rufous + via:daringfireball   4738

Instagram’s Co-Founders to Step Down From Company - The New York Times
Mike Isaac, reporting for The New York Times:

Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger, the co-founders of the photo-sharing app Instagram, have resigned and plan to leave the company in coming weeks, according to people with direct knowledge of the matter. The exits add to the challenges facing Instagram’s parent company, Facebook.

Mr. Systrom, Instagram’s chief executive, and Mr. Krieger, the chief technical officer, notified Instagram’s leadership team and Facebook on Monday of their decision to leave, said the people, who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the matter publicly.

Systrom has guided Instagram’s design and experience all along. This isn’t one of those cases where these two had mentally checked out long ago and are now just making it official — it’s a big deal for Instagram. Interesting, too, that they’re leaving together.

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10 hours ago by rufous
The Talk Show ✪: Ep. 230, With Special Guest Nilay Patel
Nilay Patel returns to the show to talk about the iPhone XS and XS Max.

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Hullo Pillow: Your favorite pillow, guaranteed.

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16 hours ago by rufous
iPhone XS Camera Review: Zanzibar — Austin Mann
Austin Mann:

Most of the time my expectations for camera upgrades on “S” years aren’t so high, but after shooting with the iPhone XS for a week, I can confidently say it’s a huge camera upgrade. There’s a lot of little improvements, but Smart HDR definitely takes the cake. This is a feature and technology that improves virtually everything you capture with your iPhone camera. I think you’ll be really thrilled when you experience the results yourself.

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17 hours ago by rufous
AirPower referenced in iPhone XS packaging, iOS 12.1 code shows continuing development | 9to5Mac
Guilherme Rambo, writing for 9to5Mac:

However, new evidence from the iPhone XS and iOS 12.1 suggests that, while it may be delayed, development of AirPower continues. Looking into iOS 12.1, we noticed that the component of iOS responsible for managing the charging interface that appears when using AirPower has been updated, which means that Apple is still actively working on the project.

Furthermore, a picture of the “getting started guide” that comes packaged with the iPhone XS clearly mentions AirPower. “Place iPhone with screen facing up on AirPower or a Qi-certified wireless charger,” it reads. The image was shared on Twitter by Gavin Stephens.

If Apple was planning on cancelling the project altogether, then it would definitely not be mentioning it in the packaging of the brand new devices.

This is good news. Makes me wonder though, if AirPower is going to debut this year, when? It doesn’t make a lot of sense to announce it on stage at an October event for new MacBooks and iPads, because neither of those products will charge inductively. But I guess they could do it alongside the promised new AirPods case.

My other thought: maybe Apple has no plans to talk about AirPower on stage at any event, and they’re just going to release it for sale when it’s ready. They might not want to talk about it because they don’t want to acknowledge — or ignore — the fact that it’s so late.

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17 hours ago by rufous
By a Captain, He’s No Captain - Commentary Magazine
Frederic Raphael, who co-wrote the screenplay for Eyes Wide Shut, responding to Nathan Abrams new book on Kubrick:

While conning Abrams’s volume, I discovered, not greatly to my chagrin, that I am the sole villain of the piece. Abrams calls me “self-serving” and “unreliable” in my accounts of my working and personal relationship with Stanley. He insinuates that I had less to do with Eyes Wide Shut than I pretend and that Stanley regretted my involvement. It is hard for him to deny (but convenient to omit) that, after trying for some 30 years to get a succession of writers to “crack” how to do Schnitzler’s Traumnovelle, Kubrick greeted my first draft with “I’m absolutely thrilled.” A source whose anonymity I respect told me that he had never seen Stanley so happy since the day he received his first royalty check (for $5 million) for 2001. No matter.

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17 hours ago by rufous
Colin Kaepernick is Nike's $6 billion man - CBS News
Kate Gibson, writing for CBS MoneyWatch:

The heat Nike has taken over its controversial advertising campaign featuring former NFL start Colin Kaepernick seems to have had another effect: burnishing the iconic brand’s appeal to investors.

Nike shares have surged 36 percent on the year, making the company the top performer on the Dow’s index of 30 blue-chip stocks. The run-up includes a nearly 5 percent increase since Nike’s Labor Day announcement that Kaepernick would be featured in its campaign, adding nearly $6 billion to the company’s market value.

The stock continues to hover near an all-time high, which it reached in mid-September only weeks after some Nike customers publicly burned their shoes to express their displeasure at the new ad.

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18 hours ago by rufous
Apple and Salesforce partner to help redefine customer experiences on iOS - Apple
Apple Newsroom:

Apple and Salesforce today announced a strategic partnership that brings together the number one customer relationship management platform and iOS, the world’s most advanced mobile operating system, enabling powerful new mobile apps for business. Working with Apple, Salesforce is redesigning its app to embrace the native mobile platform with exclusive new features on iOS. The companies will also provide tools and resources for millions of Salesforce developers to build their own native apps with a new Salesforce Mobile SDK for iOS, and a new iOS app development course on Trailhead, Salesforce’s free, web-based learning platform.

I don’t really know what this means, to be honest, but I do remember being deeply skeptical back in 2008 when Apple announced a bunch of “enterprise” related features for the then-new iPhone 3G. “Apple” and “enterprise” were just words that didn’t go together — until they did. Back then Microsoft, IBM, and Intel more or less ruled the enterprise market unchallenged. Apple has inexorably grown into this market as mobile has taken over the device landscape.

See also: This Reuters interview with Tim Cook and Marc Benioff indicates that a large part of this partnership is about Siri integration, which is also interesting.

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18 hours ago by rufous
No Sex Please, We’re Apple: iPhone Giant Seeks TV Success on Its Own Terms - WSJ
Tripp Mickle and Joe Flint, reporting for the WSJ:

Tim Cook sat down more than a year ago to watch Apple Inc.’s first scripted drama, “Vital Signs,” and was troubled by what he saw. The show, a dark, semi-biographical tale of hip hop artist Dr. Dre, featured characters doing lines of cocaine, an extended orgy in a mansion and drawn guns.

It’s too violent, Mr. Cook told Apple Music executive Jimmy Iovine, said people familiar with Apple’s entertainment plans. Apple can’t show this. […]

Apple’s entertainment team must walk a line few in Hollywood would consider. Since Mr. Cook spiked “Vital Signs,” Apple has made clear, say producers and agents, that it wants high-quality shows with stars and broad appeal, but it doesn’t want gratuitous sex, profanity or violence.

I’ve been curious about exactly this point ever since Apple began this. What’s the difference, though, between R-rated original content produced by Apple and R-rated content produced by others that Apple sells in the iTunes Store? Mickle and Flint point out that even Disney is producing raunchy movies like the Deadpool series.

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2 days ago by rufous
iPhone XS / iPhone X Comparison | Flickr
As promised, here’s a selection of photos and videos taken with iPhone XS and iPhone X side-by-side. The low-light video clips are just amazing.

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3 days ago by rufous
James Bond 25: Cary Joji Fukunaga to Direct New 007 Film – Variety
Henry Chu, reporting for Variety:

Cary Joji Fukunaga will direct the new James Bond film, the producers announced Thursday. The 25th Bond installment will begin filming in London, at Pinewood Studios, on March 4, 2019, with a worldwide release on Feb. 14, 2020, a few months after its original target date.

Fukunaga, who won acclaim for 2015 war film “Beasts of No Nation,” replaces Danny Boyle, who exited the project last month over creative differences with producers Barbara Broccoli and Michael G. Wilson and returning star Daniel Craig. Fukunaga will be the Bond franchise’s first American director. […]

Fukunaga won an Emmy in 2014 for helming the entire first season (eight episodes) of “True Detective” and giving the crime series a cinematic look. More recently, he directed multiple episodes of Netflix’s “Maniac,” a new half-hour comedy show starring Emma Stone and Jonah Hill.

