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Linked List: October 2017

How Apple Built the iPhone X 

Lance Ulanoff:

When Apple made the choice to drop the home button and Touch ID fingerprint scanning in favor of Face ID, Riccio said they went “all in” with that functional decision. “We spent no time looking at [putting] fingerprints on the back or through the glass or on the side,” he said. Apple did it because they believed in the quality of Face ID security and screen unlocking, with executives describing it as good as second-generation Touch ID, but also because there simply wasn’t time.

“As far as last-minute design changes? Actually, we didn’t have time for it,” said Riccio, who seemed energized by the memory of that intense development period. “Quite frankly, this program was on such a fast track to be offered [and] enabled this year. We had to lock [the design] very, very early. We actually locked the design, to let you know, in November,” said Riccio before he was cut off by Apple PR. Riccio appeared to realize he’d said maybe too much, and then reaffirmed with a smile, “We had to lock it early.”

Apple does not like talking about product development timelines. How long it takes them to design and ship a product is something they consider competitive information. But they could cut off the annual cycle of silly rumors about how they’re “scrambling” to make last-minute changes to the iPhone in July and August. The iPhone X was “locked” almost a year ago.

Apple Limits Extended iPhone X Testing for Most Reviewers 

Tripp Mickle, writing for The Wall Street Journal:

Apple Inc. departed from its traditional preview strategy for what it bills as its most important new iPhone in years, prioritizing early access to the iPhone X for YouTube personalities and celebrities over most technology columnists who traditionally review its new products.

Apple provided the iPhone X to a small number of traditional testers for about a week, while limiting most others, The Wall Street Journal included, to a single day with the device before reviews could be published. About a half-dozen personalities on Alphabet Inc.’s YouTube video service were granted time with the device before its release.

The company seeded the iPhone X to at least three influencers with different audiences: actor Mindy Kaling, who shared her thoughts with Glamour; 12-year-old developer Alex Knoll, who showed off the device on Ellen DeGeneres’s television show; and political journalist Mike Allen, who included insights from his tech-savvy nephew in Axios’s morning newsletter.

Traditional publications and tech outlets that in past years received review models for a week of testing were given the iPhone X fewer than 24 hours ago, resulting in crash reviews and first-impression takes from USA Today, the Washington Post, the Verge and others.

In the U.S., BuzzFeed, TechCrunch and Mashable were given a week with the iPhone X, as were the Telegraph and the Independent in the United Kingdom. The device also was given for a week to outlets in Japan, China, Australia and other countries. Stephen Levy of Wired, among the handful of people to test the first-ever iPhone, spent a week with the iPhone X and posted his “first look” impressions a day before most other publications.

I totally get including a bunch of YouTubers, and seeding review units to celebrities. YouTube is how young people get their news and reviews, and Apple definitely wants to reach young people. But I don’t get restricting real reviews to just three publications in the U.S. Leave me out of it, personally, just for the sake of argument here.

This is the most anticipated new device from Apple at least since the original iPad. People want to know about it. People are craving in-depth reviews. This is just unsatisfying.

(A thought that crossed my mind this week: What would Apple have done if Walt Mossberg hadn’t retired earlier this year?)

Super Mario Run’s 200 Million Downloads Didn’t Result in ‘Acceptable Profit’ for Nintendo 

Andrew Webster, writing for The Verge:

Nintendo’s first mobile game, Super Mario Run, was enormously popular — but that doesn’t mean it was a success for the company. During its most recent earnings report, Nintendo revealed that Mario Run has been downloaded 200 million times, 90 percent of which came from outside of Japan. However, Nintendo says that despite these big numbers, the game has “not yet reached an acceptable profit point.” While Nintendo didn’t reveal any specifics with regards to conversion rates, a big sticking point for many with Super Mario Run was its comparatively large price point; it’s free to download, but requires a one-time fee of $9.99 to unlock the whole game.

In contrast, Fire Emblem Heroes — which utilizes a more typical free-to-play structure, with plentiful microtransactions — has been a much more lucrative title for Nintendo.

I’d love to know Nintendo’s conversion rate on the $9.99 in-app purchase. It must be pretty low for 200 million downloads not to be profitable enough.

Paul Thurrott on Face ID 

Paul Thurrott:

In an astonishing turn of events, Apple has secretly told the press that iPhone X facial recognition will not work well. So you can pre-order an iPhone X on Friday if you want. But you may want to hold off a bit.

He thinks Apple leaked last week’s Face ID story to Bloomberg, on purpose, to set expectations low for Face ID. That’s… a theory.

As you may know, the facial scanner in the iPhone X is based on the technology that Microsoft first used, disastrously, in its Xbox Kinect sensor. This probably explains why it works so poorly: If Microsoft could never perfect this in a relatively huge device, how could Apple’s component makers ever fit the technology into “a space a few centimeters across and millimeters deep”?

Yes, how could the company that got a stripped down version of OS X running on a cell phone in 2007 ever pull this off?

Mike Allen’s iPhone X Review 

Mike Allen, writing for Axios:

My nephew Anders texted me an animated dog — an Animoji, from the same family as the alien you see above — that said, in the 19-year-old’s voice and with his facial tilt: “Hey, Uncle Mike, it’s me!”

I knew Anders had figured out to set up the iPhone X (“10”) that Apple loaned me ahead of its release in stores this Friday. Preorders for the $999 “future of the smartphone” began last Friday in 55+ countries. (The Animoji choices include unicorn, pig and panda.)

Anders, a college freshman, is our family’s designated early adopter (he followed 4G blogs long before the fast broadband rolled out nationally), and a longtime Apple connoisseur.

Thank god Apple seeded Mike Allen with an iPhone X review unit. Such great insight from his fucking nephew, the emoji expert.

Steven Levy Reviews the iPhone X 

Steven Levy:

I’ve had this phone since last Tuesday. Apple had given me this early peek in part because I was one of the first pre-release reviewers of the original iPhone. Given that history, we all thought it would be interesting to get my impressions of what the company clearly believes is the next milestone in a journey that has pretty much altered our relationship with technology.

Interesting first look, but none of the other reviewers of the original iPhone had reviews of the iPhone X today. Mossberg is retired, but David Pogue and Ed Baig aren’t.

Fashion Magazine Reviews the iPhone X 

Thank god Apple seeded Fashion with a review unit.

Highsnobiety’s iPhone X Review 

Thank god Apple seeded these insightful critics with a review unit.

Squarespace 

My thanks to Squarespace for sponsoring this week’s DF RSS feed.

