April 23, 2019

Alphabet Inc’s Wing Aviation unit on Tuesday got the okay to start delivering goods by drone in Virginia later this year, making the sister unit of search engine Google the first company to get U.S. air carrier certification, the Federal Aviation Administration said.

This means Wing can begin a commercial service delivering goods from local businesses to homes, which includes flights beyond visual line of site and over people, the FAA and Wing said. Wing Aviation plans to start commercial package delivery in Blacksburg, Virginia later this year.

I’m honestly not sure how I feel about drone deliveries. There seems to be a lot that can go wrong, but we’ll see.

Change the volume and output device for individual apps. Adjust your Mac’s audio device settings and levels instantly, from anywhere. Even apply built-in and third-party audio effects to any audio on your Mac. It’s all possible right from your menu bar, with SoundSource. This is truly powerful audio control.

For years, if I need an audio utility app, I always go to Rogue Amoeba first. They make great quality apps and chances are they make something that will get the job done. The company’s newest is called SoundSource, but check out the other apps while you’re there.


Over the last few weeks Apple has quietly debuted a new YouTube channel dedicated to one of its services: Apple TV. The Apple TV channel is home to a variety of videos, like trailers for upcoming films and TV shows, exclusive behind the scenes clips and interviews tied to popular shows and movies, and, of course, videos highlighting Apple’s own original content efforts, like an Apple TV+ trailer and Carpool Karaoke previews.

The launch of an Apple TV channel on YouTube is no big surprise, particularly as Apple moves further into the video and entertainment space. However, the channel does have an odd, yet interesting relationship with Apple’s own TV app. While the channel serves to promote the Apple TV service, its videos by and large aren’t available on that service’s app.

This is Apple priming the pump for Apple TV+ in the fall.

Watch Tim Cook speak at the 2019 TIME 100 Summit

Tim spoke at the 2019 TIME 100 Summit this morning. You can watch it on the embedded video by going to the 1:41:30 mark.

A spokesperson for AT&T today told Law360 that the matter has been “amicably settled.” Details on the terms of the settlement have not been shared, but AT&T is planning to continue to use its 5GE branding.

I don’t understand why Sprint settled if AT&T is allowed to continue using 5GE. The whole basis for the lawsuit was that 5GE would hurt Sprint’s planned 5G rollout, which makes sense. I don’t like AT&T’s 5GE branding at all—it’s misleading and has nothing to do with 5G.

I love music documentaries. But I’d be hard-pressed to name 10.

No matter what you think about the order of this list, there’s a lot of good ones to consider here. And as with all lists, there are some worthy candidates left out.

One of my favorites, Muscle Shoals, didn’t make the cut. Any others you’d add?

Rent movies? Take a few minutes to read Glenn Fleishman’s TidBITS post. There’s a lot of interesting nuggets here.


My friend had her iPhone XR stolen. She’s just realised that the ‘thief’* has made a video – it’s really short but shows the thief – and it’s been uploaded to her iCloud – is there a way I can pull the location data for a video?

Find my iPhone has been now disabled. So she’s out of options there, just wanted to do something to help if I could.

Read the thread to learn about pulling location data from a video (a number of options, and be aware that anyone can pull location data from your videos, just as they can from a still photo).

I wonder how the thief was able to disable Find My iPhone yet the poster was able to retrieve the video, so still had control of the Apple ID and iCloud account. The story appears to be ongoing.


As Apple and Amazon compete for a greater share of consumer dollars and attention, they also have a particularly intimate business relationship: Apple is spending more than $30 million a month on Amazon’s cloud, according to people familiar with the arrangement.

Apple’s cloud expenditure reflects the company’s determination to deliver online services like iCloud quickly and reliably, even if it must depend on a rival to do so.

Add in this comment from John Gruber:

A decade ago, pre-iPhone, Apple was notoriously behind on large-scale cloud services. But AWS only got started as a service in 2006, the year before the iPhone debuted. It was based on infrastructure Amazon had been working on since the 90s, sure, but it wasn’t a service Apple could even consider until 2006.

iCloud was launched in 2011. That’s 8 years. If Apple is still largely reliant on AWS today, why? Maybe they just honestly figure they don’t need to do it all themselves.

