Archive for December 2021

The Identifying-the-Culprit Edition Friday, December 31, 2021

Are Apple AirTags Being Used To Track People And Steal Cars?, by Kashmir Hill, New York Times

But AirTags present a “uniquely harmful” threat because the ubiquity of Apple’s products allows for more exact monitoring of people’s movements, said Eva Galperin, a cybersecurity director at the Electronic Frontier Foundation who studies so-called stalkerware.


Police could ask Apple to provide information about the owner of the AirTag, potentially identifying the culprit. But some of the people who spoke with The Times were unable to find the associated AirTags they were notified of and said the police do not always take reports of the notifications on their phones seriously.

Is Bluetooth Holding Back Apple's AirPods? We Asked The Man Who Made Them, by Tom Parsons, What Hi-Fi?

“Obviously the wireless technology is critical for the content delivery that you talk about”, he says, “but also things like the amount of latency you get when you move your head, and if that’s too long, between you moving your head and the sound changing or remaining static, it will make you feel quite ill, so we have to concentrate very hard on squeezing the most that we can out of the Bluetooth technology, and there’s a number of tricks we can play to maximise or get around some of the limits of Bluetooth. But it’s fair to say that we would like more bandwidth and… I’ll stop right there. We would like more bandwidth”, he smiles.


iPad Mini 6 Is Terrific For Reading Digital Books, Mostly, by Adam Oram, iMore

The most obvious reason the iPad mini 6 is excellent for reading is its compact size and lightweight design. However, weight is perhaps the most crucial aspect. [...]

It's also small enough to keep on your nightstand or take on the go in a bag or even in your jacket pocket. That added portability makes it a better pick than any other iPad for reading, whether you want to take it on your next flight or carry it daily on your commute.

Easily Organize Your Grocery And Shopping Lists On iOS And Mac With Get Sum, by Filipe Espósito, 9to5Mac

If you’re serious about your shopping lists, the Get Sum app brings everything you need to organize them beautifully on your iOS devices and even Macs and Apple Watch.

Eve Room 3 Review: New Thread Connectivity, Same Design, by Andrew O'Hara, AppleInsider

The Eve Room is the best HomeKit-enabled indoor air sensor. It is undoubtedly the only one Thread-enabled — for now. Its sleek appearance still looks excellent with anodized aluminum edges and a high-contrast e-ink display.


My Apple Watch Thinks I'm Dead, by Jesse Squires

Despite the many things about Apple Watch that I enjoy, there is one major issue — wrist tattoos. For users like me, the full functionality of Apple Watch is still encumbered by wrist tattoos. Specifically, wrist detection fails to work properly.

In-depth Report Details Apple's Shift To Chinese Suppliers To 'Cut Costs And Curry Favor With Beijing', by Chance Miller, 9to5Mac

While Apple has long been linked to Foxconn as its primary partner for product assembly, a new report from The Information goes in-depth on Apple’s newfound relationship with Chinese electronics manufacturers. The report explains that Apple has increased its reliance on Chinese partners, both as a way of cutting costs as well as to “curry favor with Beijing.”

Apple Store Bag Search Settlement Not Perfect, Says Judge, But Can Proceed, by Ben Lovejoy, 9to5Mac

A settlement reached in an Apple Store bag search dispute has been given provisional approval by a court. The judge said that the agreement was not perfect, but on balance it was good enough to be allowed to proceed.

Bottom of the Page

I'm not sure whether Apple's effort in preventing misuse of AirTags is enough, or if Apple is continuing to working on the safety aspect behind the scene, but it will be prudent not to assume the current AirTag is good enough.

However, I am also not sure if Apple's promise of privacy -- "not even Apple knows the location of your AirTag or the identity of the device that helps find it" -- will be hinderance to Apple to do more for misuses.


Thanks for reading.

The Still-Far-Behind Edition Thursday, December 30, 2021

As Omicron Washes Over America, Much Of The Country Still Isn’t Using Exposure Notification Apps, by Gerrit De Vynck and Cat Zakrzewski, Washington Post

The tech giants managed to build and launch the “exposure notification” framework in months, a previously unheard-of level of collaboration for the rivals.


But nearly two years later, as the omicron variant sweeps across the United States, adoption of the system is still far behind what its creators and proponents envisioned. More than 20 states don’t use it at all, including large states like Florida and Texas that have reported millions of cases and tens of thousands of deaths. Even in states where millions have activated the notifications, only a fraction of people who test positive for the virus report it to the Apple and Google system. California’s system, for example, has been activated on more than 15 million devices, but only about 3 percent of the nearly 3.9 million cases reported since launch were logged in the system.

Not Too Picky

Apple Music Voice Plan: Cheap, But You'll Have To Put Up With Siri, by Stan Schroeder, Mashable

Apple Music Voice will cater well to a particular type of music listener: Someone who likes music but isn't too picky about particulars. It also saves five bucks per month compared to the regular Apple Music plan – money that could go toward a HomePod mini purchase, for example. In fact, it's the cheapest ad-free music streaming plan around, if you don't count student plans.

If You Need Your Music Everywhere, Apple Music’s “Voice Plan” Isn’t For You, by Chris Velazco, Washington Post

While that makes sense for some people — say, anyone who just got a HomePod mini for Christmas — the voice plan is too limited to serve as someone’s sole, all-around music plan. In fact, outside of the home or car, it functions awkwardly enough to make the $9.99 a month for full Apple Music service look awfully palatable, which might have been the plan all along.

Lining Up to Sell

Everybody Into The Metaverse! Virtual Reality Beckons Big Tech., by Cade Metz, New York Times

Fifteen years is a long time for the industry to wait for a new tech trend to come along. Ideas that many hoped would take central stage by now, like advanced artificial intelligence and quantum computing, are taking longer than some had anticipated. And the technology behind cryptocurrencies and newer ideas like decentralized computing appears promising — but its mainstream appeal is still unclear.

So tech companies are lining up to sell the devices that let consumers into this virtual world and control their experiences once they are inside it. Suddenly, building new things for the metaverse is offering the kind of fresh appeal that comes along only every so often in any industry.

The Metaverse’s Dark Side: Here Come Harassment And Assaults, by Kellen Browning, New York Times

Yet even as tech giants bet big on the concept, questions about the metaverse’s safety have surfaced. Harassment, assaults, bullying and hate speech already run rampant in virtual reality games, which are part of the metaverse, and there are few mechanisms to easily report the misbehavior, researchers said. In one popular virtual reality game, VRChat, a violating incident occurs about once every seven minutes, according to the nonprofit Center for Countering Digital Hate.


Why My New Apple Watch Is The Key To A Better 2022 (And Not Just For Fitness), by Josephine Watson, TechRadar

So, here’s all the things I’m hoping to do with my new Apple Watch to level up my 2022.

10 Apple Arcade Games For Your New 2021 iPhone Or iPad, by Jay Peters, The Verge

We’ve compiled a mix of new and classic games you might want to check out if you’re a new subscriber.

Remind Me Faster 4.0, by Federico Viticci, MacStories

Remind Me Faster continues to be a fantastic addition to Apple’s Reminders app when it comes to quick entry. I highly recommend checking it out if you use Reminders as a task management system but have always wished typing new tasks with dates, locations, priorities, and lists was quicker.

Apps For Travelers Dreaming Of Their Next Trip, by Stephanie Rosenbloom, New York Times

While travel is fraught amid the rise of the Omicron variant, people are still dreaming of their next getaway. There are even new apps to make trips easier to plan and enjoy. A number of them were introduced (and some old favorites were updated) back when travel was at a standstill. Wondering which to try? Here is a selection with thoughtful solutions — how to turn award points into a hotel suite, join a ranger for a national park hike, hear the history of the place you’re driving through, see the latest Covid-19 travel protocols — to help you tap and swipe your way to what will hopefully be a new year of adventures.


Apple Can’t Just Throw Money At Its Talent Retention Problem, by Ananya Bhattacharya, Quartz

Meta’s best bet to lure talent has been offering insanely high salaries. As Facebook and Instagram become notorious for spreading misinformation and worsening mental health, these payouts are being touted by some as a “brand tax” meant to encourage workers to join a widely criticized company.

Apple is applying the same formula but money alone won’t be enough to counter the gamut of reasons why employees keep quitting.

Bottom of the Page

My current configuration for the Today's View on my iPhone is to stuff it with widgets that can do something without the need to unlock the phone.

So far, I can now play podcasts, Apple Music, and BBC Radio using shortcuts, all of which run fine while the phone is locked. Unfortunately, I cannot find a way to do the same for my audiobooks in Audible.

Let's see how this arrangement will fare when I return office with my mask next week.


The Stack (of widgets) is so buggy! It constantly forgets my widget settings when I move things around.


Thanks for reading.

The Old-Laptops Edition Wednesday, December 29, 2021

How To Rescue Your Photos From An Old Computer, by Lisa Rabasca Roepe, Wired

My situation isn’t unique. “This is a common issue, especially for millennials who've owned multiple laptops,” says Jessica Carrell, cofounder of AnySoftwareTools, a tech site that offers computer tips and how-to tutorials. “Many of us don't realize there is valuable data stored in our old laptops.”

Fortunately, there are easier methods to recover those old photos—and to save them so you can share them with friends and family today. Here are some of them.

In 2021, We Told Apple: Don't Scan Our Phones, by Joe Mullin, Electronic Frontier Foundation

It’s understandable that companies don’t want users to misuse their cloud-based systems, including using them to store illegal images. No one wants child exploitation material to spread. But rolling back commitments to encryption isn’t the answer. Abandoning encryption to scan images against a government database will do far more harm than good.


Smart Playlist App 'Next' Now Available On Mac Thanks To Catalyst, by José Adorno, 9to5Mac

The app focuses on helping users discover more about their music library with automatically generated dynamic playlists.


Tumblr Goes Overboard Censoring Tags On iOS To Comply With Apple’s Guidelines, by Emma Roth, The Verge

Tumblr says it has to “extend the definition of what sensitive content is” to “remain available within Apple’s App Store,” and it seems that Tumblr stretched it pretty far.

Apple Gives Top Engineers Bonuses Up Of $180,000 To Curtail Defections To Meta, Other Rivals, by Mark Gurman, Bloomberg

Last week, the company informed some engineers in silicon design, hardware and select software and operations groups of the out-of-cycle bonuses, which are being issued as restricted stock units, according to people with knowledge of the matter. The shares vest over four years, providing an incentive to stay at the iPhone maker.

Apple Maps Team Members Receive Unique Thank You Gift, by Joe Rossignol, MacRumors

Apple recently sent a unique gift to some employees working on the Maps team, according to a LinkedIn post shared on Reddit. The gift package includes some custom Apple Maps pins, stickers, and imagery, along with a small card thanking employees for their contributions to the Maps app.

Bottom of the Page

Isn't it almost time for Apple to announce new products at Macworld Expo? I want a blue Macbook Air.



Thanks for reading.

The Different-Shutdown Edition Tuesday, December 28, 2021

Apple Closes New York City Stores To Online Pickups Only, by Mark Gurman, Bloomberg

Apple has temporarily closed many stores in recent weeks as it copes with the highly contagious omicron variant, but it’s trying a different approach with the New York shutdown. The company is still letting customers place orders online and pick them up at the stores. Shoppers won’t be able to enter the store to browse or purchase anything onsite, and technical support from the Genius Bar won’t be available.

iPhone 13 Users Still Waiting For Apple To Address Lack Of Noise Cancellation For Phone Calls, by José Adorno, 9to5Mac

Up through the iPhone 12, Apple users could turn on or off a noise-canceling feature for phone calls through the Accessibility settings. For an unknown reason, this feature was never available for iPhone 13 users, and they have been waiting for months for Apple to address this issue.


Apple Fitness+ Invite Users To Celebrate New Year's Day With New Workouts, by José Adorno, 9to5Mac

According to the app, new workouts and meditations inspired by the start of 2022 have arrived. For users, they just need to open the Fitness app to discover new sections, such as “Best of 2021,” “Celebrate,” as well as “New Workouts” and “New Meditations.”

Apple Announces Limited Edition Beats Studio Buds To Celebrate Lunar New Year, by Filipe Espósito, 9to5Mac

Apple on Monday announced a limited edition of its Beats Studio Buds wireless earphones to celebrate the Lunar New Year, which is part of the Lunar calendar adopted by Asian countries like China. The special edition Studio Buds feature a red and gold design.

Apple To Offer Limited-Edition AirTag As Part Of Japanese New Year Promotion, by Joe Rossignol, MacRumors

Apple said the first 20,000 customers in Japan who purchase a new iPhone 12, iPhone 12 mini, or iPhone SE during the promotion will also receive a limited-edition AirTag with a custom-designed engraving.

Bottom of the Page

Stories like Apple shutting more stores make me nervous. I am scheduled to return to office (partially) next week!


Thanks for reading.

The Potential-Monopolies Edition Monday, December 27, 2021

Big Tech’s Next Monopoly Game: Building The Car Of The Future, by Leah Nylen, Politico

Indeed, the smartphone wars are over, and Google and Apple won. Now they — and Amazon — are battling to control how you operate within your car. All three see autos as the next great opportunity to reach American consumers, who spend more time in the driver’s seat than anywhere outside their home or workplace. And automakers, after years of floundering to incorporate cutting-edge technologies into cars on their own, are increasingly eager for Silicon Valley’s help — hoping to adopt both its tech and its lucrative business models where consumers pay monthly for ongoing services instead of shelling out for a product just once.

