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 it’s 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.

ABC’s Apple TV App Features Full-Length Episodes for Cord Cutters

Ann Clark, writing on ABC Updates:

All Apple TV viewers can now access full episodes a week after they air. Like WATCH ABC for mobile devices and desktop, viewers can now watch such shows as Scandal, How to Get Away With Murder, Modern Family, black-ish, Once Upon A Time and Castle, among others, a week after they air.

My fiancé recently started watching Once Upon a Time on Netflix and will be caught up with the series very soon. She’ll be happy to know that the latest episodes will be available to her on the Apple TV without having to purchase them on iTunes. It’s a bit of a bummer that episodes aren’t available sooner, but at least ABC is showing some progress.

(Via AppleInsider.)

The Song

This is the kind of Apple ad I love.

The Apple TV Needs to Get Back in the Picture

I too would love to see Apple spends some time on the Apple TV. I’ve owned every Apple TV released including the original OS X-based model — and the second- and third-generation streaming boxes are still being used in my home today. It also happens to be on my short list of favorite devices I own (behind my iPhone and MacBook Air).

There’s a lot of potential in the Apple TV — it’d be a shame if it continues to languish simply because Apple doesn’t spend the time to improve its features and functionality.

Small Empires on Sandwich Video

Alexis Ohanian goes behind the scenes of Sandwich Video, talking with Adam Lisagor about how him and his team make promotional videos for tech companies.

AT&T Throttles Unlimited Data Users After 5GB of Usage

From AT&T’s support page regarding data usage on legacy unlimited data plans:

As a result of the AT&T network management process, customers on a 3G or 4G smartphone with an unlimited data plan who have exceeded 3 gigabytes of data in a billing period may experience reduced speeds when using data services at times and in areas that are experiencing network congestion. Customers on a 4G LTE smartphone will experience reduced speeds once their usage in a billing cycle exceeds 5 gigabytes of data. All such customers can still use unlimited data without incurring overage charges, and their speeds will be restored with the start of the next billing cycle.

I would assume that AT&T reserves the right to throttle any of their users if they’re experiencing network congestion. That’s just how networks work. I’m one of the customers that’s still holding on to my unlimited data plan, and I don’t plan on letting go of it anytime soon. I take comfort knowing that I won’t be charged extra if I happen to use more than 5GB of data in a single billing cycle.

(Via Engadget.)

Apple TV Gets Updated YouTube App

The biggest change with the updated app is that advertisements will occasionally display before your selected video begins. Luckily, the ads are skippable after five seconds as they are when viewing YouTube in a web browser. We all knew this would happen sooner or later and it’s amazing that the Apple TV has lasted this long without pre-roll ads in the YouTube app.

I have noticed a few more problems with the new app since it was released a few days ago, though. For one the search results are truncated, only showing 20 results with no option to load more. This is a huge disadvantage from the previous version of the app. I also can’t seem to find video descriptions anywhere in the new app. The old YouTube app displayed a video description overlay along the top of the screen when you pressed the up button on the Apple TV remote. All that it shows now is the video’s title, number of views, and when it was published — handy, but not nearly as informative as the video’s full description.

And, in the old YouTube app pressing the menu button while viewing a video would give you related videos alongside the option to view more from the same uploader. You can view related videos by pressing pause in the new app, but there’s no way to view a list of videos only from the current video’s uploader.

So, if you can’t find the video that you want to watch from within the search results (which happens often as there’s only 20 results) it’s extremely difficult to get to that video, even if you’re able to find a video from the same user. Not exactly what I’d call a step in the right direction usability-wise.

The new YouTube app looks great and feels more at home alongside other Apple TV apps – all of which use tabs along the top of the screen for navigation — but there’s a lot of missing functionality that can make for a frustrating experience. I hope that updates will come over the next few months to fix these fairly obvious problems with the app.

Mozilla Finally Plans to Bring Firefox to iOS

Remember when people used Firefox? Those were the days.


