The Initial Charge Linked List

The Initial Charge Linked List is a frequently updated list of interesting 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 the feature articles from this site.

Team Friends With Beverages

My buddy Keenan Schneider, alongside his wife Gia, Fletcher, and Limitless Adventure co-host Charles Stark, have formed an Extra Life team with the brilliant name, “Friends with Beverages.” On November 7 they’ll be taking part in a 24-hour gaming marathon to raise money for Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals. I donated as soon as I heard of the team’s formation and would encourage you to do so as well. Every little bit helps and it’s for a great cause.

Apple Addresses iPhone 6s Battery Life Concerns

Apple’s statement regarding the iPhone 6s battery life kerfuffle, as published by TechCrunch:

With the Apple-designed A9 chip in your iPhone 6s or iPhone 6s Plus, you are getting the most advanced smartphone chip in the world. Every chip we ship meets Apple’s highest standards for providing incredible performance and deliver great battery life, regardless of iPhone 6s capacity, color, or model.

Certain manufactured lab tests which run the processors with a continuous heavy workload until the battery depletes are not representative of real-world usage, since they spend an unrealistic amount of time at the highest CPU performance state. It’s a misleading way to measure real-world battery life. Our testing and customer data show the actual battery life of the iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus, even taking into account variable component differences, vary within just 2-3% of each other.

I checked my iPhone 6s a couple of days ago with Lirum Device Info Lite and found that I do have the Samsung-manufactured A9 chip. And although I’m only a single data point, I’ve been more than happy with my device’s battery life. If you’re experiencing battery life that seems outside of Apple’s range of acceptability, my suggestion is to take your iPhone to your local Genius Bar and try to get a replacement.

AT&T Wi-Fi Calling Now Available on iPhones Running iOS 9

Dan Thorp-Lancaster, writing for iMore:

To enable the feature, you can navigate to the “Phone” section of your Settings app and flip the switch next to”Wi-Fi Calling.” You’ll then be taken through a series of setup screens where you can set your 911 emergency address and then activate the feature.

I usually spend Christmas and Thanksgiving day visiting my fiancée’s parents. And while we’re there I always end up talking on the phone for 20-30 minutes with my mother and siblings. We talk about what our plans are for the day, the gifts we’ve received or given, what we’re having for dinner, and other various topics. But my fiancée’s parents live in a dead-spot for cellular coverage and I end up having to seclude myself near the front door to sustain the phone calls. Having Wi-Fi calling turned on will solve that problem — I’ll be able chat with my family in the comfort of my future in-laws living room without worrying about losing the connection.

Apple TV and iPad Pro to Hit Stores Early November After Late October Online Launch

So, you still have a few weeks to get your finances in order.

Amazon Said to Weigh Creating an Online Pay-TV Service

Lucas Shaw, reporting for Bloomberg Business: Inc. is exploring the creation of an online pay-TV service to complement its existing video offerings and has reached out to major media companies including CBS Corp. and Comcast Corp.’s NBCUniversal about carrying their channels, according to people familiar with the matter.

Amazon’s deliberations are preliminary, said the individuals, who asked not to be identified discussing negotiations. Some of the talks date back several months, according to one of the people.

I’m beginning to worry that Amazon is turging into a company with a “me too” business strategy.

Porsche Refuses Android Auto Terms

Jonny Lieberman, writing for Motortrend:

There’s no technological reason the 991/2 doesn’t have Android Auto playing through its massively upgraded PCM system. Why doesn’t it have it? As part of the agreement an automaker would have to enter with Google, Porsche said certain pieces of data must be collected and transmitted back to Mountain View, California. Stuff like vehicle speed, throttle position, coolant and oil temp, engine revs—basically Google wants a complete OBD2 dump whenever someone activates Android Auto. Not kosher, says Porsche. Obviously, this is “off the record,” but Porsche feels info like that is the secret sauce that makes its cars special. Moreover, giving such data to a multibillion-dollar corporation that’s actively building a car, well, that ain’t good, either. Apple, by way of stark contrast, only wants to know if the car is moving while Apple Play is in use. It makes you wonder why other OEMs have agreed to Google’s terms, no?

