The Rail-Planning Edition Thursday, January 12, 2017

We Asked A Transit Planner How To Up Our 'Mini Metro' Game, by Robert Rath, Waypoint

It's always the way, isn't it? You build a new line to serve a developing area, and suddenly all those new passengers are clogging up your stations and filling your trains. Expanding the network always puts pressure on your established line. Look at the Hong Kong subway map and you can see trouble brewing.

Given that Mini Metro is a fairly light, simple game, it's astonishing that it can convey such a nuanced concept about rail planning. But that's far from the only lesson it holds—in fact, transit specialists are taking notice of the game and how it conveys the challenges, strategies, and frustrations of building a public transportation system.

And it turns out that playing like a transit designer can have very real benefits for upping your Mini Metro game.

iPhone At 10

The First Trillion Dollars Is Always The Hardest, by Horace Dediu, Asymco

There is a temptation to think that such a business is fragile and will be disrupted. Challengers appear daily and the number of iPhone “killers” is not measurable. One can cite the billion users of Nokia phones which defected. One can cite the loyalty of BlackBerry users that evaporated. One can even cite the juggernaut of Windows and how it became impotent. One can cite the vast number of Android devices offered at low prices.

But there are reasons to believe that the iOS empire is far stronger and resilient.

Tony Fadell Tells Us The Story Of The iPod-based iPhone Prototype, by Nilay Patel, The Verge

So there were two different types of prototypes. There's one, a prototype for the UI team, and typically, because UI teams are using Director — back in the day — and quickly mocking things up on a screen. One team is doing it like it's an iPod, and another team is doing it like it was a touchscreen. The teams were working together. So it wasn't like there were two different people trying different things.


App Extensions Are Not A Replacement For User Automation, by Sal Soghoian, MacStories

Perhaps it is time for Apple and all of us to think of User Automation and App Extensions in terms of "AND" instead of "OR." To embrace the development of a new cross-platform automation architecture, maybe called “AutomationKit,” that would incorporate the “everyman openness” of User Automation with the focused abilities of developer-created plugins.


Astropad Studio Turns The iPad Pro Into A Pro Drawing Tablet For Macs, by Darrell Etherington, TechCrunch

Astropad, a company that has focused on making second-screen software for iPad to use with a connected Mac, is debuting Astropad Studio today, a new version of its software that adds a lot of customizable options to Astropad’s basic screen mirroring features to make it a much more powerful replacement for expensive graphics hardware like Wacom’s Cintiq tablets.

Terminology: A Comprehensive Research Tool For Words, by John Voorhees, MacStories

Terminology combines a dictionary, thesaurus, and word research tool in a single integrated package.

Photolemur Review: An App That Puts Mac Image Enhancement On Autopilot, by J.R. Bookwalter, Macworld

Photolemur makes almost any photo look better in a snap without manual editing, but there’s little control over the results.

HealthView Review: Your Customized Health App, by Jake Underwood, MacStories

[R]ather than providing you information scattered throughout the app, you choose what you want to see, how you want to see it, and when it appears.


The Dream Of Ara: Inside The Rise And Fall Of Google’s Most Revolutionary Phone, by Harrison Weber, VentureBeat

“At first, I wanted to make a phone that lasts 100 years. But then I realized, I kind of like technology — that it evolves, that it gets better. The only downside is that after it gets better, we throw everything away. I started looking into it, and it generates a lot of e-waste … I mean now we have some devices, but in the future it’s thermostats, fridges, microwaves — everything will be connected. So what if a chip breaks in your fridge? Do you just throw the entire thing away?”

The Phonebloks story spread like wildfire. Gadget blogs covered it en masse, hordes of supporters signed up to support, tweet, and share the idea with a viral marketing tool called Thunderclap, and developers fired back, saying it couldn’t be done — that it was impossible to build. Perhaps they had a point.

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Now that AirPods can detect when you remove your earpiece so that it can pause the music...

The next step will be to figure out when you are asleep, so that it can pause the podcast.

Now you really can wear your AirPods 24x7.



Thanks for reading.