“Right now, the bad guys are really enjoying this,” said Jérôme
Segura, a security researcher at Malwarebytes, the security
company that uncovered the attack. “Flash for them was a godsend.”
The scheme, which Yahoo shut down on Monday, worked like this:
A group of hackers bought ads across the Internet giant’s
sports, news and finance sites. When a computer — in this
case, one running Windows — visited a Yahoo site, it
downloaded malware code.
The sooner we completely eliminate the use of Flash, the better. Just get rid of it.
As markets closed yesterday, Twitter’s stock sank to its lowest
level ever — a drop that raised speculation, yet again, that
another company would take it over. At only a $19 billion market
valuation, that’s not a surprise.
Neither is the other company most often cited as its obvious
“At some point, it is just simple math that Google grabs it,” said
one person close to the situation. “Why they haven’t yet is a
Still, that talk has gone nowhere, and there is good reason for
that. Despite the seemingly natural fit, there is a just as strong
if not stronger case that Google should not make the move.
“We have not discussed nor do we have any plans to launch an
MVNO,” said an Apple spokeswoman in a statement on Tuesday.
So much for that.
Why get out in front of this with a flat-out denial, instead of their usual policy of ignoring rumors? My guess is to keep things amicable with the various carriers around the world. That’s always been the problem with this “Apple running its own phone service”. Ostensibly, as a handset maker, Apple is a partner with all the carriers around the world that support iPhone. They can’t compete against them while partnering with them. So I’m guessing Apple wants to signal, clearly, that they aren’t conspiring against their carrier partners.
Remember Google Plus? Seth Fiegerman goes behind the scenes on its creation for Mashable:
For those elsewhere in the company, Google’s approach to Plus
represented a radical departure. Most Google projects started
small and grew organically in scale and importance. Buzz, the
immediate predecessor to Plus, had barely a dozen people on staff.
Plus, by comparison, had upwards of 1,000, sucked up from
divisions across the company. One employee on a different team
recalled thinking at this time, “Where have our engineers gone?”
That’s no way to make a successful product. Google Plus was never anything more than chasing Facebook.
A few weeks ago I linked to a BBC interview with Tony Fadell, in which I thought Fadell took a backhanded shot at the software design of Apple Watch. The BBC’s Leo Kelion kindly emailed me with a full transcript of Fadell’s remarks, which makes clear that my original interpretation was flat-out wrong. I’ve updated the post accordingly.
In a crowded field, for almost everyone but Bush, it’s critical to
grab hold of the mantle of anger and grievance. But the Huckabees
and Cruzes simply cannot compete with Trump, who is not only
willing to say truly anything but also has — whatever else you can
say about his nonsense — a talent for drama and garnering press
attention honed over decades. With a mix of aggression, boffo
self-assertion and nonsense, Trump has managed to boil modern
Republicanism down to a hard precipitate form, shorn of the final
vestiges of interest in actual governing.
I read this like eight or nine hours ago, and I still don’t know what to think of it. It’s worth knowing going in that Rhinehart is the creator of Soylent, and Soylent 2.0 launched today. So I think Andy Baio is right that this post was purposefully written to go viral.
The thing is, I can’t tell whether this is parody or not. Seems like certain aspects have to be a joke (e.g., his wardrobe: once-worn clothing custom-made in China), but I thought Soylent was a joke when I first heard about it. Even if it is a PR ploy, it’s a damn clever one — at once both deeply thought-provoking and enragingly obnoxious.
Dan Moren, speculating back in May on Apple launching its own cell service:
I can think of a few reasons that Apple would be tempted to launch
its own mobile virtual network operator (MVNO), but the overriding
one is philosophical. Apple’s a company that notoriously likes to
control everything related to its business. In its earliest days,
that meant creating both hardware and software to form an
integrated whole, but in recent years, that’s increasingly meant
the whole shebang. A to Z. Soup to nuts. I mean, this is a company
that hired metallurgists for the Apple Watch, invested heavily in
a (now mostly defunct) firm to make sapphire glass, and, of
course, launched its own hugely successful retail stores in an era
when that seemed like pure folly.
Apple is in talks to launch a mobile virtual network operator
(MVNO) service in the US and Europe, Business Insider has learned.