Google has since issued a statement, as published by TechCrunch:

Steering this story straight – we take privacy very seriously and do not collect the data the Motor Trend article claims such as throttle position, oil temp and coolant temp. Users opt in to share information with Android Auto that improves their experience, so the system can be hands-free when in Drive, and provide more accurate navigation through the car’s GPS.

Google asks the user for permission to collect this data when an Android device is first connected, but I’m willing to bet that most users just tap their way through the interface and agree to whatever appears. However, privacy isn’t the sticking point here. The car manufacturers don’t care whether or not the user has to opt-in for the data to be collected. The problem from the car manufacturers’ perspective is simply that Google is trying to collect this information in the first place.

Google’s a company with a lot of resources who could pose a serious threat to the auto industry if they ever decided to release an actual product. And the data collected from Android Auto could be a tremendous help for Google in the development of automobiles (whether they be self-driving or not). It’s clearly in the auto manufacturers best interest to prevent Google from collecting this data, even if it means omitting a feature that some customers might be expecting.

PepsiCo Announces Pepsi Perfect

Turn your jeans inside-out, grab your hoverboard, and put some money on the Cubbies. Shit’s about to get real. Pepsi will be selling limited edition bottles of “Pepsi Perfect” to commemorate Doc, Marty, and Jennifer’s arrival on October 21.

Unfortunately, there will only be 6,500 bottles available, priced at a clever $20.15 each. The good news is Marty and Jennifer aren’t assholes, however, something’s gotta be done about their kids.

And by the way, could you please donate some money to save the clock tower, it’s about time we get that thing fixed.

The Verge Lists the Most Important Announcements from Yesterday’s Microsoft Event

With the Surface Book, the Lumia 950, and the Surface Pro 4 clearly being the standout products.

How to Leave Apple’s Public Beta Program

I’ll have to keep this in mind as we get closer to the official release of iOS 9.1. I don’t mind running beta versions of iOS occasionally, but I’m ready to live on a stable version for a few months.

Twitter Introduces ‘Moments’

Madhu Muthukumar, writing on Twitter’s weblog:

Today, most moments are assembled by our curation team, and some are contributed by partners like Bleacher Report, Buzzfeed, Entertainment Weekly, Fox News, Getty Images, Mashable, MLB, NASA, New York Times, Vogue and the Washington Post. While we’re working with a small group of partners now, we plan to expand it in the future. The Twitter community continually surprises us with wonderful storytelling and creativity, so we look forward to seeing new and exciting uses of Moments from more partners soon.

Moments is a way for users to essentially “follow” news stories and events. This is the kind of feature I like to see from Twitter. It plays to their strength of being a real time platform in which each tweet contributes to a larger whole.

The feature should be available today in Twitter’s official client for iOS and Android, as well as the web.

Tim Cook Marks Fourth Anniversary of Steve Jobs’ Passing

Tim Cook, in a memo to employees:

What is his legacy? I see it all around us: An incredible team that embodies his spirit of innovation and creativity. The greatest products on earth, beloved by customers and empowering hundreds of millions of people around the world. Soaring achievements in technology and architecture. Experiences of surprise and delight. A company that only he could have built. A company with an intense determination to change the world for the better.

And, of course, the joy he brought his loved ones.

Weather Line iPhone App

My new favorite weather app for iPhone. I installed it a few days ago and haven’t looked back since. The best feature is its short-term precipitation forecasting which uses the Dark Sky API as the data source.

I’ve seen people recommend Weather Line for quite some time and honestly can’t say why I’ve waited so long to give it a try. It really is the best weather app for iPhone.

Ben Brooks Continues His Ad Blocker Testing

Based on his latest testing, 1Blocker and Adamant are the two ad blockers he recommends the most with Purify following closely behind. Personally, I’ve primarily been using Adamant since it launched and have been very happy with it. In addition to Ben’s recommendations, I’ve also tried Ad Control — which I was drawn to because of its philosophy and 1 Ad feature — but nothing has been able to beat the speed and simplicity of Adamant.

The Cost of Mobile Ads on Fifty News Websites

The New York Times:

Ad blockers, which Apple first allowed on the iPhone in September, promise to conserve data and make websites load faster. But how much of your mobile data comes from advertising? We measured the mix of advertising and editorial on the mobile home pages of the top 50 news websites – including ours – and found that more than half of all data came from ads and other content filtered by ad blockers.

