What Is Differential Privacy?

Matthew Green on Differential Privacy, a big talking point from Apple at WWDC:

As an academic researcher and a security professional, I have mixed feelings about Apple’s announcement. On the one hand, as a researcher I understand how exciting it is to see research technology actually deployed in the field. And Apple has a very big field.
On the flipside, as security professionals it’s our job to be skeptical — to at a minimum demand people release their security-critical code (as Google did with RAPPOR), or at least to be straightforward about what it is they’re deploying. If Apple is going to collect significant amounts of new data from the devices that we depend on so much, we should really make sure they’re doing it right — rather than cheering them for Using Such Cool Ideas. (I made this mistake already once, and I still feel dumb about it.)
But maybe this is all too “inside baseball”. At the end of the day, it sure looks like Apple is honestly trying to do something to improve user privacy, and given the alternatives, maybe that’s more important than anything else.

VSCO: How I Share My Pictures

I’ve always enjoyed photography silently. I find it peaceful, relaxing and creatively stimulating. It’s one of the few hobbies of mine which is for my sole benefit.

I’ve never struggled with how to take photographs – or what I should take pictures of. Instead, I’ve struggled with how I should edit and share them both privately and publicly.

While most people share their pictures on social networking sites such as Instagram and Facebook, I tend to avoid doing the same. It feels like an obligation; a duty to post an image worthy of being shared to my followers. Often I end up not sharing the image at all.

When it first hit the App Store, I was a huge fan of VSCOcam (it’s name at the time), but as time went on it became bulky – and frankly – overwhelming to use. I gave up on it.

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How We Made An App Store Subscription Success

Adrian Hon, developer of Zombies, Run! on how an app subscription can be successful:

Everyone hates committing to new subscriptions. You live in fear of signing up and then the service instantly becoming unusable. Not only are you disappointed, but even worse, you’re a rube.

So you need to do everything you can to reassure your users that you’re in for the long haul. That means regular, consistent updates and bug fixes. You don’t need to release a new build every two weeks like Facebook, but you need to demonstrate commitment to maintaining a stable and reliable app — one that adopts useful new features (e.g. Healthkit, Apple Watch) in a reasonably timely manner.

This is the opposite of a big bang release once a year, laden with new features and new bugs. Frankly, it’s a much more sustainable, relaxed, and considered mode of development. It means you can justify the time to achieve 99.9% crash-free sessions, as we’ve done.

I couldn’t agree more.

The New App Store: Subscription Pricing, Faster Approvals, and Search Ads

John Gruber detailing the changes coming to the App Store next week:

App Store review times are now much shorter. These changes are already in place, and have been widely noted in recent weeks. Apple is today confirming they’re not a fluke — they’re the result of systemic changes to how App Store review works.


Subscription-based pricing was heretofore limited to specific app categories. Now, subscription-based pricing will be an option for anysort of app, including productivity apps and games. This is an entirely new business model for app developers — one that I think will make indie app development far more sustainable.


Changes to app discovery, including a smarter “Featured” tab, the return of the “Categories” tab, and, yes, as rumored, paid search ads.

I’m excited about the new potential pricing structures this will make available to developers. This is going to result in a healthier App Store ecosystem and help entice developers to more frequently update their apps.

On a side note, it’s interesting to hear Phil Schiller’s reasoning on why they announced these changes today:

“We’re doing something a little different this year. We’ve got a bunch of App Store/developer-related announcements for WWDC next week, but frankly, we’ve got a busy enough keynote that we decided we’re not going to cover those in the keynote. And rather, just cover them in the afternoon and throughout the week. We’re talking to people today for news tomorrow about those things, in advance of WWDC, and then developers can come and be ready for sessions about these things, with knowledge about them before the conference. We haven’t done this before, but we figured, what the heck, let’s give it a try.”

Seems like they have a lot to cover next week.

Muhammad Ali, Titan of Boxing and the 20th Century, Dies at 74

The New York Times:

Ali was as polarizing a superstar as the sports world has ever produced — both admired and vilified in the 1960s and ’70s for his religious, political and social stances. His refusal to be drafted during the Vietnam War, his rejection of racial integration at the height of the civil rights movement, his conversion from Christianity to Islam and the changing of his “slave” name, Cassius Clay, to one bestowed by the separatist black sect he joined, the Lost-Found Nation of Islam, were perceived as serious threats by the conservative establishment and noble acts of defiance by the liberal opposition.

Loved or hated, he remained for 50 years one of the most recognizable people on the planet.

Despite the fact Ali’s career peaked long before my time, he is one of the few athletes who transcended his sport. I don’t think there has ever been or will ever be a boxer as interesting and masterful as Ali was.

Rest in peace, champ:


Thunderbolt Display Stock Limited at Apple Stores

MacRumors reporting on the long-awaited Retina Thunderbolt Display:

Apple is rumored to be working on a 5K external display with a dedicated graphics card, which would feasibly allow the display to be used with almost any Mac because it would be driven by an internal graphics card rather than the machine it is connected to. A future software update like OS X 10.12 would be required.

Apple could also elect to use Multi-Stream Transport (MST), a technology that stitches two halves of a display together to make a single seamless display in software. By using both of the DisplayPort 1.2 streams, forthcoming Macs with Thunderbolt 3 ports would be able to drive a 5K display over MST without the need for an external GPU.

If true, this would be a well deserved – finally.