The Initial Charge Linked List

 
The Initial Charge Linked List is a frequently updated list of notable links and commentary. You can subscribe to the Linked List with its dedicated RSS feed or you can follow along on the main feed, which includes both Linked List items and feature articles from the site.
 

Ben Brooks on the iPhone Upgrade Program ➝

Ben Brooks is very unhappy with the iPhone Upgrade Program experience. As it turns out, your upgrade options are constrained to what your local Apple Store has available. If there’s a specific color and storage size that you’re interested in, you better hope it’s in-stock locally.

Ben listed a few other problems with the iPhone Upgrade Program. And I have to say, it looks less and less appealing the more I know about it. When I eventually upgrade my iPhone, I think I’m just going to buy it outright. I’m not thrilled about the idea of dropping $800 all at once, but it sounds a lot better than dealing with the Upgrade Program’s restrictions.

Apple’s A10 Fusion Benchmarks ➝

John Gruber:

Looking at Geekbench’s results browser for Android devices, there are a handful of phones in shouting distance of the iPhone 7 for multi-core performance, but Apple’s A10 Fusion scores double on single-core.

According to these benchmarks, the iPhone 7 is faster than the fastest computer I’ve ever owned. In Geekbench, my Mid-2011 Mac mini scores 2841 in single-core and 5223 in multi-core. The iPhone 7 is about 21% faster in single-core tasks and about 8% faster in multi-core. That’s absolutely incredible.

Twitter’s New, Longer Tweets Are Coming September 19 ➝

Chris Welch, reporting for The Verge:

Twitter is about to make a big change to the way that tweets work, The Verge can independently confirm. Beginning September 19th, the company will cut down on exactly which types of content count toward the platform’s 140-character limit. Media attachments (images, GIFs, videos, polls, etc.) and quoted tweets will no longer reduce the count. The extra room for text will give users more flexibility in composing their messages.

I’ve been looking forward to this change since it was first announced back in May. I’m a huge proponent of retaining the 140-character limit, but I don’t think attachments should be treated the same way as text.

John Gruber on Apple’s On-Stage Diversity ➝

John Gruber:

But last week’s ratio was so disparate not because the company didn’t pick enough women for speaking slots. Rather, it’s because the executives in charge of most of the products announced last week were men.[…]

So the problem is not that women are underrepresented as on stage speakers. The problem is that they are underrepresented in leadership positions. I would argue that it’s better — more honest — for Apple to allow its onstage diversity to accurately reflect its actual leadership diversity. If Apple simply put more women and people of color on stage, it would be a token gesture. If Apple puts more women and people of color on this page, more of them will appear on stage as a result.

I’d reference the article which spurred these comments, but I don’t think it deserves your attention.

Just Glass ➝

Ben Brooks discusses his experiment of using the iPad’s software keyboard, exclusively, for a week. I spend most of my time writing on the iPad with the software keyboard, but I’ll openly admit to preferring a hardware keyboard when I’m writing longer-form prose.

The area where the software keyboard shines for me is in editing my writing. I almost always edit with the software keyboard. It’s much easier to move the curser, type, and scroll when I don’t have to continually switch back and forth from the glass to the hardware keyboard.

On ‘Courage’ ➝

John Gruber, regarding the video of Steve Jobs in which he makes the case for not supporting Flash in iOS:

You can argue that Jobs said it better. I think he did, too — particularly because Jobs emphasized the fact that they knew people were going to disagree, vociferously. (Jobs was one of the best communicators the world has ever seen, so that’s no ding against Schiller.) But Jobs and Schiller meant “courage” in the same way: having the courage to make a sure-to-be controversial decision when there is a non-controversial option, simply because they believe it to be the right thing to do in the long run.

It’s funny how so many people have been hung up on Phil Schiller’s “courage” explanation. I’ll admit, it didn’t come off particularly well. But if you look beyond the snark and listen to Schiller’s full remarks, I think you’ll start to get it.

What Apple did was force the issue. In my day job, I often make decisions that effect the freight process in the retail store where I work. One strategy that I’ll often employ is shrinking the amount of available space for a department’s backstock. Other employees usually get pretty upset with me for doing this. But more often than not, by the time the next truck shipment arrives, they’ve done enough work in that department to shrink its backstock to an acceptable level.

Forcing the issue does, indeed, take courage. And doing so shows that you aren’t afraid to take a little heat in order to get the desired outcome. Apple knew that some portion of users would get angry about the removal of the headphone jack, but do you expect us to continue using it forever? Would headphone companies invest the resources necessary to improve the wireless experience if Apple hadn’t given them this nudge? Perhaps.