The results are absolutely atrocious for some of the sites — being by far the worst.

iFixit Investigates the iPhone’s Waterproof Capabilities


But over the weekend some brave Apple fans introduced their new iPhones to a life aquatic. The phones didn’t always emerge unscathed, but the overall trend is clear: the 6s and 6s Plus are dramatically less prone to liquid damage than their predecessors. (They aren’t, of course, completely waterproof—so don’t jump into a pool with them or anything.) […]

So, there are still places for water to get into the case. Maybe that strip of goo around the display isn’t for waterproofing after all, but has some other nefarious purpose; 3D Touch is a new technology, so it’s hard to say. Nevertheless, we think this is an exciting step forward for the iPhone and its fans.

I think Apple’s decision to stealth-upgrade the iPhone’s waterproof capabilities is extremely smart. Making the iPhone more resilient to spills is an incredible feature, but if Apple were to laud it as a tentpole feature, they run the risk of having users treat their iPhones carelessly. Apple wants the iPhone to survive more water incidents, but you don’t want users to get the wrong idea about using their iPhone in and around water — it’s probably still not a great idea.

Use Safari’s Responsive Design Mode in El Capitan

I have a project that I plan on starting this spring and this new feature looks like it’ll be invaluable while I’m working on it.

Apple to Open Apple TV Universal Search API

John Paczkowski, writing for BuzzFeed News:

In a recent interview with BuzzFeed News, Apple CEO Tim Cook said universal search in Apple TV is not something that the company plans to reserve for key content partners. “At launch we’ll have iTunes, Netflix, Hulu, Showtime, and HBO — so we’ll have five major inputs into universal search initially,” Cook said. “But we’re also opening an API, so that others can join in.”

Every single developer building apps for the Apple TV is going to want to make use of that API.

The New Apple TV Can Only Support Two Connected Bluetooth Controllers at a Time

If this is true, its really unfortunate. Local multiplayer is a lot of fun and limiting it to only two or three players is a bit of a disappointment. I’m hoping this is a software issue that will be fixed shortly.

Update: SchwarzTech noted on Twitter:

Hopefully a software limitation, but perhaps Apple assumes more iOS devices as extra controllers/remotes initially?

This is something I hadn’t considered, but sounds like a plausible reason for Apple to forgo support for more than two Bluetooth controllers at launch.

Twitter Plans to Go Beyond Its 140-Character Limit

Kurt Wagner and Jason Del Ray, reporting for Re/code:

Twitter is building a new product that will allow users to share tweets that are longer than the company’s 140-character limit, according to multiple people familiar with the company’s plans.

It’s unclear what the product will look like, but sources say it would enable Twitter users to publish long-form content to the service.

I’ve written about this recently and am vehemently opposed to it. Twitter should, instead, embrace other publishing platforms that allow for longer form content by building stronger ties with sites like, Blogger, Facebook, and Tumblr. I would much rather have Twitter remain the short-form messaging platform that we love than allow users to put it into verbose mode.

Google Unveils New Nexus Phones, Chromecast, and Pixel C 

AppleInsider’s Roger Fingas details Google’s Nexus 6P, Nexus 5X, Pixel C, and Chromecast announcements from Tuesday’s press event.

Amazon to Ban Sale of Apple TV, Google Chromecast

Spencer Soper, writing for Bloomberg:

The Seattle-based Web retailer sent an e-mail to its marketplace sellers that it will stop selling the Apple TV and Google’s Chromecast since those devices don’t “interact well” with Prime Video. No new listings for the products will be allowed and posting of existing inventory will be removed Oct. 29, Amazon said. Prime Video doesn’t run easily on its rival’s hardware.

I see this move as an indication that one of these three things is true:

  1. Amazon is afraid that the Fire TV is an inferior product when compared to the Apple TV and Chromecast. Amazon doesn’t even want to give customers the option because if they do customers might pass the Fire TV by.
  2. Apple isn’t allowing Amazon to build an Amazon Video app for the Apple TV.
  3. Amazon eventually plans to discontinue AirPlay support in their mobile apps and doesn’t plan on ever adding Chromecast support or building an Apple TV app.

