Technologizer

By Harry McCracken | What Harry McCracken is writing--and reading--on the web

Music's Weird Cassette Tape Revival Is Paying Off

It turns out there's a place for archaic physical media of questionable audio fidelity—even in the Spotify era.<p>For Andy Molholt, there’s something oddly special about hitting play on his boombox at the beach. The Philadelphia-based musician tours frequently with his band Laser Background and, …

Entertainment

Spotify, Netflix, LINE, Pandora & HBO NOW top the list of 2016’s biggest apps by revenue

According to a new year-end report from Sensor Tower detailing the top apps of 2016, streaming services dominated when it came to which apps, outside of games, pulled in the most revenue over the past year. At the top of the list is Spotify, which not only scored the number one spot on the iTunes …

Apps

BuzzFeed sells $25,000 in 'failing pile of garbage' merchandise, will donate all proceeds to press-freedom group

BuzzFeed sold more than $25,000 worth of "failing pile of garbage" merchandise on Wednesday and will donate all the proceeds to the Committee to Protect Journalists, a company spokesperson told Business Insider.<p>The company started a flash sale on Wednesday afternoon after President-elect Donald …

News Media

Google's Toontastic 3D lets kids (and adults) create storytelling cartoons

A couple of years ago, Google acquired Launch Toys, the company behind Toontastic, an app that allowed kids to easily create storytelling cartoons. That app has now gotten a big update with a 3D version.<p>Toontastic 3D tries make it easy for kids to present their ideas without needing to work their …

Storytelling

Apple MacBook Pro now gets thumbs-up from Consumer Reports

Consumer Reports is doing an about face on Apple's MacBook Pro.<p>The endorsement reverses an earlier call by Consumer Reports telling consumers to avoid the new MacBooks, for the first time ever, because of big fluctuations in battery life. The publication on Thursday said a software update issued by …

Apple News

Apple Watch stand turns your favorite wearable into a mini Macintosh

Christmas is over, but a $15 silicone smartwatch stand could still stuff your stockings if you’re one of millions of lazy people who have yet to take them down.<p>The Elago W3 stand looks like a miniature Macintosh and works with Series 1 and Series 2 Apple Watches (both 38mm and 42mm versions). The …

Gear & Gadgets

Demand for secret messaging apps is rising as Trump takes office

Two weeks after the US presidential election, Reverend Rebecca Bryan stepped up to her pulpit in the Boston suburb of Brookline and looked out on her congregation. The liberal Unitarian Universalists at First Parish were already gearing up for political action, a central tenet of the church’s …

Encryption

Apple in 2016

As we close the door on 2016, I thought it would be useful to look back at the year gone by and ask a panel of my peers who pay attention to Apple …

Apple News

The Inside Story of BitTorrent’s Bizarre Collapse

<i>How a group of valley outsiders blew through the company’s cash and nearly left it for dead.</i><p>L<b>ast April, a pair of cousins</b> named Bob Delamar and …

BitTorrent

Alexa: Amazon’s Operating System

The concept of an operating system is pretty straightforward: it is a piece of software that manages a computer, making said computer’s hardware …

Automation

The Wireless Router Renaissance And Where It Will Take Us Next

Eero, Plume, and others are trying to remove Wi-Fi's pain points, but better reception is just the beginning of a broader strategy.<p>For a technology that tends to gather dust behind TV stands or inside closets, the wireless router has gotten a lot of attention lately.<p>In 2016, innovative new routers …

Wi-Fi

Has the Internet Killed Curly Quotes?

Web publications tend to favor straight quotation marks, a pragmatic approach to typography that old-school stylists can’t stand.<p>The trouble with being a former typesetter is that every day online is a new adventure in torture. Take the shape of quotation marks. These humble symbols are a dagger in …

Typography

How China Built ‘iPhone City’ With Billions in Perks for Apple’s Partner

ZHENGZHOU, China — A vast, boxy customs center acts as a busy island of commerce deep in central China.<p>Government officers, in sharply pressed uniforms, race around a maze of wooden pallets piled high with boxes — counting, weighing, scanning and approving shipments. Unmarked trucks stretch for …

China

Police seek Amazon Echo data in murder case (updated)

The company declined to do so, but the case raises bigger questions about IoT privacy.<p>Amazon's Echo devices and its virtual assistant are meant to help find answers by listening for your voice commands. However, police in Arkansas want to know if one of the gadgets overheard something that can help …