But with all the physical constraints of handsets and everyone’s desire to pack them with more and more technology, something had to give eventually. Maybe Apple removed the headphone jack a little prematurely. But I think we’ll find a wireless future much faster because Apple had the courage to take the heat.

Apple Watch 2 Parts Shown on Video ➝

Joe Rossignol, writing for MacRumors:

Byte, a small British shop that sells Apple-certified accessories and repair parts for iOS devices, has shared new photos and a video that appear to show the Apple Watch 2’s thinner display technology and larger battery.

I look forward to learning about the new design at Apple’s media event next week. I’m holding out hope for a thinner design, but it’s entirely possible that any component miniaturization is being done to accommodate the larger battery, GPS, and barometer features.

The Latte Rationalization ➝

Eddie Smith:

Pricing apps as non-digital goods is hopeless in the long run. If you’ve read the Internet at all, you’ve seen what I call “the latte rationalization,” which goes something like this:

If you spend $5 a day on coffee, why can’t you spend $5 one time on an app that benefits you every day?

The problem with “the latte rationalization” is that there isn’t another shop down the street that’s giving away cups of coffee for free. But, in the software market, you can find dozens of competing apps that will work well enough. And many of them are available at no cost.

Open Source Plans for Vesper ➝

Brent Simmons:

Q Branch’s existing open source code — DB5 and QSKit — will be moved to my personal GitHub account. I will continue to maintain DB5 (I continue to use it). QSKit will not be maintained, but will be made available as historical artifact.

We will make Vesper for iOS, Vesper for Mac, and Vesper’s JavaScript sync service open source on my personal GitHub account. This code will also be provided as historical artifacts: they’re not intended as active projects. They’re also not intended as examples of how to write apps these days.

It’s incredibly sad that the folks at Q Branch weren’t able to find success with Vesper. But I have hope that someone will pick up where they left off and build something great with the open sourced code.

BitTorrent App Transmission Once Again Source of macOS Malware ➝

Mike Wuethele, writing for AppleInsider:

Once again, BitTorrent client Transmission has distributed malware to some users through an altered installer, with downloaders of the software on Aug. 28 and 29 probably infected by the “Keydnap” package.

When Will Apple Announce New Macs? ➝

Jason Snell, writing in Six Colors:

This year, though, Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman is reporting that new Macs aren’t on the agenda, and are “currently expected to be announced at a later date.”

Mac people are getting restless. With the exception of a speed-bump update to the MacBook in the spring, 2016 has been a desert. And now, with a major Apple event on the horizon, is it true that new Mac hardware may still not be on the agenda?

As John Gruber points out, it’s become clear that Apple isn’t interested in holding two events in the fall. That means, if Apple is announcing new Macs before the end of the year, they’ll be doing so with a press release or private press briefings.

And of course, there’s always the possibility that Apple decides to change course or that Gurman’s sources are wrong. Granted, that’s not very likely, Gurman probably has the best track record in the business. But you can’t entirely rule out the idea that Apple may just announce new Macs on stage at their September 7 event.

Apple Holding Event on September 7 ➝

I’m excited about this one. We’re almost certainly seeing new iPhones, but I’m not sure what else Apple has planned. The rumors have been a little erratic. We could see a new Watch, Macs, or something else entirely.

Markdown Comes to Simplenote ➝

From the Simplenote weblog:

Today we’re excited to announce that Markdown support has been added to the latest update of Simplenote for iOS.

To enable Markdown for a note, just tap on the ‘Markdown’ button in the note info panel. You can then swipe on the note editor to view the Markdown preview. Once you’ve enabled Markdown for a note, all new notes you create in the future will have it enabled by default. We hope you enjoy this handy new feature!

I’ve been using Simplenote ever since I moved away from Vesper last year. It’s a great app, but unfortunately, this new Markdown support is far from robust. There’s no inline previews or shortcuts to help with the syntax, which I would consider to be essential features. I’ll continue using Simplenote as my notes app of choice, but I’ll keep my Markdown writing in Ulysses.

The Age of the Dramatic Apple Event Reveal Is Over ➝

Jason Snell, writing for iMore:

Increasingly, it feels like the era of event surprise and delight is over. Delight can still exist, of course, but it’s becoming increasingly impossible for Apple to surprise. All the new hardware — even entirely new stuff like the Apple Watch — is rumored months before it arrives, often in exacting detail. New software, also rumored in detail before it’s announced, can be running on your devices in the days or weeks after that announcement.

