Valve’s New ‘Steam Link Anywhere’ Service Streams PC Games to Mobile Devices, Excluding Apple’s →

March 18, 2019 · 09:35

Mitchel Broussard, for MacRumors:

Valve today announced an expansion of its game-streaming app Steam Link, now named Steam Link Anywhere (via The Verge).

The original Steam Link app let users stream PC games on Steam to a mobile device within their home, but Steam Link Anywhere lets users stream games from their PC to any compatible device with internet service, excluding Apple devices.

Perhaps Apple has a good reason for blocking Steam Link Anywhere, but we’re the ones paying the price. I would also like to know what that reason is.

100 Years of Bauhaus →

March 14, 2019 · 10:46

The Bauhaus was a lively school of ideas and a field for experimenting in the free and applied arts, design, architecture and educational methods. Here we present the phases the Bauhaus went through, the places where it based its activities, its teaching, the people behind it and their works.

iOS 12.2 ECG Changes →

March 13, 2019 · 15:10

Guilherme Rambo, for 9to5Mac:

Up until now, Apple Watch Series 4 users who bought their Apple Watch in the US were able to use the ECG feature just fine, provided that they completed the onboarding step on their iPhone first. In this onboarding, the user has to confirm their date of birth and also see some instructions about how ECG works.

A change to this onboarding process suggests that Apple is going to start taking more aggressive measures to prevent usage of the feature in other territories. In iOS 12.2, a new phrase has been added to the bottom of the screen, which says that “During setup, your location will be used to make sure this feature is available in your region.”. Trying to perform the setup on an iPhone without a SIM installed gave the error “Unable to confirm your location. Make sure your iPhone is not in airplane mode and has a working SIM card to proceed”.

Now that I’ve gotten used to having the ECG feature on my US Apple Watch in Europe, I really hope they don’t block it.

Reeder 4 Beta for Mac Is Here →

March 13, 2019 · 10:21

While I really like using Unread for more casual reading, nothing lets me get through my RSS queue quicker than Reeder for iOS and Mac. I love this app and I’m happy to see that a new version is coming. Silvio Rizzi mentions that the iOS version is almost ready and having spent the morning with the Mac version, it appears this will be a nice update. Since Reeder 3 debuted in 2015, Silvio hasn’t been charging for updates, so I’ll gladly pay for the new version. You can find a list of some of Reeder 4’s new features on his site.

It’s Show Time — Apple’s Special Event Will Be Held on March 25, 2019 at 18:00 CET →

March 12, 2019 · 09:15

Apple’s first 2019 Special Event will be livestreamed on March 25, at 18:00 CET. This event will most probably focus on services, including a magazine subscription service and a TV service similar to Netflix. I’m not holding my breath for new hardware.

I’m really curious as to how Apple will structure all these subscriptions. Separately? Bundle them together? Will they even be available outside the US? Two more weeks and we’ll find out.

My Reddit Subscriptions

March 11, 2019 · 11:26

I was recently asked for a list of the subreddits I subscribe to, so here it is…

Luminary Aims to Be the Netflix of Podcasts →

March 7, 2019 · 09:16

Brooks Barnes, reporting for the New York Times:

“We want to become synonymous with podcasting in the same way Netflix has become synonymous with streaming,” Matt Sacks, Luminary’s co-founder and chief executive, said in an interview. “I know how ambitious that sounds. We think it can be done, and some of the top creators in the space agree.” […]

Most podcasts are free, but the Luminary app — set to arrive by June — will focus on subscriptions. For $8 a month, subscribers will gain access to Luminary’s ad-free lineup. For creators, Luminary is offering large upfront payment guarantees in exchange for exclusive rights to distribute their work, reducing the risk of a concept and, hopefully, encouraging greater creativity and higher production values. Luminary will also pay creators bonuses if their shows reach certain listening thresholds.

As a creator, I understand that people just want to earn a living and this seems like a steady way to create podcasts professionally, even though I would not choose to go down this route myself. However, as a user, I am strongly opposed to walling off podcasts, which are fundamentally based on open standards, such as RSS. This is one of the best aspects of podcasts — all you need is your favourite show’s RSS URL and almost any podcast player will play it correctly (many of which are free, though you will have to pay for clients who have some advanced features).

