Archive for March 2018

The Record-and-Share Edition Thursday, March 22, 2018

A Brief History Of Movies Shot With Phones, by Max Covill, Film School Rejects

As more Hollywood directors adopt the format into feature films, more attention and accessories will be made to further the abilities of our phones. Tangerine and Unsane weren’t made with the default camera, but with tools that brought more flexibility to the platform. In Hollywood, the message has been about inclusion and hearing stories from those individuals who don’t get to tell their stories. As technology continues to flourish, it is becoming more accessible than ever to record and share those stories. Don’t hesitate any longer. Pick up your phone and share your story, there are people who want to see it.

Peer-reviewed Study Shows Cardiogram And Apple Watch Can Accurately Determine Atrial Fibrillation, by Danny Crichton, TechCrunch

One of the major aspects of the study that Cardiogram is highlighting is that their deep learning model, named DeepHeart, required significantly less training data than comparable models targeting medical conditions. Only 6,338 electrocardiograms (ECGs) were required to build the model, which was 8 layers. This is an important development, since ECGs are both expensive and time consuming to perform at scale.

Mobile Gaming Is Having A Moment, And Apple Has The Reins, by Matthew Panzarino, TechCrunch

But the absolute biggest story of the event wasn’t even at the event. It was the launch of Fortnite and, shortly thereafter, PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds on mobile devices. Specifically, both were launched on iOS and PUBG hit Android simultaneously.

The launch of Fortnite, especially, resonates across the larger gaming spectrum in several unique ways. It’s the full and complete game as present on consoles, it’s iOS-first and it supports cross-platform play with console and PC players.

Siri Privacy Bug Lets It Read Out Most Hidden Message Content On A Locked iPhone, by Ben Lovejoy, 9to5Mac

A Mac Magazine reader discovered that Siri will read the content of most messages even though the content is hidden on the display. The one exception is Apple’s own Messages app, where Siri will read them only if the phone is unlocked.


The Only App You Need For Work-Life Productivity, by David Pierce, Wall Street Journal

Notion combines the features of a note-taking app, a task-management app and a spreadsheet tool the way that Steve Jobs combined an iPod, a cellphone and a web browser into the iPhone: All these work tools together create something more than its parts.

Corel Releases CorelCAD Mobile For iPhone And iPad, by Daniel Eran Dilger, AppleInsider

With a subscription, the full version of CorelCAD Mobile unlocks its full set of editing features with 2D drawing tools, advanced annotation capabilities and support for 3D model viewing.


Apple Is An Exception To Nearly Every Rule, by Haje Jan Kamps, TechCrunch

Design, logistics, packaging — whenever Apple is the example of one way of doing something, try to find two more examples. If you can’t find any, that’s a pretty good indicator that it’s not a hill worth dying on: Apple lives in one world, the rest of us live in another.

By all means, keep an eye on Apple and the way the company pushes the envelope. But bear in mind that, for now, the company is a very different beast than your startup in almost every possible way.


Designed In California, Made In China: How The iPhone Skews U.S. Trade Deficit, by Adam Jourdan, Reuters

The iPhone’s contribution to U.S. trade deficits is almost certain to have grown sharply alongside higher retail prices and shipments.

But the manufacturing value does not include the intellectual property value Apple adds through engineering and design work done in its headquarters in Cupertino, Calif., as well as margins taken by distributors.

The First-Day-Of-Spring Edition Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Apple Announces New Watch Bands With ‘Vibrant Colors For Spring’, by Ben Lovejoy, 9to5Mac

On the first day of spring, Apple has announced a new collection of Apple Watch bands with ‘vibrant colors and unique designs.’

The new bands include Sport, Nylon and classic buckle designs as well as special Nike and Hermès models.

Beware Taking Your Mac Running High Sierra To The Genius Bar: APFS Might Surprise Them, by Charles Arthur, The Overspill

At this point I suddenly realised why the network-booted versions hadn’t been able to run the video card drivers from my hard drive, and now they could. The network drives were formatted with HFS+, which is the file system Apple has been using on Mac OSX (and MacOS) for a couple of decades. That’s why the version number on the network drive was 10.12 – the file format for Sierra.

But I had brought the machine in running 10.13 – High Sierra – which uses the APFS filesystem. [...] That, of course, is why the Genius’s HFS+-encoded 10.12 network drive couldn’t understand my APFS-encoded SSD. So I’d wiped the hard drive for nothing. If there had been an APFS-encoded network drive, it could have booted up the machine and run the video test and found the problem. (Well, probably.)

After Cambridge Analytica Scandal, Publishers See Apple News As A Solid Alternative To Being Burned By Facebook, Google, by Daniel Eran Dilger, AppleInsider

The exposure of how Cambridge Analytica was able to obtain private data on 50 million Facebook users without permission, and why Facebook did nothing for two years after finding out about the egregious misuse of the massive social graph it maintains, has awakened a "Delete Facebook" movement among users tired of web advertising's malicious incompetence running roughshod over any remaining notion of online privacy and digital security.

But it's also a wakeup call to news publishers, who have long partnered with Facebook and Google with the expectation that all of the surveillance data those advertisers collect would eventually be of benefit to publishers, rather than just continuing to take away the revenues that have historically supported journalism.


'Today View' Is The Underutilized iPhone Feature That Mimics The Best Thing About Android Phones, by Prachi Bhardwaj, Business Insider

The default Today View displays the date, time, weather, next appointment, and stock prices. Once I updated it, my Today View had icons for speed dials, messaging conversations, quick Chrome actions, and my route home, to name a few.

Apple's apps offer a pretty good variety of actions — I appreciated finally being able to see the amount of battery left in my Apple battery pack without putting it on the charger, for example — but the third-party apps that make even better use of the widget were even more exciting.

Use PhonoPaper To Turn Drawings Into Music, And Sound Into Images, by Charlie Sorrel, Cult of Mac

PhonoPaper is an iPhone app that turns sound into images, and uses the camera to turn pictures back into sound. It’s also probably the most fun you’ll have with your iPhone today.

Trello iOS App Sees Major Update With Multi-select Support, Custom Fields Power-Up, Drag And Drop, More, by Michael Potuck, 9to5Mac

The refresh brings its Custom Fields Power-Up functionality, clickable links in checklists and comments, multi-select and drag and drop support, and more.

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As a young child who liked to read, I once believed that I would grow up and become a book-seller. (I was being realistic by not choosing the goal of growing up and become a writer.) And I believe I am not alone, judging by the number of books and articles that I've read about others chasing their passion by opening a book store.

I have not realize that dream yet. And I do know that selling books is not a good business to be in.

But, in this day and age (of digital content and the Internet), shouldn't it be easier to own a bookshop, virtual or otherwise? Or am I just not looking hard enough?


Thanks for reading.

The Well-Intentioned-Magnet Edition Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Having Issues With Your Phone's Compass? Read This, by Jason Cipriani, CNET

So, months later, when she removed the case she discovered the compass on her iPhone X suddenly worked. The culprit? That well-intentioned magnet.

When asked about cases interfering with a phone's compass, both Apple and Google cautioned users from using third-party accessories that don't follow their guidelines.

New App Could Put Life Saving Brain Injury Screening In The Palm Of Your Hands, by Jess Mador, WYSO

The app uses a smartphone or other device camera to play an interactive eye test similar to the real-life test.


The Vye app records Galentine’s eye movements, reaction time, velocity and abnormalities that could indicate a concussion.

Apple, IBM Add Machine Learning To Partnership With Watson-Core ML Coupling, by Ron Miller, TechCrunch

The way it works is a customer builds a machine learning model using Watson, taking advantage of data in an enterprise repository to train the model. For instance, a company may want to help field service techs point their iPhone camera at a machine and identify the make and model to order the correct parts. You could potentially train a model to recognize all the different machines using Watson’s image recognition capability.

The next step is to convert that model into Core ML and include it in your custom app. Apple introduced Core ML at the Worldwide Developers Conference last June as a way to make it easy for developers to move machine learning models from popular model building tools like TensorFlow, Caffe or IBM Watson to apps running on iOS devices.


Apple AirPods: The Audiophile Review, by Vlad Savov, The Verge

Because Apple moved the Bluetooth electronics and batteries to the stem, it was able to use the full cavity of each bud for sound reproduction. That’s how the AirPods reproduce a wider soundstage than most Bluetooth earbuds without being any thicker or protruding from the ear.


When I look at the limits of what’s possible today — in terms of miniaturization of audio and wireless components — I can’t see a better combination of price, features, and performance than what’s offered by the AirPods.

Linea Sketch 2.0: Elegant, Approachable Sketching For The iPad, by John Voorhees, MacStories

Linea Sketch delivers powerful drawing tools in an elegant package that makes it approachable to a wide variety of users. The new selection tool adds flexibility to Linea Sketch, which is a fantastic addition for existing users. At the same time, portrait mode, new templates for taking notes, storyboarding, and prototyping, the ability to import images, and support for drag and drop, open Linea Sketch up to a wider base of customers who will find ways to use for it for more than traditional sketching. I highly recommend trying the app if you haven’t already.

Sleep++ 3.0 Brings Automatic Sleep Detection On Apple Watch, by Federico Viticci, MacStories

Sleep++ 3.0 is a major update that brings automatic sleep detection through the Apple Watch.


Developers Will Need To Go Through App Review To Edit ‘What’s New’ Text And Change Support URLs, by Benjamin Mayo, 9to5Mac

Apple is today informing developers of a new policy change through iTunes Connect. From April, the ‘What’s New In This Version’ text and the support URLs in App Store listings will no longer be able to changed at will.