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Jason Snell Reviews the iPhone 8: The Inessential iPhone 

Jason Snell:

This is the fate of the iPhone 8. It will be ignored by many of Apple’s most committed followers, who see it as a speed bump on the road to the release of the iPhone X in early November. Instead, it will soldier on, doing its job as the latest iteration of the existing iPhone line, providing a substantial upgrade to people who haven’t bought an iPhone in two or three years and aren’t interested in paying $999 for the very first generation of a new iPhone, if they could even find one in stores. These people are ready for a better version of their existing phone, and the iPhone 8 will deliver that to them.

After a month I’m kind of meh about Qi charging. As Snell notes, you have to put it on the pad just so, and it can move off the sweet spot when the phone vibrates from notifications. I’m hoping Apple’s own AirPower pad works better than the Belkin dingus I got to test.

There’s something to be said for taking your time with a review, letting the experience settle in before writing about it.

Paul Newman’s Rolex Sells for $17.7 Million 

A gorgeous watch with a great story behind it.

Apple Says iPhone X Pre-Orders Are ‘Off the Charts’ 

Reuters:

“We can see from the initial response, customer demand is off the charts,” an Apple spokeswoman told Reuters.

“We’re working hard to get this revolutionary new product into the hands of every customer who wants one, as quickly as possible.”

I was up to order when it went live last night. My wife’s order went through with a delivery date of “November 17-24” after about 10 minutes of force-quitting/relaunching the iOS Apple Store app; my order went through a few minutes later, with delivery slipping to “December 5-11”.

Even today, though, orders are still only 5-6 weeks out. I was worried supply would be so tight that they’d be into January by now.

Extract From Plato’s Republic: On That Which Is Correct Politically 

Perfect little piece by Mark Paglia for McSweeney’s.

Private-Prison Giant, Resurgent in Trump Era, Gathers at President’s Resort 

Amy Brittain and Drew Harwell, reporting for The Washington Post:

In recent years, the private prison company GEO Group has held its annual leadership conference at venues near its Boca Raton headquarters. But this year, the company moved its gathering to a Miami-area golf resort owned by President Trump.

The event last week, during which executives and wardens gathered for four days of meetings, dinner receptions and golf outings at the luxurious 800-acre Trump National Doral, followed an intense effort by GEO Group to align itself with the president and his administration.

Sure, this is normal.

Girl With Cerebral Palsy Detained by Immigration Officials Cries for Help 

Melissa Chan, reporting for Time:

Rosamaria was being rushed to a hospital for emergency gall bladder surgery early Tuesday when she was stopped at a Border Patrol checkpoint east of Laredo and detained. U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents “escorted” Rosamaria to a Corpus Christi hospital to have her operation, the agency said in a statement. After becoming medically cleared, Rosamaria was taken to a federal facility for refugees in San Antonio on Wednesday and processed, officials said.

“She has been crying. She knows her mom is not there,” Galvez said.

Another story, by Yale senior Viviana Andazola Marquez, writing in The New York Times, “I Accidentally Turned My Dad In to Immigration Services”:

Most people can’t wait to turn 21 so that they can drink. For me, it was the day I could finally petition the government to change my dad’s immigration status. I filed the paperwork in February and believed it would be the beginning of sleeping easier at night, of not worrying about “la migra” every time the phone rang.

Eight months later, my father and I showed up at the immigration services office with our lawyer and notebooks full of supporting documents. The officer told us our petition should be approved, but not that day. We took this as an indication of another waiting period, but we remained upbeat: The officer told my father how to learn about his rights as a lawful permanent resident and acknowledged that he had paid the appropriate fees.

After the officer left the room several times, something changed in her demeanor, and the air in the room became thick with mounting uncertainty. She asked me to leave. I didn’t want to, so she turned to my father and asked him to tell me to leave. I told myself I was just being paranoid and walked outside. As I waited, three Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents came in and took custody of my dad.

When our lawyer reappeared, the look on his face told me everything I needed to know. The world felt ripped from under my feet.

ICE, under Trump, is a terrorist organization.

Jeff Williams on Apple’s Planning 

Jeff Williams, speaking in Taiwan at the 30th anniversary ceremony of TSMC:

The nature of the way Apple does business is we put all of our energy into our new products, and we launch them, and if we were to bet heavily on TSMC, there would be no backup plan. You can not double plan the kind volumes that we do. We want leading edge technology, but we want it at established technology kind of volumes.

Vin Scully Throwing Out the First Pitch in Last Night’s Game 

This is so great, I’ve watched it three times.

If It’s New, It’s Scary 

Rene Ritchie, responding to this piece at Wired positing that iOS 11’s Core ML machine learning engine could be a privacy problem:

For an example of where that could go wrong, think of a photo filter or editing app that you might grant access to your albums. With that access secured, an app with bad intentions could provide its stated service, while also using Core ML to ascertain what products appear in your photos, or what activities you seem to enjoy, and then go on to use that information for targeted advertising.

Also nothing to do with Core ML. Smart spyware would try to convince you to give it all your photos right up front. That way it wouldn’t be limited to preconceived models or be at risk of removal or restriction. It would simply harvest all your data and then run whatever server-side ML it wanted to, whenever it wanted to.

That’s the way Google, Facebook, Instagram, and similar photo services that run targeted ads against those services already work.

To present Core ML as a privacy risk is talking about a hypothetical risk while Google and Facebook are currently ransacking your privacy.

The Oatmeal: Reaching People on the Internet 

The Oatmeal on how Facebook turned into a protection racket. Here’s the real kicker.

Max Boot: ‘Republicans Have Stockholm Syndrome, and It’s Getting Worse’ 

Max Boot, writing for Foreign Policy:

It becomes ever harder to disagree with the verdict of foreign-policy sage Robert Kagan, like me an erstwhile Republican, who writes that the GOP in its current form is doomed and that Republicans who cannot stomach Trumpism “should change their registration and start voting for Democratic moderates and centrists, as some Republicans did in Virginia recently, to give them a leg up in their fight against the party’s left wing.” As I’ve explained before, I have my qualms about the Democratic Party, which is lurching to the left, but I am done, done, done with the GOP after more than 30 years as a loyal Republican.

This is truly Trump’s party, and that leaves me to root for Democrats to win a landslide victory in the midterm elections next fall. I have my differences with many Democratic candidates, but on the most important issue facing our nation — whether Trump is fit for office — they are right and Republicans are a disgrace.

Stealing Sensitive Browser Data With the W3C Ambient Light Sensor API 

Lukasz Olejnik:

In this post we describe and demonstrate a neat trick to exfiltrate sensitive information from your browser using a surprising tool: your smartphone or laptop’s ambient light sensor. […]

To better compete with native apps, websites might soon be able to access ambient light readings. There is currently an ongoing discussion within a W3C Device and Sensors Working Group whether to allow websites access the light sensor without requiring the user’s permission. Most recent versions of both Chrome and Firefox have implementations of the API.