Sources close to Apple say the company is privately trialling an
MVNO service in the US but is also in talks with telecoms
companies in Europe about bringing the service there too. […]
There is no guarantee Apple’s service will launch beyond a test
phase, and if it does, it will not roll out anytime soon. Telecoms
sources say Apple is looking long-term with its MVNO and could
take at least five years to fully launch the service. Apple has
been in talks with telecoms companies for years over its MVNO
plans, those sources say, adding that it’s an “open secret” among
carriers that a virtual Apple network is on the way.
My thanks to Web Designer News for sponsoring this week’s DF RSS feed. It’s a great news site, sourced by designers for designers. Topics include tools and apps, case studies, code demos, inspiration, videos, and more. Sign up for their newsletter for daily updates, or create an account and archive your favorite posts.
Web Designer News has a clean, simple design and great content. Perusing their home page today, I see a bunch of posts that are right down the alley for DF readers, like this piece from Brand New on the merged Kraft Heinz Company’s “fugly” new logo. Check it out.
Lorenzo Franceschi-Bicchierai, who covers the security beat for Motherboard:
I’ve been antagonistic with Apple products ever since I was a
teenager, when Apple used to try to shove its apps down my throat
(cough iTunes cough) whenever I just wanted to watch a movie
trailer on Quicktime. I never liked Apple’s walled garden and
“we-control-everything” approach, and I particularly disliked
Apple fanboys’ dumb “oh my god there’s a new iThing coming out”
reverence and hysteria.
So when the original iPhone came out a few years ago, I swore in
multiple heated discussions with friends and strangers that I’d
never buy an iPhone. Since then, I’ve only owned Android phones.
First a few HTC ones, now a Sony phone.
Well, I’m sick of it. And I’m ready to go to the dark side.
Edward Taylor and Julia Love, reporting for Reuters:
Apple Chief Executive Tim Cook went to BMW’s headquarters last
year and senior Apple executives toured the carmaker’s Leipzig
factory to learn how it manufactures the i3 electric car, two
sources familiar with the talks told Reuters.
The dialogue ended without conclusion because Apple appears to
want to explore developing a passenger car on its own, one of the
sources said. […]
During the visit, Apple executives asked BMW board members
detailed questions about tooling and production and BMW executives
signaled readiness to license parts, one of the sources said. News
of the Leipzig visit first emerged in Germany’s Manager-Magazin
“Apple executives were impressed with the fact that we abandoned
traditional approaches to car making and started afresh. It chimed
with the way they do things too,” a senior BMW source said.
I’ll bet Apple executives were not so impressed with BMW executives’ inability to keep their mouths shut.
Averaging data from all websites tested, Safari won first place
with 6 hours 21 minutes of total usage, Firefox second with 5
hours 29 minutes of usage, and Chrome last with 5 hours 8 minutes
Basically, if you simply switch to using Safari instead of Chrome,
on average you could get an extra 1 hour of usage from your
This exemplifies what the “Safari Is the New IE” crowd doesn’t get — Apple’s priorities for Safari/WebKit are very different from Google’s for Chrome/Blink. Innovation and progress aren’t necessarily only about adding new features. 24 percent better battery life is huge.
As a heavy Apple user, I can’t tell you most of what is in Windows
10, but I can tell you that it now has a pretty awesome feature
that I would use the shit out of: the middle finger emoji (and
some other new ones, too). In my opinion, it’s quite
(Also interesting: Microsoft’s choice of gray for skin-tone-neutral emoji. I don’t like the yellow that Apple is using for neutral, but I’m not sure gray is better — they look like zombies to me. If you’re going to go with gray, perhaps the neutral emoji should be entirely grayscale, including hair and clothing?)
Have you ever wondered how famed Mac designer Susan Kare might go
about designing a pair of pixel art tits, or how ornery ad legend
Milton Glaser might handle a design brief that simply read
“cocksucker?” Now you can find out, thanks to a new booster pack
for the popular party game Cards Against Humanity, featuring
original designs by Glaser, Kare, Debbie Milman, Paula Scher, Erik
Spiekermann, and 25 more world famous designers.