Changes to this metadata will now require a new app update to be submitted to the App Store.


Apple Grabs Two-year Lead In 3D Sensing Race, by Sonam Rai, Stephen Nellis, Reuters

Apple’s effort to get ahead with the technology is the latest evidence of an aggressive approach by the Cupertino-based company to making the most of the technological advances its financial firepower can deliver.

The iPhone maker’s $390 million deal in December to secure supplies from VCSEL-maker Finisar was one such move. Another is Apple’s discussions with major cobalt producers to nail down supplies for lithium-ion rechargeable batteries that power its mobile phones.

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I'm tempted by all these positive reviews of Apple's AirPods. But I do remind myself from time to time why I am not getting a pair for now:

One: My Beats wireless earphones is still working fine; I may want AirPods, but I do not need AirPods...

Two: More importantly, I am still worried that if I ever do drop the AirPods, I may not be able to find them. (I have poor eyesights.)


Thanks for reading.

The Clean-Out-the-Dust Edition Monday, March 19, 2018

Don't Make My Mistake: How A Minute Of Spring Cleaning Made My Computer Run Like New Again, by Alex Cooke, Fstoppers

If the computer was shutting itself off while the fan was blowing at full hurricane strength, it was probably overheating. I put my hand on the case, and sure enough, it was uncomfortably hot. I had only been in Photoshop for a few minutes, so I grabbed the computer out of frustration and looked it over as if I would suddenly see the key, except I did suddenly see the key: a bit of dust on the USB cables in the back. It suddenly occurred to me that in almost six years of owning this computer, I had never thought to clean out the dust that was constantly accumulating on the internals.

People Are Accidentally Setting Off Apple’s Emergency SOS Alert, by Russell Brandom, The Verge

If you sleep on your Apple Watch the wrong way, you might get a wake-up call from the police. That’s what happened to Jason Rowley, who tweeted about the incident earlier this week. Using his watch as a sleep tracker, he ended up holding down the crown button to trigger an emergency call to the police, who showed up in his bedroom at 1AM. Rowley told us the police were friendly and helpful, and accustomed to WatchOS misdials like this one.

Take This App And Call Me In The Morning, by Natasha Singer, New York Times

Later this year, doctors treating patients addicted to substances like cocaine and amphetamines will be able to prescribe Reset, an app that gives patients lessons to help them modify their behavior. The Food and Drug Administration cleared it in September as the first mobile medical app to help treat substance-use disorders.

“It’s all the things you would traditionally associate with a pill or any other medication,” said Dr. Corey McCann, the chief executive of Pear Therapeutics, the start-up behind Reset. “But it just so happens to be a piece of software.”

Apple Is Secretly Developing Its Own Screens For The First Time, by Mark Gurman, Bloomberg

The technology giant is making a significant investment in the development of next-generation MicroLED screens, say the people, who requested anonymity to discuss internal planning. MicroLED screens use different light-emitting compounds than the current OLED displays and promise to make future gadgets slimmer, brighter and less power-hungry.

The screens are far more difficult to produce than OLED displays, and the company almost killed the project a year or so ago, the people say. Engineers have since been making progress and the technology is now at an advanced stage, they say, though consumers will probably have to wait a few years before seeing the results.


Clean Up That Text With TextSoap 8 For The Mac, by Dennis Sellers, Apple World Today

The software can tackle text from a variety of formats. It processes text documents, skipping past the repetitive work of manually fixing up text with a simple click.

Let Your Family Know You're Safe With These Apps, by Telegraph Herald

Considering seemingly everyone that’s old enough to go out on their own has mobile phones, let’s look at some apps that can help give you, Mom, et al., a little more comfort as you navigate the dangerous world back to your pad.

One Of My Favorite Tech Gadgets Prevents Me From Ever Losing My Phone, Wallet, Or Keys — And It Only Costs $35, by Avery Hartmans, Business Insider

Tile works like a tiny tracking device. You can attach it to you keychain, slip into a pocket, or toss it in the bottom of your suitcase. You'll need to pair it with your iPhone or Android phone, and then you can basically forget it exists.


Apple's Third Large California Campus Is Already Built, by Daniel Eran Dilger, AppleInsider

In January, Apple announced plans to build a new campus in the United States. However, it hasn't previously said much about AC3, its third major campus development already nearing completion in Silicon Valley. Here's a look at the more immediate growth occurring in Apple's backyard as the company works to accommodate an expansion of workers.

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A completely-sealed, non-user-upgradeable machine will not build up with dust internally. And probably be water-resistant too, if not water-proof. As someone who has really never upgrade a machine after purchase, that's very attractive to me.


I'm enjoying my long walks that I do on weekend mornings. Part of my walk is within an urban area, full of cars and apartment blocks. But the other part of the walk is in a nature park, with butterflies, monkeys, and squirrels. This is the part that I look forward to the entire week.

My eye-sights and my hearing are both getting worse as I age. I will be sad if, one day, my legs get weak and I cannot walk as well.


Thanks for reading.

The Tactile-Sensation Edition Sunday, March 18, 2018

I Finally Tried A Mechanical Keyboard. I'm Not Going Back, by Roger Cheng, CNET

The tactile sensation of pressing down on the mechanical keys, and feeling the switches work is supremely satisfying. There's a noticeable drop in energy and enthusiasm when I have to go back to my MacBook Air keyboard.

As for Das and Lofree, the Das is a solid choice and easy transition for someone getting into the mechanical keyboard world for the first time, while the Lofree is a looker that takes more getting used to.

Apple Takes A Very Un-tech Approach To Solving Fake News: Human Editors, by Jefferson Graham, USA Today

The bottom line: kudos to Apple for a terrific app that has so far not experienced the issues found on Twitter, Facebook and YouTube, and for the video network —nice idea, but it's back to the drawing board. Next?

China’s Face-Scanning Craze, by Rene Chun, The Atlantic

The technology’s veneer of convenience conceals a dark truth: Quietly and very rapidly, facial recognition has enabled China to become the world’s most advanced surveillance state.

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I don't have the money to buy whatever Apple is unveiling for the upcoming March event. :-)


When was the last time Apple sold a low-cost product? (I am not considering accessories.) Something that someone may purchase on an impulse? Was it the iPod Shuffle?


I don't think Apple will ever sell a low-cost Macintosh though. Today's Macbook Air and the Mac mini, it seems, are as low as the prices will go. After all, if the iPad is "the clearest expression of [Apple's] vision of the future of personal computing", why muddle the waters with a low-cost Mac? There isn't a place in the product line for a cheap Mac anymore, something Apple used to lure switchers over. iOS is now a successful platform, and the iPad, rather than the Mac, is the carrot for those still hanging on to Windows just to check email and surf the web.


But the education market? Surely, the iPad is not yet ready to fight against Chromebooks and cheap Windows machines? Let's wait and see...


Thanks for reading.

The Literal-Extreme Edition Saturday, March 17, 2018

Apple Shares Fun ‘Unlock’ iPhone X Ad Showcasing The Convenience Of Face ID, by Peter Cao, 9to5Mac

Apple’s Face ID unlocking feature on the iPhone X is a joy to use. It almost feels like there’s no passcode to your phone as it’s such a seamless experience. A new ad released by the company takes this to a literal extreme.

The Face ID Attention-based Notification Preview Feature Is Great..., by Benjamin Mayo, Twitter

... but the transition needs some finessing.

iOS 11 Bugs Are So Common They Now Appear In Apple Ads, by Tom Warren, The Verge

If you blink during Apple’s latest iPhone ad, you might miss a weird little animation bug. It’s right at the end of a slickly produced commercial, where the text from an iMessage escapes the animated bubble it’s supposed to stay inside.


Hands On: Do More, Faster On Your iPad Or iPhone With Launch Center Pro 2.9, by William Gallagher, AppleInsider

Automation tool Launch Center Pro starts easy and gets complicated very quickly. For hardcore users, the app is great.

Google Lens Is Now Available On iOS, by Thuy Ong, The Verge

Google is officially rolling out its Lens feature to Apple iOS devices over the next few weeks. Lens is an on-demand object recognition tool, accessible through the Google Photos app. When users take a photo of a book or painting, for example, Lens recognizes it and spits out information telling you more details about the object.


'They'll Squash You Like A Bug': How Silicon Valley Keeps A Lid On Leakers, by Olivia Solon, The Guardian

“It’s horrifying how much they know,” he told the Guardian, on the condition of anonymity. “You go into Facebook and it has this warm, fuzzy feeling of ‘we’re changing the world’ and ‘we care about things’. But you get on their bad side and all of a sudden you are face to face with [Facebook CEO] Mark Zuckerberg’s secret police.”

The public image of Silicon Valley’s tech giants is all colourful bicycles, ping-pong tables, beanbags and free food, but behind the cartoonish facade is a ruthless code of secrecy. They rely on a combination of Kool-aid, digital and physical surveillance, legal threats and restricted stock units to prevent and detect intellectual property theft and other criminal activity. However, those same tools are also used to catch employees and contractors who talk publicly, even if it’s about their working conditions, misconduct or cultural challenges within the company.