I don’t want web browsers to compete with native apps. I want web browsers to be document viewers that I can trust with anything. I don’t want websites to have access to any sensors on my machine. The good news is it doesn’t matter what Chrome and Mozilla do — I doubt there’s any way that Safari would allow access to this sensor without the user’s explicit permission.

Apple Pay Accounts for 90 Percent of All Mobile Contactless Transactions Where Active 

Ingrid Lunden, reporting for TechCrunch:

The advances point to how Apple wants to steal a march when it comes to using phones as a proxy for a card or cash, and there is some anecdotal evidence that it’s working: merchants and others who have partnered with Apple say that Apple Pay is accounting for 90 percent of all mobile contactless transactions globally in markets where it’s available.

“Apple Pay is the future of everyday spend,” said Bailey on stage at the Money 20/20 conference that kicked off in Las Vegas yesterday.

90 percent market share for all mobile payments is rather remarkable for the platform with second-place market share overall.

The Talk Show: ‘Unused VIPs’ 

Posted over the weekend: a new episode of The Talk Show, with special guest Serenity Caldwell. Topics include watches, the problems with the current MacBook keyboards, iOS 11 battery life, my massive windfall from the iBooks antitrust settlement, and more.

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Apple Announces iPhone X Availability 

Apple Newsroom:

iPhone X, the future of the smartphone, featuring a revolutionary new design with a stunning all-screen display, wireless charging and an incredible rear camera with dual optical image stabilization, will be available to customers for pre-order on Friday, October 27 at 12:01 a.m. PDT on apple.com and the Apple Store app.

iPhone X will be available in more than 55 countries and territories, and in Apple Stores beginning Friday, November 3 at 8:00 a.m. local time. Stores will have iPhone X available for walk-in customers, who are encouraged to arrive early.

“Encouraged to arrive early” — yeah, like maybe today.

Pixel 2 XL Review Units Exhibiting Screen Burn-In After Just One Week 

Andrew Martonik and Jerry Hildenbrand, writing for Android Central:

Consternation surrounding the display in the Google Pixel 2 XL is well known at this point, and to be honest most of it has been pretty overblown. But we have something new to talk about now: screen burn-in. It’s something people with OLED screens worry about (to varying degrees) and something people who prefer LCDs like to poke fun about. But one of our Pixel 2 XL review units, in use for about a week, is already seeing some pretty crazy levels of burn-in.

Dieter Bohn is seeing it on his review unit as well. What a disaster this display is. I popped into my local Verizon store over the weekend to see the new Pixels firsthand. The blue tint when looking at the Pixel 2 XL from even a slight angle is a real issue. The display on the regular Pixel 2 — which is an LCD display, not OLED which is an OLED from Samsung, not LG — looks terrific, though.

Singapore to Stop Adding Cars to City From February 2018 

Sebastian Tong, reporting for Bloomberg:

Singapore, among the world’s most expensive places to own a vehicle, will stop increasing the total number of cars on its roads next year.

The government will cut the annual growth rate for cars and motorcycles to zero from 0.25 percent starting in February, the transport regulator said on Monday.

“In view of land constraints and competing needs, there is limited scope for further expansion of the road network,” the Land Transport Authority said in a statement on its website. Roads already account for 12 percent of the city-state’s total land area, it said.

Basically, if you don’t already own a car and want one, you’re shit out of luck. With the rise of ride sharing, though, maybe that’s not a problem.

The Information: Snap Has ‘Hundreds of Thousands’ of Unsold Spectacles Sitting in Warehouses 

Tom Dotan and Reed Albergotti, reporting for The Information (paywall):

Snap badly overestimated demand for its Spectacles and now has hundreds of thousands of unsold units sitting in warehouses, either fully assembled or in parts, according to two people close to the company. The disclosure undercuts Snap CEO Evan Spiegel’s recent contention that Spectacles sales of more than 150,000 had topped the company’s expectations.

Jiminy christ almighty, how stupid do you have to be to stockpile hundreds of thousands of these stupid-looking $130 sunglasses?

Also interesting to consider this fiasco when thinking about Nintendo’s oft-criticized conservative approach to inventory — no one wants to get stuck with hundreds of thousands of units of unsold merchandise.

DuckDuckGo 

My thanks to DuckDuckGo for sponsoring this week’s DF RSS feed. DuckDuckGo is the search engine that doesn’t track you. DuckDuckGo and Safari’s Intelligent Tracking Prevention together address the top three private browsing misconceptions:

  • 41% of users believe private browsing prevents websites tracking them.
  • 39% of users believe private browsing prevents ads from tracking them.
  • 35% of users believe private browsing prevents a search engine from knowing their searches.

I’ve been using DuckDuckGo as my primary search engine for a few years now and I haven’t looked back.

Apple and AT&T Activate LTE Band 8 to Give iPhone Users in Puerto Rico Cellular Service by Loon Balloon 

Matthew Panzarino, writing for TechCrunch:

Apple, AT&T, the FCC and Alphabet’s X division have all put into motion efforts to give residents of Puerto Rico more cellular connectivity.

Apple has been working with AT&T to extend and activate cell service for users in Puerto Rico. To improve what is a terrible connectivity situation there, it’s going to enable a provisional band of LTE that has been recently approved, but not activated in the US and Puerto Rico, where it has not been licensed. This will allow iPhones to connect to Alphabet X’s Project Loon balloons in the region, which were activated today.

This should allow users to send text messages and access some critical online services.

‘It’s All Screen’ 

Ken Segall:

Apple advertising was always creative and fun, but it was also intelligent and accurate. That’s what made it the industry’s “gold standard” for marketing.

That’s why it makes me nervous when I see today’s Apple playing loose with words and images to sell a product.

Case in point: the “all-screen” iPhone X.

Of course we can see with our own eyes that iPhone X is not all-screen. It has a noticeable edge around the entire display, which even the Samsung S8 does not have. And then there is “the notch” — the object of many a critic’s venom.

I don’t have a problem with the side and bottom edges of the iPhone X being described as “all screen”. It’s not the same as Samsung’s Galaxy Edge sides, but I dislike the way those Edge phones look when I hold them. If there were no notch — that is to say, if the top of the iPhone X looked exactly like the bottom — I would have no problem declaring that “all screen” would be a fair description.

But with the notch? No way. Here’s one simple way to think about it: what does Apple do 2-3 years from now if they ship an iPhone with no notch? Describe it as “Really all screen this time”?

