Apple’s Should Pull Out of China →

February 20, 2018 · 08:36

John Gruber, on Daring Fireball:

I wish that Apple would provide a definitive list of all types of data that goes through iCloud, showing what is end-to-end encrypted (iMessage and FaceTime?) and what is not. This whole situations reeks to high hell, but I don’t know what Apple could do other than pull out of the Chinese market entirely.

That’s exactly what they should do — pull out of China entirely. End-to-end encryption doesn’t guarantee complete security, since a lot can be obtained from analysing just the metadata.


macOS May Lose Data on APFS-Formatted Disk Images →

February 19, 2018 · 13:31

Mike Bombich, creator of Carbon Copy Cloner:

This week we reported to Apple a serious flaw in macOS that can lead to data loss when using an APFS-formatted disk image. Until Apple issues a macOS update that resolves this problem, we’re dropping support for APFS-formatted disk images.

Note: What I describe below applies to APFS disk images only — ordinary APFS volumes (e.g. your SSD startup disk) are not affected by this problem. While the underlying problem here is very serious, this is not likely to be a widespread problem, and will be most applicable to a small subset of backups. Disk images are not used for most backup task activity, they are generally only applicable when making backups to network volumes. If you make backups to network volumes, read on to learn more.

Another day, another serious High Sierra bug.


Nokia Screwed Up, Again →

February 19, 2018 · 13:29

Nokia PR:

Nokia today announces that it has initiated a review of strategic options for its Digital Health business, which is part of Nokia Technologies. Digital Health’s business portfolio includes consumer and enterprise products, and it manufactures and sells an ecosystem of hybrid smart watches, scales and digital health devices to consumers and enterprise partners.

This was the photo I posted in reaction to the news that Nokia was buying Withings in April 2016:

If they now kill Nokia Health (formerly Withings), I will have nothing but contempt for the company and all the people behind this decision. That’s my delicate way of putting it. If I wasn’t trying to restrain myself, I’d just call them fucking assholes outright, but I won’t, since that could be interpreted as vulgar.

I’m also using a Withings Body Cardio, which I bought partially due to the Pulse Wave Velocity feature, which was recently pulled. If Nokia kills Nokia Health, will this mean that my scale is now just an expensive paperweight?


Alto’s Odyssey Is Available for Pre-Order!

February 12, 2018 · 09:54

I wrote a short piece on why I loved Alto’s Adventure so much a few months ago:

These weeks were incredibly taxing, ultimately driving me into severe depression, which took me over two years to shake. I did find one way to keep sane at the time, during those long hours in the halls of the hospital my mom was in — by playing Alto’s Adventure [iOS / Android] when my stress levels were particularly high or there was just nothing else to do. I would completely lose myself in the wonderfully calming music, various sound effects, and flowing gameplay, while skiing down the slope of the endless in-game mountain. At one point Alto’s Adventure was the only experience that would calm my frayed nerves.

I don’t know what I would have done without this wonderful game, but I would like to deeply thank the team behind it — Snowman — for their efforts. They will always have a special place in my heart.

This was partly done in anticipation of Alto’s Oddysey — the sequel to that fantastic title. Well, it’s up for pre-order today, which I did, and I can’t wait until February 22, when it’s scheduled for release.

Alto’s Odyssey — $4.99 / €5.49 / 23.99 PLN


Westworld Rewind Podcast — Quick Thoughts →

February 10, 2018 · 13:40

I just finished listening to the first two episodes of Westworld Rewind, hosted by Kelly Guimont and Don Melton, and since Don asked for some feedback, here it is:

  • Please don’t put a timer on the episodes. I can listen to you guys talk all day long.
  • I might have welled up inside towards the end of the first episode by just realising there’ll be at least nine more episodes to listen to.
  • Everyone who has watched Westworld needs to listen to this.

Thanks guys! ❤


Apple News in 2018 →

February 9, 2018 · 08:17

It’s 2018 and Apple News is still available in only a handful of countries, despite the fact that many people can read and write in English, even if it isn’t their first language.


iPhone iBoot Source Code Gets Posted On Github →

February 8, 2018 · 15:22

Lorenzo Franceschi-Bicchierai, writing for Motherboard:

Someone just posted what experts say is the source code for a core component of the iPhone’s operating system on GitHub, which could pave the way for hackers and security researchers to find vulnerabilities in iOS and make iPhone jailbreaks easier to achieve.