Now, having missed the boat as the tech giants cornered the market on smartphones, some policymakers and regulators believe the battle over connected cars represents a chance to block potential monopolies before they form.


Apple Shares Short Clips To Promote iPhone 13 Pro Video Capabilities, by Filipe Espósito, 9to5Mac

Apple this year is really endorsing the idea that having an iPhone 13 Pro is having “Hollywood in your pocket.” Now the company is promoting the video capabilities of its flagship smartphone with three new short clips shared on YouTube and other media.

If You Lock A File In Apple's Notes, Don't Lose Your Password, by Glenn Fleishman, Macworld

The password is not stored in iCloud Keychain, nor can it be retrieved from anywhere else. If you can’t remember and haven’t stored it manually in a password manager, the notes locked with it are unrecoverable forever. Apple can’t unlock them.


The Year Everyone Remembered That Chips Matter, by Will Knight, Wired

The importance of semiconductors may have faded from view over the last decade as the web, social media, and apps came to the fore. Silicon Valley is arguably now more synonymous with Google’s inescapable web search, Amazon’s ecommerce empire, or Facebook’s FOMO-fueled feed than with Intel’s newest chip. But the past year has provided plenty of evidence that chips are, in fact, more important than ever.

Bottom of the Page

There are at least two ways to boost competition in the marketplace. The easy way is to cripple the front runner. The hard way is to propel the rest of the crowd.

The easy way provides an illusion of competition. But when the front runner starts to lose the race, it will be most likely be replaced by a different dominant player that is squashing competitors in a totally different manner.

Replacing Internet Explorer with Google Chrome is easy. Making sure we have a good diversity of web browsers is the hard part -- and we still don't have that twenty years later.

We really should stop just taking the easy way out, and invest in doing the hard part.


Thanks for reading.

The Without-Feeling-like-a-Narcissist Edition Sunday, December 26, 2021

How To Take A Slick, Professional Headshot With Your Phone, by Claire Sibonney, Wired

Because smartphone cameras are getting better every year, with bigger sensors, multiple lens options, powerful AI, and high dynamic range (HDR) software, all you really need are a phone and natural light. Phone cameras can even achieve a shallow depth of field that separates you from the background by blurring it out (either through advanced manual settings or dumbed-down “portrait modes”), so you can transform a selfie into a professional-looking self-portrait.

To help you plan the perfect shot, we talked to award-winning portrait and editorial photographers and digital creators for tips on how to find your best light, backgrounds, and poses—without feeling like a narcissist.

The Best Indie Games You May Have Missed In 2021, by Joshua Khan, Wired

Sometimes it’s all about the journey. Over the past decade, indie developers introduced us to the voices (and hamsters) living inside their heads. In 2021, they demonstrated how complete bodies of work can hit new highs in innovation when everything clicks.

Nostalgic Gaming: How Playing The Video Games Of Your Youth Reconnects You To Yourself, by Josh Nicholas, The Guardian

While music and literature has long been well-preserved, and constantly re-released, games weren’t like this. For years our favourite games were inaccessible because they were non-interoperable: the cartridges didn’t work on other devices, and old computer games wouldn’t run on newer operating systems.

Playing them was only possible thanks to a handful of dedicated individuals, often anonymous, who remade or ported them to work on current systems.

Bottom of the Page

I am thankful that it is much more safer to go outside today than last year. I am thankful that many people I know are re-uniting with their families. I am thankful that there are people I know are taking vacations.

I hope you have a good Christmas weekend. I am hoping year #3 will be better than the first two.


Thanks for reading.

The Legitimate-Alternative Edition Saturday, December 25, 2021

All I Want For Christmas Is Apple Arcade, by Gerald Lynch, TechRadar

At pocket-change prices for a monthly subscription, it’s totally upended the way I play games. And, paired with ever-more powerful iPhone and iPad hardware and a growing market of iOS game controllers to link them with, after many years of trying Apple finally offers a legitimate alternative to rivals like Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo. Yes, your first console should be a Switch, PS5 or Xbox Series X. But your second? With Apple Arcade, it should be the iPhone in your pocket.

Google Fit For iOS Can Measure Heart & Respiratory Rates Using Just Your iPhone's Cameras, by Abner Li, 9to5Google

At the start of this year, Google rolled out the ability to track key vitals directly on your Android device. Google Fit on iPhone has now quietly received the same ability to measure your heart and respiratory rate using just cameras.

Apple's App Store Broke Competition Laws, Dutch Watchdog Says, by Stephen Nellis, Anthony Deutsch, Bart Meijer and Sabahatjahan Contractor, Reuters

The Netherlands' top competition regulator on Friday said Apple Inc broke the country's competition laws and ordered changes to the iPhone maker's App Store payment policies.


An investigation by the Netherlands' Authority for Consumers and Markets (ACM) on whether Apple's practices amounted to an abuse of a dominant market position was launched in 2019. But it was later reduced in scope to focus primarily on dating market apps, including Tinder owner Match Group Inc.

Bottom of the Page

One more week to year number three. And one more week before I start returning to office (again) partially. Unless, you know, u-turn.

Meanwhile, I am bingeing on a ten-year-old soap opera. (Downton Abbey.)

Merry Christmas.


Thanks for reading.

The Get-Work-Done Edition Friday, December 24, 2021

Back To The Mac: How The 14-inch MacBook Pro Won Over A Longtime iPad Pro User, by Wesley Hilliard, AppleInsider

The Mac is purpose-built as a work machine first with complete user access to every system and tool available in the operating system. This level of control gives users the ability to create complex workflows perfect for their exact needs.

This level of complexity is precisely why people still buy into the old paradigm — it just works. If you're any level of proficiency with using any computer over the past thirty years, then you'll be able to sit down at a Mac and get work done.

Apple's AirTags Used To Follow 2 Women In West Seneca, by Danielle Church, WGRZ

"A female came in and she got this message notification on her phone that there was an Apple AirTag or device moving with her, so she came to the station," West Seneca Lieutenant Jonathan Luterek said.


West Seneca Police have subpoenaed records from Apple to help them find out who was trying to track the woman last month. If found, that person could face a misdemeanor.

Apple's 20 Color Options Show Fragmented Offerings Across Devices, by Hartley Charlton, MacRumors

While Apple’s color options have been a source of considerable discussion in recent years, complaints about the company’s color offerings started to gain traction following the launch of the iPhone 13 and the aluminum Apple Watch Series 7, which are not available in Space Gray or Silver. With 2021 drawing to a close, we have examined Apple’s entire selection of colors across its devices to take a look at the growing fragmentation that seems to be occurring.


Apple Logic Pro 10.7 Review, by MusicRadar

The headlines might well be yet more top-line producers spreading their mixes and samples across the software – 2800 new samples from the likes of Mark Ronson, Boys Noize, Tom Misch and TRAKGIRL, being the bulk of them – but the real story is the expansion of what was already a wide spatial remit in Logic to more immersive levels, so you can export your projects as Dolby Atmos files, all ready to play on Apple Music in full surround sound.

Apple Shares New Video Detailing 10 Helpful Tips For Your New iPhone, by José Adorno, 9to5Mac

In a video shared by the Apple Support channel on YouTube, the company gives “helpful tips for getting the most out of your iPhone.”

PCalc Review: A Simple Adding App With A Treasure Trove Of Features, by Glenn Fleishman, Macworld

It’s testament to humanity’s need to enter numbers one at a time and transform them that PCalc persists. Not only persists, but finds new features to add to an app that could have matured decades ago. PCalc offers one of the best calculators for macOS out of the virtual box, while also providing the greatest versatility and configurability.

Rolling Square's AirCard Fits In Your Wallet, Works Just Like An AirTag, by Amber Neely, AppleInsider

The tracker is 3.2mm thick, a bit over the thickness of three standard credit cards. It's powered by three ultra-thin batteries rated to get up to one year of battery life before needing to be replaced.


You Should Listen To CDs, by Gilad Edelman, Wired

Indeed, the immediate, frictionless availability of something else keeps me from spending as much time as I otherwise would even with music I really love. In the pre-streaming era, I’d buy an album and listen to it over and over. With Spotify, I often discover a new artist, get really excited about them, and three months later forget about their existence entirely. If it doesn’t occupy space on your wall, it may not occupy space in your mind.

'Apple Together' Group Organizing Corporate, Retail Walkout On Dec. 24, by Mike Peterson, AppleInsider

A group of Apple workers spanning not just the company's retail channel but AppleCare and corporate offices are organizing a walkout on Friday, Dec. 24 to demand better working conditions.

California Looks To Weigh Into Apple-Epic Legal Fight Over Apps, by Peter Blumberg, Bloomberg

The state attorney general’s office said in a court filing Wednesday that it wants to take a position on how the law is interpreted, but that it would be premature to weigh in until Apple fleshes out its arguments for why the Sept. 10 ruling by U.S. District Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers was wrong.

Big Tech Split Leads To Demise Of Internet Association, by Dave Lee, Financial Times

Growing tensions between Microsoft, Amazon, Alphabet, Meta, and Apple lie behind the death of the Internet Association (IA), the nine-year-old lobby group that was Big Tech’s voice in Washington, according to insiders and industry observers.


The closure is a sign of the increasingly different policy objectives of its Big Tech members, said observers, with Microsoft in particular looking to distance itself from its Silicon Valley peers.

Bottom of the Page

Yes, my family and I just had KFC for dinner. :-)


Merry Christmas, and here's wishing peace and joy for all.

The 3D-Experience Edition Thursday, December 23, 2021

Is Apple Maps For You? We Talked To Apple To Break Down The Biggest New Features, by Jacob Krol, CNN

Apple Maps first launched in 2012 and became the default map app on iPhones everywhere. Its first incarnation wasn’t all that well-received, and since then Apple’s been pushing out years of steady updates to get it on track. Now, Apple has rolled out the all-new Maps — a 3D experience with a considerable amount of visual details, improved accuracy and many quality-of-life upgrades.

In order to unpack the latest Apple Maps improvements that you should know about, CNN Underscored got to chat exclusively with David Dorn, product lead, and Meg Frost, design lead, at Apple Maps. From 3D buildings in cities to clearer navigation instructions, here’s everything you need to know.

Apple Closes Seven Retail Locations As Covid-19 Cases Continue To Rise, by Amber Neely, AppleInsider

As Covid-19 cases continue to surge, Apple has chosen to temporarily close seven of its retail locations across the U.S. and Canada.


Some Apple Watch Users Experiencing Charging Issues After Updating To watchOS 8.3, by Juli Clover, MacRumors

Many of the complaints are related to third-party Apple Watch chargers, with users finding that these devices no longer work to charge their Apple Watches.

Pixelmator Pro Adds Ability To Directly Export Assets To Motion, by Benjamin Mayo, 9to5mac

The image and graphics editing suite today brings Motion export capabilities, allowing users to create compositions inside of Pixelmator Pro and then import those easily into motion graphics for video.

'Reality Tasks' Is The Latest Productivity App To Take Advantage Of SharePlay, by José Adorno, 9to5Mac

Reality Tasks is a task and project management app for teams and individuals. With a very Apple-style design, it helps you organize your day and your team’s day supporting iPhone, iPad, and Mac users. Now, the app was just updated with SharePlay as Apple recently released macOS 12.1 with this feature.


PSA: Apple Notifies Developers Of Upcoming Certificate Changes For Apps And Push Notifications, by Filipe Espósito, 9to5Mac

Apple on Wednesday notified developers about upcoming certificate changes for apps and push notifications, which will impact some software depending on the Xcode version used by the developer.

Bottom of the Page

May your travels be safe, and your days sweet. Thanks for reading.

(I woke up at 2am and couldn't get back to sleep this morning. I'm going to bed early tonight.)

The Last-Minute Edition Wednesday, December 22, 2021

Apple Offers Free Two-Hour Holiday Delivery On Mac, iPhone, iPad, And Apple Watch Orders, by Sami Fathi, MacRumors

Apple is offering customers free two-hour delivery on orders of Macs, iPhones, iPads, and Apple Watch orders in select cities ahead of the holiday season, looking to make it more convenient for customers to purchase last-minute gifts.

DuckDuckGo Is Working On A Privacy-focused Desktop Browser, by Emma Roth, The Verge

Weinberg explains that the desktop browser will offer “robust privacy protection” by default, without you having to toggle on any hidden security settings. Like the mobile app, the desktop equivalent will come with the same “Fire” button that instantly erases all of your browsing history, stored data, and tabs in one click.

From Apple's Shareholders

Apple Investors Call For Civil-rights Audit, by Levi Sumagaysay, MarketWatch

Apple Inc. has declared its commitment to racial and gender equity, but it is now facing a shareholder call for a civil-rights audit amid employee controversies and slow progress in diversifying its workforce.

U.S. SEC Denies Apple’s Bid To Dismiss Shareholder Proposal On Concealment Clauses by Julia Love and Stephen Nellis, Reuters

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission has denied Apple Inc's bid to exclude a shareholder proposal that would require the company to inform investors about its use of non-disclosure agreements and other concealment clauses, according to a document viewed by Reuters.


Slopes For iPhone And Apple Watch Gets Major Update With Privacy-minded Location Sharing, More, by Michael Potuck, 9to5Mac

The fantastic Slopes app to track your skiing and boarding on iPhone and Apple Watch has gotten a big update today. Four major new features are included with a privacy-focused, live location sharing headlining the release.

