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.
 

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.

Jony Ive on Lessons He Learned From Steve Jobs

Talking on stage with Graydon Carter at the Vanity Fair New Establishment Summit. The one at the end about caring how others perceive you I found to be very thought provoking.

Twitter Sues Justice Department

I’m very happy to see that Twitter is fighting the federal government for their right to publish warrant canaries. I wish they weren’t the only company doing so. But, I’m glad that someone is fighting for their freedom of speech.

Apple Removing Bose Audio Products From Retail Stores

Kelly Hodgkins writing for MacRumors:

Apple is preparing to remove all Bose audio products, both demo and sellable, from its retail environment, according to a reliable source who spoke to MacRumors. The inventory change will begin early next week, with instructions for removal being sent to employees in the coming days.

The reasons behind this removal were not disclosed, but it is very likely tied to to Apple’s recent acquisition of Beats Electronics.

It’s the Storage Space, Stupid

John Gruber on the slow adoption of iOS 8:

But it’s very clear that I was wrong about what the primary factor is. The simple answer was staring me right in the face. It’s all about the over-the-air update requiring 5 GB of free storage space, and many people not having that much free space, and not knowing how or simply not wanting to deal with it.

My girlfriend owns a 16GB iPhone 5s and I don’t think she would have ever updated to iOS 8 if I hadn’t done it for her. It’s not because she doesn’t know how to manage her storage, it’s just too much of a hassle to make room for some software enhancements that probably wouldn’t be missed if she never used them.

Apple needs to find a way to shrink the size of major iOS upgrades even further or they need to stop selling iPhones with such puny storage capacities. If they don’t, then Apple’s days of bragging about iOS adoption rates will soon be over.

‘It’s been way too long.’

Apple has invited the press to an event on October 16 that will be held at Apple’s corporate headquarters in Cupertino, CA.

It’s safe to assume we’ll be seeing new iPads, Yosemite, and possibly even the rumored Retina iMac. I find the tagline for the event and the rainbow Apple logo to be intriguing. As someone who’s “only” been following Apple for the past eight years, I associate Apple’s use of rainbows with iPods. And, it’s certainly been quite a while since we’ve seen an overhaul of the iPod lineup.

The New Tools & Toys

Shawn Blanc:

With this new design, we are aiming to become more than just a cool stuff site. Our new, longer-form articles will center around the values of mindfulness, intentionality, knowing your tools (and your toys), and appreciation for quality.

I’ve been reading Tools & Toys since its inception in 2011 and I’m excited to see all the changes taking place. I can’t wait to read all of the long-form reviews, gear guides, and interviews that they’ll be publishing in the future.

Apple’s Sapphire Crystal Supplier Files for Bankruptcy

Who would have expected that one of Apple’s suppliers would be filing for bankruptcy?

Hewlett-Packard Announces Plans to Split into Two Companies

Quentin Hardy writing for The New York Times:

The company, considered a foundational institution of Silicon Valley, said in a news release that it intended to divide itself into a company aimed at business technology, including computer servers and data storage equipment, software and services, and a company that sells personal computers and printers.

Both companies will be publicly traded. The business-oriented company will be called Hewlett-Packard Enterprise, while the PC company will be called HP Inc. and will retain the company’s current logo.

Microsoft’s Culture of Baggage

Michael Mulvey:

In the same way that there’s an underlying culture keeping Apple on track well after Steve Jobs has died, so too does Microsoft have an underlying culture holding them back from making great software that doesn’t have a ton of baggage.

I stopped using Windows when I purchased my first mac in 2006. Since then Microsoft hasn’t released anything that could convince me to switch back, and that’s a serious problem.

Windows 10 could be the beginning of a new Microsoft that has a better understanding of what its users actually want in their software. But, I have to see a lot more than a mediocre update to their OS and a new CEO. If Microsoft is ever going to make truly great software again, it’ll take major cultural changes in everyone from the CEO all the way down to the rank and file.