The GitHub code is labeled “iBoot,” which is the part of iOS that is responsible for ensuring a trusted boot of the operating system. In other words, it’s the program that loads iOS, the very first process that runs when you turn on your iPhone. It loads and verifies the kernel is properly signed by Apple and then executes it—it’s like the iPhone’s BIOS.

The code says it’s for iOS 9, an older version of the operating system, but portions of it are likely to still be used in iOS 11.

Apple has already filed a copyright takedown request with GitHub, which resulted in the code being removed, but that won’t help much — the code is out in the wild.


FullRoom →

February 8, 2018 · 08:58

Matthew Panzarino, in probably the best edit I have ever seen:

I apparently completely invented a term — ‘FullRoom’ — for this feature that Apple says is not actually the name for this feature. I have no idea why FullRoom was in my notes, but it’s a figment of my imagination, not an actual thing. Apologies.


My Photography (35) — The Roads in Lapland, Finland, 2017

February 6, 2018 · 08:00

I took the iPhone X to Finland and got a few good shots from it, despite the extreme cold (it did not turn off in temperatures below -20° C). The one above is from our trip back to the airport in Rovaniemi, taken an hour or so after sunrise, with the 56 mm lens. I didn’t shoot RAW — this is a JPG straight from the iPhone with the Photos’ Vivid filter applied.

Shot with iPhone X @ 56 mm: f/2.4, 1/883 s, ISO 16.


Intel Vaunt — Normal Smart Glasses →

February 5, 2018 · 16:31

Dieter Bohn, for The Verge:

At its core, Vaunt is simply a system for displaying a small heads-up style display in your peripheral vision. It can show you simple messages like directions or notifications. It works over Bluetooth with either an Android phone or an iPhone much in the same way your smartwatch does, taking commands from an app that runs in the background to control it.

One might say that this amounts to little more than a Pebble smartwatch on your face, especially because Vonshak designed Pebble’s excellent timeline interface before the company was acquired and shut down. But Intel has grand plans for the Vaunt’s tiny display.

This is a big first step, but the wait for all the cool stuff will probably take more than I would like.

Movies have already shown us what we imagine is possible, and while I’m sure there’s a lot more usable information that we can use down the road, apart from displaying our most hated targets, things will get interesting once our own eyes will be either swapped out for augmented or computerised versions, or replaced completely with cameras.

Unfortunately, I probably won’t be around to see that happen, so please hurry up!


This Is Why Uma Thurman Is Angry →

February 5, 2018 · 14:14

Maureen Dowd:

Yes, Uma Thurman is mad.

She has been raped. She has been sexually assaulted. She has been mangled in hot steel. She has been betrayed and gaslighted by those she trusted.

And we’re not talking about her role as the blood-spattered bride in “Kill Bill.” We’re talking about a world that is just as cutthroat, amoral, vindictive and misogynistic as any Quentin Tarantino hellscape.

We’re talking about Hollywood, where even an avenging angel has a hard time getting respect, much less bloody satisfaction.


My Photography (34) — Sunset in Lapland, Finland, 2017

February 5, 2018 · 08:00

I spent a few days in Lapland, Finland towards the end of 2017 — I believe this was the third time I was there now — and I still can’t get used to the fact that the sun barely rises above the horizon in the winter. If there was less cloud cover, it would light up the sky like in the shot above all day long (a few hours in this case).

Shot with Sony A7R II + FE 28 mm f/2: f/8, 1/60 s, ISO 250.


Bethany Bongiorno Talks About the the First iPad →

February 4, 2018 · 12:08

In a series of eight tweets, Bethany shared some interesting behind the scenes tidbits about the first iPad launch and other events surrounding it. One stood out to me:

(4) at one point steve wanted to turn UIKit elements orange. not just any orange, he wanted a particular orange from the button on a certain old sony remote. we got a bunch of remotes from sony with orange buttons to try and find the right one. in the end, steve hated it.