On Apple’s New Chicago Flagship Store 

Blair Kamin, architecture critic for The Chicago Tribune:

Chicago’s new Apple store is thrillingly transparent, elegantly understated and a boon to the city’s riverfront.

With its huge sheets of laminated glass and an ultra-thin roof of lightweight carbon fiber the store, opening Friday, is simultaneously present and absent, there and not there. From North Michigan Avenue, you look through its glassy membrane and see the river’s blue-green waters and passing tour boats. A plaza of tiered granite steps spills down to the riverfront.

Looks beautiful — very much in the same spirit as Apple Park.

Tom’s Guide: ‘iPhone 8 Plus vs. Google Pixel 2 Camera Shootout’ 

They scored it 6-4 in favor of the iPhone 8 Plus but the bottom line is that both are good cameras. My favorite in favor of the iPhone is the fountain photo; for the Pixel, low light no-flash photo.

David Letterman on the Jimmy Kimmel Show 

“You’re looking at a man who’s laughing on the outside and crying on the inside. For a year, I’ve been looking high and low, I’ve been trying to find a shirt that looks good untucked. I can’t find one.

Developer Camp 10th Anniversary 

The 10th anniversary edition of Developer Camp — formerly iPhoneDevCamp and iOSDevCamp — is being held November 10–12 in San Jose. This is a great event, organized by Dom Sagolla, with a great record of diversity. Use this URL (with the “DF2017” code) and you’ll save 50 percent on tickets. This isn’t a sponsorship — I’m just happy to promote this event, and feel like the DF audience includes a lot of people who would enjoy this.

The Pixel 2 Costs More at Google’s Own Pop-Up Stores 

Chris Welch, writing for The Verge:

But the worst part of this is that these pop-ups, which are basically Google stores in the minds of visitors, are overcharging people for the new Google phones. The one in Manhattan definitely is, at least. All models of the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL are marked up by $30. The $649 Pixel 2 is marked up to $680. The 128GB model is $780. 64GB XL 2? $880, and it’s $980 for the 128GB version.

Apparently they’ll price match the regular rates if you call out this nonsense, but it’s still pretty inexcusable. Not even Verizon itself is charging a penny extra for the Pixels when you buy direct from the carrier. And you’re walking out of here with a Google shopping bag. How is the company okay with this?

Bizarre.

Vlad Savov on the Pixel 2 XL’s ‘Awful’ Display 

Vlad Savov, writing for The Verge:

I’m a satisfied Android user, and I know for a fact (because I’ve reviewed every other major flagship out there) that no other Android device can bring me as close to mobile nirvana and contentment as these new Pixels do. But for the majority of this week, I’ve opted to use the smaller Pixel 2, owing to just how poor the Pixel 2 XL’s screen is.

This situation upsets me because the 2 XL has numerous desirable advantages over the 2: much smaller bezels, a larger battery that lasts longer, and just a bigger canvas on which I can pen my letter of complaint to LG Display, the maker of the offending screen in question. […]

Another big chunk of the “why” is in the blue cast that befalls the screen if you ever hold it at an angle that’s less than perfectly in front of you. You’ll know this issue from the year 2011, when Samsung was just getting started with its mobile OLED technology and phones like the Galaxy S II looked gorgeous up front but had the weakness of looking blue from almost any oblique angle. The OLED panel on Pixel 2 XL doesn’t even have the decency to look stunning when viewed under perfect circumstances. But it does have that aggravating blue cast that we thought we’d left in the past.

This sounds dreadful. And this is why Apple had to source all of its OLED displays for the iPhone X from Samsung. There’s no way Apple would ship a display like this.

Apple Machine Learning Journal on How ‘Hey Siri’ Works 

Deep dive into how “Hey Siri” actually works. I’m really enjoying these layman’s explanations of how these things work. The Machine Learning Journal is the new “open” Apple at its best.

Consumer Reports Expects Tesla’s Model 3 to Have ‘Average Reliability’ 

Phil LeBeau, writing for CNBC:

There may be only a few hundred Tesla Model 3s on the street, but Consumer Reports already has an opinion on the new car’s dependability.

“We are predicting that the Model 3 should have about average reliability,” said Jake Fisher, director of auto testing for Consumer Reports.

Why is Consumer Reports making predictions like this? Their entire reputation is built on the idea that their scores are based on rigorous testing and large scale surveys. Is this just clickbait? It comes across as an unjustified hit piece.

‘I Am Pressing the Spacebar and Nothing Is Happening’ 

Somehow I don’t think Apple is going to play this one as the prelude to their next event.

Maybe the Dumbest Two Paragraphs About the Mac I’ve Ever Read 

Steven Max Patterson, writing for Network World:

In 2007, the Mac was on life support. Consumers and companies bought Windows XP and Vista machines instead of Macs. The Mac had been very proprietary up until then. The hardware platform was based on the Motorola 6800 family, which came in third behind Intel and AMD and the PowerPC. It ran a proprietary OS with components of FreeBSD Unix, but it was not Unix compliant.

The Mac transitioned that same year. It had been a proprietary device running a proprietary operating system, with a beautiful proprietary user interface (UI) in an elegant ergonomically designed enclosure. Apple pivoted by shifting to the Intel platform and FreeBSD Unix, complying to the Single UNIX Specification (SUS). The Mac today is a PC running an open-source operating system with beautiful proprietary UI in even more elegantly designed enclosures. FreeBSD influenced the evolution of the MacOS. Since the transition, many FreeBSD Unix components were rewritten and many APIs were added.

I count at least 10 glaring errors in just these two paragraphs. The only thing he’s right about is that switching the Mac to Intel’s x86 architecture was good for the platform and good for sales. But they announced the switch at WWDC 2005 and began shipping them in January 2006. And though Mac sales did rise after the switch, the Mac was not “on life support” prior to that — Mac sales were doing pretty well, growing in 2005 with thriving retail stores and talk of an “iPod halo effect” driving new customers to the Mac. And Apple was switching from PowerPC CPUs, which they’d been using for over a decade. And the original Mac CPUs were from Motorola’s 68000 family, not 6800. And the proprietary-ness of the OS didn’t really change at all, and could trace its roots back to NeXTStep in 1989. Good god.

Dieter Bohn’s Google Pixel 2 Review 

Dieter Bohn, reviewing the new Pixel phones for The Verge:

Without fail, every person who has picked up the Pixel 2 XL has said virtually the same thing: “It feels like it’s made out of plastic.” I said it myself when I first held it. Of course, neither the Pixel 2 nor the Pixel 2 XL are made out of plastic. They’re made out of Gorilla Glass and aluminum, just like every other high-end phone these days.

