February 27, 2018

Alykhan Jetha (AJ), CEO of Marketcircle:

An important lesson I’ve learned as CEO of Marketcircle is that as a business, it’s critical to evolve or you get left behind. In order for us to stay competitive in our market, to continue innovating, and to provide you with excellent products and services, we have to focus on Cloud. With 87% of our revenue coming from Cloud, it doesn’t make sense to continue working on a platform that splits our resources and is decreasing in demand. If we continue to support both platforms, both will suffer.

The company announced end of life for Daylite Server and Billings Pro Server, but it is a wise decision considering where things are going, and have been going for many years. It just makes no sense to try to keep both products going.

Urban downhill bicycle racing

Let’s make this a Summer Olympic sport!

This UK company lets you put your face on your luggage. Like so:

I don’t want my face on my luggage. I want this face.

[H/T Nitrozac]

Nice collection of HomePod things to know. I especially appreciated the lists of Activities, Moods, and Genres. Good stuff.


Cellebrite, a Petah Tikva, Israel-based vendor that’s become the U.S. government’s company of choice when it comes to unlocking mobile devices, is this month telling customers its engineers currently have the ability to get around the security of devices running iOS 11. That includes the iPhone X, a model that Forbes has learned was successfully raided for data by the Department for Homeland Security back in November 2017, most likely with Cellebrite technology.

As the Forbes article points out, this prose is on the Cellebrite media datasheet:

Devices supported for Advanced Unlocking and Extraction Services include:

Apple iOS devices and operating systems, including iPhone, iPad, iPad mini, iPad Pro and iPod touch, running iOS 5 to iOS 11

Google Android devices, including Samsung Galaxy and Galaxy Note devices; and other popular devices from Alcatel, Google Nexus, HTC, Huawei, LG, Motorola, ZTE, and more.

If true, that Forbes headline seems a fair statement.

Christina Farr, CNBC:

Apple is launching a group of health clinics called AC Wellness for its own employees and their families this spring, according to several sources familiar with the company’s plans.

The company quietly published a website, acwellness.com, with more details about its initiative and a careers page listing jobs including primary care doctor, exercise coach, and care navigator, as well as a phlebotomist to administer lab tests on-site.


Sources said that it started notifying third-party vendors about the shift to its own network of health clinics this week.


Sources said the company will leverage its medical clinics as a way to test out its growing range of health services and products, which it is starting to roll out to consumers at large.

Will Apple roll out health clinics to serve consumers, rather than just employees? Not clear, but certainly seems a possibility.

Digging through the AC Wellness site, I found a corporate address, which is located adjacent to an Apple Fitness Center. Via Google Maps, here’s a pic of the sign at the AC Wellness address:


Mark Gurman and Debby Wu, Bloomberg:

Apple Inc. is preparing to release a trio of new smartphones later this year: the largest iPhone ever, an upgraded handset the same size as the current iPhone X and a less expensive model with some of the flagship phone’s key features.


With a screen close to 6.5 inches, Apple’s big new handset will be one of the largest mainstream smartphones on the market. While the body of the phone will be about the same size as the iPhone 8 Plus, the screen will be about an inch larger thanks to the edge-to-edge design used in the iPhone X. (Apple is unlikely to refer to the phone as a phablet, a term popularized by Samsung.)

I remember agonizing over the huge size of the iPhone 6 Plus, worrying about it fitting in my pockets, being too large for my hands. I switched and have never looked back. I no longer think of the Plus form factor as large. To me, it has become the new normal.

The thought of the same footprint, but with a nicer display than my 8 Plus, and more pixels, well that’s irresistible. The obvious hitch will be the price-tag.

A 256GB iPhone X is priced at $1,149. I can only imagine that a 256GB iPhone X Plus will be about $100 more (the difference in price between the iPhone 8 and 8 Plus), or $1,249. How far can Apple push that price ceiling?

February 26, 2018

Apple’s four new iPhone spots: “Environment”, “Apple Support”, “Ease”, “Safe”

Along with the four “First Dance” ads we linked to this morning, Apple has added four new iPhone spots:

The Dalrymple Report: Cord Cutting with Josh Centers

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Josh Centers has looked at all of the options we have to cut the cord from traditional cable and satellite TV companies, so I had him on the show to talk about what he likes and doesn’t like about the choices. We talk about Hulu, Direct TV, YouTube TV, and others as we try to find a solution.