I’m usually not an OMG guy but I just used “OMG” when I texted this news to a friend. I’m just floored by this. Season 1 of True Detective is one of my very favorite cinematic achievements of the decade, right up there with Mad Men, The Tree of Life, and Django Unchained. I’ll add Inception to make it a top 5 list.

Without spoiling anything from True Detective, can you imagine a Bond scene as intense and gritty as the six-minute-long tracking shot scene from episode 4? Fukunaga is exactly what the Bond franchise needs after the all-style/no-sense Skyfall/Spectre duology from Sam Mendes.

(And I’m glad to see EON break their heretofore unwritten rule that Americans couldn’t direct Bond movies. Steven Spielberg wanted to — and because EON turned him down, he and George Lucas turned the opening scene of Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom into a Bond movie opening.)

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4 days ago by rufous
Jon M. Chu Shot This Short Film Entirely on an iPhone XS Max | WIRED
Wired:

To test the new hardware, we gave an iPhone XS Max to the film director Jon M. Chu. The Crazy Rich Asians director shot a short film for Wired, and the results are truly special.

“I had literally zero equipment,” says Chu. “I see a lot of samples of iPhone videos, and sometimes they use different lenses or professional lights. I didn’t have any of that.”

Chu shot the film — a view into dancer Luigi Rosado’s rehearsal space, titled Somewhere — in 4K using the iPhone’s native camera app. It was all shot handheld using the phone’s default stabilizing system. And while he edited the video on a computer, Chu didn’t apply any color correction or any post-production tricks. What you’re seeing is the default output of the iPhone’s camera.

Chu is, of course, a masterful filmmaker. He could make a great movie with an iPhone 3GS. But it’s fascinating to see the potential of the XS camera. This is just a gorgeous fucking film. And it doesn’t just show off the image quality and slow motion capabilities — it really shows off the stabilization. When you watch the tracking shot at the end keep in mind he wasn’t using a gimbal — it was truly handheld.

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4 days ago by rufous
Just Because: How Apple's Awesome Motion Watch Faces Are Made
Stephen Pulvirent, Hodinkee:

Apple isn’t exactly a company known for offering frequent peeks behind the proverbial curtain. Having just reviewed the new Apple Watch Series 4, getting to see how Apple made the incredible “motion faces” (the vapor, fire/water, etc.) feels like an extra treat. Getting this kind of perspective though shows just how dedicated the team over there is to nailing the details — Apple took something that seems relatively basic at first and pursued it to its logical conclusion, giving us something awesome in the process.

“We probably could have done this digitally, but we actually shot all of this practically in a studio” says Alan Dye, Apple Vice President of User Interface Design, of the motion faces. “What I love about the fact that we did this is that it’s just so indicative of how the design team works. It was really about bringing together some of our various talents to create these faces. There are of course art directors, and color experts, and graphic designers, but also model makers who helped build these structures that we would eventually, you know, set on fire.”

I saw some of this footage last week after the Apple event. So cool. I love that they built molds in the shape of the new Series 4 displays. I could watch an hour of this footage.

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4 days ago by rufous
Lawmaker: US Senate, staff targeted by state-backed hackers
Frank Bajak and Raphael Satter

Sen. Ron Wyden, an Oregon Democrat, said in a Wednesday letter to Senate leaders that his office discovered that “at least one major technology company” has warned an unspecified number of senators and aides that their personal email accounts were “targeted by foreign government hackers.” Similar methods were employed by Russian military agents who leaked the contents of private email inboxes to influence the 2016 elections.

Wyden did not specify the timing of the notifications, but a Senate staffer said they occurred “in the last few weeks or months.” The aide spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to discuss the issue publicly.

Wyden did not specify the timing of the notifications, but a Senate staffer said they occurred “in the last few weeks or months.” The aide spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to discuss the issue publicly.

But the senator said the Office of the Sergeant at Arms , which oversees Senate security, informed legislators and staffers that it has no authority to help secure personal, rather than official, accounts.

I’m going to guess the “major technology company” is Google, simply because Gmail is the leading email provider. If you ever wonder why Ron Wyden seems almost amazingly well-informed on very technical computer security matters, keep in mind that [Christopher Soghoian][cs] is on his staff as a senior advisor.

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4 days ago by rufous
Daring Fireball: The iPhones XS
In my iPhone XS review yesterday, I incorrectly stated that the “f-stop” editing for Portrait Mode shots could only be done on an iPhone XS. I was wrong, but it wasn’t too dumb of a mistake. Go read my update, and if you read my review early yesterday, make sure you saw footnote 5.

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6 days ago by rufous
Ex White House Photographer Pete Souza releases the first pictures taken using Apple's iPhone XS  | Daily Mail Online
The Daily Mail:

Former White House Photographer Pete Souza has released the first images taken using the new phone, showing off its new camera capabilities. He took these shots exclusively for Dailymail.com around Washington DC, and any editing was done on the phone using Apple’s tools.

“Smart phones have turned everyone into a photographer but they haven’t necessarily turned everyone into a ‘good’ photographer,” he told Dailymail.com. “At the same time, the smart phone has also turned everyone into a visual journalist giving us at times an eyewitness account from breaking news events.”

Inspiring images. (Via Shawn King at The Loop.)

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7 days ago by rufous
Twitter
My favorite new feature today, of course, is the ability to show website favicons in Safari tabs — a feature now available in Safari 12 and iOS 12. They’re off by default, but the way they work on Mac, iPad, and iPhone is just perfect.

I heard from a lot of DF readers earlier this year who said they use Chrome instead of Safari just for favicons in tabs — if you’re in that boat, I highly encourage you to give Safari a try. Your MacBook battery will thank you for it.

I probably should’ve used a finally in the headline for this item.

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7 days ago by rufous
Twitter
Ricky Mondello on Twitter:

Big day! iOS 12 is out! I hope y’all love it.

I’m going to highlight a few iCloud Keychain, Safari, and WebKit features and improvements that mean a lot to me.

This thread is a terrific collection of little things here and there. I’ve been running iOS 12 betas full-time since mid-July and I learned a bunch of things just from this thread.

My favorite, of course, is the ability to show website favicons in Safari tabs — a feature now available on the Mac, too, with today’s release of Safari 12. They’re off by default, but the way they work on Mac, iPad, and iPhone is just perfect.

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7 days ago by rufous
Co-founder Of Salesforce Buys Time Magazine For $190 Million – Talking Points Memo
Martin Crutsinger, reporting for the AP:

Time Magazine is being sold by Meredith Corp. to Marc Benioff, a co-founder of Salesforce, and his wife, it was announced Sunday. […]

The Benioffs are purchasing Time personally, and the transaction is unrelated to Salesforce.com, where Benioff is chairman and co-CEO and co-founder. The announcement by Meredith said that the Benioffs would not be involved in the day-to-day operations or journalistic decisions at Time. Those decisions will continue to be made by Time’s current executive leadership team, the announcement said.

Sounds like a great landing spot for a great magazine. Hopefully it works as well for Time as Jeff Bezos’s acquisition has for The Washington Post.

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7 days ago by rufous
An Oral History of Apple's Infinite Loop | WIRED
Absolutely fantastic piece assembled by Steven Levy for Wired:

Twenty-five years ago, the computer revolution’s marquee company was in decline. Back then, it was just settling into shiny new headquarters, a campus of six buildings that formed a different kind of ring. Called Infinite Loop, the name is a reference to a well-known programming error — code that gets stuck in an endless repetition — though no one seems to know who applied it. Infinite Loop was the place where Apple’s leaders and engineers pulled off a historic turnaround, and it will always be the source of stories and legends — many of them untold. Until now.

