Unleashing Genetic Algorithms on the iOS 7 Icon - In the pursuit of something just a bit tighter than Marc Edwards' superellipse approximation, Mike Swanson applies genetic algorithms to the task of making a better button-making script.
The biometrics hacking team of the Chaos Computer Club (CCC) has successfully bypassed the biometric security of Apple's TouchID using easy everyday means. [more inside]
The Bangka Belitung islands are a picture postcard tropical paradise, except where the tin is mined. Tin that is used in smartphone solders, and that is responsible for widespread ecological devastation. Following a Friends of the Earth campaign, all of the major manufacturers bar one have acknowledged their role in this destruction, and are seeking improved standards for tin mining. But if you truly want ethical consumer electronics, you'll have to wait for the Fairphone(Fairphone previously).
"Nobody misses the reference to Game of Thrones when we say that standing there at the Genius Bar is akin to standing Night’s Watch on the White Wall. You just don’t know what’s coming at you next." -- McSweeneys goes inside the Apple Store and encounters unexpected feelings at the genius bar.
What should you know about the newly released iOS 7: How to find Spotlight search (aka swipe right to search), a few tricks you should know, 12 new and hidden settings, a ridiculously thorough review, an exhaustive list of the new features and reasons why should and shouldn't update right now.
EA is setting it's hopes for the future on Plant's Vs Zombies 2's "freemium" model, hoping they've done it "the PopCap way". Here's how to play it without paying to win.
Saga, by Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples , has swept the Eisners, taking home awards for Best Continuing Series, Best New Series and Best Writer. Here's why you should be reading it.
My dad made me a pbj 2.0 when you close it you get 9 different flavor combos. 1 My brother uploaded the pic of the PBJ 2.0 yesterday, here's another creation my dad always made for us, the "chick-check" apple 2 [more inside]
U.S. District Judge Denise Cote has found that Apple conspired with publishers to fix the prices of ebooks. Publishers Weekly describes Apple's defeat as "a major blow". Writing before the ruling, Roger Parloff at Fortune Tech delved into Apple's "agency model" for ebook sales and noted that Amazon's business model is "the missing piece... of this jigsaw puzzle". Philip Elmer-Dewitt reviews Judge Cote's findings. (Review the decision and other trial information yourself here.) Michael Clarke at Scholarly Kitchen explains why he considers this a loss for the public.
Microsoft, Yahoo, Google, Facebook, PalTalk, AOL, Skype, YouTube, Apple are being monitored by the FBI and NSA, with Dropbox "coming soon." So what can you do? Use some alternatives. As Gabriel Weinberg, founder of DuckDuckGo, told NPR: "we made the choice to just not track people so there is nothing to turn over."
Of Sisters And Clones: An Interview with Jessica Rath
Every apple for sale at your local supermarket is a clone. Every single Golden Delicious, for example, contains the exact same genetic material; though the original Golden Delicious tree (discovered in 1905, on a hillside in Clay County, West Virginia) is now gone, its DNA has become all but immortal, grafted onto an orchard of clones growing on five continents and producing more than two hundred billion pounds of fruit each year in the United States alone.via Edible Geography [more inside]
Ettore Sottsass was an industrial designer who was born in Innsbruck, Austria. Famous for his My Valentine typewriter design and his geometric enamel designs. [more inside]
At Apple's keynote presentation at the WWDC yesterday, scorn for Scott Forstall – their recently-fired VP of iOS software – ran rampant. His preference for skeuomorphic design (calendars that look like leather and so-on) was mocked repeatedly by Craig Federighi: “Look! Even without all that stitching, everything just stays in place.” But the real shocker was the completely redesigned iOS 7, created under the supervision of Jonathan Ive, who prior handled all of Apple's hardware design and none of its software. Previously Ive and Forstall were much at odds, reportedly refusing to even meet with each other—and it should be noted that Ives' famous idol, the legendary industrial designer Dieter Rams, famously rejected artificial wooden furnishings with his breakout design, the record player that was nicknamed "Snow White's Coffin" for its transparent lid. Forstall's ousting placed Ive in charge of interface as well as industrial design, and it was expected that the shift would lead to a change in iOS design philosophy. But the change was perhaps more radical than expected—a complete overhaul that looks simple to the point of cartoonishness, with abstracted icons and stark layouts. Some critics are already complaining that iOS 7 goes too far in the other direction; others note the deep rigor of its new rules-based design. You can hear Ive talk about his design here [warning: obnoxious Apple promo video]. And Apple threw its support behind Ive with an unexpectedly lovely short video about the design process [warning: possibly also obnoxious]: "We start to confuse convenience for joy, abundance with choice. There are a thousand no's for every yes."