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The Macintosh Portable introduction video

I was pointed to this old video of Jean-Louis Gassée introducing the Macintosh Portable. Fun and funny to watch.

The best Beatles cover ever?

Don’t know if it’s the best Beatles cover ever, but given that this is two people busking in the subway, that’s a helluva performance. Sweet, sweet harmonies.

Sam Byford, The Verge:

One of Samsung’s messages with the new Galaxy S9 is that it’s “Built for the Way We Communicate Today.” And while that’s a laudable goal, one of the key features behind that message — AR Emoji — doesn’t feel like it connects with the way anyone communicates now, or will want to in the future. At least I hope not.


from our brief testing, they’re a plane crash right into the depths of the Uncanny Valley. They’re not abstract enough to be cute, yet not realistic enough to be authentic.

Great turn of phrase (Here’s a link to the uncanny valley Wikipedia page). Seems to me I’ve seen this animated emoji concept somewhere before.

Searching on iOS and Mac: It’s all a bit bewildering

Adam Engst, writing for TidBITS:

All too often, I give up trying to tap my way through Settings and instead pull down to reveal the Search field, before remembering that searches in Settings often fail.


It’s worse even than the System Preferences app in macOS, which at least shows all preference panes without the need to scroll. In fact, System Preferences points to the simple way Apple could rearrange the Settings app to make it easier to navigate.

Did you know that when System Preferences is the frontmost app on the Mac, you can go to the menu bar and choose View > Organize Alphabetically? And it does!

This is a growing pains problem. An interface approach that works well when something is small falls apart when the set of elements being organized grows too big. At some point, a second (and even third) layer of organization is required. And it does not help when all the various organizational methods are wildly inconsistent.

Adam suggests offering a second level “view by” scheme that supports an alphabetical sort of settings. I think this is a step in the right direction, but I’d take this one step further.

I’d suggest that Apple take a look at every single sorting and searching problem in macOS and iOS and consider re-rolling all of them to make them consistent. The end result would have the user learn one basic approach and instantly translate that knowledge throughout the ecosystem.

As is, it is all a bit bewildering.

John Koblin, New York Times:

[Hulu] lost $920 million in 2017, according to BTIG, which projects that the business will lose $1.67 billion this year. Hulu is also facing more intense competition than ever as its rivals disrupt the entertainment industry by handing out big checks. In recent months, Netflix has signed the producers Shonda Rhimes and Ryan Murphy to nine-figure deals; Amazon has pledged more than $200 million toward a “Lord of the Rings” series; and Apple, a newcomer in the field, is shelling out hundreds of millions to create original programming of its own.

This is a great article, interesting on several fronts. Consider their complex ownership:

The Walt Disney Company (30 percent), 21st Century Fox (30 percent), Comcast (30 percent) and Time Warner (10 percent). If Disney’s pending $52.4 billion acquisition of most of 21st Century Fox wins governmental approval, as is expected, Disney will own 60 percent of Hulu.


The Disney-Fox deal raises the question of what will happen to Hulu, given that Disney is already developing two streaming services. Another potential issue is whether or not two of Hulu’s owners — Disney, which owns ABC, and Comcast, which owns NBC Universal — will be able to play nicely with each other after they become owners with uneven stakes in the platform.

The article also takes you behind the scenes on a series pitch, where Hulu outbid all comers for the rights to produce the upcoming series “The Looming Tower”.

The whole thing is well written and fascinating. Oddly, the article was also posted on CNBC, if you don’t have access to the New York Times.

Apple embraces marriage equality with four “First Dance” ads

Apple, this past September:

“We support marriage equality and believe all Australians deserve the freedom to marry the person they love, and to have their relationships recognised with the same dignity and legal protections as their neighbours, friends, and family.”

Over the weekend, Apple Australia released four new iPhone X ads, all reemphasizing that support. Each video is backed by Australian singer/songwriter Courtney Barnett, who recorded a cover of the INXS classic Never Tear Us Apart specifically for the ads.