But you know what? I think I might be okay with things being a bit less dramatic.

There’s a part of me that misses the dramatic hardware reveals from the mid-2000s. But as long as Apple continues to produce great products, I’ll be fine with it.

Spiteful Spotify ➝

Lucas Shaw and Adam Satariano, reporting for Bloomberg:

Spotify has been retaliating against musicians who introduce new material exclusively on rival Apple Music by making their songs harder to find, according to people familiar with the strategy. Artists who have given Apple exclusive access to new music have been told they won’t be able to get their tracks on featured playlists once the songs become available on Spotify, said the people, who declined to be identified discussing the steps. Those artists have also found their songs buried in the search rankings of Spotify, the world’s largest music-streaming service, the people said. Spotify said it doesn’t alter search rankings.

Sure, Spotify, punish the artists who have already buddied-up with your biggest competitor. That’ll certainly have them crawling back. Except, many of them have been complaining about how much they earn from you for years.

‘Apple Could Use Custom x86 SoC Made by AMD’ ➝

Gian Maria Forni, writing for Bits and Chips:

According to our sources, Apple is pondering about using custom x86 CPUs in its next iMacs and MacBooks, during 2017-2018. Nowadays it’s hard to avoid the use of x86 ISA in high end and professional personal computers, but at the same time Intel CPUs are too expensive if we compare these with ARM SoCs.

So, Apple’s target is to realize a complete x86 custom SoC family, like Sony and Microsoft did with their consoles. AMD is the perfect partner to do this.

This rumor was published back in October of last year, but John Gruber linked to it a couple of days ago.

There’s a lot of interesting things happening in the world of CPUs. Intel licensing ARM technology and attempting to take over the manufacturing of Apple’s A-series processors, the massive gap between Mac hardware iterations which was at least partly due to delays in Intel’s latest generation of CPUs, and the aforelinked rumor that Apple might be working with AMD on custom x86 SoCs. To name a few.

This is exactly the kind of rumors I enjoy, though. It hearkens back to the early days of my technology enthusiasm, when AMD was first to market with 64-bit and dual-core processors. And, perhaps this is just wishful thinking, but I have a strange feeling that we’ll be learning more about all this within the next six months.

Intel Aims to Challenge TSMC Over Apple Chip Orders By 2018 ➝

Cheng Ting-Fang, reporting for Nikkei Asian Review:

Intel’s recent pledge to expand its business making chips for others highlights its ambition to snatch chip orders for Apple’s popular iPhones from Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. as early as 2018, industry experts said.

Intel, the world’s largest chipmaker by revenue, announced earlier this month that it will license technology from British mobile chip designer ARM with the aim of securing more business from smartphone companies. LG Electronics will become the first smartphone company to adopt Intel chips following the ARM deal.

If Intel wants to become the premier ARM processor manufacturer, Apple is the customer they need to have.

Watching Apple’s Music Festival Will Now Require a Subscription ➝

Tom Warren, writing for The Verge:

The 1975, Alicia Keys, OneRepublic, Calvin Harris, Robbie Williams, Bastille, Britney Spears, Michael Bublé, and Chance The Rapper will all participate in the Apple Music Festival this year, and there’s bound to be some impressive warmup acts helping them out. Apple is planning to live stream all of the 10 performances, but this year you’ll need an Apple Music subscription to watch them online.

I’ve never had much interest in Apple’s music festivals. I don’t care for the majority of popular music and Apple has never booked bands that I wanted to see perform. But the subscription requirement is just another hurdle preventing me from ever watching the event.

Instapaper Is Joining Pinterest ➝

From the Instapaper weblog:

Today, we’re excited to announce that Instapaper is joining Pinterest. […]

For you, the Instapaper end user and customer, nothing changes. The Instapaper team will be moving from betaworks in New York City to Pinterest’s headquarters in San Francisco, and we’ll continue to make Instapaper a great place to save and read articles.

Instapaper CEO Brian Donohue insists that there are no plans to shutdown or materially change the service in the short- or long-term. But you can never be too sure. If you rely on Instapaper, it would be wise to find an alternative that you can switch to if things ever start to go south.

