app: the human story

App: The Human Story is about my people. It’s a loving portrait of a culture that I adore and the people who make it go. The film deftly threads together stories and ideas from the communities and craftspeople who dedicate their lives to the common goal of empowering humanity through software. And by the end, the viewer senses a rich tapestry of tension and triumph that make up the universe of this new cultural unit of progress—the app—and the reasons why it will propel us into a better future.

Can see this appealing to a few of you.

What Women Look Like Without Makeup


Please look closely at the photo on the left. That, reader, is me, the writer, wearing a full face of makeup. Clearly, my gelled brows and tinted lips were intended to con some schmuck of the opposite sex into thinking I am extremely good-looking and then make him buy me six iPhone X’s. Fortunately for said schmuck, there’s a new app that takes photos of people wearing makeup and then filters them to show what they (theoretically) look like without it. Called MakeApp, the app lets you un-makeup five photos for free before asking you to pay $0.99 to continue editing images and videos. Now look at the photo on the right. That’s me after MakeApp edited my face to let everybody know how grotesque I look when you digitally peel off the highlighter and mascara. Horrifying, I know… More at NYMAG.

Not so sure it’s horrifying, but it certainly isn’t the best idea.

Addictive apps


The average Canadian teenager is on track to spend nearly a decade of their life staring at a smartphone, and that’s no accident, according to an industry insider who shared some time-sucking secrets of the app design trade.

CBC Marketplace travelled to Dopamine Labs, a startup in Venice, Calif., that uses artificial intelligence and neuroscience to help companies hook people with their apps… More here.

We all know that some apps are extremely addictive. They’re designed that way using AI and psychology. We probably figured this was true, but here’s confirmation.


Apple News

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For a long time now I have been installing and trying out various news apps which has obviously meant that I tend to jump between them to read the latest on specific topics and what is happening in the world.

This has all changed with Apple News and I did not see it coming. Every day it is my first stop to check what’s going on and over time it has become more and more useful to the point that it seems to know exactly what I want to read about. The latest events concerning my beloved AFC Bournemouth, some tech news, watches, the disaster that is Donald Trump and the rest of the world events that are useful to know.

In iOS 11 it has improved even further and is an example of something that seemed a bit bland when it was launched becoming a very important app for me. It’s the same for my wife who reads it every day and who says that she now reads much more news than ever before and that it is by far the most used app on her iPhone.

Not everything Apple makes works, but Apple News most certainly does.

How can I trust TomTom?

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I’ve been getting warnings about TomTom going off support for a while now, and encouraging me to get my free 3 year subscription to TomTom GO. I’ve tested both on the same drive and I much prefer the old TomTom’s interface. Also, I don’t find the new version as easy to use. Oh well, I thought, I’ll take the plunge and see how things go. Who knows what I’ll need in 3 years.

Here’s where it gets more interesting. There’s a music store in Ottawa that I like to drop into every now and then. They used to be on Alta Vista but they moved to Hunt Club well over a year ago. I passed by the sign indicating they were moving, so I knew they weren’t at the old location. I drove by roughly where they said they’d be but couldn’t find them. So I looked them up and got the address. Sure enough, it was on Hunt Club. So I started up TomTom to see if it could help. Unfortunately, it still had them on Alta Vista. That’s over a year and it hadn’t been updated. I checked Google Maps and they had the correct location. And while I don’t like Google Maps’ interface for driving instructions, at least it told me that the store was tucked in behind some buildings on the street. The entrance driveway is almost hidden and the sign is very small. Unless you’re looking right at it, and not at the road, you’d miss it.

Okay, so TomTom hadn’t been updated. Not good. So today when I got my free subscription to TomTom GO, I figured I would check again. I would have expected the same result as the old version of TomTom, which still has the store on Alta Vista. I got this long list, because they’re a Canada-wide chain. You’d think it would know that I’m fairly close to Ottawa and list those first, but no. I missed it at first, scrolling down the list, but finally found it, on Alta Vista. I tried to use the city option but couldn’t get the store name plus Ottawa together. Not sure why. It looks like it should work, but it doesn’t, at least for me.

Once more, I entered the store and correct address into my contacts. I tried the search again, but apparently using contacts on the main search is restricted to people, not companies. Next I checked the My Places option. Here I get all of my contacts, businesses as well as people. But the list is alphabetical and there’s no way to go directly to a name or even a letter. The best they have is a little button at the side that scrolls the pages so you can get to where you want to go faster. So I found the entry in my contacts for the store but when I tapped it, I got “Address Not Found”! Probably not unexpected, but by now it was just a joke.

If I have to cross-check an address in Google every time I use TomTom, GO or otherwise, to get to a recently moved store, there’s not much point. Luckily I don’t need navigation very often, or I’d be looking for something better.


Stop quitting apps

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In fact, apps frozen in the background on iOS unfreeze so quickly that I think it actually helps perpetuate the myth that you should force quit them: if you’re worried that background apps are draining your battery and you see how quickly they load from the background, it’s a reasonable assumption to believe that they never stopped running. But they do. They really do get frozen, the RAM they were using really does get reclaimed by the system, and they really do unfreeze and come back to life that quickly… More at DF.

Good advice from Mr Gruber.



Nebo is an alternative to Apple’s upcoming iOS 11 Notes app. Like the Apple app, Nebo lets you use the Apple Pencil to draw and write in notes. It also recognizes the words you write and lets you search on those terms. Unlike the native Notes app, however, Nebo also converts your longhand scrawls into actual, editable text, which can be copied and pasted anywhere… More at Cult of Mac.

One to try for sure. I like the Apple Pencil, but still haven’t found a real use for it aside from the occasional sketch.

Does Apple know what a 32-bit app is?


Apple often adds timely selections of new and old apps which makes a lot of sense and with Wimbledon just around the corner tennis games were chosen.

One of the highlighted games was Virtua Tennis Challenge which I had bought and uninstalled a long time ago so I thought I would download it again.


As you can see, the game will soon be unavailable unless the developer does something quickly.

So, why is Apple highlighting it was a featured game to download or purchase? One team needs to talk to another in Apple if you ask me.

Day One jumps to subscriptions

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In short, Day One Premium provides the steady, reliable income needed to maintain and grow the Day One platform. It pays for customer support, QA, maintenance, bug-fixes, and development of new features. Recurring revenue from this subscription ensures the Day One Team will continue to provide the level of quality and reliability you’ve come to expect from us… More at Day One.

$50/year sounds like a lot to me. I used to use Evernote for journaling and moved thousands of entries to Apple Notes quite easily.

If you have very specific needs, this may appeal, but for longevity alone I would prefer to use an app and service that is likely to be around for a very long time, and at a lower cost.

Affinity Photo for iPad

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Developed without compromise, Affinity Photo for iPad is the first full blown, truly professional photo editing tool to make its way onto the Apple tablet. Built from exactly the same back-end as our award-winning desktop version, and fully optimised to harness the full power of the iPad’s hardware and touch capabilities. Affinity Photo for iPad offers an incredibly fast, powerful and immersive experience whether you are at home, in the studio or on the move… More here.

I would say to get it while it is discounted, but you should get it anyway if you have a need for such an app. It’s incredible.