Starting May 25, Apple will introduce security changes that prevent older Windows PCs from using the iTunes Store. If you have Windows XP or Vista PC, your computer is no longer supported by Microsoft, and you’re not able to use the latest version of iTunes.


Also beginning May 25, security changes will prevent Apple TV (1st generation) from using the iTunes Store. This device is an obsolete Apple product and will not be updated to support these security changes.

Not sure which Apple TV model you have? Here’s a helpful guide. Note that the 1st gen Apple TV is silver.

February 25, 2018

The Verge:

Zero has been occasionally described as the “Tesla of motorcycles,” and last year’s model DS ZF6.5 as the “Model 3 of motorcycles.” When you’re one of the only electric motorcycle manufacturers in the game, it’s frankly hard to avoid these comparisons. But after climbing aboard a DS ZF6.5 late last year, I got the sense that it wasn’t all just hot air.

It was a short ride, so the scope of these impressions is limited. Additionally, the proverbial ink of the “M” on my license was still so fresh that the excitement of showing it to people hadn’t worn off. Truly, all I wanted to get out of my first test ride of the DS ZF6.5 was a sense of what it feels like to slip through the city on a sleek, futuristic bike.

I’ve test-ridden a previous model of the Zero and they are fun, if weird, to ride. I’ll take issue with the author’s statement of, “I was cut in front of by drivers who probably would have heard me if I were on a combustion motorcycle.” Not a given at all. I ride a “traditional” bike and have been cut off plenty of times. Noise generating is no guarantee of safety on a motorcycle.

The problem with electric bikes still hasn’t been solved though. While the range (60 miles) is fine for a daily commuter, the cost, at $11,000, is still prohibitively high for the market. There are dozens of new and used bikes that offer much better range and styles for a much lower price.

February 24, 2018

The Cut:

When I was younger, I hated when kids would tear the paper wrappers off of crayons, because I could not tell what color they were without reading it off the wrapper. In a normal box of eight colors, I can tell which one’s yellow, and that’s it. Once you get into the big box with all the shades in between, I don’t know what I’m looking at.

I’ve known a few people who are color blind but this is the best description I’ve read of what dealing with it on a day to day basis is like.


When Apple Inc begins hosting Chinese users’ iCloud accounts in a new Chinese data center at the end of this month to comply with new laws there, Chinese authorities will have far easier access to text messages, email and other data stored in the cloud.

That’s because of a change to how the company handles the cryptographic keys needed to unlock an iCloud account. Until now, such keys have always been stored in the United States, meaning that any government or law enforcement authority seeking access to a Chinese iCloud account needed to go through the U.S. legal system.

Now, according to Apple, for the first time the company will store the keys for Chinese iCloud accounts in China itself.

Apple is caught between the proverbial rock and a hard place on this issue.


Wireless charging via the Qi standard is not new, but Apple building it into the iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus and iPhone X has been a big boost for the once-somnolent technology.

Shopping for a wireless charger can still be confusing given a proliferation of chargers with a wide range of configurations and capabilities. Along with wattage, here are key factors to take into account.

I think a lot of people might be waiting for Apple to release the AirPower but, until that day happens, here are some units to check out. Personally, I would stay away from the cheap knockoffs I’ve seen on Amazon (some for as low as $10).

And please – let’s not waste time in the comments section with the debate about whether or not these are “wireless” in the true sense. They’re not. That’s been established.

February 23, 2018

Your Mac Life interview with Pixsy COO, Kain Jones

I sat down to talk to the COO of Pixsy, Kain Jones.

Pixsy is an online platform for creatives and image owners to discover where and how their images are being used online. This is broken out of the main Your Mac Life show for February 21st, 2018. You can watch the whole show here.

Less than one year after launching YouTube TV, the company is increasing its pricing to $40 per month from $35 per month as it adds Turner’s channels, which include TNT, CNN and TBS, and soon will be adding MLB Network and NBA TV, the company said.

I don’t care much about the $5 a month increase, but if I’m going to try this, I need to have Discovery and ID. They don’t have those yet.

Rene Ritchie, John Gruber and an all-star cast discuss the death of Twitter for Mac

I absolutely love this video. First off, there’s the topic. Twitter is pulling their Mac client, forcing people to either go through their browser or adopt a third party Twitter client. I’ve been thinking about this, but I just can’t wrap my head around their motivation. Is this some kind of end run around Apple? An attempt to reduce maintenance costs (one less platform to support)?