It seems unlikely that Marzipan developers would be able or willing to take advantage of higher Mac app prices. Instead, the Mac suddenly gets a flood of low-price, low-effort ports of iOS app. Accelerating the race to the bottom on the Mac.

Jeff Johnson

MacStories Shortcuts for iOS Archive →

March 7, 2019 · 08:53

Federico Viticci:

Welcome to the MacStories Shortcuts Archive, the official repository for shortcuts created by Federico Viticci and the MacStories team.Since the original release of Workflow in 2014, we’ve created hundreds of automations to help readers use their iOS devices more efficiently. The goal of this archive is to offer a complete catalogue of our old workflows as well as new custom shortcuts for Apple’s Shortcuts app […]

Anyone is free to download, modify, and redistribute shortcuts from the MacStories archive. Our shortcuts are provided for free and out of love for the Shortcuts automation community. In fact, we encourage readers to download shortcuts and optimize them to their needs. No attribution is necessary, but we always appreciate it.

This is quite a nice cache of Shortcut shortcuts, including some surprising ones for Mac users.

Getting My Logitech Harmony Hub to Work With HomeKit After Logitech’s Firmware Changes

March 6, 2019 · 09:46

I got a Raspberry Pi last year just to integrate some of my less-than-smart devices with HomeKit, so I could control them via Siri. Late last year I decided to get a Logitech Harmony Hub to be able to control my TV, receiver, and Apple TV with Siri but Logitech decided to change-up their plans, shutting down their local API which integrated with Homebridge. They backtracked on their plans after their users voiced their outrage and new firmware dropped a few weeks ago. I had to make some changes but I finally got my Harmony Hub working with Siri once again. Here’s what I had to do…

Continue reading →

New Flaws in 4G, 5G Allow Attackers to Intercept Calls and Track Phone Locations →

March 4, 2019 · 09:52

Zack Whittaker, reporting for TechCrunch:

A group of academics have found three new security flaws in 4G and 5G, which they say can be used to intercept phone calls and track the locations of cell phone users.

The findings are said to be the first time vulnerabilities have affected both 4G and the incoming 5G standard, which promises faster speeds and better security, particularly against law enforcement use of cell site simulators, known as “stingrays.” But the researchers say that their new attacks can defeat newer protections that were believed to make it more difficult to snoop on phone users.

I have been trying to use FaceTime Audio more and more since it debuted, because it’s safer, supposedly secure, and the quality of the connection is clearly superior. That said, many people I call frequently ask me why I called them over FaceTime Audio instead of a traditional cellular connection, the complaint evident in their voice. Is this is a sign of my generation not accepting technologies that replace “traditional” voice calls? Or am I missing something?

Bringing iOS Apps to macOS Using Marzipanify →

March 4, 2019 · 09:46

Steve Troughton-Smith:

marzipanify is a tool I created to statically convert an iOS app built for the iOS Simulator to macOS. It means you can continue working on and building your existing iOS app from its existing project, using the existing iOS SDK, and just run the tool against the Simulator build to create a functioning Mac app. As a bonus, marzipanify will yell at you when you’re linking against a framework or library that doesn’t currently exist in the iOSMac runtime. It trivializes the process so you can focus on adapting your app rather than managing a build environment.

Curious to see what people will come up with before the expected Marzipan-for-developers announcement during this year’s WWDC. Having said that, I’m still partially horrified at the potential flood of poor Marzipan apps coming to the Mac, and how they’ll affect developers actually catering to the feature set and strengths of MacOS.

Revolut Insiders Reveal the Human Cost of a Fintech Unicorn’s Wild Rise →

March 4, 2019 · 09:43

Emiliano Mellino, for Wired:

“You’re nothing but a number to them with dollar signs attached.” That’s how Revolut, one of the fastest growing fintech startups in the UK, described traditional banks when advertising for business development manager vacancies last October. Revolut was the alternative to these banks, and had already acquired 2.8 million customers without spending a single penny on advertising, the ad said.

But former Revolut employees say this high-speed growth has come at a high human cost – with unpaid work, unachievable targets, and high-staff turnover.