Why Wikipedia Works, by Brian Feldman, New York Magazine

But the fact that YouTube sees Wikipedia as a reliable source is also, in a sense, a total validation of Wikipedia’s mission. A encyclopedia, open to edits from anyone, could easily have been misused and abused. Instead, it’s become the default place to find facts online. Even Google knows this: When you search for certain things, Google will pull information “snippets” about those terms from Wikipedia. And Wikipedia makes its content free for people to license and reproduce wherever they see fit — including the world’s most powerful search engine. [...]

It’s worth examining, then, how Wikipedia has managed to maintain its role as a reliable database without thousands of paid moderators and editors, while major, well-funded platforms like Facebook and YouTube have become the subjects of frenzied debate about misinformation.

The iPad-For-Reading Edition Friday, March 16, 2018

Better Than The Printed Page: Reading On An iPad, by Charles Maurer, TidBITS

Indeed, after fiddling with the settings and buying some cheap apps, my wife Daphne and I both find ourselves preferring the iPad to paper. Not only do we buy ebooks by choice, we have even found ourselves buying ebooks to replace hardcovers on our shelves, because reading on the iPad is quicker and easier.

We have optimized the iPad for reading by working with our knowledge of visual perception. Daphne is a prominent visual scientist and I have worked and written with her extensively. In this article I shall share our approach.

The Perfect Selfishness Of Your Mapping App, by Alexis C. Madrigal, The Atlantic

In some scenarios, traffic-beating apps might work for an individual, but make congestion worse overall. And autonomous vehicles, touted as an answer to traffic-y streets, could deepen the problem.

“This problem has been vastly overlooked,” Alexandre Bayen, the director of UC Berkeley’s Institute of Transportation Studies, told me. “It is just the beginning of something that is gonna be much worse.”


Jot Takes A Stripped-Down Approach To Note Taking, by John Voorhees, MacStories

Jot’s unique take on note taking is interesting. I like the clean, sparse interface and the ability to take down notes quickly with minimal effort. The app should appeal to anyone who doesn’t care about the multimedia capabilities of Apple’s Notes app or the automation features of an app like Drafts.

MindManager For Mac Users: A Creative Way To Record And Diagram Brainstorming Sessions, by Erik Eckel, TechRepublic

The program's curious and intriguing blend of common drag-and-drop actions, along with its publishing and presentation features, enable unusual collaboration and training functionality, while also extending the ability to mix different disciplines, including strategic planning, milestone and deadline specification, diagramming and flowcharting, note-taking, and presentation and publication capabilities. But because MindManager so easily permits re-arranging topics, elements, and ideas, it excels at supporting brainstorming and whiteboard sessions, in particular.


How To Make Your Own iPhone App, by Matthew Byrd, The App Factor

There are plenty of resources out there designed to help anyone make their own app. While you’ll still have to do most of the work, you’re no longer wading through a jungle of unknown technology. It’s entirely possible to build a great app with relatively little experience.

So if you’re serious about creating an app, here are some of the things you need to know.

Apple Touts Developer Success In Response To Allegations Of ‘Abusive Trade Practices’ In France, by Chance Miller, 9to5Mac

“Apple has always defended the privacy and security of users and does not have access to user transactions with third-party applications. We are fully prepared to share our story in the French courts and to clarify this misunderstanding. In the meantime, we will continue to help French developers realize their dreams and support French students in their code learning through our coding program.”


3 Essential Branding Lessons From A Rare Steve Jobs Interview, by Jesus Diaz, Fast Company

Don’t expect your brand design to make your company or product better. It won’t, so don’t obsess over it. Sure, it’s important to put serious thought into it, and for it to feel right. But if your company fails, it won’t matter. If it does succeed, you can use your billions of dollars to perfect it down to the last pixel.

The Kid-Friendly Edition Thursday, March 15, 2018

Apple Aims To Show Its Products As Kid-friendly, by Ina Fried, Axios

A new page on Apple's website details its efforts to make Macs and iPhones family friendly, including parental controls and other safety features. The move comes as Apple and other tech giants are under fire over whether their products are addictive, especially for children.

Where Apple’s Reinvention Of The Keyboard May Go Next, by Jason Snell, Macworld

The Touch Bar falls short because you have to look down in order to see where you’re meant to be touching, rather than being able to orient by feel as you can with physical keys. [...] And if you even lightly touch to orient your fingers, you’re touching a touchscreen... which means you’ve just typed something accidentally.

But all is not lost. If you look at a few other areas of Apple tech, you can start to see that Apple may be moving slowly toward building a much better touchscreen keyboard—maybe even one that dinosaurs like me would be happy to use.

Safari Hack Allows Control Of Touch Bar; Remote Desktop Bug Provides Inadvertent Admin Access, by Ben Lovejoy, 9to5Mac

A security researcher has successfully exploited a Safari vulnerability to take control of the Touch Bar on a MacBook Pro. Samuel Groß demonstrated the exploit at the first day of this year’s Pwn2Own ethical hacking conference.

Hey Siri

The Seven-Year Itch: How Apple’s Marriage To Siri Turned Sour, by Aaron Tilley, The Information

Many of the former employees acknowledged for the first time that Apple rushed Siri into the iPhone 4s before the technology was fully baked, setting up an internal debate that has raged since Siri’s inception over whether to continue patching up a flawed build or to rip it up and start from scratch. And that debate was just one of many, as Siri’s various teams morphed into an unwieldy apparatus that engaged in petty turf battles and heated arguments over what an ideal version of Siri should be—a quick and accurate information fetcher or a conversant and intuitive assistant capable of complex tasks.

Presiding over it all has been a revolving door of team leaders and middle managers who lack the kind of vision or clout possessed by Mr. Jobs, who passed away from pancreatic cancer the day after Apple introduced Siri. The absence of such leadership and the constant turnover has held Siri back in key ways, these former employees said, most notably in the failure to open up Apple’s notoriously closed culture to allow outside developers a greater opportunity to create a broader array of useful Siri apps.

The Information On What Went Wrong With Siri, by John Gruber, Daring Fireball

The gist of The Information’s story is that Siri has existed for seven years without cohesive leadership or product vision, and the underlying technology is a mishmash of various systems that don’t work well together.

‘Hey’ Used To Be For Horses, by M.G. Siegler, 500ish Words

Save for the Echo, each of these assistants is invoked by speaking the words “hey _____.” “Hey Google.” “Hey Siri.” “Hey Cortana.” With Amazon’s device, it’s simply “Alexa.”

Again, this seems like a tiny thing. It’s one syllable. But I think it matters.


Apple Touts iMac Pro Power With Collection Of Short Films From Top Filmmakers & Designers, by Chance Miller, 9to5Mac

To promote the powerful iMac Pro, Apple today has released a series of short films created by filmmakers and CG artists using the all-in-one machine. Each film was put together primarily with the iMac Pro, though some of the 3D graphic renderings required “additional equipment.”

Turn Your MacBook Into An Alarm Clock With Wakefy, by David Murphy, Lifehacker

If you rely on a few different alarms to get up in the morning–smart lights that blast on at a certain time, a smart speaker placed far away, and your trusty smartphone alarm—the macOS app Wakefy adds another tool to your arsenal of awakening. It isn’t perfect, but it performs well enough that we’d consider adding it to our morning collection.

It's Not Quite A Mac Mini, But It's My Server, by Jason Snell, Six Colors

I love the NUC hardware, mostly because it’s just so impossibly small. No, I don’t expect that Apple would make a box quite this ugly—those two USB ports on the front of the case would be the first to go—but Apple could definitely make a smaller Mac mini that had plenty of power and went all-in on flash storage.

I hope it does, and soon. I’ll be first in line to buy one. But in the meantime I’ve stuck an Apple logo on this Intel NUC and I’m just going to pretend that it’s a Mac.

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If Apple were to invent a touch-screen keyboard that is actually great for touch-typist, I imagine it will arrive on the iPad first. (Nobody touch-types on the iPhone, right?)

So, don't panic yet if you really treasure a physical keyboard on your laptop.


Thanks for reading.

The Random-Lottery Edition Wednesday, March 14, 2018

WWDC 2018 Returns To San Jose On June 4th Through 8th, by Josh Centers, TidBITS

Apple will once again issue tickets by random lottery, and you can apply now through 22 March 2018 at 10 AM PDT at the WWDC Web site.

AltConf Announces 2018 Event Details, Will Once Again Be ‘Next Door To WWDC’, by Michael Potuck, 9to5Mac

This year’s AltConf will feature two speaker tracks, two community labs and some special plans for podcasters.

Home Pro

It’s Time For A Complete Home App Makeover, by John Voorhees, MacStories

The problem with Home is that it fails to successfully abstract away complexity with its simple, uniform UI. Instead, the app obscures spatial and device hierarchies in a way that makes complex setups more confusing than they should be.


Textor: The iOS Equivalent Of TextEdit, Integrated With Files, by Ryan Christoffel, MacStories

Textor is unique in how utterly stripped down it is, and it's that simplicity that makes it so appealing. Launch the app – which is free and open-source – and you'll see iOS 11's new Files document browser. This enables opening existing plain text files stored in any app that serves as an iOS file provider. You can open directly from iCloud Drive, Dropbox, Google Drive, Working Copy, and more. You can also create a new document in any of these places by hitting the + button in the top-right corner.

Outside of the Files document browser, the only interface is found in the editor itself: a plain canvas with a purple blinking cursor. It's just you and the text.

Clipboard Manager App Paste 2, The ‘Cloud Clipboard Time Machine’ Now Available On iOS, by Guilherme Rambo, 9to5Mac

Paste 2 for iOS syncs using iCloud and allows users to get access to their clipboard history (how long the history is kept can be configured in the app’s settings). It’s also possible to organize clipboard content in categories and use the app as a replacement to something like TextExpander.