LG is Working on a webOS Smartwatch

I’ve never used webOS for more than a few minutes at a time — typically when I’d stop at a Verizon kiosk in my local mall. I always hoped it would find some success somewhere, but I’m not sure it’s best suited for a smartwach. Especially considering that Apple is poised to crush the market sometime early next year.

And, this is coming from someone who would love to be proven wrong about it.

‘Little Things That Improve the Way I Work on a Mac’

Wise words from Shawn Blanc on working smarter:

When we notice that there’s something we do repeatedly, step back for a moment to see if there’s a way to automate that task. And if there is something we do that annoys us, step back for a moment and question if that task is truly necessary — or if it can be delegated to someone or something.

This is something I should always have in the back of my mind while working. I don’t automate or delegate very often and I’m sure there’s a lot I could do to get things done more efficiently.

Ariel Adams on the Apple Watch

A great piece on the Apple Watch by Ariel Adams. I found this bit interesting regarding how the Watch is actually managed:

Apple Watch users will install an Apple Watch app on their iPhone, which will be used to download apps onto the watch as well as likely manage Apple Watch settings. A user’s iPhone is also used to help with computational demands. Apple cleverly pushes a lot of processor needs to the phone in order to preserve Apple Watch battery life.

I’m curious to see how long the Apple Watch will require an iPhone. And when that day eventually comes, how will we manage our Apple Watch? Will there be an application for OS X or Windows that will allow us to change settings and install apps without needing an iPhone? Or, could Apple build a web interface that would allow you to change settings and install apps on the Watch using any device with a web browser?

We Need to Talk About iOS 8

Fraser Speirs regarding Apple’s rollout of iOS 8:

We have seen problems with apps not being updated in a timely manner. We have seen issues with crashing, devices rebooting, rotation glitches, keyboards playing up, touch screens not responding. Indeed I’m typing this while babysitting the full restore of an iPad that one pupil “broke” – through no fault of their own – while updating to iOS 8.

This isn’t Apple’s best iOS release. And, I’m hoping that at some point in the next few years they release a Snow Leopard-like version of iOS — adding nearly zero new features and instead focusing on refinements to existing ones.

Apple to Hold iPad Event on October 16

John Paczkowski has a great track record with rumors like these.

I’m pretty excited about the iPad event this year. I’m still using the original iPad from 2010 and it’s in dire need of an upgrade. This is probably the year I’ll get a new one.

Netflix Signs Exclusive Deal for Four Adam Sandler Movies

He hasn’t exactly been making the best movies lately, but I’m cautiously optimistic about this deal. And, at the very least I’m excited to see Netflix continue to invest in what many would consider to be top shelf content.

Apple May Bring Back Camera Roll

This is what I wrote two days ago:

I would love to see Apple reinstate the camera roll in a future version of iOS, but it isn’t going to happen.

Although iOS 8.1 is still in beta, I couldn’t have been more wrong. I really hope that the camera roll will be here to stay once Apple releases 8.1 to the public.

(Via Engadget.)

A Rare Look at Jony Ive

An article about Apple’s lead designer in Vogue in which the writer was given early access to the Apple Watch. They seem pretty serious about the Watch as a fashion accessory, don’t they.

Microsoft Officially Announces Windows 10

I don’t see a lot that interests me. Certainly nothing worth switching over. And, I can’t believe they went with the name “Windows 10.” As John Gruber points out, what once was an April Fool’s joke is now an actual news story.

Jason Snell on Disappearing Media

I worry about relying on streaming media services  for all of my music and video. Streaming services work fine for the most part, but occasionally shows or music disappear. This time it’s Battlestar Galactica and next time it could be something you, personally, are in the middle of watching.

The convenience of having all of this content readily available is incredible. But, sometimes I miss the days when I owned physical media with the content I wanted. It’s a lot more difficult for media companies to take away my ability to watch their content when I have a disc or tape of it.

Retina iMacs in Late Testing Within Apple

Mark Gurman, writing for 9 to 5 Mac:

A new line of iMacs with ultra high-resolution Retina Displays is in late testing stages within Apple, according to our sources who have used the future desktop computer.

