The Return-To-Home Edition Saturday, April 8, 2017

The iPhone 7 Has Arbitrary Software Locks That Prevent Repair, by Jason Koebler, Motherboard

In the iPhone 7, both Touch ID and return-to-home functionality are locked by software if you replace the button. Locking down Touch ID makes at least some sense from a security perspective, but locking return-to-home functionality seems like an arbitrary and vindictive move against independent repair businesses and consumers. Apple did not respond to a request for comment about the issue.

It should be noted that the new home button is a "solid state" part, but it is still separate component that can be removed and moved to another phone without damaging it.

Damaging Your Phone, Accidentally On Purpose, by Phyllis Korkki, New York Times

When a new model is available, according to recent research, people who have iPhones tend to become more careless with the phones they already own. [...]

“Consumers act more recklessly with their current products when in the presence of appealing, though not yet attained, product upgrades (not just mere replacements),” according to a paper to to be published in The Journal of Marketing Research that was written in part by Silvia Bellezza, an assistant marketing professor at Columbia Business School.

I’m Not Texting. I’m Taking Notes., by Jonah Stillman, New York Times

I thought I was being diligent, yet they thought I was being rude. I even thought I was being efficient by quickly looking up something online and not missing a beat, and they thought I was playing video games. Clearly, my generation cannot assume the older generations know how we use technology.

Rather than allow others to see our phones as a distraction, we have work to do to prove that our phones are vital tools that we need to get the job done.


Apple iPad (2017), by Henry T. Casey, Laptop Magazine

With its epic battery life, speedy performance and brilliant display, the 2017 iPad is the best tablet for the money and one of the best tablets overall. It may be a tad heftier than the competition, and it doesn't break new ground, but people who want a long-lasting, large-screen slate with plenty of pop won't find a better value.

How Apple's Night Shift Compares To F.lux, by Thorin Klosowski, Lifehacker

Even with all of the different settings tweaks you can do, f.lux has a much more noticeable impact because it does more than just apply a warmer filter; it changes the overall amount of light alongside the color.

Why F.lux Is Better Than Night Shift On Mac (For Now), by Lory Gil, iMore

If you like how simplified Night Shift is, you're going to prefer it to f.lux, which has a lot more features but might be a little overwhelming to someone that just wants to add a pleasant warm hue to their screen before bedtime. Not everyone needs f.lux, but if, like me, you do want more customization and need even deeper blue light filtering late at night, Night Shift just doesn't hold a candle to f.lux.


Are We Witnessing The Beginning Of The End For Free Music Streaming?, by Andrew Flanagan, NPR

Now, the writing is on the wall for music fans — if you want to hear what you want to hear when you want to hear it in the friction-free and anywhere-access way you've become accustomed, the time is fast-approaching when you will be required to pay up.

Spotify's deal with Universal (as well as contracts with Warner Music and Sony Music which are still under negotiation) is not the only thing threatening Spotify's free tier. One month ago in Washington, D.C. a byzantine and little-known process, overseen by a panel of three judges named the Copyright Royalty Board, began to determine the rates that Spotify and its competitors will pay not to recording artists or labels but songwriters and music publishers.

Lorne Michaels On His New Strategy To Make Verizon, Apple Ads Part Of ‘SNL’ Experience, by Brian Steinberg, Variety

Viewers who stick around during the ads either during the April 8th or the April 15th broadcast of NBC’s late-night institution will glimpse a spot for Verizon written by “Weekend Update” anchor Colin Jost and featuring cast member Kenan Thompson. The bespoke pitch is part of an ongoing effort by NBC and Lorne Michaels’ hardworking crew of satirists to make the show more compelling to watch live, rather than catching up via clips next morning.


Apple has struck a deal with NBC to have “Saturday Night Live” create commercial content slated to appear in a few weeks’ time. The show’s work for the large consumer-electronics company will look different than its Verizon efforts, according to two people familiar with the situation. Apple did not respond to queries seeking comment.

Bottom of the Page

Five-star rating systems are good for classifying things for personal usage, because only the person assigning the stars knows what it means for each number of stars assigned.

A thumbs-up-thumbs-down system is good for classifying things for aggregation and recommendation, because (almost) everyone's thumbs-up and thumbs-down mean the same thing.


I've spent a lot of time assigning stars to each song in my iTunes library, so that I could have all sorts of smart playlists.

Of course, now I don't even bother putting my songs into the iTunes iCloud Library Thingy, and just do a pure Apple Music streaming (with offline downloads) experience.


There is a podcast app that allows users to assign ten different levels of priorities to each individual podcast. I think at one point, I used up to 4 different priorities to arrange my podcast queue.

Currently, my podcast queue has only 2 levels: podcasts that I want to listen immediately next, and podcasts that get queued up normally.


I've never intentially assigned any star ratings on Netflix. Yes, I've accidentally tapped on the stars when finished watching an episode. That probably skewed the resulting recommendations from Netflix.

I've never assigned any likes or dislikes to songs in Apple Music either. Apple probably has to figure out how to recommend albums and playlists through my other implicit actions.


A movie only gets the "two thumbs up" trademarked recommendation when both Siskel and Ebert agree that you should go watch the movie, so yeah, I agree one can only give a thumb-up even though one has two thumbs.


I miss Roger Ebert. Especially after watching movies that Mr Ebert did not review.


Thanks for reading.