December 15, 2014

This is an archive of a late 1983 interview with the original Mac design team. The interview appeared in the February 1984 issue of Byte Magazine.

On October 14, 1983, the design team for Apple Computer Inc.’s new Macintosh computer met with BYTE Managing Editor Phil Lemmons at the company’s Cupertino, California headquarters. In the dialogue that followed, Bill Atkinson, Steve Jobs, Andy Hertzfeld, Larry Kenyon, Joanna Hoffman, Burrell Smith, Dave Egner, Chris Espinosa, Steve Capps, Jerry Manock, Bruce Horn, and George Crowe discussed the evolution of their brainchild.

Fascinating interview, especially given that it occurred more than 3 months before the Mac’s official release and that much of the code was still being written. October 1983 marked the press announcement of the Macintosh, the famous Superbowl commercial was released on January 22nd, 1984, and the official release was January 24th, 1984. [Via]

As more and more sensitive material is leaked in the press, Sony is taking a legal route to solve their massive PR problem.

Sony Pictures Entertainment requested news outlets stop disclosing material from a devastating computer hack as its studio chief made plans to meet a civil-rights leader after the exposure of a racially tinged e-mail exchange.

Media companies should destroy the stolen information and will be held responsible for damages from its publication, attorney David Boies wrote to news organizations, including Bloomberg News and the New York Times (NYT), in a Dec. 14 letter.

Sony Pictures “does not consent to your possession, review, copying, dissemination, publication, uploading, downloading, or making any use of the stolen information, and to request your cooperation in destroying the stolen information,” Boies wrote. Failure to comply means Sony “will have no choice but to hold you responsible for any damage or loss.”

This is case law precedence just waiting to be established. No matter how this plays out, it will no doubt happen again, and the legal rulings here will be used in future cases.

December 14, 2014

Most insane ski line ever

The helicopter shot makes it look insane. The GoPro shot had me tighten up every orifice in sympathy.

My thanks to Smile Software for sponsoring The Loop’s RSS feed this week. PDFpen 2 is fully optimized for iOS 8 with an all new look and feel which runs on both iPad and iPhone. The enhanced toolbar and new editing bar make popular writing and highlighting features easy to access, with minimal taps. Import and export documents via iCloud Drive, making it easy to share cloud-based documents not just with the Mac, but with other apps on an iPad or iPhone. Use AirDrop to quickly send documents to other devices. PDFpen 2 supports palm and wrist protection when writing and highlighting. Documents can be secured with a password. Number pages automatically, including Bates numbering. All this and more make PDFpen 2 the perfect solution for all of your mobile PDF editing needs.

December 13, 2014

Atlas Obscura:

Located in Pittsburgh’s historic St. John the Baptist Church, a deconsecrated but still beautifully ornate building, the Church Brew Works has turned a former holy sanctuary into a hip brewery

When I lived in Pittsburgh, this church was my favorite place of worship.

Great collection of links. Not all of these clicked for me, but lots of them did. My favorite? Probably this one.

Backblaze stores a ton of data for their clients, controlling more than 40,000 hard drives and more than one hundred million gigabytes of data. Detecting imminent drive failure is important to them.

Every disk drive includes Self-Monitoring, Analysis, and Reporting Technology (SMART, which reports internal information about the drive. Initially, we collected a handful of stats each day, but at the beginning of 2014 we overhauled our disk drive monitoring to capture a daily snapshot of all of the SMART data for each of the 40,000 hard drives we manage. We used Smartmontools to capture the SMART data.

Read the linked blog post to learn about hard drive failure, what SMART does and does not do well, and the decisions Backblaze makes to minimize drive failure, maximize their chances of catching a drive failure before it happens.

You have a package

This is not news, just an interesting experience.

I was sitting at my kitchen table, reading, when I got a text. The text was from Amazon, and it told me that they had delivered a package and that the package was sitting on my front porch. I was sitting 20 feet away from my porch and did not hear the truck pull up, did not hear the package drop.

Amazing to me that the chain of communication has become so sophisticated that an unseen entity, probably a thousand miles away, knew more about that drop than I did, when I was infinitely closer to the event.

December 12, 2014

Heart: “Barracuda” in 1977

Ann and Nancy Wilson are amazing.

Rick Mueller solicited comments from people on how important the Oxford Comma really is.

A 15 minute tutorial from my favorite video trainer, Kenny Gioia.

It’s amazing how much photos have changed over the years. At one time, they were a specific memory of a specific period in time, but these days we take pictures every second and upload them for everyone to see. You could argue that they are the same thing, but just more of them, but there was something different about pictures years ago.

I think Marcus Mariota has this one wrapped up.

There’s been a lot of discussion over the past few days about Apple ID two-step verification and the fact that Apple can’t restore your account if you lose your recovery key.

Here’s a link to Glenn Fleishman’s Macworld article, which lays out the issues involved and talks you through the process of replacing your recovery key.