Overcast Podcast App Adds New ‘Smart Resume’ Feature & More, by Chance Miller, 9to5Mac

First, it jumps back by a few seconds after your podcast has been paused, making it easier to remember what the hosts are talking about. Furthermore, it slightly adjusts the resume process by trying to resume to the silences between words.


France To Sue Google, Apple Over Developer Contracts - Minister, by Reuters

Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire told RTL radio he had been made aware that Apple Inc. and Alphabet Inc.’s Google unilaterally imposed prices and contract changes on developers selling software on Google Play and Apple’s App Store.

Calendar 2 Made $2K In 3 Days Mining Cryptocurrency, But Apple Says It Violated Mac App Store Guidelines, by Chance Miller, 9to5Mac

Following the app’s removal from the App Store, Magarshak says that Apple worked with him to put the app back on the store with all mining features removed. Furthermore, Qbix is offering all users of the app, new and old, a free year of premium features.

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"We have this one life to appreciate the grand design of the universe, and for that, I am extremely grateful." - Stephen Hawking.



The Netflix-of-Magazines Edition Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Apple Acquires Digital Newsstand Texture As It Doubles Down On Content ‘From Trusted Sources’, by Ingrid Lunden, TechCrunch

As the debate continues over fake news and the role that aggregators like Facebook have played in spreading it, Apple is making an acquisition that could help it lay out a position as a purveyor of trusted information. The iPhone maker is buying Texture, a magazine that’s known as the “Netflix of magazine publishing” that gives readers access to around 200 magazines for a monthly fee of $9.99.


From what we understand, Texture — formerly known as Next Issue — will continue to operate as is with no changes — meaning that it will continue to offer apps for iOS, Android, Amazon Kindle Fire and Windows 8 and 10. Apple is acquiring the full company, including employees, and the deal is expected to close very soon.

Hands On: Apple's 'Netflix Of Magazines' Texture Provides A Wealth Of Content To Readers, by Andrew O'Hara, AppleInsider

Navigation is easy, with the actual magazine taking up the largest portion of your display, and only an ellipsis in the bottom left corner to bring up the controls. Individual pages/images can be zoomed in on with an outward pinch, something you clearly can't do in the print edition.

SXSW: Apple's Eddy Cue Talks Going "All In" On Original Programming, by Natalie Jarvey, Hollywood Reporter

So far, Apple has about a dozen projects in development, from a Jennifer Aniston and Reese Witherspoon morning show drama to a Ronald D. Moore space drama. Cue revealed on Monday that Apple's worldwide video team is now about 40-people strong and has begun to expand into international hiring. "We're building what I think is an incredibly talent, capable team."

But a lot of questions remain, including how Apple will release this content to users. (Will it be exclusive to iPhones? Or perhaps a TV service that is wrapped into Apple Music?) As per usual for executives from the notoriously secretive company, Cue was tight lipped about future plans at the company. Though Byers tried to get Cue to say whether he would be interested in buying a Netflix or Disney, he would not say definitively. Instead, he noted, "Look, the good news is that both Netflix and Disney are great partners of ours and have been with us from the very beginning."

Inside the App Store

Eddy Cue Explains Why Apple Won’t Remove The NRA TV App, by Mark Sullivan, Fast Company

Calendar App That Mines Cryptocurrency Vanishes From The Mac App Store, by Abhimanyu Ghoshal, The Next Web

Ars Technica reported that Calendar 2, a well-known scheduling app for Mac, was recently updated with the ability to mine cryptocurrency on users’ devices for the developer. It’s one of the first known cases of an offering from the Mac App Store to engage in this activity, and it’s now vanished from the platform.


Hands On: Agenda 2.0 For Mac Is A Beautiful New Notes App With Unique Calendar Features, by William Gallagher, AppleInsider

Agenda 2.0 for Mac genuinely brings something new to the field: it's a a notes app that concentrates on when you write things as well as what you write. If that fits the way you work, you'll never use anything else.

7 Fun And Useful Things You Can Do With The Google App In iMessage, by Matt Elliott, CNET

iPhone owners may have noticed a new icon showed up in the iMessage app drawer. If you are diligent with your app updates and updated the Google app recently, then you can now do a few new things with it right from within the iOS Messages app. Let us count the ways.


Apple Adds Specs For USB-C Port On Made-for-iPhone Accessories, Lightning To 3.5mm Out Cable, by Jordan Kahn, 9to5Mac

With the new specs, companies in the MFi program can now include USB-C receptacles on their officially certified iOS and Mac accessories for charging. That allows users to charge MFi accessories with a USB-C cable and or power adapter they might already have, for example, and also draw power from the USB port on a Mac using the same cable.

Coding And Autism Prove A Perfect Match, by Craig Smith, EducationHQ Australia

Learning to code is all about learning how to solve problems, to work with others in creative ways and to learn how to think in a new language.

Teaching children with autism employs the exact same skills – creating logical connections, breaking tasks into smaller parts and sequencing them, but it is also much more than this.

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And all along, I thought Apple only has its eyes set on the Netflix of music, and the Netflix of... well, Netflix. I am pleasantly surprised to find Apple is also interested in doing the Netflix of magazines for reading.

Is the Netflix of books in the works too?


Of course, Texture is not available in Singapore. Neither is the iBook store.


Thanks for reading.

The Post-Facebook Edition Monday, March 12, 2018

Which News Platform Will Win In A post-Facebook World?, by Karissa Bell, Mashable

While it was once fashionable for tech companies to buy promising news apps, they're now happy to step back from the efforts and invest in their core products instead.

Combine this with Facebook and Google's increasing dominance of the ad market and it's even harder to make it as an independent developer of news apps.

Why Facebook Has Been Less Important To News Publishers, by Fred Vogelstein, Wired

From their perspective, Facebook's distribution strategy has been schizophrenic, so they've grown less willing to give Facebook access to all of their content.

How Apple's New Filing System Is Thwarting Law Enforcement And Could Get Your Phone Impounded, by Peter Moon, Australian Financial Review

While Apple's new APFS system for organising data on solid state hard drives is wildly more efficient than its double decade old predecessor called HFS+, it also drives some third party programs wild.

High on the list of casualties is crimefighter software – the forensic analysis tools that law enforcement cyber detectives rely on.


Until they have a full set of APFS tools, some agencies think that all they can do is seize computers of interest and wait for the forensic tools to catch up with the new file system – whenever that might be.

Apple Goes From Villain To Coveted Client With This Finnish Firm, by Giles Turner, Bloomberg

A former prime minister of Finland once blamed Apple Inc. for torpedoing two of his country’s biggest industries -- mobile phones and paper mills.

Now Stora Enso Oyj, one of Europe’s largest paper and packaging makers, has become a key supplier to the iPhone maker, according to documents published last week.


Hands On: Use A Better Finder Rename 10 On Your Mac To Wrangle File Names, by William Gallagher, AppleInsider

A Better Finder Rename is a tool akin to a sledgehammer for file name changes on the Mac, but used precisely, sometimes a big hammer is what you need.

Loopback Is A Great Tool For Anyone Working With Audio On The Mac, by Dennis Sellers, Apple World Today

Rogue Amoeba’s Loopback for macOS is a useful tool for enabling audio routing between applications and audio devices on your Mac. In just a few clicks, you can easily pass audio directly between apps.


Intel Fights For Its Future, by Jean-Louis Gassée, Monday Note

But perhaps the ultimate source of urgency for Intel is the resolution of Qualcomm vs Apple.

Belatedly, Intel realized it needed a seat at the smartphone table. Despite troubles with its more advanced manufacturing processes, the company managed to supply some wireless modems for the iPhone 7, 8 and X. Ironically, the alliance was aided by a long standing and bitter intellectual property dispute between Apple and Qualcomm. If Broadcom’s acquisition of Qualcomm proceeds, the dispute with Apple could disappear.

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So long as RSS feeds continue to exist and I continue to have my RSS client software, I don't care who or what is the next news platform.

(And I definitely do not need push notifications for 'breaking' news.)


Thanks for reading.

The Gmail-Support Edition Sunday, March 11, 2018

Apple Phone Support Transferred My Father To A Fake Indian Gmail Support Hotline, by C J Kinniburgh, Medium

In the subsequent weeks, he’s spoken with Apple a couple of times, and in both they acknowledged what had happened but did not apologize for the incident. They explained that the initial phone support he spoke with seemed to have googled ‘Gmail support’ and conference called the number she found. It’s the type mistake I wouldn’t fault my parents for making, but it’s unacceptable that the Apple Support that they relied on had made the same mistake.

I’ve also spoken with Apple on numerous occasions. I’ve confirmed as much of the story independently as I could. I’ve independently verified that he was indeed speaking with a real Apple Support representative when he was transferred. I’ve been told by multiple Apple Support representatives that until this incident, they’d never heard of anyone being connected with Google Support.

The Original Siri App Compared To Siri Today, by Nick Heer, Pixel Envy

What’s clear to me is that the Siri of eight years ago was, in some circumstances, more capable than the Siri of today. That could simply be because the demo video was created in Silicon Valley, and things tend to perform better there than almost anywhere else. But it’s been eight years since that was created, and over seven since Siri was integrated into the iPhone. One would think that it should be at least as capable as it was when Apple bought it.

