Facebook is bigger than ever, but some former employees are despairing about its impact on the world. “Most of the early employees I know are totally overwhelmed by what this thing has become,” an early ex-Facebook employee told Vanity Fair’s Nick Bilton. Speaking of Facebook’s potential impact on the 2016 election, one employee told Bilton, “I lay awake at night thinking about all the things we built in the early days and what we could have done to avoid the product being used this way.” Those close to Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg are afraid he’s losing touch with reality, becoming a “modern-day Howard Hughes.”
The Guardian has published a compelling article about how some technologists who helped usher in the age of smartphones and social media are concerned that technology addiction is making us distracted, dumber, and easier to manipulate. Justin Rosenstein created Facebook’s Like button and helped build Google’s Gchat, but he now takes extreme measures to limit his online activity, even having an assistant manage his phone. “If we only care about profit maximisation, we will go rapidly into dystopia,” Rosenstein said. The article profiles other tech pioneers who share similar sentiments, including Loren Brichter, the Apple alum who came up with “pull to refresh” for Tweetie in 2009. But if wealthy tech workers struggle to pull away from the lure of technology, even with their awareness of the corporate motivations behind addictive technologies, what hope does the average user have?
Apple has updated iTunes, as it often does around this time of year. The new iTunes 12.7 has a few minor tweaks and one huge change: the removal of the iOS App Store. iTunes expert Kirk McElhearn looks at the most significant changes and digs into problems and solutions for those who manage iOS apps from their Macs.
Credit-reporting agency Equifax has exposed the private information of 143 million Americans. Rich Mogull outlines some steps you can take, but they won’t amount to much until the system changes.
In an email to all Apple employees, CEO Tim Cook decried the “tragic and repulsive” events in Charlottesville, saying “We must not witness or permit such hate and bigotry in our country, and we must be unequivocal about it. This is not about the left or the right, conservative or liberal. It is about human decency and morality.” He also announced that Apple would be making $1 million donations to the Southern Poverty Law Center and the Anti-Defamation League. As someone who grew up in the South and once confronted the Ku Klux Klan during a cross burning, Cook finds events like these deeply troubling, but he closed with, “These have been dark days, but I remain as optimistic as ever that the future is bright. Apple can and will play an important role in bringing about positive change.”
Apple’s impressive ARKit developer framework has sparked speculation about the company developing a pair of smart glasses along the lines of Google Glass. In a post on Medium, augmented reality expert Matt Miesnieks explains why Apple-branded smart glasses are likely still several years away. There are numerous technical challenges to overcome, but the biggest obstacle is miniaturizing all the necessary technology into a pair of glasses people would want to wear all day. Miesnieks thinks Apple could introduce the first limited pair of smart glasses with a heads-up display (think of them as an Apple Watch on your face) as soon as late 2018, though he doesn’t see full ARKit-capable glasses appearing before 2021.
The latest high-profile Mac software — joining TextExpander and 1Password — to move to subscription pricing is the cross-platform writing app Ulysses.
Andy Ihnatko is letting off steam as only he can, with an extended analogy about how he was just trying to make a ham-and-cheese sandwich but got distracted by an Internet-related error with the mustard. It’s silly, of course, but his larger point is that we’ve created a world built on so many dependencies that it’s amazing that anything works at all. We’ve all been there; the question is how we get back.
A growing scrap heap of abandoned iOS apps is creating a troubling environment for developers. Marc Zeedar, publisher of xDev Magazine, explores the situation.
A news report referring to AgileBits’s aggressive shift to subscription-based licensing for 1Password overstates a requirement to store passwords at its 1Password.com site.
Gone are the days when you had to carry a Costanza wallet, but can your iPhone replace your wallet entirely? Mike Matthews explores the question.
Tim Cook unexpectedly revealed that Apple is working on autonomous systems for self-driving cars. Rumors surrounding Apple’s Project Titan car team have been swirling since 2014, but Cook’s statement in a Bloomberg Technology interview was the first public statement that Apple has made about its plans in this space. Adam Engst summarizes what Apple has done so far and ponders what Apple’s announcement might mean.
Remember in 2015 when the FCC reclassified ISPs as common carriers and (sort of) made “net neutrality” the law of the land? Now the Trump administration and the Republican-controlled Congress are undoing it in the name of “freedom.”
The veteran Mac writer Tom Negrino may be dead of an intentional barbiturate overdose by the time you read this, an act he has chosen after years of fighting terminal cancer. The Apple world will be poorer without Tom in it, and we will miss his humor, skill, professionalism, and courage.
The capability of storing your iBooks library on iCloud Drive caused problems when Apple introduced it last year. Michael Cohen takes a look to see if the company has resolved those issues.