rufous + via:daringfireball   4608

Beer and water, ordered by text to your seat at Citizens Bank Park - Philly
Michael Klein, writing for Philly Insider:

Specifically, the concessionaire is testing the use of Apple Business Chat to allow iPhone-equipped fans in certain sections of the ballpark to order water and beer from their seats. The arrangement does not require a special app, as previous seat-delivery concepts have done. […]

To order, a fan would first open the iPhone camera app and scan the QR code on the seat back. That will launch prompts on the iMessage text screen to place the order, which is then completed with Apple Pay. The drink will be delivered supposedly shortly after.

Neat idea. The video shows a bit of the actual user interface.

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2 days ago by rufous
Project ‘Fuchsia’: Google Is Quietly Working on a Successor to Android - Bloomberg
Mark Bergen and Mark Gurman co-bylined a story on Fuchsia for Bloomberg. There’s not really much meat to it, and there’s a strange technical error which claims Linux “is distributed by Oracle Corp.” and “is at the center of a lengthy, bitter lawsuit between the two companies”. Oracle has no ownership over Linux whatsoever. The lawsuit is entirely about Google’s use of Java in Android — Oracle did take ownership of Java when they bought the remains of Sun.

Anyway, this was the most interesting tidbit to me:

The company must also settle some internal feuds. Some of the principles that Fuchsia creators are pursuing have already run up against Google’s business model. Google’s ads business relies on an ability to target users based on their location and activity, and Fuchsia’s nascent privacy features would, if implemented, hamstring this important business. There’s already been at least one clash between advertising and engineering over security and privacy features of the fledgling operating system, according to a person familiar with the matter. The ad team prevailed, this person said.

Not a problem engineers working on OSes at Apple or Microsoft have to worry about.

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via:daringfireball 
3 days ago by rufous
Disney is bringing back Star Wars: The Clone Wars - The Verge
Andrew Liptak, reporting for the The Verge:

During the 10th Anniversary Clone Wars panel at San Diego Comic-Con, creator and producer Dave Filoni announced that the show would return on Disney’s streaming service, finishing off the story that was widely considered to be left hanging after the show’s abrupt cancellation in 2013.

Great news I was not expecting. I think The Clone Wars was a far better show than Rebels, and it was kind of disgraceful how Disney let it end so abruptly. The Clone Wars deserves a proper final season.

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via:daringfireball 
3 days ago by rufous
Timing: the best automatic Mac time tracker for productive professionals and freelancers
My thanks to Timing for sponsoring this week’s DF RSS feed. Timing is a Mac app like no other I’ve ever seen. “Time-tracking” always feels like a chore, but not with Timing. It’s a lot like iOS 12’s upcoming Screen Time feature, but for the Mac. Timing automatically tracks which apps, documents, and websites you use — without start/stop timers. See how you spend your time, eliminate distracting activities, and revolutionize the way you bill clients.

And with the brand new sync feature, you’ll even see how much you’ve been working from home — it adds up more quickly than you think.

Stop worrying about time and focus on doing your best work instead. Download a free 14-day trial today and save 10 percent through the end of July.

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via:daringfireball 
3 days ago by rufous
The Bigs Are Starting to Accept the Unimaginable – Talking Points Memo
Josh Marshall, writing at TPM:

Sometimes it’s specific, some kind of corrupt alliance; other times it’s amorphous, some kind of inexplicable hold Putin has over Trump by force of personality. But the kind of people who never said this kind of thing are saying it now. Somehow the President is compromised. Putin has something on him; or he has tempted his avarice with something. But there’s simply no innocent explanation for what we’re seeing.

That’s the shift. The Monday press conference made cautious, prominent people start to come to grips with the reality that Donald Trump, as crazy as it sounds and as difficult as it may be to believe, is under some kind of influence or control by a foreign adversary power, whether by fear or avarice or some other factor.

As yet, there’s little difference of behavior from elected Republicans. And I don’t expect any. What veteran foreign policy or diplomatic hands say on CNN is not the most important thing. But I think they are indicators of a change, a change of perception I expect is occurring among many who can’t yet speak.

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3 days ago by rufous
'Fortnite: Battle Royale' Has Made Over $1 Billion As It Completely Dominates Video Game Streaming
Erik Kain, writing for Forbes:

Epic Games continues to dazzle the world of video games with the runaway success of the company’s free-to-play game Fortnite: Battle Royale. According to a new report from research firm SuperData, the game has now made over $1 billion since its release in October, 2017.

That’s roughly on par with a blockbuster movie like The Last Jedi. And remember, Fortnite is free-to-win: you can download and play completely free of charge and be at no disadvantage. Epic makes money only from selling cosmetic features like player skins and (I swear) dance moves. It’s fun and fair to play for free, and they charge money to make it a little more fun while keeping it fair for all.

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via:daringfireball 
3 days ago by rufous
MacBook Pro 2018 : Apple reconnaît en interne le vrai rôle du clavier modifié | MacGeneration
Interesting find by French site MacGeneration. Here’s the article in English, via Google Translate. (Side note: holy shit is Google Translate getting good — this still isn’t quite natural, but there are entire sentences with complex structure and punctuation that read perfectly.)

Here’s the relevant passage from the Apple service document MacGeneration obtained, which was in English:

Keyboard and Keycaps

The keyboard has a membrane under the keycaps to prevent debris from entering the butterfly mechanism. The procedure for the replacement has also changed from the previous model. Repair documentation and service videos will be available when keycaps parts begin shipping.

This is what I thought all along: the new third-generation keyboard was designed to better in every way, quieter and more durable, but Apple, for legal and/or marketing reasons, has decided only to tout that the new design is quieter.

For what it’s worth, I’ve heard from a little birdie or two that my take is correct. Whether this design does make the keyboards more durable and reliable, only time and real-world use will tell. But they were designed to be.

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3 days ago by rufous
Twitter
What a great hire for Apple. Serenity is one of the best writers on the Apple beat, with such a distinctive style, and she has gone from good to great as a podcaster. Lucky for me, she was just on my show just a few weeks ago. Will be a while before she is again (probably?).

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3 days ago by rufous
iOS 12 developer beta 4 requires device to be unlocked before connecting any USB accessories
Andrew O’Hara, AppleInsider:

The change in the latest beta of iOS 12 is building on USB Restricted Mode which disables the Lightning port of an iOS device one hour after last being unlocked. The Lightning port could still be used for charging, but no accessories would be able to function until unlocked.

In the fourth developer beta of iOS 12, a passcode is required any time a computer or USB accessory is connected.

Before the change, authorities or criminals would have an hour since last unlock to connect a cracking device, like the GreyKey box. Now, they don’t have that hour, making it that much more difficult to brute force a password attempt into a device.

So much for this loophole being hard for Apple to close.

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4 days ago by rufous
Mark Zuckerberg: The Recode interview - Recode
From a 90-minute podcast interview:

> **Zuckerberg:** Let me give you an example of where we would take > it down. In Myanmar or Sri Lanka, where there’s a history of > sectarian violence, similar to the tradition in the U.S. where you > can’t go into a movie theater and yell “Fire!” because that > creates an imminent harm. > > The principles that we have on what we remove from the service > are: If it’s going to result in real harm, real physical harm, or > if you’re attacking individuals, then that content shouldn’t be on > the platform. There’s a lot of categories of that that we can get > into, but then there’s broad debate. > > **Swisher:** Okay. “Sandy Hook didn’t happen” is not a debate. It > is false. You can’t just take that down? > > **Zuckerberg:** I agree that it is false. > > I also think that going to someone who is a victim of Sandy Hook > and telling them, “Hey, no, you’re a liar” — that is harassment, > and we actually will take that down. But overall, let’s take this > whole closer to home… > > I’m Jewish, and there’s a set of people who deny that the > Holocaust happened. I find that deeply offensive. But at the end > of the day, I don’t believe that our platform should take that > down because I think there are things that different people get > wrong. I don’t think that they’re intentionally getting it wrong, > but I think— > > **Swisher:** In the case of the Holocaust deniers, they might be, > but go ahead. > > **Zuckerberg:** It’s hard to impugn intent and to understand the > intent. I just think, as abhorrent as some of those examples are, > I think the reality is also that I get things wrong when I speak > publicly. I’m sure you do. I’m sure a lot of leaders and public > figures we respect do too, and I just don’t think that it is the > right thing to say, “We’re going to take someone off the platform > if they get things wrong, even multiple times.”

