Recent Articles By Andrew Orr [RSS]

Siri Shortcuts and Trust Issues

· · Link

Khari Johnson writes that in order for Siri Shortcuts to succeed, we can’t have trust issues.

Trust was a central theme at an AI conference held by Affectiva last week in Boston, where the emotion detection company is attempting to remain transparent while powering emotion recognition services in vehicles. Affectiva wants to give in-camera cars the ability to recognize when you’re distracted, tired, or angry, and track people’s emotions.

Trust has never been an issue with Siri. Apple’s privacy protections means that what you ask Siri isn’t associated with your personal identity. Other assistants like Alexa and Google Assistant may be able to do things that Siri can’t. But Siri’s strength is being able to do things without needing to collect your personal data and ship it to “the cloud.”

An Emergency Physician Explains the Apple Watch ECG

· · Link

An emergency physician took to Reddit to explain the Apple Watch ECG and what the FDA approval actually means.

In summary, the new Apple Watch looks like a great tool, but it is not meant to be a medical grade device and not a substitute for medical and professional evaluation in the case of symptoms. Even if your Apple Watch ECG appears totally normal that does not necessarily mean you do not have atrial fibrillation or other cardiac abnormalities.

Basically, I was totally wrong when I wrote about the ECG function. Also, FDA-approved doesn’t mean the Apple Watch is a medical device. It’s in the Class II category which puts it on the same level as condoms and home pregnancy kits. The Verge has details as well.

Barbie Dreamhouse Adventures Updated Alongside Show

· · Cool Stuff Found

An app called Barbie Dreamhouse adventures, named after a Netflix show of the same name, was updated to coincide with season 2 of the show that came out yesterday. Barbie Dreamhouse Adventures lets players create their very own Barbie Dreamhouse experience. Hang out with Barbie Roberts as she shares her tech-savvy home and real-time family life with viewers around the world. Rummage through her closet alongside her friends and help her get camera ready for her next vlog, and many more fun activities. You can help her design every room with wallpapers and decorations. Activities include dancing, music, pool parties, selfies, fashion parties, and a lot more. The popular iOS version, which debuted on the App Store last month, has already hit the #1 spot for Top iPad Kids App in 100+ countries.  App Store: Barbie Dreamhouse Adventures – Free

Join Aaptiv for a Virtual 5K Race to Benefit Charity

· · Cool Stuff Found

Aaptiv is an audio fitness app that gives you access to over 2,500 trainer-created workouts. Each workout is driven by music, and categories include running, elliptical, race training, rowing, strength training, stretching, yoga and more. On October 27, Aaptiv is partnering with Charity Miles for a virtual 5K race. Pick a training program in the app to get started. You can train by yourself or grab friends and family to form a team. You can log your training miles with the Charity Miles app to benefit a cause you want to support. Share your progress along the way with #Aaptiv5KYourWay. Complete the virtual race for a chance to win a home gym or one of ten runner-up prize bags. You can find the official rules here [PDF], and register solo or as a team here. App Store: Aaptiv – Free

Join Aaptiv for a Virtual 5K Race to Benefit Charity

EU's Article 11 and Article 13 Approved

· · Link

The EU’s Article 11 and Article 13 have been approved, and critics say they will be catastrophic.

The fallout from this decision will be far-reaching, and take a long time to settle. The directive itself still faces a final vote in January 2019 (although experts say it’s unlikely it will be rejected). After that it will need to be implemented by individual EU member states, who could very well vary significantly in how they choose to interpret the directive’s text.

What I find particularly concerning is something called a “link tax.”  It means there could be a fee on sharing hyperlinks to various news articles online. This is targeted at news aggregators (mainly Google News) because it links to stories with snippets. TechDirt has more information, and there’s a website called SaveTheLink to sign a petition.

People Have Been Experiencing Disappearing iTunes Movies

· · Link

I’ve been seeing reports and reading peoples’ experiences today complaining about disappearing iTunes Movies. The reason? The studio behind them is removing them from the Canadian version of the iTunes Store.

As da Silva and others have pointed out before, the “Buy” button in digital stores is, at best, mislabeled. You cannot truly buy any digital thing online; you can only rent it, and any online video store is little more than an expensive, glorified, extremely convenient Blockbuster. In conclusion, let’s go back to DVDs. We have requested comment from Apple and will update if we hear back.

The problem is that digital ownership isn’t the same as physical ownership. Despite using a “Buy” button, it can still be argued that you’re renting it. They can remove your iTunes Movies, but not your physical DVDs.

Tim Cook Positions Privacy as Apple's Best Product

· · Link

Under Tim Cook’s leadership, privacy is Apple’s best product.

In 2018, no issue is more important than user privacy–or the lack of it. We’re tracked by private industry on an unprecedented scale…If you want to be part of this world, designed by advertisers and tech giants, you must relinquish your right to privacy…Well, unless you use Apple’s products.

I’ve been banging this drum for a while now. Privacy is the main differentiator between Apple and its competitors. Non-tech people who hold an iPhone Xs and an Android flagship aren’t going to notice differences in screen, CPU speed, camera specs, etc. But if you tell them that Apple products are more private, then you may have sold a product.

Enlight Pixaloop Creates Animated Photos

· · Cool Stuff Found

Enlight has a new app out called Enlight Pixaloop. It creates animated photos that can bring your art to life. Any photo element: strands of hair, waves, clouds, or clothing can be animated. Pixaloop tools give you precise animation control so you can perfect your idea. Choose the speed of movement you want to create moving masterpieces: from the subtle flicker of a candle flame to Marilyn’s iconic billowing white dress to cascading waterfalls to two-way escalators. To animate a photo, place arrows to define motion within the image. Add anchors to gradually reduce the speed in the animated area. Freeze motion in parts of your photos to hold specific elements still and keep it real. Or get unreal and tease nature – reverse the direction of water or spills to defy gravity and flow upwards. App Store: Enlight Pixaloop – Free

Enlight Pixaloop Creates Animated Photos

iOS 12 Screen Time Can't Cure Addiction

· · Link

Joanna Stern writes about how iOS 12’s Screen Time feature couldn’t cure addiction, specifically smartphone addiction.

Just one little problem: For those of us who compulsively check our phones—sometimes even when watching our children on the playground, or crossing the street—Apple’s lock is like Scotch tape on a pack of cigarettes. If you’re not super addicted, though, there’s hope.

With much respect for Ms. Stern, I hope she didn’t actually set out thinking that Screen Time could cure a smartphone addiction. Apple is many things; a replacement for a licensed psychologist it is not. For more information on smartphone addiction, Psychiatry Advisor has some criteria.

Invest With a Conscience With Newday Impact Investing

· · Cool Stuff Found

I’ve long believed that you should choose companies you want to do business with that share the same values you do. Things like renewable energy, protecting the ocean, privacy, animal welfare, and others. When I got an email about the Newday Impact Investing app, I was genuinely delighted. It’s an investing app that lets you do just that; invest in companies with values. Every Newday Impact Portfolio is a custom-made, proprietary, and targeted investment strategy built to benefit a specific area of impact. The multi-portfolio approach allows them to provide a fully-diversified investment strategy while impacting the areas you care about directly. Portfolios include ocean health, gender equality, animal welfare, and climate action. On Newday’s website, you have to enter your phone number to get the app link, which seems sketchy and unnecessary. Use the direct App Store link instead. App Store: Newday – Free

Invest With a Conscience With Newday Impact Investing