I'm Lance Somoza, a professional IT Consultant with over 15 years of industry experience and an obsession for technology. This is my tech soapbox.

Ingrid Lunden and Katie Roof for TechCrunch:

As Spotify continues to inch towards a public listing, Apple is making a move of its own to step up its game in music services. Sources tell us that the company is close to acquiring Shazam, the popular app that lets people identify any song, TV show, film or advert in seconds, by listening to an audio clip or (in the case of, say, an ad) a visual fragment, and then takes you to content relevant to that search.

We have heard that the deal is being signed this week, and will be announced on Monday, although that could always change.

One source describes the deal as in the nine figures; another puts it at around £300 million ($401 million). We are still asking around. Notably, though, the numbers we’ve heard are lower than the $1.02 billion (according to PitchBook) post-money valuation the company had in its last funding round, in 2015.

Obvious Apple Music and Siri benefits aside, Apple must be really impressed with Shazam’s underlying technology to make this purchase. I’ve never seen anyone use Shazam on a TV show or in any capacity other than identifying music, but there could be some real benefits to tried and tested audio recognition down the line (e.g. AR, advanced Siri functions, HomePod).


Juli Clover for MacRumors:

Apple Chief Design Officer Jony Ive is once again taking over management of the design team at Apple according to changes made to Apple’s official “Apple Leadership” website.

The site was updated this morning to remove the profiles of Richard Howarth and Alan Dye, who were managing the day-to-day operations at Apple while Ive oversaw all of Apple’s design projects, and Bloomberg has confirmed that Ive is once again in direct control of the team as shared by Mark Gurman.

Ive first stepped back from day-to-day management of Apple’s design teams in 2015, when he took on the role of “Chief Design Officer.” Alan Dye and Richard Howarth were elevated to vice president positions at that time, with Howarth responsible for industrial design and Dye responsible for user interface design.

There is one of two stories here. Either Apple is executing a plan long in the making now that Jony is done with the new campus and retail makeover (most likely), or this is a reactive measure to something bigger.

In the case for something bigger: Apple makes polarizing decisions, but none have been more divisive than ones introduced in the past few years (largely dealing with MacBook), such as:

  1. MacBook Pro Touch Bar
  2. MacBook Pro butterfly keys 1
  3. MacBook: Lack of ports (only USB-C)
  4. iPhone X: the TrueDepth camera notch

Although Jony has no doubt been engaged with all these hardware and software design changes, his attention has absolutely been elsewhere. Also, let’s not get software design confused with software engineering — a sensitive area for Apple as of late with multiple widespread bugs. We can argue the software design of Apple’s systems all day, but the area needing more attention right now is hardware design.

Either way, I’m more interested to see what exactly has happened to Alan Dye and Richard Howarth.

Updated on 12/8 at 1:26 PM:

Bloomberg’s piece includes this predictable statement from Apple:

“With the completion of Apple Park, Apple’s design leaders and teams are again reporting directly to Jony Ive, who remains focused purely on design,” Amy Bessette, a company spokeswoman, said Friday in a statement.


  1. Finally took my 2016 MacBook Pro in to the Apple Store this past week for the ‘sticky’ keys problem. ↩︎


Updated 12/5 at 11:00 AM Pacific: Apple confirms Apple Pay Cash is officially available.

Updated 12/5 at 1:30 PM Pacific: watchOS 4.2 for Apple Watch is now available with Apple Pay Cash support.

Chaim Gartenberg for The Verge:

Apple was forced to release iOS 11.2 on Saturday, which was a little earlier than planned, due to a software bug. Now, Apple Pay Cash — one of the marquee features of the update — is being activated for users.

Apple Pay Cash lets users send and receive money directly though iMessages, similar to Venmo or Square Cash. Money that people send you will live on a digital Apple Pay Cash card in the Wallet app, which users can spend anywhere that Apple Pay is accepted, or send to other people. (The new feature is only available in the US for now, though.)

Nice to see this finally launch (if in a weird way), after being delayed from the original iOS 11 release.

The setting to activate Apple Pay Cash seems to be rolling out slowly, as mine didn’t appear until about 7pm Pacific. To check if it’s active for you, go to Settings > Wallet & Apple Pay. Once set up, you’ll find your Apple Pay Cash card inside the Wallet app (along with a cool shimmering animation when you tilt your phone). As you can see in the featured image above, you can send and receive cash in Messages via the Cash app in the app drawer. 1 My Dad … graciously helped me test this important new feature.

This really demonstrates what a trojan horse the Messages app has become (in a good way). Don’t underestimate how important iMessage is to Apple. It’s one of the main reasons people love iPhone, and it keeps them locked into the Apple ecosystem.

It won’t be too long before iOS users relegate Venmo/Square Cash/PayPal to payment methods only for cross-platform because of Apple Pay Cash being baked in.


  1. That was a mouthful. ↩︎


Summary

Dad and I discuss Apple’s multiple software bugs this past week, iOS 11.2 and Apple Pay Cash, HomePod delay, how Gaddgict became One-Tech Mind, and more! This episode (and all going forward) includes MP3 chapters thanks to Marco Arment’s Forecast tool. Thanks, Marco! To see them, listen to Fatherboard in Overcast.

