The Mess-Up-Royally Edition Friday, January 21, 2022

Apple’s New Focus Feature May Be Overkill, by Adam Engst, TidBITS

In terms of functionality, the Focus feature provides all the flexibility one could want. But as I suggest above, with such power comes the opportunity to mess things up royally. When I was first testing Focus, I created a Fitness focus that turned on automatically when I was working out. I don’t use the Workout app on the Apple Watch, but I do use Strava, and on a 6-mile hike during which I was hoping to pass the time on phone calls with some relatives, I missed several return calls—I’d called and left messages—because Strava’s workout triggered the Fitness focus. Curses!

I’ll be blunt. The more I’ve lived with Focus and helped friends and relatives understand the implications of using it, the more the feature annoys me.

Apple's M1 Max MacBook Is A Powerhouse On Pro Photoshoots, by Andrew Hoyle, CNET

I put the top-end 16-inch Pro with the M1 Max chip with 64GB of RAM to the test in a studio photoshoot with probably the world's best -- and most demanding -- camera. It's the Phase One XFIQ4, a commercial-standard medium format camera that churns out whopping 150-megapixel images and costs somewhere north of $60,000. This beast is in the hands of elite professional commercial photographers the world over, and its stunning, detailed images would be a great test for the M1 Max chip.

I've Been Using My AirPods Pro To Watch TV — And It's A Game Changer, by Henry T. Casey, Tom's Guide

Part of my journey as a TV watcher as of late has involved breaking a very bad habit: not being focused on the show or movie at hand. It led me to watch The Witcher better, as I focused more on the show and less on my phone. The AirPods Pro, I'll argue, enable this to an even better degree, with this heightened intimacy between your ears and the sounds of the show.

On App Stores

Lawmakers Approve Big Tech Antitrust Overhaul, But With Strings Attached, by Makena Kelly, The Verge

Despite the committee’s successful vote, the bill faces an uphill battle over the months ahead. In the days leading up to the vote, Apple and Google brandished statements criticizing the legislation, mounting an industry-led assault against the bill. Tim Powderly, Apple’s senior director of government affairs, warned that the bill could harm consumer privacy and security, while Kent Walker, Google’s president of global affairs and chief legal officer, argued that it would make the company’s search engine far less useful to consumers.

U.S. Senators Are Parroting Big Tech’s Anti-antitrust Talking Points, by Mark Sullivan, Fast Company

If you’ve ever wondered about the influence big tech wields in the Capital, you could literally hear it coming out of the mouths of lawmakers on Thursday, as members of the Senate Judiciary Committee met to mark up an antitrust bill that would prohibit marketplace and app store owners from self-preferencing their own products.


Apple Highlights iPhone 13 Battery Life And Durability In New Ads, by Juli Clover, MacRumors

Apple today shared a pair of iPhone 13 ads highlighting key features like battery life and the durable Ceramic Shield front display.

Apple Shares 'Shot On iPhone 13 Pro' Film Celebrating Chinese New Year, by Juli Clover, MacRumors

Apple today shared a short film called “The Comeback,” which has been released in celebration of Chinese New Year. Created by director Zhang Meng, the video kicks off the Year of the Tiger with the story of a father, a son, and a forgotten village with an “out-of-this-world dream.”

A Note-taking App That Works Like iMessage Shouldn't Work, But It Does, by Daryl Baxter, TechRadar

You’re brought to a layout that looks as though you’re going to start a conversation with yourself, and you can jot down something that you can set to remind you after a certain amount of time. You can also pin some of these entries to easily go back to, all in a very simple but elegant layout.

Learn To Tickle The Ivories With Simply Piano, by Josh Centers, TidBITS

If you want to take up piano, have a child or grandchild who might be interested in learning, or would like a virtual tutor to augment in-person lessons, Simply Piano is well worth checking out, and Simply Guitar may be as well.

AirBuddy 2.5: A Refined Experience That Adds Shortcuts Integration And Other New Features, by John Voorhees, MacStories

The biggest improvements in AirBuddy 2.5 are under the hood. They don’t change how the app works, but they meaningfully improve the day-to-day experience of using the app. Coupled with refinements to battery alert notifications, Shortcuts support, keyboard shortcuts, and many other smaller design and feature tweaks throughout the app, AirBuddy 2.5 is an excellent update for anyone juggling multiple wireless devices with their Mac.

Keychron K14 Review: The Rare Mac-ready Wireless Mechanical Keyboard, by Scharon Harding, Ars Technica

The K14 is a 70 percent wireless mechanical keyboard, meaning that it ditches the numpad (but not the navigation keys) and forgoes a dedicated function row. The result is a compact clacker with an option for white or RGB lighting and hot-swappable switches to get the exact typing feel you want.

Wine 7.0 Arrives With A "Large" Number Of Improvements: Here's What's New, by Liam Tung, ZDNet

While Wine supports 29,000 Windows applications, its most popular use is for running games that were made for Windows on Linux and macOS systems. The top Wine-supported Windows application is World of Warcraft and the only non-game in its top 10 list is Microsoft's .NET Framework, but it also allows key utility apps and Office to run on Linux.


Apple Now Lets Developers Create Custom Offer Codes For Subscriptions, by Filipe Espósito, 9to5Mac

Apple in 2020 introduced new ways to help developers boost in-app subscriptions, which include special discount codes. Now the company is finally letting developers create custom offer codes for in-app subscriptions.


French iPhones Will No Longer Be Sold With Free EarPods After Law Overturned, by Ben Lovejoy, 9to5Mac

The legal requirement was overridden at the end of last year by a new law aimed at reducing environmental waste.

Apple Should Bring Back Dashboard, by Stephen Hackett, 512 Pixels

Apple needs to rethink this and let this new class of widgets breathe, being able to use the entire screen like the widgets of yore could. Bringing back Dashboard is an obvious solution here, and I’d love to see it make a return.

End-to-end Encryption Protects Children, Says UK Information Watchdog, by Dan Milmo, The Guardian

The Information Commissioner’s Office said strongly encrypting communications strengthens online safety for children by reducing their exposure to threats such as blackmail, while also allowing businesses to share information securely.

The watchdog was responding to the launch of a government-backed campaign that said social media platforms would be “willingly blindfolding” themselves to child abuse if they pushed ahead with end-to-end encryption for private messaging.

Apple Has Swapped In A Company Veteran As Its New Head Of PR, by John Paczkowski, Buzzfeed News

An Apple veteran, Quayle has been with the company since 2005, working under former SVPs Katie Cotton and Steve Dowling. She's worked under CEOs Steve Jobs and Tim Cook, and her tenure has included some of the company's most high-profile public relations challenges — a pitched battle with the FBI over iPhone encryption, a very public spat with Bloomberg over a contentious story and, more recently, a confrontation with Fortnite maker Epic Games over its App Store practices.

‘It’s All About A Mother’s Love’: Singapore Drag Queen On Ad Samsung Gave Into Haters Over, by Coconuts Singapore

Samsung gave in to haters and removed an ad campaign featuring a real-life mother and her drag queen son – but he wants the world to know they’re OK.

A drag performer known as Vyla Virus said last night that the advert removed Wednesday was nothing more than a display of a mother’s unconditional love for her child. The tech company gave in to public pressure under complaints from those offended by the sight of the performer in drag exchanging a hug with his hijab-wearing mother.

Bottom of the Page

No, I still haven't really figure out how Focus can help me. For now, I'm keeping it simple: just one Focus mode, and one simple time-based schedule to activate the mode. And I definitely do not want any Smart Activation, thank you very much, dearest Siri.


Thanks for reading.