A neat new app by Betaworks that lets you easily share screenshots of your homescreen. The coolest part of the app is that the #Homescreen website has a Top Apps page which displays the most popular applications on the homescreens of its users.

I hope that Betaworks has aspirations of publishing pages that display the top apps in specific categories — top weather apps, top email apps, etc. That would be quite the valuable resource for iPhone owners who want to cut through the noise and just find a great app for their needs.

Here’e my homescreen that I shared a couple of days ago. I find it odd that they can’t identify iOS’s default Clock app — it seems like something they’d work on since it’s built into the OS.

How Can iPhone’s 1GB of RAM Compete with Over 2GB of RAM in Android Phones?

Glyn Williams answering on Quora:

you need four or eight times more memory, than you are actually using to be super efficient. But when the memory becomes constrained, that performance goes way down. This is why Android devices have all that RAM. iOS does not use this style of garbage collection and does not slow down in constrained memory environments. So 1GB for iOS results in more performance than 3GB for Android.

I knew that garbage collection was the reason for Android’s insatiable appetite for RAM, but I didn’t realize it was this bad. I suppose this is just another example of why you shouldn’t get too hung up on hardware specs, as they don’t tell the whole story.

(Via Cult of Mac.)

Twitter to Track Apps Installed on Users’ Devices


To help build a more personal Twitter experience for you, we are collecting and occasionally updating the list of apps installed on your mobile device so we can deliver tailored content that you might be interested in. If you’re not interested in a tailored experience you can adjust your preferences at any time (read below). Additionally, if you have previously opted out of interest-based ads by turning on “Limit Ad Tracking” on your iOS device or by adjusting your Android device settings to “Opt out of interest-based ads,” we will not collect your apps unless you adjust your device settings.

Twitter is falling into the same trap that many other social networks have in the past — their need to make money outweighs anyone’s concerns about privacy and security. I’m going to cling to Tweetbot for as long as I possible can.

Geek Tees

A site that showcases T-shirts and other apparel that appeal to the geekier of crowds. I’ve been curating Geek Tees for over four years and have linked to nearly 100 t-shirts and other apparel on the site. If you’re looking to purchase a gift for a geek in your life this is a great place to look.

Twitter Nostalgia

Craig Hockenberry on the early days of Twitter when he was building the first Twitter client and users were still trying to figure out what the site was all about. It was so exciting to live through those early days.

Hashtags, @replies, and the first Twitter client — so much of what makes Twitter great was invented by the users in 2007. I still miss the days when you could use “track” to follow what others were saying about the iPhone and the site was still small enough that you could reasonably read all of it.

The Tools and Toys Guide to Cutting the Cord

My sister and brother-in-law recently canceled their cable subscription. They bought an indoor antenna and a couple of Apple TVs to connect to all of the televisions throughout their house. I helped them pick out a lot of the devices and services that they would use to fuel their media consumption. This guide on Tools and Toys would have been invaluable for them during the lead up to their transition away from cable. If you know anyone that’s cutting the cord — or even thinking about it — send them a link to this guide.

The Wirecutter Picks the Best Minivan

I’m by no means in the market for a minivan, but it’s incredible that The Wirecutter has the resources it takes to actually do automobile comparison reviews.

And speaking of The Wirecutter (and The Sweet Home for that matter), all of a sudden they’re my favorite websites on the internet. I’ve purchased bath towels, winter gloves, and a new shower head based on their recommendations and I couldn’t be happier with any of these purchases. If you’re looking to buy almost anything I’d suggest looking on The Wirecutter and The Sweethome first to see if they’ve published any guides on the product category.

You Can Now GET Apps in the App Store

Jason Snell, writing on Six Colors:

Apple today has apparently done a giant search-and-replace on the App Store to replace the word FREE with the word GET. This is apparently related to an EU ruling that it’s misleading to call apps with in-app purchases “free”.

