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Apple September 2018 iPhone Event Preview | iMore
from Daring Fireball

Rene Ritchie, writing at iMore:

This is basically the best worst kept secret in technology. Best, because Apple never tells anyone. Worst, because, since iPhone 5, Apple has announced every new iPhone during a special event held the first or second Tuesday or Wednesday of September. […]

Now, past isn’t always predicate, but past events are the best indicator for future events. Apple can and will throw curveballs whenever the company’s logistics or strategy demands.

Still, based on the above pattern, it’s likely we’ll see this year’s event on or around Wednesday, September 12.

Why? The first Tuesday of September is the 4th, and that’s far earlier than Apple has held the event before. The second Tuesday is the 11th, and September 11 is akin to a memorial day. That leaves Wednesday the 13th or Thursday the 14th as the dates that best fit the current pattern.

I have no inside information on this, but September 12 is definitely my guess, for all the same reasons Ritchie mentions. Since moving iPhone intro events to September in 2012 with the iPhone 5, they’ve had three events on Tuesdays and three on Wednesdays. For whatever reason, I don’t think they like Thursdays.

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11 hours ago by josephschmitt
Google Employees Are Organizing To Protest The Company’s Secret, Censored Search Engine For China
from Daring Fireball

One last piece in today’s Dragonfly trifecta, this one from Carolin O’Donovan for BuzzFeed:

Google employees are demanding greater transparency from their employer and confronting management with their ethical concerns about a project named Dragonfly, a controversial censored search app for the Chinese market.

Employees are circulating a list of demands for the company in a letter obtained by BuzzFeed News (posted in full, below), calling for an ethics review structure with rank-and-file employee representatives, the appointment of ombudspeople, and an ethical assessment of Google projects including Dragonfly and Maven, Google’s contract with the Pentagon to build AI-assisted drone technology.

“Many of us believe that Dragonfly poses a threat to freedom of expression and political dissent globally, and violates our AI principles,” two employees wrote in an email distributing the demand list.

I do see their point: Google’s current stance on China does give the company a certain moral high ground which they would cede if they go forward with Dragonfly. But as with Apple and the App Store in China, I ask this: if you lived in China, would you rather have access to a censored Google web search, or no access to Google search at all? I would prefer to have the censored Google search.

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11 hours ago by josephschmitt
Ryan Gallagher | RJGallagher.co.uk: Google China Censorship Project Named After Co-Founder Sergey Brin's Luxury Yacht?
from Daring Fireball

Ryan Gallagher, writing this week:

Google co-founder Sergey Brin is the owner of what is reportedly one of the world’s fastest motor yachts. The luxurious 240-foot boat (pictured below) is worth $80 million and has nine cabins and space for 18 guests and 16 crew. It has an open-air cinema, a bar, and a jacuzzi on the sundeck, which can be converted into a dance floor.

But that is all less interesting to me than the boat’s name: Dragonfly. As I reported for The Intercept earlier this month, Google has since spring 2017 been working on a secretive project to launch a censored search engine in China. And the internal code-name for the China project is… Dragonfly.

I’ll explain why this small detail is very curious.

Back in 2006, Google launched a censored search engine in China. But four years later, in March 2010, it pulled the service out of the country, citing Chinese government efforts to limit free speech, block websites, and hack Google’s computer systems.

At that time, Sergey Brin was one of the main forces inside Google arguing that the company should not be complicit in Chinese government censorship. As a child, he had spent six years with his family in the Soviet Union, and he was all too familiar with state repression.

Even stranger: Gallagher reports that at an employee all-hands meeting to address this controversial project, Brin said he wasn’t aware of the project until The Intercept broke the story. So it’s either an amazing coincidence, or whoever named the project was trolling Brin. Google seems like a weird place.