I’ve long wondered why Apple makes such heavy use of AWS. Is this simply because they don’t have the internal chops to deliver bulletproof cloud in the same way as Amazon? Is there more to it, perhaps a subtle piece in the complex business relationship with Amazon (Amazon sells some, but not all Apple products, Amazon’s video streaming service competes with Apple’s coming TV+, Amazon Video lives on Apple TV, etc.)


Ousmane Bah, 18, said he was arrested at his home in New York in November and charged with stealing from an Apple store. The arrest warrant included a photo that didn’t resemble Bah, he said in a lawsuit filed Monday. One of the thefts he was charged with, in Boston, took place on the day in June he was attending his senior prom in Manhattan, he said.


Bah said he had previously lost a non-photo learner’s permit, which may have been found or stolen by the real thief and used as identification in Apple stores. As a result, Bah claimed, his name may have been mistakenly connected to the thief’s face in Apple’s facial-recognition system, which he said the company uses in its stores to track people suspected of theft.

Interesting on several levels. There’s the amount of the claim ($1B, an extraordinary number), the tidbit about Apple using facial-recognition in its stores, and the fact that a second company (Security Industry Specialists Inc.) is named in the claim.

Yesterday, we posted about JCPenney inexplicably removing support for Apple Pay, both from its retail stores and its mobile app.

Well now we know why.

JC Penney (as posted in the linked TechCrunch post):

A third-party credit card brand made the requirement for all merchants to actively support EMV contactless functionality effective April 13, retiring the legacy MSD contactless technology in place. Given the resources and lead time associated with meeting the new mandate, JCPenney chose to suspend all contactless payment options until a later date. Customers still have the ability to complete their transactions manually by inserting or swiping their physical credit cards at our point-of-sale terminals in stores, an option employed by the vast majority of JCPenney shoppers.

As to whether JCPenney will bring Apple Pay back, the TechCrunch post quotes JCPenney CEO Jill Soltau:

“I think that’s one of the key initiatives that we’ll be working on here in the coming months because we’re not being as strategic in how we speak to the customer and engage with the customer through our pricing and promotion,” she said. “And I would frankly say it might be a little bit confusing, and you might not know exactly when you can get the best value at JCPenney,” the CEO added.

The hint here is the importance to JCPenney of customer purchase data, something they lose with Apple Pay:

Customer purchase data allows a retailer to better target its customers with relevant promotions, as stores are able to collect the customer’s name and card number at point of sale, which they can then combine with other demographic data like the customer’s address, phone and email.

Apple Pay, meanwhile, prevents this level of access — something that customers like, but retailers traditionally have not.

The push and pull of marketing and privacy. Is Apple Pay inevitable? Will customers push back on JCPenney’s move away from privacy? Keeping an eye on this one.

April 22, 2019

The New York Times:

Lying on a church pew with his arm over his head, 6-year-old Gordon Andindagaye whimpered a bit — in fear, not pain — as Dr. William A. Cherniak slowly swept a small ultrasound scanner up and down his chest.

Dr. Cherniak and Rodgers Ssekawoko Muhumuza, the Ugandan clinical officer he was training, stared at the iPhone into which the scanner was plugged, watching Gordon’s lung expand and contract.

Gordon had a persistent cough and swollen lymph nodes, and looked tired and unwell. As other boys ran around outside, kicking a soccer ball made of rags and twine, he clung weakly to his mother. The scan on the iPhone’s screen suggested his lungs had fluid in them.

What a great story about phones that aren’t just phones.

Marketing. But still, pretty cool looking guitars, built to order in the Fender Custom Shop.

Here’s a bit of playing on these beauties, along with some back story:

Eric Ralph, Teslarati:

Six weeks after the spacecraft completed its orbital launch debut, SpaceX’s first flight-proven Crew Dragon capsule suffered a catastrophic explosion seconds before a planned SuperDraco test fire.


The April 20th event is the first time in the known history of SpaceX’s orbital spacecraft program that a vehicle – in this case, the first completed and flight-proven Crew Dragon capsule – has suffered a total failure. Regardless of the accident investigation’s ultimate conclusions, the road ahead of Crew Dragon’s first crewed test flight has become far more arduous.