Tested: Elago's New AirPods Pro Case Packs A Built-in AirTag Slot With A Nifty Camera Design, by Blair Altland, 9to5toys

But if the added peace of mind would be appreciated and you’re looking to bring some camera vibes to your earbuds anyway, the unique case definitely earns the Tested with 9to5Toys seal of approval.


Nick Law Departing Apple, by Ann-Christine Diaz, Ad Age

A little more than two years after he joined Apple as its VP of marcom integration, Ad Age has learned that Nick Law is departing the company, according to multiple people familiar with the matter.


Long known as a proponent of approaching marketing and advertising creativity through the lens of modern-day platforms, Law’s move to Apple, a company whose products have largely helped to propel modern communication, seemed fitting.

Bottom of the Page

Will 2022 be the year of the u-turns? Here in Singapore, the end of 2021 has been declared as the dropping of work-from-home as default option, and up to 50% of staff can return to office at any one time. And then yesterday, we learnt of a cluster of Omicron-variant infection at a gym. And then today, there is a temporary tightening of border rules.

As a layperson, I still don't get a good picture of which direction Omicron is going to move us. Are these all temporary u-turns made in an 'abundance of caution'? Or are they signalling the times to come in year number three?

I guess I'll continue not to expect too much out of tomorrow, for now.


Thanks for reading.

The Visual-Performance Edition Tuesday, December 21, 2021

Apple Added An Orange Dot That's A Showstopper For Live Visuals - And It Needs A Fix, by Peter Kirn, CDM

In the interest of security and privacy, Apple on macOS Monterey has added a prominent orange dot to display outputs when audio capture is active. That renders their machines unusable for live visual performance, though, since it’s also shown on external displays. Dear macOS team – we urgently need a fix here.

Apple Has An AirTag Problem, by Matt Binder, Mashable

Mashable reached out to the police department of the major metropolitan city local to Jeana. In an email, they informed Mashable that "there isn't currently a category for Apple Air Taggings" within their database. The fact that these unwanted "Air Taggings" are growing, yet still so new that data regarding their usage isn't being tracked itself is certainly concerning.


Reduce Distractions With Notification Summaries, by Josh Centers, TidBITS

Do you find yourself continually pinged and buzzed by iPhone apps that just have to notify you of something? If that annoys you—but you do want to see most notifications eventually, iOS 15 and iPadOS 15 have introduced new features to help tame the constant stream. One of those features is Notification Summary, which bundles notifications together into summaries so you’re not bothered throughout the day but you also don’t miss any.

Apple Rolls Out New Updated 3D Maps For Philadelphia, by Amber Neely, AppleInsider

Landmarks include locations such as the Fisher Fine Arts Library, the 30th Street Station, One Liberty Place, Philadelphia City Hall, and the Philadelphia Museum of Art.

Loopy Pro Breaks Down Audio Barriers For Musicians (Again), by Charlie Sorrel, Lifewire

Loopy Pro is a successor to Loopy, the live performance app made famous by Jimmy Fallon and Billy Joel’s looped, acapella duet in 2014. It’s an app that lets you record and loop audio tracks, add effects, and arrange them on a timeline. Loopy utterly changed how music was made, bringing the fluidity of live performance to studio production; Loopy Pro does the same for iOS. One person made the app, which is the norm for iOS music-making apps. The trend has led to a fertile, experimental playground that is nothing like the old desktop way of doing things.


Apple Sues Ericsson Over 'Strong-arm' Tactics In 5G Patent Negotiations, by Chance Miller, 9to5Mac

Apple is firing back at Ericsson amid an ongoing dispute over pricing for patent licensing in regards to technology “critical” for mobile telecommunications. This comes after Ericsson sued Apple in the same court, accusing the company of negotiating in “bad faith.”

The Clapper Was A Joke. Alexa Is Having The Last Laugh., by Charles Rice, Slate

Now that we converse with Alexa, Google Assistant and Siri, and adjust just about anything in our homes remotely via a smartphone, The Clapper’s claims to convenience seem quaint. Yet it shouldn’t simply be seen as an outmoded novelty. As the patents registering its design reveal, it is part of a chain of innovation in automation and sensing technology that has culminated in today’s smart home.

Bottom of the Page

I haven't encounter my Safari bug -- where titles go disappearing on the tab bar -- since I've updated to Monterey 12.1.

So, I've tried out Tab Groups again. Still haven't figure out a good way to fit this new feature into my workflow, and I've removed all my tab groups for now.

Perhaps the fact that I'm using multiple browsers -- Safari, Firefox, and Edge -- for different work and projects may have something to do with me not figuring out tab groups?


Thanks for reading.

The Serial-Numbers Edition Monday, December 20, 2021

Stalking Concerns Raised As Person Finds AirTag Hidden Under The Wheel Well On Her Car, by Benjamin Mayo, 9to5Mac

One detail that the Twitter thread gets slightly wrong is the idea that the AirTag is fully anonymous. It is true that the live location updates of the AirTag are end-to-end encrypted, and only known to the owner of the tag. However, in case of abuse, Apple does keep records of which AirTag serial numbers are associated with which Apple ID. So if a police investigation was brought forward, with a valid court order, it is possible that Apple could identify the original purchaser of the found AirTag.

Global iPhone 13 Delivery Times Shrink As Supply Improves, by Malcolm Owen. AppleInsider

The supply of current-gen iPhones is improving, with lead times for orders reducing to the best levels since the iPhone 13 launch, analysts say, but Pro models continue to take longer to be delivered than the standard version.

Navigational Apps For The Blind Could Have A Broader Appeal, by Amanda Morris, New York Times

Despite the use of walking canes, guide dogs, help from strangers, and popular navigational apps like Google Maps, Clark Rachfal, director of advocacy and governmental affairs for the American Council of the Blind, said losing your way is still a huge issue for many blind and low vision people. Simply hearing directions from an app like “in 500 feet turn right,” often isn’t enough information to guarantee independence and safety.


That may change, though, with the release of new apps specifically designed with pedestrians and accessibility in mind. Thanks to improvements in mapping technology and smartphone cameras, a number have emerged with features like indoor navigation, detailed descriptions of the surrounding environment and more warnings about obstacles.


How To Limit What A Toddler Can Do When You Hand Over Your iPhone Or iPad, by Tim Hardwick, MacRumors

Fortunately, Apple includes a feature in iOS that allows you to keep your device locked into a single app and control which features are available. It’s called Guided Access, and this article explains how you can use it.

Photo-editing Apps Are Crucial If You Love Taking Phone Pics, by Andrew Hoyle, CNET

A lot of people are staring down days or even weeks of end-of-year time off from work. And if you're tired of binge-watching TV or you're just looking for a creative outlet to fill your wintry days, might I suggest you look into photo-editing apps?


Apple Should Make A Giant iPad As Its Smart Home Portal, by Mark Gurman, Bloomberg

A high price and a lackluster voice assistant won’t turn Apple into the king of smart home devices, but moving in this direction could be the beginning of a real presence. And that would be a good thing for the industry and the Apple faithful.

How To Avoid Gadget Frustration On Christmas Day, by BBC

Congratulations: you've outdone the chip shortage and conquered the crowds, or maybe Santa's due to be very good to you. Either way, you've got some new technology under the Christmas tree.

But these aren't wooden blocks or teddy bears. Tech toys often need a little preparation before Christmas morning.

Here's a quick crash course in what needs to be done before the day.

Bottom of the Page

I need to keep reminding myself that there is no perfect way of arranging icons and widgets on my iPhone, no matter how one defines perfect. Stop spending time rearranging stuff and changing the app icons.

The good news though: I have no desire to rearrange the icons on my Mac's Dock.


Thanks for reading.

The Factory-Reset Edition Sunday, December 19, 2021

Tech-Savvy Kids Defeat Apple’s And Others’ Parental-Control Features, by Yoree Koh, Wall Street Journal

Apple and Alphabet Inc.’s Google, the two main software providers for smartphones, have touted parental controls as a way for parents to keep tabs on their children’s technology use. But tech-savvy children, whose online time skyrocketed during the pandemic, are finding ways to circumvent the controls meant to protect them.


No matter what the companies do, kids are devising ways to outwit the tech skills of their parents, from basic passcode spying—secretly turning on a screen recorder before asking their parents to tap in a security code—to a more-extreme move like a factory reset, which clears previously established Screen Time settings.


Mad Screen Capturing Tool 'CleanShot X' Launches Own File Format With New Update, by José Adorno, 9to5mac

With this new file format, users can now save their annotated screenshots as an editable CleanShot project file. Not only that but reopened screenshots from the Quick Access Overlay are now editable as well.

Best iPad Drawing Apps For Every Skill Level, by Shelby Brown, CNET

So whether you can draw a symmetrical face or have more of a Jackson Pollock flair for splatters, you'll be sure to find the perfect app for you among our picks of the best iPad drawing app.


Apple Design Resources Updated With New iPhone, Apple Watch, iPad, And Mac Templates, by José Adorno, 9to5Mac

Apple has updated its Developer’s Design Resources page with new templates of the company’s newest products such as the iPhone 13, Apple Watch Series 7, new MacBook Pro, Apple TV, and more.

Bottom of the Page

I live in a large city. I don't get quietness, and I don't get to see stars.

Maybe I should put these in my bucket list.


Thanks for reading.

The Cognitive-Distractions Edition Saturday, December 18, 2021

Reflections On A Year With HomeKit, by Adam Engst, TidBITS

The real win of home automation is eliminating cognitive distractions. When it’s time for dinner, it’s time to eat—the food is hot, one of us is likely already sitting down, and it’s disruptive if the other person has to traipse around the house, shutting off lights. Similarly, when we want to watch TV, getting all the lights set right wastes time and distracts from the focus of the activity. These might be self-imposed distractions—we could just leave all the lights on unnecessarily—but they’re no less annoying than unwanted notifications or spam phone calls.


iOS Music And iTunes Store Apps Stumble Over Deleted Tracks, by David C., TidBITS

When the Music app does a Delete from Library, it actually hides the purchase in your iTunes Store purchase history. To make it reappear, you need to connect to the iTunes Store, go to your account settings, locate the list of hidden purchases, and unhide it. This work in either iOS or macOS, but a bug in the iOS iTunes Store app means you need to do this from a Mac.

Home Widget Is The HomeKit Widget Apple Doesn’t Make, by Ed Hardy, Cult of Mac

With Home Widget, it’s now possible to control your HomeKit accessories directly from your iPhone’s Home screen. Turn on and off lights or even run automated scenes with the quick push of a button.

Add A Touch Of Whimsy To Your MacBook Pro's Notch This Holiday Season, by Oliver Haslam, iMore

With Notchmeister installed you can move your mouse around your MacBook Pro's notch and have one of a few different effects take place — and yes, there's a festive one!

iOS Devices Are Now Supported In JumpCloud's Device Management Solution, by Bradley Chambers, 9to5Mac

JumpCloud launched its mobile device management platform in May of 2020, but it only supported macOS devices. Today, JumpCloud is now supporting iOS devices as well.

Bottom of the Page

I hope Apple is continuing working on Focus mode. I am wishing for different Today's Widget view for different focuses.


Thanks for reading.

The Up-and-Down-the-Income-Ladder Edition Friday, December 17, 2021

Smartphones Are A New Tax On The Poor, by Julia Ticona, Wired

Science fiction author William Gibson famously said that the future is already here, it’s just not very evenly distributed. Smartphones and on-the-go internet access have made many of our working lives more efficient and flexible. But the requirement for constant connectivity isn’t only a fact of white-collar work—it has spread to workers up and down the income ladder. And while the requirement has spread, the resources that workers need to maintain it are not evenly distributed. Today, more than a quarter of low-income Americans depend solely on their phones for internet access. Amid historic levels of income inequality, phones and data plans have become an increasingly costly burden on those who have the least to spare.

Swift Playgrounds 4.0: First Look, by John Voorhees, MacStories

The app is not as capable as Xcode. Still, with support for Swift 5.5, live previewing of the app you’re building as you code, multiwindowing, access to SwiftUI, UIKit, the ability to move projects between Swift Playgrounds and Xcode, and more, the app has an enormous amount of potential waiting to be tapped.

The Internet Runs On Free Open-source Software. Who Pays To Fix It?, by Patrick Howell O'Neill, MIT Technology Review

The underfunding of open-source software is “a systemic risk to the United States, to critical infrastructure, to banking, to finance,” says Chris Wysopal, chief technology officer at the security firm Veracode. “The open-source ecosystem is up there in importance to critical infrastructure with Linux, Windows, and the fundamental internet protocols. These are the top systemic risks to the internet.”

How has it come to this? The answer comes in the form of another question: Why would tech companies pay for something they get for free? But the immense importance of open-source software means that the status quo is increasingly seen as untenable.

Hey Siri, Don't Make It Bad

Apple Music Voice Plan First Listen: Equal Parts Fun And Frustration, by Tamara Palmer, Macworld

If you try to play a full song in Apple Music with the new Voice Plan by tapping on it in the app, you’ll get a warning that you need to ask Siri to play it instead. Whether or not you’ll actually hear the song you want is another question entirely.