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12 hours ago by josephschmitt
Google Plans to Launch Censored Search Engine in China, Leaked Documents Reveal
from Daring Fireball

Ryan Gallagher, reporting earlier this month for The Intercept:

Documents seen by The Intercept, marked “Google confidential,” say that Google’s Chinese search app will automatically identify and filter websites blocked by the Great Firewall. When a person carries out a search, banned websites will be removed from the first page of results, and a disclaimer will be displayed stating that “some results may have been removed due to statutory requirements.” Examples cited in the documents of websites that will be subject to the censorship include those of British news broadcaster BBC and the online encyclopedia Wikipedia.

The search app will also “blacklist sensitive queries” so that “no results will be shown” at all when people enter certain words or phrases, the documents state. The censorship will apply across the platform: Google’s image search, automatic spell check and suggested search features will incorporate the blacklists, meaning that they will not recommend people information or photographs the government has banned.

I’m going to take a contrarian view here — I’m not sure this is a bad or objectionable idea. How is a search engine that complies with China’s censorship laws any different than an app store that does? My only quibble is that the search results should state plainly whether the results have been censored — none of this “may have been removed” stuff.

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12 hours ago by josephschmitt
Twitter
from Daring Fireball

I don’t expect to see this one played at Twitter’s next press event.

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ifttt  daringfireball 
13 hours ago by josephschmitt
UpHabit | Home | Relationship management made simple
from Daring Fireball

UpHabit is about relationship management made simple. They’re a mobile-only personal CRM made just for you. You can set regular reminders, remember the little things and keep in touch with the people you care about most. They’d love you to sign up for their iOS beta starting August 21st (with the App Store release planned for October 2018).

When out of beta, UpHabit will be a subscription app with a free tier, and of course the beta is completely free. Your data is private. They care deeply about that.

UpHabit would love you to join them in their journey to help you develop deeper and more authentic high-quality relationships. Sign up for the beta now!

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19 hours ago by josephschmitt
Daring Fireball: Twitter Addresses Why They’ve Broken Twitter for Third-Party Clients
from Daring Fireball

Good piece by Sarah Perez at TechCrunch regarding a Twitter internal email on why they’ve broken significant functionality for third-party clients:

And Twitter wonders why users don’t want to use its own clients?

Perhaps, users want a consistent experience — one that doesn’t involve a million inconsequential product changes like turning stars to hearts or changing the character counter to a circle. Maybe they appreciate the fact that the third parties seem to understand what Twitter is better than Twitter itself does: Twitter has always been about a real-time stream of information. It’s not meant to be another Facebook-style algorithmic News Feed. The third-party clients respect that. Twitter does not.

Twitter executive Rob Johnson:

We’ve heard feedback (#breakingmytwitter) from our customers about the pain this causes. We’re committed to understanding why people hire 3rd party clients over our own apps, and we’re going to do better with communicating changes.

My strong preference for Tweetbot, on both iOS and Mac, is simple: I prefer its user interface.

Tweetbot presents tweets and replies/mentions in a way that fits my mental model of what Twitter is. Tweetbot makes sense to me — in large part simply because it presents tweets in chronological order. Twitter’s iOS app does none of these things for me. I truly find it confusing. And Twitter no longer even fucking has a first-party native app for the Mac. I don’t want to use a website for Twitter. I want an app.

I think Twitter should reverse course on this whole thing. Replace the now-deprecated third-party client APIs with new ones, let third-party clients flourish, and figure out a way to make money from them. Require third-party clients to show ads. Or require users who prefer third-party clients to pay some sort of fee. I already happily pay for Tweetbot; I’d also happily pay Twitter for the privilege of using it. I am convinced there are ways Twitter could make money from people using third-party clients. I am equally convinced that there’s no way Twitter can make one interface that pleases all of its users.

Twitter cutting off third-party clients is as foolish and wrongheaded as it would be if Apple cut off third-party iOS apps for maps, email, calendar, notes, podcasts, music, etc. iOS is a platform and Apple has default apps for all those things, and most iOS users stick with those defaults. Twitter should look at itself as a platform in the same way. As it stands, they’re chasing influential users away.
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yesterday by josephschmitt
Twitter company email addresses why it’s #BreakingMyTwitter – TechCrunch
from Daring Fireball

Good piece by Sarah Perez at TechCrunch:

And Twitter wonders why users don’t want to use its own clients?