Topics

  • Intro: House of Blues
  • Apple software bugs or “Bug Week”
    • I Am Root vulnerability
    • I Am Root patch caused another bug for some
    • December 2 notification bug
  • iOS 11.2 and Apple Pay Cash
  • E-Mail is a Necessary Evil
  • Mom’s MacBook Pro Update
  • HomePod delay & Future Siri
  • Trouble Paying iPhone Screen Replacement Fee
  • Gaddgict becomes One-Tech Mind
  • USC wins PAC-12 Championship (may include minor Stanford bashing).

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Apple has released iOS 11.2 to address the nasty date and time bug discovered late last night. This is definitely an unprecedented action for them, but I suppose a good decision as long as iOS 11.2 doesn’t break anything else.

The full release notes are below, and include many other improvements/fixes. Despite the nature of the release, there is some pretty nice stuff listed here. NOTE: Apple Pay Cash is included, but it won’t be active until next week.

Full release notes for iOS 11.2:

  • iOS 11.2 introduces Apple Pay Cash to send, request and receive money from friends and family with Apple Pay. This update also includes bug fixes and improvements. For information on the security content of Apple software updates, please visit this website.
  • Other improvements and fixes:
  • Adds support for faster wireless charging on iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus and iPhone X with compatible third-party accessories.
  • Introduces three new Live wallpapers for iPhone X.
  • Improves video camera stabilization.
  • Adds support in Podcasts to automatically advance to the next episode from the same show.
  • Adds support in HealthKit for downhill snow sports distance as a data type.
  • Fixes an issue that could cause Mail to appear to be checking for new messages even when a download is complete.
  • Fixes an issue that could cause cleared Mail notifications from Exchange accounts to reappear.
  • Improves stability in Calendar.
  • Resolves an issue where Settings could open to a blank screen.
  • Fixes an issue that could prevent swiping to Today View or Camera from the Lock Screen.
  • Addresses an issue that could prevent Music controls from displaying on the Lock Screen.
  • Fixes an issue that could cause app icons to be arranged incorrectly on the Home Screen.
  • Addresses an issue that could prevent users from deleting recent photos when iCloud storage is exceeded.
  • Addresses an issue where Find My iPhone sometimes wouldn’t display a map.
  • Fixes an issue in Messages where the keyboard could overlap the most recent message.
  • Fixes an issue in Calculator where typing numbers rapidly could lead to incorrect results.
  • Addressed an issue where the keyboard could respond slowly.
  • Adds support for real-time text (RTT) phone calls for the deaf and hard of hearing.
  • Improves VoiceOver stability in Messages, Settings, App Store and Music.
  • Resolves an issue that prevented VoiceOver from announcing incoming Notifications.

Chance Miller for 9to5Mac:

Just days after the huge root security flaw on macOS earlier this week, a growing number of iPhone and iPad users are reporting serious reboot and respring issues. The problem, detailed in a growing Reddit thread and on Twitter, seems to stem from apps that use local notifications, such as reminder applications like Headspace and Calm…

One Reddit user claims to have spoken with a senior Apple representative who informed him that the company is working on a fix.

Just spoke to a senior Apple rep and they too suggested manually setting the date to 1 day before the problem started – this was 1 Dec for me and it worked (I’m on an iPhone X running iOS 11.1.2 (15B202)) – or resetting all settings to default.

They did mention that they’re presently being flooded with calls reporting the same issue and that their ‘Engineering team’ is working on it figuring out what the problem is.

Apple is currently recommending that affected users set their device’s date back by one day. […]

‘Respring’ refers to when iPhone shows a black screen and loading indicator before taking you back to the Lock screen (not an actual reboot). It’s named after SpringBoard, the iOS system that manages the Home screen and applications.

So … what the hell is going on in Cupertino?


Sebastiaan de With shared great insight on shooting in RAW mode with iPhone X on the Halide blog today — Halide being a really powerful camera app I highly recommend.

I have always found the task of shooting in RAW and subsequent editing a bit daunting. After reading Sebastiaan’s post, I feel more empowered than ever to give it a real go.

Sebastiaan:

I am the design half of the team that makes the iPhone app Halide, which is a camera app with manual controls and, most importantly, RAW capture.

RAW is a file format that holds an incredible amount of information. We’ll get into the details later, but first let’s show what you can do with it.

From Sebastiaan’s post. Left: a RAW image out of the iPhone X. Right: the image after editing.
From Sebastiaan’s post. Left: a RAW image out of the iPhone X. Right: the image after editing.

RAW affords you editing freedom. Absolute freedom to change the colors and white balance of a photo, or recover too-bright highlights and too-dark shadows.

However, as awesome as RAW is, it’s important to know RAW isn’t a magic “enhance” button. Some of our users sometimes reach out with confusion about their RAW images looking worse than a regular capture from the stock camera app.

Read his full post for a really accessible overview of how RAW files are put together, and what shooting in RAW really means, including important caveats.