The Apple Music Voice Plan Is A Small Step Toward An iPhone-less Future, by Michael Simon, Macworld

As you can read in our testing of the new voice plan, Siri still has a long way to go. If Apple’s AR headset project is indeed launching next year, Siri is going to need to mature quickly, because it’s just not ready to do the things we’re going to need it to do. Asking multiple times to play a song is one thing, but more advanced tasks will need Siri to have a greater level of understanding of context and personality.

But for now, Apple Music Voice is a perfectly low-stakes testing ground. Whether it succeeds or unceremoniously disappears after a couple of years, Apple’s new service is providing a sneak peek at a world where all of our devices will be connected and hands-free.


Pixelmator Photo For iPhone: First Impressions, by John Voorhees, MacStories

My time with Pixelmator Photo on the iPhone has been limited, but I got up to speed with it quickly because so much of the app is familiar. Functionality has been moved around to accommodate the smaller screen, but it’s all there. I didn’t have any trouble finding the tools I wanted. It’s an impressive feat to pack so much onto an iPhone.

MusicHarbor Now Lets Users Easily Follow Artists With Shazam Integration, by Filipe Espósito, 9to5Mac

MusicHarbor is an app designed to let users follow their favorite artists so they can stay informed about new songs, music videos, and concerts. Now the app has been updated with a great new feature that will make it even easier to follow artists – integration with Shazam.

Keyboard Maestro Review: Conduct Repetitive Tasks On Your Mac With Ease, by Glenn Fleishman, Macworld

Computers should perform repetitive actions on our behalf, freeing us for higher-level work. Yet the insistence of operating systems and apps on making us carry out mind- and finger-numbing jobs has given rise to a varied category of utilities that automate operations. Keyboard Maestro has occupied a big swath of that niche since 2002. Its latest update, version 10, shipped in November 2021 with dozens of new features large and small.

The Best Apps To Turn Your iPhone Into A Document Scanner, by Mike Peterson, AppleInsider

Even in the era of working from home, many people likely don't have a traditional scanner in their home office. If you fall into that camp, these apps can probably save you from needing to buy one.

Eve Flare Review: Colorful HomeKit Smart Light That Goes Anywhere, by Karen S Freeman, iMore

It's portable, has IP65 water resistance, and boasts over six hours of battery life, so you're not limited to using it indoors or near an outlet.


Apple Builds New Team In Southern California To Bring More Wireless Chips In-House, by Mark Gurman, Bloomberg

Apple Inc. is hiring engineers for a new office in Southern California to develop wireless chips that could eventually replace components supplied by Broadcom Inc. and Skyworks Solutions Inc.

Bottom of the Page

Today in interesting error messages:

"The decoder required for this media is busy."

(Apple Music, on my iPhone, when trying to play a music video.)


Updated all my devices. iPhone. iPad. Mac mini to the latest operating system. Nothing is breaking yet.


Thanks for reading.

The Learn-Build-and-Submit Edition Thursday, December 16, 2021

Apple Releases Long-awaited Swift Playgrounds Update With The Ability To Create Apps Using iPad, by José Adorno, 9to5Mac

Swift Playgrounds 4 was announced back in June at WWDC 2021. The app helps developers and students learn the company’s Swift programming language, and the new version lets developers build and submit apps to the App Store directly from an iPad.

How To Read And Understand Apple’s New iOS App Privacy Report, by Heather Kelly, Washington Post

Once it’s turned on, the Privacy Report tracks the activity of individual apps and websites, then breaks it into sections so you can click through and see additional details, then even more details. The report is an attempt to give users more information so they can make decisions about things like what settings they have on and what apps they install or use.


“They are taking the medium to long term view that, essentially, if you name and shame enough of these then apps will gradually improve their behavior,” said Johnny Lin, the co-founder of San Francisco company Lockdown, which makes a tracker-blocking app. “It puts pressure on Apple’s competitors, like Facebook and Google. They’re forced to change a little bit, they’re forced to adapt.”

Distraction Disaster! Notifications Are Ruining Our Concentration – Here’s How To Escape Them, by Amy Fleming, The Guardian

Every time Leroy loads a new app, she disables notifications. “That’s my default,” she says. As Cox adds, “These notifications do train us to respond. And they’re very effective. That’s why all the companies use them. And that’s why we need to fight, quietly, by switching them off.”


Apple Shares 'Ted Lasso' Animated Christmas Short, by Juli Clover, MacRumors

Called “The Missing Christmas Mustache,” the short is voiced by “Ted Lasso” actors and it features a humorous storyline where Ted Lasso’s mustache goes missing.

Disney+ Expands Watch Together Feature To Work With FaceTime Using SharePlay, by José Adorno, 9to5Mac

Disney+ is today expanding its “watch together” feature to work with FaceTime while using SharePlay. With that, subscribers with an iPhone, iPad, or Apple TV can enjoy Disney content with family members and friends completely in sync while on a FaceTime call.

Newton Mail App Review, by Bryan M Wolfe, TechRadar

Regardless of the platform, Newton takes a minimalist approach when it comes to design. There are fewer buttons on the surface, and folders aren't nearly as emphasized as they are on other products. Swipes also play no role here and you won't find pinned panes.

BKOOL: The Most Complete Cycling App To Train Indoor This Winter, by Zach Nehr, Cycling Weekly

The training app offers a versatile training experience unmatched by competing training apps, including millions of real-world cycling routes and POV videos. BKOOL hosts rides and events with professional riders including Chris Froome, Sergio Higuita, and the Deceuninck-QuickStep team, and this year they are hosting the official Virtual Giro d’Italia.


Apple Scrubs Controversial CSAM Detection Feature From Webpage But Says Plans Haven’t Changed, by Jon Porter, The Verge

When reached for comment, Apple spokesperson Shane Bauer said that the company’s position hasn’t changed since September, when it first announced it would be delaying the launch of the CSAM detection. “Based on feedback from customers, advocacy groups, researchers, and others, we have decided to take additional time over the coming months to collect input and make improvements before releasing these critically important child safety features,” the company’s September statement read.

Apple Shuts Stores In Miami, Ottawa, Annapolis After Covid Surge, by Mark Gurman, Bloomberg

Apple Inc. has temporarily closed three retail stores in the U.S. and Canada after a rise in employee Covid-19 cases and exposures, the latest sign that a virus resurgence is threatening retail operations just before Christmas.

Apple Scraps Office-Return Deadline Without Setting New Date, by Mark Gurman, Bloomberg

Apple Inc., facing a resurgence in Covid-19 cases and a fast-spreading new variant, is delaying its corporate return-to-office deadline from Feb. 1 to a “date yet to be determined.”


The delay comes just weeks after the company asked employees to begin returning by February, a timeline that had already been pushed back several times. The lack of a firm date shows the struggle that companies face in trying to get their operations back to normal.

A Guide To Restoring Your Sanity In The Age Of Technology With More Technology, by Dave Pell, Medium

But you don’t need to be trapped in the wretched disaster of reality. You can escape to a new virtual life filled with healthy relationships, happy children, a spouse who never brings up your life insurance policy, and a nuclear family that isn’t radioactive. Envision this new life, create cartoonishly positive versions of everyday experiences, stage photos that reflect the you that you want the world to see. If you can post it, you can live it.

Bottom of the Page

I want my operating system to be predictable and unsurprising.

I also use Spotlight on my Mac to launch or switch apps. And Spotlight will surprise me -- not in a good way -- now and then. Here are two real-life examples that happened to me:

a) When I type "fin" to switch to Finder, it will most of the time, except occasionally it decide to launch "Find My" instead.

b) When I type "pre" to switch to Preview, it will most of the time, except occasionally it decide to launch "System Preferences" instead.


And yes, I am a little surprised Apple have not renamed "System Preferences" to "Settings" yet.


Thanks for reading.

The Grab-Bag Edition Wednesday, December 15, 2021

iOS And iPadOS 15.2 Overview: Music, Privacy, Security, And Safety, And A Grab Bag Of Other Additions And Refinements, by John Voorhees, MacStories

Yesterday, iOS and iPadOS 15.2 were released with a grab bag of new features, refinements, and fixes. There are some handy details in this release, many of which are found deep within the Settings app, so it’s worth poking around to find the ones you want to try.

Apple Launches ‘Hey Siri, Play…’ Suggestions Following Apple Music Voice Plan Debut, by José Adorno, 9to5Mac

Apple is highlighting in these markets a new ‘Hey Siri, play…’ section that shows how easy it’s to enjoy Apple Music using the company’s personal assistant.

You Can Now Reset And Erase A Locked iPhone Without Needing To Connect To A PC, by Benjamin Mayo, 9to5Mac

Another little tidbit in iOS 15.2 is that Apple has finally added the ability to erase and reset a locked iPhone or iPad, without first needing to connect it to a PC or Mac. This new feature is thanks to a new capability when the iOS device is in Security Lockout mode, after too many failed passcode attempts.

Apple Adds Nine New Scotland And Iceland Aerials To Apple TV Screensaver Lineup, by Benjamin Mayo, 9to5Mac

With this update, the screensaver rotation has added three videos of Scotland and six of Iceland, for a total of nine new additions.

Bye-Bye CSAM?

Apple Removes All References To Controversial CSAM Scanning Feature From Its Child Safety Webpage, by Tim Hardwick, MacRumors

Apple has quietly nixed all mentions of CSAM from its Child Safety webpage, suggesting its controversial plan to detect child sexual abuse images on iPhones and iPads may hang in the balance following significant criticism of its methods.


Why You Should Enable Fall Protection On Your Apple Watch, Even If You're Young, by Jake Peterson, Lifehacker

The point is, this feature works, and it saves lives. The problem is, you have to make sure it is enabled in the first place.

Apple Plans 'Ring In The New Year' Activity Challenge For Apple Watch Users, by Juli Clover, MacRumors

The Activity Challenge will require users to close all three of their Fitness rings for seven days in a row in January. That means meeting all stand, exercise, and move goals for a week.

We Speak To Four Winners Of Apple's 2021 App Awards, by Daryl Baxter, TechRadar

The company announced the year’s winners this month, with Carrot Weather, LumaFusion, DAZN, and League of Legends each winning in their categories for certain devices.

We spoke to the developers behind these apps to find out the challenges in designing the apps and their plans for the future.

FaceTime Client App 'Navi' Adds Subtitles And Live Translations Through SharePlay, by José Adorno, 9to5Mac

With Apple releasing macOS 12.1 with SharePlay support, developer Jordi Bruin just launched Navi, a universal app that helps people with hearing impairment and other disabilities to easily engage in a FaceTime call using subtitles and live translations.

Widgetsmith Update Brings Filters To All Photo Widgets, by Brent Dirks, AppAdvice

The big addition is the ability to apply photo filters to all photo-based widgets. That allows you to style images in the app without needing to filter the original images before selecting them.

PopSockets PopGrip Review: Finally, MagSafe Delivers A Better PopSocket Experience, by Andrew O'Hara, AppleInsider

The PopGrip from PopSockets is an excellent use of MagSafe to bring added functionality without using an adhesive to stick something to your phone.

If you liked PopSockets before, this is a significant upgrade. If you weren't a fan of PopSockets because they relied on a permanently attached mounting point, that barrier has been removed.

Twelve South HoverBar Duo – The Best iPad Stand Money Can Buy…, by Sarang Sheth, Yanko Design

Designed to let you use the iPad for work, filming, blogging, video chatting, and casual entertainment, the Twelve South HoverBar Duo is easily the most versatile iPad stand money can buy… and its adjustable design lets it work with the larger iPads as well as the iPad Mini.

Hands-on With Nomad's New MagSafe Compatible Base Station Hub For iPhone, AirPods, Apple Watch, by Michael Potuck, 9to5Mac

The Base Station Hub with Magnetic Alignment delivers premium materials and build quality with a matte black aluminum base and a supple padded leather top. Even as a four-device charger, the Base Station Hub remains minimal and sleek.


Apple To Again Require Masks At U.S. Stores And Limit Crowds, by Mark Gurman, Bloomberg

The technology giant said it’s requiring masks for shoppers -- a rule that had been dropped at about half of its U.S. stores -- to “support the well-being of customers and employees.” “Amid rising cases in many communities, we now require that all customers join our team members in wearing masks while visiting our stores,” the company said in a statement Tuesday.

Apple Employee Giving Program Raises $725M, As Company Thanks Volunteers, by Ben Lovejoy, 9to5Mac

Apple has announced that on the 10th anniversary of the Employee Giving program, almost $725 million has been raised for 39,000 different organizations.

The company says this includes nearly 2 million hours of voluntary work by Apple employees.

Feline Okay? The App That Tells You If Your Cat's Happy, by Matthew Stock, Reuters

Cat owners who love to take pictures of their furry friends now have a new excuse to pull out their smartphones and take a snapshot: it may actually help the cat.

A Calgary, Alberta, animal health technology company,, has developed an app called Tably that uses the phone's camera to tell whether a feline is feeling pain.

Bottom of the Page

I just noticed a few songs from my teenage years are labeled "Oldies" in Apple Music's genre field. I think I need to ask Siri to play a Cheer-me-up playlist.

Seriously, this whole Genre business do need a re-think. For one, sticking just one genre label to each individual song is probably too simplistic. Having just one list of labels to classify style, language, age, etc, is definitely not good.

But it is probably too late now.


Thanks for reading.

The Add-New-Features Edition Tuesday, December 14, 2021

Apple’s iOS 15.2 And macOS 12.1 Updates Hit Supported Devices Today, by Samuel Axon, Ars Technica

All of these updates are now publicly available on supported devices. All but tvOS are x.x feature updates, meaning that they actually add new features instead of just fixing issues.