I think the major question that Amazon has to ask themselves when making a decision like this is “are we a retailer first or a platform company first?” I think most users of the Amazon ecosystem think of them as a retailer with a nice side project building tablets and media boxes, but I suspect Amazon feels differently — the removal of the Apple TV and Chromecast from their store is a good indicator of this.

Only time will tell how far Amazon is willing to take this and whether or not they’ll find the success they’re seeking. But in the meantime, customers like myself who pay for Amazon Prime and own Apple products are going to find it harder and harder to take full advantage of Amazon’s non-retail services.

The Verge Reviews the Logitech Harmony Elite

If I was in the market for a universal remote, this is the one I’d buy. But I’m still quite happy with my Logitech Harmony One and I’ll likely continue using it until it doesn’t function anymore.

Eddy Cue: ‘I Know I’m Not Allowed to Talk About the Phone but What the Hell — He Can’t Fire Me’

Jimi Famurewa, writing for the Evening Standard:

He taps his phone and makes an offhand comment about “trying not to get roaming charges” while in London which, I note, proves how insanely expensive phone calls and data can be abroad. “It’s sad, it’s another problem,” says Cue. “We’re trying to fix it and we’re making a little bit of progress but you’ve got to convince a lot of people.” It sounds like an impossible task. But that, you would imagine, is where the famous flair will come in.

Tweetbot 4 for iOS is Now Available

Its now a universal app with external keyboard shortcuts, new Activity and Stats tabs, support for Apple’s San Francisco font, and is available for $4.99 — 50% off of the regular price — for a limited time.

I’ve been begrudgingly using the previous version of Tweetbot on my iPad because it was still the best Twitter client available. The previous user interface was decidedly quaint, but Tweetbot 4 brings with it a modern aesthetic that I’m more than ready to switch to. Honestly, I would have paid $4.99 for the iPad update alone.

If you want a more in-depth look at all of the new features, I suggest reading Chris Gonzales’ review on The Sweet Setup.

I’m Not Signing Up for Apple Music

Richard Anderson:

Streaming is ephemeral, and that worries me. If an artist or a label decides it doesn’t like the deal Apple is playing, what’s to stop them from pulling their music? Remember Taylor Swift and Spotify? Prince pulled his music from everything but TIDAL. They won’t be the last ones. Anyone who grumbles about needing membership to a bunch of different video streaming services to watch the shows they want, yet is happy to sign up for a streaming music service, is just asking for the same pain down the line.

No one in the music industry has the ability to reach into your hard drive and remove legally purchased music from it. I’m with Richard on this, the convenience of streaming services doesn’t outweigh the lack of freedom that comes with it. I’d rather pay for music than risk having my favorite bands’ albums taken from me on a whim when their record label decides they’re no longer happy with their compensation.

Jack Dorsey Expected to Be Named Permanent Twitter CEO

Kara Swisher and Kurt Wagner, reporting for Re/code:

Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey, who has been serving as interim CEO for the past three months, is expected to be named the company’s new permanent CEO as early as tomorrow, although that timeframe may change, according to sources. Dorsey will apparently continue to run Square, the payments company he founded where he’s also CEO.

If this pans out, I think it’ll be a huge step in the right direction.

‘I Miss Wii Sports’

RTLewis, writing on Kinja:

The simplicity of the controls led to Wii Sports’ greatest achievement: the shared social experience. It was Nintendo at its very finest, them being the masters of local multiplayer. And yet, something was different. Those people nailing strike after strike were not your normal Smash Bros buddies. The woman rolling a 300 was your grandmother. Your doubles partner was mom. Never before had a video game brought these different people together.

My fiancée and both of her parents regularly played Wii Sports Resort for about a year during its heyday. My fiancée was never much of a gamer, beyond the few NES cartridges that were handed down to her from a cousin, but her parents never played a video game in their life until the Wii came out. And yet, they were often the ones clamoring to play during our weekly board game night. RTLewis is right, Wii Sports (especially Resort) was really fun.

My fiancée and I started playing our Wii again after I purchased Mario Kart Wii at our local Target. I’ve actually never played a Mario Kart game before, but it was the last copy in the store and I figured I’d give it a go. That was about three weeks ago and we’ve played it 3-4 nights a week since then.