Taylor Martin for CNET:

While Routines are still nowhere to be found, you can issue up to two commands to Google Home at once. You can say something like, “OK, Google, turn on the TV and what’s the weather?” Your TV with Chromecast ($35.00 at B&H Photo-Video) will power on and Google Home will tell you the weather for your location.

This worked with almost all the commands we tested. Traffic, however, only seemed to work sometimes. Other times Google Home just ignored the traffic request and responded to the second command. This feature is also limited to a string of two commands. Three or more commands will not work.

This is exactly what I asked for of smart speakers/assistants as a whole in this poorly-worded post.

Among the other examples given, for me, this would be extremely helpful to control two lights at once that aren’t exclusively part of a scene.

Previously, Google addressed my other request for adaptive volume with its Night Mode feature that lowers volume during preset times.

Too bad I don’t have a Google Home. Amazon needs to add this to their Echo line and Apple should take note for Siri/HomePod.


Apple has released macOS High Sierra Security Update 2017-001 to address the embarrassing security hole discovered yesterday. Funnily referred to as #IAmRoot on Twitter, the exploit allowed anyone to obtain the highest level of access to your Mac by using the built-in root account without a password. Most vulnerable to physical access, others on Twitter discovered it allowed for remote exploitation as well.

If you’re running a Mac with High Sierra, update immiediately via the App Store.

Apple released the following statement:

Security is a top priority for every Apple product, and regrettably we stumbled with this release of macOS.

When our security engineers became aware of the issue Tuesday afternoon, we immediately began working on an update that closes the security hole. This morning, as of 8 a.m., the update is available for download, and starting later today it will be automatically installed on all systems running the latest version (10.13.1) of macOS High Sierra.

We greatly regret this error and we apologize to all Mac users, both for releasing with this vulnerability and for the concern it has caused. Our customers deserve better. We are auditing our development processes to help prevent this from happening again.

This is an insanely-quick response from Apple, and that is fantastic. However, this never, ever should have happened to begin with. There’s no other word for it than ‘embarrassing’. An increasingly large amount of Apple’s value proposition is their stock as the privacy and security company. After a while, issues like these can begin to hurt their credibility.

I think it’s clear Apple really needs to institute a bug bounty program for Mac, like they have done for iOS. The Mac product line as a whole has been seen as neglected by pros over the past couple years, so huge missteps like this only add insult to injury. If Apple doesn’t want folks to think of Mac as the red-headed step-child, they need to start doing a much better job.


Finding My Way

I’ve always wanted to do something creative with my technical knowledge, but I never came up with a compelling enough idea to put myself to task. I always thought that if I could just think of the perfect name for whatever my thing was going to be, that it would just hit me. That’s exactly what happened with Gaddgict.

I remember waking up one day this past April with the name in my head. It sounded perfect, or so I thought. Inspired by the mainstays of tech blogging and/or podcasting (e.g. John Gruber, Jason Snell, Marco Arment, Walt Mossberg, Jim Dalrymple, Dave Mark, and others), I decided to start a tech blog — in 2017 — employing an ‘if you build it, they will come’ sort of approach.

Harnessing the ‘move fast and break things’ adage, I jumped right into it. I had considered a few other names before making sure Gaddgict was the best choice. 1 Before I knew it, I bought the domain, spun up a server, and designed the logo in the car during a road trip to the Bay Area.

I have learned a ton in the past seven months since Gaddgict launched, but something kept nagging me about the name. Now, I love a good portmanteau, 2 but Gaddgict didn’t seem to fit with what I’m trying to accomplish with my writing. It also didn’t sound as credible to me as I am striving to be. Plus, there were other … marketing problems: the portmanteau gets lost when verbalized, I’d have to spell it out letter by letter, it’s hard to remember, need I say more. Suffice it to say, I decided ’Gaddgict’ as a brand wasn’t a good fit.

Perhaps one day Gaddgict will find its true purpose.

Why One-Tech Mind?

For three summer breaks during my High School years, I interned at the technical trade school my Dad worked for. He wore a few hats there, but lastly served as the IT Manager. During my first summer there, while learning DOS commands and installing Windows 98, I was obsessed with building my first [gaming] computer from scratch. I scoured the Fry’s ad on Friday and checked Newegg constantly, desperately trying to piece together the perfect budget-friendly rig.

I wouldn’t stop once we left work, because for me, this subject matter wasn’t work. On our drives home, I continued to be a broken record full of “what ifs” and “what do you thinks”, most likely driving my Dad crazy. Suffice it to say, my Dad has always said I have a one-track mind. It’s true — I am incredibly obsessive by nature. Once I get locked on a subject, good luck pulling me away from it. That has always been the case with technology.

No name could ever reflect who I am better than One-Tech Mind. I grew up on computing towards the end of the DOS days and look incredibly forward to each new step we take towards the future of computing — in whichever shape it takes form.

Thanks for joining me for the ride. There’s plenty more to come.

Follow One-Tech Mind on Twitter


  1. Narrator: It wasn’t. ↩︎

  2. Hopefully you got it (gadget + addict). ↩︎