Writing Links: Apple Watch App Dock tip, roundup for Mac Observer

I published a couple pieces for Mac Observer this week, delving into my deepening appreciation for the Apple Watch:

If you're curious about the Apple Watch's advantages as a device for quick-action app experiences, I encourage you to check out these pieces. WatchOS has come a long way, and I now like my Watch more than ever.

Link: New MacBook Pros and the state of the Mac

Michael Tsai rounded up comments from across the community on Apple’s new Macs. I have quibbles with some of the details, but there’s a strong consensus: Apple missed the mark.

Maybe Apple is working on something bigger and these are just a bridge or a holdover. Maybe VR is just a gimmick that the mass market won’t care about in a year or two. I could at least try seeing Apple’s perspective if it created some kind of a halfway compelling story along those lines. But it didn’t.

MobileArt.how – a hub for mobile artists and educators

I'm spending more time on my hobbies of mobile photography and art, and MobileArt.how might be useful. It has tutorials for techniques and some of the popular mobile art apps in video and PDF formats, as well as a blog and forum for the community.

Free membership gets you into the forum and I think the first video of most of the tutorials series. For $50 per year you get access to all courses, full PDF lessons, and online support.

Seth Godin: Our software must get better

Seth’s blog:

When you can, insist on paying for your software. Our instinct to take the free stuff is often a bad long-term choice.

TL;DR: far more often than not, free apps are almost always some mix of crap, abusive, and/or unsustainable. Stop defaulting to crap, abuse, and unsustainable, buy the real stuff, and support good companies that make great things so great things can stick around.

The tech industry wants to use women’s voices – they just won't listen to them | The Guardian

For all its recent improvements, the tech industry still has a nasty blind spot:

How could anyone think that creating a young woman and inviting strangers to interact with her on social media would make Tay “smarter”? How can the story of Tay be met with such corporate bafflement, such late apology? Why did no one at Microsoft know right from the start that this would happen, when all of us – female journalists, activists, game developers and engineers who live online every day and could have predicted it – are talking about it all the time?

The answer cannot be anything but outright disdain. The industry wants to use women’s voices but still has no plans to actually listen to them. If empathy is core to the future of artificial intelligence, worry not – the Singularity is still quite a way off, no matter how many terrifying Holocaust-denying, racist, anti-feminist white millennial-bots Microsoft “accidentally” spawns.

Appfail Report – Threats to Consumers in Mobile Apps

I have the PDF but haven’t read it yet. I’m glad to see reports like this:

The Norwegian Consumer Council analysed the terms of 20 mobile apps. The purpose is to uncover potential threats to consumer protection hidden in the end-user terms and privacy policies of apps.

This report presents a summary of the main findings and will be published as a part of a campaign on consumer protection in mobile apps.

We have found what we deem to be breaches of European consumer and privacy law and hope that this report can make consumers more aware of their rights, at the same time, raise the bar for app developers, engage enforcement agencies and contribute to making apps’ business models more transparent and consumer friendly.

[via Privacy and Technology]

“Apple’s Elephant in the Room"

Good food for thought on Apple’s supposed software ‘problem.’ I often say tech insiders, writers, and pundits are often out of touch with their actual audiences, and I work towards crossing this bridge and understanding regular consumer and business users. 

Maybe many of us could use a reality check. Yes, including myself.

"Activist Engineering"

Matthew Bischoff:

We’re better than this. As software engineers and designers, we’re in the room when decisions are shaped, and the only ones who have the power to actually execute them. It’s our responsibility not to forsake the people who trust the apps we make with our silence. To stand up and refuse to implement unethical systems and dark patterns. And even more, to educate stakeholders on the real human costs of their business decisions: the time, attention, money, and trust of their customers.