We’ve been having a blast with Mario Kart, but for whatever reason we decided to switch it up a few nights ago and play Wii Sports Resort. We forgot how much fun it was to play 100-pin bowling and now we can’t wait to have her parents over again to reprise our Wii Sports gaming sessions.

Discontent is an iOS ‘Content’ Blocker

From the App Store description:

Discontent blocks web content. Not scripts, not ads, not trackers. Content. Stop distracting yourself with marginally informative blog posts and start living.

Pairs nicely with an ad blocker for a true barebones web experience.

This is hilarious.

Expeditions Pioneer Program


Expeditions teams will visit selected schools around the world, starting with the United States, Australia, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, and Brazil. Each team will bring a complete Expeditions kit with everything the teachers need to take their students on journeys anywhere. The team will show teachers how Expeditions works and help set it up before class.

My fiancée is teaching third grade this year and would love to implement Expiditions into her curriculum. According to their posted schedule, they’ll be about an hour and a half away from her school in early November. She’s already signed up to be considered for the program and I hope they’ll be stopping at her school along the way.

If It Ain’t Fixed, Break It

Daniel Jalkut:

Apple “broke” the haptic feedback associated with invoking Siri, by “fixing” the problem that there had ever been any latency before. Have an iPhone 6s or 6s Plus? Go ahead, I dare you: hold down the home button and start talking to Siri. You will not escape its attention. It’s ready to go when you are, so it would be obnoxious of it to impose any contrived delay or to give taptic feedback that is uncalled for. Siri has become a more perfect assistant, and we have to change our habits to accommodate this.

I’ve been trying to take Daniel’s advice, but Siri keeps ignoring the first few words I say — I suppose I need to add another beat of hesitation before I start talking. I just wish Apple would allow us turn on some sort of feedback so that I could be reassured of when she starts listening, even though it’s unnecessary.

Apple’s Approach to Privacy

“The most personal technology must also be the most private.”

The Ultimate iPhone Camera Comparison

Lisa Bettany:

In the past eight years, each new advancement in iPhone camera technology has made dramatic improvements to image quality. The new 12-megapixel iPhone 6s iSight camera is no exception. With 50% more megapixels than the last four iPhone 8-megapixel models, the iPhone 6s boasts a number of key improvements including: improved auto-focus, local tone-mapping, noise reduction, and colour separation, with that fancy “deep trench isolation” technology Apple is raving about.

In this follow-up post to my previous iPhone comparisons, I present a 9 iPhone comparison from all iPhone versions taken with Camera+ including: the original iPhone, iPhone 3G, iPhone 3Gs, iPhone 4, iPhone 4s, iPhone 5, iPhone 5s, iPhone 6, and the new iPhone 6s, in a variety of real-life situations to test each iPhone camera’s capabilities.

‘Actual Formatted Capacity Less’

G. Keenan Schneider explains why a 64GB iPhone doesn’t appear to have 64GB of storage.

Ryan Plummer’s Love Letter to iPad

I couldn’t agree more.

The Benefit of 2GB of RAM in iPhone 6s

Adding more RAM to iOS devices looks like the easiest way for Apple to yield incredible performance increases. The iPad Air 2 was the first device to really prove this and the iPhone 6s further solidifies just how immense the improvement can be.

Shawn Blanc on His Ideal Workspace

My ideal workspace would be an 11-inch MacBook Air next to an iPad Air 2 propped up by a TwelveSouth Compass. I’d have headphones in my ears plugged into an iPhone in my pocket playing the latest State Champs or Tonight Alive album. My devices would be sitting on a large wooden table with only a lamp, notebook, and pen to accompany them. I’d be sitting in front of the table in a comfortable rolling chair inside of a small room with no other furniture, but lots of Windows for natural light.

Using Low Power Mode All the Time

Matt Birchler, writing about his Low Power Mode testing:

while most iOS 9 reviews covered this mode briefly and determined it worked as advertised, I wondered what would happen if you used Low Power Mode all the time. I was surprised that no reviewer seems to have done this, so I took it upon myself to give it a try. I don’t have any standardized battery tests that I can do, so I simply spent the last 2 weeks alternating between using Low Power Mode all day, and not using it at all and comparing the differences. My findings are rather remarkable.

