my audio. Any failures -- and there are occasional failures -- are caused by a non-responding app.

But I often find my squeezing on the new AirPods Pro produces no audible feedback, and produces no results. I have to reposition my thumb and index finger and try again. (The second time usually works, though.)

But to further make life just a little frustrating for me, I listen mostly to audiobooks and podcasts, and it is more common for me to rewind rather than fast-forward. So, after the squeeze gesture to play/pause, my second most-often gesture is squeeze-release-squeeze-release-squeeze-release to go back thirty-seconds for words that I've missed. This is not a good gesture. It's awkward. It's a little tiring. And I often worry that I didn't do the third squeeze in time, and the audio skipped forward instead.

I wish the next AirPods Pro will gain a tap-tap gesture. I will configure tap-tap for play/pause, and one squeeze for skip backwards.

(With all the sensors and microphones inside my ears already, I wonder if Apple can add the tap-tap gesture via software.)


If I just pick up a random AirPod Pro, I have no idea if it is for my left ear or my right. I have to read little label on the AirPod Pro.


Thanks for reading.

The Query-Your-Location Edition Wednesday, December 4, 2019

The iPhone 11 Pro’s Location Data Puzzler, by Brian Krebs, Krebs On Security

One of the more curious behaviors of Apple’s new iPhone 11 Pro is that it intermittently seeks the user’s location information even when all applications and system services on the phone are individually set to never request this data. Apple says this is by design, but that response seems at odds with the company’s own privacy policy.


Apple has not yet responded to follow-up questions, but it seems they are saying their phones have some system services that query your location regardless of whether one has disabled this setting individually for all apps and iOS system services.

Apple Acknowledges Issue With Some Entry-Level 2019 13-Inch MacBook Pro Models Unexpectedly Shutting Down, by Eric Slivka, MacRumors

Apple today posted a new support document outlining troubleshooting steps for users experiencing problems with unexpected shutdowns on the entry-level 2019 13-inch MacBook Pro with two Thunderbolt 3 ports, which was introduced back in July.


Apple News Launches Daily Email Newsletter, by Benjamin Mayo, 9to5Mac

Apple News is expanding its mail notifications with a new ‘Good Morning’ daily newsletter. Previously, users could opt in to receive email alerts from Apple News about select featured stories. The company appears to be formalizing that into a regular daily newsletter.

Apple says it will bring top news, analysis, and fascinating features every morning, collating the ‘best stories from the most trusted sources’.

A Review Of The 16-inch MacBook Pro, by Josh Ginter, The Sweet Setup

These are the six main areas of differences between the desktop Magic Keyboard and the 16-inch MacBook Pro’s Magic Keyboard. How each category of differences affects you will be very, very personal — to me, the warmth of the laptop and the squishy, cushioned feel at the bottom of each keystroke make this a very inviting keyboard to use each day.

iPadOS Vs A MacBook Pro In All The Tasks That Really Matter, by David Nield, Gizmodo

At times it feels like Apple wants to present the iPad as the future of computing or whatever’s after computing, but it’s not going to want to ditch its MacBooks any time soon—and the way that iPadOS is right now, it’s in no danger of having to do that. The OS makes iPads better than ever at doing a variety of jobs on the go, but that extra screen real estate, the sophistication of top-end desktop software, and the precision of a mouse (or trackpad) and keyboard mean professional users are only going to make one choice.

Adobe Photoshop For iPad, by Shelby Tupper, PC Magazine

Adobe is taking deliberately small steps with this much-anticipated iPad version of its flagship Photoshop image-editing application. The result is some pretty harsh criticism from those who took the company's promise of "full Photoshop on the iPad" at face value and expected exactly that from the outset. But part of the company's approach stems from a wish to address the justified perception that Photoshop on the desktop is a cumbersome learn. Nevertheless, if you want to feel closer to your pixels, you should download and install this initial release of Adobe Photoshop on the iPad and nuzzle up. This built-from-scratch app offers the basics as well as some of the most-loved features of desktop Photoshop.

Transit Is Back On Apple Watch After Two Years Away, by Oliver Haslam, iMore

One of those is more detailed information on future arrival times as well as a map to make sure you don't get lost on the way to your next bus or train. The app will also notify users if a trip is wheelchair-friendly, too.


Apple Says It Cares About The Climate. So Why Does It Cost The Earth To Repair My Macbook?, by Arwa Mahdawi, The Guardian

The fact that it is so hard to repair the things we supposedly own makes me angry at the best of times. But, on Monday, I became particularly apoplectic. Scrolling though Twitter, I noticed a sanctimonious tweet by Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO. “Humanity has never faced a greater or more urgent threat than climate change,” he noted. “Apple will continue our work to leave the planet better than we found it ...”