In a nutshell, if you don’t have your recovery key written down and stored in a safe, well known place, make your way over to Apple’s Apple ID management page and log in. Tap on Password and Security (on the left side), then tap the Replace Lost Key link (on the right).

Apple will generate a new recovery key. Print it, then reenter it to prove to Apple that you printed it. Go put that piece of paper somewhere safe. Now go back up your hard drive.

Federico Viticci on the history of Twitter clients and the current state of the union.

iPhone apps and the Twitter API were a perfect match five years ago. Twitter made sense as a social network in your pocket; Apple’s iPhone OS and newly launched App Store made that a reality. As a user, there was little friction in trying multiple Twitter clients: because Twitter data was always “in the cloud”, changing clients was like choosing a different outfit each day. The core Twitter experience would always be the same; the design and preferences around it would differ from client to client.

Then this happened:

In April 2010, Twitter realized that they needed an official iOS presence on the App Store, so they bought Loren Brichter’s Tweetie, relaunched it as Twitter for iPhone, and Brichter released the (unsurprisingly genius) Twitter for iPad.[2] For a while, it looked like Tweetie would live on, but then Twitter started adding questionable features to it, and it became clear that the third-party Twitter client would be persona non grata on the App Store.

Over the years, there have been countless examples of Twitter prioritizing their own app and a closed ecosystem approach over third-party developers and improvements to the API. From the infamous quadrant and token limits to the display guidelines and constant reticence about bringing new features to the API, Twitter has been nebulous in providing an official stance on third-party clients after the Tweetie acquisition, but the subtext of their announcements has always been fairly clear to everyone in the third-party scene. Twitter wanted people to use their official app, not a third-party client.

Federico goes on to dissect Twitter clients in great detail (and I think that’s an understatement), breaking them down into functional parts.

Fantastic read.

Sometime next year, residents of Iowa will be able to download an app that will act as their driver’s license.

People will still be able to stick a traditional plastic driver’s license in their wallet or purse if they choose, Trombino said. But the new digital license, which he described as “an identity vault app,” will be accepted by Iowa law enforcement officers during traffic stops and by security officers screening travelers at Iowa’s airports, he said.

Obviously, the major concern here is security. On the iOS side, seems like this effort would be a terrific dovetail with Apple Pay’s secure element. The app could be tied to the iPhone fingerprint sensor. A natural fit and great protection if your phone is ever stolen.

Go here. Ooh and ahh.

From the 2014 Structural Awards web site:

The judges found this to be a supreme example of collaboration between engineer and fabricator to achieve an outstanding, architecturally minimalist structure. The use of single panes of toughened laminated glass to support a lightweight ultra-thin CFRP roof without connections other than structural silicone, takes structural glass technology into a new dimension. A project where only engineering excellence and attention to detail can produce a result of such simplicity and purity of expression.

Jaw-droppingly beautiful. (via

Duke University in North Carolina and Oschner Health System in Louisiana are two of the first hospitals to incorporate HealthKit into their day-to-day operations. Duke’s Dr. Ricky Bloomfield and Oschner’s Dr. Richard Milani spoke about their experiences at the mHealth Summit earlier this week. MobiHealthNews reported from the summit.

About HIPAA and privacy concerns:

To allay any concerns about HIPAA and privacy, the programs Duke and Oschner are piloting take data from patients’ apps into the EHR, but don’t send any data back out, Milani stressed. In addition, HealthKit addresses the problem of physicians being overwhelmed with data by only providing them with the specific fields that they request.

HealthKit has a solid base but is clearly designed for growth:

Right now, Apple reads 50 to 60 data fields from tracking devices, but Bloomfield sees that as version 1.0 of HealthKit.

“Their intent with version 1.0 was simply to account for the use cases that are currently available in the market,” he said. “And that’s why you see things like activity tracking, vital signs, blood pressure. You also see elements related to asthma — number of times you used your inhaler, peak flow. There were devices already in market that require this to support them. As the use cases grow Apple wants to be there to support it.”

Later in the talk he speculated that as wearable devices become more common and more advanced, 50 or 60 fields will become “50,000 or 60,000″.

On Android:

Right now, only HealthKit integrates with the EHR. But Bloomfield and Milani are keeping their eyes on Google Fit as well. The problem right now is that Google Fit allows developers to create their own data fields, which allows the platform to be more open, but hurts efforts at standardization.

“I think Google needs to do a little bit more to get it into the place where HealthKit currently functions, but I can’t wait until we can use Android devices as well as iOS devices, one to the other,” Bloomfield said. “For me the most important thing is we give this ability to our patients. And I don’t care which device they have, I just want them to be able to give us the data so we can make good clinical decisions to help them out.”

There’s a lot more in the body of the article, but the pulled highlights should give you a sense of where this is going. The sophistication of both pilot programs is impressive. Both programs were incredibly well received. Finally, most importantly to Apple, the speakers were enthusiastic supporters of HealthKit, taking the good and the bad in stride, with eyes set on the future.