Depending on the OS, those features may include SharePlay, Apple Music Voice Plan, the App Privacy Report panel, and more.

Apple’s Great New iPhone Privacy Feature Is Like An X-ray For Apps, by Michael Grothaus, Fast Company

Some have likened iOS 15.2’s App Privacy Report to a type of privacy report card. However, I like to think of it more like an X-ray. That’s because App Privacy Report is a kind of transparency report that lets you see what your iPhone’s installed apps are doing with your data, just as an X-ray acts as a transparency report for what’s going on inside your body.

What Has Changed In Monterey 12.1?, by Howard Oakley, The Eclectic Light Company

Of the reported memory leaks, quick checks here suggest that at least two have been fixed.

Apple Now Lets You Choose Contacts Who Can Access Your Account When You Die — Here's How To Set It Up, by Jessica Bursztynsky, CNBC

The chosen contacts can access data stored in iCloud, like photos and documents, after the original user dies, so long as they have a special access key and a copy of your death certificate. So be sure to set up Digital Legacy with people who are likely to have a copy of your death certificate when you die.

Apple Delays Release Of Universal Control For macOS, iPadOS Until 2022, by Mike Peterson, AppleInsider

In an update to Apple's macOS Monterey and iPadOS 15 feature pages on Monday, the company said that Universal Control will be "available this spring."

Writers and Their Tools

Can “Distraction-Free” Devices Change The Way We Write?, by Julian Lucas, New Yorker

For a long time, I believed that my only hope of becoming a professional writer was to find the perfect tool. A few months into my career as a book critic, I’d already run up against the limits of my productivity, and, like many others before me, I pinned the blame on Microsoft Word. Each time I opened a draft, I seemed to lose my bearings, scrolling from top to bottom and alighting on far-flung sentences at random. I found and replaced, wrote and rewrote; the program made fiddling easy and finishing next to impossible.

I’d fallen into the trap that the philosopher Jacques Derrida identified in an interview from the mid-nineties. “With the computer, everything is rapid and so easy,” he complained. “An interminable revision, an infinite analysis is already on the horizon.” Derrida hadn’t even contended with the sirens of online life, which were driving writer friends to buy disconnected laptops or to quarantine their smartphones in storage bins with timed locks. Zadie Smith touted Freedom, a subscription service that cut off the user’s devices—a chastity belt for procrastinators.


macOS Big Sur 11.6.2 And Security Update 2021-008 Catalina, by Agen Schmitz, TidBITS

Apple has released macOS Big Sur 11.6.2 and Security Update 2021-008 for macOS 10.15 Catalina, patching 31 security vulnerabilities in Big Sur and 28 vulnerabilities in Catalina.

Apple Releases 'Tracker Detect' App To Prevent Android Users From Being Tracked By AirTags, by Juli Clover, MacRumors

Apple says that Android users can scan to find a nearby AirTag if they think that someone is using an AirTag or another device to track their location.

Adobe Launches Creative Cloud Express App With Drag-and-Drop Content Creation, by Joe Rossignol, MacRumors

The free version of Creative Cloud Express includes basic editing and photo effects, access to a limited collection of design assets, and 2GB of cloud storage.

Best iPhone Apps To Enhance Your Experience With Apple Music, by Filipe Espósito, 9to5Mac

Although iOS comes with a native Apple Music app, there are some third-party apps that offer even better experiences for those who subscribe to Apple’s streaming service.

Adding Holiday Cheer To Your iPhone Home Screen With Widgets, by Bradley Chambers, 9to5Mac

If you want to customize your home screen, there’s no better app. Since it’s the Christmas season, there are a number of options inside of Widgetsmith to give your widgets some Christmas flare.


Apple Updates Its Developer Program Agreement To Clarify Use Of Swift Playgrounds, Xcode Cloud, More, by Filipe Espósito, 9to5Mac

Ahead of the Swift Playgrounds 4 launch, Apple has updated its terms to mention the platform as one of the alternatives for creating iOS apps. This is because one of the main new features of Swift Playgrounds 4 is the ability to create and submit apps to the App Store directly from an iPad, so now the app is considered an “Apple SDK,” just like Xcode.


Apple Patches Log4Shell iCloud Vulnerability That Set Internet ‘On Fire’, by Michael Simon, Macworld

According to the Electic Light Company, Apple has patched the iCloud hole. The site reports that researchers were able to demonstrate the vulnerability when connecting to iCloud through the web on December 9 and December 10, the same vulnerability no longer worked on December 11. The exploit doesn’t appear to have affected macOS.

The Labor Department Is Investigating Apple’s Treatment Of Employees., by Kellen Browning, New York Times

The department declined to say who had requested the investigation or what it was about, but Ashley Gjovik, a former employee who has been outspoken about misconduct at Apple, said she had filed the complaint “to ensure Apple knows they cannot get away with retaliating against me for exercising my federally and state-protected rights.”

Apple Management-Training Chief Joel Podolny Leaves For Startup, by Mark Gurman, Bloomberg

Podolny was a steward of Apple’s corporate culture as the company pushed into new markets and coped with the death of Jobs, its visionary co-founder. He had worked with Jobs to create Apple University as a way to teach executives about the company’s values -- and what it had learned from decades of decision-making.

Bottom of the Page

I will be installing the macOS update this weekend. No, I don't have any need to try out SharePlay. Rather, I am hoping this update will fix the Safari bug that I encounter rather regularly, where the web site titles go missing in the tab bar. (I believe this is a cosmetic bug, so I am not too worried.)


Thanks for reading.

The Wider-Range-of-Data Edition Monday, December 13, 2021

What Devices Like Apple, Google Smartwatches Are Beginning To Display About Our Health, by Bob Woods, CNBC

Fitness trackers from companies like Apple, Amazon, and Google are making a significant shift from being low-tech devices that counted steps to now becoming what's fashionable in personal health.

Tracking fitness and workout data for personal use or sharing with friends can be useful and fun. But there's an increasing interest in incorporating a wider range of medical data into the digital health ecosystem — piggybacking on the dramatic rise in remote telehealth services necessitated during the Covid-19 pandemic — making individuals' information accessible to physicians and hospitals as part of electronic medical health records.

It's Been A Decade Since Siri Came Out, And It Still Sucks, by Christianna Silva, Mashable

Ten years later, we've seen the importance of virtual assistants. It's incredibly helpful to people with disabilities. It can be paired with Bluetooth speakers for those with difficulty hearing and can assist people with calling for help if they need. Amazon's Alexa and Google's assistant have gotten more useful. And voice readers have really become a huge phenomenon on TikTok.

But, unfortunately, for anyone with an iPhone, we have to deal with the least helpful voice assistant of them all — and there's no reason to believe they'll be getting any better over the next decade.


MusicMatch Makes It Easy To Share Music Between Streaming Services, by Daryl Baxter, TechRadar

The app allows music lovers to open shared song links in either Spotify or Apple Music within the app. You can also play song links utilizing a Safari extension, without opening the MusicMatch app.

Browse The Web From Your Wrist With µBrowser, by Josh Centers, TidBITS

Other than the custom font quirk and the tiny screen, the main annoyance is that you must tap through a “Sign In” prompt every single time you load a website, even though you’re not signing into anything. Arno explains during µBrowser setup that this is an Apple requirement, and you’re not actually handing over any personal information when you do this. Hopefully, Apple eliminates this requirement soon.


Change My Mind: MagSafe Is Awesome, by Rita El Khoury, Android Authority

I never thought that solution would come from Apple and its iPhones, but well, what do you know? When MagSafe was introduced, it was an “aha” moment for me. Magnets — of course, it had to be magnets. And built in too. Simple, and awesome in its simplicity, MagSafe is, in my opinion, the perfect answer to the problem of phone accessories.

Bottom of the Page

For me, the most difficult-to-use interface control on my iPhone is the volume slider on the lock screen. At least half of the time, I inadvertently activates either the camera or the Today's widgets rather than adjusting the volume.


Thanks for reading.

The Play-a-Role Edition Sunday, December 12, 2021

The Technology Helping Keep Women Safe On The Streets, by Shiona McCallum, BBC

Sexual harassment against females has been under the spotlight for most of this year, with women across the UK turning to their own methods to feel better when they are out at night.

So could technology play a role in making women feel safer on our streets?

Apple’s App Tracking Transparency Feature Isn’t An Instant Privacy Button, by Mitchell Clark, The Verge

While asking apps to not track you does keep them from collecting and selling data tied to your personal advertising identity, it doesn’t keep developers from collecting any information about you at all.


OnMail Launches New Calendar To Simplify Managing Events From Your Email App, by Bradley Chambers, 9to5Mac

OnMail now lets you sync your calendar from your Gmail, Yahoo, and Outlook accounts with the OnMail mobile app, so you can view everything in a day, week, or month.

Zhiyun Smooth 5 Gimbal Review: Sturdy, Strong, And Made For Pros, by William Gallagher, AppleInsider

With a stronger, 3-axis motor, the new Zhiyun Smooth 5 Gimbal is built for professional filming, especially with larger or heavier phones, like the iPhone 13 Pro range.


The Giant Slayers: How Spotify, Tile And Match Brought An Antitrust Fight To Apple, by Ben Brody, Protocol

By May 2020 Epic was already planning to spend "$80K - $100K" to launch the coalition, according to documents Apple included as part of its lawsuit with Epic. Epic’s goal, according to those filings, was to overcome its status as a “not sympathetic” big player by working with other, often smaller organizations. Lane Kasselman, an Uber and AT&T communications veteran who had experience working for the manager of Obama’s 2012 campaign, presented a strategy vision to Epic’s lawyers that included the coalition. Forbes Tate, one of Washington’s top 10 lobbying firms by revenue, now runs the coalition, known as CAF.

CAF, though, has rejected the implication that it’s a litigation vehicle. People familiar with the group say the founding members, as they hashed out the details and prepared to go public, were eager to combat the notion they only did the bidding of Epic. The baker’s dozen of founders decided the solution was laying out principles for competition and fairness in the app ecosystem. Companies beyond Epic saw the opportunity to rally together and tout the principles, keeping up public and lobbying pressure on Apple.

Apple Donating To Support Relief Efforts Following Tornadoes In Several U.S. States, by Joe Rossignol, MacRumors

Apple will be donating to support relief efforts on the ground following tornadoes and other severe weather across parts of the central and southern United States, according to a tweet shared by Apple CEO Tim Cook on Saturday.

Bottom of the Page

The apps that earned a place on the first (and only) page on my iPhone's home screen are there because I use them at least once a day. Here are the apps that survived the year 2021 with me:

Due, by Due Apps LLP. At the early days of these strange times, I've occasionally forgotten to log my daily body temperature on the company's intranet. (This was when we were still a little naive on this Covid thing.) And then, one fine day, I missed going to a Teams meeting. That was when I looked to technology for help, and decided on this reminder app that will remind and remind and remind and remind until the task that it is reminding has started.

Dotoist, by Doist Inc. This is where I take all the stuff from emails and Teams messages and Whatsapp messages and dump them all in a single list.

Reeder 5, by Silvio Rizzi. This RSS reader runs on my Mac to gather articles and sync them to my iPhone and iPad for browsing. I don't have to subscribe to a third-party server-based RSS reader just to do syncing.

Instapaper, by Instant Paper, Inc. I am still using this app to read news articles on my iPhone and iPad after so many years.

Amazon Kindle, by AMZN Mobile LLC, and Audible, by Audible, Inc. Yeah, I am deep in Amazon's ecosystem for reading books.

Castro, by Tiny Podcast Company Ltd. Honestly, I haven't found a podcast player that is exactly how I want to manage and listen to podcasts. Castro is the closest to my taste, mainly due to its user interface of the Inbox and Queue for me to decide whether to listen to specific episodes of specific podcasts or not.

BBC Sounds, by BBC Media Applications Technologies Limited. Yes, many BBC radio programmes are available as podcasts, and I do subscribe to them in my podcast player. But then, there are also other programmes that are not. This is where I listen to programmes such as Just a Minute and I'm sorry, I'll Read That Again. (I'm not complaining. No. BBC is providing so much great audio entertainment for free, that I'll be an ungrateful idiot to complain.)

Orbital, by Bitforge. The good thing about this game is that there are no levels, there are no stars or coins that I need to earn, there are no prizes or rewards, there are no cut-scenes, and there are no achievement boards or anything. I play this game when I am listening to audiobooks or podcasts and I need something to distract my eyes.

Miximum, by Mike Clay. I missed smart playlists in iTunes + iPods. This is not a replacement, but it is good enough to provide some smartness to Apple Music playlists.


Thanks for reading.

The Countless-Apps Edition Saturday, December 11, 2021

Zero-day In Ubiquitous Log4j Tool Poses A Grave Threat To The Internet, by Dan Goodin, Ars Technica

Exploit code has been released for a serious code-execution vulnerability in Log4j, an open-source logging utility that's used in countless apps, including those used by large enterprise organizations and also in Java versions of Minecraft, several website reported on last Thursday.


Additional reporting from security firm LunaSec says that cloud services from Steam and Apple iCloud have also been found to be vulnerable.


This App Brings HomeKit Widgets Right To Your iOS Home Screen, by Bradley Chambers, 9to5Mac

You can add small, medium, or large panels for almost any combination of HomeKit access. Functionality includes individual accessories, scenes, or groups of accessories.

