iOS 11 drops tomorrow, the 19th


Click to enlarge

Statement at Apple website: iOS 11 sets a new standard for what is already the world’s most advanced mobile operating system. It makes iPhone better than before. It makes iPad more capable than ever. And now it opens up both to amazing possibilities for augmented reality in games and apps. With iOS 11, iPhone and iPad are the most powerful, personal, and intelligent devices they’ve ever been.

Here in MDT, typically will drop at 11AM. The tvOS update should be rolling out, as well…though I’m still waiting for my fave reseller to get the 4K Gen 5 Apple TV.

NYPD handcuffed by investment in Microsoft’s Windows Phone

The New York Police Department must replace some 36,000 smartphones running Microsoft’s defunct Windows Phone platform…plans to provide its officers with replacement iPhones by the end of the year.

The NYPD’s ill-advised investment in Windows Phone…lasted just two years. The switch to Apple’s iPhone was prompted by the announcement from Microsoft in July that it has terminated support for Windows Phone 8.1.

The 36,000 phones were purchased as part of a $160 million program intended to help modernize New York City’s police force with new technology. Officers were equipped with Nokia Lumia 830 and Lumia 640XL smartphones.

Smartphones have become a crucial tool in law enforcement, with the NYPD using them on the street to receive alerts, search databases, file reports, and even get real-time updates on 911 calls.

Wonder who got what in the NYPD or NYC purchasing department to make the original decision. There were plenty of naysayers for sound technical and economic reasons. No one listened.

Terrified mom calls ambulance after daughter messages prank selfie

Everyone likely remembers the first time they saw Apple’s Photo Booth app, and chuckled to their friends while contorting their features to resemble a chipmunk or big-eyed cartoon character.

An amusing new story reveals what can go wrong when sending such pictures, however: A mom in Edinburgh, Scotland, became convinced her daughter had suffered a terrifying allergic reaction after being shown one such image.

When the concerned mother asks what happened, her daughter told her that it was the result of a nut allergy — leading to the response, “Jesus Christ almighty, what has happened to your face?” after her mom saw the scale of the facial distortion. The mom then said she would phone an ambulance to get her daughter at work, although it’s not clear whether she went through with her promise.

The tweet has gone viral since the iMessage exchange was posted online, having so far been retweeted 1,200 times.

Hope she doesn’t snack on some nuts by mistake, now. Mom may not be a help.

Apple asks courts to stop wasting time over unlocking iPhones — it ain’t gonna happen!

Apple has spoken about privacy rights for its customers before, but newly released court documents show that the company is practicing what it preaches.

…A newly unsealed court transcript from an October 2015 hearing in Brooklyn shows that Apple petitioned the court to stop asking it to unlock iPhones in a brief, as part of their participation in a trial against a meth dealer.

During the hearing, a judge asked Apple to explain why it had ignored U.S. prosecutors’ search warrants to unlock the iPhone 5s of Jun Feng, who pled guilty to conspiracy attempt to distribute methamphetamines and was charged alongside six others.

The government asked for Apple’s help because Feng’s iPhone 5s, which had Apple’s iOS 7 operating system, was programmed to erase all its data after 10 unsuccessful attempts to unlock the phone. Even Homeland Security’s password-unlocking system — which will go through every combination available — was unable to obtain information from Feng’s phone…

❝“In most cases now and in the future, the government’s requested order would be substantially burdensome, as it would be impossible to perform,” lawyers for the company wrote…“For devices running iOS 8 or higher, Apple would not have the technical ability to do what the government requests — take possession of a password-protected device from the government and extract unencrypted user data from that device for the government. ”

Apple noted that operating systems like iOS 8 and the current iOS 9 are designed to be impenetrable — even by Apple itself…

❝”Apple has never worked with any government agency from any country to create a ‘backdoor’ in any of our products or services. We have also never allowed any government access to our servers. And we never will,” says the statement.

Some day, some way, the government of the United States may rediscover the urge to join the current century. Our elected officials, state and federal, may eventually recover dedication to the Founding Fathers love of individual freedom and quit trying to use the courts and Congress to enforce obedience to lazyass lawmen.

I expect that will be accompanied by flying pigs and snowcones sold on the sidewalks of Hades. Until then, I am pleased to applaud Apple’s willingness to support folks who think we actually have a right to privacy.