Perhaps, users want a consistent experience — one that doesn’t involve a million inconsequential product changes like turning stars to hearts or changing the character counter to a circle. Maybe they appreciate the fact that the third parties seem to understand what Twitter is better than Twitter itself does: Twitter has always been about a real-time stream of information. It’s not meant to be another Facebook-style algorithmic News Feed. The third-party clients respect that. Twitter does not.

Twitter executive Rob Johnson:

We’ve heard feedback (#breakingmytwitter) from our customers about the pain this causes. We’re committed to understanding why people hire 3rd party clients over our own apps, and we’re going to do better with communicating changes.

My strong preference for Tweetbot, on both iOS and Mac, is simple: I prefer its user interface.

Tweetbot presents tweets and replies/mentions in a way that fits my mental model of what Twitter is. Tweetbot makes sense to me. Twitter’s iOS app does none of these things for me. I truly find it confusing. And Twitter no longer even fucking has a first-party native app for the Mac. I don’t want to use a website for Twitter. I want an app.

I think Twitter should reverse course on this whole thing. Replace the now-deprecated third-party client APIs with new ones, let third-party clients flourish, and figure out a way to make money from them. Require third-party clients to show ads. Or require users who prefer third-party clients to pay some sort of fee. I already happily pay for Tweetbot; I’d also happily pay Twitter for the privilege of using it. I am convinced there are ways Twitter could make money from people using third-party clients. I am equally convinced that there’s no way Twitter can make one interface that pleases all of its users.

Twitter cutting off third-party clients is as foolish and wrongheaded as it would be if Apple cut off third-party iOS apps for maps, email, calendar, notes, podcasts, music, etc. iOS is a platform and Apple has default apps for all those things, and most iOS users stick with those defaults. Twitter should look at itself as a platform in the same way. As it stands, they’re chasing influential users away.

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yesterday by josephschmitt
The Magic Show - This American Life
from Daring Fireball

Speaking of Penn and Teller, there’s a fantastic episode of This American Life on which Teller — the half of the duo who usually doesn’t speak — explains how he does one of his signature routines. Well worth listening to.

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yesterday by josephschmitt
S.E.C. Is Said to Subpoena Tesla After Elon Musk’s Take-Private Tweet - The New York Times
from Daring Fireball

The New York Times:

Federal securities regulators have served Tesla with a subpoena, according to a person familiar with the investigation, increasing pressure on the electric car company as it deals with the fallout from several recent actions by its chief executive, Elon Musk.

The subpoena, from the Securities and Exchange Commission, comes days after regulators began inquiring about an Aug. 7 Twitter post by Mr. Musk, in which he said he was considering converting Tesla to a private company. In the post, he said that the financing for such a transaction, which would probably run into the tens of billions of dollars, had been “secured.” […]

It has become clear since then that neither Mr. Musk nor Tesla had actually lined up the necessary financing aside from having preliminary conversations with some investors.

Maybe nothing will ultimately come of this, I don’t know. But Musk has gotten himself in serious trouble with his impulsive tweet.

When I linked to a Business Insider story about this a few days ago, a bunch of readers emailed to complain that the reporter behind that piece, Linette Lopez, is biased against Tesla and on the side of Tesla short-sellers. Others emailed to ask why I’m “against” Tesla.

I’m not against Tesla. I think they’re an amazing and fascinating company and their cars are outstanding and quite possibly without peer. I’ve never heard of Lopez before, so she may well be on the side of Tesla short-sellers. That doesn’t mean her report on this was wrong. All of this can be true: Tesla has great technology and makes great cars, the company may have a bright future, and Elon Musk is a visionary. But all of that can be true and Musk may have committed securities fraud by tweeting that he’d secured funding to take the company private when he had done no such thing.