Maybe the button’s should just be labeled “Download.” I guess they would then have to relabel the buttons for previously downloaded (or purchased) applications, but if I was working for Apple I would do anything to remove “GET” from the App Store.

iMessage Won’t Send or Receive Messages From Phone Number

All of a sudden my fiancé’s iPhone was sending messages from her iCloud email account rather than from her phone number. I tried everything I could find to fix it, but ended up having to restore from backup in order to get iMessage working properly again.

A few days ago her sister’s iPhone was having the same problem and since we live a four hour drive apart from one another I had to try and find a solution that she could easily do herself. I came across this solution by Cammy Harbison on iDigitalTimes:

Turn both iMessage and Facetime off in the Settings Menu. Then in Settings go to General, scroll down to Reset then select “Reset Your Network Settings.” Once everything has reset, make sure you are connected to Wi-fi. Reactivate iMessage and Facetime. You should now be able to select your phone number as an iMessage sending option.

It worked like a charm and now my future-sister-in-law’s iPhone is sending iMessages from her phone number rather than from her iCloud email address. I wish I could have found this solution before pulled the trigger on restoring my fiancé’s iPhone, it would have saved me a ton of time.

Greg Joswiak on Stage at Code/Mobile Conference

Discussing the Apple SIM, iOS 8.0.1, Apple Pay, and more. This is a great interview, I’d suggest watching the whole video.

Overcast 1.1

iPad support, landscape view, and CarPlay support — I’ve never wanted a car with CarPlay more than I do now. Marco Arment did a great job with this update, I just wish I could turn off the landscape view without having to turn on the system-wide rotation lock in control center.

A New Business Model For Slow Fast Slow

Dan Provost of Studio Neat:

Studio Neat is in a unique position. We are not just app developers, we also sell physical products. Products that are meant to work with the apps in a way that enhances both, as is the case with the Glif and Slow Fast Slow or Frameographer. What if we make apps that are free with “ads”, but the ad is simply for our other products? You know, the products that actually make money?

What a clever business model. It’s similar to what I’ve thought bands and musicians should have been doing for years — give the music away and sell merchandise and concert tickets in order to pay the bills.

There’s no shortage of application developers that are willing to give their software away for free, but you’re never going to build best-in-class software unless you charge for it. That is, unless you can subsidize the cost of development with the money you make from another business.

How can other developers compete with you if all of their apps cost the same as yours (free), but you’re the only one actually making enough money to put in the time to make your app great?

Tim Cook Interview at WSJD Live Conference

Discussing Apple Pay, Apple Watch, television, and more.

Deregister and Turn Off iMessage

A handy tool if you ever decide to switch from iOS to another mobile operating system.

‘Put On Your Big Boy Pants’

Kif Leswing, writing for Gigaom:

Even if you’re uninterested in GT Advanced Technologies, there are a number of details about how much power Apple exercises over its suppliers.

Squiller says that Apple did not ever really enter into negotiations, warning that GTAT’s managers should “not waste their time” negotiating because Apple does not negotiate with its suppliers. According to GTAT, after the company balked, Apple told GTAT that its terms are standard for other Apple suppliers and that GTAT should “put on your big boy pants and accept the agreement.”

A company the size of Apple has a lot of weight they can throw around while “negotiating” with suppliers.

Dark Dock and App Switcher with Light Menu Bar

Great Terminal hack for Yosemite by Rob Griffiths. When I eventually upgrade my iMac and MacBook Air to Yosemite this will be one of the first changes I make.

(Via Shawn Blanc.)

A Week With the Retina iMac

Great review of the Retina iMac from Shawn Blanc. The review mentions one of the often-discussed struggles that many of us have dealt with — deciding between using a notebook as your primary computer or using a desktop as your primary and having a lower-powered notebook as a secondary computer for travel.