9 Amazing Apps To Customize Your iPhone Home Screen Design, by Denise Lim, MakeUseOf

Let’s take a look at some popular apps to customize your Home Screen and find your perfect style. We’ll explore the range of themes they offer and talk about some additional features you can expect from the apps.

MagPod Combines Sturdy MagSafe iPhone Stand And Handle, by Ed Hardy, Cult of Mac

The STM Goods MagPod is a beefy iPhone tabletop tripod that magnetically attaches to the handset. And it can do double duty as a handle. Use it for keeping an eye on your texts or making FaceTime calls.

Should More Runners Use This Virtual Training App?, by Marley Dickinson, Canadian Running

What makes Zwift unique to treadmill running is the online workouts and routes it offers you based on the time/distance you want to run. It also has programs and organized run clubs to help you reach your fitness goals and run virtually with friends.


The Wallpaper* Feature On The Apple Design Team And A Missed Opportunity, by David Sparks, MacSparky

Instead of quoting Steve Jobs, I would have preferred an explanation from Alan Dye about his philosophy of user interface design and what his north star is when he does his work. I'd like him to make his case. If he explained the thinking behind this minimal approach, it might make more sense. Maybe this article was never meant to be that kind of deep dive on design philosophy, but it feels like a missed opportunity.

Apple Finally Makes A Firmware Updater For AirPods, But You Can’t Use It, by Filipe Espósito, 9to5Mac

Apple developed AirPods Firmware Updater exclusively for Apple Technicians working in Apple Stores or authorized repair centers. That way, if something goes wrong with a pair of AirPods, technicians can restore and update the firmware to try to fix the problem without having to replace the product.

Netflix, Amazon, Disney Plus, Apple TV Plus To Invest As Much As $330 Million In French Content Annually, by Elsa Keslassy, Variety

The pact provides specific guidelines on the new investment obligations that were published in the French decree that came out in July and stemmed from the implementation of the Audiovisual Media Services Directive (AVMS). The legislation was put forth by the European Commission to even the playing field between streaming giants and existing players across Europe. France is the first country to have set new regulations as part of the AVMS; other countries within the E.U. are expected to follow course.

Bottom of the Page

How many movie directors are angry with me with the way I am watching their movies, breaking into multiple chunks, and watching them over multiple days?


Thanks for reading.

The Without-Being-Too-Complex Edition Friday, December 10, 2021

6 Weeks In, I See The Value In Committing To The Apple Watch Series 7, by Andy Boxall, Digital Trends

As I continue to use the Apple Watch Series 7 every day, I am seeing value from its health tracking. The data it provides is in-depth without being too complex, and the graphs are clear, plus it helps me see where I’m improving. I also appreciate that when I use the Health app, I don’t have to spend ages looking for the right menu or deciphering masses of data. All this comes without the need to provide much beyond your basic information, or make sure all the features are active. I love this simplicity.

Why Apps Suddenly Want To Protect Kids, by Shira Ovide, New York Times

When people younger than 18 record videos and add them to YouTube, the public can no longer watch them. TikTok says it will stop sending app notifications to teenagers at night. Facebook and Google have sharply restricted the ways that advertisers can tailor messages to minors on their sites.

In recent months, internet companies have reworked their apps and policies to try to better protect the safety, privacy and mental health of children. One big reason is Britain.

Apple Continuing Work On New Apple Music App For Classical Music, by Hartley Charlton, MacRumors

Following its acquisition of the classical music service Primephonic earlier this year, Apple’s work on a new music app dedicated to classical music is ongoing, a recent job listing indicates.


Apple Maps Expands Detailed Coverage, Look Around, And Other Features To Australia, by Filipe Espósito, 9to5Mac

Apple on Thursday announced a major update to Apple Maps for users in Australia. The company is now officially expanding its detailed coverage with better navigation, Look Around, and other features to the country.

Apple Updates AirPods, AirPods Pro, And AirPods Max Firmware, by Juli Clover, MacRumors

Apple does not offer information on what’s included in refreshed firmware updates for the AirPods‌, so we don’t know what improvements or bug fixes the new firmware brings.

MagSafe Charger Firmware Update Now Available, by Wesley Hilliard, AppleInsider

The MagSafe Charger is a simple device with some on-device intelligence for charging the iPhone at specific rates given certain information provided by the connection. Apple doesn't provide release notes for MagSafe Charger firmware updates so expect bug fixes and optimization.

VSCO Adds Dodge And Burn Tools Into Its iPhone App, by Jaron Schneider, PetaPixel

The addition allows users to take more granular control over shadows and highlights in their photos.

FastScripts Review: Shift AppleScripts Into High Gear, by Glenn Fleishman, Macworld

FastScripts takes Apple’s football and runs with it, elevating AppleScripts from a slightly pushed-under-the-rug technology to something that can work on par with apps and as connective tissue.

Pok Pok Playroom Releases Major Town Toy Expansion, by John Voorhees, MacStories

Today’s update grows the town into a thriving, diverse metropolis. The original parts are still there, but kids will also find more occupations, green spaces, new means of transportation, a farm, and even a movie set complete with a dinosaur.


Microsoft Quietly Told Apple It Was Willing To Turn Big Xbox-exclusive Games Into iPhone Apps, by Sean Hollister, The Verge

Where did negotiations break down? Microsoft now tells The Verge that Apple was actually the one that rejected its proposals — because Apple insisted on forcing each and every game to include the full streaming stack and wouldn’t agree to anything else.

“Our proposal for bringing games through individual apps was designed to comply with App Store policies. It was denied by Apple based on our request that there be a single streaming tech app to support the individual game apps, as the initial email states. Forcing each game to include our streaming tech stack proved to be unrealistic from a support and engineering perspective and would create an incredibly negative experience for customers,” reads a statement from Xbox Cloud Gaming CVP Kareem Choudhry to The Verge.

Bottom of the Page

I really hope the new Apple Music app for classical music will cater to both advanced classical music listeners (of which I am not) and beginners (like me!) who want to learn how to appreciate these music.

Or maybe there's a (different) app for that?


Thanks for reading.

The Anonymised-and-Aggregated Edition Thursday, December 9, 2021

Apple Reaches Quiet Truce Over iPhone Privacy Changes, by Patrick McGee, Financial Times

Apple has allowed app developers to collect data from its 1 billion iPhone users for targeted advertising, in an unacknowledged shift that lets companies follow a much looser interpretation of its controversial privacy policy.


[C]ompanies including Snap and Facebook have been allowed to keep sharing user-level signals from iPhones, as long as that data is anonymised and aggregated rather than tied to specific user profiles.

Inside Apple Park: First Look At The Design Team Shaping The Future Of Tech, by Jonathan Bell, Wallpaper*

In the distance is a rectangular frame of foliage. In the foreground, a conference table, placed with architectural rigour so that the focal point is dead centre of the screen. The scene is a tiny cross section through Apple Park, the tech giant’s mighty circular HQ in Cupertino, by Foster + Partners. There are 12,000 employees on site here, including the Apple Design Team. This agile but hugely significant department thinks in terms of scope, not scale.

Working side by side to guide this division are Evans Hankey, Apple’s VP of industrial design, and Alan Dye, VP of human interface design. Both close colleagues, confidants and friends of Jony Ive, they effectively took the helm of the Design Team after his departure from the chief design officer role in 2019.

On App Stores

Apple Granted Delay In Complying With App Store Changes Required By Epic Ruling, by Chance Miller, 9to5Mac

Apple’s request for a delay App Store changes required by the Epic Games vs Apple ruling has been granted. This comes after Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers denied Apple’s request for a delay last month, but Apple immediately announced plans to appeal to the Ninth Circuit court.


The decision today: “Apple has demonstrated, at minimum, that its appeal raises serious questions on the merits of the district court’s determination that Epic Games, Inc. failed to show Apple’s conduct violated any antitrust laws but did show that the same conduct violated California’s Unfair Competition Law. ”

Epic V. Apple Ruling Put On Hold After Appeals Court Grants A Stay, by Russell Brandom, The Verge

“Our concern is that these changes would have created new privacy and security risks, and disrupted the user experience customers love about the App Store,” said Apple spokesperson Marni Goldberg in a statement. “We want to thank the court for granting this stay while the appeals process continues.”

Appeals Court Grants Apple A Delay On Injunction Mandating Changes To App Store In Epic Case, by John Gruber, Daring Fireball

Basically, Apple’s argument for a stay was that — as per Gonzalez Rogers’s own ruling — they were entitled to collect a commission even on digital content purchases that didn’t use IAP, but that doing so would require significant effort, and if they eventually won on appeal — which, as stated above, they expect to — they’d have no recourse to recoup the costs of that effort. The Ninth Circuit appeals court clearly agreed.


Apple Giving Customers A Second Chance To Buy AppleCare+ After Their iPhone Or Mac Is Repaired, by Joe Rossignol, MacRumors

In an internal memo this week, obtained by MacRumors, Apple said customers who had an iPhone or Mac repaired at an Apple Store or Apple Authorized Service Provider are now eligible to purchase AppleCare+ for the device, so long as the device was purchased less than one year ago and passes a physical inspection and diagnostics after repair.

Apple Launches Support For Keys In Apple Wallet, Starting With Six Hyatt Hotels, by Benjamin Mayo, 9to5Mac

Apple has today launched one of the few outstanding iOS 15 features first demoed at WWDC. In partnership with Hyatt Hotels, Apple users will be able to use their iPhone, or Apple Watch, as their room key in the initial rollout of six hotels.

ScreenKit, The Popular Home Screen Customization App, Goes All Christmassy, by Oliver Haslam, iMore

ScreenKit is an app that helps people customize their Home screens and now it's been updated to include more than 20 new Christmas icon packs, more than 25 new Christmas widgets, and more.


Apple Officially Launches New App Store Product Page Features For Developers, by Chance Miller, 9to5Mac

In a post on the Apple Developer website today, Apple announced that it is now rolling out two new features for App Store product pages. With these new tools, developers can now create and test different versions of their app’s product page in the App Store.

Apple Launches Redesigned Website With Its Open Source Projects And Others From The Community, by Filipe Espósito, 9to5Mac

Apple today launched a redesigned version of its Apple Open Source website, on which the company provides access to open source data. The new website highlights not only Apple’s open source projects, but also those of third parties.


Apple’s Car Project Loses Three More Key Engineers To Startups, by Mark Gurman, Bloomberg

The exodus shows the challenges Apple faces in expands into a new industry. A self-driving car could represent a massive new sales opportunity for the tech giant -- one of its famous “next big things” -- but perfecting such technology has bedeviled engineers for years. And the seven-year-old project has been marked by frequent turnover and strategy shifts, along with rivals poaching its talent.

Bottom of the Page

Steve Jobs, 2007: "You don’t want your phone to be like a PC. The last thing you want is to have loaded three apps on your phone and then you go to make a call and it doesn’t work anymore. These are more like iPods than they are like computers."

2021, as reported by Androidpolice: "An 'unintended interaction' between the [Microsoft Teams] app and Android prevented emergency calls from being placed properly."


Personally, there are two things that I will demand the iPhone not to fail:

a) Make a phone call when I want to make a phone call; and
b) Wake me up at the correct time when I set an alarm.

And, yes, Apple did have a couple of bugs that caused the alarm clock to fail back in 2010 and 2011. If I remember correctly, thankfully, the bugs didn't affected me back then.


Thanks for reading.

The Litany-of-Problems Edition Wednesday, December 8, 2021

Apple's Nightmare Before Christmas: Supply Chain Crisis Delays Gift Deliveries, by Cheng Ting-Fang and Lauly Li, Nikkei Asia

For the first time in more than a decade, iPhone and iPad assembly was halted for several days due to supply chain constraints and restrictions on the use of power in China, multiple sources with knowledge of the situation told Nikkei.


Apple and its suppliers have faced a litany of problems. The monthslong lockdown in Vietnam affected iPhone camera module production from Sharp, as Nikkei previously reported, which dragged out the timeline for final product assembly. COVID-19 disruptions in Malaysia weighed on production of many electronic components and chips; the Southeast Asian country plays a pivotal role in chip packaging and testing -- the final step of making chips. Unexpected restrictions on industrial power use in China piled on further misery.

The Vice President Should Not Be Using Bluetooth Headphones, by Corin Faife, The Verge

As security researchers were quick to point out, Bluetooth has a number of well-documented vulnerabilities that could be exploited if a bad actor wanted to hack, say, the second most powerful person in the US government.


Initial Time Machine Backup Failures Increasingly Being Reported By Mac Users, by Tim Hardwick, MacRumors

While some users are complaining of different issues with Time Machine on different Macs and versions of macOS that are hard to replicate, one common complaint in particular has surfaced regarding Time Machine backups not completing for M1 Mac users running Monterey 12.0.1 or Big Sur 11.6.1.

Eve Room Adds Thread Radio To Improve HomePod Support And Responsiveness Over Wi-Fi, by Bradley Chambers, 9to5Mac

At a high-level, Thread excels as it is a purpose-made mesh networking protocol for HomeKit and smart home platforms with direct peer-to-peer communication and is self-maintaining and self-healing.


Apple CEO Tim Cook 'Secretly' Signed $275 Billion Deal With China In 2016, by Hartley Charlton, MacRumors

Apple CEO Tim Cook “secretly” signed an agreement worth more than $275 billion with Chinese officials, promising that Apple would help to develop China’s economy and technological capabilities, The Information reports.


