December 2, 2019

“Not forgo computers, but to decide you want to use a computer only when you need to. In other words, people find it quite easy to kill an entire day on a Mac without knowing how, and more difficult to do the same on an iPad. And that’s a plus for the iPad.”

November 21, 2019

Snippet: T-Mobile’s John Legere Was Never a ‘Cool CEO’ ☍

Karl Bode for Vice:

T-Mobile’s trash-talking CEO John Legere will be stepping down in April, a decision industry watchers say could harm the company’s controversial $26 billion merger with Sprint.

In a statement, T-Mobile said that Legere would be stepping down on May 1, 2020, replaced by current Chief Operating Officer Mike Sievert. […]

Under Legere, T-Mobile has been a notorious union buster, creating illegal fake unions in the hopes that employees wouldn’t join a real one. The company also supported the repeal of net neutrality and broadband privacy rules, attacked groups like the EFF, and cozied up to the Trump administration to gain approval for its unpopular, competition eroding merger with Sprint. […]

Modern T-Mobile was born from the remnants of the DOJ’s decision to block AT&T from buying T-Mobile in 2011. The blocking of the deal forced AT&T to pay a $4 billion break up fee, money then used to propel T-Mobile to success.

Ironically, a company born out of government opposition to wireless consolidation is now pushing for one of the most controversial megadeals in industry history. The shift, driven largely by T-Mobile majority owner Deutsche Telekom, forced Legere into a role that’s in stark contrast to the brash, consumer-friendly persona he’d built since 2012.

It’s been fun to watch Legere’s antics over the past few years. Some of the things T-Mobile has done under his direction have been good for the wireless industry, but I think anyone who doesn’t see that there’s a bit of a facade (and maybe a heel-turn) is fooling themselves. This has seemed to be breaking down more now than in the original “Uncarrier” days and I think Legere is going to exit at the right time for himself.

Snippet: Tim Cook Appears Alongside Trump in Re-Election Campaign Ad Shot in Mac Pro Plant in Austin ☍

John Gruber:

I’ve been on board with [Apple CEO Tim] Cook’s stance on engaging Trump. Participating in Trump’s technology council does not imply support for Trump. Engaging Trump personally, in private phone calls and dinners, does not imply support. But appearing alongside Trump at an Apple facility in a staged photo-op is implicit support for Trump and his re-election.

This wasn’t a promotion for the Mac Pro or its assembly plant. It was a promotion for Trump. This video makes it look like Trump’s trade policies have been good for Apple and that Tim Cook supports Trump. Both of those things are false. Even Trump’s predictable claim that this is a new facility is false — Apple, in what at the time was a high-profile shift, has been manufacturing Mac Pros at the same facility since 2013. Apple isn’t bringing Mac Pro assembly back to the U.S. because of Trump’s trade policies; Apple is keeping Mac Pro production here solely because Trump granted Apple an exemption to his tariffs — tariffs that he himself clearly does not understand.

November 14, 2019

Snippet: NY Regulators Investigating Apple Card After Viral Complaint of Sexism ☍

Kate Cox for Ars Technica:

Software developer and entrepreneur David Heinemeier Hansson took to Twitter late last week to complain about his wife Jamie Heinemeier Hansson’s experience with AppleCard. […]

Speaking with Apple customer service did no good, he added, with representatives repeatedly deflecting blame to the black box that makes the determinations. Customer service representatives were, “very nice, courteous people representing an utterly broken and reprehensible system,” Hansson said. “The first person was like ‘I don’t know why, but I swear we’re not discriminating, IT’S JUST THE ALGORITHM.’ I shit you not. ‘IT’S JUST THE ALGORITHM!'”

Several other men on Twitter chimed in with replies outlining similar experiences. They said their wives, who on paper look like the better credit risks, received significantly less favorable terms on their Apple Cards than they did. One of the responses came from Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak, who tweeted that, although he and his wife have only joint bank accounts and assets, his Apple Card was given a limit 10 times higher than his wife’s.

Having done some research on credits even before the Apple Card launched, there’s more factors than just a credit score when getting approved and without people sharing all the data points, these rants tend to stir up controversy without any analytical truth. Considering the amount of people that I know with Apple Card’s who have shared some data points, the limits seemed to be very dependent on stated income once you were in the door. In a relationship where one person may not be working or have investment income, and don’t list “household income,” they would appear to be limited on resources. Some lenders look at total assets and weigh that heavily, but it seems Goldman Sachs doesn’t.

If it turns out that there really is a sexist algorithm, that’s concerning and needs to be addressed, but if it’s a lack of understanding of how the underwriting process works and that a married couple is still considered individual people by many financial institutions, then that demonstrates how we need to do better with financial literacy.

Snippet: Motorola’s New $1500 Folding Razr ☍

Chaim Gartenberg for The Verge:

Motorola is bringing the Razr back in the form of a foldable Android phone, but that doesn’t mean that the company is leaving the classic design of the original behind. As a neat tribute to the OG RAZR, Motorola has included a secret “Retro Razr” mode that turns the $1,499 modern smartphone into the spitting image of its 2004-era predecessor.

The mode is basically a glorified skinned Android launcher that faithfully re-creates the original RAZR UI through software, right down to the classic boot animation. But Motorola has put in some serious work here: the skin is fully functional. Click the button for messaging, and it’ll launch the Android messaging app. Click right to open settings, and the settings app will launch. The best part is dialing a phone number, which features the same pop-up UI as the original, including the sounds.

While both this phone and the company making it are not anything like the RAZR and Motorola of the early-aughts, it’s both an interesting take on the folding phone and enough design cues to get me a bit nostalgic. Unlike the original RAZR, it’s going to be exclusive to Verizon at launch and not take SIM cards, and be quite pricey for midrange specs (I don’t think even taking into account inflation would make the two close). Due to those shortcomings, it doesn’t look like I’ll be picking one up and setting the default ringtone to Waves like the old days.