Abdel Ibrahim makes the case for Apple to make a “smart scale”:
Over the past two years, we’ve seen Apple talk about Health over
and over again. The conversation started with the Health app on
iPhone and then got amplified with the introduction of the Apple
Watch. Both of these products do a great job of capturing
information. The only problem is that I have to rely on
third-party hardware to tell me what that information means. If
Apple is all about providing an ecosystem of great hardware,
software, and services, then making a scale that can give me an
output of all sorts of body-related information seems like a
My first thought when I read this was, Meh, who cares? But my second thought was that maybe something like this would be the modern-day equivalent of products like Wi-Fi base stations. If you think about it, Airport base stations are a weird product for Apple — small potatoes. But sometimes it makes sense for Apple to make small potato products that will help make Apple’s flagship products “just work”.
That said, I don’t think Apple would actually make a scale — that’s what HealthKit is for.
Windows 10 — which is out now, by the way — comes, as it used to
in the pre-Win8 days, with Solitaire preinstalled. The Microsoft
Solitaire Collection, in fact, which bundles the classic Klondike
with other familiar variants like Freecell and Spider Solitaire,
tracks stats and logs achievements, and will even have
leaderboards at some point. It also has ads.
You can make the ads go away, but, as you may have guessed, it’ll
cost you, and not just once: The Microsoft Solitaire Collection
Premium Edition is effectively a subscription service that goes
for $1.50 a month, or $10 for a year. The Premium version of the
game does away with ads, and also offers more coins for completing
“Daily Challenges,” and a boost when you play TriPeaks or Pyramid.
This exchange from a Q&A session Steve Jobs held at WWDC 1997 is a classic. You’ve probably seen it before. But it’s one of those clips that never gets old, and is always worth revisiting. Jobs’s whole response is gold, and, in hindsight, he lays out that the sort of thinking that has guided Apple in the 18 years since. Consider this bit:
“Some mistakes will be made along the way. That’s good. Because at
least some decisions are being made along the way. We’ll find the
mistakes, we’ll fix them! I think what we need to do is support
The way to build a great anything — a product, a company, a book, a blog, an app, a service, a movie, anything — is not to obsess over not making mistakes. That leads to paralysis. Try to avoid mistakes, sure. But recognize that you’ll inevitably make some, and create a culture and work ethic where mistakes get identified and fixed.
Update:Elon Musk: “Failure is an option here. If things are not failing, you are not innovating enough.”
Sources familiar with Apple’s plans tell BuzzFeed News that the
company intends to announce its next-generation Apple TV in
September, at the same event at which it typically unveils its new
iPhones. The device itself is pretty much as we described it to
you in March, sources say, but “more polished” after some
additional tweaks. Expect a refreshed and slimmer chassis and new
innards; Apple’s A8 system on chip; a new remote that sources say
has been “drastically improved” by a touch-pad input; an increase
in on-board storage; and an improved operating system that will
support Siri voice control. Crucially, the new Apple TV will debut
alongside a long-awaited App Store and the software development
kit developers need to populate it.
But, Paczkowski reports, it will not appear alongside Apple’s purported subscription TV content service:
While that service is most certainly in the offing, sources tell
BuzzFeed News that Apple does not currently plan to announce it
alongside the new Apple TV. “Late this year — maybe, but more
likely next year,” said one, seconding a June report by Recode.
One of the theories bandied about when WWDC came and went without any Apple TV announcements — no new hardware, no SDK — was that Apple didn’t want to announce the new Apple TV until the subscription TV service was ready, too. According to Paczkowski, though, that’s exactly what they’re going to do in September. My guess: Apple held it back for September to have something significantly “new” to announce alongside the new iPhones. Last year, that was Apple Watch; this year, it’s Apple TV.
Cory Weinberg, writing for the San Francisco Business Times:
Apple Inc. reached an agreement to rent about 76,000 square feet
of office space in the South of Market neighborhood’s 235 Second
St., several real estate sources in San Francisco and Silicon
The potential sublease is a modest amount of space for a company
with the world’s largest market capitalization ($705 billion) that
is constructing a 2.8 million-square-foot “Spaceship” campus in
Cupertino. But this would signify Apple’s first push into San
Francisco — piling onto the herd of Silicon Valley companies that
have wanted a taste of the city.
