iMarc

iOS 16 Put Notifications on Notice

Recently announced iOS 16 will feature a new look Lock Screen. One of the striking features is how notifications are now far less prominent than they have been ever since their arrival in iPhone OS 3.0 back in 2009. The change is a signal that many users want to control what they see and when, rather than have application developers decide for them. In 2009 it was quiet novel to know instantly when someone liked your Facebook post. After 13 years the novelty has worn off. In fact, many notifications are just superfluous noise that don’t enrich our lives at…

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It’s the (iPad) Software, Stuipid

As is often the case, Matt Birchler has written something that I agree wholeheartedly with in his post Just Buy a Mac: Even if Apple goes all the way and lets us resize windows and drag them anywhere we want on screen, I don’t think this suddenly turns the iPad into a Mac. After all, macOS, Windows, and Linux all have resizable windows that work 95% the same, but no one is out there saying that these are all basically the same operating system. (As an aside, I’d love to know how the word ‘god’ made it into the URL slug –…

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A Podcast Archive Utility

I have been an avid podcast listener since it first emerged in the mid-2000s, in the past few years everyone who is anyone it seems now has a podcast. What was once the domain of nerdy introverts is now decidedly mainstream. The beauty of podcasts is that like the web, they use (mostly) open standards. HTTP, RSS, XML and MP3. Like the web, they also disappear sometimes. In the case of the web, clicking links on pages written 10 years ago will inevitability result in frequent dead links, where a site’s owner has decided to move on. Go back another…

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In Shock News, Regulators Regulate

Apple blogger John Gruber isn’t happy about recently agreed EU legislation. In a recent post entitled “E.U. Regulators Gonna Regulate” he wrote: This is bananas. All third party developers get control over the secure enclave and the software that controls it? Would be good to give them such control over the camera, microphone, and location data, too. The text of the legislation says the following (original emphasis): A gatekeeper that is a manufacturer of a device can restrict access to some of the functionalities in that device, such as near-field-communication technology secure elements and processors, authentication mechanisms and the software…

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The Software Slump

Riccardo Mori writing in an essay Raw power alone is not enough Without innovation in software, all we’re doing with these new powerful machines is essentially the same we were doing 20 years ago on PowerPC G4 and G5 computers, but faster and more conveniently. Granted, it is progress, especially in those fields involving CPU- and GPU-intensive tasks and greatly benefitting by having lots and lots of calculations made in the shortest possible time. I agree. Where is the modern software to take advantage of the extraordinary amount of power that computers, especially Macs have these days? Just look at…

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Forget the Metaverse, Facebook Wants to Build a Monoverse

Sami Fathi writing for MacRumours: Yesterday, it was revealed that Meta, more commonly known as Facebook, plans to take a steep 47.5% commission for digital asset purchases made inside the so-called “metaverse.” This reminds me of how in the early 2000s Apple was able to make a deal with the record labels to sell all of their music while taking a healthy cut of their own. Since then they have been an unstoppable force in the digital music industry. The same deal never happened with TV and films. To this day, there is still no single streaming service that lets…

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Has Time Been Kind to the Apple Watch?

What do BBC News, Instagram, Twitter, Slack, Pokémon GO, eBay and Uber have in common? They all had watchOS apps that have since been discontinued. This week Uber became the latest big name to switch off their Apple Watch app. There are still many useful apps from big and small developers in the watchOS App Store: YouTube Music, Microsoft Outlook, Microsoft PowerPoint and Google Maps are still present (the latter making a comeback recently after being discontinued in 2017). There does however seem to be a trend towards big companies abandoning their ambitions for our wrists, the the remaining apps…

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20 Years of the iPod

It’s been 10 years since I wrote about it being 10 years since the iPod. That means of course that it’s now been 20 years since Steve Jobs first graced our 1024×768 screens announcing the iPod. I won’t rehash what I wrote 10 years ago, instead I thought it would be interesting delve into what the technology scene was like 20 years ago.  In 2001, I was 16 years old. I had left school in May and started college on September 10th 2001. I will always remember starting college the day before the 9/11 attacks. We had started on the…

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The Little Things: Teams vs. iMessage

Both Microsoft Teams and Apple’s iMessage offer the ability to ‘react’ or ‘tap back’ on a message – for those who don’t know, this allows you to mark a message with a quick emoji response instead of sending a full message back. I’m a heavy user of both apps: Teams while I’m working, and iMessage for keeping in touch with friends and family. Despite Teams being targeted at business – I find the iMessage implementation so much more well through-through and appropriate. While they both have a thumbs up – check 👍 – the heart in Teams feels a bit…

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Developer Centric Design

The new version of Safari for iPad is a classic case of ‘developer centric design’. That is, designing a product that you as a developer would love to have, but not considering how a less technical user base might approach the app. Take the new sidebar – technically, it’s a marvel: I can access tab groups (a new feature), my bookmarks, the reading list and browsing history all from one convenient location. In addition, Private browsing is now just another tab group – how cool is that? I wonder if they inherit the same Objective-C interfaces under the hood? Of…

