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Resource id #60External Link: Why the HomePod Faces an Uphill Battle
Apple has officially delayed the HomePod until next year, and many reports indicate that, unlike the standalone Amazon Echo, it will depend on a connected iPhone for most of its smarts. Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman has gathered the inside story: the HomePod has been in development for over five years, was originally conceived of as a modern iPod Hi-Fi, and its designers were blindsided by the Amazon Echo. But despite the Echo’s success, Apple focused on sound quality and not voice assistant capabilities, which may prove problematic in the market. Regardless, the HomePod will have a hard time competing on audio quality alone, since you can buy several Amazon Echoes for the price of one HomePod.

 

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TidBITS Watchlist: Notable Software Updates for 20 November 2017
Notable software releases this week include Microsoft Office 2016 15.40, OmniOutliner Essentials and Pro 5.2, and KeyCue 8.6.

 

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ExtraBITS for 20 November 2017
In ExtraBITS this week, Apple announced that it is delaying the HomePod until next year, Gizmodo exposes the secrets of Facebook’s creepiness, and the Web’s inventor expresses concern for its future.

 

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Next-Generation TidBITS Infrastructure in the Works
Heads up! We’ve begun the process of completely revamping TidBITS’s Internet presence and expect to start rolling out big changes in early 2018. You can look forward to a modernized TidBITS experience that’s more visually appealing and mobile friendly.

 

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No TidBITS Issue on 27 November 2017
We’re taking the next email issue of TidBITS off to celebrate the Thanksgiving holiday in the United States, although we’ll continue to post articles and ExtraBITS links on our Web site. You can look forward to the next email issue on 4 December 2017.

 

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External Link: Apple Delays the HomePod Until 2018
Apple originally promised to ship the HomePod smart speaker in December 2017, but the company has now delayed it until early 2018, saying it needed “a little more time before it’s ready.” Although missing the holiday shopping season may give a leg up to competing products from Amazon and Google, it’s better for Apple to delay the HomePod than ship a half-baked product.

 

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External Link: How Facebook Knows More about Your Personal Network than You Do
Facebook does a lot of creepy things, like recommending that someone befriend their father’s mistress or connecting a couple with their anonymous sperm donor from years before. But how does Facebook tease out such obscure connections? Gizmodo investigated and traced Facebook’s behavior back to what’s known as “shadow contact information” — a secret database that Facebook keeps to track everyone you might know. It collects much of this information from other users who share their address books with Facebook, so if two otherwise unrelated people both have your phone number, the company can then connect them. Alas, there’s nothing you can do about this.

 

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Microsoft Office 2016 15.40
Maintenance release that contains security updates to Word and Excel. ($149.99 new, free update)

 

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iPad Productivity Gets a Boost with iOS 11
Julio Ojeda-Zapata has long relied on the iPad for mobile productivity, but he chafed at the limitations imposed by iOS compared to macOS. Now, tablet-specific improvements to iOS 11 make the iPad a better machine for work on the go.

 

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External Link: Inventor of the Web Concerned for Its Future
Sir Tim Berners-Lee invented the World Wide Web as an “open platform that allows anyone to share information, access opportunities and collaborate across geographical boundaries,” but he’s less optimistic about its future than he used to be. “We have to grit our teeth and hang on to the fence and not take it for granted that the Web will lead us to wonderful things,” he said. In particular, Berners-Lee criticizes Web advertising for its role in creating clickbait and spreading propaganda. “The system is failing. The way ad revenue works with clickbait is not fulfilling the goal of helping humanity promote truth and democracy.”

 

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OmniOutliner Essentials and Pro 5.2
Adds JavaScript automation support and improves overall performance when opening and using larger files. ($9.99/59.99 new, free update, 38.7 MB)

 

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KeyCue 8.6
Adds one theme, updates another, and fixes a few bugs. (€19.99 new, free update, 3.8 MB)

 

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iOS 11.1.2 Fixes iPhone X Cold and Live Photo Problems
Apple has released an iOS 11 update to address a couple of small iPhone X issues related to usage in cold climates and distortion in Live Photos and videos.

 

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Apple Starts Pushing High Sierra on Unsuspecting Mac Users
Many Mac users are suddenly being prompted to install macOS 10.13 High Sierra. If you don’t want to tie up your Mac for an hour or more — and end up with High Sierra! — read on to learn how to stop the upgrade process.

 

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TidBITS Watchlist: Notable Software Updates for 13 November 2017
Notable software releases this week include Carbon Copy Cloner 5.0.4, Bookends 13.0, Retrospect 14.6, SuperDuper 3.0, Tinderbox 7.3, and ChronoSync 4.8.3.

