Apple's HyperCard was inspired by an acid trip

Pioneering engineer Bill Atkinson was the lead designer/developer of the Apple Lisa graphical user interface, creator of MacPaint and QuickDraw, and part of the original team that developed the Apple Macintosh. In 1985, Atkinson dropped acid and came up with HyperCard, the groundbreaking multimedia authoring program that was really a precursor to the first Web browser. Atkinson recently told Leo Laporte the story of this incredible LSD-fueled eureka moment. From Mondo 2000:

It seemed to me the universe is in a process of coming alive. Consciousness is blossoming and propagating to colonize the universe, and life on Earth is one of many bright spots in the cosmic birth of consciousness....

The street lamps reminded me of bodies of knowledge, gems of discovery and understanding, but separated from each other by distance and different languages. Poets, artists, musicians, physicists, chemists, biologists, mathematicians, and economists all have separate pools of knowledge, but are hindered from sharing and finding the deeper connections...

Knowledge, it seemed to me, consists of the “How” connections between pieces of information, the cause and effect relationships. How does this action bring about that result. Science is a systematic attempt to discover the “How” connections. Wisdom, it seemed to me, was a step further removed, the bigger perspective of the “Why” connections between pieces of knowledge. Why, for reasons ethical and aesthetic, should we choose one future over another?

I thought if we could encourage sharing of ideas between different areas of knowledge, perhaps more of the bigger picture would emerge, and eventually more wisdom might develop.

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Here are 15 privacy settings you should change from defaults, from Linkedin to cellphones to smart TVs

The Washington Post rounds up 15 privacy defaults that no one in their right mind would want to leave as-is, and provides direct links to change 'em (hilariously and predictably, Verizon/Oath/Yahoo's privacy settings dashboard times out when you try to load it) -- once you're done with that, go back and follow his links to unfuck the privacy defaults for Google, Apple, Amazon, Microsoft and #DeleteFacebook. (via Reddit) Read the rest

Telegram: ever since Russia's blocking demand, Apple has prevented us from updating our app

Last April, the Kremlin ordered a ban on the private messaging app Telegram, blocking millions of IP addresses that formed Amazon and Google's clouds in order to prevent users from accessing the service; not only was it an ominous moment in the evolution of the internet as a system for oppressive control, it was also an object lesson in how internet concentration has made the internet more susceptible to censorship and control. Read the rest

This Logitech mouse is changing the way I think about tech

I’ve used an Apple Magic Trackpad for the past eight years – basically since they became available in Canada. I love them for the fact that all of the muscle memory that I’ve developed using trackpad-based shortcut gestures with my MacBook Pro work exactly the same with the Magic Trackpad while I’m hooked up to an external monitor. What I don’t like is the price. Apple products typically cost more than their Windows or Linux-powered equivalents do. I remember telling myself as I bought my first Cupertino-designed trackpad that the +$100 price was cool because it was an investment in gear that I use, daily, for work. And besides, it’s made by Apple – it’ll last for ever!

Five years into owning my first Magic Trackpad, I found myself routinely tearing it apart in order to fix the wee button inside of it that registers clicks. It was a pain in the ass, but I couldn’t afford to buy a replacement. At the time, my wife was finishing her degree – what I pulled in was pretty much it for income. What I’d spend on a new trackpad would buy us groceries for a couple of weeks. My friend Susie found out that I was doing this and told me to cut it out: She had a new Magic Trackpad for me, still in the box, never opened. A week later and my first Magic Trackpad was out with the recycling.

Fast forward to 2018.

My second Magic Trackpad, which I had been so happy to receive, was on the fritz. Read the rest

Apple bends to Chinese government demands... again

One of the best reasons to buy a piece of Apple hardware, in my opinion, is the company’s history of protecting the privacy of its customers.

Provided you're not a customer living in China.

You may recall that, a while back, iOS users in China lost the ability to download most VPN clients to their phones and tablets from the iTunes App Store—the Chinese government doesn’t like their citizens to be able to anonymously access the Internet or view the world through the lens of unapproved news sources. So, Virtual Private Networks were kicked to the curb. According to 9to5mac, Apple is once again showing the Chinese government their soft underbelly, in the name of being able to continue to sell their hardware in the country.

According to 9to5mac, the Chinese Ministry of Industry and Information Technology has decided that they’d like Callkit—a developer framework that lets devs bake VoIP capabilities into their apps for iOS—to not be a thing for applications available to its citizens. You likely use Callkit-backed apps on a regular basis, without even knowing it. When your iPhone displays you the name or number of who’s calling you on Skype? That’s Callkit, doing it’s thing. The Chinese government doesn’t dig on Callkit because of the fact that it’s difficult, if not impossible to intercept and monitor calls made using it. Last summer, Skype was removed from the Apple’s Chinese App Store portal, likely for this very reason.

