On Apple’s Declining Software Quality

Marco Arment, “Apple Has Lost the Functional High Ground”:

Apple’s hardware today is amazing — it has never been better. But the software quality has taken such a nosedive in the last few years that I’m deeply concerned for its future. I’m typing this on a computer whose existence I didn’t even think would be possible yet, but it runs an OS riddled with embarrassing bugs and fundamental regressions. Just a few years ago, we would have relentlessly made fun of Windows users for these same bugs on their inferior OS, but we can’t talk anymore.


‘Deaf Drivers Flocking to Lyft’

Carolyn Said, writing for SF Gate:

In San Francisco, dozens of deaf people drive for the app-based ride service Lyft — a phenomenon that started naturally and now is nurtured by the startup with outreach and support groups. Like other ride-service drivers, deaf people say they appreciate setting their own hours and being their own boss. But the work holds extra resonance for people who sometimes confront barriers to traditional employment and can experience social isolation from hearing people.


He’s No Nostradomous, That’s for Sure

Matthew Lynn, in a 2007 op-ed for Bloomberg wherein he argues “the iPhone will fail”:

The iPhone is nothing more than a luxury bauble that will appeal to a few gadget freaks. In terms of its impact on the industry, the iPhone is less relevant.

Somewhere, Lynn must be going, “Uh, oops?”.

(via @jyarow)

‘The Oddness of Unboxing’

MG Siegler writes about his affinity for taking photos of things still in their retail packaging:

It seems insane. People “read” articles that only contain pictures of tech products in their packaging and are then subsequently taken out of that packaging while being documented. But when you think about it, it’s not really that insane. It’s similar to weather porn or food porn. It’s all about desire. You love to have what you don’t have.


On the Bitcoin Bowl

Anthony Ha, writing for TechCrunch:

When I first heard about the Bitcoin Bowl, I assumed it was a joke, or maybe a weird startup publicity stunt. It turns out that yes, the Bitcoin Bowl is promoting BitPay, a bitcoin-processing startup — but it’s also real college football game that’s underway as I write this on Friday evening.


This is the first bitcoin-related sponsorship of a televised U.S. sporting event, but as The Wall Street Journal noted when the four-year deal with ESPN Events was announced in June, Dogecoin sponsored a NASCAR event earlier this year.


Samsung Releases Look At Me Autism App

Catherine Shu, reporting for TechCrunch:

Look At Me, which is now available on Google Play, was developed by doctors and professors from Seoul National University Bundag Hospital and Yonsei University Department of Psychology. The app uses photos, facial recognition tech, and a series of games to help kids read emotions and communicate with other people. The team behind Look At Me conducted a clinical trial with 20 children for eight weeks, and claim that 60 percent of kids tested showed improvement in making eye contact.


‘The Triumphant Rise of the Shitpic’

Brian Feldman, writing for The Awl:

The Shitpic aesthetic has arisen from two separate though equally influential factors, both of which necessitate screencapping instead of direct downloading. The first is that Instagram, which has no built-in reposting function, doesn’t let users save images directly. This means that the quickest way to save an image on a phone is to screencap it, technically creating a new image.

I’ve had this idea for a story for a long while: a rant wherein I complain about how people are ruining Instagram with “shitpics” like the ones described in the linked piece. It drives me nuts; more and more, I see people — friends included — posting stupid memes and filtered screenshots. I just don’t see the value there.


‘Why You Are Not Steve Jobs’

Eric Zelermyer, writing at Medium:

Steve Jobs’ real significance, what makes him an icon, is that he merged the qualities we traditionally associate with business leadership — market-savviness, ruthlessness, financial stewardship, and, yes, marketing ability — with a fanatical devotion to the aesthetics and user experience of his products. Jobs was famously meticulous about the tiniest of details in all his products, from the kerning of the fonts to the color of the icons, because he had a near-religious belief that those things made a difference in the quality of a user’s experience, and therefore had an impact on their lives. And his was not purely a curatorial approach; this is a man who personally conceived and patented the design of the glass stairs for the flagship Apple store, among many other contributions.


‘Apple Is Grinding Small Developers Underfoot’

Adam Engst for TidBITS, “iOS 8 App Development Becomes a “Bring Me a Rock” Game”:

Apple is in essence telling developers, “Bring me a rock.” When the developer returns with an app that seems to meet the published guidelines and Apple rejects it, the company is saying, “No, not that rock. Bring me a different rock.” Repeat the game until the developer gives up in frustration. This isn’t speculation — Launcher developer Greg Gardner wrote:


Twitter Apps in 2014

Federico Viticci wrote an epic piece for MacStories examining iOS Twitter apps:

For the past six months, I’ve been reevaluating my entire Twitter experience based on the apps I use to read tweets and interact with people. The idea made a lot more sense once I stepped out of my preconceptions: I wanted to understand what 2014 Twitter was like and if that meant sacrificing my nerd cred and use a Muggle’s Twitter app, so be it. But at the same time, I’ve gone back and forth between Twitter and third-party clients, primarily out of habit, but also because they still offer powerful features and design details that I appreciate.