The Pass-the-Time Edition Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Apple Curates Stay-at-home Fun For The Entire Family, by Lory Gil, iMore

With the world sheltering in place right now, we're all trying to figure out what to do to pass the time. Movies, TV, games, workouts, reading ... it's like we just got that extra few hours in the day we've always wanted because we're stuck inside. Apple's team behind the curtain has been busily building up recommendations for great content you can find to help pass the time while you're practicing social distancing. Here's just some of the great curated content Apple is recommending for the whole family.

Apple Music's Come Together Space Puts Its Upbeat Playlists In One Place, by Igor Bonifacic, Engadget

Building on the AI-generated Get Up! Mix the company unveiled last week, Apple is now adding a new section to Apple Music called Come Together that features a variety of playlists designed to help you get through long days stuck inside. In all, there are seven new playlists to check out. And as you might imagine, they cover the gamut of genres and moods.

Build Future Devices

Apple Tests Its Secrecy Somewhere New: Employee Homes, by Mark Gurman, Bloomberg

The majority of Apple’s hardware products are engineered at Apple Park or surrounding buildings in Cupertino and Sunnyvale, California. For some work that requires hands-on development, some hardware engineers in Silicon Valley are allowed into the office, the people said. Apple also has hardware engineers in San Diego, California, and global coronavirus hotspots like Italy, Germany and Asia. But the company’s restrictions in those regions are far stronger. Apple has extended its remote work policy until at least April 5, depending on an office’s location.

In a notice to staff, Apple said that “whether you’re working at home or at the office, it’s always critical to keep confidential work confidential. While working remotely, use the same care and always securely store confidential items and documents when not in use.”

Still, Apple hasn’t paused its efforts to build future devices. The company is working on new versions of the HomePod speaker, Apple TV set-top box, MacBook Pro, budget iPads, Apple Watch and iMac for as early as later this year. The next round of flagship iPhones are targeting release in their normal fall window, Bloomberg News recently reported.

iOS 14 Code Reveals Updated Activity Rings For Apple Watch In Upcoming Kids Mode On watchOS 7, by Zac Hall, 9to5Mac

Technically speaking, the red move ring is showing you the number of active calories burned in a day versus the greater number of total calories. This whole system can go haywire for kids or encourage the wrong type of movement so a new system is necessary.

Apple Watch will instead replace the active calories metric for the move ring with a move time. For example, Apple Watch can track a goal of 90 minutes of movement throughout the day instead of 500 active calories burned.


iPad Pro Teardown Basically Finds 2018’s iPad Pro With A Lidar Sensor, by Samuel Axon, Ars Technica

As expected, iFixit has published a teardown of the 12.9-inch, 2020 iPad Pro, assessing both what's new in the device compared to 2018 and how straightforward the device is to open up and repair. It turns out not too much has changed (which we already knew), and the Pro remains quite difficult to service.

Halide Camera App Gains Image Rescue And Smarter Smart RAW Features, by Filipe Espósito, 9to5Mac

Halide is one of the most popular camera apps for iPhone as it allows users to have full control when taking a picture. The app has now been updated to version 1.16, its first 2020 update on the App Store, which brings several improvements, including enhancements to RAW mode and improved stability for saving photos.

Beyond Compare Is The File-comparison Tool You Need, by Dan Moren, Six Colors

If you’ve got a need to compare folders, text files, image files—really, anything that can be compared, Beyond Compare is the app you want. I looked at a handful of other comparison tools and spent a lot of time searching the web, trying to figure out the best way to reconcile lots of old files, and Beyond Compare was the one tool I found continually name-checked—and, as it turns out, for good reason.

Pixelmator Pro Update Adds New Color Picker, Drag Select, More, by Benjamin Mayo, 9to5Mac

The update brings a redesigned color picker and a set of smaller enhancements designed to boost productivity.

Best Stargazing Apps For Looking At The Night Sky In 2020, by John Corpuz, Tom's Guide

Whether its mobile star maps or astronomy aids, a good stargazing app can transform your phone into a portable planetarium. Augmented reality features can superimpose information on the night sky or — if you’re staying close to home these days — can still let you look at the heavens when you’re indoors.

Pokémon Go Adjusts To The Quarantine Era, by Kyle Orland, Ars Technica

"We have always believed that our games can include elements of indoor play that complement the outdoor, exercise and explore DNA of what we build," the company writes. "Now is the time for us to prioritize this work, with the key challenge of making playing indoors as exciting and innovative as our outdoor gameplay."

To that end, Niantic will be improving its existing Adventure Sync connection, which lets your mobile device track steps to earn in-game rewards even while you're not playing. Niantic says it will update that feature "so it works even better with indoor movement and activities" and so "activities like cleaning your house and running on a treadmill count toward game achievements."


Indie Game Dev: Death Loops, by Derek Yu

Every project, from the smallest indie game to the biggest AAA game, requires some compromise because time and resources are limited. Generally, the choice is between more polish, more ambitious game design, or shorter development time, and how much of each you can choose depends on your experience level and your available resources. A lot of new developers who have little experience or resources choose to create very polished, ambitious games, resulting in protracted development times (5-10 years) where funding runs out repeatedly and there is tremendous pressure for the game to be a smash hit. This is also the perfect environment for burnout.

Bottom of the Page

Richard Feynman: "I returned to civilization shortly after that and went to Cornell to teach, and my first impression was a very strange one. I can't understand it any more, but I felt very strongly then. I sat in a restaurant in New York, for example, and I looked out at the buildings and I began to think, you know, about how much the radius of the Hiroshima bomb damage was and so forth... How far from here was 34th street?... All those buildings, all smashed — and so on. And I would go along and I would see people building a bridge, or they'd be making a new road, and I thought, they're crazy, they just don't understand, they don't understand. Why are they making new things? It's so useless.

But, fortunately, it's been useless for almost forty years now, hasn't it? So I've been wrong about it being useless making bridges and I'm glad those other people had the sense to go ahead.”

These are strange days we are in right now, at least from where I am sitting.


Thanks for reading.