There’s so much quotable stuff in here. Here’s just one, which I’ve heard before but which still made me laugh out out reading it again:

Forstall: Whenever I ate with Steve, he insisted on paying for me, which I thought was a little odd. Even if we went in together and he selected something quick like pre-made sushi, and I ordered a pizza in the wood-burning pizza oven, he would wait for me at the cash register for 10, 15 minutes. I felt so awkward. Finally, I told him. “Seriously, I can pay for myself, so please don’t stand there and wait for me.” He said, “Scott, you don’t understand. You know how we pay by swiping your badge and then it’s deducted from your salary? I only get paid a dollar year! Every time I swipe we get a free meal!” Here was this multibillionaire putting one over on the company he founded, a few dollars at a time.

As my friend John Siracusa quipped in a Slack group, “This is the most Steve Jobs quote ever.” Jobs enjoyed pulling one over on The Man even after he became The Man. That free lunch scam delighted him the way free long distance phone calls did with Woz and their blue boxes.

This whole history is simply terrific. Do not miss it.

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7 days ago by rufous
What Really Happened to Apple's AirPower (Exclusive Details)
Sonny Dickson:

We have managed to obtain several pieces of exclusive information that shed some light on what challenges Apple is currently facing with the project. According to our sources, the broad feeling of many working the project at Apple is that the device may be doomed to failure, and may not be viable at all unless significant advancements can be made.

More details than what I’ve heard, but very much along the same lines. Todd Haselton at CNBC picked this up following Dickson’s report, and now it’s a bit of a news firestorm.

I’ll just emphasize that what I’ve written about AirPower’s problems is all filed under “this is what I’ve heard from people I trust but none of whom are directly involved”. My report is not filed under “this is what I can state as fact happened or is happening”. I literally wrote “what I’ve heard, third-hand but from multiple little birdies”.

I’ll add one new thing. After I published what I’ve heard, a wise and knowledgeable little birdie told me that it’s not at all uncommon for a project at Apple to have massive resets multiple times. [Cough, Titan.] What is unusual regarding AirPower is that it’s happened in the open, for the world to see. That is to say, the real mistake may not be a flawed coil design or whatever, but rather the decision to announce it when they did, before those problems were solved.

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7 days ago by rufous
LKML: Linus Torvalds: Linux 4.19-rc4 released, an apology, and a maintainership note
Linus Torvalds, announcing that he’s taking a break from Linux kernel development:

This is my reality. I am not an emotionally empathetic kind of person and that probably doesn’t come as a big surprise to anybody. Least of all me. The fact that I then misread people and don’t realize (for years) how badly I’ve judged a situation and contributed to an unprofessional environment is not good.

This week people in our community confronted me about my lifetime of not understanding emotions. My flippant attacks in emails have been both unprofessional and uncalled for. Especially at times when I made it personal. In my quest for a better patch, this made sense to me. I know now this was not OK and I am truly sorry.

The above is basically a long-winded way to get to the somewhat painful personal admission that hey, I need to change some of my behavior, and I want to apologize to the people that my personal behavior hurt and possibly drove away from kernel development entirely.

I find this both encouraging and inspiring — a counter to the notion that people can’t change. Here’s just one example Torvalds’s infamous style, which until now he was unapologetic about.

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7 days ago by rufous
‎Ingage Instants: Social Posts on the App Store
My thanks to Ingage for sponsoring this week’s DF RSS feed. Instants is a new iPhone app to help anyone (especially businesses) make social media content with stylish motion graphics. It was just featured in the App Store in “New Apps We Love” and was made by a team with some ex-Apple folks and die-hard Mac and iOS nerds. You can really feel the care and attention that went into the experience design. Instants has a terrific user interface. They’re featured on Product Hunt today, and I’m sure they’d appreciate some upvotes from DF readers.

Download Instants from the App Store, and be sure to check out the “Moore” theme, inspired by the opening credits of a spy movie series near and dear to my heart.

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7 days ago by rufous
FEMA to test 'Presidential Alert' system next week
NBC News:

“The EAS [Emergency Alert System] is a national public warning system that provides the President with the communications capability to address the nation during a national emergency,” FEMA said.

The test message will have a header that reads “Presidential Alert,” according to the agency. Users whose phones are on will twice hear a tone and vibration and then see an English-only (for now) message: “THIS IS A TEST of the National Wireless Emergency Alert System. No action is needed.” […]

FEMA stated that the government cannot track end users’ location through this alert system. The test is supposed to take place at 2:18 p.m. EDT on Sept. 20.

Under the Warning, Alert, and Response Network (WARN) Act of 2006, cellphone users cannot opt out of the presidential alerts.

I’m sure Trump would never abuse this.

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9 days ago by rufous
Twitter
Not compared to a MacBook Pro. Interesting comparison.

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9 days ago by rufous
Mary Meeker, the legendary internet analyst, is leaving Kleiner Perkins - Recode
Theodore Schleifer, reporting for Recode:

Mary Meeker of Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, one of the premier Silicon Valley investors at one of its premier venture capital firms, is leaving her position in an abrupt, high-profile splitting of the firm she helped lead.

Meeker is leading an exodus of late-stage investors from Kleiner Perkins in its most dramatic shake-up since legendary investor John Doerr stepped back from his role more than two years ago. Meeker’s exit — she, along with three of her partners, will form a new firm — will undoubtedly deal a hard blow to Kleiner Perkins, given her high profile in the business community and her stature as by far the most senior woman in venture capital.

Here’s how you know this is a huge deal:

“I don’t think it’s a huge deal,” Ted Schlein, who succeeded Doerr as the de facto head of the firm, said in an interview.

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9 days ago by rufous
AliveCor CEO Vic Gundotra on competing with Apple Watch Series 4 - Business Insider
Kif Leswing, writing for Business Insider:

Over at the headquarters of AliveCor, a startup based in Google’s hometown of Mountain View, they, too, were surprised by the announcement, CEO Vic Gundotra said in a phone interview on Thursday. Gundotra is a former Googler, widely known as the executive behind the Google+ social network. […]

The fact that a huge tech giant is entering their corner of health-tech validates AliveCor’s approach, Gundotra said. […]

“Ours is $99, theirs is $399, our sales popped yesterday, big time,” he said.

“Their entry into our market validates us” and “Our sales are popping” translate into English as “They’re going to crush us.” Couldn’t happen to a nicer guy.

And this price comparison is prima facie nutso. $99 gets you a single-purpose no-fun ECG device. $399 gets you a watch you can wear all day every day and use for dozens of purposes other than ECG.

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10 days ago by rufous
How the Weather Channel Made That Insane Hurricane Florence Storm Surge Animation | WIRED
Brian Barrett, writing for Wired:

On one level, yes, the visualization literally just shows what three, six, and nine feet of water looks like. But it’s showing that in a context most people have never experienced. It fills in the gaps of your imagination, and hopefully underscores for anyone in a flood zone all the reasons they should not be.

Perfect example of how showing something can be tremendously more effective than merely saying something.

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10 days ago by rufous
Terms of Service Violation
Mark Bergen and Austin Carr, writing for Businessweek:

It’s not just Washington. Even in Silicon Valley, people have started wondering: Where’s Larry? Page has long been reclusive, a computer scientist who pondered technical problems away from the public eye, preferring to chase moonshots over magazine covers. Unlike founder-CEO peers (Mark Zuckerberg comes to mind), he hasn’t presented at product launches or on earnings calls since 2013, and he hasn’t done press since 2015. He leaves day-to-day decisions to Pichai and a handful of advisers. But a slew of interviews in recent months with colleagues and confidants, most of whom spoke on condition of anonymity because they were worried about retribution from Alphabet, describe Page as an executive who’s more withdrawn than ever, bordering on emeritus, invisible to wide swaths of the company. Supporters contend he’s still engaged, but his immersion in the technology solutions of tomorrow has distracted him from the problems Google faces today. “What I didn’t see in the last year was a strong central voice about how [Google’s] going to operate on these issues that are societal and less technical,” says a longtime executive who recently left the company.