Mark Gurman has a great track record, so I suspect we’ll see these new iMacs released next month (or early next year if there’s any hiccups along the way).

iOS 8 Displays Battery Usage by App

I discovered this shortly after updating to iOS 8 and it’s really handy. Not necessarily to discover which apps are eating your battery life — that’s typically self explanatory — but it’s great for showing you which apps you use most often. If I ever decide to reorganize my iPhone home screen and dock I can use the battery usage screen to help me optimize the location of my app icons.

Inside the Building Where Apple Tortures the iPhone 6

Josh Lowensohn, writing for The Verge:

It’s here where Apple subjects its newest models to the kinds of things they might run into in the real world: drops, pressure, twisting, tapping. Basically all the things that could turn your shiny gadget into a small pile of metal and glass.

This reminds me of when Apple invited the press to tour their antenna testing facilities in response to antennagate in 2010.

Only Nine Customers Have Complained About Bent iPhones

In case you needed any more evidence that these bent iPhone reports are overblown.

The End of the Line for the Second-generation Apple TV

Peter Cohen, writing for iMore:

The second and third-generation Apple TV runs a variant of iOS, and the new Apple TV 7.0 software is the first release based on iOS 8. iOS 8’s minimum system requirements exclude the original iPhone 4, which uses the same microprocessor as the second-gen Apple TV.

I’ve had my second-generation Apple TV in the living room since I bought it years ago. When I purchased an additional Apple TV it ended up in the bedroom so that I wouldn’t have to uproot the living room’s media setup and move it (because I’m lazy sometimes). That third-generation Apple TV remained in the bedroom until last night when I made the swap.

I knew that at some point I was going to have to swap the two Apple TVs because Apple would start leaving features out of updates for the second-generation model. And, that update came last week.

Apple’s statement on the UNIX Bash Vulnerability

Apple provided the following statement to Jim Dalrymple regarding the recently discovered Bash vulnerability:

With OS X, systems are safe by default and not exposed to remote exploits of bash unless users configure advanced UNIX services. We are working to quickly provide a software update for our advanced UNIX users.

I would assume that the percentage of OS X users that actually use advanced UNIX services is miniscule.

Advanced Tricycling by Merlin Mann

Great talk about learning and curiosity by one of my favorite guys from the internet. It’s really good, especially the bit at the end.

Amazon’s New Kindle Lineup

I remember receiving my first Kindle as a Christmas gift from my girlfriend in 2009, just a few weeks before the first iPad announcement. I used my Kindle pretty heavily until my iPad was delivered on April 30, 2010. Since then I’ve struggled to find a reason to use it.

The new Kindle lineup looks better than ever, but I don’t think they’re for me. I don’t spend too much time reading books. I’d rather read articles written for the web instead. And, the iPad is much better suited for that task.

If I had to choose a Kindle from the lineup to purchase, (in this crazy scenario) I’d buy the basic Kindle without special offers for $99. And, it would essentially serve as a dedicated Instapaper reader that causes a bit less eye strain than my other devices do.

Bendgate

This guy decides to intentionally bend his iPhone because others have found their iPhone to be bent after regular use. Protip: don’t bend your phone.

John Gruber brings up a worthwhile point about all this:

Should not we be amazed that his phone didn’t snap in half under this pressure? That the glass didn’t fracture? Under pressure like this, bending but not breaking seems like an extraordinary feature.

I imagine that applying enough force to any phone would cause damage — shattered screen, cracked casing, etc. — I guess if it’s going to do anything, bending and continuing to function until I can get a replacement is the best of the lot.

If you wear extremely tight-fitting pants you should consider taking the phone out of your pocket when you sit for prolonged periods of time. You could also purchase a more rigid case to help prevent this sort of problem. And, there’s always the option of just buy looser pants.

Bloomberg’s Full Interview with Tim Cook

Discussing the Apple Watch, Apple Pay, and the changes Apple has gone through over the past few years.