Archive for December 2022

The Interoperability-and-Decentralization Edition Saturday, December 31, 2022

Inside Matrix, The Protocol That Might Finally Make Messaging Apps Interoperable, by Paul Sawers, TechCrunch

Interoperability and decentralization have been major themes in tech this year, driven in large part by mounting regulation, societal and industrial pressure, and the hype trains that are crypto and web3. That rising tide is lifting other boats: an open standards-based communication protocol called Matrix — which is playing a part in bringing interoperability to another proprietary part of our digital lives: messaging.


There’s no escaping the fact that breaking encryption is far from ideal, irrespective of how a solution proposes to reconcile this. But perhaps more importantly, a robust solution for addressing the real encryption issues introduced by enforced interoperability doesn’t truly exist yet.

The End Of Programming, by Matt Welsh, Communications of the ACM

Programming will be obsolete. I believe the conventional idea of "writing a program" is headed for extinction, and indeed, for all but very specialized applications, most software, as we know it, will be replaced by AI systems that are trained rather than programmed. In situations where one needs a "simple" program (after all, not everything should require a model of hundreds of billions of parameters running on a cluster of GPUs), those programs will, themselves, be generated by an AI rather than coded by hand.

I do not think this idea is crazy. No doubt the earliest pioneers of computer science, emerging from the (relatively) primitive cave of electrical engineering, stridently believed that all future computer scientists would need to command a deep understanding of semiconductors, binary arithmetic, and microprocessor design to understand software. Fast-forward to today, and I am willing to bet good money that 99% of people who are writing software have almost no clue how a CPU actually works, let alone the physics underlying transistor design. By extension, I believe the computer scientists of the future will be so far removed from the classic definitions of "software" that they would be hard-pressed to reverse a linked list or implement Quicksort. (I am not sure I remember how to implement Quicksort myself.)

Apple Adds iOS 16.2's Home App Upgrade To Internal List Of Major Issues, by Sami Fathi, MacRumors

Apple has marked iOS 16.2’s Home architecture update as a major issue by adding it to an internal list of issues typically only reserved for widespread and noteworthy problems, indicating the update caused widespread and systemic issues to users’ HomeKit devices and setup.


Telegram For iOS Gets New Drawing And Text Tools, Updates For Hidden Media, Zero Storage Use, More, by Michael Potuck, 9to5Mac

Telegram for iOS is out is a big update to close out 2022. The latest release comes with improvements to hidden media when sharing images, zero storage usage tweaks, new tools for drawing and text, the ability to replace profile photos for contacts, new/more interactive emoji, and more.


Tim Cook Relayed Concern Over App Store Curbs To Japan PM: Sources, by Takeshi Shiraishi and Satsuki Kaneko, Nikkei Asia

Apple CEO Tim Cook urged Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida to consider user protections when regulating smartphone app distribution during a mid-December meeting, Nikkei has learned, as the tech giant faces growing pressure to open up to third-party app stores.

Your Memories. Their Cloud., by Kashmir Hill, New York Times

As a child of the 1980s, I used to have physical constraints on how many photos, journals, VHS tapes and notes passed in seventh grade that I could reasonably keep. But the immense expanse and relatively cheap rent of the so-called cloud has made me a data hoarder. Heading into 2023, I set out to excavate everything I was storing on every service, and find somewhere to save it that I had control over. As I grappled with all the gigabytes, my concern morphed from losing it all to figuring out what was actually worth saving.

The Autocrat In Your iPhone, by Ronald J. Deibert, Foreign Affairs

The consequences of the spyware revolution are profound. In countries with few resources, security forces can now pursue high-tech operations using off-the-shelf technology that is almost as easy to acquire as headphones from Amazon. Among democracies, the technology has become an irresistible tool that can be deployed with little oversight; in the last year alone, security agencies in at least four European countries—Greece, Hungary, Poland, and Spain—have been implicated in scandals in which state agencies have been accused of deploying spyware against journalists and political opposition figures. A global market for spyware also means that forms of surveillance and espionage that were once limited to a few major powers are now available to almost any country, and potentially to even more private firms. Left unregulated, the proliferation of this technology threatens to erode many of the institutions, processes, and values on which the liberal international order depends.

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It's New Year's Eve, and to celebrate another year of strange times, I was boosted. Once again, thanks, modern medicine and the people behind modern medicine.

Of course, my left arm is now sore. I am tired. And I'll not be staying up to watch fireworks on television.


May you and your family remain in good health and great joy. Thanks for reading, and onwards to 2023.

The Need-to-be-Calmed Edition Friday, December 30, 2022

The Real Reason That Familiar Apple Mac Chime Is Off Key, by Richard Mainwaring, Popular Science

Reekes told me that his idea for a start-up chime came from his need to be calmed whenever his Mac crashed. Before the famous chimes, Apple had installed cheap and nasty beeps that amplified his annoyance when his computer rebooted following a crash. These beeps were very much a product of the restrictions of the limited bit rate of computers and the inferior quality of their speakers. As the Macs improved, Apple employee Reekes saw an opportunity to compose a chime that utilized the full frequency range of their larger speakers. He wanted the sound to have a Zen-like “cleansing” effect, so he chose a C major chord, the simplest of harmonies, played on his Korg Wavestation synthesizer. But the chime was far more complex than it sounded. It consisted of notes that were organized (“voiced” is the musical term) in the same order as the harmonic series, ending with an E at the top.

The World’s Best Terrible Weather App, by Russell Jacobs, Slate

I kept the app on my phone over the years and continued to consult its forecasts. I did my best to lean on its strengths and work around its weaknesses. On humid summer days, when the sky was full of threatening clouds, it could feel like the software was basically guessing which ones would break. At some point, for forecasts a few days on, it felt so unreliable that I stopped checking it altogether. I diversified my weather news, consulting a nerdly assortment of online tools like Weather Underground and Windfinder for situations where safety considerations called for an accurate forecast. But Dark Sky was there when a storm showed up on the horizon: It was the easiest way I knew of to find out what its shape was and infer how long a coming downpour would last. The real-time radar feature let me know in seconds whether a front was spread out across multiple state lines or a thin band of rain that would pass over quickly.

Meteorologists, it’s worth noting, do not and have never shared my enthusiasm.

Free Space On An APFS Volume Is An Illusion, by Howard Oakley, The Eclectic Light Company

Most of us prefer a simple life. If we want to know how much money we have in a bank account, we expect a clear statement of the balance now. If we want to know how much free space is left in a volume, then we expect the file system to know and to give us that figure. With APFS, it just isn’t that simple.


Apple Releases Limited-Edition AirPods Pro In Celebration Of Chinese New Year, by Joe Rossignol, MacRumors

In celebration of the upcoming Chinese New Year on January 22, Apple has released limited-edition second-generation AirPods Pro with a Year of the Rabbit engraving through its online store and retail stores in China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Macau.

8 Great Apple Arcade Games From 2022 For Your iPhone Or iPad, by Andrew Webster, The Verge

Since its debut in 2019, the library of games has steadily expanded, and Apple has settled into a nice rhythm of releasing a game almost every week. Here are the eight best additions to the service from 2022.


Apple Didn't Release Any New Macs This Quarter For First Time Since 2000, by Hartley Charlton, MacRumors

The fourth quarter of 2022 this week becomes the first with no new Mac models in 22 years as previously anticipated devices like the next-generation MacBook Pro and Mac Pro models have apparently been pushed out to 2023.

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Well, Apple can still surprise us with the Mac Pro. It certainly has surprised a lot of people -- in a very good way -- with how great the M-series chips are.

So, it is unfortunate that the company has to end the self-imposed two-year deadline with nary a new Mac in sight.

We have no idea, of course, what Apple has in store for us with the Mac Pro. And a redesigned Mac mini, just like the iMac, can still happen in 2023.

It will likely be a great year ahead for the Mac platform.


Thanks for reading.

The Supply-Chain-Shifts Edition Thursday, December 29, 2022

Just How Badly Does Apple Need China?, by Chris Miller, The Atlantic

Nevertheless, China will be affected by these supply-chain shifts. The task of finding new jobs for assembly workers as Foxconn and Apple shift their focus to Vietnam and India is the easiest problem Beijing must deal with. Chinese firms have advanced by embedding themselves into international supply chains and learning from the world’s best tech firms—a strategy that will no longer work if companies like Apple shift their businesses elsewhere.

U.S. tech firms and consumers won’t notice too much change, except maybe for slightly higher prices as the supply chain shifts away from China. Companies will still rely on Japanese and Korean components and offshored assembly, especially in Vietnam and India. This isn’t the end of globalization for U.S. tech or for American allies. But it sure feels like it for Chinese tech firms.

Sure, Kids Can Develop iPhone Apps. But It’s Not Easy, by Simon Hill, Wired

And so, our project ended on the scrap heap (as, no doubt, most app projects do), but the journey was fun, and we all learned something— newfound respect for app developers who go the distance.

The LastPass Disclosure Of Leaked Password Vaults Is Being Torn Apart By Security Experts, by Mitchell Clark, The Verge

As for what people should do about all this, both Palant and Gosney recommend at least considering switching to another password manager, in part because of how LastPass has handled this breach and the fact that it’s the company’s seventh security incident in a little over a decade. “It’s abundantly clear that they do not care about their own security, and much less about your security,” Gosney writes, while Palant questions why LastPass didn’t detect that hackers were copying the vaults from its third-party cloud storage while it was happening.


20 Surprisingly Practical Uses For Apple AirTags, by Jake Peterson, Gadget Hacks

As you can see below (and in the headline), we've thought of 19 fun ways to get the most out of AirTags.

The 10 Best Journaling Apps To Collect Your Thoughts In 2023, by Hannah Holway, Women & Home

The best journaling apps are a great way to take some time to yourself during the day and collect your thoughts. While the traditional way to journal includes putting pen to paper, there are now so many ways you can journal on the go, making it even easier to incorporate this habit into your daily routine.

The 25 Best New Apps Of 2022, by Jared Newman, Fast Company

The best apps of the year spanned a wide range of categories, including some surprising new ones. We’ve seen a boom in AI tools for creatives, for instance, along with more ways to take control of your content and privacy. Clever productivity tools haven’t gone away either, with several great new apps for getting things done.

As with previous years, this list focuses on apps, websites, and extensions that either launched over the past year or received substantial new updates. With any luck, it’ll help you discover some gems you’ll use all the time. Here are the best new apps that 2022 had to offer.


Ultra, Max, And The Next Big Thing: How Apple's 2023 Will Change Everything, by Jason Snell, Six Colors

Apple’s 2022 was a little slow on the Mac side, but there are brighter days ahead in 2023 if you ask me. But what about the iPhone, Apple’s most important product? And what about the rest of Apple’s product line-up–including product lines not yet introduced? 2023 promises to be a big one. Here are my predictions for the iPhone, AirPods, HomePod, and Apple foray into an AR/VR headset.

Why The Future Of Technology Is So Hard To Predict, by Faye Flam, Bloomberg

More recent predictions by futurists haven’t been quite as accurate, perhaps because they rely too much on extending the latest, trendiest technologies into new realms. One of the most famous living futurists, Ray Kurzweil, predicted back in 1999 that by 2019 robots would educate us, conduct business transactions for us, adjudicate political and legal disputes, do our household chores, and have sex with us.

Even someone as brainy as Kurzweil couldn’t have imagined that in late 2022 the main feature in MIT Technology Review would be headlined: “A Roomba recorded a woman on the toilet. How did screenshots end up on Facebook?”

Worse still, the Roomba is still not as good at vacuuming as a diligent human.

The Work-From-Anywhere War Is Beginning, by Bruce Daisley, Wired

Who calls the shots on how many days you end up working in the office? It has gradually dawned on bosses that it isn’t them. The real power holders? The elusive “top talent” that every firm is trying to attract.

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Are there still major effort over in Apple working on Swift Playground for iPad? I haven't hear anything to new from Apple or from the rumor-mills about this app, which is very much still a work in progress.

Or perhaps someone at Apple can revive and modernise Hypercard for iPad? Surely we should have alternative development environment on iPadOS that cater to the less Swift-inclined audience?


Thanks for reading.

The Time-to-Pontificate Edition Wednesday, December 28, 2022

Apple's Year Ahead: Separating The Rumors From Reality, by Dan Moren, Macworld

We’ve made it to the end of 2022! Well, nearly. And barring any more last-minute announcements out of Cupertino, we’ve seen everything that Apple has to offer for the year that was. Which, of course, means that we can turn our eyes to the horizon, to the undiscovered country that is…2023.

With the biggest moves of 2022 in our rearview mirror, it’s time to pontificate on what Apple might have in store for the year ahead. What will we be looking back at, a year hence, as the company’s biggest moves in 2023?

Family Used Find My iPhone To Locate Relative Who Crashed 200 Feet Below Highway, by Salvador Hernandez, Los Angeles Times

A woman who went missing after leaving a Christmas gathering with family was located 200 feet below Highway 18 in a mountainous area north of San Bernardino only after relatives used the Find My iPhone feature to spot her, fire officials said.

The unidentified woman is believed to have crashed sometime overnight after leaving her family’s Christmas Day gathering. The crash went unreported for hours, with the woman inside the car and the wreck out of the view of drivers on the highway.

Discontent Has Entered The Chat, by Hannah Docter-Loeb, Slate

While the group chat as a technology for keeping in touch received a lot of praise during the height of the pandemic, it seems like lately people are coming around to the idea that some—many!—group chats aren’t lifelines at all: They’re downright bad. Even group chat emporium WhatsApp knows it: The service recently announced that it was embracing the Irish goodbye by introducing a way for users to exit group chats without notifying the rest of the group. Technically, ditching a bad text chain has never been easier.

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As we get into 2023, the question we need to figure out: what will be the new iPhone 14 color?


Thanks for reading.

The All-Shapes-and-Sizes Edition Tuesday, December 27, 2022

How Apple Arcade Has Grown Quietly In The Shadow Of Nintendo, Xbox And PlayStation, by Shelby Brown, CNET

Fun games, creative ideas. It can be that simple. We want to be able to provide our subscribers with an amazing catalog of high-quality games of all shapes and sizes. We have relationships with nearly every developer in the world, from big publishers to acclaimed creators to respected indie studios. Great games can truly come from anywhere. We continue to identify and work with new talent as well as developers who have created many of the best games in history, both on mobile and other platforms.