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2 days ago by josephschmitt
Exclusive: Motorola P30 Renders and Specifications leak, comes with a Notch – AndroidPure
from Daring Fireball

They even ripped off the default wallpaper. Do “designers” at Motorola even list the job on their resumes or do they work in anonymous shame?

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ifttt  daringfireball 
2 days ago by josephschmitt
Why Apple had a secret meeting with app developers in New York to discuss the App Store - INSIDER
from Daring Fireball

Interesting story by Kif Leswing for Business Insider, regarding a private meeting Apple held with indie developers in New York last year:

The new way Apple wanted to promote: Instead of users paying for apps once, they’d pay on a regular basis, putting money into developer coffers on a regular schedule. Apple would still get a 30% cut of the subscription’s cost, but if a customer continued to subscribe after a year, Apple’s cut would go down to 15%.

At the meeting, Apple underscored that the app model was changing. The meeting touched on topics including launching, customer acquisition, testing and marketing, engagement, retention, monetization, and paid search ads.

An Apple representative said at the meeting that paid apps represent 15% of total app sales and is on the decline, according to a person who was there who did not want to be identified to maintain their relationship with Apple.

Up front paid apps are going the way of the dodo. Whether you think that’s good or bad, it doesn’t matter. That’s where things are going.

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3 days ago by josephschmitt
Penn Jillette, In Conversation
from Daring Fireball

Penn Jillette, in a terrific interview with David Marchese for Vulture:

Q: But why is the audience willing to get emotionally engaged even after you’ve explicitly said the trick is done with thread?

A: It’s because there’s a secret that I would like to take credit for uncovering: The audience is smart. That’s all. Our goal when we started was “Let’s do a magic show for people smarter than us.” No other magicians have ever said that sentence. I hated the whole idea that some smarmy motherfucker who couldn’t get laid was out there saying, “I can do this; you can’t.” So when Teller and I first got together I said, “I want to do a magic show that’s honest and has complete respect for the audience.” And when you start being honest with the audience, they start to play a game within themselves. Here’s an example that kills me: People who have just talked to Teller will come over to me after the show and say, “I think it’s great that Teller never says anything.” Internalizing a counterfactual is just something people can do.

I absolutely love Penn and Teller. I’ve seen their show in Vegas at least four times, maybe five, and I never tire of it because it’s exactly what he says it is. Honest and respectful of the audience’s intelligence. And damn entertaining.

(A few years ago, I was chosen from the audience by Teller to go on stage for a trick in which they made my iPhone disappear. It wound up inside a plastic bag inside a dead fish inside an ice box under an audience member’s seat.)

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3 days ago by josephschmitt
Bribes, Backdoor Deals, and Pay to Play: How Bad Rosé Took Over | Bon Appetit
from Daring Fireball

Victoria James, writing for Bon Appétit:

My introduction to pay to play occurred after I’d just published a book on rosé. I was approached by one of the top three rosé brands. They were looking to partner with me and Piora, the since-closed Michelin-starred restaurant where I was the wine director. A few emails were sent before the in-person shakedown. At the tiny restaurant, I was bombarded with drop-ins from these reps trying to strong-arm me into representing their brand. The deal was that they would give me a couple thousand in cash to be an ambassador, and I would have to buy their rosé to pour by the glass for the summer. If I needed to make better margins, like making $10 off a glass of rosé versus making $5 off a glass of rosé, they also offered to drive by and drop off a couple of cases of free product. Horrified, I turned down the deal.

Sommeliers around New York have told me they’ve been offered incentives from big brands too. Wineries will come into the restaurant and swipe their credit cards, theoretically expensing a meal. In reality, the swipe is a bonus, with no meal actually taking place. Other sommeliers mentioned that brands will drop off a free case of wine or offer to supplement the somm’s income with funds from their bosses. Someone even called it “mafia-style shit”.

