November 20, 2014

Link: How to Mac Went From Obscurity to Ubiquity ☍

Walt Mossberg:

In fact, in July 1997, just days after Steve Jobs became CEO to once again lead the company he co-founded, I wrote a column for the Wall Street Journal that said: “… unless you’re emotionally devoted to the Mac, or are in a particular business or school market where the Mac’s advantages and specialized software make it a compelling choice, I can’t honestly advise you to buy another.”

Now I believe it’s the best line of computers on the market, and I consider one model in particular — the thin, light and rugged MacBook Air — to be the best consumer laptop ever made.

November 19, 2014

Link: On Google’s Trusted Places ☍

Vlad Savov for The Verge:

I don’t make a habit of counting how many times I unlock my phone, but I’m willing to believe the stats that say the average user does it hundreds of times each day. That can be an unnecessary chore when using a device in a place safe from malfeasant interference, such as your home, which is why Google has now introduced the option to add trusted places to Android 5.0’s Smart Lock. As with the two existing options, trusted faces and trusted devices, the new location-based automatic unlocker bypasses the usual lock screen when it detects the proper circumstances. You can set multiple trusted locations and it works without adding any delays to accessing the phone.

My initial reaction was that this was a cool feature—which it is—and that I’d like to see it on iOS. Then, like a few of the commenters, I realized that iOS’s Touch ID sort of made this feature unnecessary. Since upgrading to my iPhone 6, I’ve found that I use Touch ID without even thinking—it’s almost like not having a lock on my phone at all. That being said, I think a feature like Android’s Smart Lock could be handy for users of older devices.

November 18, 2014

Link: Scummy Uber ☍

PandoDaily’s Sarah Lacy follows up on a revealing article by Buzzfeed’s Ben Smith:

Today, in his horrifying scoop, Smith writes about the the lengths that at least one Uber executive, Emil Michael, was willing to go to discredit anyone– particularly a woman– who may try to question how Uber operates.

Ruining her life? Manufacturing lies? Going after her family? Apparently it’s all part of what Uber has described as its “political campaign” to build a $30 billion (and counting) tech company. A campaign that David Plouffe was hired to “run,” that’s looking more like a pathetic version of play acting House of Cards than a real campaign run by a real political professional. Because step one of an illegal smear campaign against a woman is: Don’t brag about it to a journalist at a party.

The woman in question? The woman that this Uber executive has vowed to go to nearly any lengths to ruin, to bully into silence? Me.

I got rid of Uber’s app awhile back and had them delete my account after some other unsatisfying practices, but I will definitely be looking for an alternative if I need a ride in the future.

November 17, 2014

Link: Apple Releases iOS 8.1.1 ☍

Available via the Software Update feature on iOS, the update is a relatively minor one, notably improving performance for the iPad 2 and iPhone 4s. Federico Viticci noticed that the share sheet ordering and iCloud bugs are fixed, too:

What Apple doesn’t specifically address in their release notes are two welcome fixes that people who use iOS devices extensively will likely notice: the order of action and share extensions in the system share sheet now sticks across apps and app relaunches; and, the iCloud hanging/crashing bug appears to be gone.

Link: Apple Releases OS X 10.10.1 ☍

Available via Software Update the App Store or a standalone update, it addresses:

This update:

  • Improves Wi-Fi reliability
  • Improves reliability when connecting to a Microsoft Exchange server
  • Improves reliability sending Mail messages when using certain email service providers
  • Improves reliability when connecting to remote computers using Back to My Mac

For more detailed information about this update, please visit:

November 11, 2014

Link: The Danger of Bad Analogies ☍

Alexandra Petri for The Washington Post:

“Net neutrality is Obamacare for the Internet,” he [Texas Republican Senator Ted Cruz] tweeted Monday, after President Obama came out in favor of forceful net neutrality measures, urging the FCC to treat Internet service providers as common carriers. “The Internet should not operate at the speed of government.” […]

I am a big fan of net neutrality, as an outcome. We should want an agency that can actually enforce net neutrality if companies fall short. Anything short of that seems unlikely to hold up in court. But the actual underlying problem is encouraging investment in Internet infrastructure and innovation so that we get quick, non-discriminatory access to the whole Internet. We should not have the ninth-fastest Internet in the world, nor should it be so wildly overpriced. We are America, dang it! (Perhaps net neutrality is like Obamacare, in the sense that it is something we are undertaking it just now in America while in other countries they seem to have things in hand much better, but then again those countries are also smaller.)

Petri offers a fairly light take on the stupidity and scary implications of Ted Cruz’s tweet. If you aren’t familiar with the idea of net neutrality, educate yourself (pipe analogy aside).

Link: Deregister and Turn Off iMessage ☍

It’s nice to see Apple has made a self-solve tool for anyone who has already switched to another device and can’t turn off iMessage from their prior iPhone for some reason.

Link: Groupon vs. GNOME ☍

GNOME (via Thord D. Hedengren):

Recently Groupon announced a product with the same product name as GNOME. Groupon’s product is a tablet based point of sale “operating system for merchants to run their entire operation.” The GNOME community was shocked that Groupon would use our mark for a product so closely related to the GNOME desktop and technology. It was almost inconceivable to us that Groupon, with over $2.5 billion in annual revenue, a full legal team and a huge engineering staff would not have heard of the GNOME project, found our trademark registration using a casual search, or even found our website, but we nevertheless got in touch with them and asked them to pick another name. Not only did Groupon refuse, but it has now filed even more trademark applications (the full list of applications they filed can be found here, here and here). To use the GNOME name for a proprietary software product that is antithetical to the fundamental ideas of the GNOME community, the free software community and the GNU project is outrageous. Please help us fight this huge company as they try to trade on our goodwill and hard earned reputation.

Even if you compete with an open source product, it’s just considered poor form to use established product names and terminology just because some groups can’t defend themselves. In the case of Groupon, it’s not a competitor, but the use case is close enough that it feels like a scumbag move.

Update: Groupon is abandoning its trademark applications for the name “Gnome” and looking for a new name.