Apple’s 2019 Shot on iPhone Contest →

January 22, 2019 · 20:01

Apple is kicking off 2019 by celebrating the most stunning photographs captured on iPhone, the world’s most popular camera, by inviting iPhone users to submit their best shots.

From January 22 to February 7, Apple is looking for outstanding photographs for a Shot on iPhone Challenge. A panel of judges will review worldwide submissions and select 10 winning photos, to be announced in February.

Pete Souza, Barack Obama’s photographer, is one of the judges.

The Design Flaw Behind MacBook Pro’s “Stage Light” Effect →

January 22, 2019 · 19:00

Taylor Dixon, for iFixit:

The issue is fairly simple: the current generation of MacBook Pro laptops (2016–present) uses flexible ribbon cables to connect the display to a display controller board beneath the Touch Bar. These cables wrap over the board, where they’re secured by a pair of spring-loaded covers—and they’re subjected to the stress of bending with every opening and closure of the laptop. Within a seemingly short time, those cables are starting to fatigue and tear. The backlight cable is generally the first to go, producing the infamous “stage light” symptoms, and eventually giving out entirely when the laptop is opened more than about 40° […]

But the bigger problem is that, in an apparent effort to make the display as thin as possible, Apple designed the cables as part of the display, so they cannot be replaced. This means that when (not if) those cables start to fail, the entire display unit needs to be replaced, as opposed to one or two little cables—effectively turning a $6 problem into a $600 disaster.

Imagine if you had to replace half of your car because a cable stopped working. This is simply horrible design.

A Trip to the ER With Tom’s Apple Watch →

January 22, 2019 · 10:20

Tom Bridge, on Cannonball:

This afternoon, I was helping a client move offices, mostly just deconstructing a simple network rack and moving access points into new space. I was doing some physical work, but nothing anyone would mistake for exercise. But, then I felt it. My heart was pounding. I got dizzy. Tunnel vision. I had to sit down.

I took my heart rate on the watch and it was over 200. I spent five years as a competitive swimmer, and to my knowledge I never got above 195. Even riding up Box Hill on Zwift didn’t get me over 170 this winter. 200 is scary territory. I remembered the ECG functionality, and googled how it worked. I took a reading.

I didn’t know how to read it, and I knew I was in a bit of trouble, so I had a coworker take me up to MedStar Washington Hospital Center, a mile or two away. Triage saw me rapidly, and I unlocked my phone to show the nurse. She was setting up a more complicated EKG, but because my heart rate had dropped back toward normal, it might not have any clear result they could read beyond just normal operation.

As soon as the tele-doc came on screen, the nurse rotated my phone and put it up to the camera to show the doctor the rapid rhythm from half an hour earlier.

“Oh, that’s an SVT,” he said immediately.

I didn’t see what it had to do with Ford’s Special Vehicle Team, but he clarified that he meant Supraventricular Tachycardia. They wanted to make sure labs were taken, and that nothing abnormal in my blood work showed a more troubling cause. But the diagnosis was there in an instant, thanks to my wrist watch.

At the intersection of technology, liberal arts, and saving lives.

via Six Colours

Rogue Amoeba’s 2019 Status Report →

January 22, 2019 · 10:05

Paul Kafasis:

It’s the beginning of a new year, which means it’s once again time for a Rogue Amoeba status report. This post offers a look at what we did in 2018, as well as a glimpse at our plans for the future.

These guys make some of the most amazing Mac apps and it’s great to see they’re heading into 2019 with a strong roadmap.

Amazing Thread About the History of the Macintosh SE/30 →

January 20, 2019 · 05:12

Nick Punt:

Just want to point out that today is the 30th anniversary of the beloved Macintosh SE/30. Small in stature but huge in performance, expansion, and overall likability. The king of the compact macs, and considered by many to be the Best Mac Ever.

Read the whole thing — Nick posted a whole thread on Twitter about this mighty little computer.

Tim Cook’s Op-Ed on Privacy →

January 19, 2019 · 12:41

Tim Cook:

Last year, before a global body of privacy regulators, I laid out four principles that I believe should guide legislation:

First, the right to have personal data minimized. Companies should challenge themselves to strip identifying information from customer data or avoid collecting it in the first place. Second, the right to knowledge—to know what data is being collected and why. Third, the right to access. Companies should make it easy for you to access, correct and delete your personal data. And fourth, the right to data security, without which trust is impossible.

But laws alone aren’t enough to ensure that individuals can make use of their privacy rights. We also need to give people tools that they can use to take action. To that end, here’s an idea that could make a real difference.

I still trust Apple more than any other company to care about my privacy (though their deal with China makes me wary) — I hope they don’t screw this up as badly as they did their pricing.