I lost a nice hat in this building back in 2006, when CNet was a company that mattered.
Special guest John Moltz returns to the show. Topics include bluetooth headphones, Apple Music and iCloud Photo Library, phone sizes (including speculation on the lineup of new iPhones in September), El Chapo’s social media intern, Apple’s stock price, Alex Gibney’s upcoming Steve Jobs documentary, and the new trailer for Spectre.
Brought to you by these great sponsors:
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Myles Maxfield, writing for the Surfin’ Safari blog:
Web content is sometimes designed to fit in with the overall
aesthetic of the underlying platform which it is being rendered
on. One of the ways to achieve this is by using the platform’s
system font, which is possible on iOS and OS X by using the
“-apple-system” CSS value for the “font-family” CSS property. On
iOS 9 and OS X 10.11, doing this allows you to use Apple’s new
system font, San Francisco. Using “-apple-system” also correctly
interacts with the font-weight CSS property to choose the correct
font on Apple’s latest operating systems.
Over a six month period, my colleague Luke Stark and I have been
studying how Uber drivers interact with the Uber app as part of a
research project funded by Microsoft FUSE Labs. Our research was
conducted primarily in Uber driver forums, and through interviews
with Uber drivers. We’ve observed that drivers across multiple
forums discuss the fake cars they see on their own residential
streets. One driver, who makes regular broadcasts advising
drivers about using the Uber system, even made a YouTube video to
show other drivers how the app sometimes displays cars that
Richard Lawler, writing for Engadget on Vizio’s IPO filing:
Vizio has made its name with impressive value-priced TVs that
don’t skimp on features (it’s also a leader in the soundbar
market, and has made attempts at selling tablets and phones too).
According to the filing, Vizio has sold more than 15 million
smart TVs, with about 61 percent of them connected as of the end
of June. While viewers are benefiting from those connections,
streaming over 3 billion hours of content, Vizio says it’s
watching them too, with Inscape software embedded in the screens
that can track anything you’re playing on it — even if it’s from
cable TV, videogame systems and streaming devices.
We’ve never heard of Inscape before, but as explained in the S-1
Vizio filed today, it’s based on ACR (automatic content
recognition) software licensed from a third party, and viewers can
opt-out of participating in it while maintaining other connected
features. That’s actually fairly common in modern TVs, and others
like LG and Samsung have already rolled out features based on the
tech to do things like integrate with TV shows, or display ads
based on what the TV is showing. ACR software recognizes the video
being displayed, matches it up and phones home the data. According
to Vizio, its Inscape platform can pull some 100 billion
anonymized datapoints from 8 million of its connected TVs every
day. That kind of data can be used for ratings, and is valuable to
both advertisers and content providers.
Why would Comcast Corp.’s NBCUniversal unit be hunting for new
media deals, and talking to companies like Vice Media, BuzzFeed
and Business Insider, as The Wall Street Journal reported
One explanation is that the cable giant is chasing young consumers
who aren’t watching TV as much as past generations did. This chart
illustrates the situation.
According to these numbers from Nielsen, among those 18-24 years old, TV viewing has dropped 32 percent since 2010. That’s the youngest group in the chart, but judging by my 11-year-old son’s habits, this trend is even more striking for kids. He hardly watches any traditional TV at all. Just YouTube, Netflix, and movies.
These videos are always funny, and always make me feel old. Very old. But this one also seems to suggest that a hunch I’ve had for the last few years is going to prove true: that the word phone — just plain un-prefixed, unmodified “phone” — is evolving to mean “a pocket-sized touch screen computer with a cellular network connection”. And for these kids, phone really just means “pocket-sized computer”, because they just presume the use of a touch screen and wireless networking.