Fascinating look inside Google’s leadership. Really does seem like they’re out of touch. Their tremendous profits are all coming from things that Page isn’t paying any attention to at all. Presumably Sundar Pichai is paying attention to them, but it’s certainly an unusual arrangement.

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10 days ago by rufous
AirPower may not make 2018 deadline, AirPods product page suggests | 9to5Mac
Peter Cao, 9to5Mac:

While Apple made no mention of AirPower during today’s event, it looks like Apple may be launching AirPower later in 2018 than originally anticipated.

Apple has seemingly updated its website today, removing all mentions of AirPower except in one place. Looking at the AirPods product page, Apple mentions the optional wireless charging case, noting that it is currently unavailable. The charging case is placed on what appears to be the AirPower mat, along with the iPhone X.

So there’s a picture of an AirPower mat, but the word “AirPower” is nowhere to be found. No one from Apple I’ve spoken to today will say a word about AirPower other than that they have nothing to say about it today. I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s been scrapped, and they just don’t want to say so yet.

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12 days ago by rufous
Apple’s big news in 108 seconds — Apple - YouTube
Apple did something like this last year — it’s a lot of fun if you weren’t following along live and just want the highlights.

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12 days ago by rufous
[Update: 512GB variant] iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max and iPhone XR names confirmed in Apple Products Sitemap
Who even cares about a sitemap anymore (search engines maybe?) — and why in the world would Apple’s process for publishing this file include even a chance that it would go live before the event?

ATH only notes the iPhone names, but The Verge noticed that updated Apple Watch bands are in new sizes, 40 and 44 mm, which suggests they’re not compatible with existing Apple Watches.

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12 days ago by rufous
Amazon delivery drivers reveal claims of disturbing work conditions - Business Insider
Hayley Peterson, reporting for Business Insider:

Zachariah Vargas was six hours into his shift delivering packages for Amazon. He was about to drop off a package when he accidentally slammed the door of his truck on his hand. The door clicked shut, trapping his middle and ring fingers.

Once he freed his fingers, the blood began to pour. Both of Vargas’ arms started to shake involuntarily. The lacerations were deep. Vargas thought he glimpsed bone when he wiped away the blood.

Panicked, Vargas called his dispatch supervisor, who was working at a nearby Amazon facility. He said he received no sympathy. “The first thing they asked was, ‘How many packages do you have left?’” he told Business Insider.

Vargas had dozens remaining. Delivering them all would take several hours. Still, his supervisor advised him to drop them all off before returning to the station or seeking care.

There’s no such thing as a free lunch, and there’s no such thing as free shipping.

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13 days ago by rufous
Amazon is stuffing its search results pages with ads - Recode
Rani Molla, writing for Recode:

If it feels as though Amazon’s site is increasingly stuffed with ads, that’s because it is. And it looks like that’s working — at least for brands that are willing to fork over ad dollars as part of their strategy to sell on Amazon.

Amazon-sponsored product ads have been around since 2012. But lately, as the company has invested in growing its advertising business, they’ve become more aggressive.

Paid placement isn’t new to retail. It’s a genuine racket how items gets placed on shelves in grocery stores. But there’s something that feels a bit unseemly about this.

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13 days ago by rufous
Kuo: USB-C on 2018 iPad Pro, Touch ID on 2018 MacBook, EKG and Ceramic Backs on All Apple Watch Series 4 Models, More - Mac Rumors
Ming-Chi Kuo:

In addition to Face ID support, we expect the new iPad Pro models’ main upgrade to include replacing Lightning with a USB-C interface and bundling with a new unibody design 18W power adapter, which cancels the removable plug design.

I would find this a bit surprising, but nowhere near as shocking as if they moved iPhones to USB-C. On the one hand, Apple is positioning iPad Pros as alternatives to laptops, so a USB-C port makes sense for connecting peripherals. But if the rumors are true that this year’s iPad Pros don’t have headphone jacks, this doesn’t make much sense at all. This would mean someone with a Mac, iPhone, and iPad would need three different headphone adapters.

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14 days ago by rufous
Apple Has Permanently Banned Alex Jones' Infowars App From The App Store
John Paczkowski and Charlie Warzel, reporting for BuzzFeed:

A day after being banned from Twitter, Alex Jones and Infowars have been booted from yet another platform: Apple’s popular App Store. As of Friday evening, searches on the App Store for Infowars return no results.

Apple confirmed the app’s removal to BuzzFeed News, but declined to comment, pointing to its App Store Review Guidelines. The company said Infowars would not be permitted to return to the App Store.

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via:daringfireball 
16 days ago by rufous
Inside the World of Eddy Cue, Apple’s Services Chief — The Information
Aaron Tilley, writing for The Information (paywalled, alas; here’s MacRumors’s summary)

During meetings, Mr. Cue is sometimes known to fall silent, shut his eyes and tilt his head back, leaving other participants to wonder whether he is staring at the ceiling or sleeping, said several former Apple employees and one outside partner present on multiple occasions when it happened over the past few years. In at least two of these situations, Mr. Cue began snoring, one source said. […]

From the moment he gained responsibility for Siri, Mr. Cue seemed to lack much interest in it, according to people who worked on the project. When Siri team members presented Mr. Cue with technical data around the performance of the assistant — an area of frequent criticism of the technology — Mr. Cue appeared bored and seemed to fall asleep in at least two meetings, said a former Apple employee who was present.

I’ve heard some really good Eddy Cue stories over the years, but this falling asleep thing is a new one.

Also, I thought this was interesting:

Apple has improved Apple Maps since its troubled launch, boasting that the service is more popular on iPhones and iPads, on which it comes pre-installed, than Google Maps. But Google Maps still reaches more users because of the larger global audience of Android devices, and the quality of Google Maps often comes out ahead in independent evaluations.

One such evaluation was a blog post last year by the cartographer Justin O’Beirne, which chronicled in exhaustive detail the richer detail available on Google Maps. The post appeared to rattle Mr. Cue, who ordered changes to Apple Maps to satisfy internal concerns related to the blog post, said a former Apple employee. In June, Mr. Cue publicly promised further improvements to the service. Some observers believe Apple Maps faces a disadvantage as long as the company restricts it to Apple devices.

Bizarre to me that The Information didn’t even link to O’Beirne’s work. It’s good to know it caught Cue’s attention.

 ★ 
via:daringfireball 
17 days ago by rufous
Huawei & Honor's Recent Benchmarking Behaviour: A Cheating Headache
Ian Cutress and Andrei Frumusanu, writing for AnandTech:

We did approach Huawei about this during the IFA show last week, and obtained a few comments worth putting here. Another element to the story is that Huawei’s new benchmark behavior very much exceeds anything we’ve seen in the past. We use custom editions of our benchmarks (from their respective developers) so we can test with this “detection” on and off, and the massive differences in performance between the publicly available benchmarks and the internal versions that we’re using for testing is absolutely astonishing.

As usual with investigations like this, we offered Huawei an opportunity to respond. We met with Dr. Wang Chenglu, President of Software at Huawei’s Consumer Business Group, at IFA to discuss this issue, which is purely a software play from Huawei. […]

He states that it is much better than it used to be, and that Huawei “wants to come together with others in China to find the best verification benchmark for user experience”. He also states that “in the Android ecosystem, other manufacturers also mislead with their numbers”, citing one specific popular smartphone manufacturer in China as the biggest culprit, and that it is becoming “common practice in China”. Huawei wants to open up to consumers, but have trouble when competitors continually post unrealistic scores.