To quote the great Greta Thunberg: how dare you? Seriously, Apple, how dare you take the higher ground vis-a-vis the climate crisis when you make it so difficult to repair rather than replace?

Why I Listen To Podcasts At 1x Speed, by Brent Simmons, Inessential

I’ll miss things, and that’s totally fine. But, in the meantime, I get to listen to the human voice somewhat close to realistically, with its the natural human pauses, with its rhythms and flows relatively unmediated and natural. Its warmth and music means so much more to me than being caught up.

Instagram, My Daughter And Me, by Duff McDonald, Wired

My daughter was just 3 years old when the marriage ended, and the first eight pictures I posted were of her. Like many parents, I saw Instagram as a way to share pictures of her with my family, particularly my mother, who lives 500 miles away.

But I was also posting them for myself. I only have my daughter with me two out of every 14 days, and I miss her every single day that she is not with me. It’s painful. What Instagram has allowed me to do is to employ a kind of digital physics, to warp my experience of space and time in my favor. In the offline world, I spend precious hours with her and then she disappears. But online, she is with me again when I post, and then again each time I receive a notification that someone has reacted to that post. It’s like the universe sending me an echo of the moment.

Bottom of the Page

Yes, I listen to my audiobooks and podcasts at regular 1x speed too. And I also don't skip silence. The space between is important too. (So, please, don't over-edit.)


Thanks for reading.

The Sitting-at-Nexus Edition Tuesday, December 3, 2019

Apple Celebrates The Best Apps And Games Of 2019, by Apple

Today Apple revealed the best apps and games and the most powerful trends that drove app culture in 2019. Apps help simplify our lives and express our creativity, connect us to friends, family and the world beyond, and of course, have fun. In 2019, apps made their mark by reflecting the zeitgeist of our society and sitting at the nexus of digital and pop culture.

“Developers around the world inspire us all with innovative apps that have the power to influence culture and change our lives, and this year that is as true as ever. The 2019 App Store Best Apps and Games winners reflect our global desire for connection, creativity and fun,” said Phil Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of Worldwide Marketing. “We are excited to announce such a diverse group of 2019 App Store winners, showing that great design and creativity comes from developers large and small, and from every corner of the world. We congratulate all the winners and thank them for making 2019 the best year yet for the App Store.”

Billie Eilish, Lizzo And Lil Nas X Are The Winners Of The First Apple Music Awards, by Catherine Shu, TechCrunch

Apple now has its own music awards, with winners picked by Apple Music’s editorial team or based on streaming data from the service. The first recipient of its top award, Global Artist of the Year, is Billie Eilish. The Apple Music Awards will be streamed live on Dec. 4 at 6:30PM Pacific Standard Time from the Steve Jobs Theater in Apple’s Cupertino headquarters, with a performance by Eilish.

Help Fight

Apple Has Raised More Than $220m To Help (RED) Fight AIDS, Says Tim Cook, by Oliver Haslam, iMore

Apple CEO Tim Cook says that Apple's partnership with (RED) has allowed it to help raise $220 million to help fight AIDS throughout the past 13 years.

Tim Cook And Other CEOs Urge U.S. Government To Stay In Paris Agreement To Fight Climate Change, by Joe Rossignol, MacRumors

Apple CEO Tim Cook and a group of other CEOs, including Google's Sundar Pichai and Microsoft's Satya Nadella, have jointly signed a letter urging the Trump administration to keep the United States a member of the Paris Agreement.


Apple’s Latest ‘Shot On iPhone 11 Pro’ Video Showcases A Cinematic Snowball Fight, by Chance Miller, 9to5Mac

Apple’s new “Snowbrawl” video was captured by director David Leitch, who you may know from his work on films such as Deadpool 2, Fast & Furious, and more. The video was shot entirely on iPhone 11 Pro and packs elements like slow-mo, zooming, and more.

Express Mode For Apple Pay Now Available With Transport For London, by Ryan Christoffel, MacStories

When your device is set up for Express Mode, and its battery is close to depletion, iOS and watchOS will automatically save a certain amount of power so you can still use your device for transit access for another five hours after Power Reserve kicks in.


Create, Not Consume: A Mindfulness Manifesto, by Mike Schmitz, The Sweet Setup

For the first time, I viewed creativity as a formula. Austin gave me permission to accept what I created because it was the natural result of the dots I’d collected. I didn’t have to be ashamed of the fact that it was similar to something someone else had made. I just needed to collect better dots.