But Google coated all that aluminum with a textured finish that hides most of the antenna lines and also makes the phones easier to grip. Google took what could have been a visually impressive design and covered it up in the name of ergonomics. It literally made a metal phone feel like a plastic one. It chose function over form.

Interesting design decision. Apple has moved from aluminum to glass (and last year a glassy-feeling coating on the jet black iPhones). Samsung has moved to glass. Part of this is that most top-tier phones this year support inductive charging (which doesn’t work through aluminum), but even here with the Pixels, they’ve moved away from feeling like aluminum.

On the display colors:

The screen, especially on the 2 XL, has been polarizing. Google opted to tune the display to sRGB (the Galaxy S8, by comparison, offers four gamut options), so it looks a little more like the iPhone’s screen. But more than that, on the 2 XL the colors look muted in a way that many Android users I’ve shown it to found distasteful (even with the “vivid colors” setting turned on). I think many Android phones, especially from Samsung, are so vivid as to be phantasmagoric, so Google’s choice was to make this more “naturalistic.”

My take ever since last year (I bought a Pixel 1) is that the Pixels are targeting people whose taste runs toward the iPhone hardware-wise, but who prefer Android over iOS. Actually, not Android over iOS, but the Google ecosystem over Apple’s. They’re iPhones for Google people. I find Samsung displays to be technically impressive but downright garish in terms of saturation.

Behind the Google Pixel 2 Camera Technology 

Stephen Shankland, writing for CNet on the ways “computational photography” improve the cameras in the new Google Pixel phones:

Some of Google’s investment in camera technology takes the form of AI, which pervades just about everything Google does these days. The company won’t disclose all the areas the Pixel 2 camera uses machine learning and “neural network” technology that works something like human brains, but it’s at least used in setting photo exposure and portrait-mode focus.

Neural networks do their learning via lots of real-world data. A neural net that sees enough photographs labeled with “cat” or “bicycle” eventually learns to identify those objects, for example, even though the inner workings of the process aren’t the if-this-then-that sorts of algorithms humans can follow.

“It bothered me that I didn’t know what was inside the neural network,” said Levoy, who initially was a machine-learning skeptic. “I knew the algorithms to do things the old way. I’ve been beat down so completely and consistently by the success of machine learning” that now he’s a convert.

‘A Soulless Coward’ 

San Antonio Spurs coach Gregg Popovich:

This man in the Oval Office is a soulless coward who thinks that he can only become large by belittling others. This has of course been a common practice of his, but to do it in this manner — and to lie about how previous presidents responded to the deaths of soldiers — is as low as it gets. We have a pathological liar in the White House, unfit intellectually, emotionally, and psychologically to hold this office, and the whole world knows it, especially those around him every day.

The NFL is a decidedly conservative sports league — certainly in the lowercase-c literal sense of the word, and I would argue in the political sense of the word too. The NBA, not so much. NBA players could take this kneeling-during-the-anthem issue with Trump to the next level.

(My two cents on the kneeling issue: Kneeling is not disrespectful. In fact, kneeling is universally seen as a deep sign of respect, everywhere from church services to Game of Thrones. When Colin Kaepernick began his silent protests during the national anthem, he did so by remaining seated on the bench. I can see the argument that sitting is disrespectful. I’m not saying Kaepernick should have been punished or vilified for sitting. I’m just saying that if you want to base your argument on “respect” for the flag and national anthem, if players are sitting on the bench, you have a case. But not kneeling. Kneeling is respectful — that’s why Kaepernick and his 49er teammates switched to it. Anyone objecting to players kneeling during the anthem is, no matter what they say, arguing about something other than “respect” for the flag and anthem. My take is that they’re objecting to a lack of compliance and obedience, a refusal to just let the matter fade away.)

‘Maybe It’s a Piece of Dust’ 

Casey Johnston, writing for The Outline:

I was in the Grand Central Station Apple Store for a third time in a year, watching a progress bar slowly creep across my computer’s black screen as my Genius multi-tasked helping another customer with her iPad. My computer was getting its third diagnostic test in 45 minutes. The problem was not that its logic board was failing, that its battery was dying, or that its camera didn’t respond. There were no mysteriously faulty inner workings. It was the spacebar. It was broken. And not even physically broken — it still moved and acted normally. But every time I pressed it once, it spaced twice.

“Maybe it’s a piece of dust,” the Genius had offered. The previous times I’d been to the Apple Store for the same computer with the same problem — a misbehaving keyboard — Geniuses had said to me these exact same nonchalant words, and I had been stunned into silence, the first time because it seemed so improbable to blame such a core problem on such a small thing, and the second time because I couldn’t believe the first time I was hearing this line that it was not a fluke. But this time, the third time, I was ready. “Hold on,” I said. “If a single piece of dust lays the whole computer out, don’t you think that’s kind of a problem?”

The reliability of the new MacBook/Pro keyboards seems like a huge problem. A piece of fucking dust? Say what you want about the feel (and sound) of these new keyboards, the one thing that must be true for any good keyboard is that it has to be reliable. Like totally reliable. So reliable that it’s confusing when something does go wrong. That’s how Apple laptop keyboards have always been, dating back to the earliest days of the PowerBooks. There’ve been some I didn’t enjoy — the squishy-feeling iBook G3 keyboard comes to mind — but they’ve always been reliable.

I find these keyboards — specifically, the tales of woe about keys getting stuck or ceasing to work properly — a deeply worrisome sign about Apple’s priorities today.

BBEdit 12 

Jason Snell:

Have I written more than a million words in Bare Bones Software’s BBEdit? I probably passed that mark a while ago, but who’s counting? It’s been my primary writing tool for the last 20-plus years, and it’s still going strong. Today marks the arrival of version 12, with a bunch of new features and changes — Bare Bones Software says more than a hundred of them. “Almost every line of code has been touched,” according to BBEdit author Rich Siegel. […]

I do a lot of text and data formatting in BBEdit, and one of the great additions in this version is a Columns editing command, that enables quick processing of comma- and tab-delimited text ranges — you can cut, copy, delete, and rearrange columns. You might think that sounds like an esoteric feature, but I’ve probably pasted a tab-delimited text block from BBEdit into Microsoft Excel purely for column management hundreds of times at this point. Now I don’t have to. (Though I’d love it if BBEdit would add support for even more functions on columnar data, like sorting and maybe even styling.)

BBEdit’s longevity and continuing excellence are simply remarkable. I’ve been using it since sometime in 1992 (version 2.2?), and in 1993 I bought the first commercial release, version 2.5. 25 years.

BBEdit’s release notes remain the gold standard for comprehensiveness and clarity. One important change: Bare Bones has officially sunsetted TextWrangler — it’s replaced by a free mode in BBEdit itself. BBEdit’s free mode has more of BBEdit’s full feature set than TextWrangler ever did.

