The Scaling-Back Edition Thursday, March 12, 2020

Apple Is Telling Retail Workers Not To Encourage Customers To Try On The Apple Watch Or AirPods In A Precaution Against Spreading The Coronavirus, by Lisa Eadicicco, Business Insider

Apple is scaling back Apple Watch try-ons at some of its retail stores in an effort to combat the ongoing coronavirus outbreak, according to sources familiar with the matter.

Apple Store employees are being instructed not to encourage customers to try on products like the Apple Watch and AirPods, and to only allow customers to do so upon request. It's part of the broader measures Apple is taking to protect its staff and customers amidst the ongoing coronavirus outbreak, which has killed 31 people in the United States and infected more than 1,150 as of Wednesday. The company has also reduced the number of stools and chairs in stores to promote distance between people.

Work In The Time Of Corona, by Alice Goldfuss

Switching to remote may make you feel distracted, anxious, or depressed, and you might not know why. Being alone all day, even with coworkers in a chat window, can make you feel isolated and hyper-focused on negative thoughts. It’s easy to spiral on the tone of a single chat message.

And that’s before acknowledging that these are unusual and stressful circumstances. You are working remote due to a looming pandemic. It’s possible your spouse or child was sent home as well, so there’s new and different stimulation around you. There’s a lot of uncertainty and abrupt change in your life.

The most important takeaway from this guide, the one thing you need to absorb, is this: if you are feeling bad, reconnect with the world. You are now in an isolated environment and the easiest way to short-circuit feelings of stress and unease is to disengage from your office life and reconnect with the larger world outside it.

Coming Soon?

The Next iPhone Will Get A ‘World Facing’ 3D Camera, by Mark Sullivan, Fast Company

At least one of this year’s iPhones will feature a 3D depth camera on its back, a source with knowledge confirms to Fast Company.

The camera—actually a laser, sensor, and software system—emits light to measure the distance between the phone and various objects and surfaces in front of it. This detailed depth information will enable new photo and video effects, as well as better augmented reality experiences.

watchOS 7 To Include New ‘International’ Apple Watch Face With Multiple Country Flags, by Filipe Espósito, 9to5Mac

There’s also a new watch face, likely digital, identified as “International” which, as the name suggests, will show flags from different countries. We don’t yet have details on what complications this watch face can exhibit, but you can take a look at the images extracted from iOS 14 to imagine how it will appear.


When Should You Upgrade From An Older macOS?, by Howard Oakley, The Eclectic Light Company

As a general principle, you should run the most recent release of macOS that you can, without compromising what you do with your Mac. For many, that may not include Catalina, because of its substantial architectural changes including the loss of 32-bit software support.

The Best Pixel Editor For macOS, by Marius Masalar, The Sweet Setup

Affinity Photo perfectly suits users whose needs tend to revolve around normal photo manipulation, exposure blending, graphic design, resizing, and compositing work. Skills learned in Affinity Photo are transferrable to Photoshop if your needs change and you want to switch to the more powerful tool, but even advanced users will likely find that they have no need to do so.

Dropzone 4 Review: Excellent Menubar Utility Supercharges Mac Drag And Drop, by J.R. Bookwalter, Macworld

This menubar app enhances the process with convenient “drop zones” to copy, move, or open files in frequently-used applications using a single gesture.


Apple Closes All 17 Stores In Italy Amid Coronavirus Pandemic, by Mark Gurman, Bloomberg

Apple Inc. said it is closing all 17 of its retail stores in Italy “until further notice” as the coronavirus pandemic limits activity in the country.

The Cupertino, California-based company previously shuttered all 42 stores in mainland China, but it has since reopened most of them.

Apple Signs Open Letter Voicing Opposition To New Legislation Targeting LGBTQ Community, by Chance Miller, 9to5Mac

Apple is among 40 companies voicing opposition to recent bills introduced across the United States that target LGBTQ citizens. The businesses who signed the open letter, which was published today by the Human Rights Campaign, argue that these bills are bad for business.

We Built A Database Of Over 500 iPhones Cops Have Tried To Unlock, by Joseph Cox, Motherboard

For all the public bluster on both sides of the Going Dark issue, neither tells the full story. On one side, the Department of Justice has repeatedly advocated for a new method of access, perhaps where Apple would retain encryption keys for devices that law enforcement could then use themselves. When the Department of Justice discusses the issue publicly, they almost never mention that tools do exist which can unlock iPhones in some circumstances, including the latest models. On the other, an overwhelming number of technologists and the tech giants themselves say that creating a backdoor would further expose users to hackers and other threats.

But this debate is most often discussed with anecdotes and not data, and never data that is publicly available, until now. Motherboard collected and analyzed over 500 iPhone search warrants and related documents filed throughout 2019 to build a database of cases in which law enforcement attempted to get information from an iPhone.

Bottom of the Page

When I spent my day talking to computers, figuring how to get the computers to do what I want them to do, at the end of the day, even though I am tired, I still feel good.

When I spent my day talking to people, figuring how to get people to do what I need them to do, at the end of the day, I feel tired, and I feel bad.

I am tired now. And I am feeling bad.


Thanks for reading.