I’m sorry, but it is not hard at all to impugn the intent of Holocaust or Sandy Hook deniers. Not hard at all. The idea that these people are wrong but are making honest mistakes in good faith is nonsense. Facebook’s stance on this is genuinely detrimental to society. They’re offering a powerful platform that reaches the entire world to lunatics who previously were relegated to handing out mimeographs while spouting through a megaphone on a street corner.

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4 days ago by rufous
Undercover Facebook moderator was instructed not to remove fringe groups or hate speech - The Verge
Nick Statt, writing for The Verge:

The undercover journalist detailed his findings in a new documentary titled Inside Facebook: Secrets of the Social Network, that just aired on the UK’s Channel 4. The investigation outlines questionable practices on behalf of CPL Resources, a third-party content moderator firm based in Dublin, Ireland that Facebook has worked with since 2010.

Those questionable practices primarily involve a hands-off approach to flagged and reported content like graphic violence, hate speech, and racist and other bigoted rhetoric from far-right groups. The undercover reporter says he was also instructed to ignore users who looked as if they were under 13 years of age, which is the minimum age requirement to sign up for Facebook in accordance with the Child Online Protection Act, a 1998 privacy law passed in the US designed to protect young children from exploitation and harmful and violent content on the internet. The documentary insinuates that Facebook takes a hands-off approach to such content, including blatantly false stories parading as truth, because it engages users for longer and drives up advertising revenue.

Shocker.

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4 days ago by rufous
European Commission - PRESS RELEASES - Press release - Antitrust: Commission fines Google €4.34 billion for illegal practices regarding Android mobile devices to strengthen dominance of Google's search engine
European Commission press release:

The European Commission has fined Google €4.34 billion for breaching EU antitrust rules. Since 2011, Google has imposed illegal restrictions on Android device manufacturers and mobile network operators to cement its dominant position in general internet search.

That’s the largest fine in EU antitrust history.

In particular, Google:

has required manufacturers to pre-install the Google Search app and browser app (Chrome), as a condition for licensing Google’s app store (the Play Store);

made payments to certain large manufacturers and mobile network operators on condition that they exclusively pre-installed the Google Search app on their devices; and

has prevented manufacturers wishing to pre-install Google apps from selling even a single smart mobile device running on alternative versions of Android that were not approved by Google (so-called “Android forks”).

My first take on this is that Google ought to be able to do these things. I largely disagreed with the US antitrust case against Microsoft back in the ’90s too, and in broad strokes the charges are remarkably similar. Bundling IE with Windows and declaring the browser to be part of the OS was a big part of that case. I think it’s right that a modern OS has a built-in system browser.

What gets me, though, is Google’s decade-long hypocrisy about Android being “open”. What a pile of horseshit.

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4 days ago by rufous
James Bond™ Aston Martin DB5 - 10262 | Creator Expert | LEGO Shop
Among other gadgetry, it sports revolving number plates, retractable machine guns, and even a working ejector seat.

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4 days ago by rufous
Amazon continues to profit from the sale of white-supremacist propaganda, report says - The Washington Post
Tracy Jan, reporting earlier this month for The Washington Post:

Shoppers can purchase Amazon.com merchandise displaying symbols of white supremacy, such as a swastika necklace, a baby onesie with a burning cross, and a child’s backpack featuring a neo-Nazi meme, all in contradiction of the retail giant’s policy against selling products that promote hatred, according to a new report from two watchdog groups.

Trump argues that The Washington Post is, under Jeff Bezos’s ownership, a propaganda mouthpiece for Amazon. It simply doesn’t register with Trump that Bezos would even consider allowing the Post to remain utterly editorially independent.

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5 days ago by rufous
Uber executive Hornsey resigns in email to staff following discrimination probe | Reuters
Salvador Rodriguez, reporting last week for Reuters:

Uber Technologies Inc’s Chief People Officer Liane Hornsey resigned in an email to staff on Tuesday, following an investigation into how she handled allegations of racial discrimination at the ride-hailing firm. […]

They alleged Hornsey had used discriminatory language and made derogatory comments about Uber Global Head of Diversity and Inclusion Bernard Coleman, and had denigrated and threatened former Uber executive Bozoma Saint John, who left the company in June.

“This person ultimately was the reason behind (Saint John’s) departure from Uber,” the anonymous employees said in an email, referring to Hornsey.

Saint John joined Uber from Apple Inc in June, 2017 but left only a year later to join Endeavor, the parent company of several talent agencies. She declined to comment, telling Reuters by phone: “I don’t have anything to say about my experience there.”

I thought it was curious when Saint John left Uber after just one year. Uber’s company culture remains disgraceful.

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5 days ago by rufous
Steve Jobs told Rupert Murdoch Fox News is an “incredibly destructive force” | 9to5Mac
Steve Jobs, in a 2010 conversation with Rupert Murdoch, in which Jobs told Murdoch he was “blowing it with Fox News”:

“The axis today is not liberal and conservative, the axis is constructive-destructive, and you’ve cast your lot with the destructive people. Fox has become an incredibly destructive force in our society. You can be better, and this is going to be your legacy if you’re not careful.”

I thought this was interesting in light of my comments yesterday regarding the power that Murdoch, by way of Fox News, holds over Donald Trump’s presidency.

This line from Jobs — “The axis today is not liberal and conservative, the axis is constructive-destructive” — is truly the best summary of Trumpism I’ve seen. Trump supporters aren’t conservatives, they just want to see the liberal world order burn down.

(Thanks to Chloe Deguzman.)

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5 days ago by rufous
Michael Tsai - Blog - macOS 10.14 Mojave Removes Subpixel Anti-aliasing
I was a huge fan of sub-pixel anti-aliasing back in the day (and in fact still have it enabled on 10.13), but it matters far more on non-retina displays than retina ones. I think it’s proper for Apple to focus on retina displays — and iOS has never supported sub-pixel anti-aliasing, which I can only guess factored into this decision with the introduction of UIKit apps running on MacOS — but they’re still selling the non-retina MacBook Air. I won’t issue a final judgment until Mojave actually ships, but I suspect most Air users are going to think this makes text look blurrier.

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5 days ago by rufous
The Great Apple MacBook Pro Cover Up | iFixit
Sam Lionhart, writing for iFixit:

Here’s an inflammatory take for you: Apple’s new quieter keyboard is actually a silent scheme to fix their keyboard reliability issues. We’re in the middle of tearing down the newest MacBook Pro, but we’re too excited to hold this particular bit of news back:

Apple has cocooned their butterfly switches in a thin, silicone barrier.

I think it’s a stretch to call this a “cover-up” or “inflammatory”, but it certainly gives credence to the theory that improved reliability was in fact a major design goal for this keyboard.

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5 days ago by rufous
Michael Tsai - Blog - Supporting This Site
Michael Tsai:

I’ve been told this is overdue, but I’d like to ask you to help support this site financially. This is optional. I’m not creating a paywall, and I don’t want you to feel guilty if you aren’t able to help. But if you enjoy what I’m doing here, please consider joining via Patreon.

To be clear, I see this site as a labor of love. I’m not interested in making it more commercial or in giving up software development. I would like to keep it going more or less as it’s been: a personal site with a regular posting schedule. However, the writing does consume a substantial amount of my time, and I’m hoping that patronage will help me to justify that.