I started using Low Power Mode (almost) full time shortly after I installed iOS 9 on my iPhone 5s. The device was about two years old and the battery was starting to show its age — with iOS 8.4.1, the only way I could get through the day was to keep it in Airplane Mode while it was in my pocket. But Low Power Mode changed all that. And while I didn’t track my iPhone’s battery life throughout the day like Matt did, I can tell you that I was able to get through the whole day without a hitch.

Samantha Bielefeld Interviews Dean Murphy

Developer of Crystal, Dean Murphy, when asked about his decision  to give up some level of control over his ad blocker’s whitelist:

I don’t possess the resources necessary to hand pick, and arbitrate what ads are acceptable. It would require making sure they meet a certain criteria, and I would have to then monitor the ads in order to ensure that standards had been met. It would also require me to form business relationships with advertising networks, etc. It would be a massive time sink and would involve a hell of a lot of work that would distract me from everything else. I’ve spoken to Eyeo, and they have many customers who support their vision. They have set a great standard for acceptable ads, and are backed by some sites that I truly admire.

I’d also suggest reading Dean Murphy’s sort-of FAQ about his partnership with Eyeo and what it means to Crystal users.

How to Enable Wi-Fi Calling on iPhone 6s or 6s Plus

Serenity Caldwell, writing for iMore:

Instead of routing your voice packets through your carrier’s closest cell tower, those packets get tunneled through the Internet to a controller used by your cell company, which then bounces them across the network to whomever you’re speaking. The net result is that you’re talking, but you’re not actually using a cell tower to do it.

If your carrier supports Wi-Fi calling, it’s a great way to get clearer, crisper calls when chatting with all your friends—not just those on an iPhone or Mac.

I’d also suggest check out Rene Ritchie’s tip on adjusting 3D Touch sensitivity.

App Updates That Support the New iPhone 6S and More

Over at The Sweet Setup, Shawn Blanc has put together a list of notable application updates which support new features in iOS 9, the iPhone 6s, and watchOS 2.

DataMan Next

A neat little app recommended by Justin Blanton on Twitter that helps you keep track of your cellular data usage. It features an Apple Watch companion app with complication, today view widget, and clever usage forecasting. It’s by far the best looking app I’ve seen for this utility.

Safari Content Blockers Cause Some Online Retailers’ Websites to Render Improperly

Dan Primack, writing for Fortune:

A Fortune investigation shows that an iPhone enabled with Crystal — the top paid iOS app right now – is unable to fully render the e-commerce sites of many major retailers, including Walmart, Sears and Lululemon.

I’ve noticed similar problems on a handful of websites while browsing with content blockers enabled. Luckily it’s easy enough to reload the webpage without them — tap and hold the reload button and choose “Reload Without Content Blockers” — but it’s unlikely that the average user is going to know how to do that. How many potential customers are just going to leave and purchase elsewhere when they encounter problems like this because “the site doesn’t work?”

I guess online publishers aren’t the only ones who could be hurt by ad blockers.

Ad Blocker Crystal Allowing Ad Networks to Pay to be Whitelisted

I do think ad blockers should show “good” ads by default, but I’m uncomfortable with the developer accepting payments from the whitelisted ad networks.

Most People Simply Don’t Care Enough About Music to Pay for Streaming, but It Gets Worse

Kirk McElhearn:

I think people in the music industry miss something very important. Most people simply don’t care very much about music. They may want to listen to a few of the latest hits, and they will do so on the radio, or with an ad-supported streaming service such as Spotify, or on YouTube. For the most part, these people use music as wallpaper. They are not music fans. The percentage of people who care enough about music to want to pay even $10 a month is clearly very small.

There’s also plenty of users who consider themselves to be music lovers, but don’t find new music at a rapid enough pace to warrant spending $10 a month on an all-you-can-eat service. I absolutely love the bands and musicians that I listen to, but only find myself listening to something new a few times a year. Most of the time I’m just cycling through the same 4-5 albums.

The biggest hurdle for me is that my musical taste is very narrow. I’ve tried branching out by browsing the For You tab in Apple Music, but I always found myself gravitating towards albums I already owned. I suppose the last decade of album purchasing isn’t helping much, though, the vast majority of music I’ve found myself enjoying I’ve bought already.

Teenagers today might not be so inclined to buy all the music they love, though. The proliferation of mobile devices with an always-on internet connection changes things — its much easier (and cheaper) to stream the music you want from free services rather than pay money for it.

