The Figure-Out-Or-Die Edition Thursday, March 3, 2016

Life And Death In The App Store, by Casey Newton, The Verge

Then the bottom fell out. Last year downloads flattened, and Pixite’s revenues plunged by a third, to $629,000. Suddenly, a company that needed to bring in $2,000 a day to break even found itself making $1,000 or less. Pixite has no reserves of venture capital to fall back on; aside from a $50,000 seed investment from a Carnegie Mellon fund for alumni entrepreneurs, Pixite has funded itself.

This past December, Kaneko emailed me out of the blue. He didn’t know it then, but I’m a fan of the company’s apps: Fragment, which applies prismatic effects to photos, is one of my favorite artistic tools. "As an independent bootstrapped app company, we are struggling," Kaneko wrote. "If things don’t turn around, we’ll need to lay off half of our staff in the next few months." He invited me to come to San Diego and observe the struggle up close. Kaneko would open up Pixite’s books and share every piece of data that I requested while, over the course of two days, his team locked itself in a room and attempted to chart a path forward. Pixite would either figure it out or die.

Taking Sides

Tech Rallies To Apple’s Defense, But Not Without Some Hand-Wringing, by Nick Wingfield and Mike Isaac, New York Times

Yet behind the scenes, it took time for some of the tech companies to make the decision to support Apple. Several feared the showdown with the government was too risky and could have far-reaching implications for the tech industry if Apple lost.

Those misgivings ultimately did not win the day. About 40 companies and organizations are expected to file court briefs on Thursday backing Apple as it fights a judge’s order to help law enforcement break into an iPhone used by a gunman in the San Bernardino, Calif., terrorist attack last year.

Congress Showed It's Willing To Fight The FBI On Encryption. Finally, by Trevor Timm, The Guardian

Normally, congressional committee hearings featuring Comey are contests among the members over who can shower the FBI director with the most fawning compliments in their five-minute allotted time frame. Hard questions about the agency’s controversial tactics are avoided at all costs. But on Tuesday, in rare bipartisan fashion, virtually every member of the House judiciary committee asked Comey pointed questions and politely ripped apart his arguments against Apple.

Security Vs User Experience

Previously Downloaded OS X Installers No Longer Work, by Josh Centers, TidBITS

The Apple Worldwide Developer Relations Intermediate Certificate is required for all apps in the Mac App Store, including OS X installers. When used to sign an app, the certificate enables OS X to confirm that the app has not been corrupted or modified by an attacker. This certificate expired on 14 February 2016, causing error dialogs and preventing some apps from launching. Most apps affected have already been updated with the new certificate. But if you downloaded an OS X installer in case of trouble, you may be in for a surprise the next time you try to use it.

Doing More

IBM Launches Watson Health Cloud For ResearchKit, Apple Watch-based Sleep Tracker ‘SleepHealth’ As First App, by Jordan Kahn, 9to5Mac

The app’s called SleepHealth and aims to study sleep habits of its users with the hopes that researchers can collect data valuable in finding solutions to common sleep problems. It does so by relying heavily on the Apple Watch sensors for sleep tracking, and it’s one of the first apps to use the new Night Shift feature in iOS 9.3.

Student Created App “Meetum” Aims To Promote Social Unity, by Simon Stracher, The Amherst Student

“We realized that our campus culture is very confined to sports teams and clubs and cliques. It is not very inclusive, and there is a great sense of isolation. Meetum intends to change that,” Brown said.


Get The Most Out Of Finder Views, by Kirk McElhearn, Macworld

As a prime example, you can use the Finder's View menu options to view files and folders in four different ways, but most people don't know why they'd bother. They stick to one view for all their windows when, in fact, there are valid reasons to use each. Here's how to use the right view at the right time, and save time and trouble in the process.

How To Find And Remove Files From The 'Other' Storage Category On Your Mac, by Lory Gil, iMore

Whether you're looking to free up space on your hard drive or just want to do some spring cleaning, here are some simple steps to get your Mac free and clear.

5 Reasons I Don’t Use Alternative Email Apps For iOS Anymore, by Allyson Kazmucha, The App Factor

While there are lots of factors for what keeps drawing me back to, here are my top 5 reasons.

Drafts 4.6 Has Nice Refinements And A Few Treats For Power Users, by John Voorhees, MacStories

With version 4.6, Drafts continues its steady pace of innovation by continuing to redefine what a text editor can be, which is why it has been one of my go-to text editors for many years now.

Adobe Updates Lightroom For iOS With Full-res Image Output, Expanded 3D Touch Support, More, by Zac Hall, 9to5Mac

Starting with versions 2.2, Lightroom for iOS supports full resolution image output. This means quality is retained when editing and sharing photographs using Lightroom whether the image was shot on the device or imported from another device.


Emojicode – A Merrier Kind Of Programming Language, by Gabriela Motroc

Emojicode allows users to build fast cross-platform applications while having fun. It is a static, strongly typed programming language and it is not afraid to look nice.


Apple's New San Francisco Office Could Be A Tool In Tech Talent Wars, by Julia Love, Reuters

The move is one sign of the intensifying war for tech talent – and of the overwhelming preference of younger tech workers to live and work in the city, with its vibrant nightlife and public transportation. The two floors Apple has leased in a building mostly occupied by CBS Interactive offer abundant open space and exposed ceilings, the preferred tech aesthetic.

Ad Blockers Are Making Money Off Ads (And Tracking, Too), by Julia Greenberg, Wired

As publishers and advertisers try to reinvent or at least refresh how they make money off of your attention, ad blockers are pushing just as hard to make money off of ending distraction.

Bottom of the Page

I mostly do not agree with arguments of slippery slope. But multiple events lately have given me pause for thoughts.

Yes, there are real slippery slopes, but there are many more fake ones. I guess I still do not prefer slippery slope arguments, but I probably will have to think a bit more before I choose to dismiss this form of argument.


Thanks for reading.