In other words, he’s defending Huawei’s cheating because China is full of cheats. You have to love that “in the Android ecosystem” hedge too.

 ★ 
via:daringfireball 
17 days ago by rufous
Burt Reynolds Dead: 'Deliverance,' 'Boogie Nights' Star Was 82 | Hollywood Reporter
Vastly underrated as an actor. You just can’t have this many hits without being great. My favorite of his films, of course, was Boogie Nights, in which he was brilliant.

 ★ 
via:daringfireball 
18 days ago by rufous
A New York Times Op-Ed Sparks a Crisis - The Atlantic
I wrote the previous two items before reading this David From piece for The Atlantic:

Impeachment is a constitutional mechanism. The Twenty-Fifth Amendment is a constitutional mechanism. Mass resignations followed by voluntary testimony to congressional committees are a constitutional mechanism. Overt defiance of presidential authority by the president’s own appointees — now that’s a constitutional crisis.

If the president’s closest advisers believe that he is morally and intellectually unfit for his high office, they have a duty to do their utmost to remove him from it, by the lawful means at hand. That duty may be risky to their careers in government or afterward. But on their first day at work, they swore an oath to defend the Constitution — and there were no “riskiness” exemptions in the text of that oath.

My thoughts exactly. If he’s unfit for office, say so. Resign and call for impeachment or stay and invoke the 25th Amendment.

 ★ 
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19 days ago by rufous
Opinion | I Am Part of the Resistance Inside the Trump Administration - The New York Times
The New York Times:

The Times today is taking the rare step of publishing an anonymous Op-Ed essay. We have done so at the request of the author, a senior official in the Trump administration whose identity is known to us and whose job would be jeopardized by its disclosure. We believe publishing this essay anonymously is the only way to deliver an important perspective to our readers.

The senior administration official:

Given the instability many witnessed, there were early whispers within the cabinet of invoking the 25th Amendment, which would start a complex process for removing the president. But no one wanted to precipitate a constitutional crisis. So we will do what we can to steer the administration in the right direction until — one way or another — it’s over.

The bigger concern is not what Mr. Trump has done to the presidency but rather what we as a nation have allowed him to do to us. We have sunk low with him and allowed our discourse to be stripped of civility.

Rather than invoke the 25th Amendment and remove him from office, they simply try to ignore him. As extraordinary and controversial as it would be to remove him from office, I think that would set a good precedent: that the Cabinet should and will remove a president who is mentally unfit for the job. By ignoring his orders, they’re setting a terrible precedent — that the president isn’t necessary in charge.

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19 days ago by rufous
Daring Fireball: iPhone Naming Rumors
Jeremy Horwitz, writing at VentureBeat:

Following last week’s apparent confirmation of the “iPhone Xs” name for the 5.8-inch sequel to Apple’s iPhone X, multiple reports are claiming that Apple has picked an unusual name for its 6.5-inch model: “iPhone Xs Max.” Published almost simultaneously, the claims from 9to5Mac and BGR are somewhat hard to take seriously, but presented for your consideration.

None of these names make sense to me if we’re supposed to pronounce the X as “ten”, but I said the same thing last year.

One reason I can see not using “Plus”: the previous “Plus” iPhone always had more to offer than sheer display size. They had better cameras than their non-Plus siblings, offering features like optical image stabilization and, later on, dual lenses. They also had higher resolutions displays with more pixels per inch. They were “plus” in more ways than size. This year, it looks as though the only difference between the two OLED models is size.

My guess was that Apple would just call both models “iPhone XS”, in the same way that they don’t give a different name to the larger iPad Pro or MacBook Pro. But if they are going to give the bigger one a separate name, I suppose “Max” is fine.

Additionally, the name “iPhone Xr” has been circulating as the supposed title of the 6.1-inch budget iPhone model, which will sit below the iPhone Xs but above the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus in Apple’s lineup. Like the “Max” name, this one is hard to swallow given that “Xr” hasn’t been used in an Apple product before, and apart from coming earlier in the alphabet than “Xs,” doesn’t have an obvious meaning. Like the Xs Max, the Xr name should be taken with at least a grain of salt for the time being.

This seems nutty to me, because it doesn’t sound like a product that should cost $200 less than the XS. This one also isn’t sourced — both 9to5Mac and BGR claim multiple sources gave them the “XS Max” name. This XR name is just floating about. To me the very obvious choice would be to call the 6.1-inch LCD model the iPhone 9, but the one tidbit I have heard is that the name of this model is “surprising”. “iPhone 9” would not be surprising at all; “iPhone XR” would be.
via:daringfireball 
19 days ago by rufous
Creative Selection
My thanks to Ken Kocienda for sponsoring this week at DF for his new book Creative Selection. How does Apple’s creative process work? This is your look inside. It’s truly an amazing and unprecedented book. If you haven’t already, just buy it.

 ★ 
via:daringfireball 
19 days ago by rufous
Apple Replaces 29W USB-C Power Adapter With New 30W Version - Mac Rumors
I missed this back in June: Apple’s 29-watt USB-C charger is now a 30-watt charger. Not a big deal, but for some reason I found it confusing when I tried to buy a 29-watt charger the other day and couldn’t find it.

 ★ 
via:daringfireball 
19 days ago by rufous
The Talk Show ✪: Ep. 229, With Special Guest Rene Ritchie
Rene Ritchie returns to the show for a deep dive into what was revealed (and what wasn’t) by Guilherme Rambo’s release last week of product marketing images of the apparently-named iPhone XS and Series 4 Apple Watch.

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 ★ 
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20 days ago by rufous
The Outline Cuts 6 Staffers Months After $5M Funding Round | Observer
John Bonazzo, reporting for The Observer:

A source told Observer that the cuts included two staff writers, two front-end developers, an executive assistant and a revenue associate.

The laid-off staffers were notified in a series of early morning meetings that were scheduled last night. The remaining revenue staff is also taking pay cuts.

The source also noted that The Outline plans to slash its freelance budget despite the dearth of staff writers. The site will likely move from its current Lower East Side office to an undisclosed WeWork location.

Needless to say, fewer staff writers and a reduced freelancer budget are a bad combination. There’s been some great work at The Outline, and I’m always disheartened to hear of good publications struggling financially. But I can’t help but wonder whether The Outline would be doing better if its design weren’t so reader-hostile. Their regular articles still use those squiggly animated horizontal and vertical rules. They feel like some sort of eye test or challenge — “Can you read this text next to an animated squiggle?”

And they have irregular articles that are just bizarrely designed. Casey Johnston — she of the MacBook Pro keyboard saga fame — is my favorite writer on The Outline staff. She recently wrote a story about two friends who were in a pool when it was struck by lightning. I found the story incredibly annoying to read — so much scrolling, so many blocks of all-caps text. Because it’s all done with shitty JavaScript, it doesn’t let you use the space bar to scroll. Think about that: the layout forces you to scroll frequently, but their implementation doesn’t let you scroll the easiest way. The only reason I stuck with the article was Johnston’s byline. If it had been a byline I didn’t recognize and admire I’d have closed the tab after 15 seconds or so.

Do I really think bad design is at the heart of The Outline’s financial struggles? No, I guess not. But good design surely wouldn’t hurt.

 ★ 
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20 days ago by rufous
Evernote lost its CTO, CFO, CPO and HR head in the last month as it eyes another fundraise – TechCrunch
Ingrid Lunden, reporting for TechCrunch:

Evernote, the productivity app with 225 million users that lets people take notes and organise other files from their working and non-work life, has been on a mission to reset its image as the go-to service for those seeking tools to help themselves be more efficient, years after losing its place as one of the most popular apps in the app store. But those changes have not come without their own challenges.