Ever since, I have been on a quest to curate better dots. I do this by being intentional about what I consume and using it to create something original. I don’t worry about the end result — it’s the process of creating that’s natural and valuable.

The False Promise Of Morning Routines, by Marina Koren, The Atlantic

It makes sense to wake up 30 minutes earlier than usual because you want to fit in some yoga, an activity that you enjoy. But something sinister seems to be going on if you feel that you have to wake up 30 minutes earlier than usual to improve your wellbeing, so that you can also work 60 hours a week, cook dinner, run errands, and spend time with your family. In a culture obsessed with self-optimization, “we are being sold on the need to upgrade all parts of ourselves, all at once, including parts that we did not previously know needed upgrading,” wrote Alexandra Schwartz in The New Yorker last year.


The Apple Curtain, by Brent Simmons, Inessential

I understand! I understand why Apple PR and legal departments are the way they are. But I still feel a loss to the community every time somebody I know goes to work at Apple.

Apple Fails To End MacBook 'Butterfly' Keyboard Class Action, by Jonathan Stempel, Reuters

U.S. District Judge Edward Davila in San Jose, California said Apple must face claims that its troubleshooting program did not provide an “effective fix” for MacBook design defects, or fully compensate customers for their out-of-pocket expenses while seeking repairs.

'The Banker' Cast And Director Defend Film After Apple Delays Release, by Brent Lang, Variety

In a statement, the film’s director, writer, and producer George Nolfi, as well as cast members such as Anthony Mackie, Samuel L. Jackson, Nicholas Hoult, Nia Long, and other key talent say they stand by the film and “its positive message of empowerment.” While expressing sympathy for Cynthia Garrett, they note that the film is not based on the memories of Garrett’s children, but on interviews with Garrett himself, as well as transcripts, court rulings, and articles. “The Banker” tells the story of Garrett and his partner Joe Morris’s successful efforts to circumvent a racist establishment by convincing white man to be the face of their real estate and banking empire. Cynthia Garrett has said the film does not accurately portray her family’s story.

Bottom of the Page

Will Apple, perhaps with Netflix and Amazon and whoever else, ever do an Oscar replacement, so that they don't have to show their movies in a cinema?

And to promote Apple News+, will Apple do a Person-of-the-year à la Time?


Thanks for reading.

The Embraced-iPad Edition Monday, December 2, 2019

Why You Should Ditch Your Laptop For iPad Pro, by Ben Brooks, The Brooks Review

iPad Pro sits in what feels like no-mans land. It is not as good as a laptop in many ways, nor is it as good as a single purpose device at one specific task. But then there is the fact that (in 2015) I, along with many other people over the last few years, decided to walk away from traditional computers and embraced iPad Pro as a primary computer. I wasn’t sure how successful this would be, but I have never looked back. (Think of it like how you could go away for a weekend with just one pair of pants, but could you actually take that leap of faith and only pack one pair?)

The iPad Pro has not only been a success with replacing a laptop, but it’s proven a better tool than a laptop.

I Attended The Apple Entrepreneur Camp. Here's Why You Should Too, by Victoria Repa, Fast Company

When I came back from the Apple Entrepreneur Camp, it was impossible to continue working the way I used to. Even though I documented everything I learned thoroughly, I pushed hard to implement all my new ideas while they were still fresh in my head.

We started actively cultivating the feelings of confidence and calm among our users. While most fitness apps push you to go, go, go, and hustle, we have realized that keeping our users motivated also means creating an inviting and positive space.

Apple And Others Need To Consult Emergency Services Over Automatic SOS Calls, by Ben Lovejoy, 9to5Mac

The big problem with such features, says EENA in a new position paper, is that tech companies fail to consult emergency service before launching them. That can result in the worst of both worlds: wasted resources on false alarms, while other users who are expecting help to arrive will never receive it.

Bye Bye Social

Quitting Social Media Won't Make You Happier, But This Will, by Mercey Livingston, CNET

Like Jones suggested, using an app or Apple's Screen Time feature on your phone is a good first step for being more mindful of your social media usage. You may be surprised how much time scrolling Instagram can add up. According to Jones, it can be helpful to evaluate this time and choose something more positive and intentional you'd rather fill your time with (like reading, workout out, or spending time with friends IRL).

If you decide to fill your former social media time with a new activity, like say reading, it will take a few weeks for the new habit to set in. It's totally normal to sit down to read and feel the urge to check social media for a while. But, it's best to commit to your routine and try not to break it (even if it's just "no social media after 9 p.m.") for at least three to four weeks, according to Jones.