Finding Compatible USB-C Accessories Is a Crapshoot ➝

Andrew Freedman, writing for Laptop Mag:

USB Type-C is great. It’s the future. I want vendors to pick it up even more rapidly than they have. But for the new standard to meet its potential, everything you want to plug into it has to work, no matter what company’s computer or phone you’re buying. If you’re buying something with a driver to deliver data, you’ll probably be fine, but the promise is that everything — everything — will work out of the box. That’s not the case yet. Hopefully, it will be one day

This sounds like a miserable experience.

Amazon Wants to Sell an Echo-Only Music Service ➝

Peter Kafka, reporting for Recode:

Amazon wants to launch a music subscription service that would work the same way services from Apple, Spotify and many others work: $10 a month, for all the music you can stream, anywhere you want to stream it.

But Amazon is also working on a second service that would differ in two significant ways from industry rivals: It would cost half the price, and it would only work on Amazon’s Echo hardware.

Would anyone actually subscribe to this?

Daniel Jalkut on ‘the Apple’ ➝

Daniel Jalkut, on Apple’s decision to drop the word “Store” from their retail branding, in comparison to other retail stores like Tiffany and Gucci:

The difference between these brands and Apple is that Apple’s identity has long been independent from the notion of a store. Calling it the “Apple Store” was not only important because the stores were a novelty, but because Apple is a brand that transcends retail.

I suppose this is the biggest problem with Apple dropping the word “store” — it devalues the Apple brand. It doesn’t matter how high-end their retail presence is, no brick-and-mortar store could ever be as prestigious as Apple itself. And the retail branding should reflect this. The store is just a small part of the bigger whole not the entire focus of the company.

We Shouldn’t Want Twitter to Handle Harassment Like Olympics Takedowns ➝

Speaking of Twitter, Adi Robertson wrote a great piece discussing the comparison of Olympic takedowns to the handling of harassment on the social network:

Twitter could absolutely do more to mitigate harassment, but likening it to people posting Olympics GIFs won’t give us good solutions. And in the end, it makes the problem of abuse seem simpler than it is. “Is this video of the Olympics?” is a far easier question to answer than “is this harassment?” Likewise, no matter how stringent it is, takedowns wouldn’t actually stop people from seeing torrents of threats in the first place — copyright owners themselves hate the endless, whack-a-mole nature of the system. Twitter’s anti-harassment battle is a crisis of identity for the platform, and it’s fighting an enemy that’s far uglier and more insidious than some clever IOC-rules-flouting meme-crafters. We can point out its losses without legitimizing one bad system in the name of criticizing another.

Twitter Introduces Quality Filter to All Users ➝

Emil Leong, writing on Twitter’s weblog:

Last year we began testing a quality filter setting and we’re now rolling out a feature for everyone. When turned on, the filter can improve the quality of Tweets you see by using a variety of signals, such as account origin and behavior. Turning it on filters lower-quality content, like duplicate Tweets or content that appears to be automated, from your notifications and other parts of your Twitter experience.

I think this is a great change overall, but I still have concerns. My biggest fears are algorithmic false positives and employees of Twitter having the ability to flag accounts manually — potentially silencing users for dubious reasons. I have no indication that this will actually happen, but you can never be too sure about a feature like this.

Function Strip ➝

Dr. Drang, on the rumored touch-sensitive OLED strip on the next MacBook Pro:

But there is this nagging thought in the back of my head. Can Apple pull this off? Does it still have the UX chops to figure out the right way to implement what could be a very powerful addition to the Mac? So much of what’s good about Apple products, both hardware and software, seems to be based on wise, user-centric decisions made years ago. Can it still make those decisions? […]

On the other hand, the story of watchOS 3 is an indication that Apple still has the goods, that it can still make good decisions, even if it means reversing much-hyped earlier decisions. That’s the Apple I hope to see in the new MacBook Pro.

Auto-Expanding Email Address ➝

Great tip from Jason Snell:

We get asked for our email addresses a lot, most commonly in login windows on websites. I’ve saved a lot of time by attaching mine to an auto-expanding text shortcut on both iOS and macOS. No additional software is required, though if you have a text-expanding utility like TextExpander you could use that instead.

I set this up with Nick Heer’s suggested shortcut of “@@” because of its placement on iOS’s email address keyboard.

10K Apart ➝

A great contest from Microsoft and An Event Apart:

With so much of an emphasis on front-end frameworks and JavaScript runtimes, it’s time to get back to basics—back to optimizing every little byte like your life depends on it and ensuring your site can work, no matter what. The Challenge? Build a compelling web experience that can be delivered in 10kB and works without JavaScript.