Towering over Manhattan, a colossal monolith made from the combined screens of every iPhone ever sold. A visualization from Stupid Calculations (via)
Stewart Brand's Whole Earth Catalog, the book that changed the world. Stewart Brand was at the heart of 60s counterculture and is now widely revered as the tech visionary whose book anticipated the web. We meet the man for whom big ideas are a way of life
Back in the day, Ken Segall helped create Apple's Think Different campaign and helped name the iMac. More recently he worked on JC Penney's Yours Truly, commercial, before JCP ousted Ron Johnson as its CEO. He writes a sharp, entertaining blog called Ken Segall's Observatory, where he offers opinions on advertising and design geekery. His take on Ron Johnson's failure is interesting, as is this post on what it takes for an advertisement to stand out in a crowd. He calls attention to surprisingly decent ads from Microsoft and Dell, critiques terrible ads (from Microsoft and JC Penney and even Apple, and comments on whether skeuomorphism has its advantages. He's also fond of discussing product names. Give this one a skip if advertising gives you hives, but for those of you who're interested in things like this Segall's blog is especially choice stuff.
Does Big Data Mean The Demise Of The Expert - And Intuition? - "Data-driven decisions are poised to augment or overrule human judgment." What Is Big Data? [more inside]
The Verge has a nice article looking at streaming as a business model (or not, of course...) "Do you think it's good or bad for the value of music if the only people who sell it don't care if they're making money on it?" David Pakman asks. "What you really want is an ecosystem with lots of financially healthy companies selling your product." [more inside]
"At the time, Groening was best known as the artist of the comic Life in Hell, as The Simpsons has not yet premiered. The brochure was titled, 'Who Needs a Computer Anyway' and interspersed Groening’s Life in Hell style illustrations with standard information on Apple’s Mac computers." Apple once hired Matt Groening to do some illustrations for them.
Visitors to, and other non-residents in, North Korea are now able to tweet and instagram, as mobile data services are gradually opened up. (Probably) the first tweet sent in this way appeared earlier today. [more inside]
Michael Dell, with the help of a $2 billion dollar investment from Microsoft, is taking Dell private. Dell was once a $100 billion company, but has fallen behind HP and Lenovo in marketshare in the post-PC era. This is the largest leveraged buyout since 2007. [more inside]
Rebecca Solnit on how Silicon Valley corporations are transforming San Francisco: I weathered the dot-com boom of the late 1990s as an observer, but I sold my apartment to a Google engineer last year and ventured out into both the rental market (for the short term) and home buying market (for the long term) with confidence that my long standing in this city and respectable finances would open a path. That confidence got crushed fast. It turned out that the competition for any apartment in San Francisco was so intense that you had to respond to the listings – all on San Francisco-based Craigslist of course, the classifieds website that whittled away newspaper ad revenue nationally – within a few hours of their posting to receive a reply from the landlord or agency. The listings for both rentals and homes for sale often mentioned their proximity to the Google or Apple bus stops. [more inside]
After their annual audit showed a large spike in underage workers, Apple made good on its promise to take more responsibility for its suppliers.
The International Consumer Electronics Show has been hosted in some form or fashion since 1967. But with the absence of Amazon, Apple, Google, and Microsoft, journalists are asking if the show is still relevant.
Hacker sets up SiriProxy and a Raspberry Pi-controlled relay to make his iPhone's Siri voice control open his garage door
Google Maps App by Google for Apple's iOS is now available. It features turn-by-turn voice navigation and streetview. It's a welcome end to "Map-gate". [more inside]
Tim Cook's Freshman Year: The Apple CEO Speaks Prior to his death on Oct. 5, 2011, Steve Jobs made sure that the elevation of Tim Cook—his longtime head of operations and trusted deputy—to Apple chief executive officer would be drama-free. “He goes, ‘I never want you to ask what I would have done,’” recalls Cook. “‘Just do what’s right.’ He was very clear.” ... In his most wide-ranging interview as CEO, Cook explains how Apple works now, talks about the perception that he’s “robotic,” and announces the return of Apple manufacturing to the U.S.
Ron Johnson, who was responsible for Target and Apple's wildly successful retail chains, is now trying to reinvent the department store from the ground up as J. C. Penney's new CEO: divid[ing] stores into 100 shops that [...] will each be like its own small store. Surrounding the shops will be wide aisles that Johnson calls 'streets.' Along those pathways will be ice cream and coffee bars and wood tables with built-in iPad tablet computers that shoppers can use to surf online. But after quarter after quarter of heavy loss, some analysts think Johnson is destroying J. C. Penney. But they've predicted his failure before. More on Johnson's work with the Apple Store. Johnson himself on what he learned building the Apple Store.