Here’s video showing the explosion:

This is a terrible setback. [H/T Brother Stu]

Yeah, that might be prudent.

Faith Karimi, CNN:

After entering the home, the intruder grabbed the victim’s arm and ordered him to connect his computer to the internet.

He put the firearm against the victim’s head and ordered him to follow the instructions. “Fearing for his life, the victim quickly turned to move the gun away from his head. The victim then managed to gain control of the gun,” court records show.

The victim shot the intruder multiple times and called the police.

Read the story. Just wow. But as soon as I read “ordered him to connect his computer to the internet”, I could see how this was going to go.

JC Penney tweet confirming the removal of Apple Pay:

In all the stories I’ve read on this issue, no one seems to know why this happened. And the “We will definitely forward your feedback regarding this for review” comment makes it look like this was either done with blinders on (accounting making a decision that impacted in store customer experience, for example), or done as a trial, waiting to see if there is any pushback from customers.

Read the thread comments. Pushback happened pretty immediately. It’d be interesting to know the reason for this decision. A definite step backwards. Penney pinching?

April 21, 2019


Apple’s latest promotional video for the iPhone XS, released last September, includes a stunning scene: a massive avalanche storming down a mountaintop, enveloping everything below in an opaque cloud of white snow.

“The Making of Don’t mess with Mother,” posted on YouTube today, shows that explosives were used in order to generate the avalanche scene used in the video.

Motherboard emailed Dave McClung, a professor of avalanche engineering and research at the University of British Columbia, and asked if there’s anything that we can geographically conclude about this avalanche, based on the video.

It’s an interesting question but the deeper one might be even more interesting – does the behind the scenes footage unnecessarily glorify a particular culture?

April 20, 2019

The Washington Post:

The greatest threat in the Marvel Cinematic Universe is Thanos, a powerful warlord who obliterated half of all life in the universe by snapping his fingers. But among the greatest threats to the Marvel Cinematic Universe, in the eyes of those who created it, is anyone who spoils even the smallest of plot details.

That makes the “Avengers: Endgame” footage that leaked earlier this week almost as terrible as that Thanos snap, as far as spoilers go. While they didn’t respond directly to the leak, directors Joe and Anthony Russo tweeted a letter to fans Tuesday, with the hashtag #DontSpoilTheEndgame, imploring viewers not to give anything away after the movie hits theaters next week.

I honestly don’t get this need to broadcast the spoilers. Why consciously ruin the movie for other fans?

April 19, 2019

The Dalrymple Report: An Apple Music rant and Dave buys a new TV

I took a few minutes at the start of this week’s podcast to rant a little about some of the mistakes Apple Music is making lately, and then I talk to Dave about all the things he considered before buying a new TV.

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LinkedIn: Go to LinkedIn.com/DALRYMPLE and get $50 off your first job post!

I want to thank Bare Bones Software for sponsoring The Loop this week. Bare Bones Software, makers of BBEdit, is one of my favorite software companies — in fact, I’ve been using BBEdit for more than 20 years. Now, BBEdit is also available in the Mac App Store! Same great features. Same user experience. You can subscribe in the Mac App Store or purchase perpetual licenses directly from Bare Bones Software. Also, you can still get great merch, including Classic and Rebus T-shirts, enamel pins, and more in their merch store!

An infinitely zooming image. It’ll start as soon as you click the link.



Earlier that month Facebook had unveiled a major change to its News Feed rankings to favor what the company called “meaningful social interactions.” News Feed is the core of Facebook—the central stream through which flow baby pictures, press reports, New Age koans, and Russian-­made memes showing Satan endorsing Hillary Clinton. The changes would favor interactions between friends, which meant, among other things, that they would disfavor stories published by media companies.


Davos provided a first chance for many media executives to confront Facebook’s leaders about these changes. And so, one by one, testy publishers and editors trudged down Davos Platz to Facebook’s headquarters throughout the week, ice cleats attached to their boots, seeking clarity. Facebook had become a capricious, godlike force in the lives of news organizations; it fed them about a third of their referral traffic while devouring a greater and greater share of the advertising revenue the media industry relies on. And now this. Why? Why would a company beset by fake news stick a knife into real news?