Look. Before anyone swoops in to say that I’m anti-Apple I wrote this post on a MacBook. Read the rest

John Carmack shares Steve Jobs memories

Programming legend John Carmack shares stories of working with Steve Jobs. Jobs, Carmack writes, disliked computer games and their early prominence on the Mac platform — “Steve doesn’t like blood” — and yet...

When my wife and I later started building games for feature phones (DoomRPG! Orcs&Elves!), I advocated repeatedly to Steve that an Apple phone could be really great. Every time there was a rumor that Apple might be working on a phone, I would refine the pitch to him. Once he called me at home on a Sunday (How did he even get my number?) to ask a question, and I enthused at length about the possibilities.

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The hotel where Steve Jobs unveiled the first Macintosh prototype in 1983 (and why Apple got banned from it)

In Apple's early days, the swanky La Playa Carmel hotel was on the list of preferred venues for the company's offsite retreats. Carmel-By-The-Sea's quaint charm coupled with the property's privacy made it an ideal spot for their gatherings.

In fact, it was where the company's Macintosh retreat was held in late January of 1983. That's where Steve Jobs first revealed the team's Macintosh computer prototype, right there in the hotel's ocean-view banquet room.

I am just back from EG, a fantastic conference for/by/of creatives held in Carmel-By-The-Sea, and ate dinner in that room.

This room...

EG's director Michael Hawley pointed out this commemorative plaque, which resides on the room's back wall.

It reads, "In this room Steve Jobs unveiled the MacIntosh computer prototype during a development team retreat, and ceremoniously christened it with a bottle of La Playa Carmel water."

Hawley also shared the rest of the story. Apparently things got a little wild at this gathering, resulting in getting Apple banned from the hotel for 30 years. The team -- who were drunk -- stripped naked and jumped in the hotel's pool ("oblivious to the polite strangling sounds of the blue-haired ladies all around," according to author Frank Rose) and then headed to the beach to start a bonfire. The next morning the hotel politely asked them to not return.

In 2013, the hotel changed ownership and Apple was invited back with the message, "All is forgiven."

Read: Carmel hotel ends ban on Apple retreats 30 years after skinny-dipping incident (2013 article)

photos by Rusty Blazenhoff Read the rest

MacBook Pro considered a bad buy even at Best Buy's fire sale

There's a huge sale on MacBook Pros right now at Best Buy, but Casey Johnston convinced me not to upgrade. The current models' keyboards have severe reliability issues, and are so badly-designed that service and replacement can take hours or days under warranty and cost hundreds of dollars out of it. And on top of that, you're paying a very expensive premium out the door to get a Touch Bar and to not get any useful ports.

I still had my 2013 MacBook Pro around, so I sold my 2016 MacBook Pro back to Apple’s refurb program, and now I just use the 2013 as my laptop (I used the recovered money to build a PC, lord help me). This old MacBook Pro is still fine, and most importantly, all the keyboard keys work. The new MacBook Pro is gone. When I started working at The Outline, I was offered a choice of a new MacBook Pro or a MacBook Air for my work computer, and I chose the MacBook Air, with its good keyboard that doesn’t break from dust. I’m fully committed to this bit.

I've noticed the growing cult of high-end 2015-ish MacBook Pros with the old keyboards and SD card readers and such. The whole situation has made me want to do something completely different, like give an iPad Pro a try as my main computer. Am I crazy? Read the rest

Ifixit flunks Apple's new educational Ipad as nearly un-repairable

Apple's education-centric new Ipad is meant to be used in rambunctious classrooms where drops and other abuse will be commonplace; it is also meant to compete with relatively easy-to-service Pixelbooks that school district IT departments can fix themselves or get repaired by a wide variety of independent, local service depots whose community-based technicians do repairs onsite and also keep local tax dollars circulating in the community. Read the rest

Apple doesn't give a shit about your kids

Apple doesn't give a shit about your child's education. But then, neither does any other tech company: they only care about what they can sell to schools and parents.

This likely isn't news to anyone reading this, but I feel like it needs to be said.

This morning Apple held an education-centric event at a high school in Chicago. They released a new iPad. With the exception of a processor bump and the fact that it supports Apple Pencil, it's very much like the last iteration of the iPad. They're selling it for $329 or, if you're a student or educator, it can be had for $299. Need an Apple Pencil? That'll be an additional $99. Let me reframe this for you: One of the most lucrative companies in the world thinks it's a grand gesture to knock $30 off the price of their hardware for anyone involved in book learnin'. But, if they want to make full use of the iPad's capabilities, it'll cost them another $99 to do so.

This, at a time when when parents are running crowdsourcing campaigns for classroom supplies and to keep schools heated during the cold months of the year.

The real reason that they've shaved a sliver of fat off their pricing is because they're getting bled to death in the education sector by companies churning out less expensive Chrome OS hardware. Google's Chrome OS might not be able to boast the wide assortment of quality apps that an iOS device does, but the operating system doesn't need high-end specs to run on. Read the rest

Apple prototypes hit eBay

A museum's worth of prototype Apple devices--computers, ipods and more--is being auctioned on eBay.