We look at ratings and reviews as player feedback is very critical for us in delivering the best possible service for our users. The most important thing for us is player satisfaction — are they understanding the benefits of the subscription model; are they aware of the incredible selection of games the service makes available; do they stay subscribed and find value in the service.

Want To Drink Less In 2023? These Habit-tracking Apps Can Help, by Tatum Hunter, Washington Post

Worries about privacy are a top reason people with substance-use disorders don’t get treatment, according to a 2020 survey from the Department of Health and Human Services. But some of the top-downloaded habit-tracking apps — including those that track sobriety — leave room in their privacy policies to share data liberally with third-party companies.


Help Desk examined the cost, ease of use and privacy policies of 11 popular habit-tracking and sobriety apps. Here’s what to know before downloading.

All I Want Is One Productivity App That Can Handle Everything, by Victoria Song, The Verge

I know there is no perfect solution. A singular productivity tool that works for everyone is a unicorn — beautiful, perfect, and completely fictional. Still, there has to be some sort of middle ground between an unachievable fantasy and the current landscape. I would happily settle for two, maybe three apps. Honestly, less than 10 is all I’m asking for.


Apple Announces Japanese New Year Promotion With Limited-Edition AirTag, by Joe Rossignol, MacRumors

In addition to a gift card, the first 30,000 customers in Japan who purchase a new iPhone 13, iPhone 13 mini, iPhone 12, or iPhone SE from Apple during the promotion will receive a limited-edition AirTag with a Year of the Rabbit engraving for 2023.

Balance Is A Mac Timekeeper App That Requires You To Manually Clock In Your Hours, by Ivan Mehta, TechCrunch

Balance hopes to help users build a set of healthy work habits rather than get granular data about their productivity. It won’t tell you long you had Slack, Microsoft Teams, Chrome or any other application open on your machine, but will offer general insights into your overall usage of the system and time spent in various sessions in a week.


Benchmarks Need To Represent Actual Usage, by Matt Birchler, Birchtree

If you told me that my iPhone that lasts 5 days (122 hours) could last nearly 3 weeks (466 hours) if I turned off the always-on display, I might consider doing that, but that's not what this actually say at all. There are so many things on your phone that chew up battery life, and the screen, even in always-on mode is a tiny part of that.

Secret Santa, by Michael Steeber, Substack

It was 2008, and iPods were more plentiful than the snowflakes that fell from the sky. Before Apple Stores served a truly global audience, holiday window displays were explicitly Christmas-themed. The App Store was new, and it would be another seven years before pivot doors eliminated the space for expressive decorations.

It was under these circumstances that Apple developed its most memorable holiday displays to date.

Apple Japan Hit With $98m In Back Taxes For Missing Duty-free Abuses, by Tomoshizu Kawase and Konori Fujita, Nikkei Asia

Apple Japan is being charged 13 billion yen ($98 million) in additional taxes by Tokyo authorities, apparently for bulk sales of iPhones and other devices to foreign tourists that were incorrectly exempted from the consumption tax, Nikkei learned on Monday.

Bulk purchases of iPhones by foreign shoppers were discovered at some Apple stores, a source said. At least one transaction involved an individual buying hundreds of handsets at once, suggesting that the store missed taxing a possible reseller.

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I have always treated Apple Arcade as the free portion of my Apple One subscription, even though I am playing games from the service every month.

Of course, I am also listening to Apple Music every month, watching Apple TV+ every month, and storing stuff in iCloud+ every month too. (I also paid extra for the 2TB of iCloud storage. The highest tier of Apple One is not available here in Singapore where I live.)

The difference: I value the latter three subscriptions much more than games. I guess I am not a serious gamer. If I can choose the different components of my Apple One subscription, and if Apple News+ is available where I live (it is not), I will replace Arcade with News+.


Thanks for reading.

The Possible-with-an-App Edition Monday, December 26, 2022

What Keeping A Bullet Journal Can Teach You About Using To-do List Apps, by Jon Porter, The Verge

What I’ve since realized, however, is that it’s perfectly possible to keep lots of the things I liked about keeping a bullet journal without sacrificing the convenience of apps. Ultimately, what I liked about the notebook was less about its physicality and more about the fact that it forced me to spend real time actively thinking about and organizing my life on a daily basis. And that’s something that’s just as possible to do with an app as it is with a notebook. You just have to avoid thinking the technology can organize it for you.

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. If you’re an Apple Music subscriber and want to find out how to better enjoy your music library, check out some of the best iOS apps with Apple Music integration.

Tech Journalism Doesn’t Know What To Do With Mastodon, by George Dillard, Medium

So far, tech journalists have approached Mastodon like it’s another startup. By trying to force Mastodon into their usual narratives, they’re missing that what’s really innovative about Mastodon isn’t its technology — it’s the platform’s values.

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There was a period during this past year, about a month or two, when I didn't have much energy. Whenever I have a chance to do some listening, I opted for the lower-energy option of podcasts rather than audiobooks.

I feel I need to change that, so I am setting rules for myself. For certain activities, such as standing in a moving train during my commutes, I will only listen to audiobooks.

So, if you see me out and about, but I didn't notice you, that's probably I wasn't paying attention to anything to what's coming out of my AirPods. Sorry in advance.


This past year, I've also switched back from reading e-books from the library to reading e-books that I purchased. I couldn't finish quite a few e-books this past year, even with the generous twenty-one days loan period.

I read differently with my eyes than with my ears. For audiobooks, I can only listen at 1x speed. But for e-books, I now prefer to read slower, so that I can savor all the words. I am not aiming for quantity anymore, but quality time with interesting stories.

(Currently, I am slowly re-reading Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell, by Susanna Clarke. And I am not skipping any of the footnotes, either.)


The following are my favorite books I've read this year. (It is a year of wonderful stories: fiction and memoirs.)

The Beauty of Dusk, by Frank Bruni
Different Seasons, by Stephen King
The Glass Hotel, by Emily St. John Mandel
Light Perpetual, by Francis Spufford
In Love: A Memoir of Love and Loss, by Amy Bloom
Meredith, Alone, by Claire Alexander
Sea of Tranquility, by Emily St. John Mandel
Station Eleven, by Emily St. John Mandel


Thanks for reading.

The Supply-Chain Edition Sunday, December 25, 2022

Apple’s Business Under Growing Threat From China’s Covid Wave, by Patrick McGee, Financial Times

As the Chinese government begins to reverse its zero-Covid policy, a longer-lasting risk now looms — the potential of worker shortages at component plants or assembly factories across the country.

“We should be seeing a lot of operations get impacted by absenteeism, not just at factories, but warehouse, distribution, logistic and transportation facilities as well,” said Bindiya Vakil, chief executive of Resilinc, California-based group that tracks more than 3mn components to provide supply chain mapping services.


Alfred 5.0.6, by Agen Schmitz, TidBITS

Running with Crayons issued Alfred 5.0.6 with early access to the Alfred Gallery platform, featuring a range of downloadable workflows from the Alfred community. Starting with around 100 workflows, the gallery has hundreds more in review for publishing in the coming month.

Marvel Snap Is Kind Of Like A Wild Comic Book Story Generator, by Charles Pulliam-Moore, The Verge

As a competitive game at its core, Marvel Snap is built in a way that encourages you to outsmart opponents by using your wits. But one of the best things about playing Marvel Snap more casually and with a focus on who characters are, rather than how many points they’re worth, is how the game suddenly becomes a pocket-size storytelling machine that’s always ready to come up with new ideas.

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I've managed to live through so many years without using Photoshop -- not even pirated versions of the software.

Which is another way of saying I have no idea how to create app icons for all my little hobby projects.

(All the icons I've created look wrong.)


Thanks for reading.

The Huge-for-the-Mac Edition Saturday, December 24, 2022

2023 Is Going To Be A Big Year For Apple–literally, by Jason Snell, Macworld

We’ve reached the end of the year, and just like last year that means it’s time for me to look ahead at what’s coming for us in 2023. These are my fearless predictions! Okay, maybe there’s a slight bit of fear. Don’t look directly into my eyes. I’m sensitive that way.

While this year’s Mac lineup was a little less than I expected–probably due to supply-chain issues–I suspect that’s going to result in a huge 2023 for the Mac. And on the iPad side, while I expect a quiet year, there’s still a wild card that might make a bit of noise.

Report: Apple Axed Plans For Next-generation GPU In iPhone 14 Pro After Rare Engineering Blunder, by Benjamin Mayo, 9to5Mac

A report from The Information highlights employee retention issues inside Apple’s silicon group, with some employees sourced citing extremely long hours and stressful workloads. Apple is currently embroiled in litigation with at least two startups, Nuvia and Rivos, who have poached dozens of engineers from Apple, and who Apple claims stole proprietary information about its chip designs.

The most interesting anecdote is the claim that Apple was working on a next-generation GPU for the iPhone 14 Pro, but an engineering design mistake was found late in development which meant the plans had to be scrapped.

With YouTube Deal, The NFL Cements Itself As The Most Powerful Force In Entertainment, by Alex Weprin, The Hollywood Reporter

Beginning next year, there will be one entertainment provider that receives more than $1 billion annually from Paramount, NBCUniversal, Fox, Disney, Amazon, and YouTube. Oh, they’ll also get about $50 million annually from Apple, which is paying the hefty fee to sponsor 20 minutes of content per year (the Super Bowl Halftime Show).

That provider is the NFL, and its product is very, very, very in demand.

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I wonder if Google Wave or Google Reader was bought up during the NFL negotiation...

"Hey Google, if you ever abandon this Google TV thing, we will simply take back the rights."

"Don't worry NFL, this is a paid product."

"Nevertheless, let's make sure we ink something down."


May there be peace on earth, and may there be peace in your heart. Merry Christmas, and thanks for reading.

The Specifically-Request Edition Friday, December 23, 2022

Activating Automatic Backtrack In watchOS 9, by David Smith

I imagine this ambiguity is coming from Apple being very circumspect about protecting user privacy. I wouldn’t be surprised if the system for automatically and surreptitiously recording the user’s locations is entirely walled off from the rest of the Compass app to make sure this very sensitive data can’t inadvertently be leaked without the user’s explicit approval. Hence the need to specifically request and approve it every time you want to see it. That’s just a guess but it seems a reasonable one.

We could quibble about the discoverability of this interface design but I suspect it is motivated by a user privacy.

Apple Watches Violate AliveCor Patents But Import Ban On Hold -U.S. ITC, by Blake Brittain, Reuters

Apple Inc's Apple Watches with an electrocardiogram (ECG) function infringe patents belonging to medical device maker AliveCor Inc, the U.S. International Trade Commission affirmed on Thursday.

The ITC said imports of the infringing watches should be banned, but that it would not enforce a ban until appeals were finished in a separate dispute before the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), where a panel found AliveCor's patents invalid earlier this month.

Hackers Stole Encrypted LastPass Password Vaults, And We’re Just Now Hearing About It, by Mitchell Clark, The Verge

But if I were a LastPass user, I’d be seriously considering moving away from the company at this point, because we’re looking at one of two scenarios here: either the company didn’t know that backups containing users’ vaults were on the cloud storage service when it announced that it had detected unusual activity there on November 30th, or it did know and chose not to tell customers about the possibility that hackers had gotten access to them. Neither of those is a good look.


Best Apps For Reading Library Books On iPhone And iPad, by Clare King, AppleInsider

Public libraries have paired up with some of the greatest apps available on your iOS devices. If you are interested in reading books without additional fees and charges, consider reconnecting with your local public library.


Apple's Australian Workers Go On Christmas Strike Demanding Better Wages, Work Terms, by Jaskiran Singh, Reuters

Apple Inc's workers in Australia initiated a strike Friday afternoon, demanding better working conditions and wages, a workers' union said, a move that might dent sales of the tech giant during the peak Christmas shopping time.

What Shocked Me Most When I Became A Lyft Driver For A Week, by Timothy B. Lee, Slate

There’s a thought experiment I find illuminating: Imagine that Lyft announced tomorrow that it was going to shut down its app and lay off most of its staff. Then it was going to open a bunch of call centers and hire people to book taxi rides over the phone instead.

When a passenger wanted a ride, they would call a toll-free number (1-800-GET-LYFT, perhaps) and provide pickup and dropoff locations. The operator would then relay this information to drivers, perhaps in a group chat or over an old-style radio system, and one of them would claim the ride. The operator would provide the passenger with an estimated pickup time and take credit card information over the phone.

Here’s the question I want to ask about this hypothetical version of Lyft: Would it be more or less expensive to operate than the company that actually exists?

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I've reached the "Settings" page of my SwiftUI-based hobby project, and, well, things are not well. :-)


Thanks for reading.

The Valuable-Garden Edition Thursday, December 22, 2022

Why You Saw More Ads On Your iPhone In 2022, by Sara Morrison, Vox

It’s not hard to see a near future in which Apple expands ads to other properties, like Podcasts, Music, Books, and Fitness. Maybe it can squeeze a few on the Calculator app. Math needs to advertise, too. Apple could even start using your notifications to send ads, which other companies already do. Apple does, too, if you consider those free trials promoting its Music, Arcade, and TV services to be ads.

For now, Apple hasn’t confirmed that it will do any of this. The company doesn’t, as a rule, comment on potential future projects. But what it has done is put out job listings that indicate it’s going to expand its ad business significantly. Apple is looking for people to build a demand side platform, which automates the process of buying ads and is necessary for a digital ad business to scale. In sum, Apple has a valuable walled garden of data, apps, and devices, and it seems poised to profit from it.

Apple Pulls iOS 16.2 Option To Upgrade To New Home Architecture, by Eric Slivka, MacRumors

Upgrading the Home architecture requires that all devices accessing the home be updated to the latest operating system version, so many users have yet to take the leap, but users who have upgraded have reported some issues. Amidst those reports, it now appears Apple has removed the option for users to upgrade their Home app architecture.

iPhone 14 Horizontal Lines Upon Waking? It's Not A Hardware Fault, Says Apple, by Ben Lovejoy, 9to5Mac

If you’ve found your iPhone 14 showing horizontal lines across the screen when waking from sleep or starting up, Apple says you can rest easy: It’s not a hardware issue.