iTunes is designed by the Junk Drawer Method: when enough cruft
has built up that somebody tells the team to redesign it, while
also adding and heavily promoting these great new features in the
UI that are really important to the company’s other interests and
are absolutely non-negotiable, the only thing they can really do
is hide all of the old complexity in new places. […]
I have plenty of plausible theories on why iTunes didn’t get the
iCloud Photos treatment — why Apple Music was bolted onto this
ancient, crufty, legacy app instead of discontinuing iTunes,
dropping its obsolete functions, and starting fresh with a new app
and a CloudKit-based service. (Engineering resources, time to
market, iPods, Windows, and people with slow internet
Exactamundo. iCloud Photos gets right everything that Apple Music gets wrong. Like Marco, I can imagine many reasons why Apple took a different route with music than the clean-slate approach they took with photos. I’m not in a position to judge what Apple should have done. All I’m saying is that the difference in results is stark. I understand the design and purpose of Photos (the app) on both Mac and iOS, and I understand how iCloud Photo Library is supposed to work. And, for me — and seemingly, almost everyone — that’s how iCloud Photo Library does work. You sign up, you enable it on all your devices, you wait for the initial sync to finish, and boom — now all your photos are available on all your devices, all the time. I don’t think this would have worked out as well if they had kept going with iPhoto on the Mac. They needed the clean break — both in terms of design and in terms of engineering.
My thanks to Bushel for sponsoring this week’s DF RSS feed. Bushel is a simple-to-use, cloud-based mobile device management solution designed for the Mac, iPhone, iPad, and iPod devices in your workplace. Bushel makes it easy for you to set up, manage, and protect your Apple devices — when you want, wherever you are. Your first three devices enrolled are free forever, and each additional device is just $2 per month, with no contracts or commitments.
Check out their website to see just how nice their design work is. Bushel is “device management” for people with discerning taste.
Tellingly, Mr Fadell reveals he recently started testing Sir
Jonathan’s latest product, the Apple Watch, although he was not
wearing it at the time of interview.
“I’ve had mine for about two weeks now,” he says.
“I think they did a tremendous job on the hardware components of
it. They are trying many different things with that platform -
some are going to be great, and some are not.”
Consider the difference between “I think they did a tremendous job” versus “I think they did a tremendous job on the hardware”.
Update, 3 August 2015: Leo Kelion from the BBC emailed me with some additional context. Immediately after saying the above, Fadell continued:
“The same thing happened with the iPhone. If we go back in history
when the iPhone first shipped there were a few things that weren’t
so right about it. But the second version, the third version
started dialing in the right amount of each of those pieces and it
really, you know, hit the ground running. So, I hope and I would
fully assume they will do the same thing with the Watch as well.”
Clearly, I was wrong to read Fadell’s comments as a backhanded gibe at Apple Watch’s software.
It’s been an interesting and confusing day. I arrived at Apple
this morning to talk to them about my issues with Apple Music and
to hopefully fix my problems. The good news is that I have about
99 percent of my music back. […]
Apple said my music was never deleted and that it was in the cloud
the entire time. Before Apple Music, iTunes Match would show me
all of my songs — matched, uploaded, and purchased. However, if
you turn off iCloud Music Library and Apple Music, iTunes Match
will only show your purchased content now. There is no way to
separate iTunes Match from the iCloud Music Library. Before, you
would turn off iTunes Match — now you would turn off iCloud Music
So now I have the iTunes Match service that I pay for separately,
and Apple Music, both of which use iCloud Music Library. There is
really no way to get away from them if you want to use the latest
and greatest from Apple.
I’ll admit, I’m still trying to get my head around how this works.
As clear as mud how this all works. Why not make Apple Music a separate standalone app? Apple Music: subscription service with DRM. iTunes: music you own, no DRM.
From a new iPhone page, “Why There’s Nothing Quite Like iPhone”:
Also amazing? The fact that there are over a million and a half
capable, beautiful, inspiring apps on the App Store. And each and
every one was reviewed and approved by a team of real live humans.
With great taste. And great suggestions. And great ideas.
Yes, thank goodness for those ideas and suggestions from App Store reviewers that make our apps so great. And thanks even more for their great taste that keeps all but the best 100 or so Flappy Bird ripoffs out of the store.
Update: What irks here, fundamentally, is that Apple is taking credit for the great apps in the App Store, rather than giving credit to the third-party developers who make them. This plays straight into the widespread misconception that everyone who makes iOS apps works for Apple.