I wouldn’t mind this sparking a trend in web design — the world needs smaller web pages.

(Via Matt Birchler.)

Apple Drops ‘Store’ From Apple Store Branding ➝

Juli Clover, writing for MacRumors:

It’s a change that appears to have started rolling out with the launch of the newer Apple Stores, like the Union Square location in San Francisco. Apple has always referred to that store as just Apple Union Square, and over the course of the last few days, the company has updated all of its retail store webpages to remove the “Store” branding. What was once “Apple Store, Fifth Avenue,” for example, is now just “Apple Fifth Avenue.”

This seems to fall in line with Apple’s online store overhaul that took place around this time last year. I don’t think Apple wants to emphasize the shopping aspect in their branding anymore, instead focusing on helping customers learn about the products.

Intel Licenses ARM Technology ➝

Ian King, reporting for Bloomberg:

Intel Corp., the world’s biggest semiconductor maker, said it’s licensing technology from rival ARM Holdings Plc, a move to win more customers for its business that manufactures chips for other companies.

The two chipmakers, whose designs and technology dominate in computing and mobile, unveiled the agreement Tuesday at the Intel Developer Forum in San Francisco. The accord will let Intel offer third-party semiconductor companies its most advanced 10-nanometer production lines for manufacturing the complex chips usually used in smartphones.

This piece doesn’t come right out and say it, but it sounds like Intel is planning to design their own ARM processors in addition to manufacturing other companies’ chip designs. If that’s the case, I could see Intel becoming the premier maker of ARM processors within just a few years.

Ming-Chi Kuo: Apple Planning 10.5-Inch iPad Pro ➝

Eric Slivka, writing for MacRumors:

According to Kuo, Apple is aiming to introduce a new 10.5-inch iPad Pro model next year to go along with a 12.9-inch iPad Pro 2 and a “low-cost” 9.7-inch iPad model. Kuo makes no mention about the fate of the current 7.9-inch iPad mini, although many have assumed that model may be phased out as the recent 5.5-inch iPhone “Plus” models have helped lessen demand for Apple’s smallest tablet.

John Gruber thinks we’ll see a new aspect ratio for the iPad — because of how close the 9.7-inch size is to this rumored 10.5-inch device. But I’m not so sure. Apple currently sells the 11.6-inch MacBook Air alongside the 12-inch MacBook. Both of them feature the same aspect ratio — why would the iPad be any different?

Update: Apologies for the oversight, Ravi Gupta points out, on Twitter, that the 11.6-inch Air and the 12-inch MacBook do have different aspect ratios. Sounds like Gruber might be right after all.

Apple’s New TV Plan Is a TV Guide ➝

Peter Kafka, reporting for Recode:

Apple has started talking to TV programmers and other video companies about creating a digital TV guide that would work on both Apple TV boxes and other Apple devices, like iPhones.

The idea is to let users see what kind of programming is available in video apps made by the likes of HBO, Netflix and ESPN, without having to open up each app individually, and to play shows and movies with a single click.

I would love an interface like this.

Adblock Plus Has Already Defeated Facebook’s Ad Blocking Restrictions ➝

Jacob Kastrenakes, writing for The Verge:

Facebook’s plan to stop ad blockers has already been foiled. Adblock Plus has found a way to strip ads from Facebook, even when they’re served up in Facebook’s new ad blocker-proof format. Anyone with a fully updated version of Adblock Plus should once again be able to avoid ads in Facebook’s sidebar and News Feed.

Let the game of cat and mouse begin.

Splatoon for Wii U ➝

I bought Splatoon last week in search of something fresh to play on the Wii U. It’s been on my wishlist since we got the console last winter and I regret waiting this long to buy. I’m only about four or five hours in, but I’m having a blast.

It’s essentially a cartoony paintball game in which you and your three teammates try to cover as much of the level in your color paint as possible. Along the way you can disrupt the other team by “splatting” their players and forcing them to respawn at their starting point.

There’s new weapons and clothing accessories that feature special abilities and increased power that you can unlock by leveling up. There’s other game modes to play as well, but I’ve been having too much fun with the normal “Turf Mode” to explore the other options. If you own a Wii U and have been looking for a new game to play, I highly suggest Splatoon.

On the Possibility of Apple Buying Netflix ➝

John Gruber:

I’m not saying it could never happen or would certainly be a bad idea, but Apple’s services are built to take advantage of its hardware. Netflix is the opposite — it’s a service designed to be available on any device with a screen. With iTunes, Apple already has a library of movies and TV shows. If Apple wants to produce original content, they could start their own production company for a tiny fraction of Netflix’s $42 billion market cap. A fraction.

