Stripe is giving up on bitcoin as a payment method

Theodore Schleifer:

Stripe, which four years ago said it would become the first major online payments platform to accept bitcoin for payments, is ditching the idea.

The company said Tuesday that the cryptocurrency had almost become a victim of its own popularity — the time needed to complete a transaction has increased, meaning that payments sometimes fail. And the rise in transaction fees helped convince Stripe that bitcoin is meant to be more of an asset and less of a currency for daily payments.

“By the time the transaction is confirmed, fluctuations in bitcoin price mean that it’s for the ‘wrong’ amount,” Stripe’s Tom Karlo said. “For a regular bitcoin transaction, a fee of tens of U.S. dollars is common, making bitcoin transactions about as expensive as bank wires.”

So the company said it doesn’t make sense to keep allowing merchants to accept a payment method that no one wants to use. The last bitcoin transactions will be processed on April 23.

Stripe says it remains bullish on the crypto-economy, and CEO Patrick Collison was certainly ahead of the curve on bitcoin’s rise. Collison told Recode back in 2014 that it was important for the payments platform to accept a currency that anyone around the world could access.

“Universality is the big one for me,” he said. “Bitcoin is something that anyone can get ahold of.”

Stripe is my main goto for payment processors, and with the way Bitcoin has been lately, this is probably a good move on their side.


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Transmit Replacements and FTP Clients

Federico Viticci:

Even though I never depended on Transmit for my daily iPad file management needs, I was sad to read that Panic couldn’t find a market for it on the App Store. Thousands of iPad owners use Panic’s app to manage their FTP servers and Amazon S3 buckets; integration with the latter is particularly important as it’s hard to find apps that combine FTP access with S3 support and aren’t hindered by questionable interface choices or a lack of updates.

Transmit for iOS was (and, until it is removed from the App Store, still is) one of a kind. Its excellent Mac foundation was adapted to iOS with taste and elegance, leveraging a split-pane UI long before iPad users were comfortable with Apple’s native Split View; thanks to Panic’s penchant for beautiful and intuitive design married to power-user functionalities, the Mac-like approach worked surprisingly well on iPad too.

It’s difficult to pin down what, exactly, made Transmit for iOS unprofitable. The iOS counterpart always lagged behind the cloud integrations from the Mac app (Backblaze B2 and Rackspace Cloud Files, for instance, never made it to iOS); Panic didn’t update Transmit to take advantage of major additions to iOS 11 such as Files and drag and drop; perhaps more importantly, Transmit for iOS is a product of the pre-iOS 11 era, back when the concepts of desktop-like file management and drag and drop were alien to the platform. Ultimately, I think Transmit for iOS lived and (slowly) died because we had it too soon.

But this isn’t a post-mortem for Transmit on iOS, which, according to Panic, may even relaunch as a new app on the Store someday. Instead, I’d like to take a quick tour of some of the alternatives for Transmit available on iPad today. In case Panic decides to pull Transmit from the App Store, or if the app stops working in a future release of iOS, these FTP clients and file managers should compensate for the features of Panic’s app. Most of them don’t offer the same sophisticated and polished UI design, but some of them may even turn out to be more flexible and better integrated with iOS than Transmit.


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Using an iPad for photography workflows

Using an iPad for photography workflows

I haven’t owned a laptop in half a decade.

Over time, I’ve happily moved more and more of my computing to the iPad, a process that was greatly accelerated two years ago with the arrival of the iPad Pro. I’m still rocking that first-generation 12.9-inch iPad Pro, but what follows is equally applicable to older iPad models as well.

Photography was one of the last bastions of Mac usage in my life, but the advent of iOS 11 and a renewed developer interest in professional-grade iOS apps brought more and more of that workflow to the iPad over the past year.

To be practical, an iPad photography workflow has to encompass everything from shooting, importing, culling, editing, and the final export. The ideal scenario is to be able to trust the iPad to replace a laptop as my daily photography companion. It needn’t do so entirely — I’m happy to continue using my desktop-based collection of apps when I’m at home and need their specific capabilities — but I should feel confident taking nothing but an iPad with me when I head out on a shoot or take my next trip.