Tsai has long been one of my favorite bloggers and Mac developers. I conducted a long interview with Tsai back in 2003 — still an interesting read today. His blog is simply great, period — just look at how many great links are on his homepage right now — but where he truly stands apart are the times he assembles links to commentary from dozens of people on complex stories. Here’s a great example from last week on the updated MacBook Pros. I’m happy to support his continuing work.

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via:daringfireball 
5 days ago by rufous
Do you really need to properly eject a USB drive before yanking it out? | Popular Science
Rob Verger, writing for Popular Science:

Pull a USB flash drive out of your Mac without first clicking to eject it, and you’ll get a stern, shameful warning: “Disk Not Ejected Properly.”

But do you really need to eject a thumb drive the right way?

Probably not. Just wait for it to finish copying your data, give it a few seconds, then yank. To be on the cautious side, be more conservative with external hard drives, especially the old ones that actually spin.

That’s not the official procedure, nor the most conservative approach. And in a worst-case scenario, you risk corrupting a file or — even more unlikely — the entire storage device.

This is terrible advice. It’s akin to saying you probably don’t need to wear a seat belt because it’s unlikely anything bad will happen. Imagine a few dozen people saying they drive without a seat belt every day and nothing’s ever gone wrong, so it must be OK. (The breakdown in this analogy is that with seat belts, you know instantly when you need to be wearing one. With USB drives, you might not discover for months or years that you’ve got a corrupt file that was only partially written to disk when you yanked the drive.)

I see a bunch of “just pull out the drive and not worry about it” Mac users on Twitter celebrating this article, and I don’t get it. On the Mac you have to do something on screen when you eject a drive. Either you properly eject it before unplugging the drive — one click in the Finder sidebar — or you need to dismiss the alert you’ll get about having removed a drive that wasn’t properly ejected. Why not take the course of action that guarantees data integrity?

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via:daringfireball 
5 days ago by rufous
Apple, Google cashed in on Pizzagate-offshoot conspiracy app
NBC News:

An app promoting a conspiracy theory featuring Hillary Clinton and a child sex ring lingered at the top of Apple’s App Store and Google’s Play Store for months, with both tech giants receiving a cut of the revenue in the process.

The app, called “QDrops,” sends alerts about a conspiracy theory called Qanon, an offshoot of the “pizzagate” fiction that claimed Clinton was running a child sex trafficking ring out of the basement of a Washington pizza shop that didn’t even have a basement. Like many conspiracy theories, Qanon got its start on 4chan, an anonymous posting site that is a seedbed for extreme thought and a large number of online subcultures.

Apple removed the QDrops app from its app store on Sunday after inquiries from NBC News.

There’s a fine line between “right-wing news” and “dangerous conspiracies”, but App Store reviewers are there to make those calls. This is not a good look for Apple.

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via:daringfireball 
5 days ago by rufous
Apple celebrates World Emoji Day - Apple
Apple Newsroom:

More than 70 new emoji characters are coming to iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch and Mac later this year in a free software update. The new emoji designs, created based on approved characters in Unicode 11.0, include even more hair options to better represent people with red hair, gray hair and curly hair, a new emoji for bald people, and new smiley faces that bring more expression to Messages with a cold face, party face, pleading face and a face with hearts.

Apple is having some fun with their executive bio page too.

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via:daringfireball 
6 days ago by rufous
The Worst Case Scenario Has Been Obvious for a While – Talking Points Memo
Josh Marshall, writing at TPM:

There is no reasonable explanation for the simple facts we see other than that Russia has some kind of hold over President Trump.

I know that sounds wild and I have a very hard time sometimes quite believing it myself. But it’s so overwhelmingly obvious that we need to get real with ourselves and recognize what is happening. I don’t know what the specific details are. I don’t know whether Russia has some compromising information on the President, whether they have enticed him with personal enrichment. I truly don’t know. But none of the standard explanations — truculence, trolling, anger over questioning the legitimacy of his election — none of them remotely add up as an explanation. In the future, when we know more details, we will have a difficult time explaining how any serious people continued to think there could be an innocent explanation.

I don’t think it’s the infamous pee tape because even if real, the pee tape might not sink Trump. I think it’s money — that Trump’s entire company, and therefore his personal wealth, is held afloat entirely by Russian money and Putin could pull the plug on it with a snap of his fingers. But whatever it is, it seems clear there’s something they’ve got on him.

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via:daringfireball 
6 days ago by rufous
Fox Host Calls Trump’s Presser Performance ‘Disgusting,’ ‘Wrong’ – Talking Points Memo
TPM:

During his Fox Business Network show Monday, host Neil Cavuto called President Donald Trump’s failure to denounce Russian President Vladimir Putin for the Russian interference in the 2016 election “disgusting,” saying that the presser “set us back a lot.”

“That made it disgusting. That made his performance disgusting,” Cavuto said of Trump’s refusal to even criticize the Russian President. “Only way I feel. Not a right or left thing to me. It is wrong.”

I’ve been thinking for a few months now that the most powerful person in the world isn’t Trump or Putin but Rupert Murdoch. If Fox News turned against Trump — not against Republicans, not against conservatives, but only against Trump and his family — it would sink Trump’s presidency within months. Politically, Trump couldn’t breathe without the support of Fox News. Rupert Murdoch could make that happen.

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via:daringfireball 
6 days ago by rufous
Presidential debate: Hillary Clinton calls Donald Trump 'a puppet' for Vladimir Putin - YouTube
Hillary Clinton’s remarks during a 2016 debate on Donald Trump being a “puppet” of Vladimir Putin have proven depressingly spot-on. Everything she said in this clip has come to pass.

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6 days ago by rufous
close icon
Jonathan Swan and Mike Allen, reporting for Axios:

Over the course of the press conference, Trump:

Sided with Russia over his own law enforcement.

Turned a question on Russian election interference into a rambling dialogue on Hillary Clinton’s email server and his electoral college votes.

And stood by, nodding, while Putin repeatedly lied about election interference.

John McCain:

Today’s press conference in Helsinki was one of the most disgraceful performances by an American president in memory.

Garry Kasparov:

I’m ready to call this the darkest hour in the history of the American presidency. Let me know if you can think of any competition. […]

Trump’s “We’re all to blame” says it all. Attacking his own administration and flattering Putin. America First? A sick joke. Where are Trump’s supporters right now? Where are you? You fools and enablers selling out your country and the world for this traitor?

Chuck Schumer:

Chuck Schumer said on Monday that Americans are wondering if the “only explanation” for President Donald Trump’s performance alongside Vladimir Putin is that the Russian president “holds damaging information over President Trump.”

Former CIA director John O. Brennan:

Donald Trump’s press conference performance in Helsinki rises to and exceeds the threshold of “high crimes & misdemeanors.” It was nothing short of treasonous. Not only were Trump’s comments imbecilic, he is wholly in the pocket of Putin. Republican Patriots: Where are you???

Brennan served under Obama, yes, but no former CIA director has ever once come close to accusing a subsequent president as a traitor. It is time to accept the plain truth before our eyes: Donald Trump is a Russian puppet.

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6 days ago by rufous
The Andromeda Journey Continues - Thurrott.com
Brian Sams, writing at, uh, “Thurrott”:

As of last year, Microsoft planned to ship Andromeda in late 2018 but as recently as a couple weeks ago, the company put the plans on ice. Mary Jo wrote last week that the bits needed for Andromeda would not make it into RS5 and she is absolutely correct in her assessment but there is more to the story. While some assumed that this means that the project is dead, what Microsoft is actually doing is sending it back to the labs to be significantly reworked.

And this makes sense, seeing as it would use an ARM processor, the best it could use this fall would be the Snapdragon 835, a chip that is from yesterday. We know that Qualcomm is working on new chips designed explicitly for PCs and it could arrive as early as the beginning of next year.

It is impossible to overstate how important Apple’s A-series chip development has been to the success of the iPhone and iPad. It allows them to evolve at Apple’s own pace. Qualcomm seemingly can’t keep up, and everyone else is dependent upon Qualcomm for high-end ARM chips. Apple’s current position in the mobile space is like if Microsoft and Intel had been rolled into one back in the PC heyday.