At least for the foreseeable future it seems that the Retina iMac has tipped the scales towards having a desktop as your primary computer. But, I wonder if having a notebook as your secondary computer is actually the way to go this time around. As Shawn notes in his aforelinked review:

Secondly, when I do travel to a conference or drive to a local coffee shop for the day, I mostly prefer to take my iPad. The work I do revolves around reading, writing, and communicating with my team. All of which are things I can do quite easily from my iPad thanks to apps such as Instapaper, Drafts, Poster, Unread, Editorial, Slack, Mail, Basecamp, OmniFocus, Safari, and Pushpin.

I wonder how many users could get away with using a desktop as their primary computer and having an iPad Air 2 as their portable machine. With all the power under the hood of the Air 2 it’s starting to feel like the power users are being held back by the software available on iOS and the mainstream users could easily use an iPad as their secondary machine.

I guess the debate between desktop and notebook computers is just another one of those tick-tock cycles in technology. They’re incredibly interesting to watch as time goes on, as they don’t always play out the same way as they did before. And, this time we could see tablets becoming the go-to secondary computer for many users (with a little help from Apple’s software development team).

Wearing the Microsoft Band

A quick preview of the Microsoft Band by The Verge’s David Pierce. It looks uncomfortable to wear, but there’s definitely tons of technology built into it.

I’m still not convinced that smartwatches will take hold in the mainstream market, but at least everyone is starting to figure out that the fitness features is where they should be spending their time. Little screens aren’t great for apps. But, sensors strapped to your body are very good at gathering data that can be displayed on a device with a bigger screen or used to give you suggestions about how to improve your overall health.

CNET Launching Print Magazine

Who’s actually going to buy this? Readers who are interested in technology are also least likely to be interested in print magazines. I wouldn’t even give it two years, if not for the deep pockets of CBS Interactive behind the new publication.


An iStat Menu-like app for iOS that gives you glance-able hardware statistics in notification center.

I never have the battery percentage indicator in my status bar because I like as little visual clutter as possible. I never need to know what my battery life is until it’s getting low enough to matter, and that’s when I turn the indicator on. I’ve wished that Apple would add this as an option in Settings — only showing battery percentage when the battery is low. Until then, Omnistat gives me easy access to my battery life percentage without having to add visual clutter to the status bar.

Omnistat also includes notification center widgets for CPU, Memory, Storage, and more. The app was developed by Mathieu Bolard and is well worth the $1.99 price tag.

Microsoft Fitness Band Leaked

It’s definitely more fitness band than app platform. The hardware looks nice, but it’s not going to stand out next to the competition from Jawbone and Fitbit. And, I’d venture to guess that the $199 price point doesn’t last. It’s too expensive compared to similar fitness bands and for just $150 you could get the Apple Watch with far more features.

Tim Cook: ‘I’m Proud to Be Gay’

Tim Cook, writing in Businessweek:

We’ll continue to fight for our values, and I believe that any CEO of this incredible company, regardless of race, gender, or sexual orientation, would do the same. And I will personally continue to advocate for equality for all people until my toes point up.

Fighting for what he believes in and leading by example.

CurrentC Has Been Hacked

Sarah Perez, writing for TechCrunch:

Within the last 36 hours, MCX says it learned that unauthorized third parties obtained the email addresses of some of its CurrentC pilot program participants and other individuals who had expressed interest in the app.

The group has now notified its merchant partners about the incident and is communicating directly with those individuals whose email addresses were involved, a company spokesperson tells us.

It’s never a good sign when their’s a data leak this early on in a payment system’s life. This is the first example of why CurrentC is destined to fail.

Pixelmator for iPad

This is one of the applications I’m most excited to try out when I purchase a new iPad next month.

The App That Holds iOS Back

Bradley Chambers on Mobile Safari:

Last week, I had to upload 2 PDF files to a WordPress powered website. This is something that iOS should be able to handle. I should be able to save the PDFs from my email to iCloud Drive. Mobile Safari should then let me upload those files into a browser upload window.

I don’t remember an instance in which I wished I could upload or download files on my iPhone or iPad. But, I can imagine it feeling pretty back breaking if that’s something you do often. Until Apple decides it’s a feature worth pursuing, users who are so inclined are stuck using kludgy workarounds in order to get the job done.