No matter, this is a video of Rene Ritchie, John Gruber, Loren Brichter (part of Apple’s original iPhone dev team, creator of Tweetie for iPhone OS, and original creator of Twitter for the Mac), Twitterrific’s Craig Hockenberry, Twitter for Mac developer Ben Sandofsky, and Tapbot’s Paul Haddad, all in a round robin discussion.

The topic is hot, the panelists are all steeped in the Twitter for Mac story, and the video format gives you the chance to see these people whose names you might have heard or whose tweets you might have encountered.

Wonderful format.

The HomePod is self-balancing, algorithmically adjusting its sound for the environment in which it’s placed.

Me? I like the sound. Have not yet felt the need to tweak it. But I do like a challenge. I came across this article from OSXDaily, which walks you through the process of tweaking your EQ for iOS.

I fired up some music, then went to Settings > Music and tapped EQ. There are 23 different canned EQ settings to choose from. The article recommends Late Night to maximize volume on your iPhone. Give that a try if you listen to music out of your iPhone speakers frequently.

Thought I’d try to AirPlay that EQ to HomePod.

With the music still playing, I went to Control Center, tapped the upper-right corner of the music player (bringing up AirPlay), and selected my HomePod. The music played, but when I tapped the various EQ settings, no change.

I went to iTunes on my Mac, launched System Preferences > Sound and tapped my HomePod. Back in iTunes, I tapped the EQ column in the current song (if you don’t see an EQ column, go to View > Show View Options and tap the Equalizer checkbox). No dice. Changing EQ does not impact HomePod.

This is me noodling, not at all a complaint. I love the HomePod sound. The EQ question comes up often enough, I thought I’d dig in, make sure I understood what was going on. Please return to your regularly scheduled programming.

Some fascinating items. At the very least, take a look at the Steve Jobs job application. This is a nice bit of history, a sense of Steve before Apple.

There’s also a signed Mac OS X manual, a signed newspaper article (I believe it is from 2008, likely for the iPhone 3G – In the pic, you can already see Steve has lost weight), and a photo of the original Apple logo signed by Apple founder Ron Wayne.

[Via 9to5Mac]

Yup, it’s a Kickstarter. And Apple is coming out with a wireless AirPods charging case, possibly shipping sometime soon. But this is a cool idea. It’s a thin sleeve that slides over your existing AirPods case, adding Qi wireless charging. And it’s $20, vs a likely price of $69 for Apple’s still to ship case.

Cathy Locke, Sacramento Bee:

Apple’s iPhone repair and refurbishing center has been identified as the source of apparently inadvertent 911 calls received by Elk Grove police and Sacramento County sheriff’s dispatch centers over the past five months.

Since October, the Elk Grove Police Department’s dispatch center has been receiving about 20 non-subscriber initialized 911 calls per day, said Officer Jason Jimenez, police spokesman. The calls show no service provider for the phone, but the dispatch center has traced them to a cell tower near the Apple campus and determined that they are coming from the phone repair facility, he said.

The calls are coming from inside the house.


Since Jan. 1, Hampton said, the sheriff’s communication center has received 47 uninitialized 911 calls and has been able to document that 30 of those came from the Apple facility.

Testing the iPhone/Apple Watch SOS capability?

February 22, 2018

Making a hockey stick guitar

This is so incredibly great. He is so funny at the beginning and end.

A coalition of 22 state attorneys general and the District of Columbia on Thursday refiled legal challenges intended to block the Trump administration’s repeal of landmark rules designed to ensure a free and open internet from taking effect.

I hope this works.

Jason Kottke:

On Tuesday, I woke up feeling a bit tired, uninspired, and just generally not in the mood to tackle my to-do list for the day. I understand myself well enough by now to know how to react to this situation (most of the time) but was curious about how other people deal with such episodes. So I asked on Twitter: “What do you do to get yourself moving when this happens to you?” I got tons of interesting responses, which I’ve organized into some broader categories in the hope that they’ll help someone out in the future.

I may go for a walk and play some guitar today.