There’s A Simple Way To Make It Easier To Fix Your iPhone, by Christina Bonnington, Slate

The growing demand for these right to repair laws is a sign that mobile technology is maturing. In the earlier days of the iPhone, it made sense to buy a new one if your phone broke. If it was more than a year old, the new model was significantly faster, had a higher quality display, and included new must-have software features. If it was more than two years old, your cellular provider would subsidize the cost of an upgrade, too. Over the past few years, those hardware upgrades have been more subtle, and the software updates less compelling. That, paired with rising smartphone costs, has led to consumers holding onto their phones for longer.


Apple Updates Its Made-for-iPhone (MFi) Branding For Accessory Makers, by Jordan Kahn, 9to5Mac

The new logos that will be used for products coming out of the MFi program are not a huge change from the previous branding, but they do notably remove icons representing actual devices in exchange for a simplified Apple logo and just the iOS device names in text.


The Times Tech Columnist ‘Unplugged’ From The Internet. Except He Didn’t, by Dan Mitchell, Columbia Journalism Review

Manjoo objects to that characterization. “I think it’s clear that I meant I ‘unplugged’ from Twitter as a source of news, not that I didn’t tweet at all,” he wrote.

But he had written, quite plainly, that he had “unplugged from Twitter,” not that he had used it only to post news stories. Reactions to his column on Twitter make it clear that many readers took him as his word.

But also: He didn’t use Twitter only to post news stories. He retweeted news stories from others and commented on others’ tweets about the news on most days during his period of being “unplugged.” In February, he retweeted Sean Hannity, commenting: “You gotta read this thread, it’s amazing.” He was clearly using Twitter to follow the news—albeit less so than he had been before starting this experiment.

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10,000 steps. So easy, yet so far. On days like today.


Thanks for reading.

The iCloud-Incident Edition Saturday, March 10, 2018

Apple Confirms Investigation Of Creepy Chinese iCloud Incident, by Jeremy Horwitz, VentureBeat

In short, Qin says that he called AppleCare to close his account the day before the government-owned Guizhou-Cloud Big Data company took over Chinese iCloud account data, only to get into an argument with an Apple representative who was “really curious” why Qin didn’t “want to use Guizhou-Cloud Big Data’s service.”

The advisor then allegedly used his iCloud login information to hack his account, which contained both sensitive information and logins for other accounts. If that wasn’t bad enough, the advisor then called to blackmail Qin, saying that he would release the information if Qin didn’t comply with his demands.

Lettering Artists Turn Their Passion Into Business Plans, by Aleesha Harris, Vancouver Sun

While early forms of typography date to the mid-15th century, word-processing programs such as Microsoft Word have made various fonts familiar to pretty much anyone who has come into contact with a computer in the last, oh, 20 years or so.

But, there’s a growing online community that’s expanding the reaches of lettering; creating swirling, curling fonts that are as much works of art as they are tools to create literal words.

And they’re turning these creations into careers.

Bringing Back Skeuomorphic Design, by Kelsey Campbell-Dollaghan, Fast Company

To a large extent, I believe the design industry was better off for this shake-up. The green felt and the linen–oh, the linen–had probably become too much. Besides, as in all areas, we sometimes need a good paradigm shift to make us think differently.

But I’d argue that the great simplification of the visual interface had an air of throwing the baby out with the bathwater. Hold your pitchforks and let me explain.


Hands On: Tighten Up The Creep Of Menubar Apps In macOS With Bartender 3, by William Gallagher, AppleInsider

Unless it's some strange point of pride that you've got 20 items in your Mac's menubar, you need Bartender 3. It's a simple app that hides away menubar icons until you need them and so both saves space and stops distractions. Plus Bartender 3 does this so well that you'll never want to go back.

Want Animoji, But Not The iPhone X? Try These Apps Instead, by Josie Colt, Wired

These apps aren't a substitute for the sophisticated face-tracking tech that lets iPhone X users animate the pile of poop, but they're guaranteed to annoy your friends less than those Animoji videos.


How Wikipedia Portrayed Humanity In A Single Photo, by Ellen Airhart, Wired

In 1972, Carl Sagan was preparing to send humans into space. The Pioneer missions were unmanned, sure—but NASA had asked Sagan to design a depiction of Earth's inhabitants for the trip, just in case the spacecraft ran across some aliens. He designed two nude figures with the help of his wife, Linda Salzman Sagan, and his friend Frank Drake. Linda drew the woman to have Asian features, and the man African, according to Carl’s memoirs—though both ended up looking suspiciously European, with haircuts characteristic of the 1970s. Not unlike Sagan himself.

The Sagans were encountering an old problem. Any time the brains behind an encyclopedia (or a SETI mission) need to represent humanity, they have to somehow encompass the whole of the species in a single form—a type specimen, as biologists would call it.

Which is why the editors of the “human” entry on Wikipedia were having such a hard time in 2003. The crowdsourced encyclopedia, in theory, offers a solution to the problem of representation; no single writer has control over the way in which a subject is presented. But still: They had to choose a single image to lead the entry. And whatever photo they went with would inevitably leave out most of the diversity and cultural nuance that makes humanity beautiful and interesting.

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Some humans are terrible.


Luckily, some humans are not terrible. In fact, some are even great. And I am eternally grateful they exist. Especially the great humans that we cross path with.


But, some other humans are terrible.


Thanks for reading.

The Trade-Offs Edition Friday, March 9, 2018

I Instinctively Support ‘Right To Repair’ But Do Appreciate The Trade-offs, by Ben Lovejoy, 9to5Mac

We can’t have it both ways. We can’t on the one hand be wowed by the sleek and minimalist designs of Apple products, and on the other demand that Apple make them easy to open, with room inside to easily replace extract and replace components.

Recognizing that we have to make a choice, I’ve tended to come down on the side of accepting fatter devices for greater upgradability and battery-life. But I have to say that the 2016 MacBook Pro has at least been a stark illustration of the benefits of Apple’s ‘sleekness at all costs’ approach.

Apple’s Case Of Dance Fever, by Ken Segall

Dance is an expression of the joy we get from music, so you can’t say that Apple’s approach is wrong. You can say it’s become safe and predictable—which runs contrary to Apple’s core values.


Red Cross AR App Takes You Deep Into The Life Of A Child Plagued By International Warfare, by Adario Strange, Next Reality

"While Pokémon GO and Snapchat have already introduced the world to augmented reality, this is the first time AR has been used to tell the story of the impact of urban conflict," said Charlotte Lindsey-Curtet, director of communications and information management at the ICRC. "With augmented reality, we can create immersive experiences that showcase the humanitarian situation in a new and deeply moving way."

Hands On: Things 3.4 For Mac And iPhone Connects Apps To Generate To Do Tasks Faster, by William Gallagher, AppleInsider

If you're willing to adjust and learn a few tricks, the new tools in Things 3.4 are a boon for both you and developers of your favorite apps.

HomePass Can Store All Your HomeKit Setup Codes, by Federico Viticci, MacStories

HomePass aims to be a single repository where you can easily keep track of all your setup codes, sync them across devices with iCloud, and even protect them with Face ID.


Google Gives Up On Tablets: Android P Marks An End To Its Ambitious Efforts To Take On Apple's iPad, by Daniel Eran Dilger, AppleInsider

Google may try to start over in tablets using ChromeOS, a platform that hasn't done anything outside of acting as a loss leader in U.S. education. But at this point, it's been over two years since Google even introduced a new tablet of its own, and its last Pixel C was discontinued in December. Google can deny it has given up on tablets, but imagine the headlines if Apple discontinued all of its iPads and stopped supporting them in the next iOS.

Quite incredibly, Google tablets have clearly gone the way of Google TV, Google Glass, Chromebook Pixel, Nexus Player and Android Wear.

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I'm okay with 'right-to-repair'. But I'm also okay for Apple to not to trust its devices anymore if tampering has been detected.


Thanks for reading.

The Voice-Over Edition Thursday, March 8, 2018

How To Protect Your Apple ID, by Rick Broida, CNET

Needless to say, it's critical that you take every conceivable measure to protect it. There's nothing difficult here, but you just need to devote a little time and diligence. First up: Stop serving up your Apple ID on a silver platter!

With Assist From Apple, Visually Impaired Austin Students Learn Coding, by Lori Hawkins, Austin American-Statesman

The software is part of Apple’s Everyone Can Code curriculum, which is designed to be accessible to all students including those with vision or other disabilities.

Using Apple’s VoiceOver screen-reading technology, students and visiting Apple engineers worked their way through a series of 3D puzzles to learn to code.

After an hour-long session in the school library, students cheered when they were told they would use the software to fly small aerial drones. After a little practice, they headed outside with their iPads to use their new coding skills to fly and control the buzzing drones high in the sky.

MacBook Air: Why Won’t It Die?, by Jason Snell, Macworld

I keep thinking that the reason Apple is in this state is because of a fundamental error: That 13-inch, non-Touch Bar MacBook Pro is a confusing addition to the MacBook Pro line, and has been since the beginning. It’s not a MacBook or a MacBook Pro (despite its name). What is it? It could have been the new MacBook Air, but for the fact that its starting price was $500 higher.

Maybe Apple should just kill the MacBook Air, rename that 13-inch Pro model to MacBook Air, and slash its starting price to $999. But it probably won’t. Instead, the MacBook Air may keep improbably soldiering on, making it impossible for me to lament its passing.