See also: Michael Tsai’s roundup of commentary on the release.

Tesla’s New Car Smell 

Jean-Louis Gassée, on Tesla’s production problems with the Model 3:

My first serious doubts about Tesla didn’t stem from missed schedules, I’ve been guilty of too many of these, they’re part of tech life. What seriously worried me was a July 2016 visit to Tesla’s manufacturing plant in Fremont, California. In taking delivery of my wife’s Model S, we were treated to a group tour of the site. Everyone marveled at the robot porn, at the activity on the assembly line, at the endless stores of spare parts piled to the ceiling.

Everyone but yours truly. […]

As I watched Tesla’s messy, hiccuping line, with workers dashing in to fix faulty parts in place, my mind travelled back to the Honda plant I had visited years ago in Marysville, Ohio. Clean, calm, everything moved smoothly. I was so shocked by the contrast that I imprudently voiced my concern. That didn’t go over well with my fellow Tesla owners. I was a killjoy, I was calling their choice into question.

The Impossible Dream of USB-C 

Marco Arment:

I love the idea of USB-C: one port and one cable that can replace all other ports and cables. It sounds so simple, straightforward, and unified.

In practice, it’s not even close.

USB-C normally transfers data by the USB protocol, but it also supports Thunderbolt… sometimes. The 12-inch MacBook has a USB-C port, but it doesn’t support Thunderbolt at all. All other modern MacBook models support Thunderbolt over their USB-C ports… but if you have a 13-inch model, and it has a Touch Bar, then the right-side ports don’t have full Thunderbolt bandwidth.

If you bought a USB-C cable, it might support Thunderbolt, or it might not. There’s no way to tell by looking at it. There’s usually no way to tell whether a given USB-C device requires Thunderbolt, either — you just need to plug it in and see if it works.

USB-C is a dual disaster. It’s fundamentally confusing because all USB-C ports and plugs look the same, but can have very different features. It’s a fundamental axiom of good design that things that look the same should be the same, and things that are different should look different. USB-C breaks this.

Second, even if you do your homework and know exactly what to look for, there is severe dearth of USB-C products out there. The USB-C hub market is horrendous, but Apple’s MacBook has just one USB-C port, effectively demanding a hub for certain tasks that require external peripherals. Now that all modern Apple MacBooks are USB-C-only, USB-C’s problems are MacBook problems, too.

Why Is Apple the Only Company Making Smartwatches for Women? 

Serenity Caldwell, revisiting a topic she first wrote about two years ago:

When I first ran into this back in 2015, I figured the problem to be more of a marketing challenge than a technical one: Targeting the consumers most likely to buy early-adoption gadgets (men with larger-than-average-sized wrists) over the general consumer market.

But as the years progressed, Apple found massive success attracting women to its watches, while other watchmakers… released similar sizes in rose gold. The 2017 LG Watch Style was arguably designed to appeal directly to women, but even then, LG couldn’t get the case smaller than 42mm-by-45.7mm — a massive difference from the Apple Watch’s 38mm-by-33.3mm. And it apparently didn’t work: The $250 smartwatch has seen massive discounts since its launch (including a crazy drop to $108 in August of 2017, just six months after its release).

I don’t think it’s that they don’t care about the women’s market. The LG Watch Style referenced above is clearly designed for women. I think it’s simply the case that Apple is in a class by itself when it comes to miniaturizing computers. No other company makes a smartwatch anywhere near the size of the 38mm Apple Watch, because they can’t.

‘KRACK’ WPA2 Wi-Fi Exploit Already Fixed in iOS, MacOS, tvOS, and WatchOS Betas 

Good roundup by Jerry Hildenbrand for iMore on the severe Wi-Fi exploit that was announced today.

Setapp 

My thanks to Setapp for sponsoring this week’s DF RSS feed. Setapp is the first subscription service for Mac apps — it’s like Netflix for apps. A bunch of top-tier apps have joined since Setapp launched, and they just hit a major milestone: 100 apps. These are great apps, ranging from photo editing to web development to budget planning, and every Setapp subscriber gets all of them for the same monthly fee of $9.99. It’s that simple: you pay $9.99 per month and you get unlimited access to all of these apps, including all upgrades.

Start your free trial today and see for yourself.

Google Disables Button on Home Mini in Response to Privacy Bug 

Matt Weinberger, writing for Business Insider:

Google is permanently disabling a feature on the forthcoming Google Home Mini smart speaker after a reviewer discovered that it was surreptitiously recording his conversations without his knowledge or consent.

The issue, Google says, was that the button on top of the device was faulty and would sometimes activate on its own. In response, Google acknowledged the bug and issued a software update that would disable that button for all users while it explored a long-term fix.

I try not to play the “What if this were Apple?” card often, but come on. This is ludicrous.

Drexel Caves to Anonymous Internet Trolls, Places Tenured Professor on Administrative Leave 

George Ciccariello-Maher, tenured associate professor of politics and global studies at Drexel University (my alma mater), in an op-ed for The Washington Post headlined “Conservatives Are the Real Campus Thought Police Squashing Academic Freedom”:

Caught in this wave of right-wing threats and provocations, many universities are scrambling to keep up with the coordinated onslaught. In the best of cases, university administrations and departments have publicly condemned threats against faculty and made clear that they do not cave to intimidation campaigns. The American Association of University Professors (AAUP) has even responded to our cases with new guidelines urging universities to resist the targeted online harassment of their faculty.

In response to such illegal threats of violence, Drexel has chosen to place me on administrative leave. Earlier in the week, I asked my students to explain the relation between white masculinity and mass killings, and they offered in a few short minutes of class discussion far more insight than any mainstream media outlet has offered all week. But now, their own academic freedom has been curtailed by their university, and they are unable to even attend the classes they registered for.

By bowing to pressure from racist internet trolls, Drexel has sent the wrong signal: That you can control a university’s curriculum with anonymous threats of violence.

Drexel is setting a cowardly, shameful example here. Ciccariello-Maher is not being placed on leave because of the content of his thread of tweets in response to last week’s gun massacre in Las Vegas, but simply because a bunch of anonymous white dudes sent threats — and, let’s face it, because of the bad PR of having Ciccariello-Maher unjustly vilified by Fox News.

iOS Is Ripe for Phishing Password Prompts 

Felix Krause:

iOS asks the user for their iTunes password for many reasons, the most common ones are recently installed iOS operating system updates, or iOS apps that are stuck during installation.

As a result, users are trained to just enter their Apple ID password whenever iOS prompts you to do so. However, those popups are not only shown on the lock screen, and the home screen, but also inside random apps, e.g. when they want to access iCloud, GameCenter or In-App-Purchases.

