The Feeling-of-Closeness Edition Saturday, January 18, 2020

How Headphones Are Changing The Sound Of Music, by Dan Kopf, Quartz

“Listening to music on headphones is very different to speakers where there is a temporal and spatial difference between you and the music,” says Charlie Harding, one of the hosts of the podcast Switched On Pop and co-author of a new book on music theory in popular music. Harding partially credits the success of podcasting to headphones: listening that way creates a feeling of closeness between the hosts and listener.

Similarly, he hears this in the singing of some pop artists, particularly Selena Gomez and Billie Eilish. “Their style of singing is almost like a whisper, as if they are right in your head,” he says. The recent single by Gomez, “Look at Her Now” is a perfect example according to Harding.

Apple Publishes New Transparency Report Detailing Govt Data Requests And App Store Removals, by Chance Miller, 9to5Mac

Amid its ongoing encryption battle with the FBI, Apple has published its latest biannual transparency report. This report reveals how many requests were made for user data by governments around the world, and how many with which Apple could comply.

'No Way' Apple Breaking Encryption For FBI Wouldn't Hurt Public, Privacy Advocates Say, by Tyler Sonnemaker, Business Insider

"It's not some simple trade-off that somehow increases national security at the cost of one person's individual privacy," Alan Butler, general counsel for the Electronic Privacy Information Center, told Business Insider.

Butler said the bigger threat is weaker encryption, which could make it easier for bad actors to access people's devices in addition to law enforcement. The very point of encrypting a device is to provide its user with increased security, he said, whether that means protecting their financial information against cyber theft or safeguarding their home against physical theft.

Barr’s Encryption Push Is Decades In The Making, But Troubles Some At FBI, by Sadie Gurman, Dustin Volz and Tripp Mickle, Wall Street Journal

Some senior FBI officials say privately they are worried that Mr. Barr’s sharp tone could undermine relationships with technology companies they have worked hard to develop, people familiar with the matter said.


Some FBI officials were stunned by Mr. Barr’s rebuke of Apple, the people familiar with the matter said, and believe the Pensacola case is the wrong one to press in the encryption fight, in part because they believed Apple had already provided ample assistance to the probe.

Companies Burned By Big Tech Plead For Congress To Regulate Apple, Amazon, Facebook And Google, by Tony Romm, Washington Post

The testimony came as part of a wide-ranging antitrust probe into Silicon Valley’s biggest players that House lawmakers aim to wrap up — with recommendations for regulation — in the coming months.

More On Tile’s Complaints About Apple In Congressional Testimony, by John Gruber, Daring Fireball

At some level it is unfair, but what’s the alternative? You’re either asking for Apple (and other big platform vendors) to be severely hamstrung from innovating with integrated new products, or you’re asking for third-parties to be given low-level access to the OS on mobile platforms — a privacy and security nightmare.


Siri’s Been Reading My Messages And I Love It, by Charlie Sorrel, Cult of Mac

The result of all this is that you can have an iMessage conversation as you walk, without ever touching your iPhone or even your Apple Watch. I absolutely love it, and I get very few messages. If I got a lot of communications, I’d probably find it even more useful. Especially as you can choose which messages Siri announces: Everyone, recents, all contacts, or favorites.

Apple Music, NBA Strike Deal For Playlist, Songs In Highlights, by Mark Gurman, Bloomberg

Apple Inc. and the National Basketball Association on Thursday announced a partnership that includes an Apple Music playlist featuring independent artists from an emerging label.

ProCamera Is Still The iOS Photo App To Beat, by Mel Martin, Fstoppers

Its features are in a language semi-pros and pros will understand. It works in a variety of image formats and aspect ratios.


Nothing Changes Until You Do, by Kate MacAleavey, Armory

When you, as a leader, start to change what you are doing, it gives everyone else permission to change. When you ask yourself, "What can I do differently?" Other people will start to ask that very same question. Behavior change at any point in life is difficult, that’s why when it happens, the results are powerful. And if you chose to be brave enough to share your vulnerable learnings, you will build a level of trust with your employees you couldn't have dreamed up.


Clever, Powerful, Useful: Time To Upgrade The Mac's Energy Settings, by Jason Snell, Six Colors

Of course, a better idea would be to provide users with more granular power-management controls, perhaps even with location-aware presets like Connectix PowerBook Utilities offered in the early 90s. I know that Apple’s tendency is to prevent users from fiddling with their computers’ settings in detail, but let’s be honest—the Energy Saver system preference pane is already an enormous collection of sliders and checkboxes. Adding a few more wouldn’t hurt anyone.

Panicking About Your Kids’ Phones? New Research Says Don’t, by Nathaniel Popper, New York Times

In most cases, they say, the phone is just a mirror that reveals the problems a child would have even without the phone.

The researchers worry that the focus on keeping children away from screens is making it hard to have more productive conversations about topics like how to make phones more useful for low-income people, who tend to use them more, or how to protect the privacy of teenagers who share their lives online.

Avoiding Carsickness When The Cars Drive Themselves, by Bradley Berman, New York Times

The day is approaching when commuters stuck in soul-crushing traffic will be freed from the drudgery of driving. Companies are investing billions to devise sensors and algorithms so motorists can turn our attention to where we like it these days: our phones.

But before the great promise of multitasking on the road can be realized, we need to overcome an age-old problem: motion sickness. “The autonomous-vehicle community understands this is a real problem it has to deal with,” said Monica Jones, a transportation researcher at the University of Michigan. “That motivates me to be very systematic.”

Bottom of the Page

It is not a good sign that I started feeling anxious of Monday morning on Saturday morning.


Thanks for reading.