The glitch – which mostly appears to affect the iPhone 14 Pro Max – is apparently a software issue, so it’s just a question of waiting for an iOS update to fix it.


Your iPhone Now Has New Shortcuts For Books And iOS Wallpapers, by Stephen Warwick, iMore

New actions for Books include Shortcuts to; Open Book, Play Audiobook, Change Book Appearance, Change Page Navigation, Change View in Books, Open Collection, Search in Books, and Turn Page.

DaVinci Resolve For iPadOS Just Dropped, And Now The iPad Is A Real Computer, by Filipe Espósito, 9to5Mac

When it comes to available features, DaVinci Resolve on the iPad offers virtually the same tools that users can find in the desktop version. This includes Cut Page, Source Tape, Fast Review, Sync Bin, and more. There are also options to adjust the contrast, temperature, midtones, and saturation of videos, not to mention 3D trackers and HDR support.

Pixelmator Pro Update Adds New 'Deband' Feature To Remove Color Banding From Photos, by Filipe Espósito, 9to5Mac

Named “Deband,” this feature removes the effect known as “color banding” from photos using machine learning, which should make images look even more beautiful and natural.

Adonit Log Review: A Unique Stylus Replacement For Your iPad, by, Creative Bloq

The Adonit Log is a simple product. With no pressure sensitivity, the most important features are comfort and connectivity. The Adonit Log excels in both of these areas, but understandably there aren't any standout features because of this.

Birda Founders Describe Their Expansive Birding App, by Matt Mendenhall, BirdWatching

A relative new birding app for Apple and Android phones offers a social-media-like experience focused entirely on birds. Birda, which recently became available in the United States, allows users to log their bird sightings via a user-friendly interface, keep lists, and interact with other birdwatchers.

I recently interviewed John and Natalie White, the app’s co-founders. They first launched a website and mobile app in 2013 for users to share wildlife sightings in southern Africa. In 2018, they began a global birdwatching community called Chirp Birding, which has now evolved into Birda.


Atomic Thoughts, by Matt Gemmell

Keeping track of our thoughts in that regard can be tricky, but there’s a single principle which will absolutely make it easier: that of atomicity. A thought has to be graspable in one brief session, otherwise it might as well not be there at all. The way to achieve this is to ensure that there’s nothing else you can possibly take away from it: make it irreducible.


If you can’t hold an entire idea in your mind, crystal clear and ready for manipulation and expansion, then you haven’t broken it down far enough yet.


A Decade Later, Your Phone Still Can't Replace A Pro Camera, by Patrick Holland, CNET

If you're wondering whether phones will ever make dedicated pro cameras obsolete the way they did with point-and-shoots, the answer is a resounding no. The past decade has shown us why.

Washington Moved Fast To Crack Down On TikTok But Has Made Little Progress With Big Tech, by Brian Fung, CNN

But in fast-tracking the bill, Congress can’t help but draw attention to its notable lack of progress on regulating American tech giants more broadly — despite years of reports, hearings and proposed legislation.

The stark difference between the two illustrates how simple narratives, well-funded lobbying and genuinely thorny policy questions can make or break a bill. It also hints at how a select few Big Tech companies continue to maintain their dominance in the market and their centrality in the lives of countless US households.

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Apple has simply not demonstrated it know how to create and nurture an advertisement business that is of value to the advertisers and consumers. It has not invested in this business with at least the same amount of care and attention that it has lavished on other recent new businesses like Apple Watch and Apple TV+.

Simply put, the advertisement business that Apple has today is not good enough, let alone insanely great.


Thanks for reading.

The Continued-Existence Edition Wednesday, December 21, 2022

It Might Be Time For Apple To Throw In The Towel On The Mac Pro, by Andrew Cunningham, Ars Technica

Maybe an Apple Silicon Mac Pro will be just the shot in the arm that the desktop needs. But I tend to think the opposite—the Apple Silicon transition has made the idea of a huge, costly, expandable desktop Mac both technologically and economically unfeasible. And especially if Apple plans to use the same chip in a new Mac Pro and the Mac Studio, it's hard to make the case for the Mac Pro's continued existence.

Soccer on TV

Apple Reveals MLS Season Pass Schedule Following Exclusive Streaming Rights Deal, by Filipe Espósito, 9to5Mac

According to Apple, the “majority of games” of the 2023 MLS Season Pass will be broadcast on Saturdays, while some matches will take place on “select Wednesdays” at 7:30 p.m. local time. In addition, the Apple TV app will also broadcast a five-hour live whip-around show “capturing all of the key moments from every match.”

MLS Season Pass Pricing, by Benjamin Mayo

However, I’d wager most people only care about their local team. In that context, shelling out $99 a year for interest in watching one team (comprising at most two games a week) feels expensive.


Apple’s Self-Repair Program Adds Mac Desktops, by Jason Snell, Six Colors

Apple’s self-repair program, which was announced last year, arrived in April, and came to the Mac in August with support for the M1 MacBook Air and all three M1 MacBook Pro models, has now been extended to support Mac desktops and the new Apple Studio Display. Newly supported Macs are the M1 iMac, M1 Mac mini, and Mac Studio.

I Tried Spiritune To See If Its Functional Playlists Could Impact My Mood, by Carolyn Steber, Bustle

Most people would agree that music has the power to affect your mood. Whether you listen to chill tunes to wind down in the evening or blast beats that get you pumped up for a workout, often all it takes is hitting play on a song to completely change how you feel. That’s the idea behind Spiritune, an app that uses music therapy and neuroscience to create “a soundtrack for a healthier life.”

Inflation-Battered Shoppers Turn To Apps For Savings, by Spencer Soper, Bloomberg

“Price finds all these websites I never even heard of and makes it easy to find deals,” said Taylor, a 31-year-old personal assistant who lives in Los Angeles and has been using the app since a friend recommended it. “I got $100 boots for $67, so I was pretty happy.”

Taylor is part of a rapidly growing cohort of US consumers turning to apps and web browser extensions that help them compare prices, find coupons and maximize loyalty rewards from retailers and brands. Most of the tools have been around for years but are suddenly in demand thanks to the steepest inflation in four decades. It’s the kind of shock that compels consumers to break from long-established shopping habits in search of new ways to save, especially during the holiday-shopping season.


How Big Tech Defeated The Biggest Antitrust Push In Decades On Capitol Hill, by Emily Birnbaum, Bloomberg

The internet titans spent hundreds of millions of dollars, sent their chief executives to Washington and deployed trade groups and sympathetic scholars to quash two antitrust bills co-sponsored by Sen. Amy Klobuchar, a Minnesota Democrat, and Sen. Charles E. Grassley, an Iowa Republican. The companies treated the bills like an existential threat.

The years-long legislative effort, which harnessed outrage over tech companies’ power and dominance, would have cracked down on the practices of Alphabet’s Google,, Meta Platforms and Apple for the first time in the nearly three decades since the internet was unveiled to the public.

Kuo: Mass Production Of iPhone SE 4 Might Be Cancelled Or Delayed Until 2024, by Filipe Espósito, 9to5Mac

According to Kuo on Twitter, Apple “will likely cancel or postpone the mass production plan for the 2024 iPhone SE 4.” The analyst claims that the reasons include low demand for entry-level and mid-range iPhone models, such as the current 3rd generation iPhone SE, iPhone 13 mini, and iPhone 14 Plus.

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For all the M1- and M2-based Mac computers Apple have launched, the company's emphasis on the silicon chips had always been about performance-per-watt.

So, I am a little surprised that the same strategy seemed to be at play with the Mac Pro too, if the rumors are to be believed. I expected raw power to be the yard stick for this computer, one that is expensive and one that is not for the rest of us.

Maybe Apple is not there yet?


Thanks for reading.

The One-More-Location Edition Tuesday, December 20, 2022

Apple To Start Making MacBooks In Vietnam By Mid-2023, by Cheng Ting-Fang, Nikkei Asia

Apple has tapped its top supplier, Taiwan's Foxconn, to start making MacBooks in the Southeast Asian nation as early as around May, sources briefed on the matter said. Apple has been working to add production sites outside of China for all of its major product lines, but doing so for the final one, the MacBook, has taken longer due to the complex supply chain needed for making laptop computers.

"After the MacBook production shifts, all of Apple's flagship products basically will have one more production location beyond China ... iPhones in India and MacBooks, the Apple Watch and iPads in Vietnam," one person with direct knowledge of the matter told Nikkei Asia. "What Apple wants now is an 'out of China' option for at least part of production for all of its products."


Apple Finally Details What’s New In The Latest AirTag Firmware Updates, by Filipe Espósito, 9to5Mac

In a support article on Apple’s website, the company now details what’s new in AirTag firmware updates 2.0.24 and 2.0.36. Version 2.0.24 of the AirTag firmware, released on November 10, finally lets iPhone users locate an unknown AirTag with Precision Finding.

This feature was announced by Apple earlier this year as part of the company’s measures to prevent people from using AirTag for stalking purposes. When the iPhone detects an unknown AirTag moving with the user, the person can use Precision Finding combined with a sound alert to quickly find and disable that AirTag.

Belkin’s MagSafe Adapter Brings Continuity Camera Home To The Desktop, by Jason Snell, Six Colors

While I like the MacBook adapter with some reservations—which mostly have to do with the weight of an iPhone adjusting your MacBook’s display when you don’t want it to, and it’s hard for Belkin to ignore the laws of physics—I have very few reservations of this new adapter. It works well on my Apple Studio Display but would work just as well on an iMac, a third-party display, or even a television.

'Hand Mirror' Is A Must-have macOS Utility That Adds A One-click Camera Check To Your Menu Bar, by Chance Miller, 9to5Mac

Hand Mirror is a popular utility that brings one-click access to your Mac’s camera right to your macOS menu bar. A new version of Hand Mirror released this month builds on its foundation with a number of new features.


Apple Fined 1 Mln Euros By Paris Commercial Court Over App Store Practices, by Layli Foroudi, Reuters

The Paris Commercial Court on Monday fined iPhone maker Apple just over 1 million euros ($1.06 million) for imposing abusive commercial clauses on French app developers for access to the company's App Store, the court ruling showed.

The ruling, seen by Reuters, said there was no need to order Apple, which has a market value of about $2.1 trillion, to tweak the App Store's clauses because the European Union's incoming Digital Markets Act would require changes in any case.

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The loss of functionality of a shortcut command on the latest iOS -- to continue playing Apple Music -- has prompted me to start subscribing to a bunch of classical music and opera podcasts. I haven't listen too many episodes yet, but I've been enjoying them so far.


Thanks for reading.

The Complexity-and-Cost Edition Monday, December 19, 2022

Apple Scales Back High-End Mac Pro Plans, Weighs Production Move To Asia, by Mark Gurman, Bloomberg

Apple had aimed to introduce the new Mac Pro by now, but the high-end machine has been held up for a number of reasons, including multiple changes to its features, a significant shift in the company’s plans for high-end processors and a potential relocation of its manufacturing.


An M2 Extreme chip would have doubled that to 48 CPU cores and 152 graphics cores. But here’s the bad news: The company has likely scrapped that higher-end configuration, which may disappoint Apple’s most demanding users — the photographers, editors and programmers who prize that kind of computing power.

The company made the decision because of both the complexity and cost of producing a processor that is essentially four M2 Max chips fused together. It also will help Apple and partner Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. save chip-production resources for higher-volume machines.

Apple Suppliers Accelerate Buildup Outside China, Analysts Say, by Bloomberg

India and Vietnam are emerging as Apple Inc.’s next manufacturing hubs as assembly partners seek to add resilience to a supply chain heavily centered on China and shaken by its geopolitical and health challenges.

Key electronics manufacturers are moving faster to diversify their capacity globally, taking advantage of local incentive policies, according to Counterpoint Research analysts Ivan Lam and Shenghao Bai. The multiyear effort, which began before Covid-19 and economically stifling lockdowns roiled China, may see leading partner Hon Hai Precision Industry Co. move as much as 30% of its capacity to those Asian nations and Brazil, they said.


Doing "No" Better, by Andy Cleff

And remember, “No” is a complete sentence. Sometimes it maybe the most graceful way to respond.


Apple Killed The iPod, But Modders Are Giving It A Second Life, by Ian Carlos Campbell, Inverse

The great irony of the iPod line's tremendous success is that even though Apple abandoned the product category entirely, these things have been around so long that there will always be more alternative parts or software solutions to fill in the gaps. iPods are “kind of future-proof,” Wirth believes. “From now until eternity, you will always be able to put music on an iPod one way or another.”

More involved projects like Dupont’s require new software or hardware, but the basics are accessible for anyone to do on their own. And that’s not even counting the variety of third-party modders on platforms like Etsy that can add new functionality for a reasonable price. You can get an iPod in any color of the rainbow that charges over USB-C with little effort.

'They Accidentally Threw This Away': Woman Finds Unused Apple Products While Dumpster Diving At Apple Store, by Jack Alban, Daily Dot

In the clip, she manages to find a lot of empty product boxes, which you can find for sale in online marketplaces like eBay, along with some seemingly unused product accessories that could also be sold online.

Ella’s first find is an iPhone case that appears unused. She then comes across what appears to be a broken laptop charger. As she’s checking an iPhone box that at first looks empty, she reveals a wound-up new charging cable for an iPhone.

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I've encountered yet another iOS bug this evening: my podcast is playing, but the now-playing thing is not showing up on the lock screen. And I can't swipe up from the bottom to get rid of the lock screen to get to my home screen: nothing happens when I swipe.

In the end, I rebooted the iPhone.

Am I just (un)lucky recently, or is the latest iOS versions more buggy?


Thanks for reading.

The Case-Alternatives Edition Sunday, December 18, 2022

The Best Phone Grips And Stands For People Who Hate Phone Cases, by Allison Johnson, The Verge

So what are phone case haters to do when we want some of the benefits of a case but not all of the downsides? Look no further. If putting a traditional case on your phone makes you cringe, then you’ll be thrilled to know there’s a healthy assortment of case alternatives out there.