(Via Six Colors.)

AT&T Locking Apple Interchangeable SIMs

I hope this doesn’t last long before customer outcry forces them to do the right thing.

OS X Yosemite Tips and Tricks

I wasn’t aware that you could record screencasts of your iOS device with QuickTime on Yosemite. And, what great attention to detail that QuickTime automatically cleans up the iOS status bar to show full battery, signal strength, and a predictable time of 9:41 AM.

On iOS’s Continually Growing ‘Other’

Kevin Hamm:

Many people have had problems updating their iOS device to iOS 8 because they don’t have enough space. The weird thing is that many of us have plenty of space, except there’s a mysterious padding of yellow marked “Other” that is, well, unknown[…] I figured it was time to do some research. So, in pictures, here’s what I found.

I imagine Apple has to be working on a fix for this problem. I know too many people who are constantly running out of space on their iPhones and I’d love for that continual annoyance to finally go away for good.

(Via Daring Fireball.)

Not For Me

Patrick Rhone reminds us that we don’t always have to upgrade our tools immediately — sometimes it’s better to learn more about the software and devices that we already have rather than worry about upgrading to the latest version. And, sometimes the newset version just isn’t for you.

As I’ve gotten older I’ve spent less time worrying about what’s coming next and more time enjoying what I have now. I’m less concerned about spending another year with the iPhone 5s than I would have been in the past, my 2011 MacBook Air does everything that it needs to, and I can wait a few months before upgrading to Yosemite. And, that’s just fine. The updates will still be there when I’m ready for them and I’d be a much better person if I could always remember that.

Tim Cook’s Letter to Employees Following Q4 Earnings Report

I hope Tim Cook understands that everything isn’t going as smoothly as the company’s quarterly results would indicate. Apple hasn’t exactly had the best software releases over the past year and everyone knows it. Every developer in Cupertino should be diligently working to get their software products up to the standards that us Apple customers have come to expect.

Known NFC Spoofing Techniques Unlikely to Work with Apple Pay

John Brandon, writing for Macworld:

Still, even if a hacker could snag your transaction data as it passes from your iPhone to the terminal, they’d get a single-use token with nothing to identify you by name. Connecting that to the credit cards stored securely by Apple might not be impossible, but the experts we spoke to agree that it’s a lot harder than just stealing some credit card numbers.

If you’re concerned about security it looks like Apple Pay is exactly the service you should be using.

How to Set Up Apple Pay

With today’s release of iOS 8.1, Apple Pay is now available to anyone using an iPhone 6 or 6 Plus. This video gives a quick rundown of how to set up Apple Pay on your device.

Apple Updates Mac mini

I’ve been a huge fan of the Mac mini since I purchased one a few years ago to use as a media server. That little box does everything — ripping DVDs and converting to them MPEG-4, recording over-the-air television with an Elgato EyeTV, sharing media to all of my Apple TVs and macs, storing all of my photos and media library, the list goes on and on.

I think the biggest new feature for the updated Mac mini is the lower price point. The introductory price of the mini had been $599 for the past few years, but Apple has finally dropped it back down to a more reasonable price point of $499.

There are some drawback with this update, though. The Mac mini server version is no longer available, the RAM is no longer user-upgradable, and replacing the hard drive now voids your warranty. I don’t think the lack of “server” options will be a big deal at all, it wasn’t very popular, but limiting your ability to upgrade the RAM and hard drive is a bit of a let down.

It’ll be important that you purchase a Mac mini with the RAM and hard drive you need when you make the initial purchase. I’ve done a few RAM and hard drive upgrades to macs in the past and it was a great way to get some extra longevity out of a machine. Now, I wouldn’t suggest it unless you really know what you’re doing.

Overall I think this is a great update, though. Faster processors and graphics, an extra Thunderbolt port, 802.11ac Wi-Fi, and a lower introductory price makes for a compelling upgrade from the previous model. I think if you’re looking for a mac to use as a home server or looking to convince a friend or family member to switch from Windows, this is a great machine for the job.