The problem that Microsoft has run into is that the Surface brand is now a premium product line and that they can’t risk releasing anything that will tarnish its reputation. If Andromeda were to be released and it was a complete flop, this could reflect negatively on the Surface brand and impact products like the Pro line that sell quite well.

I don’t buy this excuse at all. It’s not about the Surface brand (the esteem of which I think Sams overstates). It’s just a product that isn’t ready to go. There’s no shame in that — a foldable tablet that can fit in your pocket could be great but would be really hard to do well today given current display and battery technologies. I think a concept like this needs to be closer to the tablets the characters on Westworld use.

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6 days ago by rufous
Build-A-Bear 'Pay Your Age Day' chaos is sign of success - Business Insider
I love it when an honest, accurate, non-sensationalized headline is enough to make you laugh.

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9 days ago by rufous
Bhutan Travel: Kingdom of the Clouds Tour
My thanks to Gray Langur Tours for sponsoring this week’s DF RSS feed. Gray Langur’s Kingdom of the Clouds Tour is a once-in-a-lifetime, all-inclusive, 2-week exploration of one of the world’s least accessible, yet astonishingly forward-thinking countries. Bhutan is the the only place where “Gross National Happiness” is more important than Gross National Product, and tourism is regulated with care.

On October 16, 2018, Gray Langur Tours will return to this fascinating Himalayan Kingdom for the third annual Royal Highlander Festival. Last year’s tour was a smashing success, and guests even got to meet Bhutan’s king.

An exotic location — the last surviving great Himalayan kingdom — with truly expert guides. Check out their website and see just how amazing Bhutan is. Gray Langur was founded by Gabriel Cubbage, who until recently was the CEO of AdBlock and whom I’ve known personally for over 10 years. He’s a great guy. I would love to hear from DF readers who take this tour (or who took last year’s tour).

Availability is extremely limited. Daring Fireball readers can use the code DARINGFIREBALL for a 10% discount.

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10 days ago by rufous
Magic Leap Finally Demoed Its Headset And It Is... Disappointing - Digg
I’ve long been suspicious that the reason Magic Leap is so secretive about their actual technology is that it’s nowhere close to what they promised in their concept videos. This seems to confirm it.

I’ll go out on a limb and predict that this puff piece from Wired back in December — “It’s Time to Take Magic Leap Seriously” — is not going to age well.

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11 days ago by rufous
This $39 Device Can Defeat iOS USB Restricted Mode | ElcomSoft blog
Oleg Afonin, writing for the ElcomSoft blog:

What we discovered is that iOS will reset the USB Restrictive Mode countdown timer even if one connects the iPhone to an untrusted USB accessory, one that has never been paired to the iPhone before (well, in fact the accessories do not require pairing at all). In other words, once the police officer seizes an iPhone, he or she would need to immediately connect that iPhone to a compatible USB accessory to prevent USB Restricted Mode lock after one hour. Importantly, this only helps if the iPhone has still not entered USB Restricted Mode.

Most (if not all) USB accessories fit the purpose — for example, Lightning to USB 3 Camera Adapter from Apple.

They think this might be tricky for Apple to fix:

Can Apple change it in future versions of iOS? To us, it seems highly unlikely simply because of the humongous amount of MFi devices that aren’t designed to support such a change. Theoretically, iOS could remember which devices were connected to the iPhone, and only allow those accessories to establish connectivity without requiring an unlock — but that’s about all we can think of.

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11 days ago by rufous
10 years of the App Store: The design evolution of the earliest apps | 9to5Mac
Michael Steeber, writing for 9to5Mac:

Few contemporary innovations have changed how we live our lives and interact with the world around us more than iPhone apps. The creators of the first 500 available at launch had the unique opportunity of shaping the design direction and interaction methods of the millions of apps created since.

To celebrate the App Store’s 10th anniversary, let’s study the visual evolution of 10 original App Store apps.

Another great look back. Steeber selected a great group of apps from 2008 that are still going strong, and perfectly illustrates their design evolutions.

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11 days ago by rufous
The App Store turns 10 - Apple
There have been a slew of retrospectives marking the 10-year anniversary of the App Store, but Apple’s own is the most interesting I’ve seen.

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11 days ago by rufous
Former Apple Employee Charged With Theft of Trade Secrets Related to Autonomous Car Project - Mac Rumors
Juli Clover, writing for MacRumors:

In April 2018, Zhang took family leave from Apple following the birth of his child, and during that time, he visited China. Shortly after, he told his supervisor at Apple he was leaving the company and moving to China to work for XMotors, a Chinese startup that also focuses on autonomous vehicle technology. […]

A review of recorded footage at Apple indicated Zhang had visited the campus on the evening of Saturday, April 28, entering both Apple’s autonomous vehicle software and hardware labs, which coincided with data download times, and he left with a box of hardware.

In a second interview with Apple’s security team, Zhang admitted to taking both online data and hardware (a Linux server and circuit boards) from Apple during his paternity leave. He also admitted to AirDropping sensitive content from his own device to his wife’s laptop.

All of Apple’s evidence was relayed to the FBI after the company’s Digital Forensic Investigations team discovered that at least 60 percent of the data Zhang had downloaded and transferred to his wife’s computer was “highly problematic.” The FBI, in the court filing, describes the information as “largely technical in nature, including engineering schematics, technical reference manuals, and technical reports.”

Holy shit.

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via:daringfireball 
12 days ago by rufous
Apple combines machine learning and Siri teams under Giannandrea – TechCrunch
Matthew Panzarino, writing at TechCrunch:

Apple is creating a new AI/ML team that brings together its Core ML and Siri teams under one leader in John Giannandrea.

Apple confirmed this morning that the combined Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning team, which houses Siri, will be led by the recent hire, who came to Apple this year after an eight-year stint at Google, where he led the Machine Intelligence, Research and Search teams. Before that he founded Metaweb Technologies and Tellme.

The internal structures of the Siri and Core ML teams will remain the same, but they will now answer to Giannandrea.

This exactly what I expected after they announced the hiring of Giannandrea. It takes Siri and ML off Craig Federighi’s plate, and allows Giannandrea to report directly to Tim Cook.

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via:daringfireball 
12 days ago by rufous
Exclusive: Apple to deploy 1Password to all 123,000 employees, acquisition talks underway – BGR
Jonathan Geller, writing at BGR:

Apple acquires an average of 15 to 20 companies a year, according to CEO Tim Cook. Of that number, we only hear about a couple, as most of these acquisitions or aqcui-hires are not consumer-facing, nor disclosed. However, we have exclusively learned that Apple is planning an interesting partnership and a potential acquisition of AgileBits, maker of the popular password manager 1Password.

According to our source, after many months of planning, Apple plans to deploy 1Password internally to all 123,000 employees. This includes not just employees in Cupertino, but extends all the way to retail, too. Furthermore, the company is said to have carved out a deal that includes family plans, giving up to 5 family members of each employee a free license for 1Password.

Great news and a resounding endorsement of 1Password for AgileBits. But if Apple thinks 1Password is this good, an acquisition seems like an obvious next step.

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via:daringfireball 
13 days ago by rufous
Apple releases iOS 11.4.1 and blocks passcode cracking tools used by police - The Verge
Chris Welch, writing for The Verge:

Apple today released iOS 11.4.1, and while most of us are already looking ahead to all the new stuff coming in iOS 12, this small update contains an important new security feature: USB Restricted Mode. Apple has added protections against the USB devices being used by law enforcement and private companies that connect over Lightning to crack an iPhone’s passcode and evade Apple’s usual encryption safeguards.

Great news and an elegant solution.

 ★ 
via:daringfireball 
13 days ago by rufous
302 Found
Jean-Louis Gassée:

Just as old Cultures can no longer “see” their origins, Intel pushed under its consciousness the true source of the x86’s superiority: The margins it commanded through the Windows monopoly. Better manufacturing technology became Intel’s “conscious” explanation, but the truth was that in the PC era, non-Windows microprocessors simply couldn’t compete and had to settle for lower prices. The worst part of the Culture dictate is that Intel believed its own story, at least until it stopped working as interlopers such as TSMC came up with competitive technology. How else to explain their sale of their ARM-centered Xscale to Marvell in 2006?