Apple Axed 10 Smelters And Refiners From Supply Chain In 2017, Maintains 100 Percent Participation In Conflict Mineral Audit, by Mikey Campbell, AppleInsider

Apple issued its annual Conflict Minerals Report for the 2017 calendar year to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission on Tuesday, noting the removal of 10 smelters and refiners that failed to participate with third-party audits in a timely manner, while another 6 were axed by partner suppliers.


Apple Updates Workflow Automation App With New Mask Image Action & More, by Chance Miller, 9to5Mac

The Apple-owned Workflow app has been update today to version 1.7.8, bringing new features and enhancements to the popular automation tool.

Hands On: Writing Blogs On The Mac With The New MarsEdit 4, by William Gallagher, AppleInsider

MarsEdit 4 remains a powerful Mac app that's done very well and which is somehow still just a pleasure to write in. We may have to just confine our blogging to it when we're at our Macs.

Sunlit 2.0 Released As A And WordPress Photo Blogging App, by John Voorhees, MacStories

Sunlit makes it a breeze to create short photo blog posts that it calls Stories.

Begin Launches Team Task Management For Slack, by Khari Johnson, VentureBeat

The app was made for teams that spend most of their time in chat apps like Slack, and it touts simplicity as part of its strategy to reach mass adoption.

Square’s Cash App On iOS Now Supports Direct Deposit For Receiving Paychecks Without A Bank, by Chance Miller, 9to5Mac

Cash app on iOS now supports direct deposits, making it so you can receive your paycheck or other transfers directly in the app.


On Focus, by David Sparks, MacSparky

A lot of people are going to some extreme measures in the name of focus and I’m not sure that is necessary or, in the long term, sustainable. It’s like trying to lose weight by not eating. It may work for a day or two but after that, it’s all downhill. Getting better at focus is difficult and it takes time to master. Here’s my list of suggestions for some help along the way.

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I imagine somewhere inside Apple, someone is maintaining a list of things-that-can-be-done-on-a-Macbook-Air-but-not-on-an-iPad-Pro. Top of the list: Xcode. And someone has also created a dashboard chart that shows the number of items on this list over time, as well as estimations of number of items still remaining in the next few years.

And at the right-most column of this chart will be a big fat arrow with a big text label that says "Retire MacBook Air and Mac mini, finally."


Thanks for reading.

The Equpped-with-Tablets Edition Wednesday, March 7, 2018

How iPads Changed A Police Force’s Response To Mental Illness, by The Crime Report

Under the program, when deputies equipped with tablets arrive on the scene of a mental health emergency, the person in crisis is offered the option of talking to a psychiatrist through the Cloud 911 app on the deputies’ iPads.


If the clinician or first responder finds it necessary to take the distressed individual to a psychiatric hospital because de-escalation failed, the Cloud911 app can locate a facility with an available bed. This cuts down on time as officers no longer need to find out which hospital has availability.

The program’s organizers say this enables police to get back to their beat faster, and enables individuals experiencing mental health episodes to avoid arrest.

Can Technology Really 'Give Voice' To Disabled People?, by Meryl Alper, Pacific Standard

Whether intentionally or inadvertently, educational, medical, and media institutions preserved as well as reinforced the more privileged status of middle- and upper-class parents within this ecosystem, which directly and indirectly affected less privileged lower-class families and their capacity to support their child. Parents' ability to mobilize social, economic, and cultural resources shaped the extent to which their children could not only speak but also be heard.

These Stanford Computer Science Students Protested Smartphone Addiction At Apple Headquarters, by Kif Leswing, Business Insider

"iPhones are our gateway to addictive services (read: Facebook and company), so Apple is uniquely capable of helping us curb our dependence," the group said in a handout. "Even though Apple's business model does not rely on device addiction, they fail to take common sense steps to address the issue."

Basically, what they want from Apple is greater access to data that the iPhone currently keeps locked down — like how often certain apps are used — to open up the possibility of building better digital tools for people to curb their app addiction.

Look Back

QuickTime’s Developers Reflect On Doing Digital Video In Software, by Tekla S. Perry, IEEE Spectrum

Last week, three members of the original QuickTime development team—Peter Hoddie, Bruce Leak, and Doug Camplejohn—joined Hansen Hsu, curator of the Computer History Museum’s Center for Software History, to talk about their experience on QuickTime and what it meant to them and to the industry. For all of them, even moderator Hsu, Apple was their first job after college—and a much-desired post at that. Leak, for example, spent at least half a year trying to get hired by Apple, being interviewed and rejected for three positions before he landed a spot in system software. Camplejohn had a bit of an edge, thanks to a couple of summer internships. Hoddie says he got his job through dumb luck—and his work in printer testing.

During the wide-ranging conversation, the trio recalled bits and pieces about the experience: Hoddie became obsessed with bluescreen, and hung a backdrop in his office; Leak spent many evenings using QuickTime tools to make Claymation videos. They also tried to put the advance in perspective. Said Leak, “Multimedia then was like the Internet of Things is today. It is different things to different people; there is no standard, but someday it will all work together and it will be great.”

A Lot Can Happen In A Decade, by Craig Hockenberry, Icon Factory

Whether you’re a developer who’s working on mobile apps, or just someone enjoying the millions of apps available for your phone, today is a very special day. It’s the ten year anniversary of the original iPhone SDK.

I don’t think it’s an understatement to say that this release changed a lot of people’s lives. I know it changed mine and had a fundamental impact on this company’s business. So let’s take a moment and look back on what happened a decade ago.


Apple Confirms It Will Stop Taking iTunes LP Submissions As Of This Month, by Dani Deahl, The Verge

The format, which was launched in 2009, was a way for users to buy albums with bundled elements, like videos, liner notes, or bonus tracks.

10 Useful iMessage Apps For Busy People, by Jonny Evans, Computerworld

While I think it’s true to say iMessage apps are a promise that’s still waiting to be kept, I’ve little doubt we’ll see these lightweight apps become more important — and more ambient — in the future.


For Two Months, I Got My News From Print Newspapers. Here’s What I Learned., by Farhad Manjoo, New York Times

You don’t have to read a print newspaper to get a better relationship with the news. But, for goodness’ sake, please stop getting your news mainly from Twitter and Facebook. In the long run, you and everyone else will be better off.

You’re Not Changing The World, by DHH, Signal v Noise

Partly, I blame Steve Jobs for this. I know it isn’t kind to speak ill of the dead, but when he asked Scully to take over as CEO of Apple, it was with this grand pitch: “Do you really want to sell sugar water for the rest of your life?”. And as many larger-than-life characters of history, his words have echoed through time, but also ended up distorted after having bounced around enough to be heard by the next generation.


Carrying the weight of Changing The World on your shoulders is a tremendous burden. Look at the characters who actually managed it. Most of them weren’t exactly living envious lives outside the scope of their work. Why are you so keen to follow in their footsteps?

I think more people in Silicon Valley would be better served by embracing the mundane. Do you know what, life insurance is a perfectly honorable thing to be selling on its own merits. And if you found a way that makes that transaction a little better for some small subset of companies or consumers, hell, good on you. It doesn’t have to be anymore glamorous than that.

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Well, I am glad that there are still young people who believe they can change the world, and actually do things that may change the world for the better -- even thought they probably don't think of what they're doing as changing the world.

Maybe, "put a dent in the universe" is a better motivation than "change the world."

Or, maybe, I agree, it just doesn't matter. Do good work, be good. That's enough.


Thanks for reading.

The Utterly-Compelling Edition Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Spike Jonze And FKA Twigs Made A Jaw-Dropping Short Film For Apple's HomePod, by Tim Nudd, Adweek

The 48-year-old Oscar winner has directed a new four-minute short film for Apple’s HomePod speaker featuring yet another marquee collaborator—the English musician and dancer FKA twigs. The result is a stunning piece that’s charming, surreal, emotional, playful, theatrical and utterly compelling—one of the most remarkable ads of the year so far.

The Improbable Rise Of The Daily News Podcast, by Felix Salmon, Wired

For-profit podcasting, then, is now matching and even eclipsing public radio in terms of ambition and budgets. It might have started out producing small indie movies, but now it’s regularly putting out serious blockbusters aimed at a mass audience. Public radio now needs to up its own game and rise to meet the challenge, even as podcasting itself is moving on to even greater things.

Retweets Are Trash, by Alexis C. Madrigal, The Atlantic

Tech companies have designed their interfaces to maximize the spread of information, to amplify faster, to increase the ß in the network. They could peel away those layers—increase the friction of posting, make it harder to amplify information with a single click, redesign user interfaces to encourage thoughtfulness. These things wouldn’t make the neo-Nazis go back into hiding or end vicious political dog piles, but my modest experiment has convinced me that a better social-media atmosphere could emerge, one that centers less on stoking outrage and more on … everything else.


Video Demonstrates iPhone 6s Performance Before And After Battery Replacement, by AppleInsider

A video posted to YouTube over the weekend compares the operating performance of an iPhone 6s before and after its battery is replaced, demonstrating in real time the nominal gains users can expect to see when a device is no longer software throttled.

Hands On: Twitterrific 5.2.4 Will Make You Like Twitter On The Mac Again, by William Gallagher, AppleInsider

If more of us used Twitter on our Macs we might yet have an official app that worked well and was a pleasure to use. As it is, we have Twitterrific 5.2.4 which is an unofficial app that works superbly and is a pleasure to use. We can live with that.