Creating Invisible Home Screen Icons

Neat trick by David Smith showing how to create invisible home screen icons using Safari’s Add to Home Screen feature. I wouldn’t be surprised if I end up using this when I eventually (and begrudgingly) upgrade to a 4.7-inch iPhone next year.

Buy an iPad mini 2 While You Still Can

As it turns out, the iPad mini 3 has the same internals of an iPad mini 2 — with the only extra features being Touch ID and the option of getting one in gold. If you were interested in buying a 7.9-inch iPad, I’d follow Chris Welch’s advice and get a iPad mini 2 while you still can. Especially if you can still find one with more than 16GB of storage (like in the refurbished section of Apple’s online store).

Jonathan Ive in Conversation with Graydon Carter

The full interview from Vanity Fair’s New Establishment Summit.

John Siracusa’s Review of OS X Yosemite

I’ve never made it all the way through a John Siricusa OS X review. I’m not sure I ever will — due to a lack of free time not because I don’t enjoy reading them. If you’re interested in all of the nitty-gritty details of Apple’s latest OS, this is the first place I’d look.

Apple Releases OS X Yosemite

As Apple announced on stage at the event yesterday, Yosemite is now available on the App Store as a free upgrade to users of Mavericks and Mountain Lion. I’ve been using Yosemite on my secondary Mac for the past few months and it’s a solid release with a lot of welcomed changes and improvements.

If you plan on upgrading today I’d suggest making a fresh backup before hitting the update button. I’d personally recommend SuperDuper! for these types of situations, but a Time Machine backup should suffice.

I plan on waiting a month or two before upgrading, though. Yosemite has been very stable on the 2008 iMac I’ve been running it on. But, I’d rather wait for Apple to fix the bugs that everyone else finds than be one of the users finding them. As Aaron Mahnke astutely put it on Twitter:

Yesterday, Apple announced that I will be installing Yosemite on January 16, 2015.

I’m not sure I’ll wait quite that long, but Aaron has the right idea. I’ll probably end up upgrading during the last week of December when my day job slows down a bit.

Apple WatchKit to be Available Next Month

Developers will be able to start building applications for Apple Watch months before the device is available to the public. I think this is a necessity — I don’t think the Watch is enough as is to justify the $349 price tag. But, the addition of third-party apps will give the Watch new and interesting features to help customers justify the price of admission.

John Gruber, Speaking at XOXO Festival

I was excited to hear that John spoke at XOXO Fest in Portland last month. It was a great talk with a lot of interesting information about how he turned Daring Fireball into his full time gig.

This is what makes me want to keep writing.

Macworld/iWorld Conference on Hiatus

From IDG World Expo’s statement, as published by Macworld:

We are announcing today that Macworld/iWorld is going on hiatus, and will not be taking place as planned in 2015. Our MacIT event, the world’s premiere event for deploying Apple in the enterprise, will continue next year with details to be announced in the coming weeks.

I would guess that by “on hiatus” they mean “over.”

The writing’s been on the wall since Apple announced their last year at Macworld Expo in 2009. Everyone knew that this would happen eventually — I’m surprised that they’ve made it this long.

Dropbox Wasn’t Hacked

Anton Mityagin writing on The Dropbox Blog:

Recent news articles claiming that Dropbox was hacked aren’t true. Your stuff is safe. The usernames and passwords referenced in these articles were stolen from unrelated services, not Dropbox. Attackers then used these stolen credentials to try to log in to sites across the internet, including Dropbox. We have measures in place to detect suspicious login activity and we automatically reset passwords when it happens.

It’s always a bad idea to reuse passwords across multiple services. This is a great example of why you shouldn’t do that.

Apple to Live Stream October 16 Event

Unfortunately I won’t be able to watch this one live. But, the  stream can be viewed on Apple’s site at the aforelinked page. It will also be available to on the Apple TV through Apple’s live events app.