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via:daringfireball 
14 days ago by rufous
How Smart TVs in Millions of U.S. Homes Track More Than What’s On Tonight - The New York Times
Sapna Maheshwari, writing for The New York Times:

Once enabled, Samba TV can track nearly everything that appears on the TV on a second-by-second basis, essentially reading pixels to identify network shows and ads, as well as programs on Netflix and HBO and even video games played on the TV. Samba TV has even offered advertisers the ability to base their targeting on whether people watch conservative or liberal media outlets and which party’s presidential debate they watched.

The big draw for advertisers — which have included Citi and JetBlue in the past, and now Expedia — is that Samba TV can also identify other devices in the home that share the TV’s internet connection.

Creepy as hell. No thanks.

 ★ 
via:daringfireball 
14 days ago by rufous
Apple's AirPods and Live Listen are a revolution for the hearing impaired — Quartz
Looking forward to more stories like this once iOS 12 is out of beta.

 ★ 
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14 days ago by rufous
BBC - Jonathan Ross - In Search of Steve Ditko, part 1 of 7 - YouTube
Steve Ditko, the reclusive co-creator of Spider-Man and Dr. Strange, died yesterday at 90. This documentary from around 10 years ago for the BBC by Jonathan Ross is a terrific look at his life and work.

 ★ 
via:daringfireball 
15 days ago by rufous
Samsung Estimates Operating-Profit Growth at 5%, Short of Expectations - WSJ
Timothy Martin, reporting for The Wall Street Journal:

Sales of the company’s latest flagship device, the Galaxy S9, have been weak, as consumers keep their phones longer and remain unimpressed with the newest options.

Lee Seung-woo, a Seoul-based analyst at Eugene Investment and Securities, expects Samsung will ship about 31 million Galaxy S9 devices in 2018. That would mark a dramatic decline from just two years ago, when the Galaxy S7 became Samsung’s best-selling phone ever, with roughly 50 million shipments.

Imagine the hysteria if flagship iPhone sales dropped 40 percent in two years.

I’m not so sure that the S9 is particularly “unimpressive” compared to previous Samsung phones so much as that other high-end Android handsets have caught up. I think what’s happening to Samsung is what many thought would happen to the iPhone circa 2013 — they’re losing sales to “good enough” phones from a dozen other Android makers from around the world. Even the high-end Android market is turning into a commodity market.

iOS is the moat that separates Apple from the pack, just like MacOS is in the PC market. Samsung doesn’t really have a moat. If anything, their proprietary software is worse than the off-the-shelf Android from Google. What’s the argument for buying an S9 instead of, say, a Pixel or OnePlus or whatever else has a great display and camera?

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via:daringfireball 
15 days ago by rufous
Twitter is sweeping out fake accounts like never before, putting user growth at risk
Craig Timberg and Elizabeth Dwoskin, reporting for The Washington Post:

Twitter has sharply escalated its battle against fake and suspicious accounts, suspending more than 1 million a day in recent months, a major shift to lessen the flow of disinformation on the platform, according to data obtained by The Washington Post.

The rate of account suspensions, which Twitter confirmed to The Post, has more than doubled since October, when the company revealed under congressional pressure how Russia used fake accounts to interfere in the U.S. presidential election. Twitter suspended more than 70 million accounts in May and June, and the pace has continued in July, according to the data.

I understand that “monthly active users” count has been a major metric that investors have used to value Twitter. But it’s a failure of Twitter’s executive team that they allowed the company to painted into a corner where the company benefitted by looking the other way at large scale fraud because of an inflated “user” count.

Twitter’s executives should’ve started hammering home the point years ago that monthly active users is a legitimate metric, but monthly active accounts is not, and that in fact fake accounts are detrimental to the health of Twitter’s social network. Better late than never, but this should’ve started years ago.

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15 days ago by rufous
Scott Pruitt Wasn’t Corrupt Enough for Trumpistan
Rick Wilson, writing at The Daily Beast:

Donald Trump is unequivocal proof that A’s hire B’s and B’s hire C’s, and Trump hires people without the judgment, qualifications, ethical foundations, and moral stature to run an underground bum-fighting operation. Scott Pruitt’s obvious money problems should have screamed out in any background check, to say nothing of a Senate confirmation hearing.

Pruitt is a man, like so many of Trump’s claque of low-rent hoodlums, bus-station conmen, edge-case dead-enders, and caged-immigrant child porn aficionados, utterly unsuited to a role of public trust and responsibility.

I enjoy a column that works “bum-fighting” and “claque” into consecutive paragraphs.

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via:daringfireball 
17 days ago by rufous
Apple Passes Over Intel in Search for Chips for a Future iPhone - Ctech
Yoav Stoler, reporting for Israeli news site CTech:

Intel will not provide 5G modems for Apple’s 2020 mobile devices, according to internal company communications reviewed by Calcalist, and people familiar with the matter. Apple has notified Intel it would not use a mobile modem developed by the chipmaker in its next-generation mobile device, Intel executives said in the communications. Further development of the modem component internally called “Sunny Peak” has been halted and the Intel team that’s working on the product will be redirected to other efforts, the executives said.

Watching Intel in the mobile space is like watching someone try to start a fire with a wet matchbook.

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via:daringfireball 
17 days ago by rufous
How the Disposable Straw Explains Modern Capitalism - The Atlantic
Alexis Madrigal on the history of the disposable drinking straw. Fascinating — seriously.

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17 days ago by rufous
News media paid Melania Trump thousands for use of photos in 'positive stories only'
NBC News:

President Donald Trump’s most recent financial disclosure reveals that in 2017 the first lady earned at least $100,000 from Getty Images for the use of any of a series of 187 photos of the first family shot between 2010 and 2016 by Belgian photographer Regine Mahaux.

It’s not unheard of for celebrities to earn royalties from photos of themselves, but it’s very unusual for the wife of a currently serving elected official. More problematic for the many news organizations that have published or broadcast the images, however, is that Getty’s licensing agreement stipulates the pictures can be used in “positive stories only.”

The non-stop grift continues.

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via:daringfireball 
20 days ago by rufous
Apple's Rumored 18W USB-C iPhone Power Adapter Prototype Shown Off in New Photos - Mac Rumors
Eric Slivka, writing for MacRumors:

Recent rumors and CAD renderings have suggested Apple may be planning to include an 18-watt USB-C charger and a Lightning to USB cable in the box with its iOS devices later this year, allowing for faster charging without requiring users to purchase separate charging accessories at additional cost.

Moving to a single 18-watt adapter for iPhones and iPads makes a lot of sense. Wired charging for the fastest charge, inductive charging pads for the most convenient.

Also, I know a lot of people — including me — thought Apple should’ve included a faster adapter last year because the iPhones X and 8 support fast charging. But when I last mentioned this, I heard from a slew of readers who prefer the 5-watt iPhone charger because it’s smaller.

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via:daringfireball 
20 days ago by rufous
302 Found
Steven Sinofsky:

So first thing, if innovation is focused on first and foremost being proprietary vs solving problems people have, then I think you’ll always run into trouble.

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via:daringfireball 
20 days ago by rufous
The Talk Show ✪: Ep. 225, With Special Guest Matthew Panzarino
Special guest Matthew Panzarino returns to the show to talk about his exclusive behind-the-scenes look at the new maps coming to Apple Maps, Google’s project Duplex, and the MacBook keyboard repair program.

Brought to you by:

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Hullo Pillow: Your favorite pillow, guaranteed.

