The Hello-World Edition Thursday, April 21, 2016

A Cryptic Poem On Apple’s Website Reveals The Company’s Favorite Apps, by Kif Leswing, Business Insider

On the conference’s landing page, Apple has included a cute poem that plays on the classic “Hello World” macro that programmers often write as their first program in a new language. [...]

The first line, “hello love at first swipe,” clearly refers to Tinder, for example. In fact, every single line can be traced to a big-name iPhone app — and most of these apps also have an Apple Watch version, and a few support Apple TV as well.

Down To Lunch Founders Pursue Less-Traveled Path To App Success, by Vindu Goel, New York Times

Mr. Viswanathan, a mile-a-minute talker, and Mr. Lau, who is more laid-back, meet one fundamental requirement for success: a stubborn belief that they have a great idea. Mr. Viswanathan worked on five previous services that tried to connect people, three of them with Mr. Lau, but Down to Lunch was the first to catch on.

As thousands of app developers have discovered, attention spans are short, especially among the college and high school students that Down to Lunch is targeting. Dozens of competitors are vying to help people organize spontaneous gatherings, including Hangster, Shortnotice, Down to Hang and a Google app called Who’s Down.

And a lot of things can go wrong on the road to becoming the next Snapchat.


The Rise Of The $400 Smartphone—you Want How Much For A Flagship?, by Ron Amadeo, Ars Technica

For the big players, Xiaomi sits in prime position for now. Apple meanwhile has the brand power, unique operating system, and app ecosystem necessary to survive a low-price onslaught. That leaves other big incumbents, like Samsung, with the most to lose. Samsung seems resistant to a change like this, but it can only ignore the more value-oriented offerings for so long. As consumers, lower prices mean we win. So as lower prices probably shrink margins for OEMs further, it's up to the manufacturers to figure out how to make the new math sustainable.

Intel Made A Huge Mistake 10 Years Ago. Now 12,000 Workers Are Paying The Price., by Timothy B. Lee, Vox

June 6, 2005, seemed to be a triumphant moment for Intel. The chipmaker was already dominating the market for processors that powered Windows-based PCs. Then Steve Jobs took the stage at Apple's World Wide Developers Conference to announce that he was switching the main Windows alternative, Macintosh computers, to Intel chips as well. The announcement cemented Intel's status as the leading company of the PC era.

There was just one problem: The PC era was about to end. Apple was already working on the iPhone, which would usher in the modern smartphone era. Intel turned down an opportunity to provide the processor for the iPhone, believing that Apple was unlikely to sell enough of them to justify the development costs.

Apple's Emphasis On Security Makes ARM-powered Macs 'Inevitable', by Gregg Keizer, Computerworld

Apple's emphasis on security and encryption, and how they are implemented in the iPhone by Apple's customization strategy, said Bajarin, made it clear: "It signals that it's inevitable that they will do the same for all the products that they can," he concluded.


No Phones For You! Chic Businesses Are Abandoning Landlines, by Alex Williams, New York Times

But in an era of Google Maps, Yelp and OpenTable, restaurant telephones these days in particular often seem almost atavistic, functioning as little more than life-support systems for voice mail sinkholes that no one ever seems to check, as countless diners can attest.

At least some forward-thinking proprietors prefer the online algorithms to handle the busywork — reservations, directions — so they can carve out time to run a restaurant.

The Internet Is Wrong

Almost Nothing About The ‘Apple Harvests Gold From iPhones’ Story Is True, by Jason Koebler, Motherboard

Here is the truth: Apple paid independent recyclers to recycle old electronics—which were almost never Apple products, by the way—because it’s required by law to do so. Far from banking $40 million on the prospect, Apple likely ended up taking an overall monetary loss. This is not because Apple is a bad actor or is hiding anything, it’s simply how the industry works.


Apps To Build Your Understanding Of The Environment, by Kit Eaton, New York Times

You, too, can participate inEarth Day with apps that remind you how to add a touch of green to your life.

GoodSync Is A Good Back-up/syncing Solution, Though It’s A Bit Too Window-ish, by Dennis Sellers, Apple World Today

Available in Mac OS X, iOS, Windows, and Android versions, it backs up and syncs music, photos, videos, email, text documents and more between desktops, laptops, servers, and external drives -- all without using cloud-based services.


Stanford Offers New Course On Developing iOS 9 Apps With Swift, by Juli Clover, MacRumors

The 2016 course has been updated with iOS 9 and Swift, with course prerequisites listed as C language and object-oriented programming experience exceeding Programming Abstractions level and completion of Programming Paradigms.


Apple Pays $25M To A University, And The Patent Troll It Cut A Deal With, by Joe Mullin, Ars Technica

Patent trolls, also called non-practicing entities or patent assertion entities, have lost power in recent years, due to changes in case law and new ways to challenge patents at the US Patent and Trademark Office. This recent settlement is a reminder that the era of that patent troll is far from over. And it's a reminder that the lure of big money from patent lawsuits continues to be a tempting draw for universities.

Postscript: Bill Campbell, 1940-2016, by Ken Auletta, New Yorker

No statues in Silicon Valley salute Bill Campbell. But the story of his life, and of his values, should be widely shared.

Bottom of the Page

There is really no need to terminate any apps in iOS because it is almost always better for the operating system to manage which app to keep and which app to purge from memory. The only exception is when an app is misbehaving, and you can try terminating the app and start over. (And if that fails, do like what millions of Windows users learnt from Microsoft: reboot.)

Today, I discover another good reason. If you are using your iOS device to do presentations on a big screen that many pairs of eyes are staring at, you might want to terminate all the apps except the presentation apps. Because, if you accidentally activate the app switcher, your audience will be able to see screenshots of all the apps you have been using. For example: that last web page you've visited. That YouTube video you've been watching. That Reddit post you've been replying. That selfie photo that you took with your wife in the bedroom that you were editing halfway.

You may not want your audience to see all those screenshots.

(I"m sure presentation pros may already know about this, but, hey, I am no pro in doing presentations.)

(Those are just examples. Your mileage, and mine, may vary.)


Thanks for reading.