I am an extremely happy Revolut user — it just makes everything easier when abroad or paying for something over the internet in a foreign currency — but this kind of behaviour is unacceptable from a company.

The Secret Lives of Facebook Moderators in America →

March 1, 2019 · 10:41

Casey Newton, for The Verge:

The panic attacks started after Chloe watched a man die.

She spent the past three and a half weeks in training, trying to harden herself against the daily onslaught of disturbing posts: the hate speech, the violent attacks, the graphic pornography. In a few more days, she will become a full-time Facebook content moderator, or what the company she works for, a professional services vendor named Cognizant, opaquely calls a “process executive.”

For this portion of her education, Chloe will have to moderate a Facebook post in front of her fellow trainees. When it’s her turn, she walks to the front of the room, where a monitor displays a video that has been posted to the world’s largest social network. None of the trainees have seen it before, Chloe included. She presses play.

The video depicts a man being murdered. Someone is stabbing him, dozens of times, while he screams and begs for his life. Chloe’s job is to tell the room whether this post should be removed. She knows that section 13 of the Facebook community standards prohibits videos that depict the murder of one or more people. When Chloe explains this to the class, she hears her voice shaking.

The health consequences resulting from this job must be horrifying, both mental and physical.

I Held the Future in My Hands, and It Was Foldable →

February 27, 2019 · 13:01

Vlad Savov, for The Verge:

Huawei’s zealousness about keeping journalists’ hands off its new Mate X foldable phone slipped a little today, and I got to hold and fold it for myself. The hands-on experience with this device confirmed and deepened all the feelings I had about it already: it’s a polished, refined physical design that gets us closest to the ideal of a foldable with minimal compromises. There are still huge questions about what the software UX will be like, how durable and scratch-resistant that wraparound display will be over the long term, and how long the battery will last if you use this 5G tablet to its fullest. I can’t answer those today, but I can tell you what I know about the Huawei Mate X so far.

I really, really want a small, thin device which can unfold into a larger screen when needed. Naturally, I don’t want something as large as the Mate X or Galaxy Fold, but one of those devices you get to see in Westworld or The Expanse would fit the bill nicely. Seeing as how Apple has been preparing its developers for apps adapting to different screen sizes, I hope to see them venture into this territory sooner rather than later.

Apple Plans Sleep Tracking Feature for Future Watch →

February 27, 2019 · 12:38

Mark Gurman, reporting for that site that hasn’t retracted The Big Hack story:

Apple Inc. is said to be testing a sleep monitor for a future version of its smartwatch, a feature that would bolster the company in the health- and fitness-tracking market.

The company has been using the sleep-tracking feature for several months with testers at secret sites around its Cupertino, California, headquarters, according to people familiar with the work. If the functionality is successful in the testing stages, the company plans to add it to the Apple Watch by 2020, according to one of the people.

I’m curious how they’ll go about this. My Series 4 Apple Watch can easily go for two full days without needing a charge. Will they drastically increase battery life? Will they add be some sort of low power sleep mode? Anyway, this is one feature that I am waiting for.

A Week of Podcasting With Only an iPad Pro →

February 20, 2019 · 09:59

Jason Snell, on Six Colours:

Last week I took a trip during which I needed to record three podcasts (Liftoff, Download, Six Colors Subscriber Podcast) with guests who would be participating via Skype. I almost took my trusty old MacBook Air with me, but I decided to see if I could figure out a way to replicate the bulk of my home recording setup without requiring a Mac.

While I can do a lot on an iPad, I am still constantly amazed how many hoops people are willing to jump through to do something, which wouldn’t be an issue on MacOS (or Linux/Windows for that matter). I’m at a point where I can’t be bothered anymore (if I don’t already have a workflow set up for a particular problem).

Apple’s Latest Macs with T2 Chip Have a Serious Audio Glitching Bug →

February 20, 2019 · 09:53

Peter Kirn:

The problem is, it appears that this new chip has introduced glitches on a wide variety of external audio hardware from across the pro audio industry, thanks to a bug in Apple’s software. Issues with the way the new chip synchronizes timing causes dropouts and glitches in the audio stream. (It seems basically all USB 2.0 audio interfaces will be impacted. This of course unfortunately leads users to blame their interface manufacturer, but the fault lies with Apple.)