DuckDuckGo Powered by Apple Maps →

January 19, 2019 · 12:37


We’re excited to announce that map and address-related searches on DuckDuckGo for mobile and desktop are now powered by Apple’s MapKit JS framework, giving you a valuable combination of mapping and privacy. As one of the first global companies using Apple MapKit JS, we can now offer users improved address searches, additional visual features, enhanced satellite imagery, and continually updated maps already in use on billions of Apple devices worldwide.

With this updated integration, Apple Maps are now available both embedded within our private search results for relevant queries, as well as available from the “Maps” tab on any search result page.

I wonder why they chose Apple Maps instead of one of the many alternatives to Google Maps. Are the other options not as focused on privacy? Did Apple simply make them a good deal? Either way, this is most welcome. I have been using DDG as my search engine for a few years now and I rarely have to switch to Google to find something DDG missed.

Bypassing 2FA With ‘Modlishka’ Reverse Proxy Tool →

January 19, 2019 · 12:26

Piotr Duszyński:

This blog post is an introduction to the reverse proxy “Modlishka” tool, that I have just released. I hope that this software will reinforce the fact that social engineering is a serious threat, and cannot be treated lightly.

On the page below I will shortly describe how this tool can be used to bypass most of the currently used 2FA authentication schemes.

MacBook Pro Keyboard Popping Sounds →

January 19, 2019 · 12:20

Steven Peterson:

Today I picked up a new 15” MacBook Pro, fully loaded. It was very expensive. I was excited to have a faster machine for my development work. I just returned it and got my money back because it kept making random popping noises. Then I saw this.

I really hope we get completely redesigned keyboards this year. My trust in Apple is plummeting downhill at a breakneck speed. This means that no new Mac for me for at least two more years, until I’m sure the new ones work properly.

Amazon’s Ring Has Access to All of It’s Customer’s Live Video Feeds and Recordings →

January 11, 2019 · 10:36

Sam Biddle, for The Intercept:

Despite its mission to keep people and their property secure, the company’s treatment of customer video feeds has been anything but, people familiar with the company’s practices told The Intercept. Beginning in 2016, according to one source, Ring provided its Ukraine-based research and development team virtually unfettered access to a folder on Amazon’s S3 cloud storage service that contained every video created by every Ring camera around the world. This would amount to an enormous list of highly sensitive files that could be easily browsed and viewed. Downloading and sharing these customer video files would have required little more than a click […]

At the same time, the source said, Ring unnecessarily provided executives and engineers in the U.S. with highly privileged access to the company’s technical support video portal, allowing unfiltered, round-the-clock live feeds from some customer cameras, regardless of whether they needed access to this extremely sensitive data to do their jobs.

Trust takes a long time to earn, but it can be lost in a heartbeat. I still cannot believe that companies don’t take this topic more seriously, especially after all of the Uber and Facebook fiascos.

AEK II Inspired XDA Oblique Keycaps for Mechanical Keyboards →

January 10, 2019 · 13:12

XDA Oblique is a keyset inspired by the keycaps of the AEK, M0116, AEKII, and similar Apple keyboards. The font used in this keyset is Oswald Light and is angled at 18°. This is a very close to Univers 57 Condensed Oblique, the font used on the AEK. The caps will be color matched to Pantone Cool Grey 2 U, which is very close to Apple’s original tone.

I am completely smitten with this design. They are unfortunately already sold-out. I included some samples below but there are more over on Dixie Mech’s site (just click the link in the title of this post).

Apple Cuts iPhone 8, XR, XS, XS Max Prices for Chinese Vendors →

January 10, 2019 · 10:05

Alex Allegro, for 9to5Mac:

A report from China’s National Business Daily says Chinese iPhone vendors received word yesterday regarding price cuts to iPhone 8, 8 Plus, XR, XS and XS Max.

The biggest price cut comes to the iPhone XR, which allegedly is seeing a 450 yuan (~$66) discount, bringing the total XR price to 5250 yuan (about $770). Generally though, most iPhones are seeing a 400 yuan (~$59) reduction.

What about the rest of the world?

AMD Announces Radeon VII →

January 10, 2019 · 10:00

Sean Hollister, for The Verge:

AMD has been lagging behind Nvidia for years in the high-end gaming graphics card race, to the point it’s primarily been pushing bang-for-the-buck cards like the RX 580 instead. But now at CES, the company says it has a GPU that’s competitive with Nvidia’s RTX 2080. It’s called the Radeon VII (“Seven”) and it uses the company’s first 7nm graphics chip, one we’d seen teased previously.

It’ll ship February 7th for $699, according to the company. That’s the same price as an standard Nvidia RTX 2080.

Can’t wait for Apple to introduce this card into their line-up in 2022, when it’s obsolete.