Anker’s Eufy Deleted These 10 Privacy Promises Instead Of Answering Our Questions, by Sean Hollister, The Verge

It’s been two weeks since we reported that Anker’s Eufy lied to us about the security of its security cameras, and we’ve been pushing the company for answers ever since. But the company hasn’t answered a single one of our questions — in fact, I haven’t gotten a single reply since December 1st.

Today, on a whim, I thought I’d take a peek at Eufy’s website... maybe find some answers there? Instead, I found that Anker has quietly scrubbed all of its most promising privacy promises from its “privacy commitment” page. It got nerfed — hard.

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My current status: motivated on some stuff, un-motivated on others.


Thanks for reading.

The Point-of-Interaction Edition Saturday, December 17, 2022

Spotlight On: Apple Pencil Hover, by Apple

"There are two phases with something like this,” says Procreate chief technology officer Lloyd Bottomley. “The first is the initial, ‘Wow, this is cool.’ But then your mind starts racing because you’re trying to think of all the things you could do with it.”

With so many possibilities open to them, the Procreate team had to approach each idea with care and scrutiny to ensure they were aiding and improving design and creation workflows rather than hindering them. “We’re obsessed with keeping people focused on that point of interaction,” Bottomley says.

So… No Sunday Ticket?

NFL-Apple Sunday Ticket Talks Threaten To Stretch Into New Year, by Anthony Crupi, Sportico

In a bid to drive subscribers to its Apple TV+ platform, which is a relative steal at $6.99 per month, the tech giant is said to be fixated on offering Sunday Ticket via its streaming service at no additional charge. That’s a far too magnanimous gesture for the NFL; it needs to protect the interests of its Sunday afternoon broadcast partners at CBS and Fox, which under the terms of the 2021 rights renewal will pay the league a combined $40 billion through the end of the 2033 season.

Iger Expectations & The ESPN X Factor, by Dylan Byers, Julia Alexander, Puck

The companies that can afford to pay sky-high prices for sports are, of course, the big tech firms. So with each new round of rights negotiations we’re going to see Apple, Amazon, and Google take a greater slice of the pie while legacy mediacos get boxed out. You mentioned ESPN; the current bidding war for NFL Sunday Ticket is a perfect example of an area where they just can’t compete anymore, because they can’t justify the expense. I’m now told that Apple, once seen as a frontrunner for the rights, has also backed out of those negotiations—not because they can’t afford it, but because they don’t see the logic. So it’s down to Amazon and Google, and there’s certainly a logic there for both companies: Amazon can use it to drive Prime subscriptions; Google can use it to fuel its YouTube TV business.


Flying Soon? Flighty Is A Must-have iOS App For Air Travel This Holiday Season, by Jason Cipriani, ZDNet

Flighty's iOS 16.1 update with support for Live Activities on the lock screen and in the iPhone 14's Dynamic Island put all of the information I could possibly want while traveling constantly on display, regardless of whether my phone was locked and sitting idle (Always-On Display for the win) or when I was actively using the phone thanks to the Dynamic Island.

Task Manager App 'Taskheat' Updated With Focus Filters Support And Multiple Selection, by Filipe Espósito, 9to5Mac

Taskheat, which was introduced in 2020 for iOS and macOS, is a powerful task manager that lets users create advanced to-do lists using flowcharts. The app has recently been updated to version 1.8, which brings support for Focus Filters and also multiple selection.

After Questioning His Gender Identity, Teen Developed An App To Help Others Explore Theirs, by Diane Herbst, People

Motivated by this introspective journey, last year Tint created Discover Me, an app to help others questioning their gender identity. Using 'swipe right' and 'swipe left' options, like the dating app Tinder, Discover Me allows users to try on different names and pronouns to discover what fits.

"I wanted to try and create something that would allow you to interactively explore that in a safe and discreet but also very calming and low pressure way," he says.


Apple Created A Pseudo-Union To Defeat Organizers In Ohio, Complaint Claims, by Josh Eidelson, Bloomberg

In a filing Friday with the US National Labor Relations Board, the CWA accused the tech company of “soliciting employees to join an employer-created / employer-dominated labor organization as a means of stifling union activities.”

Federal labor law restricts companies from setting up pseudo-union organizations that are controlled by management, a tactic commonly used by companies in the early 20th century to sap support for independent union organizing.

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Like many doing programming, I don't enjoy managing people. I can't manage up, I can't manage down, and I definitely also cannot manage sideways. I prefer dealing with computers; you tell them what to do, and they do exactly what you tell them to do.

Except, sometimes, SwiftUI.


Thanks for reading.

The Swing-its-Own-Chips Edition Friday, December 16, 2022

Where Are All The New Macs, by Monica Chin, The Verge

What’s the holdup? Covid has certainly made this year’s assembly landscape somewhat unpredictable for Apple and its partners leading to factory shutdowns during various parts of the year. Supply chains have also been a giant shrug emoji in recent times, leading to delays across sectors. I imagine that these circumstances have had something to do with the slower release cycles we’re seeing, though I can only speculate.

What is clear right now is: Apple hasn’t yet been able to swing its own chips in a very high-end system. The Mac Studio is powerful, of course, and an absolutely stellar device. But the audience it’s serving is not quite the same as the Mac Pro’s audience.

Apple Missed Its Two-year Goal For The Apple Silicon Transition, But Does It Matter?, by Chance Miller, 9to5Mac

I think it’s also important to zoom out and look at the big picture. The Apple Silicon transition was announced in June 2020, just a few months into the COVID-19 pandemic. Since then, Apple’s supply chain has experienced numerous disruptions that undoubtedly impacted the Apple Silicon transition.

When supply and production are constrained, Apple has to make decisions about which Macs it prioritizes. The Mac Pro is undoubtedly at the bottom of the totem poll.

Calling 911

Their Car Fell 300 Feet Into A Canyon. A New iPhone Satellite SOS System Likely Saved Them, by Grace Toohey, Los Angeles Times

Luckily for the couple, Cloe Fields said she had recently switched her phone’s service provider and got an upgrade to the iPhone 14, which she was thankful to learn came equipped with a new emergency SOS system that uses crash detection and satellite technology.

Even before she and her boyfriend tried to call 911, which probably wouldn’t have been possible from their location, her phone had alerted local emergency responders of their crash and location.

Apple Devices’ New Collision Feature Triggering False Alarms For Emergency Help, by Carrie Tait, The Globe and Mail

The string of false alarms are prompting search-and-rescue teams to press Apple to tweak the crash detection system, which was first unveiled in September. They argue that errors such as the ones reported in the past few days put time, money and lives at risk.


“We’ve been waiting for the Apple problem,” Kyle Hale, the manager of Golden and District Search and Rescue (GADSAR), said in an interview Tuesday. “We kind of anticipated [Sunday’s call] being a false activation, but we had to resource it, so we got in a helicopter and flew 40 minutes out into the middle of nowhere.”


Redesigned Apple Maps Experience Expands To Users In These Five Countries, by Chance Miller, 9to5Mac

In a press release today, the company announced that the new Apple Maps experience is now available in the Netherlands, Belgium, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, and Switzerland.

Belkin Releases New iPhone Continuity Camera MagSafe Mount For External Displays And iMac, by Chance Miller, 9to5Mac

Belkin’s Continuity Camera mounts exist as a way to attach your iPhone to the top of your Mac using the iPhone’s MagSafe technology. This new model is designed for “Mac desktops,” which includes things like the 24-inch iMac, the Studio Display, and the Pro Display XDR. Belkin says it should be “compatible with most external displays and monitors.”

Pixelmator Photo Adds New Tools To Enhance Sharpness And Shadow Detail In Your Images, Launches 50% Off Holiday Sale, by Benjamin Mayo, 9to5Mac

The app uses ‘texture-aware’ algorithms to help optimize for clarity. The tools palette exposes two simple sliders, one for Clarity and one for Texture. Drag the sliders to increase the intensity of the algorithmic effect being applied to the image.

TripMode 3.2, by Agen Schmitz, TidBITS

The update adds a bandwidth monitor for tracking the upload and download speed of your apps in real-time (helpful for identifying piggy apps), introduces an always-on mode to force TripMode to filter and block traffic on any network, and adds privacy preferences to protect your privacy on shared computers.

Art Text 4.2, by Agen Schmitz, TidBITS

BeLight Software has issued Art Text 4.2, adding a text animation feature that gives life to both 2D and 3D typography.

Kensington SlimBlade Pro Trackball Review: Fully Loaded, But Not For Beginners, by Catherine Cargill, AppleInsider

This high-performance trackball with slick movement and precision control is perfect for those who and already comfortable with a trackball. It is a good fit professional users who perform heavy video editing or extremely detailed design work.


Apple, Google, And Mozilla Collaborating On Speedometer 3 Development, by Abner Li, 9to5Google

Speedometer is a browser benchmark that measures responsiveness by simulating user interactions on demo web applications. Introduced by Apple’s WebKit team, Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox are now partnering on the development of Speedometer 3.


A Top Chinese AirPod Maker Is Following Apple As It Shifts Its Supply Chain Away From The Mainland, by Gregor Stuart Hunter, Hunter

The willingness of Chinese suppliers to follow the tech giant beyond the mainland’s borders provides Apple immediate respite from some of the headaches of doing business in China—COVID lockdowns and supply chain snarls—and lets Apple give the appearance of turning away from China amid fraught relations between Washington and Beijing.

But the shift to India and Vietnam brings headaches too, including rickety infrastructure and unfamiliar working cultures. And in the long run, Apple’s continued reliance on Chinese suppliers—even if their manufacturing takes place outside of China—leaves the Cupertino giant vulnerable to U.S. policies aimed at knee-capping China’s technological advancement.

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The more we wait, the more we expect the Mac Pro to be really magical.


Thanks for reading.

The As-Unappealing-As-Possible Edition Thursday, December 15, 2022

If A Third-Party App Store Falls In The Forest And No One Uses It, Does It Make A Sound?, by John Gruber, Daring Fireball

If this comes to pass, I foresee a byzantine approval system imposed by Apple even if Apple comes into it with nothing but the best intentions. That is to say, even if Apple’s attitude is to make third-party app stores as appealing and useful as possible, the approval process would still come with requirements and contractural obligations that very few companies could comply with. And I somehow doubt that Apple’s attitude would be “let’s make third-party app stores as appealing and useful as possible”. What happens if Apple makes both running and using third-party app stores as unappealing as possible under the law?

Answering The Burning Questions About Apple’s Reported App Store Plans, by Jason Snell, Six Colors

If Apple has been insisting on complete control merely to protect itself from competition it knows it can’t win, it will be in for a rough ride. But I suspect that Apple’s motivations have been much more about maximizing revenue and control—key tenets of Steve Jobs’s philosophy, which has become a core of Apple’s own corporate culture—and not about feeling it’s unable to compete. That said, there are some areas where Apple has not yet had to compete, and in those areas, it will now need to make more of an effort. That, too, will benefit users—and ultimately, make the iPhone and iPad better.

Coming Soon

iOS 16.3 Brings Support For Protecting Your Apple ID With Physical Security Keys, by Filipe Espósito, 9to5Mac

Earlier this month, Apple announced Advanced Data Protection for iCloud with end-to-end encryption for user data. More than that, the company also revealed that it will soon provide support for physical security keys when using two-factor authentication with Apple ID. This option is now available for beta users running iOS 16.3.


Some Apple HomeKit Setups Are Breaking After iOS 16.2 Update, by Wesley Hilliard, AppleInsider

Users might notice their devices stuck in an "updating" mode after the upgrade is complete. This status should resolve itself after a short period, leaving everything operating as before.

That isn't always the case, as some users are reporting many devices aren't resolving this "updating" status, or worse. There aren't any known fixes for these issues yet.

Native Union Launches 'Impossible' Dual USB-C And Lightning Charging Cable, by Juli Clover, MacRumors

Accessory company Native Union today announced the launch of the Belt Cable Duo, a dual-headed charging cable that offers both Lightning and USB-C charging ports, so it can be used with all of your devices.


Australia Takes Aim At Apple, Microsoft Over Child Protection Online, by Byron Kaye, Reuters

The e-Safety Commissioner, an office set up to protect internet users, said that after sending legal demands for information to some of the world's biggest internet firms, the responses showed Apple and Microsoft did not proactively screen for child abuse material in their storage services, iCloud and OneDrive.

The two firms also confirmed they did not use any technology to detect live-streaming of child sexual abuse on video services Skype and Microsoft Teams, which are owned by Microsoft, and FaceTime, which is owned by Apple, the commissioner said in a report published on Thursday.

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The latest iOS broke my very simple shortcut.

It is just a one-line shortcut from Apple Music to "Play", without any parameters.

Previously, Apple Music will just continue to play where it left off previously. Now, the shortcut just sits there, unable to proceed, and with no music.


I have two shortcuts that I use often: one to play podcasts, and the above to play music. Both works without unlocking my phone. And I can listen to some podcasts and easily switch over to listen to some music, and vice versa.

Now, the podcast shortcut still works, but the music shortcut doesn't.

I am sad.


Thanks for reading.

The Karaoke-Experience Edition Wednesday, December 14, 2022

Apple Releases iOS 16.2 And iPadOS 16.2 With Freeform, Apple Music Sing, Advanced Data Protection And More, by Juli Clover, MacRumors

Today’s iOS 16.2 and iPadOS 16.2 updates bring several notable features to iOS 16 and iPadOS 16, including the Freeform app, which is a sort of digital whiteboard that you can use for anything, while also working collaboratively with friends and colleagues.

It includes the Apple Music karaoke feature called “Sing,” it introduces Advanced Data Protection for end-to-end encryption for more iClou features, plus more. On the iPad, the update brings support for external displays on M1 and M2 iPads.

Apple Releases macOS Ventura 13.1 With Freeform, Advanced Data Protection, Find My Improvements And More, by Juli Clover, MacRumors

Today’s macOS Ventura update introduces the Freeform app, designed to allow users to sketch, draw, and write on a blank whiteboard-style canvas that can be used with friends and colleagues. It also includes Advanced Data Protection for iCloud, expanding end-to-end encryption to iCloud Backup, Notes, Photos, and more.

