A Google trainee placed a fake advert across a large number of websites and apps (via The Financial Times). The trainee accidentally placed a “buy” order during a training exercise. Nobody noticed the error for 45 minutes. The incident will cost the search giant millions of dollars.
The error, which happened late on Tuesday California time, saw the fake advert — a blank yellow rectangle — appear on many websites and in apps viewed in the US and Australia for a period of about 45 minutes. The failure to prevent such a basic human error is a black eye for Google, which has led the automation of online ad placement and is widely recognised as the leader in applying artificial intelligence to how such markets work.Google confirmed the mistake on Wednesday and said it would “honour payments to publishers for any ads purchased”. It would not comment on the scale of the problem, but one ad industry source put the potential cost at $10m.
Daring Fireball’s John Gruber noticed something interesting when he was going through Apple’s Best of the Year awards. When talking about its iOS app of the year, Procreate, Apple had to explain how to Undo and Redo. This would not be necessary on a desktop – there are established conventions for these functions. While there are conventions iOS, they are not implemented with anywhere near the force they are on desktops and so for some apps something so seemingly basic required explanation.
What it comes down to, I think, is that the menu bar has become a vastly underestimated foundation of desktop computing. Once heralded, the menu bar is now seen as a vestige. I’m not arguing that iOS should have a Mac-style menu bar. I’m simply pointing out that without one, iOS is an 11-year-old platform that is still floundering to establish consistent conventions for some basic features, let alone complex ones, that are simple and obvious on the Mac.
We have a deal on the the Ultimate Mobile App Development Certification Bundle. It’s designed to be a complete 63-hour track for mastering the most up-to-date tools in mobile app development and design. It includes six different training courses covering iOS and Android, and it’s $41 through our deal.
Microsoft Edge browser will be coming to the Mac next year. It was launched on iOS and VP Joe Belfiore made a blog post announcing it.
Microsoft Edge will now be delivered and updated for all supported versions of Windows and on a more frequent cadence. We also expect this work to enable us to bring Microsoft Edge to other platforms like macOS.
Microsoft also announced that it will rebuild Edge using Chromium, a move that further solidifies Google’s Chrome hegemony. If you’re a Mac user and don’t like Google Chrome, Firefox, or Safari, I guess give Edge a try? Or use Chromium because it’s open source and Edge will be built on top of it anyway.
Professional photographer Tyler Stalman reviews the iPhone XR and iPhone XS cameras in a video. He talks about all of the new features, like Smart HDR, the new image signal processor, and how the wide-angle lens is slightly wider than previous models. Speaking of Smart HDR, he noted that it only works with video shot at 30 fps or lower. But it works whether you’re shooting in 720p, 1080p, or 4K. Mr. Stalman also notes something he found that can correct the blurring problems around the edges of subjects when you shoot in Portrait Mode.
I’ve talked a lot about Privacy.com lately, but that’s because I think it’s such a good service. I’ve been using it for about two years. When you link your bank account to the app, you can generate unlimited virtual cards to use. You won’t have to worry about your credit card number getting leaked in a data breach anymore. When you create a card there are several configurations to use. You can create a one-time use burner card. You can lock a card to a specific merchant, and it can’t be used anywhere else. You can pause or cancel cards at any time. You can set a maximum charge for cards as well. Privacy.com is free too, because the company makes money from merchants just like traditional debit/credit cards.
Apple is putting third-party screen time apps on timeout. Now that Apple has this capability built into iOS 12, these other apps are being sherlocked. I had a feeling this was coming, and that’s why I haven’t reviewed these screen time apps that certain companies email me about. Apple cites security concerns because this type of app usually uses things like fake VPNs, MDM, and using your background location.
Jonny Evans at Apple Must reports on the recent findings of Mixpanel. The results are interesting. Quoting author Evans:
1. Apple’s iPhone 7 series smartphones remain the most widely used model of the company’s smartphones even as iOS 12 adoption across the iPhone user base is around 75 percent, according to the latest Mixpanel data.
2. A cursory glance at the company’s iPhone model data seems to prove what I’ve been hearing anecdotally myself: Apple’s iPhone users are navigating to a 2-3-year upgrade cycle.
3. Mixpanel claims around 1/20 iPhone users are now on an iPhone XS/Max with around one-third of that number now on the recently-released iPhone XR.
Item #3 appears to contradict Apple’s assertion about the relative sales of iPhone XR. Fascinating.
There has been a lot of Apple Store news recently – from major new openings in Bangkok and Paris to makeovers at Covent Garden in London. On Tuesday, the Guardian published an interesting extract of an article that appeared in Logic, a new tech magazine. It puts forward a more uncomfortable view of life in an Apple Store and the psychology behind the hugely successful retail outlets. I don’t buy the author’s argument entirely, but it certainly got me thinking.
When we think of “tech,” we rarely think of retail stores, and when we think of “tech workers” we rarely think of the low-waged “geniuses” who staff them. Most media coverage of tech companies encourages us to forget that the vast majority of their employees are not, in fact, coders in Silicon Valley: they’re the suicidal assemblers of your phone, the call-center support staff, the delivery drivers and the smiling shop floor staff who make up the majority of Apple’s workforce.
For years Apple led the race to be the world’s most valuable public company thanks to the huge profits it generated. However, powered by cloud computing, its competitors are now in hot pursuit. As Therese Poletti points out in her latest MarketWatch column, both Microsoft and Amazon have recently managed to take the lead, albeit briefly. Google-owner Alphabet is not far away either. The battle between “steady and solid cash and earnings” from Apple and potential growth from the cloud is then in full swing, but what will investors back?
Investors betting on Apple’s competitors for the top spot are not looking at results, however, as much as growth rates and tech trends. Namely, the growth of cloud computing, which is dominated by the other three companies at the top of the valuation list. The two companies closest to Apple’s spot are reporting huge growth in their cloud-computing businesses, where they offer cloud services for a huge range of customers, large and small. Staid old Microsoft, which has never been an official part of the much-vaunted FAANG grouping of tech stocks, surged into a zone of its own this year, propelled by hefty growth in the cloud.