December 11, 2014

I love compressors, but multibands are a bit more complicated. This is worth reading.

Panic announced on Twitter that Apple is allowing them to keep the feature they previously had to remove.

Differences in what they can do, differences in syntaxes, different technologies involved, the new and the deprecated, and browser support differences.

And sadly there is quite a bit of outdated information out there. Let’s see if we can sort it out.

It’s the outdated information that gets me sometimes.

Financial Times:

This year has seen Apple’s chief step out of the shadows of his predecessor and imprint the company with his own set of values and priorities: bringing in fresh blood, changing how it manages its cash pile, opening Apple up to greater collaboration and focusing more on social issues.

There’s no doubt that this is now “Tim Cook’s Apple”.


Pre-game presentations have long been excuses to trot out special effects. Indoor pyrotechnics, giant inflatable helmets, live wild animals running the field, and bone-rattling sound systems have been around for years.Turning a hockey rink into a lake of fire? That’s new.

The tech behind all of this is pretty cool but it seems like pointless eye candy to me.

This was a fun exploration, walked me round some excellent music without depending on bestseller lists. I love how much of this music is either completely self or independently produced.

Glassdoor released their seventh annual Employee’s Choice awards, honoring the best places to work in America. Apple is number 22 in the large company (1000+ employees) list. Google is #1.

The awards are crowdsourced, culled from input from full time employees of each company. If you are going to build a list of best places to work, this seems as good a way as any, given the subjective nature of the award.

At the very least, seems like there’s valuable feedback here for employers.


Yesterday, the Delhi High Court granted an ex parte injunction order against Chinese operator Xiaomi for infringement of Ericsson’s patents. The patents in question are Standard, Essential Patents (SEPs) which are subject to FRAND (Fair, Reasonable and Non-Discriminatory) terms.

There is some question as to the validity of this ruling. A more traditional approach would be to seek damages after the fact. But Ericsson has been pursuing this disagreement with Xiaomi for years.

One factor that the Court found persuasive was that Xiaomi had not responded to Ericsson’s repeated communications (6 in number from July 2014). However, it must be questioned whether Xiaomi’s purported laxity in this matter is a sufficient reason to grant an injunction against them. More so, when an alternative remedy in the form of damages is available which is one of the cardinal principles that goes against the granting of injunctions.

What does the injunction cover?

This ex parte order injuncts Xiaomi from selling, advertising, manufacturing or importing devices that infringe the SEPs in question. The judge also directed the Customs officials to stop the imports under the IPR Rules, 2007. Moreover, local commissioners have been appointed to visit Xiaomi officers to ensure the implementation of these orders.

India is a huge market, second in importance to Xiaomi only to China. Ericsson certainly has Xiaomi’s attention now.

Spain is introducing a new intellectual property law that allows Spanish publications to charge aggregators for using their content. If a newspaper publishes a story, they can place a price on it. An aggregator, like Google News, can decide whether to carry the story.

Google’s response to this new law is to shut down Google News in Spain. This is the ultimate chilling effect a law can have on a market. Ideally, the law would create a market for news. Aggregators can shop around for stories, carry all the free content, plus some budgeted “paywall” content for balance. As the market matures, publishers will learn what prices bring them revenue without pricing them out of the market.

Given the uncertainty of an emerging market, Google took their ball and went home. This is an understandable position.

Here’s the Google blog post announcing the closure.

This is an experiment with big implications. The news business is slipping from one side of the curve (high integrity, low revenue) to the other (page-view driven, revenue required). If the content producers and the aggregators can find some middle ground where the content creators can bring in enough money to keep the lights on, we might still be able to salvage the news-driven (as opposed to page-view driven) news business.

The paywall version (served up by and, for example) asks the consumers to pay for their news. The aggregator tax (Spain’s experiment) spreads the payment for news across aggregators, who will either absorb the cost (perhaps offset by advertising) or pass it along to consumers in the same way. An interesting experiment, but one that will play out without one of the biggest aggregators in the business, Google News.

December 10, 2014

This is an interesting read. I’ll admit, I expected there to be more of a smoking gun in the story, but I can see why the DAs want Uber to stop saying they have the “safest rides on the road.”

It’s simply beautiful.

United Airlines today announced the carrier will equip its flight attendants with Apple’s iPhone 6 Plus, putting important safety and service information at flight attendants’ fingertips while enhancing their ability to meet customers’ needs.

The airline will begin distribution to its more than 23,000 mainline flight attendants during the second quarter of 2015. Upon introduction, the devices will have the ability to handle most onboard retail transactions and will enable access to company email, and the company’s Intranet as well as policies and procedures manuals.

Future enhancements include replacing the flight attendants’ printed safety manual with an electronic version on their iPhones and providing real-time reporting and improved follow-up on aircraft cabin issues and repairs. Additionally, United plans to develop a number of customer-focused tools for the device.

United also renewed the iPad program it started for pilots in 2011 with the iPad Air 2. Great moves from United.