The value proposition is where things get interesting. As long as free services like YouTube and Spotify exist, why would anyone growing up today pay for music at all — purchases, subscriptions, or otherwise? Sure, there’s plenty of people who don’t care enough about music to pay for streaming services. But the problem gets worse when you consider that, even among those who care deeply about music, there might only be a small group of listeners who are willing to pay for music when its so easy to listen to anything you want for free.

Limitless Adventure Episode 10

I really enjoyed this latest episode of Limitless Adventure, especially the Apple retail discussion at the end of the show. Both of the hosts, G. Keenan Schneider and Charles Stark, worked in Apple Stores in the past and have an interesting perspective on the recent opening of Apple’s Brussels location. If you’ve never listened to the show before, this is a great place to start.

Sleep++ Tracks and Measures Your Sleep

David Smith:

Today I released a new app Sleep++ that uses the motion tracking capabilities of your Apple Watch to monitor how well you are sleeping at night. This is one of the capabilities made possible by the improvements of watchOS 2.

To use the app you need to wear your Apple Watch while you sleep each night. This presents an obvious problem, when do I charge it?. […]

The TL/DR is to charge your Apple Watch in the morning while you get ready for your day (take a shower, get dressed, etc) and then again in the evening while you get ready for bed (brush teeth, put on pajamas, etc). Then put your Apple Watch in Airplane Mode while you sleep.

When I eventually get my hands on an Apple Watch (it’ll happen, I swear), Sleep++ will be one of the first apps I install. I’ve always had trouble getting enough sleep at night, but maybe if I’m able to keep track I’ll learn more about my habits and find a strategy that results in more restful nights. The idea of using silent alarms seems great, too. Especially for my days off when I don’t have a specific time when I need to wake up, but want to prevent my body from going overboard.

John Gruber Reviews the iPhone 6s

I haven’t had a chance to read any of the iPhone 6s reviews that were published yesterday, but this is the first one I plan on getting to during my next day off.

The Deck: ‘We’re Fine With Knowing Nothing’

From the Deck’s new privacy policy:

As a network we have never issued cookies or tracked readers in any way. The only data we collect is gross impressions: the total number of times an ad has been served during a month. We have never known, or have had any way to know, who was served what ad. Basically, aside from our surveys, all we know is what we can learn from our server logs.

We have never allowed third-party ad serving via iFrames or Javascript. In years past however, we did allow for simple “standard” third-party ad serving. We discontinued that policy in 2014. As that technology became increasingly sophisticated, we felt we could not adequately police those situations. Nor do we have any desire to do so.

On rare occasions, we have allowed specific advertisers to use a simple 1×1 tracking pixel for limited periods of time. Given the current environment, we’re not going to be doing that any more. We have never allowed the injection of scripts, page takeovers, interstitial splash pages or any of the other tomfoolery that so frustrates readers. Smart marketers do, of course, use specific links in their ads, which in combination with the gross impression data, allows them to evaluate performance.

I wish Carbon Ads would mimic more than just The Deck’s ad format (seriously, just look at that privacy policy). Don’t get me wrong, I love Carbon Ads. But I would prefer they take a stronger stance on privacy by only tracking the total number of ad impressions per month for each ad, like The Deck.

Of course advertisers will continue to point ads for their products and services to specific URLs to track performance, but I’m perfectly fine with that. What I’m not okay with is the “industry-standard” practice of tracking users across multiple websites with cookies. The Deck doesn’t do that and has still managed to build a very successful and continuously growing company. Everyone should follow their lead.

Samsung Announces Serif TV

I’m kind of digging this design. I wouldn’t mind bringing living rooms back to a simpler time when you didn’t need to mount your TV on the wall or buy a piece of furniture for it to sit on. And now that we’re going to have set-top-boxes like the Apple TV which can fill the roll of a game console and media source, why not build TVs like this?

Apple Refunding All Purchases of Peace

Marco Arment:

Today, Apple made the decision for me, in a way that I didn’t even think was possible, and I’m actually happy — or at least, as happy as someone can be who just made a lot of money on a roller coaster of surprise, guilt, and stress, then lost it all suddenly in a giant, unexpected reset that actually resolves things pretty well.