This sounds just like Steve Jobs — working to get every small detail perfect, but recognising a bad idea when he saw the final implementation.


Apple Working on Updated Macs →

February 3, 2018 · 16:31

Mark Gurman, for Bloomberg:

Apple is working on at least three updated Mac models with custom co-processors for release as soon as this year, including updated laptops and a new desktop, according to a person familiar with the plan.

We have the T1 in the Touch Bar MacBooks with Touch ID, the T2 in the iMac Pro, and I can’t help but wonder if the the next generation chip (or perhaps the current T2) will introduce Face ID to macOS. I have been living with this tech on my iPhone X for w few months now and it’s so much better than Touch ID, especially during winter, when I often have gloves on. Granted, I wouldn’t have this problem with a Mac, but by constantly and transparently authorising the user whenever a password is required, even when the Mac is already unlocked, should make things much more secure.


Backblaze Hard Drive Stats For 2017 →

February 3, 2018 · 16:21

Andy Klein:

Beginning in April 2013, Backblaze has recorded and saved daily hard drive statistics from the drives in our data centers. Each entry consists of the date, manufacturer, model, serial number, status (operational or failed), and all of the SMART attributes reported by that drive. As of the end of 2017, there are about 88 million entries totaling 23 GB of data. You can download this data from our website if you want to do your own research, but for starters here’s what we found.


Paywalls Make Content Better →

February 3, 2018 · 16:02

Eric Johnson, writing for Recode:

At the New Yorker, that shift in incentives changed not just how readers thought about the content, but how everyone — including writers and editors — did their jobs.

“[Before the paywall] I would interview writers for jobs and they’d say, ‘How do I know that you guys are going to stick to your ideals?’” Thompson said. “And the answer would be, ‘Well, trust me! It’s the New Yorker, we’ve been around for 90 years, of course we’re going to stick to our ideals.’”

“But actually, the argument works better when it’s, ‘Trust me, we’ve been around for 90 years and our business model depends on us doing that!’” he added. “It became easier to recruit.”

I completely agree. We had part of iMagazine paywalled a year or so ago, and I (extremely subjectively) loved what everyone was writing about. I also think I tried harder when writing myself. Furthermore, the writing also seemed to be much more personal.


Apple Financial Results — FY Q1 2018 →

February 2, 2018 · 10:27

Apple PR:

Apple today announced financial results for its fiscal 2018 first quarter ended December 30, 2017. The Company posted quarterly revenue of $88.3 billion, an increase of 13 percent from the year-ago quarter and an all-time record, and quarterly earnings per diluted share of $3.89, up 16 percent, also an all-time record. International sales accounted for 65 percent of the quarter’s revenue.

Apple sold:

  • 77.3 million iPhones (78.29 million in FY Q1 2017)
  • 13.2 million iPads (13 million in FY Q1 2017)
  • 5.1 million Macs (5.374 million in FY Q1 2017)

Apple Delays iOS Features to Focus on Reliability and Performance →

January 31, 2018 · 12:34

Ina Fried, writing for Axios:

On the cutting board: Pushed into 2019 are a number of features including a refresh of the home screen and in-car user interfaces, improvements to core apps like mail and updates to the picture-taking, photo editing and sharing experiences.

What made it: There will be some new features, of course, including improvements in augmented reality, digital health and parental controls. In addition, Apple is prioritizing work to make iPhones more responsive and less prone to cause customer support issues.

This is a very good decision. iOS and macOS are currently very buggy and they are in need of care and polishing.

Also, I have not found a single reason to use AR yet.


iPhone X — Picking Up Scratches →

January 31, 2018 · 12:30

Stephen Hackett, on 512 Pixels:

Unfortunately, the stainless steel band isn’t the only thing that has picked up scratches on my iPhone X. This phone has picked up scratches across the front and back glass in a way no previous iPhone I have owned has. None of them are particularly long, but they are deep enough that I can catch them with the corner of a finger nail if I try.

