The Nothing-Alerts-Me Edition Sunday, July 23, 2017

Turn Off Your Push Notifications. All Of Them, by David Pierce, Wired

I turned off notifications on every app on my phone, save for a handful: phone, texts, and my calendar, plus Outlook and Slack, because I'm addicted to work. I'm a far happier person for it. You might think I'm crazy, that I'm missing all the good stuff happening in the world because nothing alerts me anymore. Feel free to tell me all about it! I'll see it next time I check Twitter. Which will be when I feel like it, and not one second before.

Apple And Other Tech Titans Should Tread Carefully In China, by The Washington Post

Apple’s presence in China can be a force for good. But it seems likely that China’s repressive system will pose painful choices for Apple and all the big tech companies that put their data on Chinese soil. [...] Tech titans that thrived in the liberal environment of abundant and guaranteed freedoms in the United States are now treading a path into the illiberal universe of arbitrary rule and dictatorship, and ought to walk very carefully.

Ireland Seeks Custodian For Apple Cash As Collection Nears, by Peter Flanagan, Bloomberg

The Irish government is setting up a fund to manage the estimated 13 billion euros it will collect from Apple Inc. in back taxes, nearly a year after the European Commission ruled the country had provided a sweetheart deal on tax to the U.S. firm.

The government and Apple will jointly appoint a custodian to hold the money to be deposited by the iPhone maker, the finance ministry said in an emailed statement. The funds will be held in escrow pending appeals by Apple and Ireland, which could take years. One or more investment managers will also be hired to manage the money.


Reviewed: A Used, Year-old MacBook Pro From Apple's Refurbished Mac Store That Saved Me $450, by Antonio Villas-Boas, Business Insider

Used and refurbished devices sold on Apple's Refurbished Mac store are reconditioned by Apple itself, which instills more confidence than if you were to buy a used device from a site like eBay. If the refurbished 2016 15-inch MacBook Pro I bought is anything to go by, Apple's process is excellent; my MacBook Pro in perfect working order, and there's no visible sign of use or wear.

How An Anonymous Messaging App Beat Google, Facebook, And Snapchat, by Karissa Bell, Mashable

Created by Saudi Arabian developer Zain al-Abidin Tawfiq, the app is essentially a social network that lets you send and receive anonymous messages.

Sarahah was built on the premise that people are more willing to be honest when their messages are anonymized, and it's become particularly popular in Arab-speaking regions and also among English-speaking teenagers.


How Do I Know If I’m Good At Programming?, by Daniel Slater

So how do I know if I’m good at programming? A good place to start is to ask “what is good code?”. If a programmer can’t produce good code, they aren’t a good programmer.


The Billion-dollar Palaces Of Apple, Facebook And Google, by Rowan Moore, The Guardian

When Microsoft was in its pomp it was happy to occupy a bland scattering of low buildings on the edge of Seattle. It still does. It’s also striking that for all its fame Silicon Valley makes little impression on the visual consciousness of the world – there’s not a strong sense of what it actually looks like. Until now it has lacked landmarks. But that much power and that much money will not always be happy to be unobtrusive. We are only just beginning to see the ways in which it can change the landscape of cities.

In 1995, This Astronomer Predicted The Internet’s Greatest Failure, by Rob Howard, Medium

Twenty-two years ago, astronomer Clifford Stoll made a huge mistake. He challenged the popular notion that the Internet was a force for good, and he was ruthlessly mocked by just about everyone.

On the surface, you can see why his 1995 Newsweek column has been maligned for decades. Some of the problems he presented — like the challenge of taking secure online payments in a world before PayPal, and irrelevant search results before the days of Google — have been solved, or at the very least we’ve grown accustomed to their remaining flaws. That made his article easy fodder for mockery by technology columnists every time an anniversary rolled around.

The problem for the people who chose to troll Stoll, however, is that a lot of his predictions and criticisms of the web were spot on.

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If you have not read it, quickly go get a copy of Cliff Stoll's The Cuckoo's Egg.


Thanks for reading.