Recent Articles By Andrew Orr [RSS]

Powering Apple Reminders With Shortcuts

· · Link

I came across this article via The Loop. It’s an article written by Matthew Cassinelli, a member of the Shortcuts (née Workflow) team, about how he powers Reminders with Shortcuts.

When it comes down to it, what Reminders provides for Shortcuts (and you) is really a nice, big bucket for text that you can add to with Siri.

Any time you’re lost in thought, you can just Ask Siri to save that one-liner, and then do something useful with it using Shortcuts instead of letting it drift away in the wind.

He also shares seven Shortcuts he uses with Reminders.

How China Rips Off the iPhone and Fragments Android Even More

· · Link

Sam Byford writes how China rips off the iPhone and continues to fragment the Android market with new operating systems and knockoffs.

For the unfamiliar, Chinese phone software can be garish, heavy-handed, and quite unlike anything installed on phones that are popular outside of Asia. If there’s anything that’s going to turn you off the brand-new Huawei Mate 20 Pro, for example — unsubstantiated Cold War-esque paranoia aside — it’s likely to be the software.

Back when I used to write for an Android website (I know, shocking!) I had received a Chinese phone to review. It had adware and possibly other malignant stuff built right in, so I won’t gush over Chinese hardware like The Verge does.

Oh, and the aforementioned Cold War-esque paranoia? I assume Mr. Byford refers to the government ban on Huawei and ZTE. But I guess it’s a personal choice if you want to heed the warning or not.

The World's Largest Apple Collection is For Sale

· · Link

An Austrian computer repairman has amassed what is possibly the world’s largest Apple collection, and it’s currently for sale.

Over the years since he began working for a company that repaired Apples in Vienna in the 1980s, Roland Borsky’s collection has grown to roughly 1,100 computers, he says – far more than the 472 items at Prague’s Apple Museum, which says it is the world’s biggest private collection of Apple products.

Now that his income has dried up, Borsky says he cannot afford the rent on his warehouse. He hopes that a benefactor will put his collection on display and pay off his debt of 20,000-30,000 euros ($23,000-35,000).

If someone doesn’t buy the collection it will have to be destroyed.

The Drafts Mac Beta is Available to Download

· · Cool Stuff Found

The Drafts Mac beta is available to download. Drafts is a productivity app for iOS that lets you do multiple things within a single app. Type out something and tweet it, post to Facebook, send it as an email, add it to Calendars, Reminders, and more. To get started with Drafts for Mac, you’ll have to meet the following requirements:

  • Mac running macOS 10.13 (High Sierra) or greater. (Note: macOS 10.14 Mojave is recommended and may be required for final release.)
  • Active Drafts Pro subscription on iOS, with iOS devices running version 5.4.2 or greater of Drafts for iOS.
  • iCloud enabled on the Mac and using the same account as your iOS devices which use Drafts.

U.S. Customers Get a New Apple Data Tool

· · Link

Apple customers in the United States, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand get a new Apple data tool. This tool is the same that European users got because of GDPR.

Apple devices such as the iPhone or Apple Watch collect detailed data about users, such as whom they email, call or text message and even biometric data such as heart rates and fingerprints. But Apple’s practice has been to keep much of that data on the devices themselves and encrypt it with the user’s pass code, meaning that Apple does not possess the data and cannot unscramble it if asked to do so by law enforcement officials.

It’s good to see Apple do this, and I’m going to use it and see what changes have been made. You can log into the page here.

Privacy Setting Do Not Track Doesn't Do Anything

· · Link

Privacy setting Do No Track found in virtually all browsers doesn’t actually do much. That’s because its use isn’t enforced.

Why do we have this meaningless option in browsers? The main reason why Do Not Track, or DNT, as insiders call it, became a useless tool is that the government refused to step in and give it any kind of legal authority. If a telemarketer violates the Do Not Call list, they can be fined up to $16,000 per violation. There is no penalty for ignoring Do Not Track.

China Wants Google to Help With its Muslim Persecution

· · Link

Google wants to create a censored version of its search engine for China. And China has recently shared laws on speech suppression that Google will likely have to use to achieve its Muslim persecution.

Article 28 of the new laws orders telecommunications operators to “put in place monitoring systems and technological prevention measures for audio, messages, and communication records” that may have “extremifying information.”

Forms of “extremification,” as laid out in the laws, are vague. They include “interfering” with people’s ability to interact with people of other ethnicities or faiths and “rejecting or refusing public goods and services.”

Don’t be evil, Don’t be evil, Don’t be evil, Don’t be evil, Don’t be evil, Don’t be evil.

Anna Wintour Interviews Jony Ive About Innovation

· · Link

Vogue editor Anna Wintour interviewed Jony Ive at Wired‘s 25th anniversary event. They talked about innovation, Apple’s secrecy. and civic duties of tech companies.

I’ve been doing this for long enough where I actually feel a responsibility to not confuse or add more noise about what’s being worked on because I know that it sometimes does not work out.

Unfortunately there isn’t a video interview but if Wired releases one I’ll add a link.

Graduate Student Solves Quantum Verification Problem

· · Link

Graduate student Urmila Mahadev has solved a quantum verification problem. Quantum verification answers the question: How do you know whether a quantum computer has done something quantum? Redditor u/Wolgoz has an ELI5 (Explain Like I’m 5) explanation:

There are different kinds of problems in computer science, closely related is the class of problems where you can easily verify if the answer is correct, but it’s hard to find the answer. This is however about the class of problems where you can’t easily check it with a normal computer, but can check it with a quantum computer.

She made a protocol that allows you to use a quantum device to check the answer, without the uncertainty of quantum mechanics. She does however make an important assumption, so it’s not certain if this will work.

Developers Aren't Satisfied With Mac App Store Update

· · Link

macOS Mojave brought a Mac App Store update, but developers aren’t fully satisfied by Apple’s changes.

Digging into survey answers, the biggest issues developers still have are ones that have been identified multiple times over the years: inability to offer trials or priced upgrades, as well as a lack of analytics. Lengthy app reviews and sandboxing rules have been issues for some developers, as well. Though the former has seen marked improvement in 2018, 33 percent of MAS developers still rate “faster approval” as a desired improvement, and 65 percent of non-MAS developers cite the approval process as a reason for staying out.

Apple can’t treat the MAS like the iOS App Store. If Apple wants the MAS to be the sole source of Mac apps, it has to give developers enough incentives to favor it over their own websites.