I have now heard numerous reports about people having scratches on the band, front, and back glass. The strange thing is that I use my iPhone X caseless (white model) and it still looks pristine. I carry it in my jeans every day and use it in a vent mount in my car. Granted, I don’t throw it around and I am careful, but so were the people who have scratches now.


January 29, 2018 · 23:00

If you’re not looking for Siri or don’t use HomeKit, there’s a vast array of speakers, which support AirPlay, that could can purchase, from the likes of Devialet, Bose, Bowers & Wilkins, Bang & Olufsen, and more. We’ll need to wait for AirPlay 2 support from competing products (the HomePod doesn’t have it either at the moment), but for people who don’t need a digital assistant and want more versatility (e.g. Spotify), there are many interesting options out there that range from 100 to many thousands of dollars.

I’m mentioning this because ‘everyone’ keeps on saying how the HomePod doesn’t really compete with Amazon’s Echo and Google’s Home, but they fail to include any comparisons or even acknowledge the existence of more traditional solutions to listening to music or audio.


One Hour With Apple’s New Homepod →

January 25, 2018 · 15:07

Madeline Buxton, writing for Refinery29:

However, there are some areas where HomePod is limiting. Even though you can use AirPlay to stream music from any service through HomePod, you’ll only get all the speaker’s benefits if you subscribe to Apple Music (plans start at $4.99 per month for students and $9.99 per month for individuals). For example, Siri won’t be able to tell you detailed information about a song or album unless that song is playing through Apple Music.

I strongly believe Apple should have included an Apple Music subscription for free with every HomePod — for the lifetime of the device preferably, but I’m sure a free year wouldn’t go amiss for many. This would at least quell some of the complaints, which we know will surface.

Secondly, although everyone in your apartment will be able to use the speaker, only the person who sets up HomePod on their iCloud account will be able to send texts, set up reminders, and get calendar notifications via voice commands. Google Home and Amazon Echo, meanwhile, can recognize different voices and provide personalized content accordingly.

Support for multiple users should work on Day 1 and there is no excuse for the lack of this feature.

Fortunately, HomePod also delivers where it counts: The sound. When I listened to the speaker next to Google Home Max, the latest Amazon Echo, and Sonos One, the vocals were consistently crisper and clearer on HomePod. The pluck of guitar strings pops, and bass notes have the robust thump-thump you want from them.

This is the one aspect of the HomePod, which I don’t doubt — I’m sure the sound quality will be more than good.


HomePod Will Support Lossless FLAC Audio Playback →

January 25, 2018 · 10:39

Peter Cao, writing for 9to5Mac:

HomePod specs are indicating that Apple is serious about the audio quality on the device. Today, we’ve discovered that the smart speaker will support FLAC out of the box.

For those unaware, FLAC is a lossless format, meaning there is no compression whatsoever and recordings are kept as is. Not to be confused with lossy, which is used by most music streaming services such as Spotify or Apple Music and is usually compressed to 256 or 320Kbps.

How would this work, since the HomePod supposedly will not have access to music in our iTunes Libraries, which wasn’t purchased via the iTunes Store? Siri seems to be out of the question.

[…] AirPlay 2 will be able to transmit lossless audio to the Apple-branded smart speaker.

Can we store FLAC on our iOS devices in Apple Music on iOS 11.3? Or do we need to stream from a Mac, which means we would have to control playback from there?


Don’t Be Trustworthy Honourable Open Evil →

January 25, 2018 · 10:27

Jean Marc Manach, for The Intercept:

Since at least May 2016, the surveillance agency had featured honesty as the first of four “core values” listed on NSA.gov, alongside “respect for the law,” “integrity,” and “transparency.” The agency vowed on the site to “be truthful with each other.”

On January 12, however, the NSA removed the mission statement page – which can still be viewed through the Internet Archive – and replaced it with a new version. Now, the parts about honesty and the pledge to be truthful have been deleted. The agency’s new top value is “commitment to service,” which it says means “excellence in the pursuit of our critical mission.”

Those are not the only striking alterations. In its old core values, the NSA explained that it would strive to be deserving of the “great trust” placed in it by national leaders and American citizens. It said that it would “honor the public’s need for openness.” But those phrases are now gone; all references to “trust,” “honor,” and “openness” have disappeared.