This is a perfect weekend read, both riveting and chock full of detail. More detail to add to my growing stack of “Why I don’t use Facebook” arguments. I do love the idea of reconnecting with childhood friends, staying in touch with my family. I wish there was a true, do no evil platform for this.

Ben Lovejoy, 9to5Mac:

Smart home devices are potentially one of the bigger security threats since there is no easy way to check what they are up to on your network. That’s a problem Princeton University has set out to solve, with the Princeton IoT Inspector.


The tool is Mac-only for now. Using it, you can see:

  • a list of all the IoT devices on your home network
  • when they exchange data with an external server
  • which servers they contact
  • whether those connections are secure

Nice find. I’ve long thought about a user friendly device you could add to your network, have it build a list of devices you know about, give them names (such as Dave’s Switch, or Emma’s Mac, etc.), then have it automatically report (send you a text, perhaps) whenever a new, unknown device hopped onto your network.

To extend that idea, how about adding in the ability to detect cellular communications, within a short radius, reporting on those devices as well.

There are lots of solutions out there that do some of these things, but none I’ve found that do all of them, and none in a particularly friendly, efficient way. Please do weigh in if you know of something along these lines.

In the meantime, this Princeton tool is a nice one to explore. Though it’s not part of the Mac App Store, so do so at your own risk.

April 18, 2019


Facebook confirmed Thursday that hundreds of millions of user passwords were being stored in a “readable format” within its servers, accessible to internal Facebook employees — including millions more Instagram users than previously thought. Affected users will be notified, Facebook said, so they can change those passwords.

“We now estimate that this issue impacted millions of Instagram users,” Facebook wrote. “We will be notifying these users as we did the others. Our investigation has determined that these stored passwords were not internally abused or improperly accessed.”

Facebook is the Samsung of social media. They just can’t stop shooting themselves in the feet. Unlike Samsung, their screw ups can create a lot more damage.

How does Venice work?

Venice Backstage:

Venice is not just a stage set. It is also a city with a resident population, which has productive activities, transportation and services. But how does the “Venice system” work? How do the tides in the lagoon behave? How are the canals formed? And the embankments? What’s under the buildings?

Venice is a fascinating place. Not only because of its history and culture but its actual physical nature. This is a really well-done video “explaining” the city.

Steve Jobs looks up a few words in the dictionary

Steve knows how to hold a room, deliver a punchline. I love this.

Yesterday, my Twitter feed was littered with complaints about Samsung’s new foldable phone. Here’s but one example (WARNING: Strobe effect in the video):

This is not simply one unit gone bad. One after another, from Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman to Marques Brownlee to the Verge’s Dieter Bohn (the author of the linked article), reports of faulty review units kept rolling in.

Samsung’s response:

A limited number of early Galaxy Fold samples were provided to media for review. We have received a few reports regarding the main display on the samples provided. We will thoroughly inspect these units in person to determine the cause of the matter.

Might be that they were poorly made, rushed to market. Just a thought.

To add to the mess, the protective film that covered the units was so poorly applied, it appeared as if it was designed to be removed. And remove it they did. Here’s Joanna Stern’s Fold. Seem’s pretty ripe for peeling to me.

Samsung’s response continues:

Separately, a few reviewers reported having removed the top layer of the display causing damage to the screen. The main display on the Galaxy Fold features a top protective layer, which is part of the display structure designed to protect the screen from unintended scratches. Removing the protective layer or adding adhesives to the main display may cause damage. We will ensure this information is clearly delivered to our customers.

Oh, Samsung.

The Making of Apple’s “Don’t mess with Mother” ad

If you haven’t already, jump to this post and watch Apple’s fantastic “Don’t mess with Mother” ad. Great footage synced with great music.

Once you’ve absorbed that chewy goodness, check out the making of video, embedded below. Yes, that ad was filmed completely on an iPhone.

Guilherme Rambo, 9to5Mac:

All devices from a user – and their family – can be located using the unified app, including AirPods. Devices can be put in “lost mode” or made to play a sound using the same app, just like Find My iPhone.

The way Find my AirPods works offers a clue on how the Tile-like process might work (H/T Roman Meliška).

This is great stuff. Read the article. Can’t wait for WWDC.