Plain, who spends his days working at a Lexus dealership in Monterey, California, is part of the vintage Apple collector community. But where most collectors are trying to accrue a wishlist of machines sold to the public, Plain prefers the prototypes. ...Now Plain has more 48 different devices in his collection, including two different Mac clones, the Outbound 125 and the Dynamac. And that Cinema Display that was probably used by one of the founders of Apple. But Plain doesn’t plan on keeping all of it. When he gets extras, or stuff that doesn’t really jibe with his personal preference for G4 Cubes, 20th Anniversary Macs and Macintosh Portables, they go up on eBay

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'Sneakers' was an extremely popular Apple ][ game

I remember Sneakers as being far, far more exciting than it apparently was.

So much for memory. Read the rest

Apple "plans giant iPhone"

Bloomberg:

Apple Inc. is preparing to release a trio of new smartphones later this year: the largest iPhone ever, an upgraded handset the same size as the current iPhone X and a less expensive model with some of the flagship phone’s key features

The Munster Coefficient: the number of paragraphs into a news item that announces an exceedingly unlikely Apple product before you realize that Gene Munster is its sole named source.

Photo: vernhart Read the rest

Report: iCloud plan puts China's Apple users at risk

According to The Hong Kong Free Press, Apple is set to hand over the keys to the the accounts of iCloud users in China to a company owned by the surveillance and censorship-happy Chinese government.

Guizhou-Cloud Big Data (GCBD) will take over the operation of Apple's Chinese data center at the end of February, making GCBD responsible for all legal and financial transactions between the Apple and China's iCloud users. Once GCBD is running the show, Apple will be responsible for investing one billion USD to build a new server farm in Guiyang and to provide technical support in the interest of preserving data security.

Apple's doesn't like telling folks what iCloud user data they're able to read. The information could be limited to the size of uploaded files and where those files were uploaded, or as comprehensive as being able to browse through the photos taken with an iPhone. That China's communist government, which is big on watching the digital doings of its citizens, censorship and political activism could will soon have access to the iCloud account information of every iPhone, iPad or Mac user in China pretty troubling. 

This isn't the first time that Apple has bowed to pressure from the Chinese government, either. At the ass end of 2017, they happily removed close to 700 VPN apps from the Chinese iTunes App Store, making it extremely difficult for iOS users to view uncensored content. So, say good bye to news stories about China and the rest of the world that hasn't been approved by Chinese state censors. Read the rest

People keep walking into the glass walls at the new Apple campus

Apple employees are hurting themselves walking into the glass walls and doors of the new Apple campus, reports Bloomberg. Apple keeps removing the post-it notes they put up so they know where they are.

Surrounding the Cupertino, California-based building are 45-foot tall curved panels of safety glass. Inside are work spaces, dubbed “pods,” also made with a lot of glass. Apple staff are often glued to the iPhones they helped popularize. That’s resulted in repeated cases of distracted employees walking into the panes, according to people familiar with the incidents.

Some staff started to stick Post-It notes on the glass doors to mark their presence. However, the notes were removed because they detracted from the building’s design, the people said. They asked not to be identified discussing anything related to Apple. Another person familiar with the situation said there are other markings to identify the glass.

I bet the campus overheats if you leave a magazine on top Read the rest

A single unicode symbol can crash iPhone, iPad and Mac apps

Apple's been in the headlines over the past few months, for all of the wrong reasons. According to TechCrunch, their PR losing streak isn't going to stop any time soon.

TechCrunch reports that an IOS software development house has discovered that two unicode symbols, when inputted into a number of popular iOS apps, will cause the apps to crash. In many instances, once the apps crash, it's impossible to open them again. TechCrunch was able to recreate these crashes on a number of pieces of hardware running iOS and a Mac running the latest version of MacOS:

The bug crashes apps including Mail, Twitter, Messages, Slack, Instagram and Facebook. From our testing, it also crashed Jumpcut, a copy and paste plugin for Mac. While it initially appeared that the Chrome browser for Mac was unaffected and could safely display the symbol, it later crashed Chrome and the software would not reopen without crashing until uninstalled and reinstalled.

This isn't the first 'text bomb' issue that Apple's been confronted with. In January, it was discovered that it allowed a specific web address to crash any iPhone it was texted to.

Given that this bug effects so many different devices (all of which I use) I'm hoping that it gets sorted out fast.

Image courtesy of Pxhere Read the rest

If Siri existed in the 1980s

Leave it to Squirrel Monkey (previously) to imagine what Siri might have been like in the eighties. In this spoof called Wonders of the World Wide Web, they give the ancient alter ego of Apple's voice-controlled personal assistant a garbled, synthesized voice which I found particularly funny. Be sure to watch the whole video, as it just gets weirder as it goes along.

(Tastefully Offensive) Read the rest

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