Amazon Echo

Voice Is the Next Big Platform, and Alexa Will Own It

If <b>you happen to live</b> in one of the six million US homes that have so far purchased an Amazon Echo, you may think Alexa is just a voice emanating from …

Amazon Echo

Faraday Future Plagued By Lawsuits, Unpaid Bills Ahead Of Electric Car Reveal

The electric car startup is heading into a hyped-up reveal of its first production car after a year fraught with financial troubles, employee attrition, and lawsuits.<p>Next month, Faraday Future, the secretive electric car startup backed by Chinese billionaire Jia Yueting, is set to debut its first …

Electric Vehicles

Why My Boss, Walt Disney, Was The Ultimate Business Leader

The star of the recent film Floyd Norman: An Animated Life writes about an iconic entrepreneur on the 50th anniversary of his death.<p>When Walt Disney passed away 50 years ago, on December 15, 1966, the world of entertainment lost a visionary innovator who never seemed to run out of ideas. He began …

Walt Disney Company

Steve Wozniak Was My Computer Teacher in 1995 | Motherboard

I grew up in Silicon Valley two decades before it was cool enough to be the title of a show on HBO. My parents were conventional hippies who drove Volvos donned with “Save Tibet” and “Question Authority” bumper stickers. The public elementary school I went to in the Santa Cruz Mountains had only 30 …

Steve Jobs

A Computer for Everything: One Year of iPad Pro

After years spent adapting what I learned from the Mac to bring it to iOS, what I found on the other side was a more focused, efficient way of working and communicating with people. The iPad Pro accelerated my move to an iOS-only setup; today, I genuinely don't know how to perform certain tasks on …

iPad

150 Filmmakers Ask Nikon and Canon to Sell Encrypted Cameras

In the summer of 2013, when documentary filmmaker Laura Poitras was shooting a still-secret NSA leaker named Edward Snowden in a Hong Kong hotel …

Photography

Uber said it protects you from spying. Security sources say otherwise

• Facebook<br>• Twitter<br>• Mail<br>• iTunes<br>For anyone who’s snagged a ride with Uber, Ward Spangenberg has a warning: Your personal information is not safe.Internal …

Security

Magic Leap CEO responds to bombshell report

Magic Leap, a mysterious Dania Beach, Florida-based startup building smart glasses with $1.39 billion in venture funding, was the subject of an unflattering story by Reed Albergotti in The Information on Thursday.<p>The story said that:<p>Magic Leap routinely gave its mindblowing demos using a system …

Startups

An oral history of 'Get a Mac,' Part 1

How an excruciating seven-month quest for an idea Steve Jobs didn't hate gave birth to one of the funniest, most effective campaigns in Apple's …

Steve Jobs

Internet Archive Successfully Fends Off Secret FBI Order

Internet Archive Win Is a “Tiny Peek” at NSL Process<p>Kahle told The Intercept that the incident should encourage others to challenge NSLs and gag …

Gag Orders

The 3D Printing Revolution That Wasn’t

MakerBot made a bold bet that 3D printers would become as common as microwaves. Just one problem: no one else shared that dream.<p>It <b>was October 2009</b> …

3D Printing

Redesigning Waxy, 2016 edition

“Redesigning your blog” in 2016 is an anachronism. Like tweaking your Gopher presence or upgrading your ham radio, even <i>talking</i> about blogging feels …

Media Industry

AT&T just declared war on an open internet (and us)

‘Mobilizing Your World’ sounds like a threat now<p>Last year we won the open internet back, but the new regulations had one big weakness: they didn’t explicitly ban a scheme called “zero rating.” Zero rating is a poison pill wrapped in a piece of cheese; it <i>looks</i> like a good thing for consumers (free …

Internet

How to Deal With the Lies of Donald Trump: Guidelines for the Media

A man who will literally have life and death power over much of humanity seems not to understand or care about the difference between truth and lies. Is there any way for democratic institutions to cope? This is our topic in the post-Thanksgiving week.<p>***<p>Being back in China in the U.S.-election …

Media Industry

Facebook Shouldn’t Fact-Check

We finally got a grudging mea culpa from Mark Zuckerberg: an admission that fake news is a significant problem that his social network must help solve.<p>But as a journalist who has been covering the inner workings of the technology industry for more than a decade, I find the calls for Facebook to …