Minimalist design. Seamless metal and glass. Sleek lines. Revolutionary. Super thin. Perhaps the last official Steve Jobs product launch (translation). [more inside]
Today saw Apple has enter the competitive 7" tablet market with the iPad Mini. But what if your tablety desires run to something larger, not smaller? Sony has you covered with a 20-inch, 11-pound "tabletop PC".
“These companies are willing to shove 1,000 attorneys down your throat if you share music, but won’t even respond to a legal order about actual music theft and piracy.” -Benn Jordan [via] [more inside]
The iEconomy: Apple and Technology Manufacturing. Since January, the New York Times has been running a series of articles "examining the challenges posed by increasingly globalized high-tech industries," with a focus on Apple's business practices. The seventh article in the series was published today: In Technology Wars, Using the Patent as a Sword. Related: For Software, Cracks in the Patent System and Fighters in the Patent War. [more inside]
How Apple uses a Nevada based investment fund to (legally) avoid paying corporate tax on some of its massive profit.
Circa 2005, Steve Jobs was introducing a new feature to iTunes and he called them podcasts! Unfortunately, during the LIVE presentation Adam Curry was not happy with his Mac!! Priceless!
Google makes great maps. But Apple and Google aren't getting along well. So in its new iOS 6, Apple dropped all Google mapping tech in favor of its own Maps app that it promised would "blow your head off". Some people like it. Others don't. But the numbers are that 63 countries with a combined population of 4.5 billion people will lose at least one of the traffic, transit, or street views they had before. And even arch-supporter John Gruber acknowledges " the maps experience in iOS 6 is a downgrade". Google may produce an official Google Maps app for iOS. Then again, they may not.
A year ago, programmer Mark O'Connor decided to swap his MacBook for an iPad and a Linode VPS (Virtual Private Server) development environment. Today, he discusses the success of his experiment.
Skeu It! "A celebration of arbitrary and gratuitious user interface decisions." Specifically: needless or inappropriate skeumorphism. Best of Skeu It.
The AntiSec hacking group claims to have released a set of more than 1 million Apple Unique Device Identifiers (UDIDs) allegedly obtained from breaching an FBI agent's laptop via a Java vulnerability. The group claims to have over 12 million IDs, as well as personal information such as user names, device names, notification tokens, cell phone numbers and addresses. There's a tool to help you check if your device is in the list. [more inside]
The alternative to admitting that it simply sucks when an Apple TV is bricked or phone shatters, Geniuses are taught to employ the "Three Fs: Feel, Felt, and Found. This works especially well when the customer is mistaken or has bad information…"Apple's secret employee training manual for its "Geniuses" as revealed by Gizmodo.Customer: This Mac is just too expensive. Genius: I can see how you'd feel this way. I felt the price was a little high, but I found it's a real value because of all the built-in software and capabilities…The maneuver is brilliant. The Genius has switched places with the customer. He is she and she is he, and maybe that laptop isn't too expensive after all. He Found it wasn't, at least.
How Google and Apple's digital mapping is mapping us "Digital maps on smartphones are brilliantly useful tools, but what sort of information do they gather about us – and how do they shape the way we look at the world?"
It is proposed that a memorial to Steve Jobs be erected in St. Petersburg, Russia. The entries are in and you can vote for your favourite online. [more inside]
A jury has ruled for Apple in its huge smartphone patent infringement case involving Samsung and ordered Samsung to pay $1.5 billion.
After a year of scorched-earth litigation, a jury decided Friday that Samsung ripped off the innovative technology used by Apple to create its revolutionary iPhone and iPad. The jury ordered Samsung to pay Apple $1.05 billion. An appeal is expected. [more inside]
Once a new technology rolls over you, if you're not part of the steamroller, you're part of the road. -- Stewart Brand
Steam to sell productivity software [main link]. Gabe's dislike of the Windows 8 app store [BBC] may be explained. It's particularly interesting given that Steam is about to launch on Linux [Valve] [previously on Mefi]; it's one app store across all three platforms. [more inside]
iPhone Caused “Crisis of Design” at Samsung (Memo) “Influential figures outside the company come across the iPhone, and they point out that ‘Samsung is dozing off.’ All this time we’ve been paying all our attention to Nokia, and concentrated our efforts on things like Folder, Bar, Slide,” Shin wrote. “Yet when our UX is compared to the unexpected competitor Apple’s iPhone, the difference is truly that of Heaven and Earth. It’s a crisis of design.” Complete text of the internal memo submitted in the Apple vs Samsung case. Those are the more ugly points of the memo, which seems to bolster Apple’s lawsuit stating that Samsung infringed upon a number of Apple’s patents. Apple asserts that Samsung has “slavishly copied” Apple’s iPad and iPhone devices, and is seeking $2.5 billion in damages. So any more ammunition that Apple can get to make it look like Samsung attempted to actively rip off Apple’s products is only a good thing for Apple’s case. And the memo is rife with ammunition.