TechCrunch has learned and confirmed that in the last month, Evernote lost several of its most senior executives, including its CTO Anirban Kundu, CFO Vincent Toolan, CPO Erik Wrobel and head of HR Michelle Wagner beyond the usual attrition of engineers and designers.

The departures are coming at a key time: we have also heard that Evernote is fundraising, potentially in a down-round from its most recent (but now several years-old) valuation of $1.2 billion.

I never took a liking to Evernote. Its origins as a Windows desktop app were always apparent. It had some interesting and powerful features (particularly OCR for signage in photographs — you can search for text in images) but a terrible interface. If you’re still using it, you should look into your export options.

 ★ 
via:daringfireball 
20 days ago by rufous
Custom Domains service deprecation – Medium Support
Medium:

Medium is no longer offering new custom domains as a feature. Instead, you can create a publication on Medium that will live on a medium.com/publication-name URL.

I don’t understand why any publication, even a personal blog, would use Medium without a custom domain name. It’s not just about branding now, but about long-term sustainability. If you have your own domain name, you can keep old URLs working in perpetuity.

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via:daringfireball 
20 days ago by rufous
Changing Our Approach to Anti-tracking - Future Releases
Nick Nguyen, writing for Mozilla’s company blog:

Tracking slows down the web. In a study by Ghostery, 55.4% of the total time required to load an average website was spent loading third party trackers. For users on slower networks the effect can be even worse.

Long page load times are detrimental to every user’s experience on the web. For that reason, we’ve added a new feature in Firefox Nightly that blocks trackers that slow down page loads. We will be testing this feature using a shield study in September. If we find that our approach performs well, we will start blocking slow-loading trackers by default in Firefox 63. […]

In the physical world, users wouldn’t expect hundreds of vendors to follow them from store to store, spying on the products they look at or purchase. Users have the same expectations of privacy on the web, and yet in reality, they are tracked wherever they go. Most web browsers fail to help users get the level of privacy they expect and deserve.

In order to help give users the private web browsing experience they expect and deserve, Firefox will strip cookies and block storage access from third-party tracking content. We’ve already made this available for our Firefox Nightly users to try out, and will be running a shield study to test the experience with some of our beta users in September. We aim to bring this protection to all users in Firefox 65, and will continue to refine our approach to provide the strongest possible protection while preserving a smooth user experience.

Outstanding news. Back in the early 2000s, every web browser other than IE turned toward web standards. It painted IE as the bad player, and drove IE users to switch to Firefox and other standard-based browsers. I think the same thing is happening now with ad tracking, with Safari and Firefox leading the way. But this time it’s Chrome that is being painted as the bad guy. I hope Microsoft joins Apple and Mozilla in this trend. (I’d love to see Google join too, but I’m not holding my breath.)

 ★ 
via:daringfireball 
20 days ago by rufous
Terms of Service Violation
The AP:

Kaepernick already had a deal with Nike that was set to expire, but it was renegotiated into a multiyear deal to make him one of the faces of Nike’s 30th anniversary “Just Do It” campaign, according to a person familiar with the contract. The person spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because Nike hasn’t officially announced the contract.

The person said Nike will feature Kaepernick on several platforms, including billboards, television commercials and online ads. Nike also will create an apparel line for Kaepernick and contribute to his Know Your Rights charity, the person said. The deal puts Kaepernick in the top bracket of NFL players with Nike.

The NFL painted itself into the wrong corner on this issue.

 ★ 
via:daringfireball 
20 days ago by rufous
Lenovo’s Yoga C630 is a Snapdragon-powered laptop with more potential
Cherlynn Low, writing for Engadget:

The Yoga C630 is supposed to last about 25 hours of continuous local video playback, which should be enough to last through an entire day of running around attending business meetings. That endurance is thanks in large part to the Snapdragon 850, which promises not only 25 percent longer battery life than the 835 but also 30 percent faster performance. When I opened a slew of apps like Excel, PowerPoint, Maps and Edge on the Yoga C630’s desktop environment, I barely encountered any delay. Any interruptions I saw were related to WiFi troubles rather than actual performance.

I do not expect to see any ARM-based MacBooks from Apple this year. I think we might see them by the end of next year, and I’d be surprised if we don’t see them by the end of 2020. The battery life advantages are simply overwhelming.

 ★ 
via:daringfireball 
20 days ago by rufous
Pixel 3 XL found in a Lyft, had already leaked enough for driver to recognize it - The Verge
The almost complete lack of attention paid to this story exemplifies the niche status of Google’s Pixel phones — which is sad, considering that they’re indisputably among the best Android phones.

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via:daringfireball 
21 days ago by rufous
Exclusive: This is ‘iPhone XS’ — design, larger version, and gold colors confirmed | 9to5Mac
Guilherme Rambo, reporting for 9to5Mac:

We believe that the new 5.8-inch and 6.5-inch iPhones will both be called iPhone XS. We also believe iPhone XS will come in a new gold color option not previously offered on the new design. Apple leaked its own gold version of the iPhone X through the FCC, but it has not been available to purchase.

Other details are still to be determined, but we can report with certainty that iPhone XS will be the name, the OLED model will come in two sizes including a larger version, and each will be offered in gold for the first time.

Wow.

[They also have a photo of a Series 4 Apple Watch], showing off an altogether new watch face that takes advantage of the bigger display and shows at least 8 complications in addition to the time of day. I particularly dig the weather complication in the corner that shows the daily high and low in addition to the current temperature. It also looks like the red dot on the digital crown that signifies a cellular model is now a much more subtle red ring — nice.

I’d love to hear the backstory on how 9to5Mac got these images. 9to5Mac offers no explanation for how they obtained them. Product marketing images and the names of new iPhones almost never leak from Apple. iPhone names sometimes get leaked in iOS builds, but not photos like these. These photos were almost certainly intended for the keynote. To my memory, this is unprecedented. My guess is that no one at Apple gave these images to 9to5Mac. I suspect Rambo, who is extraordinarily clever at finding things, somehow discovered them through a URL that was exposed publicly but should not have been.

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via:daringfireball 
25 days ago by rufous
The Talk Show ✪: Ep. 228, With Special Guest Jason Snell
Special guest Jason Snell returns to the show. Topics do include mechanical keyboards, but do not — I swear — include baseball. Also: speculation on what Apple might do with the non-Pro MacBook lineup.

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 ★ 
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4 weeks ago by rufous
Brilliant | Math and science done right
My thanks to Brilliant for once again sponsoring this week’s DF RSS feed. Brilliant shows you how to think critically and become a creative problem solver by guiding you through problems. They take concepts like conditional probability and machine learning, break them up into bite sized concepts, present clear thinking in each part, and then build back up to an interesting conclusion. Develop your joy of learning by cultivating your curiosity, applying what you learn, and allowing for failure.

To help you build up your problem-solving and critical thinking abilities, click here to save 20 percent off your annual premium subscription.

 ★ 
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4 weeks ago by rufous
Apollo | A beautiful reddit app built for power and speed
Apollo is “a beautiful Reddit app built for power and speed” and it is indeed just that. Designed and developed by former Apple engineer Christian Selig, it’s simply remarkable. Two recurring themes at Daring Fireball are that native apps tend to be better than web apps, and that if you’re going to make a native app, it should be a good native app, that embraces the user interface idioms of the platform.

You know how Apple’s own apps for iOS are very iOS-y (they more or less define what it means to be iOS-y) but Google’s iOS apps feel foreign and weird because they’re designed around Google’s own Material Design idioms, and an app like Slack, though technically native, just seems weird? Apollo feels like what we’d get if Apple itself made a Reddit app for iOS: fonts, layout, colors, scrolling performance, works exactly how you want it to on both iPhone and iPad.

I’ll be honest, I’m not a heavy Reddit user, but Apollo is so nice it tempts me to use it more. If you do use Reddit and care about using good native apps, you’re nuts if you don’t try Apollo.

