The Baby-Screen-Time Edition Sunday, October 23, 2016

Pediatricians Revise Thinking On Screen Time; Ditch Ban For Kids Under 2, by Beth Mole, Ars Technica

Most notably, the academy ditched its strict ban on screen time for kids under the age of two, which had been in place since 1999. Now, the AAP acknowledges that not all screen time is equal, and even very young kids can benefit from certain types of media if parents and caregivers are involved.

Specifically, the AAP now says that for kids of any age—notably infants 0 to 18 months—video-chatting (e.g. Skype and FaceTime) is A-OK with supervision. There's little data to suggest that this is beneficial, but observational studies indicate that babies younger than 18 months can indeed emotionally engage with remote relatives over video chat. This can “facilitate social connections,” the AAP notes. But, for the 0 to 18-month crowd, video-chatting is all the screen time they get.

Why Siri Needs To Get Smarter Faster, by Mike Elgan, Fast Company

Given Apple's historically conservative approach to launching new product lines based on bleeding-edge technology, however, it's unlikely that we'll get see-through AI iPhones and mixed-reality Apple headsets anytime soon.

But a new version of Siri with radically better AI? That sounds more likely—and more urgent for Apple.

Smartphones Make Things Easy. And So Boring., by Laurie Swope, Boston Globe

On some lonely days — days of driving in traffic myself, running errands, navigating big-box stores — these conversations are the only company that I get, and I treasure them. But we are never really alone now, are we? Encircled by virtual buddies — vast social networks that distract us from loneliness but don’t cure it — we no longer have to look up when we are in line at the grocery store. When we can chat with hundreds of Facebook friends at any moment, it would seem somehow weird to talk to the stranger sitting next to us on the park bench. We are so addicted to the digital flask in our pockets — the limitless wellspring of Internet information and superficial relationships — that we cannot focus on the real people before us.

The greater misstep, of course, is not paying attention to the people we do know. At a park not long ago, I saw a young girl give a flower to her mother, who took it without glancing up from her phone. Nearby, parents and their two children sat in silence, each playing Pokemon Go.

Sunday Puzzle

How To Solve The World’s Hardest Logic Puzzle, by Brian Gallagher, Nautilus

One mark of Smullyan’s legacy is the interest philosophers and logicians still have in his most difficult puzzle, known as the Hardest Logic Puzzle Ever. The title was given by a philosopher of logic at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, a colleague of Smullyan’s named George Boolos, who—no slouch himself—adored logical challenges of any sort. He once tested himself by giving a lecture on Gödel’s second incompleteness theorem, “one of the most important results in modern logic,” using only single syllable words.


Game Day: Mini Metro, by John Voorhees, MacStories

I’ve tried lots of great games this year, but it’s been a while since I found an iOS game that I could get lost in the way I did with some of my favorite iOS games.

Pokémon Go Made You Walk 25 Percent More Than You Used To, by Eric Johnson, Recode

Pokémon Go’s creators want the hit mobile game to get people out of the house and exploring their neighborhoods. A new study confirms that’s really happening.

JBL Reflect Aware Review: Amazing Lightning Connector Headphones, by Alex Hernandez, Techaeris

First I will say that using a Lightning connector over the 3.5mm headphone jack produces no audible difference in sound quality to my ears. That being said, the sound produced by the Reflect Aware is absolutely top notch but you will have to tweak the EQ to get the sound you want.


Today’s Kids Are Getting Ahead By Learning How To Code Apps, by Anna Davies, New York Post

Neurotic New York parents are insisting that tots as young as 2 learn the basics of coding — the instructions used to create Web sites, software and apps. They’re snapping up tech-teaching toys and paying hundreds of dollars for computer-programming classes for the pre-K set.


Indonesian Nationalism Takes A Bite Out Of Apple, by AFP

The iPhone 6S and 7 are yet to be released in Southeast Asia's largest economy as Apple struggles to fulfil requirements that phone makers must have 20 percent "local content" for 4G handsets sold in the country. [...]

Apple has encountered problems in other emerging markets, notably India where the Silicon Valley giant is facing roadblocks in its quest to open stores instead of selling products through third-party retailers.

AT&T And Time Warner Reveal Merger To Create ISP, TV, And Media Giant, by Jon Brodkin, Ars Technica

AT&T already is the largest pay-TV provider in the US thanks to last year's purchase of DirecTV. It is also the third largest provider of home Internet service after Comcast and Charter, and the second largest provider of mobile data and voice services after Verizon Wireless.

"Owning content will help AT&T innovate on new advertising options, which, combined with subscriptions, will help pay for the cost of content creation," AT&T's announcement said. "This two-sided business model—advertising- and subscription-based—gives customers the largest amount of premium content at the best value." AT&T also pointed out that Time Warner's business requires few capital expenditures and is lightly regulated, unlike much of AT&T's existing business.

Bottom of the Page

I suspect I enjoy listening to audiobooks and podcasts whenever my ears are free -- such as during my commute or when I am cleaning dishes -- so that I don't have to listen to the voices inside my head that tell me all sort of nonsenses so as to raise my anxiety level.

Which is why I now resort to listening to BBC World Service when I am awoken in the middle of the night and cannot get back to sleep because of all those voices in my head.

(Yes, I know that my number one job is to get back to sleep. But I have no idea how to switch off The Voices.)

And how do I listen to BBC World Service on the radio? iPod nano.


Thanks for reading.