Building A More Honest Internet, by Ethan Zuckerman, Columbia Journalism Review

The question isn’t whether a public social media is viable. It is if we want it to be. The question is what we’d want to do with it. To start, we need to imagine digital social interactions that are good for society, rather than corrosive. We’ve grown so used to the idea that social media is damaging our democracies that we’ve thought very little about how we might build new networks to strengthen societies. We need a wave of innovation around imagining and building tools whose goal is not to capture our attention as consumers, but to connect and inform us as citizens.

A Better Interet Is Waiting For Us, by Annalee Newitz, New York Times

The legacy of social media will be a world thirsty for new kinds of public experiences. To rebuild the public sphere, we’ll need to use what we’ve learned from billion-dollar social experiments like Facebook, and marginalized communities like Black Twitter. We’ll have to carve out genuinely private spaces too, curated by people we know and trust. Perhaps the one part of Facebook we’ll want to hold on to in this future will be the indispensable phrase in its drop-down menu to describe relationships: “It’s complicated.”

Public life has been irrevocably changed by social media; now it’s time for something else. We need to stop handing off responsibility for maintaining public space to corporations and algorithms — and give it back to human beings. We may need to slow down, but we’ve created democracies out of chaos before. We can do it again.


No Face ID Required: Apple Pay Express Mode Now Available For The London Underground, Here’s How To Set It Up, by Benjamin Mayo, 9to5Mac

If you are in London, you can now travel using Apple Pay on the Underground network without having to use Touch ID or Face ID authentication.

Smartphones Double As Point-of-care Diagnostics, by Joseph Constance,

The technical capabilities of these phones have become so advanced that they can compete with technology once thought to be only the domain of physicians' offices and hospitals. Research groups and startup companies are developing apps and technology that turn smartphones into tools that can diagnose eye disease, perform home-based urinalysis, diagnose ear infections and respiratory disease, and help women learn about their reproductive health.

Bottom of the Page

I wonder if there is still hidden Ping code in Apple Music...


Thanks for reading.

The Museum-Exhibit Edition Sunday, December 1, 2019

From Leonardo DaVinci To Apple: Technology Influenced Our Society By Transforming Into Art, by Anna Powers, Forbes

Today, the with the proliferation of technology design has become a much more salient feature of the workforce, as digital platforms broadcast the viewer with various images, thus their design and artistic messaging become increasingly important for products. Apple, an enterprise, known for its stringent emphasis on design principles, has succeed precisely because it used technology and presented it as art that resonated with its consumers. Perhaps hundreds years of years later, we will the iPhone in a museum exhibition.

Apple’s Movie Launch Became A PR Disaster, And One That’s Not Easy To Prevent, by Chris Lindahl, Indiewire

Ultimately, the only real failsafe for avoiding all true-story complications is if absolutely everyone attached to the subject is dead. Beyond that, however, producers must decide: Do they want to involve a minimum of people, limiting the cost and the possibility of script interference, while risking conflict upon release? Or, they could spend the money to get life rights and cooperation from as many people as possible, which then introduces the very real possibility of power struggles and legal battles if family members won’t come to terms.

“The one thing no writer wants to hear is, ‘No, you need to tell this story,'” said awards publicist Tony Angellotti, who has worked on multiple true-life films including “Frost/Nixon,” “Cinderella Man,” “Erin Brockovich,” and “Green Book.” “A biographer interviews everyone, but ultimately it’s their opinion.”


Apple News+ Offering Three-Month Free Trial In U.S. And Canada This Weekend Only, by Joe Rossignol, MacRumors

Apple today started offering an extended three-month free trial period for Apple News+ to first-time subscribers in the United States and Canada, up from a one-month trial previously. According to the App Store, this is a temporary promotion available for the Black Friday and Cyber Monday weekend only.


The Coming Supremacy Of AR, by Allen Pike

It is brutally difficult to distinguish the next big thing from the last big fad. For every smartphone, we have 100 netbooks. For every electric car, we have 100 jetpacks. Product ideas often seem like they could change everything, but once they become possible, they often turn out to just not be very compelling. So we learn to be skeptical.

At this point, it’s well known that Apple has big plans to develop an augmented reality headset. What’s got people talking recently is not that Apple is working on it, but that they’re reportedly so committed to the project that they’ve disclosed 1000 people on it. According to The Information, Apple leadership believes AR glasses could replace smartphones within 10 years.

Facebook Bows To Singapore's 'Fake News' Law, by BBC

The note issued by the social media giant said it "is legally required to tell you that the Singapore government says this post has false information".

Facebook's addition was embedded at the bottom of the original post, which was not altered. It was only visible to social media users in Singapore.