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 ★ 
via:daringfireball 
21 days ago by rufous
Apple is rebuilding Maps from the ground up – TechCrunch
Matthew Panzarino, writing at TechCrunch:

I’m not sure if you’re aware, but the launch of Apple Maps went poorly. After a rough first impression, an apology from the CEO, several years of patching holes with data partnerships and some glimmers of light with long-awaited transit directions and improvements in business, parking and place data, Apple Maps is still not where it needs to be to be considered a world class service.

Maps needs fixing.

Apple, it turns out, is aware of this, so it’s re-building the maps part of Maps.

It’s doing this by using first-party data gathered by iPhones with a privacy-first methodology and its own fleet of cars packed with sensors and cameras. The new product will launch in San Francisco and the Bay Area with the next iOS 12 Beta and will cover Northern California by fall.

Panzarino was granted some extraordinary access, including an interview with Eddy Cue and a ride in one of Apple’s sensor-packed street vans.

See also: “Questions About Apple’s New Maps, Answered”.

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via:daringfireball 
23 days ago by rufous
Apple Eyes Streaming Bundle for TV, Music and News — The Information
Jessica Toonkel, reporting for The Information:

Apple is considering creating a single subscription offering that would encompass its original TV shows, music service and magazine articles, two people familiar with the company’s plans told The Information.

Such an ambitious offering would bear some similarity to Amazon’s Prime service, which spans video, music and some news. Yet it would be sharply different from many other subscription media services, which tend to be focused on one specific entertainment area.

I have no inside information on this, but as I’ve argued here, a single “content” subscription from Apple makes sense.

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via:daringfireball 
24 days ago by rufous
Inside Facebook and Twitter’s secret meetings with Trump aides and conservative leaders who say tech is biased - The Washington Post
Tony Romm, reporting for The Washington Post:

Dorsey hoped to use the dinner as a way to build “trust” among conservatives who have long chastised the company, three of the people said. He defended Twitter against accusations that it targeted right-leaning users unfairly but still admitted that the company has room for improvement, according to the attendees.

In response, the Twitter executive heard an earful from conservatives gathered at the table, who scoffed at the fact that Dorsey runs a platform that’s supposed to be neutral even though he’s tweeted about issues like immigration, gay rights and national politics. They also told Dorsey that the tech industry’s efforts to improve diversity — after years of criticism for maintaining a largely white, male workforce — should focus on hiring engineers with more diverse political viewpoints as well, according to those who dined with him in D.C.

Two points on this. First, statistically, you can’t increase the number of non-whites and women without skewing your workforce to the left politically. Look at the exit poll numbers from 2016:

Race: Blacks, Hispanics, and Asians went heavily for Clinton, whites went for Trump.

Sex: Women went for Clinton, men went for Trump.

LGBT voters went for Clinton by 78-14.

Education: College grads went for Clinton, non-college grads for Trump.

There’s no way around it: increasing the number of employees who aren’t straight white men is at odds with the notion of increasing the number “with more diverse political viewpoints”, if by “diverse political viewpoints” you mean “people who voted for Trump”. And even among white men, Trump was only +4 among those with college degrees.

Second, how in the world would tech companies go about hiring based on political viewpoints? By asking job candidates who they voted for? That seems like a terrible idea and likely illegal.

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via:daringfireball 
25 days ago by rufous
Apple, Samsung settle U.S. patent dispute | Reuters
Stephen Nellis, reporting for Reuters:

Apple Inc and Samsung Electronics Co Ltd on Wednesday settled a seven-year patent dispute over Apple’s allegations that Samsung violated its patents by “slavishly” copying the design of the iPhone. Terms of the settlement, filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, were not available.

In May, a U.S. jury awarded Apple $539 million, after Samsung had previously paid Apple $399 million to compensate for patent infringement. Samsung would need to make an additional payment to Apple of nearly $140 million if the verdict was upheld. How much, if anything, Samsung must now pay Apple under Wednesday’s settlement could not immediately be learned.

Here’s one that legitimately deserves to be filed under “Finally” — Apple first began litigating this 7 years ago.

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via:daringfireball 
25 days ago by rufous
Watch Apple CEO Tim Cook Speak at Fortune’s CEO Initiative - YouTube
Really interesting interview, with Cook giving his perspective on how he views his job as CEO. (Kind of goes off the rails at the very end, when they take a few questions from the audience. Questions from the audience almost never go well — they interrupt the conversational flow.)

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via:daringfireball 
26 days ago by rufous
macOS Mojave: Back to the Mac - Six Colors
Long, detailed look at Mac OS 10.14 Mojave from Jason Snell:

Personally, I’m more excited about macOS Mojave than any recent macOS beta. The new dark mode alone is a huge change in what we have come to think of as the Mac interface, and the changes to Finder have an awful lot of potential. I’m also really happy to be able to control my HomeKit devices directly from my Mac, either via the Home app or Siri.

I’m really excited about the improved Automator support in the Finder. It’s a real “This is what makes the Mac the Mac” feature.

 ★ 
via:daringfireball 
26 days ago by rufous
iOS 12 Beta: Our Favorite Tidbits and Hidden Features (So Far) – MacStories
Federico Viticci:

Previously available only on 3D Touch-enabled iPhones or with a two-finger swipe on the iPad’s keyboard, trackpad mode can be activated in a much easier way in iOS 12: just tap & hold on the space bar until the keyboard becomes a trackpad. This mode (seemingly inspired by Gboard and other custom keyboards with a similar implementation) gives owners of iPhones without 3D Touch a way to more precisely control the cursor in text fields. Those who follow Apple rumors claim this feature has been shipped in preparation for a new iPhone without 3D Touch later this year; for now, it’s just a nice way to toggle trackpad mode if you’re using an iPhone 5s, SE, or 6.

One of my favorite features in iOS — once you get in the habit of using it, you can’t go back.

 ★ 
via:daringfireball 
26 days ago by rufous
Marzipan as a Path to ARM Based Macs
Gus Mueller:

Apple has dropped legacy frameworks very easily in the past though. But how exactly did that happen?

CPU changes. Once when MacOS went from PPC to Intel, and then once when MacOS went from 32 bit to 64 bit. Each time that transition happened Apple was able to say “OK, this legacy stuff just isn’t going to be there on the new architecture”. And since you had to recompile apps anyway to make them run on the new architecture, developers kind of shrugged and said “Well, yea. That’s what I would have done too”. It made sense.

So are we about to see 128 bit Intel processors anytime soon, to facilitate this change? I doubt it.

OK then, what about a new architecture?

Oh. Hello 64 bit ARM.

 ★ 
via:daringfireball 
26 days ago by rufous
Welcome to IGTV – Instagram
Instagram:

Today, we have two big announcements to share. First, Instagram is now a global community of one billion! Since our launch in 2010, we’ve watched with amazement as the community has flourished and grown. This is a major accomplishment — so from all of us at Instagram, thank you!

Second, we’re announcing our most exciting feature to date: IGTV, a new app for watching long-form, vertical video from your favorite Instagram creators, like LaurDIY posting her newest project or King Bach sharing his latest comedy skit. While there’s a stand-alone IGTV app, you’ll also be able to watch from within the Instagram app so the entire community of one billion can use it from the very start.

Vertical video just seems weird to me, but I wouldn’t bet against IGTV. As Kevin Systrom succinctly explained on stage at the event introducing IGTV, teenagers consume video differently, and for many, the phone is their most important screen for watching video. Instagram has built up its own universe of celebrities. It feels like Instagram is to today’s teens what MTV was to my generation.

 ★ 
via:daringfireball 
26 days ago by rufous
Two Keyboards at a Bar – Rands in Repose
Michael Lopp:

The bar is full. Two keyboards sit at the bar: APPLE EXTENDED II and MACBOOK PRO. The front door opens, TOUCHBAR looks around, sees the two keyboards at the bar, grins, and heads their direction. Skipping.

APPLE EXTENDED II sits at the bar nursing a Macallan 18. Next to him is MACBOOK PRO who has not taken a sip of his glass of water.

I enjoyed this so much.