Apple personalizes photography — iPhone users win Cannes Gold Lions

Ahmed fiesta pic
Ahmed’s pic from the Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta has shown up around the world

Apple’s World Gallery, part of the “Shot on iPhone 6” media blitz, was honored at this year’s Cannes Lions International Festival for Creativity with five Gold Lions and a Grand Prix award in the outdoor category.

…Jury president Juan Carlos Ortiz, creative chairman ad agency DDB Americas, heaped praise on the idea of sourcing media from the public sphere. The strategy flies in the face of traditional media strategies which rely on art contracted from professional photographers.

“It’s not just a great idea, it’s a game changer,” Ortiz said. “It’s really opening a new way of doing things and changing behavior.”

World Gallery first showed up online in March as a collection of images taken by iPhone 6 users. While some images were captured by professionals in the photography field, many were shot by pro-am or amateur users. Earlier this month, Apple added a video section to the minisite, again featuring footage borrowed from iPhone 6 and 6 Plus owners.

I started noticing the video adverts showing up on TV in the last couple of weeks. Not only impressive work in most instances, I’m especially happy to see mostly amateurs receiving recognition.

There was a time, decades ago, that Kodak brought similar capabilities to hobbyist photographers. I’m delighted to see it happening again.

Apple’s ResearchKit offers scientists access to millions of volunteers


Jeff Williams introduces Apple’s medical research kitReuters/Robert Galbraith

Apple just released ResearchKit, an open-source software tool designed to give scientists a new way to gather information on patients by using their iPhones.

Several top research institutions have already developed applications to work on the ResearchKit platform, including those pursuing clinical studies on asthma, breast cancer, heart disease, diabetes and Parkinson’s disease. They include Stanford University School of Medicine and Weill Cornell Medical College.

The format will allow users to decide if they want to participate in a study and decide how their data is to be shared with researchers…

The ResearchKit platform is designed to work hand in hand with Apple’s HealthKit software, which allows iPhones to work with health and fitness apps that gather information on weight, blood pressure, glucose levels and asthma inhaler use.

The ResearchKit also allows researchers access to accelerometer, microphone, gyroscope and GPS sensors in the iPhone to gain insight into a patient’s gait, motor impairment, fitness, speech and memory.

The software is also designed to help researchers build more diverse study populations, which traditionally have been limited by physical proximity to large academic medical centres.

My wife teases me – calls me her personal emoticon. And I admit I cried a little when Tim Cook and Jeff Williams were introducing ResearchKit.

The primary cause of my mom’s death was Parkinson’s. She devoted a lot of her life to the American Heart Association. I’ve done some similar things; but, the best was being able to volunteer as a human test subject for one ailment that, right now, still affects millions of people. Shingles. My mom suffered through some painful episodes and it pleased me much to be in the final test cycle of the Shingles vaccine before it was approved.

That was a big deal because it included several thousand volunteers nationwide. With ResearchKit, computational analysis of everything from day-by-day, minute-by-minute tracking of symptoms, response, exercise, a great deal of information previously only available from small groups, narrow demographics – can now be collated from millions of volunteers.

Doctors, researchers, universities worldwide can develop apps to fit their particular needs. And you decide what you wish to participate in – if at all.

You decide whether or not you are anonymous. You decide the boundaries for your participation. Apple sees none of the information. It’s all up to you.

Tim Cook and the designers at Apple feel the potential for this concept is so important — they’re making the SDK open source and developers can proceed on any platform they wish. You won’t have to own Apple products to participate.

What will your verse be?

I’ve spent most of my life living multiple directions at the same time.

I went from being a kid performing artist as a classical musician to teen jazz musician – while studying photography and literature.

I went from industrial engineering to a major in English literature – after switching to a 12-string guitar. And stopped racing cars, legally or otherwise, which included a very short stint driving for a bootlegger.

There’s more – especially political struggles over the last half-century or so. But, if you’re a regular visitor to this blog you’ll bump into those tales, the pleasure I experience from materialist philosophy and dialectics, science and society.

But, the arts in one form or another should be part of everyone’s life. Today’s technology brings ease and experiment into everyone’s life. Music, photography, writing, reading, experiencing all the wonder of human creativity and nature’s reach can be in the palm of your hand.

The shared experience of seeing a scientist in Alabama – or a technology and business journalist in San Francisco – become really skilled with the digital tools they have chosen to describe the beauty of existence makes me one of the happiest critters on Earth.

When a company chooses to sell their wares on the basis of this capability adds to that enjoyment.