 ★ 
via:daringfireball 
4 weeks ago by rufous
Allen Weisselberg, Longtime Trump Organization CFO, Is Granted Immunity in Cohen Probe - WSJ
Rebecca Ballhaus and Nicole Hong, reporting for The Wall Street Journal:

Allen Weisselberg, President Trump’s longtime financial gatekeeper, was granted immunity by federal prosecutors for providing information about Michael Cohen in the criminal investigation into hush-money payments for two women during the 2016 presidential campaign, according to people familiar with the matter.

Mr. Weisselberg, who is chief financial officer of the Trump Organization, was called to testify before a federal grand jury in the investigation earlier this year, The Wall Street Journal previously reported, citing people familiar with the investigation. He then spoke to investigators, though it isn’t clear whether he appeared before the grand jury.

The decision by prosecutors in the Manhattan U.S. attorney’s office to grant immunity to Mr. Weisselberg escalates the pressure on Mr. Trump, whom Mr. Weisselberg has served for decades as executive vice president as well as CFO for the Trump Organization. After Mr. Trump was elected, he handed control of his financial assets and business interests to his two adult sons and Mr. Weisselberg.

Mr. Weisselberg didn’t respond to a request for comment. A lawyer for Mr. Trump, who on Thursday said so-called flipping “almost ought to be illegal,” declined to comment.

The only reason prosecutors typically grant immunity is if someone is able to testify about crimes committed by someone higher up the ladder. And there’s only one person higher up the ladder from Weisselberg. But I’m sure Trump and his family have nothing to worry about, because surely there is nothing illegal in the Trump Organization’s books.

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via:daringfireball 
4 weeks ago by rufous
News From ME - Mark Evanier's blog
Great find from Mark Evanier — almost all the footage from that era has been lost. The monologue even has some great jokes about the Yankees.

 ★ 
via:daringfireball 
4 weeks ago by rufous
Brand New: New Logo and Identity for Library of Congress by Pentagram
This new identity is a horrendous mistake. The old identity was perfect.

The new identity doesn’t look bad in and of itself, per se, but it doesn’t fit the Library of Congress in any way. The Library of Congress is majestic, historic, dignified, authoritative. A new or tweaked identity for the Library of Congress should be for the ages, something designed to last for a century or longer. This feels like an identity that will last 10 years. I love orange and black as a color scheme, but why in the world would you choose those colors for the United States Library of Congress?

This is so wrong it breaks my heart.

 ★ 
via:daringfireball 
4 weeks ago by rufous
Facebook Removing Onavo VPN From App Store After Apple Says It Violates Data Collection Policies - Mac Rumors
Deepa Seetharaman, reporting for The Wall Street Journal:

Onavo allows users to create a virtual private network that redirects internet traffic to a private server managed by Facebook. The app, which bills itself as a way to “keep you and your data safe,” also alerts users when they visit potentially malicious sites. Facebook is able to collect and analyze Onavo users’ activity to get a picture of how people use their phones beyond Facebook’s apps.

Earlier this month, Apple officials informed Facebook that the app violated new rules outlined in June designed to limit data collection by app developers, the person familiar with the situation said. Apple informed Facebook that Onavo also violated a part of its developer agreement that prevents apps from using data in ways that go beyond what is directly relevant to the app or to provide advertising, the person added.

Here is the money line from Onavo’s terms of service:

To provide this layer of protection, Onavo uses a VPN to establish a secure connection to direct all of your network communications through Onavo’s servers. As part of this process, Onavo collects your mobile data traffic. This helps us improve and operate the Onavo service by analyzing your use of websites, apps and data. Because we’re part of Facebook, we also use this info to improve Facebook products and services, gain insights into the products and services people value, and build better experiences.

In other words, while you’re using Onavo, Facebook collects everything you do on the Internet — not just on the web but within apps too. As I wrote back in February, it’s spyware, pure and simple. I’m glad Apple cracked down on this, but it shouldn’t have taken until August.

 ★ 
via:daringfireball 
4 weeks ago by rufous
Twitter
This is a terrible mistake. Bylines add credibility. I know they haven’t removed bylines from the actual stories, but they belong on the homepage too.

 ★ 
via:daringfireball 
4 weeks ago by rufous
Goodbye, Back to My Mac – Edovia Blog
Edovia:

Apple just announced that it will be sunsetting the Back to My Mac service when macOS 10.14 Mojave launches this fall. The company recommends to start using iCloud Drive, use screen sharing or to buy Apple Remote Desktop at $80.

Screens (iOS and Mac) and Screens Connect are a great alternative to Back to My Mac. In fact, Screens Connect essentially behaves like the soon to be defunct service; it manages to open a port on your router and sends that information to our server. Then, Screens retrieves that information in order to connect to your Mac remotely.

Their sibling Screens Express app is a great solution to the problem of remote troubleshooting for family members. They’re running a discount offer on the heels of Apple’s announcement.

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via:daringfireball 
4 weeks ago by rufous
Introducing the Aqua Screenshot Library – 512 Pixels
Stephen Hackett, writing at 512 Pixels:

I’m really glad to be announcing a project that started at the end of last year. I have worked my way through every major release of macOS since the Mac OS X Public Beta and catalogued them in an extensive collection of screenshots.

Currently, the library includes 1,502 images. That’s 1.6 GB worth of screenshots.

Just a staggering amount of work when into assembling this collection. What a great resource. I love the little things, like looking at how the Finder’s “Go to Folder” sheet has subtly changed over the years.

Question, though: Is the MacOS user interface appearance still called “Aqua”? I tend to think of “Aqua” as the “lickable” buttons, pinstripes and brushed metal look of the early Mac OS X years. Those aspects became more subtle with each passing year, but I can’t really put my finger on a new version that I feel is decided not “Aqua” until 10.10’s iOS 7-style flattening. But maybe even the current look and feel is still properly called Aqua?

The other odd thing about writing about the MacOS from a historical perspective is that Apple changed it’s name twice: “Mac OS X” from public beta through 10.7, “OS X” from 10.8 through 10.11, and now just “MacOS” since 10.12. (Don’t get me started on Apple’s marketing preference to capitalize it “macOS”.) If Hackett didn’t call it the “Aqua Screenshot Gallery”, what could he have called it? “Mac OS X Screenshot Gallery” would be my suggestion, but admittedly that feels wrong in a certain sense. “Mac Screenshot Gallery” would be inclusive of all versions of the OS since the Mac OS X public beta, but feels like it should also include the classic Mac OS era. Maybe that’s why Hackett went with “Aqua”.

Also, maybe I overthink things.

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via:daringfireball 
4 weeks ago by rufous
Aston Martin reproducing Goldfinger DB5s with gadgets - Autoblog
Speaking of James Bond, Joel Stocksdale, reporting for Autoblog

It won’t simply be a DB5 in the correct color, either. The company is teaming up with the special effects supervisor from the most recent James Bond films, a man who, according to IMDb, has been working on Bond movies at some level since The Spy Who Loved Me and was the special-effects supervisor on the the Christopher Nolan Batman trilogy and the two latest numbered installments of the Star Wars series, to build the cars with “functioning gadgets such as revolving number plates and more.” The “and more” part has us particularly intrigued. We imagine the tracking computer and bulletproof shield are simple enough. But the hideaway machine guns and ejector seat might be tricky. Regardless, you won’t be able to deploy any of the gadgets on public roads, as Aston Martin explicitly states the cars won’t be street legal.

We’re sure that won’t keep Aston from finding buyers for these dream DB5s. The price tag probably won’t deter serious buyers, either. The company says each car will sell for 2,750,000 pounds, which comes to $3,510,000 at current exchange rates. Of the 28 cars, 25 will be sold directly to customers. The remaining three will include one for Aston Martin, one for EON Productions, the company that produces Bond movies, and one that will auctioned for charity. Aston estimates the first cars will be delivered in 2020.