Apple Releases watchOS 9.2 With Outdoor Workout Improvements, Crash Detection Optimizations, Noise App Tweaks And More, by Juli Clover, MacRumors

watchOS 9.2 includes Race Route, a feature that is designed to let outdoor runners, cyclists, and wheelchair users to compete against their previous performances, plus for outdoor run workouts, it can detect when you arrive at a running track.

tvOS 16.2 With Siri Voice Recognition And Apple Music Sing Now Available To Users, by Filipe Espósito, 9to5Mac

Following the release of iOS 16.2 and other software updates, Apple also made tvOS 16.2 available to Apple TV users on Monday. The update brings multi-user voice recognition for Siri and also Apple Music Sing with the karaoke experience to the Apple TV operating system.


Apple's FreeForm Is A Digital Whiteboard For Total Focus, by Brenda Stolyar, Wired

None of this is revolutionary in any way. It really feels like a glorified Notes app, with a few extra tools and the ability to throw whatever you want onto the board wherever. But perhaps this simplicity is what I like the most because it's easy enough for almost anyone to use. I didn't have to explain how to use it to my editor when we were using it together; he kind of just got it and started making a board.

Blank Canvas: Hands On With Apple’s New Freeform App, by Jason Snell, Six Colors

Freeform feels like an app that Apple realized it needed to make in order to test its new integrated collaboration features. I’m glad it did; it’s not going to change the world, but even Apple may be surprised at the different ways that users take advantage of that. It’s fitting that the future of the app is itself a blank canvas, waiting to be filled in.

Stage Manager

iPadOS 16.2 And Stage Manager For External Displays: Work In Progress, But Worth The Wait, by Federico Viticci, MacStories

Ultimately, at the end of 2022, this is where I stand with my iPad Pro and Stage Manager: this feature needs a lot of work and refinements still, but as I’m typing this story in Obsidian, I realize I’ve finally achieved the setup of my dreams, which seemed impossible just a few years ago. My iPad can now be a tablet, a laptop-like device with a Magic Keyboard, or turn an external display into a desktop environment. The same piece of glass can yield three distinct computing experiences, all powered by the same OS.

More OS Updates

Big Sur 11.7.2 And Monterey 12.6.2 Bring A Slew Of Security Updates To Older Macs, by Michael Simon, Macworld

Alongside the first major Ventura update, Apple also released updates to Big Sur (11.7.2) and Monterey (12.6.2) that contain a slew of important security updates. Apple appears to be done releasing updates for the two-year-old Catalina.

Only iPhones That Can’t Run iOS 16 Are Getting New iOS 15 Updates, by Andrew Cunningham, Ars Technica

As part of the barrage of operating system updates released earlier today, Apple published new iOS and iPadOS 15.7.2 updates that bring most of the iOS 16.2 security patches to the previous version of the operating system.

On App Stores

Apple To Allow Outside App Stores In Overhaul Spurred By EU Laws, by Mark Gurman, Bloomberg

Software engineering and services employees are engaged in a major push to open up key elements of Apple’s platforms, according to people familiar with the efforts. As part of the changes, customers could ultimately download third-party software to their iPhones and iPads without using the company’s App Store, sidestepping Apple’s restrictions and the up-to-30% commission it imposes on payments.

The moves — a reversal of long-held policies — are a response to EU laws aimed at leveling the playing field for third-party developers and improving the digital lives of consumers. For years, regulators and software makers have complained that Apple and Google, which run the two biggest mobile app stores, wield too much power as gatekeepers.


Currently, third-party web browsers, including ones like Chrome from Alphabet Inc.’s Google, are required to use WebKit, Apple’s Safari browsing engine. Under the plan to meet the new law, Apple is considering removing that mandate.

The Fall Of The App Store Wall, by M.G. Siegler, 500ish

But regardless, Apple will figure out how to take a cut of all of this. Because that’s the business in which they now find themselves as they try to continue to grow revenue (and profit) from such a crazy base thanks to the success of the iPhone (and to a lesser degree, their other devices).


Magazine App Flipboard Adds Support For Original Content With New Notes Feature, by Sarah Perez, TechCrunch

The company today announced that Flipboard’s curators will be able to publish original content into their magazine in order to engage with their readers in a conversation. The company believes the feature will allow curators to create small communities around a particular theme or interest.

7 Reasons Why Ulysses Is The Best Writing App For Your Mac, by Will Graf, MakeUseOf

Whether you are writing your next book, article, or that school paper you need to turn in, Ulysses can be the perfect writing tool you have been looking for on your Mac.

A New App Brings Birdsong Back To People With High-Frequency Hearing Loss, by Ashley Braun, Audubon

Its algorithms instantly shift higher-pitched wildlife into frequencies low enough to be detected by people who still hear most human speech and some birdsong, such as a robin’s, but who struggle above roughly 3 kilohertz. App users can tune settings to suit their needs—lowering the pitch by different intervals to hear, say, a Brown Creeper, Blackburnian Warbler, or Northern Parula as necessary.

This App Gave Me My No-Nonsense Trainer, Micaela, by Lauren Ro, New York Magazine

Micaela believes that the best workout is one that you stick to — and thanks to her and Future, I’m doing just that.

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Out of the many Apple devices I have right here in my home, only just one is capable of doing Apple Music Sing.

(Not that I am longing to sing along to Apple Music. In fact, if my memory is working correctly, I can count the number of times I've karaoke-d in my entire life on one hand.)

So, I only have my iPhone 12 mini to try out Apple Music Sing, and I have to say that the user-interface for this feature is not intuitive. And especially since karaoke mode is not available for all songs, and the first song that I've tried out is not available with Apple Music Sing.

Oh, and Apple Music Sing is such a clumsy name.

Happy singing!


Thanks for reading.

The Without-Clearly-Asking Edition Tuesday, December 13, 2022

iPhone 14 Emergency SOS Via Satellite Rolls Out To United Kingdom, France, Germany And Ireland Today, by Benjamin Mayo, 9to5Mac

Apple today announce the expansion of its Emergency SOS via satellite feature to more regions. The satellite connectivity feature is now available to iPhone 14 customers in the United Kingdom, France, Germany and Ireland.

Tim Cook Pays Tribute To Apple's Enduring Partnership With Sony To Develop 'World's Leading Camera Sensors' For iPhones, by Tim Hardwick, MacRumors

In a tweet posted during his visit to Sony’s camera development facility in Kumamoto, Japan, Cook acknowledged the company’s successful partnership with Apple to create “the world’s leading camera sensors for iPhone,” and thanked the team at the facility for showing him around.

Apple doesn’t usually reveal the specific makers of the hardware components that it uses in iPhones, but its use of Sony camera hardware has long been known by close followers of the company’s supply chain.

AI Art Apps Are Cluttering The App Store's Top Charts Following Lensa AI's Success, by Sarah Perez, TechCrunch

Lensa AI’s popularity has had a notable impact on the App Store’s Top Charts. The popular photo and video editing app recently went viral over its new “magic avatars” feature, powered by the open source Stable Diffusion model, allowing users to turn their selfies into styled portraits of themselves as sci-fi, anime, or fantasy characters, among other artistic renderings. Consumer demand for the app, and for AI edits more broadly, has now pushed numerous other “AI” apps into the U.S. App Store’s Top Charts. As of Monday, the top three spots on the U.S. App Store are all held by AI photo editors, and even more AI art apps are newly ranking in the Top 100.

On Privacy

Apple Should Face 6 Mln Euro Fine, Adviser To French Privacy Watchdog Says, by Mathieu Rosemain, Reuters

France Digitale argued then that while iPhone owners were asked under iOS 14 whether they were ready to allow installed mobile apps to gather a key identifier used to define campaign ads and send targeted ads, default settings allowed Apple to carry its own targeted ad campaigns without clearly asking iPhone users for their prior consent.


Gary Davis, Apple's head of privacy, contested the rapporteur's conclusions at the hearing, saying the U.S. firm was committed to the protection of users' privacy.

"The absence of any seriousness to the breach ... means that the amount of the fine should be decreased," he said, requesting that the amount of any fine should not be made public.


Apple Releases New AirTag Firmware Ahead Of iOS 16.2 Update, by Filipe Espósito, 9to5Mac

Today’s new firmware release is version 2.0.36, and it features build number 2A36. [...] Unfortunately, it’s unclear at this point what changes with the update, as Apple has yet to share update notes for today’s firmware.

Ulysses App Now Lets Writers Organize Their Work Into Projects, by Tim Hardwick, MacRumors

New to the app in version 29, the Projects feature only shows what’s relevant to the current project and hides everything else in the app’s sidebar to improve focus.

Tinderbox 9.5, by Agen Schmitz, TidBITS

Eastgate Systems has published Tinderbox 9.5 with new brainstorming features to help you build notes more quickly.

Eve Begins Matter Rollout For Eve Energy, Eve Door & Window, And Eve Motion, by Bradley Chambers, 9to5Mac

Eve, the popular HomeKit product manufacturer, has announced that it will be releasing an optional firmware update for its Eve Energy, Eve Door & Window, and Eve Motion products, making them the first Thread products available on the market for the new Matter standard.

Microsoft Authenticator App For Apple Watch To Be Discontinued Next Month, by Filipe Espósito, 9to5Mac

The company claims that the decision to discontinue the watchOS app is due to the fact that the Apple Watch operating system is “incompatible with Authenticator security features.” Microsoft also recommends that users who still have Authenticator installed on their Apple Watch delete the app, as it is expected to stop working next month.


Apple Desperately Needs The Chinese Consumer, So It'll Continue To Be Cozy With The Chinese Government, by Emilia David, Asia Martin, Insider

Apple regularly gets a round of bad press in the US, with media outlets and politicians calling out Apple for perceived hypocrisy. But with hundreds of millions of potential customers left to convert to iPhone users in China, Apple will absorb the hits.

Apple may not need Chinese factory workers. But, it's made the calculation that it very much needs the Chinese consumer.

Apple's GymKit: A Promise To Exercise Mavens, Still Unrealized, by Nathaniel Pangaro, AppleInsider

GymKit is a great way to be able to sync your Apple Watch directly to the gym equipment you use, but implementation is still sparse. With a high price tag, and companies even pulling back the feature, GymKit has yet to see a huge expansion.

And, given that Apple isn't talking about it much, expansion seems unlikely.

Becoming A Chatbot: My Life As A Real Estate AI’s Human Backup, by Laura Preston, The Guardian

Brenda, the recruiter told me, was a sophisticated conversationalist, so fluent that most people who encountered her took her to be human.

But like all conversational AIs, she had some shortcomings. She struggled with idioms and didn’t fare well with questions beyond the scope of real estate. To compensate for these flaws, the company was recruiting a team of employees they called the operators. The operators kept vigil over Brenda 24 hours a day. When Brenda went off-script, an operator took over and emulated Brenda’s voice. Ideally, the customer on the other end would not realise the conversation had changed hands, or that they had even been chatting with a bot in the first place. Because Brenda used machine learning to improve her responses, she would pick up on the operators’ language patterns and gradually adopt them as her own.

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You don't need Emergency SOS when you come visit Singapore. It's a small city / country, and I'm pretty sure there aren't any place here where there isn't cellphone coverage.


Thanks for reading.

The Talking-to-You Edition Monday, December 12, 2022

Take Out Those Earbuds — They're Wrecking Your Hearing, by Mary Elizabeth Williams, Salon

How can you avoid positioning yourself for hearing damage? Audiologist Dr. Amy Sarow advises, "The best way to prevent the volume from exceeding a safe level is by limiting the device's maximum output through the phone settings or avoiding turning the volume up past 70% of the full volume. A good rule of thumb: if you can't hear someone talking to you at arm's length over the volume, it's too loud."


The Best Alarm Clock Apps To Keep You From Hitting The Snooze Button, by David Nield, Gizmodo

These apps won’t magically make your commute any more appealing, or counter the effects of a late-night streaming binge the evening before, but they will force your body to start emerging from its slumber and properly start the process of waking up. From there, you’ll be in a better place to weigh up the pros and cons of making your way out into the world — or crawling back into bed for another ten minutes.


What Happened To Apple's App Clips?, by Lila Riesen, AppleInsider

The what and the how of App Clips are clear. But the problem that consumers and developers are having is "why bother."

Advanced Data Protection For iCloud Is A Good Start, But Apple Has More Work To Do, by Dan Moren, Macworld

But as good as those protections are, there are still a few more places where the company could enact additional security and privacy measures to help make sure that your data stays in your control.

Apple’s Plans For Car And AR Headset Reflect More Pragmatic Era, by Mark Gurman, Bloomberg

These days, though, Apple may be taking a new tack: practicality. As it prepares to push into two major categories — a mixed-reality headset and an electric car — the company is aiming to be less revolutionary and more pragmatic, all in the name of actually getting the products out the door.

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I can no longer stand noisy places. Well, I didn't really like noisy places in the past, but these three years of strange times have made me less tolerant of noisy places.

And, boy, do I enjoy my noise-cancelling AirPods Pro. And if --- well... when? -- my hearing goes, I may be happier because the world outside has just become quieter. Better savor all the podcasts and audiobooks now.


Thanks for reading.

The Very-Fine-Line Edition Sunday, December 11, 2022

Lensa AI Avatar Portraits Are Popping Up All Over Social Media, But Is It A Step Back For Body Positivity?, by Fiona Ward, Glamour

For model and body positivity campaigner Sophie Hughes, the platform is a double-edged sword. “I love the creative element of the Lensa avatar feature – I love that you choose the image which you feel represents you the most, I love the psychology behind that self expression and I think there's merit in it being a beautiful way to express yourself,” she tells GLAMOUR.

"However, I think it is a very fine line and a very slippery slope when we think about self esteem and beauty standards. AI promotes an unrealistic beauty standard, there is no denying that, and this app seems to take that one step further. I think as with all social media it can be dangerous in the wrong hands. Young, impressionable hands for example.

Microsoft Office Updates Now Require macOS 11 Big Sur Or Later, by Adam Engst, TidBITS

If you use Microsoft Office in macOS 10.15 Catalina, there’s yet another reason beyond the lack of Apple security updates to consider upgrading soon. Microsoft has announced that the company’s productivity suite will receive updates only if your Mac is running at least macOS 11 Big Sur.