 

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ExtraBITS for 13 November 2017
In ExtraBITS this week, Apple defends its tax practices, Facebook’s first president is having second thoughts about social media, Jony Ive sits down for a new interview, and iOS 11 calculator lag is causing fundamental math errors.

 

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External Link: Apple Defends Its Tax Practices
Apple is once again in the news for shuffling its cash hoard among various countries to minimize its tax burden. The company has released a sprawling statement defending its practices, stating that it not only follows all applicable laws, but is in fact the largest taxpayer in the world. However, Apple continues to call for international tax reform and simplification to help it repatriate its overseas funds. The reality is that many large businesses play legal shell games to minimize liabilities — fiscal and otherwise — and corporations squirreling away cash in low-tax countries is a side effect of globalism that’s difficult to prevent.

 

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Carbon Copy Cloner 5.0.4
Maintenance release for the drive-cloning and backup app resolves a variety of bugs. ($39.99 new, free update, 13.6 MB)

 

Read the full article at TidBITS, the oldest continuously published technology publication on the Internet. To get a full-text RSS feed, help support our work and become a TidBITS member! Members also enjoy an ad-free version of our Web site, email delivery of individual articles, the ability to make long comments with live links, and discounts on Take Control orders and other Apple-related products.



Bookends 13.0
Major upgrade for the reference management app with PDF handling improvements. ($59.99 new, $39.99 upgrade, 44.3 MB)

 

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External Link: Past Facebook President Calls Out Social Media
As Facebook’s first president, Sean Parker was instrumental in the company’s eventual success. But now the billionaire tech pioneer has had a change of heart, confessing at an Axios event that “The thought process that went into building these applications, Facebook being the first of them, was all about: ‘How do we consume as much of your time and conscious attention as possible?’” He added, “I don’t know if I really understood the consequences of what I was saying, because [of] the unintended consequences of a network when it grows to a billion or two billion people… God only knows what it’s doing to our children’s brains.” Quick — tweet this link! Or not.

 

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Retrospect 14.6
Adds cloud support for DigitalOcean Spaces, Aufiero Informatica, and Google Cloud Storage Frankfurt and São Paulo. ($119 new, free update, 178 MB)

 

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SuperDuper 3.0
Major new release adds compatibility with macOS 10.13 High Sierra, plus HFS+ and APFS volumes. (Free, $27.95 for additional features, free update, 5.0 MB)

 

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Tinderbox 7.3
Adds new ways to capture notes easily from other devices. ($249 new, free update, 31.9 MB)

 

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ChronoSync 4.8.3
Maintenance release fixes bugs in the synchronization and backup app. ($49.99 new, free update, 48.5 MB)

 

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External Link: Jony Ive on the iPhone X and Apple’s New Campus
In an interview with Wallpaper, Apple Chief Design Officer Jony Ive discusses some of the design decisions behind Apple’s new campus and how multi-touch has fundamentally changed hardware design. Along those lines, he said something interesting about the iPhone X: “What I think is remarkable about the iPhone X is that its functionality is so determined by software. And because of the fluid nature of software, this product is going to change and evolve. In 12 months’ time, this object will be able to do things that it can’t now.” So by next year, what do you think the iPhone X will be able to do that it can’t do now?

 

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iOS 11.1.1 Puts the “i” Back in iOS
Apple has released a small iOS update to fix a bizarre bug that was screwing up the letter “i” and another that could make Hey Siri stop working.

 

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Face ID’s Innovation: Continuous Authentication
It takes a lot to impress security expert Rich Mogull, but he’s convinced that Face ID is going to change the face of computer security.

 

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External Link: iOS 11 Calculator Lags Cause Errors
If you type 1+2+3= in iOS 11’s Calculator app quickly, you may get 24 instead of 6. The problem is a delay in recognizing taps on all the operation buttons. Thus, in the example above, the second + is ignored, so you’ve instead typed 1+23=. If you type 1+2+3= slowly, making sure that the operator button activates on each tap, Calculator works correctly. We hope Apple fixes this embarrassing bug in the next update to iOS 11. In the meantime, Siri works well for simple calculations, and for those who need a serious calculator, PCalc is the gold standard.

 

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Practical Ways To Use QR Codes
iOS 11’s Camera app now automatically recognizes QR codes, those square sets of black rectangles that contain URLs, Wi-Fi connection details, contacts, and much more. Here’s how to create and deploy QR codes in practical and useful ways.

 

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External Link: Me, Myself, and A⍰
A bizarre bug is afflicting some iOS 11.1 users: the letter “i” is being autocorrected to the letter “A” followed by a question mark in a box: A⍰. Until Apple can fix the bug in the next update to iOS, the company recommends using iOS’s text replacement feature (Settings > General > Keyboard > Text Replacement) to substitute an uppercase “I” whenever you type a lowercase “i.” How did this get past the beta phase?

 

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