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Glass: Half Empty

Like every other Apple-focused technology enthusiast with spare time on their hands, I’ve been trying out Glass, a new app for sharing photos. Its biggest selling point according to the creators, is that they are in fact selling it. Unlike rivals Instagram and Flickr, Glass is not for “selfies, stories, quick snaps, or influencers” and there is no free tier. Instead, Glass costs £4.49 per month or £25.99 for the year as an introductory offer, going up to around £48.00 per annum after the introductory period is over.  As someone who loves photography, but dislikes the way in which Instagram…

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Google’s Native Advertising Problem

I’ve noticed that Google’s search results are full of a lot more spam recently. When I scroll past the page of ads that Google itself places at the top of the results page and jump straight to the so called ‘organic’ search results, I find more than more that these links turn out to be nothing more than thinly veiled advertisements themselves. In one example, after finding out my new router supports connecting my entire network to a VPN, I searched Google for the model name and the word ‘VPN“. The second result was an article that was quick point…

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How to Remove Clickbait Headlines From Apple News

Apple News can be a nice way to catch up on the day’s events, however it can also be a source of clickbait headlines and celebrity gossip that I couldn’t care less about. I’m sure it’s the inverse for others too, perhaps you want to read celebrity gossip but keep getting exaggerated political controversies. Thankfully, there is an option hidden away in the iOS Settings app called “Restrict Stories in Today”. Turning it on will cause News to limit articles to those from publishers you actively follow. I definitely recommend following a wide variety of outlets to avoid a filter…

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Fancier MacBooks Are on the Way, but You Probably Don’t Need One

Rumours are abundant, and so it must be true that in the coming months Apple will release updated versions its high-end computers. But for the majority of users, even us “professionals”, the current crop of M1 Macs will probably do just fine. I’ve been using an M1 MacBook Pro as my own personal laptop now for 3 and a half months and I have to admit, the hype is real. It’s a beast. Day to day it’s exceedingly fast at nearly everything I throw at it. Anything you could possibly consider “day to day” use doesn’t even warrant a mention…

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WWDC 2021: Quick Thoughts

Lots and lots of goodies in Apple’s 2021 keynote. Some quick thoughts: FaceTime on the web – I guess just as I was last pondering this May, someone at Apple was also wondering why Zoom took off and not FaceTime. Thankfully they reached the same conclusion. Digital ID – The ability to add ID to our digital wallets will finally end the need for a physical wallet. I wrote about this at the end of 2019 and so was pleased when the presenter almost quoted the title of my post The card missing from our digital wallets. At the moment…

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All News Is Breaking News

Having set up a new phone recently, I started receiving “Breaking News” alerts from the BBC. I must have accidentally granted permission when installing the app. I left them turned on, thinking perhaps this time I might find it useful, especially given the precarious worldwide situation right now. Within hours though, I remembered why I’d turned them off years ago – not just from the BBC – from all news apps. In my mind, I had “breaking news” as meaning “important news worthy of interrupting your day”. The would obviously include kind of thing the BBC may have traditionally interrupted…

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The Tablet Dilemma: Powerful Laptop Replacement or Casual Consumption Device?

Earlier this week Apple announced a new version of the iPad Pro, a £749 tablet that includes pretty much the same internals as the other recent Macs including the MacBook Air, MacBook Pro, iMac and Mac Mini. Once you up the storage to a more acceptable (but still bare minimum) 256GB and add in the optional Magic Keyboard, the cost ends up being £1,178, slightly more than a similar spec’d MacBook Air, which starts at £999. The iPad and Mac having comparable specifications is nothing new. For many years it has been apparent that Apple’s top end tablets could outperform…

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Apple, Please Make It Easier To Report Scam Apps

I was searching Apple’s App Store for something and came across a bunch of apps from a developer who offers a suite of apps that seem designed to confuse customers into paying for in-app purchases and subscriptions under false pretences. First there is a “Find My AirPods” type app which costs $4.99 a month and claims to be able to find Fitbit devices as well. Obviously this is a scam since this functionality is built into iOS and the APIs are not exposed to allow developers to even do this. Next there is a Among Us wallpaper app with a…

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The Little Things: View Current Headphone Decibel Level on iOS

A quick tip for iOS users. It’s possible to view the dB level that is currently being produced by your headphones at any time on iOS. This is useful if you want to make sure that your headphones don’t get too loud. To view the decibel level, you’ll first need to add the “Hearing” widget to Control Centre. You can do this by going to the Control Centre menu within the Settings app. Once you’ve added Hearing, the next time you swipe open Control Centre and select the newly added widget, you will see live a dB meter beneath the…

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Online Advertising Might Be One Giant Scam

If you listen to only one podcast this week then it should be the latest episode of Talking Politics featuring the great documentary film-maker Adam Curtis. I recommend listening to the entire episode, the bit at the 29 minutes was of particular interest as he explores the modern Internet, whether online advertising can possibly work, and how peculiar it is that advertising is no longer an add-on to the economy but central to it. Curtis also likens mining ‘Big Data’ for hidden patterns and inferring causality to the way in which conspiracy theories work. This seems obvious in hindsight. Mind…

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