Two Saudi Sisters That Fled Their Country Plead With Apple, Google to Remove Tracking App

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A controversial app called Absher made the news in February because it lets men monitor and control their female relatives’ travel. People like Senator Ron Wyden and others asked Apple and Google to remove the app. No action was taken by either company, although Tim Cook said he would “take a look at it.” Now two Saudi sisters who fled the country are reminding us that no, this app still exists.

Maha, 28 and Wafa, 25 fled Saudi Arabia to for Tbilisi, Georgia via Tuckey earlier this month. The pair had to steal their father’s phone and log onto his Absher account and give themselves permission to go to Istanbul…The al-Subaie sisters said they knew of dozens of other young women who were looking to escape abusive families.

Relentless Doppelgänger is an AI-Created Death Metal Livestream

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Relentless Doppelgänger is a 24/7 YouTube livestream that features death metal created by AI.

The deep learning behind the YouTube channel is trained on samples of a real death metal band called Archspire, hailing from Canada. These real audio snippets are fed through the SampleRNN neural network to try and create realistic imitations…SampleRNN is smart enough to know when it’s produced an audio clip that’s good enough to pass for the genuine article – and as a result it knows which part of its neural network to tweak and strengthen.

I think it sounds pretty good. \m/

Apple Maps Continues to Gain Detailed Terrain Data

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Apple Maps redesign coming with iOS 12

MacRumors writes:

As part of its ongoing effort to rebuild Apple Maps, Apple has added detailed terrain features to the U.S. states Arizona and New Mexico as well as the southern portion of Nevada, including the city of Las Vegas.

Previously, Apple published more detailed map data in northern, then southern California as well as Hawaii. The effort has been ongoing since 2015.

How Amazon Monitors and Fires Its Employees

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Amazon Key deliveries for cars

It is great when your Amazon order arrives the next day, but it can be tough for the fulfillment facility worker that made it happen. The Verge has shed a light on just how tough it could be. It outlined how the company monitors and fires workers.

The system goes so far as to track “time off task,” which the company abbreviates as TOT. If workers break from scanning packages for too long, the system automatically generates warnings and, eventually, the employee can be fired. Some facility workers have said they avoid bathroom breaks to keep their time in line with expectations. Amazon says retraining is part of the process to get workers up to standards and that it only changes rates when more than 75 percent of workers at a facility are meeting goals. The bottom 5 percent of workers are placed on a training plan, according to the company. An appeal system is also part of the termination process.

Apple Watch Returned, Still Working, After 6 Months

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We all know how painful losing a device is. Well, here is a story to warm the soul. Robert Bainter lost his Apple Watch whilst out surfing. He said the device was his “lucky charm,” reported 9to5Mac. Mr. Bainter turned on Lost Mode, more in hope than expectation. A whole six months later he got a call. Not only was his beloved piece of kit back, it still worked. Truly a lucky charm!

After losing the device, Bainter turned on Lost Mode for his Apple Watch through the Find My iPhone app. This displays a message on the Apple Watch’s screen with the owner’s phone number and a message saying it was lost. Six months went by and Bainter hadn’t been able to locate his watch, but then he received a call from a random number. The person calling had found Bainter’s Apple Watch 3 miles north of where he originally lost it – still in working condition.

Reeder 4 is Out: Bionic Reading Mode, Image Previews, and More

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Silvio Rizzi is back with the release of Reeder 4, bringing new improvements like a new Bionic Reading mode, an in-app Read Later service which syncs with iCloud, image previews in the articles list (finally), search, much improved article viewer, more layout options, improved reader view, more shortcuts, matching the ones of Reeder for Mac. Supported sync services include Feedbin, Feedly, Feed Wrangler, FeedHQ, NewsBlur, The Old Reader, Inoreader, BazQux Reader, and Instapaper. If you want to use a self-hosted service, Reeder 4 should work with services which use the Fever or the Google Reader API. Or just standalone RSS (without syncing) if you don’t want to use any service. Reeder 4 is also available for macOS. Note: If you rely on image caching, this feature unfortunately wasn’t ready for the 4.0 release but it’s in the works. App Store: US$4.99

Reeder 4 is Out: Bionic Reading Mode, Image Previews, and More

Clicker for Netflix Puts Netflix Controls on the Touch Bar

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Clicker for Netflix is a cool Mac app that lets you control Netflix right from your Touch Bar. Launch Netflix right from the Dock, control it with the Touch Bar, use Picture-in-Picture to watch while multitasking, prevent trailers from auto-playing, auto-resume your last played video, automatically skip the video intro, automatically advance to the next episode, hide the “Who’s Watching?” popup, and remove the Netflix Originals row. The Touch Bar controls include play/pause, jump back 10 seconds, jump forward 10 seconds, go to the next episode, enable/disable closed captions, and launch Picture-in-Picture. It requires macOS 10.10 Yosemite or higher. Get the app for US$5.

Clicker for Netflix Puts Netflix Controls on the Touch Bar

PDF Reader Pro For Mac: $24.99

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PDF Reader Pro For Mac

We have a deal on PDF Reader Pro For Mac. This app features bookmark and search functions, as well as a night mode that’s easier on your eyes. You can also iInsert, add, and replace images and texts in your PDFs and use markup tools to highlight, strikeout, underline, and more in the PDF file. It’s $24.99 through our deal.

How Nasa Recorded a Quake on Mars For The First Time

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The planet Mars.

Early this month, the NASA InSight probe detected seismic events on Mars for the first time. Wired has a feature on how the Mars scientists achieved this staggering feat.

It took NASA’s InSight probe two long months of listening before it detected the first faint rumblings from the red planet. On April 6, the probe’s seismometer registered what was later confirmed as the first ever marsquake detected by human instruments. But measuring the rumblings of a planet that – at its closest – remains almost 34 million miles away, requires an almost unimaginable amount of patience. Twice a day, a team in Switzerland receives seismic data from the InSight probe, where they perform an initial analysis.

Google Assistant Can Read Your Kids a Bedtime Story

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If you have Google Assistant and the latest version of Google Play Books on your iOS device, it can now read your kids a bedtime story.

Ahead of National Tell a Story Day taking place on Saturday, youngsters now have more ways to hear a bedtime tale. As of today, the feature will be available on iOS and Android phones in English in the US, UK, Canada, Australia and India.

Sounds like a great feature. When I asked Siri to read me a bedtime story, she said: “Next you’ll be asking me for a glass of milk. And a dark matter cookie.” Damnit Siri, that doesn’t even make sense.

It Turns Out That Science Petition Wasn’t Warning About AirPods

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Remember that science petition going around that 250 scientists signed, warning about AirPods and cancer? Turns out it had nothing to do with AirPods.

So rather than finding any link between cancer or other issues in levels of EMF at or below the current, accepted regulations, the scientists involved here were simply asking for more research into to area and suggested that it was probably a good idea to limit human exposure.

Various bloggers picked up the subject and worked to associate it with Apple’s AirPods…without regard for the fact that nothing in the petition even suggested concern about in-ear headphones, Bluetooth, or AirPods.