Apple Sets A Security Challenge For 2023, by Jonny Evans, Computerworld

Given Apple's big moves this week to roll out new data protection tools for iMessage and allow users to encrypt more of their data in iCloud, it seems obvious that security is going to be a major Apple priority in the year ahead.

Canada 'Condemns' Apple's AirDrop Changes Affecting Protestors In China , by Malcolm Owen, AppleInsider

While the intention of the motion is clearly to display disapproval for Apple's AirDrop change in the face of Chinese protests against the country's government, it doesn't quite get all the facts right.

Bottom of the Page

This paragraph is not written by any Artificial Intelligence. I'm not sure if there are Intelligence involved here, but definitely it's all Natural.


Thanks for reading.

The Reacting-to-Culture Edition Saturday, December 10, 2022

Playlists Don’t Hit Like They Used To, by Elias Leight, Billboard

Not long ago, a placement on Spotify’s RapCaviar or Apple Music’s Today’s Hits playlists could ignite a single’s streaming numbers overnight. “Today’s Top Hits [32 million followers on Spotify] used to be the holy grail,” says one manager of several major-label acts. “Or even Pop Rising [2.7 million] — it was like, ‘If a song got on Pop Rising, it’s going to get to Today’s Top Hits and do 5 million streams a week.’ ”

But in 2022, the manager continues, “it doesn’t feel like that’s the case.” This realization is growing around the music industry. “The Spotify and Apple editorial playlists don’t have as much punch” as they did, agrees Kieron Donoghue, founder of Humble Angel Records and former vp of global playlists strategy at Warner Music Group. “The major streaming platforms are reacting to culture now rather than driving it,” adds Tatiana Cirisano, music industry analyst and consultant for MIDiA Research.

The Legal System Is Completely Unprepared For Apple AirTag Stalking, by Samantha Cole, Motherboard

In California, where Dozier lives, ​​the law states that “no person or entity in this state shall use an electronic tracking device to determine the location or movement of a person.” But there are aspects of stalking through AirTags that can make it even harder for married people to get recourse; for example, if a tracking device is left in a car that they share, and that car is registered in the abuser’s name, this law doesn’t apply, and it can be nearly impossible to prove in court that the target was being stalked at all.

Dozier sent the district attorney Motherboard’s previous reporting on AirTag stalking crimes, to try to explain the seriousness of the situation. “Judges and officers don't know enough about AirTags... and in criminal law, it's harder to prove [intent] beyond a reasonable doubt on the perpetrators because there's no hard evidence that they are in fact stalking, especially when you've been in a relationship with this person or you share a child with this person,” Dozier said.

Activists Respond To Apple Choosing Encryption Over Invasive Image Scanning Plans, by Mitchell Clark, The Verge

The National Center for Missing & Exploited Children, or NCMEC, was going to be one of Apple’s partners for its image scanning system, with the center providing both the hashes of known CSAM images and assistance with reviewing anything the system found before contacting the authorities.

As you might imagine, NCMEC isn’t particularly pleased with Apple’s decision to drop the feature, and the company’s simultaneous announcement of even stronger iCloud privacy measures that will end-to-end encrypt backups doesn’t seem to be helping matters. “The National Center for Missing & Exploited Children opposes privacy measures that ignore the undisputed realities of child sexual exploitation online,” said Michelle DeLaune, the organization’s president and CEO, in a statement to The Verge.

Apple Works

Apple To End Employee Gagging Clauses After Activist Campaign, by Patrick McGee, Financial Times

Apple has agreed to drop all employee gagging clauses related to workplace harassment in a win for shareholders and activists who had pressured the iPhone-maker’s board to investigate following a worker uprising called Apple Together.


Apple’s use of concealment clauses received widespread attention in November 2021 when a former software engineer on its security team, Cher Scarlett, broke her non-disclosure agreement by showing media that Apple had made her severance package contingent on withdrawing a work complaint to the National Labor Relations Board and agreeing not to “encourage” other complaints against Apple.


Sofa 3.4: List Sharing, Shortcuts Actions, Lock Screen Widgets, And More, by John Voorhees, MacStories

What I appreciate most about version 3.4 of Sofa is that it extends the app beyond its existing boundaries with list sharing and new Shortcuts support. To round out the update, Sofa also adds Lock Screen widget support and TV and movie provider details for Super Sofa subscribers. It’s an excellent batch of new features for an app that I already consider one of the finest in its category.

Ocenaudio Audio Editor Review, by Angel Garden, TechRadar

Ocenaudio is a free audio editor that’s as accessible as they come. With little in the way of barrier to entry, it’s ready to record or import your sounds in many formats including MP4, so very useful for video editing purposes.

Boom 3D 1.4, by Agen Schmitz, TidBITS

The audio enhancement utility now provides an immersive virtual surround feel by spatializing all audio channels of a 5.1 surround audio from games, music, and movies—providing a distinct perception of different audio channels on headphones with clarity.

What You Should Know Before Using The Lensa AI App, by Reece Rogers, Wired

AI-generated profile pictures have always raised questions about digital privacy, however. If you’re curious whether it’s a good idea to use Lensa, here’s what you should consider before spending money and uploading your selfies.


Can AI Write Authentic Poetry?, by Keith Holyoak, MIT Press Reader

Of all the actual and potential consequences of AI, surely the least significant is that AI programs are beginning to write poetry. But that effort happens to be the AI application most relevant to our theme. And in a certain sense, poetry may serve as a kind of canary in the coal mine — an early indicator of the extent to which AI promises (threatens?) to challenge humans as artistic creators. If AI can be a poet, what other previously human-only roles will it slip into?

So, what is the current state of AI and computer-generated poetry? This is a less central question than might be supposed. Especially in this time of rapid AI advances, the current state of the artificial poetic arts is merely a transitory benchmark. We need to set aside the old stereotype that computer programs simply follow fixed rules and do what humans have programmed them to do, and so lack any capacity for creativity. Computer programs can now learn from enormous sets of data using methods called deep learning. What the programs learn, and how they will behave after learning, is very difficult (perhaps impossible) to predict in advance. The question has arisen (semiseriously) whether computer programs ought to be listed as coauthors of scientific papers reporting discoveries to which they contributed. There is no doubt that some forms of creativity are within the reach, and indeed the grasp, of computer programs.

Why Are Docking Stations So Damn Expensive? The Answer Surprisingly Makes Sense, by Darragh Murphy, Laptop

Docking stations are pricey because delivering the number of ports, along with the variety of connectivity options and power adapters they come with, is no small feat. In a way, it offsets the price of our favourite laptops, even if we wish there was an extra port or two on them.

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I have a day podcast playlist and a night podcast playlist. The former accompanies me while I write code. The latter accompanies me when I cannot get back to sleep.


Thanks for reading.

The Show-Up Edition Friday, December 9, 2022

Across The Globe, Apple And Its Teams Find New Ways To Give, by Apple

Since its inception 11 years ago, Apple’s Employee Giving program has raised over $880 million dollars for almost 44,000 organizations globally. That includes the work of more than 76,000 employees who have logged more than 2.1 million volunteer hours. For every hour an Apple employee volunteers or dollar they donate, Apple matches with a monetary donation to the same organization. In addition to volunteer activities and contributions made through the Employee Giving program, Apple also contributes millions of dollars to nonprofits through corporate grants.

This year, in communities around the world, Apple and its team members contributed to local organizations and global causes in extraordinary ways. From weekly volunteer engagements to local grants in support of food banks, and from professional mentoring to environmental cleanup events, the Apple community showed up for the people and places it calls home.

Apple Works

Apple Workers In Australia Plan Christmas Strike, by Praveen Menon, Reuters

Hundreds of Apple workers in Australia are preparing to go on a strike ahead of Christmas to demand better working conditions and wages, union leaders and staff said, a move likely to hurt the iPhone maker's sales and services in the country.

Maryland Apple Store Starting Union Negotiations In Early 2023, by Andrew Orr, AppleInsider

Union members from the newly-organized Apple Store in Maryland have set dates for formal negotiations with Apple management, covering employee benefits, pay scales, and more.

Towson Apple workers voted to join the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAM) in June, and members have been training on various union topics.


Ferrite 3: iPad Audio Editor Adds Variable-speed Playback And More, by Jason Snell, Six Colors

The banner feature in Ferrite 3 is variable-speed playback and timeline scrubbing. Just as many podcast listeners consume them at more than 1x speed, it can be a huge time saver for podcast editors to play back the program they’re editing at speeds up to 2x.

Adobe Fresco Review, by Steve Paris, TechRadar

Adobe Fresco brings drawing back to basics, evoking memories of pads and pens and dipping brushes into paint-wells right on your drawing tablet, The digital art software lets you get more creative than you ever could with a mouse or trackpad. And while it might not feel totally paper-real, but the overall experience comes a pretty close second.

Logitech MX Keys Mini For Mac Review: A Compact Magic Keyboard Alternative, by Gerald Lynch, iMore

It’s expensive for its size, and the fixed angle of its feet may not suit everyone, but the Logitech MX Keys Mini for Mac is an otherwise excellent keyboard. It’s travel friendly, has a fantastic battery life, and can be comfortably typed at for hours. With support for typing with an iPad and iPhone, it’s a universal entry system for your entire Apple life and one well worth sitting down with.


EU Sets December 28th, 2024, Deadline For All New Phones To Use USB-C For Wired Charging, by Jon Porter, The Verge

We finally have a final official deadline for when new phones sold in the European Union — including future iPhones — will have to use USB-C for wired charging: December 28th, 2024.

That’s because the EU’s new USB-C legislation has just been published in the bloc’s Official Journal, making it formally binding. Now we know the rules will officially enter into force in 20 days’ time, and individual EU member states will then have a maximum of 24 months to apply them as national law.

Apple Supplier Foxconn Reportedly Helped Convince China To Loosen Covid Rules, by Lauren Feiner, CNBC

Gou's letter helped Chinese health officials and government advisers make the case for accelerated easing of Covid restrictions, the Journal reported, citing unnamed sources. The protests that later spread throughout China furthered that case.

Apple Made A Big Move Into Women's Health Just As Startups Go Through A Funding Winter. 4 Health Investors And Founders Predict Who'll Survive., by Riddhi Kanetkar, Insider

There is also the aftermath of overturning Roe v. Wade, which has left consumers more vigilant about sharing sensitive fertility data with period-tracking apps — some of which may compete with Apple for users. Recently, 18 period-tracking startups, including Flo, Clue, and Glow, came under fire from browser-maker Mozilla for not adequately protecting consumer data, which could leave its users vulnerable to having their data shared with law enforcement.

Bottom of the Page

Now that macOS has Continuity Camera, where you can use your iPhone as a webcam for your Mac automatically, I wonder if there are people who are using duct tapes to cover both the Mac's built-in webcam as well as the iPhone's cameras.



Thanks for reading.

The End-to-End-Expansion Edition Thursday, December 8, 2022

Apple Debuts Advanced Data Protection To Bring End-to-end Encryption To Messages In iCloud, Photos, Device Backups, Much More, by Chance Miller, 9to5Mac

Apple today has announced a dramatic expansion of end-to-end encryption for its various cloud services. Called Advanced Data Protection, this initiative expands end-to-end encryption to a number of additional iCloud services, including iCloud device backups, Messages backups, Photos, and much more.

iCloud already offered end-to-end encryption for 14 different data categories, including things like iCloud Keychain and Health data. Today’s expansion, however, brings the number of data categories protected by end-to-end encryption to 23.

Apple Claims A New iMessage Can Alert You If State-sponsored Spies Are Eavesdropping, by Mitchell Clark, The Verge

Apple’s new iOS and iCloud security initiative includes a new way for iMessage users to verify that they’re talking to the person they think they’re talking to. The company claims the new iMessage Contact Key Verification will let people who “face extraordinary digital threats,” such as journalists, activists, or politicians, make sure that their conversations aren’t being hijacked or snooped on.

Apple Announces Physical Security Key Support For Apple ID Two-factor, New iMessage Verification Technology, by Chance Miller, 9to5Mac

Apple has announced that starting in 2023, users will be able to enhance their Apple ID and iCloud account protection using hardware Security Keys. This means you will have a physical hardware device that you can setup to serve as the second layer of two-factor authentication for your account.

Apple Kills Its Plan To Scan Your Photos For CSAM. Here’s What’s Next, by Lily Hay Newman, Wired

Instead, Apple told WIRED this week, it is focusing its anti-CSAM efforts and investments on its “Communication Safety” features that the company also initially announced in August 2021 and launched last December. Parents and caregivers can opt into the protections through family iCloud accounts. They work in Siri, Apple's Spotlight search, and Safari Search to warn if someone is looking at or searching for child sexual abuse materials and provide resources on the spot to report the content and seek help. Additionally, the core of the protection is Communication Safety for Messages, which caregivers can set up to provide a warning and resources to children if they receive or attempt to send photos that contain nudity. The goal is to stop child exploitation before it happens or becomes entrenched and reduce the creation of new CSAM.

“After extensive consultation with experts to gather feedback on child protection initiatives we proposed last year, we are deepening our investment in the Communication Safety feature that we first made available in December 2021,” the company told WIRED in a statement. “We have further decided to not move forward with our previously proposed CSAM detection tool for iCloud Photos. Children can be protected without companies combing through personal data, and we will continue working with governments, child advocates, and other companies to help protect young people, preserve their right to privacy, and make the internet a safer place for children and for us all.”

Apple: Most iCloud Data Can Now Be End-to-end Encrypted, by rank Bajak, AP

In a statement, [the FBI] said it remains a strong advocate of encryption schemes that provide “lawful access by design” so tech companies “served with a legal order” can decrypt data and give it to law enforcement. The agency said it “continues to be deeply concerned with the threat end-to-end and user-only-access encryption pose,” insisting they hinder the FBI’s ability to protect Americans from crimes ranging from cyberattacks to violence against children, and terrorism.

Cryptographers and other cybersecurity experts have long argued, however, that attempts by law enforcement to weaken encryption with backdoors are ill-advised because they would inherently make the internet less reliable and hurt vulnerable populations including ethnic minorities.