I don’t think it would be a good idea for Apple to buy Netflix, and not just because of the bad cultural fit. Apple doesn’t typically acquire the biggest player in the market. They usually go after smaller companies with strong, lean teams and good technology. Companies that could benefit from the exposure of Apple’s marketing.

Netflix is already too large to acquire and retains the baggage of their legacy DVD-by-mail service. As Gruber points out, it would become a huge distraction for Apple — pulling executives attention away from existing product lines. But they’re one of the few options in the market — Hulu, YouTube, and Amazon Instant Video being the other three.

I think, if Apple was to buy their way into this business, they’d go after a smaller company that most of us haven’t even heard of. Some startup with great technology, but very few content deals. But if nothing like this exists, they’re far more likely to roll their own service than acquire a big name like Netflix.

Is Apple Getting Rid of Star Ratings for Music in iTunes? ➝

Kirk McElhearn:

Ratings are totally absent from the iOS 10 Music app, with no option to turn them on. Currently, on iOS 9, you can view a rating or rate a track by tapping its album artwork while it’s playing, but only for tracks in your library; you can’t apply star ratings to Apple Music tracks. Nothing happens in iOS 10 when you tap the artwork. When you tap the … for a playing track, you see a menu which offers Love and Dislike options, but no star ratings.

I hope to see star ratings return to iOS. I make extensive use of them in a few smart playlists and the new heart-based rating system doesn’t offer enough granularity for my needs.

‘You’re Only as Good as the Last Thing You Did’ ➝

Joe Rossignol, writing for MacRumors:

In a new Fast Company interview alongside CEO Tim Cook, Apple services chief Eddy Cue acknowledged that technology companies are “only as good as the last thing” they did.

Meanwhile, for the Mac lineup, the average number of days since the last update is about 505.

On the NBC Olympics Streaming App ➝

Jason Snell, writing on Six Colors:

However, there are some rough spots, too. As Todd Vaziri noted, the top-level heading on the NBC Apple TV app for almost every item is “Olympic Sports.” This makes it nearly impossible to tell if you’re going to see tennis, or handball, or table tennis, or rugby, until you click and then sit through a 15- or 30-second preroll ad.

So close… and yet so far. It’s not as if the app doesn’t understand what all those sports are—there’s a Filter feature that will show you just the video for the sport you select—but it makes it impossible to browse through a menu of live streams and see which event strikes your fancy.

Snell doesn’t even mention the atrocious playback controls, which is the most infuriating part of the app. For whatever reason, NBC decided to roll their own media playback system and its a pain in the ass to use. Want to skip back a few seconds to rewatch a tumbling pass? Good luck. Before you know it, you’ve rewound 30 minutes and have no idea how to get back where you started.

‘Why I’m Finally Leaving Cable TV’ ➝

Chris Plante, writing for The Verge:

For years I figured that when I scrapped my cable plan, it would be because an even easier option appeared. But this week, I’ve considered finally cutting the cord for a different reason: subscriptions services better respect my time.

In fact, now I recognize all the ways cable is designed to waste my time.

The key point for me is the lack of advertising. I pay less for a Netflix and Hulu subscription than anyone I know pays for cable and I never have to sit through a single commercial. With cable, unless I take the time to setup DVR recordings before a show airs, I’m stuck watching it live. And even if I remember to record it, I still have to fast-forward through ads and hope that I hit play at just the right moment. That’s less “entertaining” and more “nerve-racking.”

Microsoft Leaks Its Golden Key ➝

This is a perfect example of why companies shouldn’t build backdoors into their software. Even if it’s only known by the developer, there’s always a risk that it could be made public — leaving everyone who uses that software vulnerable to attack.

Apple Planning to Update MacBook Pro Soon ➝

Mark Gurman, reporting for Bloomberg:

The updated notebooks will be thinner, include a touch screen strip for function keys, and will be offered with more powerful and efficient graphics processors for expert users such as video gamers, said the people, who asked not to be named.

Gurman’s sources also tell him that the new MacBook Pros are due later this year, but they will not be announced at the September event where Apple typically announces new iPhones.

Mac updates have been few and far between over the past couple of years and it’ll be nice to see a refresh in the lineup. And, although I don’t use OS X very often anymore, I hope this is just the tip of the iceberg.