This could easily be abused by any app, just by showing an UIAlertController, that looks exactly like the system dialog.

Even users who know a lot about technology have a hard time detecting that those alerts are phishing attacks.

I’ve been thinking about this for years, and have been somewhat surprised this hasn’t become a problem. It’s a tricky problem to solve, though. How can the system show a password prompt that can’t be replicated by phishers? The best idea I’ve seen is for these system-level prompts to only appear in the Settings app. When the system needs your iCloud or iTunes password while you’re in any other app, that prompt would take you to Settings, where you’d then be prompted for the password. That’s not great, though, because it makes entering your password far more cumbersome. And how would you get back to the original app after entering your password?

Krause suggests one way to protect yourself if you suspect a password prompt might be a phishing attempt: press the home button. If it’s a phishing scam, the dialog box will disappear when you go back to the home screen, because it’s part of the app you’re using. If it’s a real system-level prompt, the alert will still be there.

Windows Mobile Effectively Put on End-of-Life 

Zac Bowden, writing for Windows Central:

Microsoft’s Corporate Vice President for Windows, Joe Belfiore, has today clarified the company’s stance with Windows 10 Mobile and what it’s currently doing in the mobile space. In a series of tweets on Twitter, Belfiore states that as an individual end-user, he has switched to Android, and that Windows 10 Mobile is no longer a focus for Microsoft.

Belfiore confirms what we have been reporting in the past; that from here on out, Microsoft will continue to service Windows 10 Mobile with bug fixes and security patches, mainly for the enterprise market who adopted Windows 10 Mobile for work. Microsoft is not planning to bring any new consumer-facing features to Windows 10 Mobile, nor is it planning to release any new hardware.

The end is always ignominious, but especially so for a company as mighty and proud as Microsoft. But they’re doing the right thing: it’s time to move on.

Twitterrific for Mac Returns 

After a successful Kickstarter campaign to bring back Twitterrific for Mac, The Iconfactory has done it. Beautiful, thoughtful, and thoroughly modernized. There is no other Twitter client organized like Twitterrific. The golden age from Twitter’s early years is over, but it’s good to see that Twitter clients are still a UI design playground.

WSJ: ‘Apple Strikes Deal With Spielberg’s Amblin for “Amazing Stories” Reboot’ 

I said on my podcast a few episodes ago that we shouldn’t judge the future potential of Apple’s original content based on Planet of the Apps or Carpool Karaoke. Those shows are Apple dipping its toes in the water. This is diving in head first.

I absolutely loved Amazing Stories as a kid — one of my very favorite shows from the ’80s. I expect nothing short of greatness from a reboot.

(Here’s a t.co link that should get you through the Journal’s paywall.)

iPhone Charging Times by Charger 

Nice work by Dan Loewenherz, charting the charging time for an iPhone 8 Plus by charger. “Fast-charging” using Apple’s $49 29-watt charger and $25 USB-C to Lightning cable is only barely faster than using a 12-watt or 10-watt iPad charger. The only charger that really stands out is the 5-watt charger included with the iPhones.

One conclusion from this is that Apple is cheaping out and should put a 10-watt iPad-style charger in the box with each iPhone. Another — suggested on Twitter by David Barnard — is that Apple ships the 5-watt charger with iPhones because it’s so much smaller, and although slower, is fast enough.

I’m on the side that this is Apple cheaping out. But thinking about it, it seems possible to me that Apple has its finger on the pulse of iPhone user complaints. They might know for a fact that “I wish my iPhone charged faster” is low on the list, perhaps because most iPhone users exclusively charge their phones overnight. Also, a lot of people carry a charger in a purse/bag. They want something tiny and might not know or care why Apple made the charger bigger.

Update: I’ve heard from a bunch of readers who either prefer the small charger themselves or who have family members who do. It’s not just about a smaller object to put in your bag — a frequent comment is that the small charger fits into many outlets where the larger ones don’t.

Containment Won’t Solve the Problems Trump Poses 

David Frum, writing for The Atlantic:

Among other insights, Corker’s Sunday interview forces Americans to confront some tough questions: By what methods is the president being contained? Is he, for example, being denied sensitive information by agencies that remember how he blurted a closely guarded secret to the Russian foreign minister and the location of U.S. nuclear submarines to the president of the Philippines? Are allies and potential adversaries being signaled that presidential statements do not actually represent the policy of the United States government? That was how National-Security Adviser H.R. McMaster dealt with Trump’s refusal to read aloud the endorsement of NATO’s Article 5 in the speech written for Trump to deliver at NATO headquarters in May. “He did not make a decision not to say it.”

To what extent does the president remain in the military chain of command?

In other words: what are the long-term effects of normalizing the idea that the military and intelligence agencies can ignore the president?

E.P.A. Photos Show What the U.S. Looked Like Before Pollution Regulation 

Oil slicks surrounding the Statue of Liberty, smog suffocating Manhattan, rivers catching fire. This wasn’t that long ago. And today: “EPA Announces Repeal of Major Obama-Era Carbon Emissions Rule”. The world depicted in these photos is the world the Trump administration wants to bring back. No regulation is a good regulation to them.

Republican Senator Bob Corker Says Trump’s Recklessness Threatens ‘World War III’ 

Jonathan Martin and Mark Landleroct, reporting for The New York Times:

Senator Bob Corker, the Republican chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, charged in an interview on Sunday that President Trump was treating his office like “a reality show,” with reckless threats toward other countries that could set the nation “on the path to World War III.”

In an extraordinary rebuke of a president of his own party, Mr. Corker said he was alarmed about a president who acts “like he’s doing ‘The Apprentice’ or something.”

“He concerns me,” Mr. Corker added. “He would have to concern anyone who cares about our nation.” […]

All but inviting his colleagues to join him in speaking out about the president, Mr. Corker said his concerns about Mr. Trump were shared by nearly every Senate Republican.

“Look, except for a few people, the vast majority of our caucus understands what we’re dealing with here,” he said, adding that “of course they understand the volatility that we’re dealing with and the tremendous amount of work that it takes by people around him to keep him in the middle of the road.”

Even Republicans are now saying, on the record, what has been obvious all along: Trump is mentally unfit for the job — an impulsive, angry, uninformed narcissist with a tenuous hold on reality who is a menace to the nation and the world.

Contrary to Trump’s (and his followers’) incessant bleating, the news media is in fact profoundly biased for Trump by pretending he’s mentally competent. The narrative as presented on the front pages of our major newspapers is that we’re still within the bounds of normalcy: Republicans holding both houses of Congress and the White House, but unable to advance any significant legislation because of conflicts within the party.