Tim Cook Interviewed by Jima Cramer on CNBC →

January 9, 2019 · 15:20

The one quote from Tim that caught my eye was the following:

On services, you will see us announce new services this year. There will more things coming. I don’t want to tell you about what they are—

I’d be willing to bet (not much, mind you) that he’s talking about the Apple TV service (aka Netflix competitor) that has been years in the making.

Federico Viticci Coded a Shortcut to Visualize Your Most Listened to Apple Music Songs, Artists, and Genres of the Year →

January 9, 2019 · 14:28

Federico Viticci, on MacStories:

Apple Music Wrapped generates a personalized music report that, by default, collects your 100 most-played songs added to your library in any given year since Apple Music was launched in 2015, sorting them from largest to smallest play count. The shortcut takes less than 30 seconds to run and the final report is opened in Safari as a custom webpage.

It works perfectly. Turns out I have listened to a lot of film music in 2018. You can find my playlist here (88 songs, 5h45m).

The World’s Oldest Esports Team Is Gaming Their Way to Longer Lives →

January 9, 2019 · 14:21

Samantha Bresnahan, for CNN:

The video game “Counter-Strike” plays out on their monitors as they communicate over headsets, engaged in a fierce competition at Moscow’s IgroMir Expo, Russia’s largest computer and video game convention.

But this is not your average group of gamers. The slogan on their black jackets reads “We’ve got time to kill.”

With an average age of 67, the Silver Snipers from Stockholm, Sweden, are the oldest esports team in the world.

Amazing team and I’d wager they’re much better than I am!

GitHub Free Users Now Get Unlimited Private Repositories →

January 8, 2019 · 14:00

Frederic Lardinois, for TechCrunch:

If you’re a GitHub user, but you don’t pay, this is a good week. Historically, GitHub always offered free accounts but the caveat was that your code had to be public. To get private repositories, you had to pay. Starting tomorrow, that limitation is gone. Free GitHub users now get unlimited private projects with up to three collaborators.

The amount of collaborators is really the only limitation here and there’s no change to how the service handles public repositories, which can still have unlimited collaborators.

Thank you, Microsoft!

Using BBEdit and Excel to Revive a Dead Podcast Feed →

January 8, 2019 · 13:58

Jason Snell, on Six Colours:

When people ask me what features of BBEdit I use, I can mention Markdown tools and syntax support, which I use for writing stories like this one. But the other thing I use BBEdit for is a bit more esoteric and hard to describe—something I call “text munging”, for lack of a better word.

I recently used Excel for a similar purpose and was surprised how much I underutilize it for such tasks. Anyway, Jason’s expedition is a very interesting read, combining BBEdit, regular expressions, and the aforementioned Excel.

Keychron K1 — A Low Profile Mechanical Keyboard for Mac (Or Windows) →

January 7, 2019 · 14:56

I was just about to go ahead and order the Vortex Race 3 when a link to the Keychron K1 flew past me on Twitter, and now I have no idea what to do.

I like low profile keyboards. I like Bluetooth. The Race 3 has neither of those attributes. But it has Cherry MX switches instead of these “blue” switches of unknown origin. The K1 does however feature a full complement of Mac-specific function keys.

Should I just order both?

TJ Luoma’s Review of the Luna Display →

January 2, 2019 · 09:30

TJ Luoma, on Rhymes with Diploma:

Using the Luna Display with my 12.9″ iPad Pro feels almost as if I am using macOS as a native iOS app. The speed and responsiveness are great, and it’s straightforward to use. However, there are some important caveats, especially if you are using a smaller iPad or if you are not using the iPad as a second display for your Mac.

I’m sorely tempted to get one of these, even though I don’t really know what I’d use it for.

Apple’s Current MacBook Pro Keyboards Are Badly Designed →

December 29, 2018 · 10:49

Marco Arment:

After a week of unexpected Overcast work on vacation, I have as much of a love-hate relationship with my 2018 13″ MBP as ever. I’m so glad I have it. I’m so glad it’s as fast and capable as it is. Still HATE the keyboard. Still make tons of errors due to the spacing and layout.

It’s not the butterfly switches, though they’re still unpleasant, ungraceful, unreliable, and a huge unforced error.

It’s the damn layout. There’s not enough space between the keys. There’s not enough curvature on the keycaps. There’s no inverted-T arrow keys. It’s a bad design.

I know this is beating a dead horse, but time doesn’t solve bad designs.

It was a bad design in 2015, it was a horrible decision to make it the only choice in 2016, and it continues to be a horrendous keyboard in 2018.

I’ll move on when Apple does.