 ★ 
via:daringfireball 
26 days ago by rufous
Apple News launches 2018 Midterm Elections section - Apple
Apple Newsroom:

“Today more than ever people want information from reliable sources, especially when it comes to making voting decisions,” said Lauren Kern, editor-in-chief of Apple News. “An election is not just a contest; it should raise conversations and spark national discourse. By presenting quality news from trustworthy sources and curating a diverse range of opinions, Apple News aims to be a responsible steward of those conversations and help readers understand the candidates and the issues.”

Curation has been a guiding principle across Apple News since launch, with a team of editors focused on discovering and spotlighting well-sourced fact-based stories to provide readers with relevant, reliable news and information from a wide range of publishers.

“Well-sourced fact-based stories” — that’s pretty clearly meant as a fundamental point of distinction from Facebook and Twitter’s algorithmic news feeds. I find myself using Apple News a lot, and feel like Daring Fireball is overdue to support it better.

 ★ 
via:daringfireball 
26 days ago by rufous
Apple admits its computers are broken | The Outline
Casey Johnston, writing for The Outline:

Apple did not immediately return a request from this reporter for comments on whether repairs may now be done on site at stores to shorten the time customers must be without their computers; whether the keyboard design has changed such that a repair may eliminate the problem rather than prop up a faulty design; or whether Apple anticipates releasing updated hardware that is not so prone to failure at any point in the future. Perhaps their keyboards, too, are broken.

I can’t recall any Apple related story that one writer has owned the way Johnston has owned this MacBook keyboard story.

 ★ 
via:daringfireball 
29 days ago by rufous
Keyboard Service Program for MacBook and MacBook Pro - Apple Support
New Apple support document:

Apple has determined that a small percentage of the keyboards in certain MacBook and MacBook Pro models may exhibit one or more of the following behaviors:

Letters or characters repeat unexpectedly

Letters or characters do not appear

Key(s) feel “sticky” or do not respond in a consistent manner

Apple or an Apple Authorized Service Provider will service eligible MacBook and MacBook Pro keyboards, free of charge. The type of service will be determined after the keyboard is examined and may involve the replacement of one or more keys or the whole keyboard.

If you’ve paid for service that seems like it should have been covered by this program, you should get in touch with Apple.

 ★ 
via:daringfireball 
4 weeks ago by rufous
Why Apple’s AirPower Wireless Charger Is Taking So Long to Make - Bloomberg
Mark Gurman, in a Bloomberg piece headlined “Why Apple’s AirPower Wireless Charger Is Taking So Long to Make”:

An executive at an Apple partner that manufactures third-party wireless chargers for iPhones, who asked not to be identified, said the multi-device charging mechanism is challenging to build because it likely requires different sized charging components for the three types of devices, which would all overlap across the mat.

The AirPower charger is also more advanced than the current competition because it includes a custom Apple chip running a stripped down version of the iOS mobile operating system to conduct on-device power management and pairing with devices. Apple engineers have also been working to squash bugs related to the on-board firmware, according to the people familiar. They asked not to be identified discussing a product that hasn’t been released yet.

Why in the world did they announce this last September when they clearly still aren’t close to shipping it today?

 ★ 
via:daringfireball 
4 weeks ago by rufous
Inside Trials of Johnny Depp: Lawsuits, Drinking, Marriage Gone Wrong - Rolling Stone
Stephen Rodrick, writing for Rolling Stone:

“My son had to hear about how his old man lost all his money from kids at school, that’s not right,” says Depp. He rubs his eyes with his tobacco-stained hands. He says one of the proudest moments of his life was when Jack said he’d started a band and Depp asked what they were called.

“The kid says ‘Clown Boner.’” Depp smiles proudly. “We don’t need a paternity test. That’s my kid.”

 ★ 
via:daringfireball 
4 weeks ago by rufous
Apple TV: How Apple will roll out its new TV service | Macworld
Jason Snell, writing at Macworld:

So this time I’m going to try something different. I am going to force myself to make those hard decisions, as if I were an Apple executive. What do I think is the most likely course of action for Apple’s service? It’s time to stop hedging and risk being dead wrong in public. (The good news is, if I make bad decisions, more than a billion dollars in content investment won’t go to waste.)

He thinks they’ll charge separately from Apple Music, but offer a bundle of the two for one price. I could see that.

 ★ 
via:daringfireball 
4 weeks ago by rufous
Google Podcasts launches for Android with personalized recommendations - The Verge
It’s a simple enough app, and seemingly has a good index of podcasts to search for. But the playback interface is a bit spartan — they keep the album art way too small. Anyway, this seems like a well-deserved finally — Apple dominates the podcast playback landscape in a way that is vastly disproportionate to iOS’s market share, and all the while Google has been just sitting on the sidelines.

 ★ 
via:daringfireball 
4 weeks ago by rufous
Verizon and AT&T will stop selling your phone’s location to data brokers | Ars Technica
Jon Brodkin, writing for Ars Technica:

Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) recently urged all four major carriers to stop the practice, and today he published responses he received from Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile USA, and Sprint.

Wyden’s statement praised Verizon for “taking quick action to protect its customers’ privacy and security,” but he criticized the other carriers for not making the same promise.

“After my investigation and follow-up reports revealed that middlemen are selling Americans’ location to the highest bidder without their consent or making it available on insecure Web portals, Verizon did the responsible thing and promptly announced it was cutting these companies off,” Wyden said. “In contrast, AT&T, T-Mobile, and Sprint seem content to continuing to sell their customers’ private information to these shady middle men, Americans’ privacy be damned.”

AT&T changed its stance shortly after Wyden’s statement.

A sign of life from the Senate.

 ★ 
via:daringfireball 
4 weeks ago by rufous
How the Trump administration is defending its indefensible child separation policy.
Dahlia Lithwick, writing for Slate:

The Trump administration is playing a game of choose your own facts, but every single version of this story ends with screaming children in cages.

Great rundown on the utter incoherence of the Trump administration’s messaging on this disgraceful policy.

 ★ 
via:daringfireball 
4 weeks ago by rufous
Thinky Bits: Introducing Kotoba: Collect Words You Want to...
I love dictionaries. For as long as I can remember, I’ve made a habit of looking up every single word I encounter that I don’t know or am even unsure about. The fact that MacOS and iOS have built-in dictionaries that you can invoke via a contextual menu item is one of my favorite features of both OSes. Part of that is the extraordinary convenience, and part is that both systems use the same excellent source: New Oxford American Dictionary. (MacOS also includes the excellent Oxford American Writer’s Thesaurus.)

But MacOS goes one step further (dating back to its roots as NeXTStep) — it has a built-in Dictionary app, too. I’ve wanted an app like this on iOS since the original iPhone. The App Store is replete with dictionary apps, but most of them are junk. I just want a simple one that uses the system dictionary. My friend Will Hains, who among other things runs the excellent @DFStyleguide Twitter account, shared that desire and went ahead and made one. It’s called Kotoba. It’s been on my first home screen for over two years now.

The catch: App Store guidelines disallow using the built-in system dictionary to create a dictionary app (I presume due to licensing issues with Apple’s dictionary partners?), so you can’t get it from the App Store. Hains released it as open source, though, so if you have a developer account, you can build and install it yourself.

Bonus Catch: Kotoba currently crashes on iOS (including beta 2, released earlier today). Radar.

 ★ 
via:daringfireball 
4 weeks ago by rufous
Oppo’s Find X ditches the notch for pop-up cameras - The Verge
The pop-up cameras are certainly an original idea (but not a good one), but it’s jaw-dropping how much Oppo (apparently pronounced “OH-poe”) made their “Color OS” Android skin look like iOS, from the home screen to the camera app. This looks nothing like stock Android as seen on a Pixel.

 ★ 
via:daringfireball 
4 weeks ago by rufous
Elon Musk email: Employee conducted 'extensive and damaging sabotage'
Elon Musk, in a company-wide email:

The full extent of his actions are not yet clear, but what he has admitted to so far is pretty bad. His stated motivation is that he wanted a promotion that he did not receive. In light of these actions, not promoting him was definitely the right move.