The real story is that we’ve elected a dangerous man mentally unfit for office — quite possibly both mentally ill (narcissistic personality disorder) and suffering from the early stages of dementia — and the only people who can do something about it are the members of his own party, who refuse to do so out of fear of angering those in the electorate who for whatever reason still support Trump.

I don’t agree with Bob Corker on politics, but I admire and thank him for breaking the seal on speaking openly of Trump as mentally unfit. If Democrats say it, it can be spun as politics. When Republicans say, there’s nothing to spin.

Jamf Now: On-Demand, Apple Mobile Device Management 

My thanks to Jamf Now for once again sponsoring Daring Fireball. Jamf Now is a simple device management solution designed to help anyone set up, manage, and protect Apple devices at work. It lets you easily configure email and Wi-Fi networks, distribute apps to your team, and protect sensitive data without locking down devices.

Some of their latest features include:

  • Teammates: Add additional admins to your Jamf Now account.
  • Single App Mode: Focus your device to a specific app.

Daring Fireball readers can create an account and manage three devices for free. Forever. Each additional device is just $2 per month. Create your free account today.

Jason Kottke on ‘Halt and Catch Fire’ 

Speaking of Kottke, goddamn that’s a sweet mustache.

Update: Kottke on how it happened and what it was like on set.

The United States of Guns 

Great collection of links and quotes on gun control and the United States. They’re all great, all worth reading (or re-reading), but none sum it up better than The Onion: “‘No Way To Prevent This,’ Says Only Nation Where This Regularly Happens:

At press time, residents of the only economically advanced nation in the world where roughly two mass shootings have occurred every month for the past five years were referring to themselves and their situation as “helpless.”

Gun control legislation works — if by “works” you’re concerned with reducing deaths and injuries by homicide, accident, and suicide.

The Rules of the Gun Control Debate 

David Frum on the implicit, unspoken rules of the gun control debate in the U.S.:

Rule 3. The debate must always honor the “responsible gun owners” who buy weapons for reasonable self-defense. Under Rule 1, these responsible persons are presumed to constitute the great majority of gun owners. It’s out of bounds to ask for some proof of this claimed responsibility, some form of training for example. It’s far out of bounds to propose measures that might impinge on owners: the alcohol or drug tests for example that are so often recommended for food stamp recipients or teen drivers.

Rule 4. Gun ownership is always to be discussed as a rational choice motivated by reasonable concerns for personal safety. No matter how blatantly gun advocates appeal to fears and fantasies — Sean Hannity musing aloud on national TV about how he with a gun in his hands could have saved the day in Las Vegas if only he had been there — nobody other than a lefty blogger may notice that this debate is about race and sex, not personal security. It’s out of bounds to observe that “Chicago” is shorthand for “we only have gun crime because of black people” or how often “I want to protect my family” is code for “I need to prove to my girlfriend who’s really boss.”

Apple and Qualcomm’s Billion-Dollar War Over an $18 Part 

Max Chafkin and Ian King, reporting for Bloomberg Businessweek:

It’s based in part on court documents filed as part of a dispute over one of the most expensive and, arguably, most important parts of the phone: the wireless modem. The story starts two summers ago, at a conference in Idaho, where a senior Apple executive, probably Cook, and a senior Samsung Electronics Co. executive, most likely Vice Chairman Jay Y. Lee, shared a quiet word. […]

At the conference in Idaho, according to documents Qualcomm filed earlier this year, Apple saw an opportunity to put itself in front of investigators. Qualcomm claims that at the event — almost certainly the Allen & Co. conference in Sun Valley, which both Cook and Lee attended — the Apple executive urged Samsung to pressure South Korean antitrust regulators to intensify an investigation into Qualcomm that had been open since 2014. “Get aggressive,” the Apple executive said, according to Qualcomm’s filing, adding that this would be the “best chance” to get Qualcomm to lower its prices.

The enemy of my enemy is my friend.

Bruce Sewell to Retire; Katherine Adams Joins Apple as General Counsel and SVP 

Apple:

Apple today announced that Katherine Adams, formerly senior vice president and general counsel of Honeywell, will join Apple as general counsel and senior vice president of Legal and Global Security, reporting to CEO Tim Cook and serving on Apple’s executive team.

The company also announced Bruce Sewell, who has served as Apple’s general counsel since 2009, will be retiring at the end of the year.

I wouldn’t read anything into this. I think Sewell really is just retiring to enjoy his wealth. Apple has no outstanding legal issues that I’m aware of other than typical chicken shit patent cases.

The elephant in the room is the ever present threat of a San Bernardino-like standoff with the Trump administration over a request to provide law enforcement with software to “unlock” an iPhone. That was tense under Obama; it’d be a lot worse for Apple under Trump.

Dan Lyons, Jackass; Steve Bannon, Moron 

From a BuzzFeed investigation into how Steve Bannon turned Breitbart into a hub for white supremicists and misogynists:

Dan Lyons, the veteran tech reporter and editor who also worked for nearly two years on HBO’s Silicon Valley, emailed Yiannopoulos (“you little troublemaker”) periodically to wonder about the birth sex of Zoë Quinn, another GamerGate target, and Amber Discko, the founder of the feminist website Femsplain, and to suggest a story about the public treatment of the venture capitalist Joe Lonsdale, who had been accused of sexual assault in a lawsuit that the plaintiff eventually dropped.

Lyons, you likely recall, wrote the old Fake Steve Jobs website.

Here is an example email written by Steve Bannon:

“Dude—we r in a global existentialist war where our enemy EXISTS in social media and u r jerking yourself off w/ marginalia!!!!”

That’s really how Bannon writes, using “u” and “r” as words (and repeatedly using “your” for “you’re”). His emails paint him as barely literate.

The Normalization of Gun Massacres in America 

Two years later, nothing has changed. I say ban them all. Confiscate every single one of the goddamn things.

Tom Petty 

I don’t throw the word “hero” around lightly, but Tom Petty was a hero. I love his music, I love his words, I love his work. I’m in shock, to be honest, and all I can think to do is put his music on and turn it up.

I’m devastated. I’m sorry.

Things More Heavily Regulated Than Buying a Gun in the United States 

I can’t even today.

CleanMyMac 

My thanks to MacPaw for sponsoring last week’s DF RSS feed to promote CleanMyMac, their longstanding utility for cleaning up the unwanted junk taking up space on your hard drive. CleanMyMac frees up space on your Mac’s system, iTunes, iPhoto, Mail, and more. They’ve just released a new version updated specifically for MacOS 10.13 High Sierra. If you’re skeptical, check out the reviews from sites like iMore and MacStories.

Get the new version of CleanMyMac here.