The Distraction-Free Edition Friday, August 11, 2017

Can Apps Really Eliminate Distractions And Help You Focus?, by Bill Loguidice, TechRadar

I set out to see for myself whether I could cut down on distractions and become more productive using three apps. These apps promise to keep distractions to a minimum so you can get more done: OFFTIME, an app that lets you track and customize your smartphone's connectivity, FocusList, a daily planner and focus app, and Freedom, an internet, app and social media blocker.

While there are countless apps promising to help limit distractions and make users more productive, I chose these three because they’re among the most popular, best reviewed and work across multiple platforms.

A Silent, 10-minute Song Is Climbing The iTunes Charts, by Nathan Ingraham, Engadget

Since the iPhone starts playing music alphabetically when you plug it in to many car stereos, that usually means there's one song that you hear whether you want to or not. Many songs starting with the letter A have probably been ruined thanks to this quirk -- but if you download Rezhami's creation, you'll instead have plenty of time to queue up the songs you want to hear.

Safari Should Display Favicons In Its Tabs, by John Gruber, Daring Fireball

I don’t know what the argument is against showing favicons in Safari’s tabs, but I can only presume that it’s because some contingent within Apple thinks it would spoil the monochromatic aesthetic of Safari’s toolbar area. I really can’t imagine what else it could be. I’m personally sympathetic to placing a high value on aesthetics even when it might come at a small cost to usability. But in this case, I think Safari’s tab design — even if you do think it’s aesthetically more appealing — comes at a large cost in usability and clarity. The balance between what looks best and what works best is way out of whack with Safari’s tabs.

Safari Pinned Tab Favicons, by Manton Reece

Even more surprising to me is that Safari doesn’t use favicons for pinned tabs. Instead it uses a special monochrome vector icon.


Apple’s 10.5-inch iPad Pro Aims For The Sweet Spot, by Julio Ojeda-Zapata, TidBITS

With the iPad Pro, Apple seems to have set its sights on a slightly different, somewhat distant scenario: a world in which iPads better match up with the Mac’s capabilities, causing many to choose an iPad over a Mac notebook with little or no hesitation. Developments this year clearly point in this direction.

MeeTime Is The Cure To Those Endless Meetings, by AppAdvice

The real beauty comes in once the meeting begins. MeeTime sets timers for each segment of your meeting, letting you know how much time is remaining.

IKEA Trådfri Smart Lighting System Now Supports Apple HomeKit, by Tim Hardwick, MacRumors

IKEA's Trådfri smart lighting system is now officially compatible with HomeKit, Apple's smart home management platform.

Ulysses Announces Move To Subscription Pricing, by John Voorhees, MacStories

It’s a backstory that has become familiar. Pay-once pricing is not sufficient to sustain ongoing development of professional productivity apps like Ulysses. While Ulysses has enjoyed success, funding the kind of development that pro users expect through growing the app’s user base is not sustainable in the long-term.


Apple’s App Store In China, Long A Moneymaker, Faces Scrutiny, by Amy Qin, New York Times

In China, where Western-owned online services like Facebook and Google have long been blocked, Apple’s app store is a lucrative exception. Apple offers gaming, dining and dating apps in a country where most rivals are locally owned — and where it can reap big fees from iPhone users.

That business is now facing a number of threats.

The latest came this week, when a law firm representing more than two dozen app developers asked the Chinese authorities to investigate whether Apple’s app store policies violated local pricing and antitrust laws.

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Just finished watching: Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation, by Christopher McQuarrie. Nothing new here, it seems.


Thanks for reading.