Cook set out to use a “memorandum of understanding” between Apple and a powerful Chinese government agency called the National Development and Reform Commission to formally agree to a number of concessions in return for regulatory exemptions.

Bottom of the Page

Looking back at the year of 2021, I find my choice of books to read tend towards escapism. These past two years are probably not the best of years for almost everyone. Year #1 was not good for the stressed-up me, so that's probably why year #2 saw me watching more sitcoms as well reading more fictions that have nothing to do whatsoever with the end of world.

In alphabetical order, here are my favorite fictional reads this year.

The Cat and The City, by Nick Bradley.
Cloud Cuckoo Land, by Anthony Doerr.
The Hidden Palace, by Helene Wecker.
The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue, by V.E. Schwab.
Monogamy, by Sue Miller.
Small Pleasures, by Clare Chambers.

Looking back at my fictional universe this year, there was war, death, and a possibly devasting train crash. However, there was also life and its little happiness sprinkled here and there.

I hope these books may inspire you to find your next good read.


Thanks for reading.

The No-Longer-Working Edition Tuesday, December 7, 2021

Apple Still Hasn't Fixed Siri Issue That Nixed Call, Email, And Voicemail Features Used By Low Vision And Blind Users, by Juli Clover, MacRumors

With the launch of iOS 15, Apple changed Siri functionality and removed features that were heavily relied on by low vision and blind iPhone users. ‌Siri‌ commands that provide details on phone calls, voice mails, and sending emails are no longer working, and Apple has yet to fix the issue.

This AI Art App Is A Glimpse At The Future Of Synthetic Media, by James Vincent, The Verge

If you’ve been hanging out on Twitter lately, then you’ve probably noticed a profusion of AI-generated images sprouting all over your timeline like weird, algorithmic visions. These pictures have been generated using a new app called Dream, which lets anyone create “AI-powered paintings” by simply typing a brief description of what they want to see. It’s odd, often uncanny stuff — and extremely fun.

Kid-tracking App That Parents Love Sells Precise Location Data, by Jon Keegan and Alfred Ng, The Markup

Life360, a popular family safety app used by 33 million people worldwide, has been marketed as a great way for parents to track their children’s movements using their cellphones. The Markup has learned, however, that the app is selling data on kids’ and families’ whereabouts to approximately a dozen data brokers who have sold data to virtually anyone who wants to buy it.

Through interviews with two former employees of the company, along with two individuals who formerly worked at location data brokers Cuebiq and X-Mode, The Markup discovered that the app acts as a firehose of data for a controversial industry that has operated in the shadows with few safeguards to prevent the misuse of this sensitive information.


Apple Configurator Now Available On iPhone For Adding Macs Not Purchased By An Organization Into Business Manager, by Filipe Espósito, 9to5Mac

Apple on Monday released its new Apple Configurator app for iPhone, which is used to deploy iOS and Mac devices in schools and business. With the new iPhone app, it is now possible to set up a Mac not purchased by an organization into Apple Business Manager or Apple School Manager.

Apple Chief Says Apple Business Essentials Doesn't Compete With Jamf , by William Gallagher, AppleInsider

This is a service that combines device management, storage and support into a single subscription," he continued, "with the goal of helping small businesses tackle all the different things that come up throughout the use of Apple devices in their organisation."

The Best Board Game Conversions To Play On Your New iPad, by Wesley Hilliard, AppleInsider

Board games have always been a great way to pass the time, and many are made better with digital conversion. Playing on your iPad means a quick start, no setup, no cleanup, and no missing pieces.


Apple Teams Up With Boys & Girls Clubs Of America To Bring New Coding Opportunities To Young Learners Across The Country, by Apple

In celebration of Computer Science Education Week, Apple and Boys & Girls Clubs of America today launched a new program that will bring coding to Boys & Girls Clubs in more than a dozen US cities. This new collaboration will bring coding with Swift to tens of thousands of students across the country, building on Apple’s existing partnership with Boys & Girls Clubs of America through the company’s Community Education Initiative in support of its Racial Equity and Justice Initiative.


Apple Is Running Out Of Time To Deliver On Its 2021 Promises, by Dan Moren, Macworld

Several of the most ambitious features have still yet to be released, and with the clock ticking down on 2021, it’s left more than a few users wondering if we’ll even see these features this year.

Well-Known Apple Developers Support Manifesto For Ubiquitous Linking, by Adam Engst, TidBITS

The Manifesto for Ubiquitous Linking is meant to encourage developers to add linking capabilities to their apps such that every distinct information resource within the app can be accessed via a link. And it encourages users who want to reap the cognitive benefits to request such support from the developers of the apps they use.

Bottom of the Page

I am not expecting any new products from Apple for the rest of the year, and that includes any of the features demonstrated at WWDC previously. Please do take a break, dear Apple developers.


I am also not expecting any relaxing of Covid-related rules for the rest of the year, here in Singapore. Of which I can only say: oh well.


Thanks for reading.

The Bond-with-Anything Edition Monday, December 6, 2021

Apple Discontinued The One Thing That Got Me Through The Pandemic, by Alexis Nedd, Mashable

These days Siri on the Mini wishes me "Good Morning" and tells me the weather, but I still go to Siri on my original HomePod for cooking help, depression shower timers, and everything else for which I've come to rely on it for. It's an odd dynamic, but with three of us in the apartment I'm sure we can figure this out. Humans, after all, will pack bond with anything.

If You Ask Me, Your New iPhone 13 Doesn't Really Need A Case, by Sareena Dayaram, CNET

Here's what I'm enjoying: the lightness, thinness, portability and in-hand feel. I'm also appreciating that I can now take advantage of Back Tap more easily.

Apple iPhone 13 Rebates Fail To Deliver For Some Buyers, by Mark Gurman, Bloomberg

Getting the trade-in credit from Apple was instantaneous when I bought the phone at a store. But it wasn’t so easy receiving the rebate money from my carrier—an experience other consumers have struggled with as well.


This Distraction-free Editor Is The Best Writing Tool You Aren’t Using, by Jared Newman, Fast Company

With Typora, there are no ugly toolbars, superfluous collaboration options, or clumsy menus between you and your work, and the app works entirely offline. I first discovered Typora five years ago and have used it to write more than a thousand articles and newsletters since then.

"Let It Snow" Feature Returns To Apple Store App, by David Becker, Appleosophy

The feature that has returned to the Apple Store app this holiday season is “let it snow.” When you type this into the search area of the app, you can see little snowflakes appear on the screen while you are shopping in the app.

Turn Your Apple TV Into A Charming Fireplace With Christmas Music For The Holidays, by Zac Hall, 9to5Mac

My favorite is an oldie but a goodie that pre-dates the 4K Apple TV, but it’s simple and charming with an icon that doesn’t hurt my eyes.


How Publishers Are Using Read-Later Apps To Reach Audiences, by Mark Stenberg, AdWeek

The 14-year-old company, which was acquired by Mozilla in 2017, has received something of a facelift in the last year––its updated design now emphasizes discovery––due in part to a rising interest in the read-later space.

Driven by the increasingly-fragmented nature of consumption, readers now routinely encounter articles on a dozen different platforms in a given day. This has made Pocket’s basic utility as a storage locker for users’ bookmarked content more vital, said CEO Matt Koidin. Sensing opportunity, new entrants, such as Matter and Upnext, have entered the space.

Bottom of the Page

Listening to podcasts is one of my favorite activities nowadays, and it is one of the very few medium that I accept being exposed to advertisements...

... except that there are some podcasts whose advertisement are just other podcasts.

Don't they realize I already subscribed to too many podcasts and too time?


Thanks for reading.

The Sort-of-Tedium Edition Sunday, December 5, 2021

Coding For Non-programmers: Why We Need Better GUI Automation Tools, by Mathew Duggan

"Surely you all have a development team or someone who can help automate that?" I asked, a little shocked at what he was saying. "No well we asked but they just don't have the spare capacity right now, so we're gonna keep doing it this year." He went on to explain this wasn't even the only one of these he had to do, in fact there were many web pages where he needed to manually update information, seemingly only possible through his browser. I thought of the thousands of people at just this company who are spending tens of thousands of hours copy and pasting from a spreadsheet.

When I was a kid and first introduced to computers this was exactly the sort of tedium they were supposed to help with. If you did all the work of getting the data into the computer and had everything set up, part of the sales pitch of a computer in every workplace was the incredible amount of time saved. But this didn't seem any better as compared to him pulling paper files and sorting them. What happened? Weren't we supposed to have fixed this already?

Townscaper On iPad Is Brain Food For My Creative Side, by CJ Andriessen, Destructoid

Townscaper is a calming experience. I’m doing something I love—city building—but in a manner that requires no forethought or extensive planning. I’m just tapping my iPad screen, watching a sprawling city emerge from the light blue depths of this shallow sea. Not only does this relax me after troublesome days at work, but as a natural storyteller, crafting this whimsical city gets my creative juices flowing.

A New App Allows You To Experience Philadelphia The Way Rocky Did, by Mina Llona, The Philadelphia Tribune

The Rocky Experience is a way to fully immerse yourself in Rocky’s Philadelphia on your own time, for as long as you want and you can even do the tour with your friends.

Bottom of the Page

The transition from the classic home button in iPhones from day 1, to the swipe-up-from-bottom-edge to go home since iPhone X must be quite successful. I remember I've gotten used to the new user-interface within the first few days of getting the iPhone X back in the days. Even on my old iPad Pro with the home button, I prefer to swipe up rather than click on the button in order to go home.

Contrast this with how Microsoft's messing around with the Start button.... or how Apple's messing around with the Safari's tabs. This swipe geature is something that Apple has gotten it working correctly on the very first (public) release.

Unfortunately, Apple has also started messing around with this gesture in the latest OS. On the iPad, not too frequent, but not too rare, I've activated the Quick Note instead of the home screen accidentally. This is bad, because I need to find and tap on the "Done" button to dismiss the Quick Note. And after that, I'm back to square one and have to swipe up again to get to the home screen.

Maybe there is a lesson to be learnt with iPad's multitasking, something that I don't think anyone will agree that Apple has gotten it right the first time. Or the second time. Maybe gesture-based user-interface are great so long as they are kept to a minimal, with no overloading.


Thanks for reading.

The Back-to-Residence Edition Saturday, December 4, 2021

Apple AirTag Linked To Increasing Number Of Car Thefts, Canadian Police Report, by Hartley Charlton, MacRumors

Outlined in a news release from York Regional Police, investigators have identified a new method being used by thieves to track down and steal high-end vehicles that takes advantage of the AirTag’s location tracking capabilities. While the method of stealing the cars is largely conventional, the purpose of the AirTag is to track a high-end car back to a victim’s residence where it can be stolen from the driveway.

What The Tech? The Apple Watch’s Straps Are More Than Just A Finishing Touch, by Eric Brain, Hypebeast

Each time we have refined the Apple Watch’s design, we have pushed ourselves to maintain backward compatibility, which has been no small feat as the display has grown over the years.

For us, the band is not at all about technology — each band expresses our love for materials, craft, and the process of making.

Hans Zimmer On The Benefits Of Spatial Audio And His “Weird Relationship” With Jony Ive: “I Don't Want To Hear Stereo, Because You Took Half Of My Sonic World Away”, by Ben Rogerson, MusicRadar

“So, in the middle of the pandemic, in the middle of working on Dune, I am sent a gift by Jony Ive, a pair of headphones, right? And we have this weird relationship. We've never met, but we have this weird relationship where he sends me something and just has a little note going, ‘I made this’. And then I write as a thank you note, I write a little tune by hand and I sent that back to him and so, it's like things we made, right?

“And so, these headphones arrive and I put them on and they're amazing and I suddenly realised, ‘Oh, we can do immersive. We can do Dolby Atmos. We can do all this,’ and I phone my friends at Dolby and I say, ‘We have to do this. I want to go and do the whole [Dune] soundtrack again and I certainly want to do the CDs again and I want to do all this immersive experience,’ and I phoned Denis and I phoned all my guys and go, ‘You got to listen to these headphones,’ to which I of course get the reply, ‘Well, they don't actually exist. I think you have the only pair.’ So, there was a little bit of that going on.”


Take Time To Walk With Prince William On December 6, Free For All, by Ben Lovejoy, 9to5Mac

Apple has announced an upcoming Apple Fitness+ Time to Walk with Prince William. In addition to Apple Fitness+ subscribers, it will also be made available to everyone as a free airing on Apple Music 1.

Love Organization? You Need Notion., by Anna Iovine, Mashable

Minimalist yet customizable with more templates than I could ever dream up, Notion is like if Google Drive and list-making app Trello had a beautiful, beautiful baby. And yes, you can highlight text or even simulate Post-its.


Apple, Accessibility, And Project Titan, by Jonny Evans, Computerworld

Look at it this way, in developing a car, Apple has had to identify and develop numerous associated technologies, including but not confined to: Machine imaging, artificial intelligence, location and mapping technologies, fail-safe networking, edge data processing, numerous sensors to monitor every detail of the vehicle, intent modeling, driver identification, and traffic and sign analysis.


In essence, if you can make an autonomous vehicle, you can also make autonomous machines of any kind. An Apple vacuum cleaner is possible. So, too, is an Apple prosthetic limb.