Can Restaurant Apps Make Splitting The Bill A Thing Of The Past?, by The Guardian

Location-tracking technology tells the restaurant you have left, the light on the totem changes colour from blue to green and the bill is automatically deducted from whatever account you signed up with. Clever, eh?

iBooks To Apple Books? Latest iOS 11.3 Beta Reverts To Former For Now, by Peter Cao, 9to5Mac

Originally named iBooks, and then just ‘Books’ in 11.3, the company is now reverting that back to ‘iBooks’ in the latest iOS 11.3 beta.


It's Time To Ditch SMS 2-Factor Verification, by Den Delimarsky

It’s 2018, and it’s time we understand that SMS 2-factor authentication is not a good way to double-check the users’ credentials. It’s been shown many times that phone numbers can be compromised.


A Small Town Kept Walmart Out. Now It Faces Amazon., by Alana Semuels, CityLab

In some ways, Greenfield’s lack of big-box stores might have accelerated residents’ transition to e-commerce. While there are shops downtown, those don’t offer the selection of a Walmart or Target. And since the only big stores are a 30-minute drive away, many in Greenfield have started buying off Amazon instead. “There are only a certain number of things you can get downtown,” Danielle Jenczyk, a 37-year-old Greenfield resident told me. Jencyzk told me she shops on Amazon for just about everything, since she gets free shipping through her Prime subscription and because she can look at product reviews before she buys anything.


The whole state of Vermont has long been a difficult place for big-box stores to locate—the state won’t get its first Target until later this year. That’s in large part because of Act 250, a state law that gives regional environmental commissions the power to deny building permits for big projects. But despite those successes, Paul Bruhn, the executive director of the Preservation Trust of Vermont, a nonprofit that seeks to protect the state’s architectural heritage, is concerned about the future of Vermont’s downtowns. “With most small businesses, you don't have to take away all of their business for them to fail,” Bruhn told me. “A business that loses 10 percent to 20 percent because of Amazon, that’s a big impact.”

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Don't you wish you can watch that wonderful Apple HomePod ad with some good speakers, instead of on the little iPhone?


Thanks for reading.

The Keep-An-Eye Edition Monday, March 5, 2018

Smartphones Speed Recovery Of Surgical Wounds, by Jessica Twentyman, Financial Times

While most cases are resolved, an untreated SSI can potentially lead to sepsis and death, making postoperative wound monitoring a vital part of caring for a patient once they return home, via clinic appointments or visits from healthcare professionals.

This vigilance comes at considerable cost, but a team at the Wisconsin Institute of Surgical Outcomes Research (WiSOR), part of the University of Wisconsin-Madison, has recently trialled a smartphone-based approach that could make it easier for healthcare professionals to keep an eye on healing, remotely.

The team at WiSOR has developed an iPhone app called WoundCheck, which patients use to regularly send photos of their wounds to the nurses responsible for their care and to answer a few brief questions; for example, have they experienced fevers or chills in the past 24 hours, have they changed their dressing, is the wound leaking?

The More Countries Try To Restrict Virtual Private Networks, The More People Use Them, by Josephine Wolff, Slate

Pushing back against restrictive regulations isn’t new for VPN providers. They’ve been facing blocks and bans in countries like China and the UAE for years and finding ways to circumvent these restrictions for just as long. Since they can operate remotely from anywhere, VPN providers always have the option of picking up and leaving any country they find to be overly restrictive, while still being able to serve customers in those countries. In this way, they can avoid legal requirements to store logs of user activity, or law enforcement raids. For instance, several PIA servers in Russia were seized without warning a few years ago. The company subsequently stopped operating any servers in Russia, Kim said.

So VPN providers have been going back-and-forth with restrictive governments for some time. The thing about 2017 that felt really new—and different—to many of them was the sudden involvement of Apple. To have a U.S.–based company suddenly get involved in cutting off access to VPNs for people in certain countries changed providers’ understanding of who was on their side and who they were fighting against. Moreover, Apple’s App Store block was more effective than any other technical restrictions the VPN services had faced before. According to Gonzalez, it’s the one restriction that NordVPN has been unable to circumvent for iPhone users based in China.


If The Mac’s Standard Clock/alarm Doesn’t Fill Your Needs, Check Out ClearTime, by Dennis Sellers, Apple World Today

It boasts a fully configurable clock with user configurable sizes and colors, and alarms that can be configured to use built in sounds or user selected audio tracks.


Only Code At Work? That Doesn’t Make You A Worse Programmer, by Itamar Turner-Trauring, Code Without Rules

With time and practice, the strengths of enthusiasts and pragmatists can converge. Even so, different people will typically end up with different skillsets, different approaches, and different ways of building software.

This is how it should be. Software projects are too big to be built by one person, too complex to be encompassed by one view point.


Bad iPhone Notches Are Happening To Good Android Phones, by Vlad Savov, The Verge

As every phone manufacturer pursues a minimalist design philosophy, a problem emerges of how to add charm, humanity, and character to devices that are becoming essentially just a big screen. Apple took the risky step of introducing its signature notch, and the positive response from iPhone X owners together with the industry reaction at MWC this week have vindicated that choice. Others will ride the iPhone X’s coattails, they’ll soak up some of the halo effect by notching their own screens, but that fad won’t last. People will quickly learn that all notches are not made equal and this time next year we’ll probably be looking at some other disfiguration of Android devices as the latest experiment.

What I Miss Most About iPhone As An Android User, by Mike Tanasychuk, iMore

The fact that all iPhones and iPads receive the latest iOS update at the same time (as it rolls out, country by country of course) is, in my opinion, the best thing Apple has going for it. All users are consistently receiving security updates and new features as they're released. That really makes you feel valued as a consumer.

The Internet-Addiction Edition Sunday, March 4, 2018

Your Kid’s Phone Is Not Like A Cigarette, by Anya Kamenetz, New York Times

But an anti-tobacco campaign is not an ideal model for the effort to make technology safer for children. Because while there’s plenty of concern about overuse of technology among young people, the actual evidence of addictiveness and harm is much more complex than it was in the case of cigarettes.

Sure, there are treatment facilities for adolescents who are hooked on devices, and psychologists use terms like “problematic media use” in describing a small percentage of people who seem to prefer screens to people. But experts are split over the question of whether internet addiction is a legitimate stand-alone disorder.

New Technology Developed By A&M Professor Converts Documents For Blind Readers To Access Via iPad, by Elena Watts, The Eagle

STAAR Description Format -- or SDF -- the novel technology developed by Quek, converts any portable document format (PDF) to a version the blind can read on an iPad. The users scan the text with their fingers to hear the words, control the pace of their reading, keep their place on the page, refer back to text, highlight important information and take notes, much like the experience enjoyed by those who are sighted.

"None of us who are sighted who are studying for an exam use audio recordings because we want to be able to read at our own pace, keep our place on the page, and refer back to text," Quek said. "I may want to read slower when I'm studying for an exam, while I read a newspaper more quickly."

What Happens To Apple’s iCloud In China, by John Naughton, The Guardian

Corporations can blather on all they like about corporate responsibility and human rights, but, in the end, maximising shareholder value is all that counts. And Apple is determined to get to that trillion-dollar valuation no matter what. So if you’re an Apple user in China, you now have a simple choice: junk your iPhone, iPad and fancy Macbook laptop; or accept that your autocratic rulers can access your data at their convenience. In which case, whatever you say, say nothing – as they used to say in Belfast.

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And you thought getting a WWDC ticket is difficult? Have you tried getting into the Oscars?


Thanks for reading.

The Five-Culprits Edition Saturday, March 3, 2018

The Five Things That Kill Your iPhone's Battery The Fastest, by Adrian Kingsley-Hughes, ZDnet

If I had a dollar for every time someone complained about their iPhone's battery, well, I'd have a lot of dollars. Breakages aside, battery performance issues make up the bulk of the complaints I get about the iPhone.

I've been doing a lot of battery testing on the iPhone lately, and I've narrowed down the five main culprits responsible for draining battery life on the iPhone.

‘NRA: Practice Range’ Game Removed From Apple App Store, by AJ Dellinger, International Business Times

An iPhone app from the National Rifle Association (NRA) has been removed from the iOS App Store following an online protest against Apple and other tech firms that urged the companies to cut ties with the gun rights advocacy group.


That effort targeted tech giants that distribute NRA content. Amazon, Apple and Roku all carry the NRA TV app, which the organization uses to distribute original content that it produces. YouTube has also been targeted for the protest for hosting the NRA TV channel.

House Of Pane: Apple Was Warned Of Glass Danger, by Wendy Lee, San Francisco Chronicle

Employees began moving into Apple Park’s spaceship building on January 2, Salvador said. The accidents began on the first day, with two men suffering head injuries, followed by a third on January 4, according to the incident reports obtained by The Chronicle, which cover the beginning of January through mid-February. Afterwards, Foster + Partners and Apple started putting the rectangular stickers on other parts of the spaceship building, Salvador said. The stickers were effective in getting people to stop running into glass, he said.

After January 4, there were no other incidents in which emergency services were called to treat people running into the glass.

Change Infinite Loop’s Name To Apple Playground, by Daniel Jalkut,

So what’s the perfect name for a smaller hoop of a campus, residing a stone’s throw away from the mighty Apple Park? Apple Playground, of course. You’re welcome.


Three Alternatives To Twitter’s Now-Defunct Mac App,by Julio Ojeda-Zapata, TidBITS

Now, though, we Twitter for Mac users have no choice but to cast about for a fresh Twitter client. In doing so, I’ve become more bullish about Twitterrific and Tweetbot, in part because they’ve improved since my last look.