Some interesting graphs from Quartz. Amazon wins on growth. Walmart wins on profit — but we all know Amazon doesn’t even try to turn a profit. More importantly, Walmart’s revenue remains more than five times that of Amazon.
Apple leads the pack, but the pack is still a pack made up of
smartwatches. No one really knows how big this market is going to
get and how long it’ll have steam. Let me repeat that for
emphasis: No one really knows. So feel free to point and laugh at
anyone estimating the next five years of smartwatch sales.
Remember when Windows Phone was going to overtake
Good. Times. We laughed ourselves until we died and then we were
reborn, shiny and chrome.
Craig Hockenberry on the various ways Apple treats the Mac App Store as a second-class citizen to the iOS App Store: no TestFlight (which means no testing betas against production iCloud servers), no analytics, and, just to rub salt in the wound, they haven’t applied the new rule that disallows app reviews from users running beta versions of the OS.
I think the thing that bothers me most about this situation is the
inequality. Mac developers aren’t getting the same value from the
App Store as their counterparts on iOS. We all pay Apple 30% of
our earnings to reach our customers, we should all get the same
functionality for that fee.
Low on spoilers, particularly by modern-day trailer standards, but I’ve got a bad feeling about where this might be going with the “chilling connection between [Bond] and the enemy he seeks, played by Christoph Waltz”. Feels a little Luke/Leia/Vader-y. Hope I’m wrong.
As if all of that wasn’t enough, Apple Music gave me one more kick
in the head. Over the weekend, I turned off Apple Music and it
took large chunks of my purchased music with it. Sadly, many of
the songs were added from CDs years ago that I no longer have
access to. Looking at my old iTunes Match library, before Apple
Music, I’m missing about 4,700 songs. At this point, I just don’t
care anymore, I just want Apple Music off my devices.
A group of German auto makers agreed to pay slightly more than
€2.5 billion ($2.7 billion) for Nokia’s digital mapping service,
prevailing over Silicon Valley bidders in a battle for a key
enabling technology for self-driving cars.
German luxury car makers Audi, a unit of Volkswagen AG,
Mercedes-Benz parent Daimler AG, and BMW AG have agreed in
principle to purchase the telecommunications group’s digital
mapping service Nokia Here, according to a person familiar with
Over the past couple of years, Apple has made a point–not just in
conversations with the financial industry, but also on stage at
media events–of discussing its efforts in China. The massive
effort the company is putting into China is certainly paying off:
While the last two quarters have showed 75 percent year-over-year
growth, Apple more than doubled its China revenue in this most
recent quarter, compared to the same quarter a year ago. Apple
isn’t just growing in China, its growth is accelerating.
With the Chinese stock market and economy being called into
question in recent days, it was interesting to hear Cook defend
the market to financial analysts. He made it clear that Apple
believes China will ultimately be Apple’s largest market. (It’s
already surpassed Europe in total revenue.)
From Serenity Caldwell’s transcript of Tim Cook’s remarks on Apple’s quarterly analyst call:
Sales of the Watch did exceed our expectations and they did so
despite supply still trailing demand at the end of the quarter.
And to give you a little additional insight, through the end of
the quarter, in fact, the Apple Watch sell-through was higher than
the comparable launch periods of the original iPhone or the
original iPad. And we were able to do that with having only 680
points of sale. And as you probably know, as I had reviewed
earlier, the online sales were so great at the beginning we were
not able to seed inventory to our stores until mid-June. And so
those points of sale, pretty much, the overwhelming majority of
the low numbers of sales were not there until the last two weeks
of the quarter.
On the Watch, our June sales were higher than April or May. I
realize that’s very different than some of what’s being written,
but June sales were the highest. The Watch had a more of a
back-ended kind of skewing.
So, either Tim Cook is lying and committed securities fraud, or, those reports about Apple Watch sales “plunging” — all of them based on that one report from Slice Intelligence — were a pile of crap. It will take years to judge the overall success of Apple Watch, but it seems pretty clear it’s gotten off to a good start.
About the Linked List
The Daring Fireball Linked List is a daily list of interesting links
and brief commentary, updated frequently but not frenetically. Call it
a “link log”, or “linkblog”, or just “a good way to dick around on the
Internet for a few minutes a day”.