Pretty cool, but that’s a lot of money for a car that isn’t even street legal.

 ★ 
via:daringfireball 
4 weeks ago by rufous
Google Data Collection research - Digital Content Next
Digital Content Next:

In “Google Data Collection,” Professor Douglas C. Schmidt, Professor of Computer Science at Vanderbilt University, catalogs how much data Google is collecting about consumers and their most personal habits across all of its products and how that data is being tied together.

The key findings include:

A dormant, stationary Android phone (with the Chrome browser active in the background) communicated location information to Google 340 times during a 24-hour period, or at an average of 14 data communications per hour. In fact, location information constituted 35 percent of all the data samples sent to Google.

For comparison’s sake, a similar experiment found that on an iOS device with Safari but not Chrome, Google could not collect any appreciable data unless a user was interacting with the device. Moreover, an idle Android phone running the Chrome browser sends back to Google nearly fifty times as many data requests per hour as an idle iOS phone running Safari.

That’s quite a difference.

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via:daringfireball 
4 weeks ago by rufous
[Weekly Review] Omarosa's Unhinged | Harper's Magazine
A lot of weird news this week, even by today’s standards:

US secretary of the interior Ryan Zinke, who has been investigated for violating the Hatch Act after tweeting a photo of himself wearing “Make America Great Again” socks, wore Ronald Reagan socks while touring the Carr fire sites in Northern California, and said that the wildfires were started by “environmental terrorist groups.”

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4 weeks ago by rufous
Facebook Fueled Anti-Refugee Attacks in Germany, New Research Suggests - The New York Times
Amanda Taub and Max Fisher, reporting for The New York Times:

Karsten Müller and Carlo Schwarz, researchers at the University of Warwick, scrutinized every anti-refugee attack in Germany, 3,335 in all, over a two-year span. In each, they analyzed the local community by any variable that seemed relevant. Wealth. Demographics. Support for far-right politics. Newspaper sales. Number of refugees. History of hate crime. Number of protests.

One thing stuck out. Towns where Facebook use was higher than average, like Altena, reliably experienced more attacks on refugees. That held true in virtually any sort of community — big city or small town; affluent or struggling; liberal haven or far-right stronghold — suggesting that the link applies universally.

Their reams of data converged on a breathtaking statistic: Wherever per-person Facebook use rose to one standard deviation above the national average, attacks on refugees increased by about 50 percent.

And the effect apparently works the other way, too:

Could Facebook really distort social relations to the point of violence? The University of Warwick researchers tested their findings by examining every sustained internet outage in their study window. German internet infrastructure tends to be localized, making outages isolated but common. Sure enough, whenever internet access went down in an area with high Facebook use, attacks on refugees dropped significantly.

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via:daringfireball 
4 weeks ago by rufous
Huawei caught passing off DSLR pictures as phone camera samples
Rachel England, writing for Engadget:

Now, Huawei never explicitly said that the advert was shot on the Nova 3, and of course it’s well-accepted that advertising is a land of smoke and mirrors and probably not that big a deal in the grand scheme of things — companies tweak the truth all the time in order to peddle their wares. But this is just deliberately misleading. And pretty embarrassing for the company, too.

This is more than just “tweaking the truth”. It’s downright dishonest. Compare and contrast with Apple’s years-long “Shot on iPhone” campaign — all of them actual photos shot using actual iPhones.

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4 weeks ago by rufous
Twitter
From the official James Bond Twitter account:

Michael G. Wilson, Barbara Broccoli and Daniel Craig today announced that due to creative differences Danny Boyle has decided to no longer direct Bond 25.

Seems like that November 2019 release date might be in jeopardy, unless they find someone to direct who’s willing to shoot the script as-is (which is what Ron Howard did when he took over Solo).

My vote would be to bring back Martin Campbell and give him time to get the script right. Campbell’s Casino Royale is the best modern Bond film, by far, and Goldeneye was at least the best of the Brosnan films.

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4 weeks ago by rufous
Prepare for changes to Back to My Mac - Apple Support
Apple support document:

Back to My Mac will not be available on macOS Mojave. You can get ready now by learning about alternatives for file access, screen sharing, and remote desktop access.

I never really used Back to My Mac, but I hadn’t realized it was removed in Mojave. I’m not sure screen sharing and remote desktop access are adequate replacements.

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via:daringfireball 
4 weeks ago by rufous
Terms of Service Violation
Mark Gurman and Debby Wu, writing for Bloomberg:

Apple Inc. will release a new low-cost laptop and a professional-focused upgrade to the Mac mini desktop later this year, ending a drought of Mac computers that has limited sales of the company’s longest-running line of devices, according to people familiar with the plans.

The new laptop will look similar to the current MacBook Air, but will include thinner bezels around the screen. The display, which will remain about 13-inches, will be a higher-resolution “Retina” version that Apple uses on other products, the people said.

I don’t understand this. How can it look similar to the current MacBook Air if the display “will remain about 13 inches” and the bezels are smaller? If the bezels are smaller and the display is “about 13 inches” then the machine will be significantly smaller. If the machine is about the same size and the bezels are smaller, then the display will be larger.

The fundamental question is whether the no-adjective one-port MacBook is going to be the base model, or is Apple coming out with a new product to replace the MacBook Air. This report doesn’t answer that question.

Apple is also planning the first upgrade to the Mac mini in about four years. It’s a Mac desktop that doesn’t include a screen, keyboard, or mouse in the box and costs $500. The computer has been favored because of its lower price, and it’s popular with app developers, those running home media centers, and server farm managers. For this year’s model, Apple is focusing primarily on these pro users, and new storage and processor options are likely to make it more expensive than previous versions, the people said.

It’s good to hear that a new Mac Mini is imminent, but again, what are the details? What makes it geared toward “pro users”? What does it look like? The current MacBook Air and Mac Mini are ridiculously old and obviously need to be updated, but this report has no actual information on what these updates will entail.

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via:daringfireball 
5 weeks ago by rufous
PepsiCo to buy SodaStream for $3.2 billion
CNBC:

Beverage and snack giant PepsiCo announced plans Monday to acquire at-home carbonated drink maker SodaStream for $3.2 billion.

Purchase, New York-based PepsiCo agreed to pay $144 per share in cash for SodaStream’s outstanding stock, a 32 percent premium to its 30-day volume weighted average price.

I really hope Pepsi doesn’t screw SodaStream up.

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via:daringfireball 
5 weeks ago by rufous
Apple September 2018 iPhone Event Preview | iMore
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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5 weeks ago by rufous
Google Employees Are Organizing To Protest The Company’s Secret, Censored Search Engine For China
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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5 weeks ago by rufous
Ryan Gallagher | RJGallagher.co.uk: Google China Censorship Project Named After Co-Founder Sergey Brin's Luxury Yacht?
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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via:daringfireball 
5 weeks ago by rufous
Google Plans to Launch Censored Search Engine in China, Leaked Documents Reveal
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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via:daringfireball 
5 weeks ago by rufous
Twitter
I don’t expect to see this one played at Twitter’s next press event.

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5 weeks ago by rufous
UpHabit | Home | Relationship management made simple
My thanks to UpHabit for sponsoring this week’s DF RSS feed. 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 21 (with the App Store release planned for October 2018).

When out of beta, UpHabit will be a subscription app with a free tier, and 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 this Tuesday.

 ★ 
via:daringfireball 
5 weeks ago by rufous
Daring Fireball: Twitter Addresses Why They’ve Broken Twitter for Third-Party Clients
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.
via:daringfireball 
5 weeks ago by rufous
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