China Presses Its Internet Censorship Efforts Across The Globe, by Paul Mozur, New York Times

For years, China has exerted digital control with a system of internet filters known as the Great Firewall, which allows authorities to limit what people see online. To broaden its censorship efforts, Beijing is venturing outside the Great Firewall and paying more attention to what its citizens are saying on non-Chinese apps and services. As part of that shift, Beijing has at times pressured foreign companies like Google and Facebook, which are both blocked in China, to take down certain content. At other times, it has bypassed foreign companies entirely and instead directly pushed users of global social media to encourage self-censorship.

Apple’s China Agreement, by Yonatan Zunger, NewCo Shift

To deal with multiple countries’ legal systems, most companies host the most critical data in some rule-of-law state (i.e., a country where similar laws apply), and so both the laws of the country asking for the information and the laws of the country hosting the information can potentially act as legal barriers to releasing the data. This is a kind of legal “defense-in-depth” which largely prevents governments from just seizing any data they want, singly or en masse.

China, however, is one of the countries which works under a fundamentally different system, in a few key ways.

The Sound-Map Edition Friday, March 2, 2018

Microsoft iPhone App Creates A Sound Map For Blind People, by Matthew Field, Telegraph

Using a smartphone connected to a headset like Apple AirPods, it helps blind people gain a better awareness of their location, while it can also be used in conjunction with other apps, like a GPS map, working in the background.

By telling users road and place names and giving directions out loud, the app provides blind people with points of reference to make it easier to navigate the world, while being distinct from route guidance apps. The app is made to be used to be in addition to navigation methods like guide dogs.

Why Are There Few Women In Tech? Watch A Recruiting Session, by Jessi Hempel, Wired

The researchers documented an unwelcoming environment for these women, including sexist jokes and imagery, geeky references, a competitive environment, and an absence of women engineers—all of which intimidated or alienated female recruits. “We hear from companies there’s a pipeline problem, that there just aren’t enough people applying for jobs. This is one area where they are able to influence that,” says Wynn. They just don’t.

The chilling effect, according to Wynn, starts with the people companies send to staff recruiting sessions. As students entered, women were often setting up refreshments or raffles and doling out the swag in the back; the presenters were often men, and they rarely introduced the recruiters. If the company sent a female engineer, according to the paper, she often had no speaking role; alternatively, her role was to speak about the company’s culture, while her male peer tackled the tech challenges. Of the sessions Wynn’s research team observed, only 22 percent featured female engineers talking about technical work. When those women did speak, according to the sessions observed, male presenters tended to interrupt them.

CHP Using Decoy Buses In Effort To Track Down Suspects In Peninsula Attacks, Chris Nguyen, ABC 7

The California Highway Patrol is using a decoy bus in an effort to track down whoever has been shooting at buses along the I-280 corridor.

Officers are driving bait buses hoping to draw fire from the suspect or suspects.


Apple Celebrating International Women’s Day 2018 With Recruiting Event, Special Today At Apple Sessions, by Michael Steeber, 9to5Mac

The theme of this year’s International Women’s Day is #PressForProgress, a call for gender parity. In conjunction with the theme, Apple will hold a corporate recruiting event at Apple Marché Saint-Germain in Paris on the evening of the 8th.

Add An App Folder To Your iPhone's Apps Dock, by Jacob Kleinman, Lifehacker

The Apps Dock is the most accessible bit of real estate on your iPhone. You can reach it from any page of the home screen, and it’s never more than a single Home button press away (or a swipe up if you have an iPhone X). If you’re like me, however, you’ve been criminally underusing the Dock by stocking it with single icons instead of a folder.

Rogue Amoeba Discontinuing Nicecast For Mac, Suggests Alternatives For Live Podcast Broadcasting, by Zac Hall, 9to5Mac

Rogue Amoeba, the makers of useful sound utilities for the Mac, will no longer be making one of their apps as Nicecast has officially been discontinued. Nicecast allows Mac users to broadcast audio from their machine over the Internet — originally intended for Internet radio — and is still used by podcasters today to create live streams.


Apple Announces SwiftNIO, An Open Source Framework For Network Applications, by Joseph Keller, iMore

Apple has announced its latest foray into open source software, this time with SwiftNIO, a new framework for writing network applications using the Swift programming language. Both the framework and its open source nature were announced by Apple software engineer Norman Maurer at the try! Swift Conference.


Consent In The Digital Age: Can Apps Solve A Very Human Problem?, by Maya Salam, New York Times

The concept of affirmative consent — the act of giving verbal permission clearly and often during intimate encounters — was pioneered at Antioch College, where an affirmative sexual consent policy was instituted in 1990. It was widely mocked then, but similar policies have since spread to campuses nationwide, and the concept is now acknowledged well beyond university grounds.

Now, apps aiming to help partners mitigate confusion in the bedroom have emerged, the newest of which approaches consent like a legal contract. LegalFling, which was introduced to users in beta on Monday, lets users give explicit sexual consent via an agreement, or a “live contract,” a dynamic document that users can continuously interact with and update.

How Tech Companies Became A Political Force, by Jacob Silverman, The New Republic

When tech leaders prophesy a utopia of connectedness and freely flowing information, they do so as much out of self-interest as belief. Rather than a decentralized, democratic public square, the internet has given us a surveillance state monopolized by a few big players. That may puzzle technological determinists, who saw in networked communications the promise of a digital agora. But strip away the trappings of Google’s legendary origins or Atari’s madcap office culture, and you have familiar stories of employers versus employees, the maximization of profit, and the pursuit of power. In that way, at least, these tech companies are like so many of the rest.

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I dream of a single inbox on my computers that will show me all my incoming stuff every time I visit it, altering the content based on what I am doing, and what is really important.

For example, when I wake up, this single inbox will show me articles from my RSS feeds. When I reach office, I will want to read my work emails and work to-dos. And later in the evening, maybe a mixture of non-work emails, and Netflix recommendations.

When the inbox discover some important emails, for example, it should interrupt this normal flow and alert me. Say, a work email that tells me that a colleage is sick and I should make my way to an early meeting to cover his or her place. Or a RSS item that tells me that Apple has bought NeXT and maybe I should update this little link blog of mine.

And any messages from my family should always interrupt anything I am doing.

In other words, a butler that tells me what I need to know.

Too much to ask?


If the TV app is for movies and TV shows, is there a place for a new app for messages and notifications?


While we are on the subject of inboxes -- we are never going to replace this email thing, are we?


Thanks for reading.

The Avoid-Phishing Edition Thursday, March 1, 2018

Apple Shares Tips On Avoiding App Store And iTunes Phishing Emails, by Juli Clover, MacRumors

In the document, Apple outlines techniques to identify an actual App Store or iTunes email, which the company says will always include a current billing address, something scammers are unlikely to have access to.

Even With Double The Subscribers, Spotify Says Apple Will Always Have An Edge Owning The App Store, by Matthew Lynley, TechCrunch

As owners of the platforms themselves, Apple and Google will always be able to dictate the terms. And while Spotify is a massive service, its success still hinges on users listening on their mobile devices. It may be able to build a strong brand and create some inertia against potential changes from Apple that could incite user backlash, but at the end of the day, Apple runs the system where its users actually get the service.

Cellebrite Unlocks iPhones For The US Government, by Bruce Schneier

We don't know exactly what was extracted from any of the phones. Was it metadata or data, and what kind of metadata or data was it.


Musicians: Here's How To Lock Down Your iPad To Prevent Accidents On Stage, by Charlie Sorrel, Cult of Mac

Apple’s iOS accessibility features might be hidden away in the Settings app, but they are useful for everyone. For instance, Guided Access lets you lock your iPhone or iPad so it can use only one app, and you can even disable parts of the screen just by drawing on them. This is handy for giving the iPad to kids, or to people with impaired motor skills, but it is also fantastic for stage performers. A musician, for instance, might be using the iPad to produce or process their sound. The last thing you want to do in the heat of a performance is to accidentally do a four-finger swipe and end up on your Facebook page.

Otter, by Ben Moore, PC Magazine

We all know that the recording and transcription process requires a lot of hard work. That's why many people turn to transcription services for their needs. Otter takes an innovative approach to the task, offering real-time transcripts of conversations and meetings as they occur. It also integrates other features such as cross-conversation speaker identification, good search tools, and excellent mobile apps, though some features are a bit rough around the edges.


Why I Quit Google To Work For Myself, by Michael Lynch

For the past four years, I’ve worked as a software developer at Google. On February 1st, I quit. It was because they refused to buy me a Christmas present.

Well, I guess it’s a little more complicated than that.

‘You Can’t Be Afraid Of The Tech’, by John Hanc, New York Times

“There are a lot of barriers to older workers moving into that industry,” said the psychologist Neil Charness of Florida State University, who has studied issues related to aging and technology use for two decades. Pervasive stereotypes about older workers, he said, include the perception among employers (and even among many older adults themselves) that “they’re not tech-savvy, and that they can’t learn new things.”

Not true. Although aging brains might take a little longer to learn new tech skills, Dr. Charness said, “they can still do it.”

Some older adults are proving his assertion, not only in mainstream high-tech careers, but also in “tech enabled” positions. These are jobs — often part time or done remotely, with flexible schedules — that do not require an advanced degree in computer science or years of experience but do involve some digital proficiency.

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Naming things is hard. Is that why Apple has not named that thing at the bottom of iPhone X's screen that one drags up to go back to the home screen?


Did Apple do a design patent for the iPhone X -- in particular, the notch?


Thanks for reading.