Aretha

Aretha Franklin, whose gospel-rooted singing and bluesy yet expansive delivery earned her the title “the Queen of Soul,” has died, a family statement said Thursday. She was 76.

The “official cause of death was due to advanced pancreatic cancer of the neuroendocrine type, which was confirmed by Franklin’s oncologist, Dr. Philip Phillips of Karmanos Cancer Institute in Detroit,” the family statement said.

It’s a sad day. Aretha was one of the absolute greats!

Twitter

It’s not as if there’s some other mysterious force that maintains Twitter’s API platform, and now poor ol’ Twitter is forced to shut down old technology because there’s simply no other recourse. No.

Twitter, in fact, is the one responsible for its User Streams and Site Streams APIs – the APIs that serve the core functions of these now deprecated third-party Twitter clients. Twitter is the reason these APIs have been stuck in a beta state for nearly a decade. Twitter is the one that decided not to invest in supporting those legacy APIs, or shift them over to its new API platform.

Ugh, Twitter. They don’t like their users. They don’t like the developers that helped make the platform successful. I don’t think they really like themselves. If there is a bad decision that can be made, Twitter will find a way to do it—they’ve proven that over and over again.

Searching photos with Siri

Say “May, 2018” and you’ll go right back. Ask for “Cupertino” and you’ll be there. Combine the places and times and Siri will take you anywhere — and any when — you want to go!

Good tip. It sure beats scrolling endlessly looking for a particular photo.

Universal Audio releases the Bill Putnam Microphone Collection

As part of version 9.6 of Universal Audio’s software, the company released the Century Tube Channel Strip, Suhr PT100 Amplifier, and the Brainworx bx_masterdesk. The part of the release that I’m most looking forward to is the Bill Putnam Microphone Collection.

For use with the Townsend Labs Sphere L22 microphone system, the Bill Putnam Collection plug-in features the “best-of-the-best” from iconic engineer and recording pioneer Bill Putnam Sr.’s personal mic locker, including hand-picked mics that recorded Ray Charles, Frank Sinatra, Elvis, and more.

Yes, please!

A warning about Google Drive in education

Missouri Education Watchdog: While many have questioned Google’s invasion of the classroom and how Google Apps for Education, (now called G-Suite), collects and uses student or teacher information, few have really gotten much in the way of answers. What is … Continued

Apple removes Group FaceTime from iOS 12 and macOS Mojave

Apple today removed Group FaceTime from the latest iOS 12 and macOS Mojave betas, which were released this morning, and has instead decided to release the feature at a later date.

This is an interesting twist in the upcoming release of both operating systems. There must be a technical reason why Group FaceTime isn’t going to make the cut, and it has to be something they don’t think they can fix in time for the Fall release.

Google still tracks you with location history turned off

Storing your minute-by-minute travels carries privacy risks and has been used by police to determine the location of suspects — such as a warrant that police in Raleigh, North Carolina, served on Google last year to find devices near a murder scene. So the company will let you “pause” a setting called Location History.

Google says that will prevent the company from remembering where you’ve been. Google’s support page on the subject states: “You can turn off Location History at any time. With Location History off, the places you go are no longer stored.”

That isn’t true. Even with Location History paused, some Google apps automatically store time-stamped location data without asking. (It’s possible, although laborious, to delete it .)

The most alarming part of this whole story is that Google says it’s being very clear about what it’s doing—clearly they are not.

BBEdit: The only tool needed for writers, web authors, and software developers [Sponsor]

My thanks to Bare Bones Software for sponsoring The Loop this week. I’ve been using BBEdit since 1995, so I know first hand that it can handle any job I throw at it.

BBEdit is crafted and continuously refined in response to meet the needs of writers, web authors, and software developers, providing an abundance of high-performance features for editing, searching, and manipulation of text. All in all, BBEdit is a powerful editor with an interface that stays out of your way, and well worth checking out.

BBEdit 12 is 64-bit ready. Download and try it today!

North Carolina K-3 teachers getting iPads

Reading teachers across the state, from kindergarten to third grade, will get computer tablets from the state this school year in an effort to track and improve student reading.

Superintendent of Public Instruction Mark Johnson announced the plan Tuesday morning, holding up an iPad for the media, the governor and other members of North Carolina’s Council of State. Johnson’s office put the statewide pricetag for the devices at about $6 million. It didn’t immediately have a per-unit price to quote.

Congrats to North Carolina teachers. I believe iPads and other technology in the classroom is needed to prepare kids throughout their school lives.

Facebook asks banks to share our detailed financial information

Facebook Inc. wants your financial data.

The social-media giant has asked large U.S. banks to share detailed financial information about their customers, including card transactions and checking-account balances, as part of an effort to offer new services to users. [A WSJ subscription is required to read the story].

No. NO!

The Dalrymple Report: Dave Mark’s new MacBook Pro

Dave and I had a lot of fun today as we talked about his new MacBook Pro with Touch Bar. We also took a look at Mac sales and iCloud storage limits.

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Apple Watch and time

Om Malik wrote a very interesting post today on time. I usually try to post a paragraph from the story to give you an idea of what you’re going to read, but this whole article is interesting, so just go read it.

I don’t want to believe this is true about iCloud storage limits

John Gruber commented on Jason Snell’s post this morning lamenting on how he feels that Apple is a hardware and software company, and not a services company. Gruber said:

I think it’s even worse than that. I think Apple’s (Cook’s?) interest in increasing revenue from Services is keeping them from doing what’s right — increasing the base iCloud storage from 5 GB to something more reasonable.