However, there may be considerably more to this situation than meets the eye, so the investigation will continue in depth this week. We need to figure out if he was acting alone or with others at Tesla and if he was working with any outside organizations.

As you know, there are a long list of organizations that want Tesla to die. These include Wall Street short-sellers, who have already lost billions of dollars and stand to lose a lot more. Then there are the oil & gas companies, the wealthiest industry in the world — they don’t love the idea of Tesla advancing the progress of solar power & electric cars. Don’t want to blow your mind, but rumor has it that those companies are sometimes not super nice. Then there are the multitude of big gas/diesel car company competitors. If they’re willing to cheat so much about emissions, maybe they’re willing to cheat in other ways?

This story is crazy.

 ★ 
via:daringfireball 
4 weeks ago by rufous
Apple has hired Oprah Winfrey to create original content for Apple TV - Recode
Peter Kafka, writing for Recode in the wake of Apple’s content deal with Oprah Winfrey:

Some industry observers expect Apple to make some or all of the content available for free for users of Apple’s TV app, which Apple first introduced as a would-be TV guide/hub a couple years ago, and is installed by default on all of its devices. Apple has told some industry executives it intends to strengthen that hub by making it a focal point to sell subscriptions to other companies’ TV services, as Amazon already does.

Other watchers are convinced Apple will bundle all of its content into a very big subscription service, which would include Apple Music, along with other benefits like AppleCare.

Most interesting and confusing to me: One TV executive who has talked to Apple tells me Apple says it intends to sell a standalone subscription to its original video shows, priced below Netflix, whose standard offering costs $11 a month in the U.S.

I think scenario 2 is the most likely — just include the original video content with an Apple Music subscription. People are only willing to pay for so many subscriptions, and asking folks to pay separately for Apple Music and “Apple TV” is too much to ask in my opinion. One monthly fee and you get all of Apple Music and all of Apple’s original video content. That’s compelling. It also would make it easy for Apple to build up its original content lineup one show at a time. Years from now, Apple could well be offering enough original video content that a standalone video subscription could be feasible — but as they get started, they’re only going to have a handful of shows for a while.

(Bundling AppleCare in the same package seems bonkers. One person might own a single Apple device, another might own a dozen Mac Pros. AppleCare, like any extended warranty, only makes sense as something sold per-device, not as a subscription. What would be interesting would be if they offered additional iCloud storage along with the standard subscription for music and video content.)

 ★ 
via:daringfireball 
4 weeks ago by rufous
Free Trials from Apple’s Perspective – Drew McCormack – Medium
Drew McCormack:

I don’t want to get into a point-by-point debate on the topic; instead, I want to do something that I haven’t seen anyone do: try to understand why Apple don’t want the sort of free trials that are being demanded.

Apple currently allows free trials in two forms: if you sell subscriptions, you can give customers a free month to try the app; and, you can give your app away free, and offer a free In-App Purchase (IAP) to unlock all features for a fixed period of time.

So why does Apple allow these forms, but not offer a more formal version of free trials? Most developers seem to assume they are deliberately ignoring their protests, for no good reason, or that they simply are not willing to dedicate the resources to solve the problem. I doubt both of these assumptions. I think Apple have probably thought long and hard about it, and concluded that the options they have introduced are actually better than the free trials developer’s are requesting.

This is a thoughtful piece, and I think McCormack could be correct that this is more or less Apple’s perspective on the matter. And I’ve always thought it useful to try to think about things from Apple’s perspective.

I think it’s fair to say McCormack’s argument boils down to “Traditional free trials could be a source of confusion for typical users” and he backs that up with some good questions users might have. But I think this is where design comes into play. Design is largely about devising solutions to problems. I can’t help but think there’s a way that Apple could design a system of free trials in the App Store that would not leave typical users confused in any of the ways McCormack suggests.

 ★ 
via:daringfireball 
4 weeks ago by rufous
Seth Gets Ejected from the Show - YouTube
This whole bit hinges on last week’s video of a mic’d up umpire tossing Mets manager Terry Collins from a game last year. Genius.

 ★ 
via:daringfireball 
4 weeks ago by rufous
Snap Kit
My thanks to Snap for sponsoring this week’s DF RSS feed. Snap Kit lets developers integrate some of Snapchat’s best features like Bitmoji and Stories — and lets your community share their favorite moments from your app with their friends on Snapchat.

All of this without compromising any private account data. Visit kit.snapchat.com for documentation and more info.

 ★ 
via:daringfireball 
4 weeks ago by rufous
Shortcuts: A New Vision for Siri and iOS Automation – MacStories
Federico Viticci:

While it’s still too early to comment on the long-term impact of Shortcuts, I can at least attempt to understand the potential of this new technology. In this article, I’ll try to explain the differences between Siri shortcuts and the Shortcuts app, as well as answering some common questions about how much Shortcuts borrows from the original Workflow app.

Apple has packed a lot of new features under that one word, shortcuts, in iOS 12.

 ★ 
via:daringfireball 
4 weeks ago by rufous
The iPhone 3GS is going on sale, and no, it isn't 2009 - CNET
Gordon Gottsegen, reporting for CNet:

Even though the iPhone 3GS will be sold as “brand new,” don’t expect it to work the same as a recently released iPhone. The iPhone 3GS was discontinued back in 2012, and it only runs iOS 6. As a result, many apps (and even iMessages) won’t work on the phone.

The iPhone predates Lightning cables, too, so you’ll be stuck using an old-school 30-pin connector.

Still, SK Telink is selling the iPhone 3GS for only 44,000 won, which is equivalent to $40, £30 or AU$55. So this Apple blast-from-the-past could be yours for pretty cheap — if you’re in Korea.

On the one hand, the 3GS is crazily outdated. On the other hand: $40!

 ★ 
via:daringfireball 
4 weeks ago by rufous
Google to Fix Location Data Leak in Google Home, Chromecast — Krebs on Security
Brian Krebs:

Craig Young, a researcher with security firm Tripwire, said he discovered an authentication weakness that leaks incredibly accurate location information about users of both the smart speaker and home assistant Google Home, and Chromecast, a small electronic device that makes it simple to stream TV shows, movies and games to a digital television or monitor.

Young said the attack works by asking the Google device for a list of nearby wireless networks and then sending that list to Google’s geolocation lookup services.

“An attacker can be completely remote as long as they can get the victim to open a link while connected to the same Wi-Fi or wired network as a Google Chromecast or Home device,” Young told KrebsOnSecurity. “The only real limitation is that the link needs to remain open for about a minute before the attacker has a location. The attack content could be contained within malicious advertisements or even a tweet.”

Young is getting location data accurate to within 10 meters from his exploit. All you have to do to be exposed is open a web page and leave it open for a minute. This is the common sense fear of this whole Internet of Things movement: that these devices we’re putting on our networks aren’t secure, even the ones from big companies like Google.

 ★ 
via:daringfireball 
4 weeks ago by rufous
WhenWorks
New iOS app and web service that makes it easy for people to book appointments with you. From their blog announcement, on what makes WhenWorks unique:

There are many competitive services in this space. What they all have in common is that they are purely web-based solutions. What makes WhenWorks unique is that it is a mobile app that integrates directly with the Calendar app on your iOS device, is far easier to configure and use, more secure, and always with you when you need it.

WhenWorks supports all of the leading calendar services (iCloud, Google Calendar, Office 365 and Outlook.com) but is particularly well-suited for those who use iCloud, due to its deep integration with the built-in Calendar on iOS.

WhenWorks was founded by John Chaffee, of BusyMac and, back in the day, Now Up-to-Date fame, and he’s put together a really good team. The pricing is outstanding too: 14-day free trial, free-to-use for up to five appointments per month after that, and just $5/month for the pro account with no limits.

It’s a really great app, and setting it up couldn’t be easier. Worth checking it out.

 ★ 
via:daringfireball 
4 weeks ago by rufous
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