I loved the keyboards on the 2008 MacBook Pros and I was surprised when I found that the ones on my 2013 MacBook Air and 2014 MacBook Pro are even better. I have to agree that the most recent iteration is worse and my biggest complaint is the layout of the arrow keys. I have been typing on this keyboard for over two years now and I still make mistakes when trying to press the arrows without looking at them. Turns out that the empty space above the left and right arrows was really important.

Hands on With the Brydge 12.9 Pro Keyboard →

December 29, 2018 · 10:38

Jason Snell, on Six Colours:

iPads with new shapes usually require new accessories. While I’ve been writing on my new iPad Pro with Apple’s Smart Keyboard Folio, I’ve been anxiously awaiting the release of a new version of my go-to travel keyboard for iPad, from Brydge. It’s a Bluetooth keyboard that’s designed like the bottom half of a laptop, with a couple of clips into which you slide the iPad Pro.

While the new $170 Brydge 12.9 Pro keyboard isn’t yet shipping, the company sent me a prototype to use for a week. It’s going to be hard to send it back and wait for the final version to ship in early spring. It’s the same great laptop-style experience, in a new smaller design that’s shaped like the new iPad Pro itself.

I only wish either iOS or Brydge offered a way to remap keys. Otherwise, while larger than the Smart Keyboard Folio from Apple, this seems like a much better product and something Apple should have made. Though looking at their current pricing policies, I’m glad they didn’t, because it would probably cost $399.

Jason Snell About His Keyboard — The Vortex Race 3 →

December 28, 2018 · 12:00

Jason Snell, on Six Colours:

[…] I’ve tried a lot of keyboards over the last few years, but I realized that I haven’t yet described my current choice for writing when I’m at my desk. It’s the Vortex Race 3. (The switches are my preferred Cherry Brown style, but other keyswitches are also available.)

This is the rare mechanical keyboard that’s civilized to come with a set of alternate keycaps for Mac users (Command and Option rather than Win and Alt), as well as a few variant color keycaps for modifier keys and the arrow keys. (It’s also got a Mac keyboard mode, so all the keys work properly without any remapping required.) The keycaps feature very pleasant capital letters dead center, and come in shades of gray. I’ve swapped in a red Esc key, yellow arrow keys, and a blue Enter key.

The Race 3 is a “75% keyboard”, which means it doesn’t have a number pad, but it does have dedicated arrow keys and a function-key row. […] It’s got an anodized aluminum base that doesn’t wrap around the bottom of the keys, so they “float” above the board. It’s a nice effect and sure makes it easy to extract crumbs and other detritus from the keyboard from time to time.

This is the keyboard I would love to buy but I can’t get over the fact that it doesn’t have Bluetooth. I’d love to be able to carry it around to use with my iPad Pro without the hassle of having to connect it with a cable.

Logitech Will Re-enable Local Harmony API in January →

December 27, 2018 · 08:59

Will Wong, on Logitech’s forums:

We’ve heard your concerns. We understand that some customers are frustrated with the recent security fix we put in place, as it closed access to private local API controls. While security continues to be a priority for us, we are working to provide a solution for those who still want access despite the inherent security risks involved. 

If you would like to participate in an XMPP beta program, which will allow access to local controls, see the below instructions. Over the coming weeks, we will qualify a regular firmware release that still allows XMPP control for those who need it. We expect to send out an update that will be available to all Harmony customers in January.

This is a good call. Pity it took a ruckus for them to fix this issue, but I’m just happy that I’ll get my HomeKit integration back.

A Major Die Hard Plot Hole Was Just Explained… 29 Years Later →

December 25, 2018 · 10:12

Sam Warner:

The makers of Die Hard have explained a big plot hole in the middle of the movie, and it’s only taken them three decades to give us the truth.

To jog your memory in case you’ve forgotten, baddie Hans Gruber (Alan Rickman) pretends to be a hostage when he first comes face to face with John McClane (Bruce Willis).

McClane suspects that something is off and manages to get away – but it is never specified what exactly set off his alarm bells.

Missed this last year! Perfect for the film’s 30th anniversary though.

Kensington Surface Pro Dock Turns Your Surface Pro Into a Mini Surface Studio →

December 21, 2018 · 11:56

Daniel Rubino, for Windows Central:

Saying the Kensington SD7000 is just a port expander is like saying Surface Studio 2 is just an expensive desktop computer – you’re missing the point.

Slotting in the Surface Pro 6 into the Kensington SD7000 you immediately experience how this hinged-mount changes everything. Now at eye-level, the Surface Pro now feels like a mini-Surface Studio.

The Surface Pro’s screen might be a bit on the small side for some but this is amazing. I’m sure people could do with a cheaper version without all the additional I/O. I could see definitely see something like this for the iPad Pro too, but I would like an option to change the orientation to portrait — I prefer vertical screens for typing. However, just the ability to lower the screen and use it at an angle for drawing would go a long way.