MacObserver

Uber Hires Top US Official to Oversee Self-Driving Vehicles Project

1 week 2 days ago

Uber has hired Nat Beuse, who served for a long time at the US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. He will oversee the firm’s self-driving vehicles, Reuters reported. Mr. Beuse said Uber’s “approach to self-driving vehicles is an opportunity to make a difference in the safe commercialization of this revolutionary technology.”  The report noted that Mr. Buese is not the only public official to recently join a firm looking to make progress with self-driving vehicles. Both Waymo and General Motors have made similar hires.

“Uber’s approach to self-driving vehicles is an opportunity to make a difference in the safe commercialization of this revolutionary technology, which I’ve spent a considerable amount of time working with in recent years,” Beuse said in a statement released by Uber. “It’s clear to me that the team here is dedicated to prioritizing safety.” Last month, Uber asked Pennsylvania for permission to resume self-driving car testing on public roads and said it had improved the autonomous vehicle software, more than seven months after it suspended testing following a deadly crash in Arizona. Uber is still waiting for approval, a spokeswoman said.


Charlotte Henry

Apple Should Introduce the Pixel’s Call Screening Feature

1 week 2 days ago

Google has extended its AI-powered call screening function from the Pixel 3 to the Pixel 2 and XL. The call screening feature gives users the ability to ask a caller to give their name and reason for their call. The call recipient then gets a real-time transcription of the answer and can decide whether to reject the call, answer it or ask for more information. Ben Lovejoy of 9to5Mac would like to see Apple roll out call screening to the iPhone. I suspect he is not the only one.

Phone calls are the most annoying form of spam because they take the most time to deal with, so any tech which makes these less hassle is welcome. And, over time, telemarketers are going to experience more and more automated call rejections, and the effectiveness of the sales method will decline, effectively discouraging the use of the method altogether.  Apple already has all the necessary tech for this type of call-screening. Siri is capable of both speaking to callers and performing real-time speech-to-text transcription – the only new thing Apple would need to add is the interception of the call.


Charlotte Henry

CloudMounter For Mac Lifetime License: $19

1 week 2 days ago

We have a deal on an app called CloudMounter that takes your various cloud storage services and mounts them on your Mac’s desktop for quick access. Supported services include Dropbox, Google Drive, Amazon S3, and Microsoft OneDrive. Our deal is for a lifetime license for $19.


Bryan Chaffin

Get an iPhone XR Refund When You Trade In Your Device

1 week 2 days ago

For a limited time Apple is offering people a deal with an iPhone XR refund. You can get up to US$500 off the iPhone XR when you participate in the Apple GiveBack program with your current iPhone. You can get extra credit for an iPhone 6, iPhone 6s, iPhone 7, or iPhone 8. For example, I could get US$300 for my iPhone 7 Plus. You’ll receive your refund once Apple verifies the condition of your device.


Andrew Orr

Why Apple Won’t Focus on Units in Fiscal 2019

1 week 2 days ago

Daniel Dilger wrote an informative article on why Apple will be focusing more on users, instead of units in the fiscal 2019 year.

The real value of Apple’s business has never changed. The real reason why Apple has always been uniquely able to sell premium hardware in a marketplace full of less expensive, generic commodity is its ability to successfully reach people, convince them that things are better inside the Apple ecosystem, and then retain their loyalty by delivering what Apple’s chief executive Tim Cook refers to as “user sat.”

At every keynote Apple emphasizes how customer satisfaction is its number one priority. Apple won’t be reporting unit sales anymore. Plenty of other companies don’t either, but it’s Apple so everyone is freaking out and death knelling.


Andrew Orr

How a Former Google Employee Avoids iPhone Distraction

1 week 2 days ago

Jake Knapp used to work on the Gmail team at Google. He recently wrote how he avoids iPhone distraction. He basically went full nuclear and deleted all of his apps, although it looks like he re-downloaded only the most important ones. If want to start limiting your phone usage, try his approach. In my opinion though, if you’re suffering from digital addiction, just get one of those flip phones. Buying an expensive smartphone only to delete 99% of the apps seems like you’re defeating its purpose, and you’ll save yourself a lot of money.


Andrew Orr

Improving Our Moral Reasoning in the Digital Age

1 week 2 days ago

I’ve previously written about calls to Silicon Valley to embrace ethics, and how companies should have a Chief Ethics Officer. But you can’t really have ethics without morals, and this article explains how we can improve our moral reasoning.

Addressing the issues brought upon by artificial intelligence, biological advances, and the information age, I’d like to create a generalized method of moral reasoning for any human being in our current age to address issues like gene editing while remaining faithful to the work of philosophers and historians.


Andrew Orr

Where Next for Apple and the Music Industry

1 week 5 days ago

Apple has a long history of working with the music industry. Steve Jobs changed how songs were sold when he got the music industry to go along with US$0.99 songs on iTunes. Apple changed the game again when it decided to try and compete directly with Spotify and launched Apple Music. An interesting piece of analysis in the Financial Times looks at where Apple and the music industry might go next.

Music executives say that after a late entrance to music streaming in 2015, the tech group has been gaining confidence and ratcheting up its efforts to grow Apple Music. The number of subscribers has grown to 56m, up from 50m in May, and Apple recently overtook Spotify to become the top music streaming service in the US, the world’s biggest music market by revenues. “Apple stumbled out of the gate with an inferior product three years ago. Apple Music did not become this spectacular product like iTunes was,” said a senior executive at one of the “big three” record labels.


Charlotte Henry

UK Smartphone Vendors Criticised for Black Friday Smartphone Deals Failure

1 week 5 days ago

LONDON – Online smartphone retailers in the UK are being criticized for wrongly refusing customers Black Friday deals. UK cellular service provider Vodafone experienced problems with its credit check systems. As a result, some customers wanting the cut-price deals were mistakenly declined. According to the BBC, “5% of consumers experienced the issue.”  Mobiles.co.uk, owned by Carphone Warehouse, was particularly affected as it attracted many customers on the back of significant deals for the iPhone XR. From the BBC’s report:

Carphone Warehouse-owned website Mobiles.co.uk and other online phone retailers are facing a backlash from customers wrongly refused Black Friday smartphone deals. A problem with Vodafone’s credit check systems meant that some applications submitted via the contract resellers were incorrectly turned down.

 


Charlotte Henry

Former World Chess Champion Gary Kasparov is Upbeat About AI

1 week 5 days ago

Gary Kasparov, former world chess champion (1985-2000), is upbeat about the future of AI in this article at ZDNet. He says:

AI is a tool, it’s a technology it’s not a harbinger of utopia or dystopia, it’s not a magic wand it’s not the terminator, it’s a tool. And at the end of the day how you use a tool will determine our future.”

This is a thoughtful, well-written article. Mr. Kasparov does much to bring a steady frame of mind to the technical issues and natural human fears.

Kasparov prefers the term ‘augmented intelligence’ because he sees that as a more precise way to describe human-machine collaboration, and also that ‘artificial’ sounds a bit too scary. He says he is an optimist by nature and sees the fear of AI as a psychological obstacle we need to overcome.


John Martellaro

Using iPad, Apple Original TV Shows, and Macs with Jim Dalrymple: ACM 490

1 week 5 days ago

Bryan Chaffin and guest-host Jim Dalrymple talk about how they use their iPads, and it turns out they’re pretty different use cases. They try to talk about where Apple TV might go but venture into a much deeper conversation about Apple’s original TV shows and videos. Spoiler: one of them is a pessimist. They close the show by examining the state of the Mac. Another spoiler: one of them is a pessimist!


Bryan Chaffin
Checked
49 minutes 5 seconds ago
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