What a racket — and unsurprising that the stuff the big brands are pushing is mediocre at best.

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ifttt  daringfireball 
3 days ago by josephschmitt
Samsung Galaxy Watch hands-on: Steady progress but few thrills
from Daring Fireball

Samsung is sticking with round faces — you certainly can’t call these ripoffs of Apple Watch. But I think that’s a mistake for a digital watch. At 42 and 46mm, both sizes are much larger (and heavier) than Apple Watches. Because Apple measures its watches vertically, they sound closer in size than they actually are. A 42mm Apple Watch is 36mm wide, and a 38mm Apple Watch is just 33mm wide. Apple remains the only company making smartwatches for women and men with small wrists.

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4 days ago by josephschmitt
Twitter
‘But the Plans Were on Display…’: https://t.co/3c5uJ4Vhgs

— Daring Fireball (@daringfireball) August 13, 2018
FavoriteTweet  daringfireball 
4 days ago by mjtsai
Funding not secured: Musk's explanations about taking Tesla private does not work - Business Insider
from Daring Fireball

Linette Lopez, writing for Business Insider:

Elon Musk has written a blog post explaining why he said last week on Twitter that he might take Tesla private at $420 a share. “Funding secured,” he declared in the tweet.

But after reading Musk’s new post, the only conclusion to be drawn is that funding was, in fact, not secured. And that could spell serious trouble for Musk.

Isn’t it abundantly clear that Musk’s tweet was reckless, and the last week has been Musk and Tesla’s board of directors desperately trying to do damage control?

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ifttt  daringfireball 
4 days ago by josephschmitt
Apple Removes Group FaceTime From iOS 12 and macOS Mojave, Says It'll Launch Later This Year - Mac Rumors
from Daring Fireball

Juli Clover, reporting for MacRumors:

In release notes for both macOS Mojave and iOS 12, Apple says the feature has been removed from the initial releases of macOS Mojave and iOS 12 and “will ship in a future software update later this fall.”

With the release of iOS 11, Apple also ended up delaying several features that were initially announced as part of the update until later in the year, including Apple Pay Cash, AirPlay 2, and Messages in iCloud, three significant iOS 11 features that did not come out until months after iOS 11 launched.

Right about now is the time when Apple needs to cut any features that won’t be ready in time for the iPhone launch next month.

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4 days ago by josephschmitt
Quote by Douglas Adams: “But the plans were on display…”“On display? I ...”
from Daring Fireball

From Douglas Adams’s Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy:

“But the plans were on display…”

“On display? I eventually had to go down to the cellar to find them.”

“That’s the display department.”

“With a flashlight.”

“Ah, well, the lights had probably gone.”

“So had the stairs.”

“But look, you found the notice, didn’t you?”

“Yes,” said Arthur, “yes I did. It was on display in the bottom of a locked filing cabinet stuck in a disused lavatory with a sign on the door saying ‘Beware of the Leopard’.”

DF reader Brian Ashe sent this, correctly pointing out that it pretty much nails Google’s approach to turning off location tracking.

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ifttt  daringfireball 
4 days ago by josephschmitt
McFeely: West Fargo man victim of 'vomit fraud,' and his wife found the video to prove it | WDAY
from Daring Fireball

Interesting story from Fargo, North Dakota:

“Vomit fraud” is a growing problem in many parts of the country. The Miami Herald reported this summer that multiple Uber passengers are filing lawsuits after drivers falsely charged passengers, claiming they had to clean up vomit, urine, blood and other bodily fluids.

The Marquarts also discovered the police treat the fraud as a civil matter instead of a criminal one because of the way the ride services write user agreements, so they don’t investigate. The Marquarts learned Lyft doesn’t appear overly concerned its drivers are committing fraud. They also don’t believe drivers who get caught face any repercussions.

Great detective work in this story, proving the Lyft driver had faked the “vomit”.

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ifttt  daringfireball 
4 days ago by josephschmitt

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