MarsEdit 5 Lands On The Mac With Quick And Easy Micropost Blogging And Markdown Highlighting, by Zac Hall, 9to5Mac

MarsEdit 5 introduces a Micropost panel that can be activated with a system-wide keyboard shortcut so posting a thought to your blog can be as easy as churning out a joke on your timeline. While the rest of MarsEdit is a full canvas for blogging, the Micropost panel is tuned for speed with a text field and an optional title field. Future updates to the Micropost panel will bring photo and video attachments.

Dropbox And iCloud Rival Proton Drive Gets iOS App; Uses End-to-end Encryption, by Ben Lovejoy, 9to5Mac

Proton Drive offers a cloud storage service with end-to-end encryption (E2EE). This means that files are encrypted on your device before they are uploaded, so that not even Proton can decrypt them.

"I Made My Dream Synth": Hainbach's New App, Fluss, Is An Experimental Granular Playground, by Matt Mullen, MusicRadar

The app, which runs standalone on iOS or as an AUv3 plugin, enables the user to manipulate tiny grains of audio in a variety of complex ways, using a "kinetic" control interface that's geared towards live performance and realtime sonic manipulation.

Disney Dreamlight Valley Comes To Apple Silicon Mac, by William Gallagher, AppleInsider

Disney has brought an early access version of the "Dreamlight Valley" adventure game to the Mac App Store, incorporating many characters spanning Disney and Pixar movies.


A Year Of New Avenues, by Robin Sloan

As the plat­forms of the last decade crumble, we might put “founder” culture back on the shelf. Startup finance works fine if you dream of build­ing a business of a very particular kind; and, like, thank you for Shopify! Seriously! But for a decade, this very par­tic­u­lar kind of busi­ness had a lock not only on internet commerce, but inter­net cul­ture, too, with only ill effect.

I want to insist on an ama­teur internet; a garage internet; a pub­lic library internet; a kitchen ta­ble inter­net. Now, at last, in 2023, I want to tell the tech CEOs and ven­ture capitalists: pipe down. Buzz off. Go fave each other’s tweets.


Apple’s Mixed Reality Ambitions May Include Both xrOS And realityOS For Future Products, by Filipe Espósito, 9to5Mac

However, it seems that the company has two different AR/VR platforms, one based on iOS, and the other based on macOS. It’s unclear at this point whether the platforms have different purposes, or whether Apple has been experimenting with both. But what we’ve heard is that “realityOS” is what the company’s engineers have been calling the iOS-based platform, and “xrOS” would be the macOS-based platform.

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Quite a number of online columnists predicted back then when Apple first surfaced on-device CSAM detection that more end-to-end encryption was coming soon. They were right.

But, as far as I can tell, not many pundits predicted such a major software update coming during this winter. Good for Apple engineers.

It sure feels like a Christmasy Macworld Expo.


Thanks for reading.

The Hear-Your-Voice Edition Wednesday, December 7, 2022

Apple Music Is Getting A Karaoke Mode, by Jay Peters, The Verge

Apple on Tuesday announced Apple Music Sing, a karaoke experience that will be built right into the Apple Music app. With Apple Music Sing, you’ll be able to follow along with Apple Music’s real-time lyrics and adjust the volume of the vocals so that you can better hear your singing voice.

Apple Adding Hundreds Of App Store Price Points, As Low As $0.29, by Amber Neely, AppleInsider

Apple has announced that in the spring it will provide developers with 900 price points, plus new App Store pricing tools to set prices by country and region.

Under the new pricing system, developers can select from what Apple says is nearly ten times more than what's currently available. Prices will start at $0.29 and go as high as $10,000. Developers will need approval for the highest pricing levels.

Tim Cook And President Biden Came To Arizona To Announce Plans For American-made Chips, by Andy Blye, The Verge

“The progress we’ve made with Apple Silicon has transformed our devices,” Cook said on Tuesday. “When you stop and think about it, it’s extraordinary what chip technology can achieve. And now, thanks to the hard work of so many people, these chips can be proudly stamped ‘Made in America.’”

Coming Soon

Find My App In macOS 13.1 Adds A Missing Feature From iPhone To Find Lost AirTags, by Chance Miller, 9to5Mac

The latest macOS Ventura 13.1 beta makes a useful enhancement to the Find My app. With this update, you can now use the Find My app on your Mac to ping nearby accessories for the first time. This behavior was previously only available in the Find My apps on iPhone, iPad, and Apple Watch.


Pixelmator Pro 3.2 For Mac Introduces Video Editing Support, by Tim Hardwick, MacRumors

Version 3.2 of the app lets users make quick edits to videos, such as trimming, cropping, and color adjustment, and lets users combine them with text, images, and shapes, apply masks, and more, without leaving Pixelmator Pro.

Carrot Weather Gets Mini-games, Live Activities Support For All Precipitation, Layout Redesign, More, by Michael Potuck, 9to5Mac

The release includes a new mini-games experience, a major update to the Layout screen, Live Activities support for all precipitation, and more.

Documents iOS App Gets All-new Action Menu That Dynamically Adapts Based On File Types, by Michael Potuck, 9to5Mac

The main new feature is an overhauled Action Menu that makes it more seamless than ever to organize, copy/move, rename, and edit your various files by dynamically changing the buttons based on what type of file you’re looking at.


Apple Scores Win In AliveCor Legal Battle With USPTO Invalidating Several Patents, by Juli Clover, MacRumors

The United States Patent and Trademark Office’s Patent Trial and Appeal Board today invalidated a trio of AliveCor patents that AliveCor used in a complaint with the International Trade Commission, which is a win for Apple. The patents all related to heart rate monitoring technology used in AliveCor products.

Apple Scales Back Self-Driving Car And Delays Debut Until 2026, by Mark Gurman, Bloomberg

In a significant shift for the project, the company is now planning a less-ambitious design that will include a steering wheel and pedals and only support full autonomous capabilities on highways, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the information is private.

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Nothing confirms more that I am an introvert than feeling extremely tiredness after having two days of multiple discussions -- in meeting rooms, in cubicles, and in Teams -- at work with actual living humans.

(I am always having a conversation with my Windows laptop. Mostly, it is me asking PC why can't you be more like Mac.)


Thanks for reading.

The Safest-and-Most-Reliable Edition Tuesday, December 6, 2022

Apple’s DIY Repair Service Launches In Europe, by Jon Porter, The Verge

Apple’s self-service repair program, which is designed to let customers repair their own iPhones and MacBooks, is launching in Europe. The company announced today that genuine Apple parts, tools, and manuals will be available to customers in Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Poland, Spain, Sweden, and the UK to perform their own repairs.


Although DIY repairs will now be possible in several European countries, Apple’s press release still steers people towards using a professional service where possible. The company notes that the program is designed for “customers who are experienced with the complexities of repairing electronic devices” and adds that “visiting a professional repair provider with certified technicians who use genuine Apple parts is the safest and most reliable way to get a repair.”

In Phoenix, A Taiwanese Chip Giant Builds A Hedge Against China, by Kellen Browning, New York Times

The upgraded plan is the latest sign of how geopolitical concerns are causing companies and governments to modify longtime strategies, countering historical trends that led companies to shift most semiconductor manufacturing to Asia. It also underscores the widening recognition of the importance of chips and new technologies for producing them, which add calculating power to consumer gadgets, cars and military equipment such as missiles and drones.

Apple Explores Moving Some iPad Production To India, by Seema Mody, CNBC

India is exploring options to bring some of Apple's iPad production to the country from China, according to two sources close to the Indian government. The tech giant is said to be holding ongoing discussions with officials. No concrete plans have been made, but if successful, it would expand Apple's footprint in the country.

Apple Is Beginning To Move Out Of China. It Is An Overdue Reckoning., by Henry Olsen, Washington Post

Thus, Apple seems to have made an expensive and difficult decision to relocate to places such as India and Vietnam. Each nation has its disadvantages; India’s federalist democracy makes planning harder, as does Vietnam’s relatively small size and high levels of poverty. But Apple is willing to take on these considerable risks to significantly decouple itself from the whims of an ambitious dictator.


Apple won’t like the costs it incurs as it moves out of China. But staying undermines the very rules-based order it and others rely on. That’s a cost even the most bottom-line-focused companies can’t risk.

Apple Works

Apple's Anti-union Tactics In Atlanta Were Illegal, U.S. Officials Say, by Josh Eidelson, Los Angeles Times

U.S. labor board prosecutors have determined that Apple violated federal law by interrogating and coercing employees in Atlanta, the latest legal salvo over the company’s response to organizing efforts.

The National Labor Relations Board’s Atlanta regional director also concluded that Apple held mandatory anti-union meetings during which management made coercive statements and will issue a complaint if the company doesn’t settle, the agency’s press secretary, Kayla Blado, said Monday.

The NRLB Says Apple Interrogated And Coerced Employees In Atlanta, by Mitchell Clark, The Verge

Apple will either have to settle the case or face the NLRB filing a complaint against it. The regulator can’t levy financial penalties, but either path could result in Apple being forced to put up signage at the location and issue other communications that inform workers of their legal rights.

Apple Store Employees Chide Union In Rare Display Of Pushback, by Mark Gurman, Bloomberg

According to the petition set to be filed with the NLRB, the majority of store employees oppose union representation and said that any of previously signed union cards are “null and void.”


According to the employees’ statement, workers said they didn’t feel “the union would provide anything complementary to Apple’s culture and existing benefits” and that some felt misled after initially giving support to the group, according to the statement. The union’s organizers at the store said the IAM ignored requests to delay the vote and rushed the process.


HomePod Mini Launches In Finland, Norway, And Sweden On December 13, by Tim Hardwick, MacRumors

The HomePod mini will be available in Finland, Norway, and Sweden from Tuesday, December 13, Apple has announced via press releases.

Internet Radio App Broadcasts Has A Fresh New Look, Improved Search, Shazam Integration, And More, by John Voorhees, MacStories

Version 3 of Broadcasts, Steve Troughton-Smith’s Internet radio app and a Club MacStories Recommends pick, is out with an updated design, improved search, Shazam integration, and a URL scheme that makes sharing stations simple. Together, the changes look fantastic and make enjoying Internet radio with the app easier and better than ever.


This Productivity Killer Is Draining Workplace Efficiency. Here's How To Fix It, by Melanie Fellay, Entrepreneur

Forget Zoom fatigue. The problem is tool fatigue. For instance, to answer a colleague's question, I'm forced to bounce from Slack to ClickUp to Salesforce to Gmail and then back to Slack again. With every toggle, I'm faced with different layouts, styles, font types and more that force my brain to reacclimate momentarily.

While we're off trying to fix productivity challenges with the newest collaboration or messaging tool, context-switching lurks in the background, compounding as we build more complex systems and networks.


Apple Pay Launch In South Korea Delayed Due To Review Of Local Terms And Conditions, by Filipe Espósito, 9to5Mac

Apple Pay is coming soon to South Korea, but unfortunately, users there will have to wait a bit longer than expected. This is because the local Financial Supervisory Service had to review the terms and conditions of Apple Pay before its official launch in the country, which would have made Apple put the launch in South Korea on hold.

Adobe At 40: The Past, Present, And Future Of Creativity Software’s Enduring Giant, by Harry McCracken, Fast Company

The word “magic” comes up often enough in conjunction with Adobe that you might momentarily confuse it with Disney. But the fact is that its best work can feel like magic, especially when you see it for the first time. That was even true back in the 1980s with Adobe’s founding product, PostScript, a piece of software that initially did nothing more than produce crisp 300-dpi black-and-white typography on an Apple LaserWriter printer that cost a mere $6,995. Like numerous examples of Adobe magic to come, it went on to become a mundane part of everyday life, which is in itself a testament to the company’s impact on our world.

Third-party Twitter App Makers Turn Their Attention To Mastodon, by Sarah Perez, TechCrunch

The makers of popular Twitter clients, including Aviary and Tweetbot, have recently set their sights on building similar clients for the growing Mastodon user base.


“Our starting goal for the app is to replicate the Tweetbot experience for Mastodon,” said Haddad. “We want people who are familiar with Tweetbot on Twitter to feel like they are at home with Ivory. Once we have a solid 1.0 version we’ll start working on adding more Mastodon-specific features, as well as some features that we’ve wanted to add to Tweetbot but couldn’t because of technical limitations,” he noted.


“I was motivated by wanting a ‘good’ Mastodon app out there, as all the existing ones lacked features or design paradigms in one way or another. They all fell short, and didn’t feel native to the iOS and Apple platforms either. So I set out to make my own that achieves all this,” Mehboob explains. He says the app differentiates itself with an iOS-focused design “that feels at home on your device,” and a comprehensive feature set.

Computer Science Students Face A Shrinking Big Tech Job Market, by Kalley Huang, New York Times

A new reality is setting in for students and recent graduates who spent years honing themselves for careers at the largest tech companies.

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I am getting weird bugs on my iPhone. So far, this past month, I've encountered the screen refusing to wake up, no matter how many times I tapped on the screen, and how many times I pressed on the sleep/wake button. The phone is still working, as I can 'click' on my AirPods to listen to music. Only upon plugging in the lightning cable would the screen finally woke up.

Then this morning, while typing in the Message app, the left-half of the on-screen keyboard was working fine, while the right-half of the keyboard was not responding. (I was trying to back-space.) I rebooted the iPhone, and so far, everything is back to normal.

I sure hope my iPhone 12 mini -- emphasis on the mini -- is not dying.


Thanks for reading.

The Onshore-Production Edition Monday, December 5, 2022

Apple, Nvidia To Be First Customers Of TSMC Arizona Chip Plant, by Cheng Ting-Fang, Nikkei Asia

Apple and Nvidia are set to be two of the first customers for Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co.'s new plant in Arizona, which is slated to begin making some of the world's most advanced chips as early as the end of next year.


This latest development between TSMC and top American chip developers marks a victory for Washington in its push to onshore vital semiconductor production.

Foxconn Expects COVID-hit China Plant Back To Full Output In Late Dec-early Jan -Source, by Yimou Lee, Reuters

Apple supplier Foxconn expects its COVID-hit Zhengzhou plant in China to resume full production around late December to early January, a Foxconn source said on Monday, after worker unrest disrupted the world's biggest iPhone factory.


