Recent Articles By Andrew Orr [RSS]

This Concept Imagines Using a Touch Bar on iOS

· · Cool Stuff Found

Developer Eyad Murshid created an interesting concept yesterday. It imagines what a Touch Bar on iOS would look like. It’s called AccessoryTouchBar, and I personally like it. Although, having a Touch Bar and the predictive text bar would take up a lot of room, so maybe they could be merged. In any case, head over to GitHub and check it out. There are GIFs that show it in action. Touch Bar on the Mac seems to be lets you perform certain functions and third-party apps can add their own functionality to it. If third-party apps on iOS could modify the Touch Bar, we could see some Cool Stuff™.

This Concept Imagines Using a Touch Bar on iOS

Imagining an Apple Maps Future With Advanced Tech

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Macworld put out an interesting article over the weekend. Jason Cross writes about an Apple Maps future with augmented reality and high-precision GPS. Apple has a true Google Maps rival on its hands if it can implement these features. The company is already in the process of overhauling its maps data, and in this hypothetical future, Apple Maps becomes supercharged.

Imagine driving down the highway and being told not just what your next turn is or which lane you need to be in, but getting individualized guidance based on knowing which lane you’re currently in.

Imagine getting walking directions that can tell you when you need to cross the street because [your iPhone] knows you’re on the opposite side from the store you’re looking for. It knows the entrance is around the corner and down the alley, and gives you step by step directions that guide you right to it.

Apple No Longer Cares About PC Switchers

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Writing for AppleInsider, Daniel Dilger makes the argument that iPads are the new PC, and Apple isn’t targeting PC switchers anymore. The “What’s a Computer” commercial seems to be one of the most hated ads of all time. It sends a clear message that the iPad is the computer for the majority of people, and only people in specialized professions need a Mac.

This year, Apple again devoted massive new attention to macOS Mojave at its Worldwide Developer Conference. And fittingly so, because developing software for its massive mobile iOS platform requires a Mac. Apple’s macOS Mojave is still a work in progress, but the strategy is clear: Welcome to the Mac for iOS users.

RIP StumbleUpon: Say Goodbye to my Little Friend

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Popular website StumbleUpon is closing down. First launching in 2002, it was a content discovery platform that helped people find cool stuff before the likes of Facebook and Twitter. I was a big user of StumbleUpon back in the day, and when I got my first computer the service was my main tool to explore the internet.

Creating StumbleUpon has been an amazing experience. It was the first project I worked on back in college in 2002. I have personally clicked the stumble button hundreds of thousands of times, and learned a lot in the process. But it’s now time to focus on the future, and create the next discovery platform that will uncover hidden gems we would never think to search for.

American Data Leak Happened Yet Again

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Data Leak

Thanks to marketing firm Exactis based in Florida, the private data of millions of Americans has been leaked yet again. This new American data leak comprised of 2 terabytes of data that includes phone numbers, home addressees, email addresses, and other highly personal characteristics for every name in the database.

“It seems like this is a database with pretty much every US citizen in it,” says Troia, who is the founder of his own New York-based security company, Night Lion Security. Troia notes that almost every person he’s searched for in the database, he’s found. And when WIRED asked him to find records for a list of 10 specific people in the database, he very quickly found six of them. “I don’t know where the data is coming from, but it’s one of the most comprehensive collections I’ve ever seen,” he says.

Facebook, Google, Microsoft Use Harmful Privacy Practices

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The BBC reports that Facebook, Google, and Microsoft use harmful privacy practices against users when it comes to privacy settings. They’re called dark patterns, and they are designed to nudge people away from turning on privacy settings, but give them an illusion of control at the same time.

For example, Facebook warns anyone who wishes to disable facial recognition that doing so means that the firm “won’t be able to use this technology if a stranger uses your photo to impersonate you”.

“And Google’s privacy dashboard promises to let the user easily delete data, but the dashboard turns out to be difficult to navigate, more resembling a maze than a tool for user control,” it added.

Microsoft received praise for giving equal weight to privacy-friendly and unfriendly options in its set-up process in Windows 10.

Blue Screen Light From Phones is Making Us Miserable

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Writing for FastCoDesign, Amber Case writes how the blue light that iPhones give off make us miserable by messing with our circadian rhythms. iPhones and Macs can counteract this with Night Shift, but is that enough? We should look to the military, which uses orange for dense information displays.

[Harvard researchers] found that blue light suppressed melatonin for about twice as long as the green light and shifted circadian rhythms by twice as much (3 hours compared with 1.5 hours). And worse, it’s been linked in recent studies to an increased risk of obesity and some cancers.

Airplane cockpits, submarines, and other military-grade systems are specifically designed for information density, with primary, secondary and tertiary information sources. A key difference in all of these interfaces is color–by and large, many military displays are deep red or orange.

Apple has a Comic Book for App Review Guidelines

· · Cool Stuff Found

It turns out that Apple made a comic book that explains the App Review Guidelines in a weird, funny way. There are five sections, one for each section of the guidelines: Safety, Performance, Business, Design, and Legal. Each comic book section has a different art style. The date on the cover shows WWDC16 and it sounds like Apple handed them out to people at the conference. Artists include Mark Simmons, Ile Wolf, Luján Fernández, Shari Chankhamma, Ben Jelter, Malcolm Johnson, and Dailen Ogden.

Apple has a Comic Book for App Review Guidelines

Watch Out Borg: the Apple Hive Mind May Be Real

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Quartz put out an interesting piece today about Apple and the definition of consciousness. Thome W. Malone writes that Apple is technically a conscious organism based on certain criteria. At first I thought it was silly, but then I considered that since corporations have personhood, why not consciousness? Of course this applies to any corporation, not just Apple. And it seems to me that it wouldn’t be just any consciousness, but a hive mind. Android users scoff at the Apple hive mind, but it will assimilate you next and resistance is futile.

Awareness: The entity can react to changes in the world.

Self-awareness: The entity can react to—and can tell others about—changes in itself.

Goal-directed behavior: The entity can take intentional action to achieve goals.

Integrated information: The entity can combine many different kinds of information simultaneously.

Experience: The entity feels happiness, pain, hunger, or other subjective experiences.