This will mostly impact pros who are using audio interfaces in production environments, basically screwing them over, having to look for solutions while they’re scrambling to get their job done.

via @mjtsai

Twitter vs. Reddit

February 20, 2019 · 09:34

Every day, in the morning, while drinking a tea, coffee, or Red Bull, I’d first launch Twitter and catch up on events. For the past two weeks, more or less unconsciously, I have been slowly transitioning to Reddit.

I think the problem is the people I follow — they’re just posting less. Perhaps I could change things up by following new people but Reddit is partly superior in this regard — I can just follow topics that interest me instead. This naturally leads to more disconnect with specific people but there’s so much more variety and content.

I can’t hide the fact that I’m extremely disappointed with how Twitter itself is being run and I’m sure these feelings influence my usage but it’s refreshing to know I have found an alternative of sorts, especially since Twitter will die for me the day they pull the plug on third-party clients, such as Tweetbot and Twitterrific.

My Photography (62) — The Many Planes of Funchal, Madeira, 2019

February 19, 2019 · 14:35

I was completely taken aback when I first saw how houses and roads are built on Madeira. Taking the funicular railway is a great method to getting a unique angle on their architecture and road system, where houses are almost built on top of one another and roads snake around gorges, hills, mountains, and bridges.

Shot with Sony A7R II + FE 28 mm f/2: f/8, 1/200 s, ISO 100.

My Photography (61) — 87 MP Panorama of Ponta de São Lourenço, Madeira, 2019

February 19, 2019 · 12:43

Ponta de São Lourenço is a fascinating place to spend a day (or two) on and I highly recommend going prepared — a good set of hiking or trekking boots and drinking water at the least. We went twice and unfortunately, the light and weather weren’t kind to us, which means I didn’t get the shots I wanted to get but I did get a few panoramas. This is one of them, stitched together from 5 vertical photos. I posted the full resolution (12244 x 7154 px) version on my Flicker, in case you’d like to zoom in a bit.

87 MP Panorama of Ponta de São Lourenço, Madeira, 2019

Shot with Sony A7R II + FE 28 mm f/2: f/8, 1/80 s, ISO 100. Total of 5 shots.

Apple to Release 16” MacBook Pro and 31” 6K Display in 2019 →

February 18, 2019 · 03:36

Chance Miller, for 9to5Mac:

According to the analyst, Apple will release a new MacBook Pro between 16-inches and 16.5-inches with an all-new design. Further, Kuo says Apple will return to the display market with a 31.6-inch 6k3k monitor. This display is said to feature a Mini LED-like backlight design, giving it “outstanding picture quality.”

I hope this means that the display will fill out the bezel, like other manufacturers have been doing for the past year or so. Keeping my fingers crossed for a standard connector to the display too instead of a proprietary solution (and 120 Hz), which is probably just wishful thinking.

February 15, 2019 · 11:11

If you’re updating MacOS 10.13 High Sierra to 10.14 Mojave and you get booted into Recovery during the upgrade with a “the installer resources were not found” error message, make sure you don’t have a secondary SSD or HDD with the same name connected to your computer. My main drive is called “Macintosh SSD” and since I also had my clone connected, which has the exact same name, the installer could not figure out what to do.

Apple Plans News Event for March 25 →

February 14, 2019 · 12:10

John Paczkowski, reporting for Buzzfeed News:

Apple has settled on a date for its first big product announcement of 2019. Sources tell BuzzFeed News that the company plans to hold a special event on March 25 at the Steve Jobs Theater on its Apple Park campus. Headlining the gathering: that subscription news service that has been all over the news today. Unlikely to make an appearance: next-generation AirPods, or that rumored new iPad Mini.

Sources described the event as subscription-services focused, but declined to say anything about Apple’s stand-alone video streaming service, which is also rumored to debut in 2019.

My feelings towards Apple and their decisions have steadily changed over the past few years, ever since Tim Cook took over. Quite frankly, I am actually dreading what Apple will unveil at this event.