Can Apple Take Down The World’s Most Notorious Spyware Company?, by Harry William Baumgarten, Slate

Defendants will now have the opportunity to respond to Apple’s complaint. However, if history is any guide, this case could continue for years with lawyers using motions to delay its outcome and punish one another for any misstep. While WhatsApp’s case is first in time and also appears promising, the strength of Apple’s complaint leads me to believe that it is more likely to prevail on the merits independent of the outcome of the WhatsApp case. Apple also stands to benefit from a second-mover advantage, by being able to see how courts view WhatsApp’s claims and adjust its arguments accordingly.

Bottom of the Page

My first reaction to the AirTags-to-steal-cars story was that Apple will be able to identify the owner of the AirTags after-the-fact. Then I remembered that Apple took privacy so seriously, that Apple itself will not know the locations of where each AirTag has went.

Maybe if someone receives the "AirTag Found Moving with You" alert and finds the offending AirTag, this someone can also report to Apple so that Apple can start tracking the ownership of the AirTag, and be ready to help?


Thanks for reading.

The Performative-Legal-Compliance Edition Friday, December 3, 2021

How Big Tech Turns Privacy Laws Into Privacy Theater, by Ari Ezra Waldman, Slate

Not only is there no law against check-box privacy, but after decades of neoliberal and anti-regulatory hegemony, performative legal compliance is what passes for public governance. We need an entirely new way of thinking about and writing privacy laws, because Big Tech has gotten too good at manipulating process-based laws for its own benefit. Instead, we should be thinking about: interrogating and regulating the algorithms on which the information economy is based; strict limits on data collection; criminal and civil liabilities for executives who lie to us about our privacy; strong labor protections for employees so management can’t fire someone who does research that challenges the bottom line or speaks up against predatory and data extractive behavior; civil rights remedies for data-driven discrimination; and, ultimately, structural changes in the relationship between public institutions and the information industry.

FCC Honors Apple With An Award For iOS 14 Accessibility Features, by William Gallagher, AppleInsider

FCC chair Jessica Rosenworcel said that "during a time of unprecedented uncertainty and urgency," Apple and the other winners, "advanced accessibility in a way that made a material impact on people's lives."

"We are so honored to receive this," Apple's senior director, Global Accessibility Policy & Initiatives, Sarah Herrlinger, said. "We're humbled and honoured to be among those recognised today for all the honorees the work we're celebrating here is critical because it helps lay the foundation necessary for a more equitable world."

Apple’s Frontline Employees Are Struggling To Survive, by Zoe Schiffer, The Verge

When something goes wrong — a bad manager, a missed paycheck, an untenable onslaught of work — many say they have no one to turn to for help. “Corporate makes decisions based on what they think will work in the stores without talking to people who work in the stores,” a former colleague says.

This struggle echoes a complaint made by some employees in Cupertino, who’ve said that the employee relations team — Apple’s version of human resources — is more concerned with protecting the company than its workforce.

But hourly workers at Apple may have it even worse. The employees who spoke to The Verge say that while the company is hyper concerned with customers, it treats its retail and customer service staff as an afterthought.


'From Apple Music With Love' Promo Offers 'Exclusive Holiday Gifts' For Subscribers, by Chance Miller, 9to5Mac

Apple says that over the next week, it will roll out “exclusive gifts to Apple Music users,” including exclusive EPs, playlists, and more.

Sky Tonight App Review, by Ian Evenden,

Sky Tonight is more focused on the identification of objects — what’s that bright dot? — than on visual effects and 3D models. It brings together a lot of disparate information in one place, and can predict your likely chances of success on a star-gazing expedition based on weather and light pollution, as well as the phase of the Moon and the time of sunset.

Cursor Pro Review: Enhance Your Mac's Cursor With A Halo, by Glenn Fleishman, Macworld

While Zoom and some other meeting tools offer their own cursor highlight option, none is nearly as configurable as Cursor Pro.


Kid Mode, by M.G. Siegler, 500ish

Essentially, Spotify believes my favorite music the past few years has been Raffi, Elmo, and Randy Newman. Don’t get me wrong, each is a great artist. But each is a musical god in the mind of a one, two, and three year old.

This is cute. But when it comes to actual recommendations, it’s decidedly less cute. It’s quite annoying depending on the situation. So much so that I have not one, but two streaming music services which I pay for, despite them having basically the exact same content. Apple Music is my “adult” service, whereas Spotify is my “kid” service.

Apple Legal Filing Indicates It Intends To Collect Commission Regardless Of Whether Developers Use IAP Or A Competing Payments Platform, by Benjamin Mayo, 9to5Mac

In a related legal filing, Apple indicates that it is considering charging a commission on any such transactions that are initiated from within an app, even though they are not using In-App Purchase.

Bottom of the Page

My weekend is here. Time to switch projects on my Mac. :-)


Thanks for reading.

The Profound-Sense-of-Togetherness Edition Thursday, December 2, 2021

App Store Awards Honor The Best Apps And Games Of 2021, by Apple

Apple today revealed the 2021 App Store Award winners, recognizing the 15 best apps and games that helped users tap into personal passions, discover creative outlets, connect with new people and experiences, and simply have fun. This year’s winners include developers from around the world whose apps and games were selected by Apple’s global App Store editorial team for delivering exceptional quality, innovative technology, creative design, and positive cultural impact.

“The developers who won App Store Awards in 2021 harnessed their own drive and vision to deliver the best apps and games of the year — sparking the creativity and passion of millions of users around the world,” said Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO. “From self-taught indie coders to inspiring leaders building global businesses, these standout developers innovated with Apple technology, with many helping to foster the profound sense of togetherness we needed this year.”

Apple Music Is The Last Library Focused Music Service, by Erdal

Sure you can still buy songs and organize everything yourself, through Plex Music for example, but the idea that your own added and cloud based songs could co-exist and benefit from a voice based assistant like Siri or search with Spotlight is quite the commitment from Apple.


Apple And Spotify Reveal 2021's Most-streamed Songs, by Mark Savage, BBC

Pop stars Ed Sheeran, Taylor Swift and Bad Bunny were among the most-streamed artists of 2021, according to figures from Apple Music and Spotify.

Apple Music Replay 2021: Here’s How To Get Your Most-played Songs Of The Year, by Michael Grothaus, Fast Company

One cool feature of the Replay 2021 list is that it also shows you how many hours of music you’ve listened to during the year. Additionally, the Replay 2021 list lists songs in descending order from most-played to least-played, and next to each song you’ll find the exact number of times you played the song.

4 Free Apps That Make Working From Home Way Better, by Doug Aamoth, Fast Company

You might also love it, hate it, or fall somewhere in the middle. Whatever the case, if you find yourself working from home on a regular basis, you absolutely, positively must add these four free apps to your remote-work setup.


Why Monterey’s Best Feature Still Hasn’t Arrived, by Jason Snell, Macworld

Universal Control is ambitious. It builds on tech Apple has been adding on to macOS and iOS for years now. And it promises to make life with multiple open Apple devices much better. Is it annoying to have to wait six months since it was announced to try it out? Of course. But you know the saying. Good things come to those who wait. And so we wait.

Apple Tells Suppliers iPhone Demand Has Slowed As Holidays Near, by Debby Wu, Takashi Mochizuki, and Giles Turner, Bloomberg

The company has told its component suppliers that demand for the iPhone 13 lineup has weakened, people familiar with the matter said, signaling that some consumers have decided against trying to get the hard-to-find item.


Shortages and delivery delays have frustrated many consumers. And with inflation and the omicron variant bringing fresh concerns to pandemic-weary shoppers, they may forego some purchases.

Why Apple Isn’t Worried About Theft In Its Stores, by Charlie Sorrel, Lifewire

It boils down to this: If you remove a demo unit from the store, it notices, and stops working.

Bottom of the Page

I relooked into my shortcuts that I use to play Apple Music today, and discovered I've used the wrong 'function'. Instead of filter music tracks, I've had the shortcuts to filter files. It still worked for my shortcuts -- I was only using that to sort the tracks by random -- but I was wondering all along why the filtering doesn't work on music meta-data such as genres and such. Mystery solved. :-)

Still, I haven't find a way for a shortcut to get all the playlists names from my music library. I will still have to manually modify my shortcuts whenver I add or remove playlists from my library.

This is the motivation for my re-visiting today. I've moved this loop of getting all the music tracks from all the playlists out into a subroutine... I mean, a separate shortcut. I will only have to update just one shortcut from now on when my playlists change in the future.


Thanks for reading.

The Larger-Healthcare-Issues Edition Wednesday, December 1, 2021

Community Caregivers Spread Hope In Ghana Amid Two Pandemics, With Support From Apple, by Apple

“Had the groundwork not been laid for fighting HIV over the last two decades by the Global Fund and contributing partners like Apple, so much of what we’re doing today to address larger healthcare issues, including COVID-19, would not be possible,” says Luisa Engel, (RED)’s Chief Impact Officer. “The healthcare worker that was trained to fight the spread of HIV is also going to be able to diagnose your child with malaria, to make sure your blood sugar looks right if you have diabetes, and put a COVID-19 vaccine in your arm. So there’s a much bigger health impact that comes from the community infrastructure built by the Global Fund and supported by companies like Apple.”

Apple Supports World AIDS Day With Red Logo At Stores And Apple Pay Promotion, by Joe Rossignol, MacRumors

Apple has also announced that, now through December 6, it will donate $1 for every purchase made with Apple Pay on, through the Apple Store app, or at an Apple Store in the U.S. to The Global Fund to support the fight against AIDS and COVID‑19. Apple said it will donate a maximum of $1 million through this initiative.

Apple Celebrates 15 Years Fighting AIDS With (RED), Brings New Faces For The Watch, by José Adorno, 9to5Mac

Not only that but Apple Watch users can show their support for (RED) directly from their wrist with a selection of six Apple Watch faces in red available for download.


Apple Announces New Limited-Edition Beats Studio Buds, by Joe Rossignol, MacRumors

The limited-edition Beats Studio Buds feature a red, black, and green design, which draws inspiration from the Pan-African flag and pays tribute to Union’s roots as a Black-owned business, according to Apple. The charging case also features Union’s logo.

YMCA Program Uses Robots To Help Older Adults Improve Cognitive Skills, by Alanna Quillen, NBCDFW

Studies show that technology -- digital devices like smartphones and tablets -- and learning new things can help minimize the chances for older adults to develop dementia and Alzheimer's.

Dr. Tonjia Grimble, senior project manager for the YMCA of Metropolitan Dallas, took that up a notch by adding robots to it.

How To Carry Your Covid Health Data On A Smartphone, by Brian X. Chen, New York Times

So to help you plan for safe escapes this holiday season, I’ll go over some of the simplest ways to carry your Covid-related health data, including vaccine passports and test results.

Thought Management App Coppice Gains Faster Navigation, Link Improvements, by Oliver Haslam, iMore

Coppice, a thought management app that is designed to help people collect their ideas and then explore the links between them, has a new update out that adds features and fixes bugs. Those features include a new Link Inspector, redesigned Page Selector, and more.

Pomodoreau Provides An Easy-to-Use Focus Timer For Apple Watch, by Brent Dirks, AppAdvice

Notifications and vibrations will tell you when it’s time to pause or get back to work.

Twitch Adds SharePlay Integration For iPad And iPhone Users, by Amber Neely, AppleInsider

Twitch has now added support for SharePlay features, allowing users to watch a Twitch stream, or any videos on demand, together as a group.

Native Union Curve Strap Review: A Lightweight Silicone Band For Apple Watch, by Andrew O'Hara, AppleInsider

The Native Union Curve Strap for Apple Watch is an absurdly comfortable silicone strap that is both durable and lightweight.


Being Vs. Doing, by David Sparks, MacSparky

By focusing on my actions as the craftsman, I stop making assumptions about my abilities or purported entitlements.


Different Think: Why We Mourn The iPhone Mini, by Samuel Nyberg, Macworld

Perhaps the most sensible iPhone model in a long time will thus become a nostalgic blip in history. Too bad that we'll have to wave goodbye to a phone that was actually designed with the human body in mind.

The Prince Symbol Has Been Salvaged From A 1992 Floppy Disk, by Peter Kirn, CDM

Prince was way ahead of non-fungible tokens – with a symbol that was intended to make life a pain-in-the-a** for the record label. (Non-f***able totem?) And now Anil Dash and Limor Fried/Adafruit have brought back that image from a floppy.

Bottom of the Page

I've just purchased the book Tinderbox: HBO's Ruthless Pursuit of New Frontiers by James Andrew Miller. The business of television fascinates me, and I've read so many good reviews of this book that I have to get it. As an e-book.

I've just checked: the hardcover version of this book comes in at 1,024 pages, and, more importantly, weighs in at 2.55 pounds (1.1 kg). The e-book is not weightless, but it will be housed inside my iPhone mini that fits in my pockets, and weighs a mere 4.76 ounce (133g).

I cannot imagine carrying a one-kilogram book out and about just to squeeze in some extra reading time while queing to buy food, or waiting for the food to be ready.

Hooray for e-books.

(And still waiting for getting out and about.)


I am not planning to upgrade my iPhone 12 mini to anything new for quite a while. In fact, my target is to wait until at least iPhone 16, so who knows what will happen by then. (I seriously doubt even Apple have detailed plans that far ahead.) But I will be sad if my next iPhone will be significantly bigger and heavier than the iPhone 12 mini in my pocket right now.

(On the other hand: iPhone SE 4?)


Thanks for reading.