The Five-Star Edition Monday, September 7, 2020

Star Wars: How App Developers Manipulate Your Mood To Boost Rankings, by Patrick McGee, Financial Times

Rating an iPhone app takes just a second, maybe two. “Enjoying Skype?” a prompt will ask, and you click on a 1-5 star rating. Millions of people respond to these requests, giving little thought to their fleeting whim.

Behind the scenes, though, an entire industry has spent countless hours and lines of code to craft this moment. The prompt, seemingly random, can be orchestrated to hit your glowing screen only at times when you are most likely to leave a five star review.

On Health

How To Reduce Eye Strain Now That We're All Spending So Much Time Looking At Screens, by Todd Haselton, CNBC

If your eyes feel tired, it could be that they're strained from staring at bright glowing screens all day long. We're all indoors, spending more time than ever staring at computer screens, phones and tablets while we work from home. There are some settings built into the iPhone, Android, macOS and Windows 10 that can help you reduce eye strain and may make it easier to fall asleep by changing the color of your screen from white to orange-hued.

Is Your Fitness Tracker Making You Anxious?, by Ellen O'Brien, Yoga Journal

While such trackers are marketed as tools to demystify a user’s health needs, access to copious amounts of minute-by-minute health data may not be beneficial for the average user (read: ones without medical degrees).


Apple Watch ECG Feature Receives Final Medical Approval In Japan, by Tim Hardwick, MacRumors

Apple’s ECG app and irregular heart rhythm notifications on the Apple Watch Series 4 and 5 have received domestic approval and certification from Japan’s medical authorities, indicating that both features should go live in the country very soon.

Review: Prologue For iPhone Turns Your Plex Server Into An Audiobook Paradise, by Bradley Chambers, 9to5Mac

Instead of having to load your books manually, you sign in to your Plex server, and all of your books are available to stream or download offline. Playback progress syncs over iCloud to listen on your iPhone and your iPad without losing your spot.


Does The Apple TV Have A Future?, by Dan Moren, Macworld

It's most definitely a niche market: a fancy sports car in a world full of sensible sedans. Sure, people may keep buying them, but very few people really need one, and eventually, for most people, practicality is going to trump luxury.

Bottom of the Page

The way I try to reduce eye strain during the night is to look less at screens. Audiobooks and podcasts are my favorite activities the hour before bedtime.

The problem I may have, soon, is the inability to fall asleep without words streaming into my ears.


Thanks for reading.