A New App Aims To Help The Millions Of People Living With Long Covid, by Rhiannon Williams, MIT Technology Review

People with long covid, defined by the World Health Organization as a post-covid illness lasting two months or more, suffer from symptoms that include headaches, fatigue, weakness, and fever. Some use a practice called pacing, where they balance activity with periods of rest to recover, to keep things under control. If they exert themselves too hard, it can make things worse.


Tracking heart rate variability makes it easier to predict when someone is likely to become fatigued. Visible uses this data to create a “pace score” of 1 to 10 (8-10 indicating good recent pacing, 4-6 suggesting it would be wise to factor in a quiet next few days, and 1-3 meaning the person should prioritize rest) to help users decide when to take it easy.


Pegasus Spyware Was Used To Hack Reporters’ Phones. I’m Suing Its Creators, by Nelson Rauda Zablah, The Guardian

NSO executives shouldn’t be able to wash their hands as their tools are used to persecute journalists. In a very real sense, NSO set the hounds on us. And now we’re fighting back.

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In this age of globalization, does it make sense for a single piece of creative work to be named differently in different countries?

I just finishing reading a book that has a different name in US and in UK... which caused me to have the title sitting in my wish list for a long time because I can't find and purchase the book.


Thanks for reading.

The Calm-Elder-Statesman Edition Sunday, December 4, 2022

Tim Cook Charm Resolves Twitter Spat Yet China Crisis Rumbles On, by Patrick McGee, Financial Times

Cook’s low-key, behind-the-scenes manoeuvring since taking over from Steve Jobs in 2011 has been instrumental in solidifying Apple’s position as the world’s largest company.

His role as Big Tech’s calm elder statesman has been put to the test over the past month amid huge disruption at the world’s largest iPhone factory in Zhengzhou, China, which has been hit by violent protests over stringent Covid policies.


Cook had a chance to clarify on Thursday when a journalist confronted him in Washington, asking whether he supports Chinese citizens’ right to protest. His response suggested his diplomatic skills were reaching a limit: he ignored her.


Party Trick: Newer iPhones Allow You To Measure Someone's Height Instantly, by Joe Rossignol, MacRumors

iPhone 12 Pro and Pro Max, iPhone 13 Pro and Pro Max, and iPhone 14 Pro and Pro Max models feature a LiDAR Scanner next to the rear camera that can be used to measure a person’s height instantly in Apple’s preinstalled Measure app.

New Apple American Dream Store Opens With Huge Crowd, Exclusive Tote Bag For Shoppers, by Chance Miller, 9to5Mac

Those who attended today’s grand opening were gifted a special tote bag from Apple, featuring a colorful Apple logo inspired by the artwork used for this store.

Use This App To Watch Nearly Any Streaming Service On Mac, by Andrew Orr, AppleInsider

Friendly Streaming Browser has a near-universal picture-in-picture video viewer that works with most sites, unlike other browsers such as Safari. As a result, users can scroll through social media while watching a video, or create art in Photoshop while following a video tutorial.

This High-End Mechanical Keyboard For Macs Is Just My Type, by Michael Calore, Wired

It’s very expensive, but it’s the best match for a Mac I’ve found yet. If you spend most of your waking hours typing, a professional accessory like this is worth the investment.


Adventures In Advent Of Code, by Dave DeLong

I’ve been participating regularly in Advent of Code for the past couple of years. It’s one of the highlights of my holiday season. The puzzles are fun, the stories are appropriately ridiculous, and it’s a neat way for me to keep the cobwebs brushed off some of the things I learned years ago that I don’t regularly use. Every year there are puzzles that take me a couple of minutes to solve, and puzzles that take me hours: I will forever curse the Intcode puzzles from 2019.

Last night’s puzzle was something new. The problem itself was pretty straight-forward (finding values that are common in multiple collections), but it resulted in a 45-minute debugging session that culminated in finding a bug in Swift’s implementation of Set.intersection(_:).

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Without taking out my measuring tape, I've tried to use the Measure app on my iPhone to... well... measure if I can move a shelf from one table to another.

Turns out: the app says yes, reality says no.


Thanks for reading.

The Detailed-Manufacturing-Plan Edition Saturday, December 3, 2022

Apple Makes Plans To Move Production Out Of China, by Yang Jie and Aaron Tilley, Wall Street Journal

The executives referred to what is known as new product introduction, or NPI, when Apple assigns teams to work with contractors in translating its product blueprints and prototypes into a detailed manufacturing plan.

It is the guts of what it takes to actually build hundreds of millions of gadgets, and an area where China, with its concentration of production engineers and suppliers, has excelled.

Apple has told its manufacturing partners that it wants them to start trying to do more of this work outside of China, according to people involved in the discussions. Unless places like India and Vietnam can do NPI too, they will remain stuck playing second fiddle, say supply-chain specialists. However, the slowing global economy and slowing hiring at Apple have made it hard for the tech giant to allocate personnel for NPI work with new suppliers and new countries, said some of the people in the discussions.

Goldman Sachs Says Apple Card's Savings Account Feature Is 'Upcoming', by Joe Rossignol, MacRumors

Goldman Sachs this week updated its Apple Card customer agreement to reflect the credit card's upcoming Daily Cash savings account feature, which was expected to launch with iOS 16.1 but appears to have been delayed.

Meet The Slovenian Fitness Tracker That Won The Apple Watch ‘App Of The Year’ Award, by Ioanna Lykiardopoulou, The Next Web

In essence, Gentler Streak is a fitness app, which means it helps users track workout activities, distance, heart rate zones, and activity stats, among others.

But what’s really unique about it is its gentler approach that also focuses on recovery time.


Apple And Zedd Collaborate To Allow GarageBand Users To Remix Hit Song 'Clarity', by Joe Rossignol, MacRumors

iPhone and iPad users can now open the GarageBand app and remix “Clarity” with guided instruction from Zedd. The free Remix Session can be downloaded in GarageBand’s Sound Library, and Zedd has shared a companion video on YouTube with tips on how to remix the song in a couple of minutes using the app’s Live Loops interface.

BusyCal 2022.4.6, by Agen Schmitz, TidBITS

BusyCal can now display up to 31 days in Week view (useful as an overview for project managers).

OtterBox Is Out With New Power Banks For iPhone And Apple Watch, by Andrew Orr, AppleInsider

OtterBox has three new chargers to power an iPhone and an Apple Watch, with features that include nightstand mode and versatility as a car vent mount.


No More Airplane Mode? EU To Allow Calls On Flights, by BBC

The European Commission ruled airlines can provide 5G technology on board planes, alongside slower mobile data.

This could mean flyers will no longer be required to put their phone on airplane mode - though the specifics of how it will be implemented are unclear.

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Apple will have to try harder to get the noise-cancelling AirPods Pro to not only cancel engine noise, but also people talking on their phones.


Thanks for reading.

The Inclusive-Development Edition Friday, December 2, 2022

Apple’s Ad Is A Milestone In Disability Representation, by Brittaney Kiefer, AdWeek

Though about 15% of the global population is disabled, people with disabilities remain far underrepresented in advertising. But a new ad from Apple is notable for featuring an inclusive, disabled cast demonstrating their talents.

Apple’s campaign, titled “The Greatest,” launched this week ahead of the International Day of Persons with Disabilities (IDPD) on Dec. 3. This year’s IDPD theme is innovation and transformative solutions for inclusive development, which is fitting for Apple because it is promoting its new accessibility features.

Apple's iPhone 14 Emergency SOS Via Satellite Feature Saves Stranded Man In Alaska, by Juli Clover, MacRumors

With the launch of iOS 16.1, Apple rolled out a Emergency SOS via Satellite, which is designed to allow iPhone 14 owners to contact emergency services using satellite connectivity when no cellular or WiFi connection is available. The feature was put to the test in Alaska today, when a man became stranded in a rural area.


You Can Now Share Your Car Key In Apple Wallet With Android Users, Starting With Google Pixel, by Benjamin Mayo, 9to5Mac

Apple is working with the IETF and industry members to standardize cross-platform car key sharing. The first implementation of this support has landed today for Google Pixel owners. Google is working on rolling out support for all Android 12+ devices soon.

1Password Now Saves SSO Through Apple, Google, Facebook, More In Chrome, Firefox, Edge, by Michael Potuck, 9to5Mac

1Password has received a handy update today that solves the issue of remembering how you signed up for a service. Now the popular password manager will save your login credentials even when it’s through a single sign-on option through Apple, Google, Facebook, and more.


Stable Diffusion With Core ML On Apple Silicon, by Apple

Today, we are excited to release optimizations to Core ML for Stable Diffusion in macOS 13.1 and iOS 16.2, along with code to get started with deploying to Apple Silicon devices.


Apple Renames Mixed-Reality Software ‘xrOS’ In Sign Headset Is Approaching, by Mark Gurman, Bloomberg

The company plans to introduce the headset as early as next year, along with a dedicated operating system and app store for third-party software, according to people with knowledge of the matter. Internally, the company recently changed the name of the operating system to “xrOS” from “realityOS,” said the people, who asked not to be identified because the project is still under wraps.

The new software name is a nod to the headset’s mixed-reality capabilities. “XR” stands for extended reality, a term that encompasses both augmented and virtual reality. Augmented reality overlays graphics and virtual information over the real world, while virtual reality is an all-encompassing experience for gaming and watching video.

TSMC Plans To Make More Advanced Chips In US At Urging Of Apple, by Ian King, Mark Gurman and Debby Wu, Bloomberg

Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. will offer advanced 4-nanometer chips when its new $12 billion plant in Arizona opens in 2024, an upgrade from its previous public statements, after US customers such as Apple Inc. pushed the company to do so, according to people familiar with the matter.

The World Cup Of Microsoft Excel, by Jacob Stern, The Atlantic

Hardcore internet communities are not generally known for their grace and charity. Even the most seemingly benign can, at times, turn deeply unpleasant. But so far, very little of that unpleasantness seems to have seeped into the secluded, absurd world of competitive Excel. At least that’s how it seemed watching the championship. Here, in an era when so much of the internet is unstable or controversial or just plain bleak, was a moment of good, clean, unmitigated fun.

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The new Apple ad, "The Greatest", is... well... the greatest. I enjoyed the advertisment a lot.

On the other hand, the new xrOS name, if true, is... well... not that great. Firstly, stop recycling names, please. Secondly, it reminds me of Windows XP.


Thanks for reading.

The Icicle-Fingers Edition Thursday, December 1, 2022

Apple Supporting World AIDS Day With Apple Store Window Displays And Special Watch Faces To Download, by Benjamin Mayo, 9to5Mac

Apple Watch users can show their support by downloading a selection of special red-themed watch face configurations. Apple retail will also be promoting PRODUCT(RED) in the stores, with new window displays. As usual, a portion of every PRODUCT(RED) Apple product sold goes to the (RED) Global Fund.

The Apple Watch Action Button’s Sole Purpose Is To Do Your Bidding, by Victoria Song, The Verge

For me, the worst part about running in cold weather isn’t the freezing wind, black ice, or the fact that my face feels like it’s been stabbed with one thousand needles. It’s the 10 seconds spent shivering as my icicle fingers navigate through menus to launch an Apple Watch workout. Ten seconds isn’t much, but it’s enough for the cold to seep into your bones because you’re not moving. That’s why I was stoked for the Apple Watch Ultra and one of its key new features: the Action Button.

Crash Detection

Apple Releases iOS 16.1.2 With Crash Detection Improvements For iPhone 14 Users, by Filipe Espósito, 9to5Mac

It’s unclear how exactly Apple is improving Crash Detection with iOS 16.1.2, but since the feature is based on algorithms to detect potential car crashes, Apple is probably tweaking the system to make those algorithms more accurate.

Dispatchers Get Accidental 911 Calls From Skiers Because Of iPhone Crash Technology, by Shelby Lofton,

Summit County dispatchers are seeing an uptick in accidental emergency calls from skiers. The technology is designed to detect severe car crashes, but it’s often accidentally activated at ski resorts.


“We do not want you to turn the feature off,” Butterfield said. “We would rather have you be safe. We don’t mind taking that call because if something really did happen, we want to be able to get to you.”


Apple Accessibility Video Highlights Voice Control, Sound Recognition, Door Detection, And More, by Ben Lovejoy, 9to5Mac

The fast-moving, upbeat ad packs in a lot of demonstrations in a video lasting just 2m 20s. It really drives home the power of accessibility features to allow as many people as possible to live independent lives.

Beats Flex Get A Leopard-Print Design In New Collaboration With Wacko Maria, by Eric Slivka, MacRumors

Apple’s Beats brand today announced a new collaboration with Japanese designers Wacko Maria for limited-edition Beats Flex earphones featuring a leopard-print design with a dual-color cable.

Belkin Launches AirPods Cleaning Kit, Claims To Remove Earwax Plus Restore Acoustic Performance, by Michael Potuck, 9to5Mac

Belkin has launched an intriguing AirPods Cleaning Kit this week. Designed for gen 1, 2, or 3 of Apple’s hit earphones, the kit includes a solution that the company says not only removes earwax but also brings “your high-quality audio back.”

Zens 4-in-1 Modular Charging Station Review: Room For An iPad But A Bit Expensive, by Andrew Orr, AppleInsider

Multi-device chargers generally focus on smaller products such as iPhones, Apple Watch, and AirPods. But the new 4-in-1 Modular Charging Station from Zens has a place to charge an iPad, a welcome addition that could make it the sole charger for a room or household.

The modular part of the charger means that the Apple Watch charging attachment can magnetically connect and disconnect on either side of the central station. Zens also sells other modular chargers separately.

Review: Twelve South HoverBar Tower Makes iPad Convenient To Use Almost Anywhere, by Michael Potuck, 9to5Mac

Twelve South delivered a hit with its HoverBar Duo stand for iPad and iPhone and the evolution of the series has begun with the HoverBar Tower. I’ve been testing out the new floor stand for iPad that offers the flexibility to put the tablet in the right position for pretty much any use case.


Apple TV Isn't Ready For Prime Time, by Jason Snell, Macworld

Sports are a great motivator to get many of them to learn. The big issue is that I’m not sure Apple’s TV platform is ready for them to arrive.

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I've always wanted a dedicated Play/Pause button on my iPhone. But I'll be satisfied with an Action button.


Welcome back, Kottke. I missed you.

And here's wishing you a healthy life.


Thanks for reading.