In the war against spam, it often feels like we’re waging an uphill battle. While our email tools have improved and evolved over the last few years, the battlefield has started to shift from our inbox to our phones.
Recently, I’ve ended up on the receiving end of spammy text chains. Usually these are links, texted from a local number, to roughly 20 different phone numbers, many of them within the same area code as my own (or adjacent ones).
I can totally relate to an influx of text spam in the past few months.
I think that in general Apple needs to focus on privacy when it comes to messaging and email. I appreciate the fact that Messages are technically E2E encrypted but things like blocking tracking pixels in the Mail app as well as better contacts privacy settings are high on my wish list. If Apple were able to tell a cohesive story around blocking spam texts and calls, protecting your email privacy and giving you more control over your contacts list at this summer’s WWDC, I’d be thrilled.
The Georgia House passed a sweeping measure, House Bill 531, that would create new rules for elections by limiting weekend early voting hours, requiring more ID to vote absentee and restricting drop boxes.
While we’re still waiting for any evidence of widespread voter fraud from the 2020 election (I’m sure it’s coming any time now), the Georgia House is wasting no time pushing through restrictive measures that make it harder for people to vote. Here’s the high level of what’s in the bill:
Limits Sunday voting to one optional Sunday in each county
Restricts the use of ballot drop boxes by requiring them to be located inside early voting locations
Requires a driver’s license number, state ID number or copy of photo ID to vote absentee
Sets a deadline to request absentee ballots 11 days before election day
Disqualifies provisional ballots cast in the wrong precinct
Bans outside funding of elections from nonprofit organizations
Prohibits governments from mailing unsolicited absentee ballot applications
Creates instant-runoff voting for military and overseas voters
Schedules runoffs four weeks after election day rather than the current nine weeks
Prevents free food and drinks for voters waiting in line to vote
Restricts early voting buses to emergencies
That’s a grab bag of bad ideas and a few areas that I don’t have much argument with (Ranked-choice voting in particular is a fantastic idea and I hope it gets expanded over time). But removing early-access to voting makes it harder for tons of Georgians to vote. However, what’s scarier is that the Georgia Senate is now considering removing no-exuse mail-in ballots for voters. The combo of the two is really concerning, but not that surprising.
HomePod and even the new HomePod mini don’t count songs when you ask Siri to play something on your smart speaker. This affects your Apple Music Replay statistics and integration with third-party Apple Music applications.
Play counts with Apple Music have always been wonky. I don’t see this particular issue, but I don’t doubt he’s seeing it. One of the main reasons I use Apple Music over Spotify is the underlying power of play counts and metadata, but relying on it being 100% accurate is a fool’s errand. It’s been abut 5 years since Apple Music launched and I still feel like the fundamentals aren’t quite where they need to be.
Apple made a remote control that’s an undeniably beautiful piece of hardware. Outside of the Siri Remote, how many TV remotes can claim to actually look good? But the touchpad’s minimalism and misplaced attempt at trying to turn the entire remote into something that it’s not makes it like other failed Apple buttons before it: a stark warning of the dangers of chasing form over function.
The Siri Remote is by far the worst Apple product I own and this article sums up all of the frustrations users feel when using it. The actual Siri functionality is brilliant but it mostly stops there. Swiping around is a pain, they’re easy to lose and when you do find them, odds are you’ll pick it up facing upside down.
I could be wrong, but this sort of design feels like the worst of the Jony Ive era and I’m hopeful that Apple will make amends with the next Apple TV version.
The company chose Atlanta for its future growth for one explicit reason: In order to meet its hiring goals for technical teams with a diverse range of perspectives, the company needed a location that produces diverse and creative talent and would continue to attract more. No other city could surpass Atlanta’s potential to do that, Chris Lehane, Airbnb’s senior vice president for global policy and communications, told Protocol.
The fallout from Covid-19 accelerating work from anywhere has a large number of California-based tech companies looking for other places to search for talent. Atlanta has a ton of ingredients – relatively low cost of living, good weather, good local talent pools and a very diverse workforce – that make it appealing to any company looking outside of SF for talent.
The Democrats, already divided in some ways on ideological grounds on issues like Medicare for All, now have another big question: How do they try to defend American democracy against rising anti-democratic forces largely centered within the GOP? That debate is likely to center on to what extent Democrats should adopt more hardball tactics to try to reduce GOP power, including steps such as getting rid of the filibuster or adding justices to the Supreme Court. That debate will also have an electoral dimension, as the party must figure out whether conservative voters wary of Trump and Trumpism constitute a big enough bloc to make it worthwhile to court them, even if that means sidelining some of the policy goals of the party’s more progressive wing.
Democrats gave Republicans every opportunity to disavow Trump and move on to retake their party but they’ve chosen not to. Given where polling stands for Republicans on Trump, impeachment and who they would vote for in a 2024 primary, it seems that they’ve chosen not to “retake” their party because they don’t want to.
The future of how we work has been a popular topic inside the walls of Spotify for a while now. Our leadership team has long championed the idea that digitalization and globalization are massive drivers for a more flexible workplace that better suits both our band and our business.
Add another company to the list. One interesting tidbit is their focus on paying NY/SF salaries no matter where the employee chooses to live. I’m really curious to see what the Covid year does to our industry as well as current tech centers like NY and SF.
Interesting take by Ben on how Reminders hits the mark for him over more-fiddly options like OmniFocus and Things. I’m a big fan of using Things but there are definitely times where the relative simplicity of a native app like Reminders appeals to me.
And what happens if Apple’s rumored AR headset is ready before its map is?
The short version is that it appears that the sheer volume of POI data in the US is slowing down the rollout of look around. And if that’s the case, Apple is really going to struggle to keep these enhanced maps up-to-date, let alone roll them out in a timely manner. I really love the overall Apple Maps look & feel but I do find myself using Google Maps for most POI searches / quick trips and Apple Maps more for longer car trips where I already know the gist of where I’m headed and want traffic/time info (and a nicer looking map). I don’t think Look Around is a “killer feature” but the underlying lack of trust in their POI database is going to be a problem if they can’t get it sorted out.
On another note, these articles by Justin O’Beirne are so fun to read. I love how he builds toward a conclusion with tons of examples and really nerds out on the map data he’s got access to.