I just don’t want to believe that Apple is keeping us at a minuscule 5 GB limit merely to increase services revenue. The problem is that we don’t seem to have any other reasonable explanation for the limitation. I have a 200 GB limit on my iCloud account that I pay for monthly, so I guess if that is the reason, it’s working.

We’ve been saying it for years now, but it’s time for a significant increase to the base iCloud storage.

Getting to know a legacy codebase

The other day, Brad dropped me a message asking me about the topic of getting to know a brand new (specifically CSS) codebase. The kind of codebase that no one person truly understands any more; the kind of codebase that’s had a dozen different contributors over just as many years; the kind of codebase that’s never had a full-scale refactor or overhaul, but that’s grown organically over time and changed with new techniques, styles, and trends.

I can’t even imagine what it must be like to jump into a codebase like that.

Reddit says hacker accessed some user data

Social media network Reddit said on Wednesday a hacker broke into a few of its systems and accessed some user data, including current email addresses and a 2007 database backup containing old encrypted passwords.

Reddit said they were notifying affected users. Christopher Slowe, Reddit’s founding engineer said the company recently hired its first head of security and noted that “So far he hasn’t quit.”

Oomph.

Apple reports best June quarter ever

Apple on Tuesday announced financial results for its fiscal third-quarter with revenue of $53.3 billion, an increase of 17 percent from the year-ago quarter. […]

Uber to stop developing self-driving trucks

Uber will stop developing self-driving trucks that have been hauling cargo on U.S. highways, the ride-hailing company said on Monday, seeking to focus its autonomous-vehicle technology solely on cars.

This seems a little strange to me. Uber made a huge investment in self-driving trucks, and like the article says, this seems to be a logical extension of the work it has done over the years with cars. I bet we’ll hear more about this in the coming weeks.

Juul and its House of Smoke and Horrors

Back in the day, when Silicon Valley was about silicon and technology, our industry elders used to wisely caution that Silicon Valley doesn’t invest in tobacco, alcohol, porn, and guns. Not anymore it seems. Thanks to an influx of new money and an increasingly porous definition of what is a Silicon Valley company, what was taboo once, is now a hot deal.

Om Malik has some tough words for everyone.

Charvel Pro-Mod series of guitars

I’ve said it before, but I love Charvel guitars. Some of my favorite players have used Charvel over the years and even though I have 26 guitars, I’ve never owned a Charvel. This is one I find really interesting. Look at the video on the bottom of the page and listen to how versatile this instrument can be.

Apple identifies and fixes thermal bug in new MacBook Pro

Last week a video appeared on the Web from David Lee showing how the new MacBook Pro would throttle down speeds when it got hot under processor loads. Apple told me that the issue Lee was experiencing has been identified and is being fixed today. […]

Order beer and water using Apple Business Chat at the Phillies game

Specifically, the concessionaire is testing the use of Apple Business Chat to allow iPhone-equipped fans in certain sections of the ballpark to order water and beer from their seats.

And

To order, a fan would first open the iPhone camera app and scan the QR code on the seat back. That will launch prompts on the iMessage text screen to place the order, which is then completed with Apple Pay. The drink will be delivered supposedly shortly after.

Okay, I like this a lot. I’ve been to San Jose Sharks games where they take your order at the seat and deliver the food, but it’s a hit a miss type of thing. This seems a lot more likely to be successful, and let’s face it, it’s really cool.

Apple’s new Apple Pay promotion

Use Apple Pay to get exclusive offers when shopping in apps or on the web July 19 – August 1.

There are eight retailers taking part in the promotion, but they are wide-ranging so there’s a little something for everyone.

Amazon sells 100 million products during Prime Day

On a day (and a half) with more than one million deals worldwide offered exclusively to Prime members, sales this Prime Day surpassed Cyber Monday, Black Friday and the previous Prime Day, when comparing 36-hour periods, making this once again the biggest shopping event in Amazon history. Prime members worldwide purchased more than 100 million products during this year’s Prime Day event. Best-sellers worldwide were the Fire TV Stick with Alexa Voice Remote and Echo Dot – making this, with 12-hour early access to device deals, the biggest event ever for Amazon devices.

That’s an incredible amount of products to sell in such a short period of time. I found the top products sold in each country very interesting, too.

Google hit with $5 billion antitrust fine

EU antitrust regulators hit Google with a record 4.34 billion euro ($5 billion) fine on Wednesday and ordered it to stop using its Android mobile operating system to block rivals, a ruling which the U.S. tech company said it would … Continued

Building the Google Photos Web UI

A few years ago I had the privilege of being an engineer on the Google Photos team and part of the initial launch in 2015. A lot of people contributed to the product — designers, product managers, researchers, and countless engineers (across Android, iOS, Web, and the server) to name just some of the major roles. My responsibility was the web UI, and more specifically the photo grid.

Whether or not you use Google Photos, it’s fascinating to get an inside look at how it was built.

How Omni does release notes

Apple has asked developers to do better with release notes — and so we figured we’d write about our system, in case it’s helpful to other developers.

I’m sure this will be helpful to others.

I wish the App Store had a delete button on the Update tab

I really enjoy the new App Store, especially the Today tab, where I can read more in-depth stories about developers, apps, and even collections of apps that I may find interesting. I spend more time on the new App Store than I ever did before. However, I still have a bit of a problem—Updates. […]