And I do.

Things aren’t perfect yet, but depending on your tolerance for doing things differently, we’re finally at a place where the iPad is a viable companion for the working photographer.


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Apple Receives FCC Approval for HomePod

Apple Receives FCC Approval for HomePod

Ahead of the promised “early 2018” launch of the HomePod, Apple has received official FCC approval for the smart speaker. Now that FCC approval has been obtained, Apple is free to begin selling the device at any time.

It will be interesting to see how HomePod compares against Google Home and the Amazon Echo products.


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Nintendo introduces Labo, DIY interactive cardboard toys for the Switch

Nintendo introduces Labo, DIY interactive cardboard toys for the Switch

Yesterday, Nintendo introduced a brand new product category with Labo,a suite of cardboard accessories for the Switch that you construct yourself and then play using the Switch console screen and controllers.

Pianos, fishing rods, little robots, and big robot suits….

I love that Nintendo is creating these product line, while the original Wii also inspired a bunch of accessories (who didn’t play star wars with the lightsaber attachment?), the DIY aspect of Labo helps show players what other fun things they can do and takes it a step further.

Although now that I think of it, I did notice that there was no sword in the kits.

You can preorder the Labo Variety Kit (cars, bike, house, piano, fishing rod) and the Labo Robot Kit ( (a wearable robot suit) on Amazon…they come out on April 20.

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Apple’s iOS Security Guide

Apple’s iOS Security Guide

Apple designed the iOS platform with security at its core. When we set out to create the best possible mobile platform, we drew from decades of experience to build an entirely new architecture. We thought about the security hazards of the desktop environment, and established a new approach to security in the design of iOS. We developed and incorporated innovative features that tighten
mobile security and protect the entire system by default. As a result, iOS is a major leap forward in security for mobile devices.

Every iOS device combines software, hardware, and services designed to work together for maximum security and a transparent user experience. iOS protects not only the device and its data at rest, but the entire ecosystem, including everything users do locally, on networks, and with key Internet services.

iOS and iOS devices provide advanced security features, and yet they’re also easy to use. Many of these features are enabled by default, so IT departments don’t need to perform extensive configurations. And key security features like
device encryption aren’t configurable, so users can’t disable them by mistake.

Other features, such as Face ID, enhance the user experience by making it simpler and more intuitive to secure the device.

This document provides details about how security technology and features are implemented within the iOS platform. It will also help organizations combine iOS platform security technology and features with their own policies and procedures to meet their specific security needs.


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Hawaii missile alert: How one employee ‘pushed the wrong button’ and caused a wave of panic

Amy Wang, reporting for The Washington Post:

Around 8:05 a.m., the Hawaii emergency employee initiated the internal test, according to a timeline released by the state. From a drop-down menu on a computer program, he saw two options: “Test missile alert” and “Missile alert.” He was supposed to choose the former; as much of the world now knows, he chose the latter, an initiation of a real-life missile alert.


Around 8:07 a.m., an errant alert went out to scores of Hawaii residents and tourists on their cellphones: “BALLISTIC MISSILE THREAT INBOUND TO HAWAII. SEEK IMMEDIATE SHELTER. THIS IS NOT A DRILL.” A more detailed message scrolled across television screens in Hawaii, suggesting, “If you are indoors, stay indoors. If you are outdoors, seek immediate shelter in a building. Remain indoors well away from windows. If you are driving, pull safely to the side of the road and seek shelter in a building or lay on the floor.”

That is some poor UI design. You’d think something like that would include a prompt (or two) to confirm they want to send the alert?


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Matias is building the wired Mac keyboards that Apple won’t

The Verge:

Apple discontinued its wired Mac keyboard back in June when it introduced a new version of its wireless Magic Keyboard with a number pad, but a company called Matias is trying to keep the wired version alive with its own replica versions. And this year at CES 2018, the company is looking to one-up Apple’s now discontinued version with a new model that features RGB backlighting.

I still use my wired Mac keyboard, but I’ve always been a fan of Mattias keyboards as well so may have to look into getting one.


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Panic to Suspend Sales of Transmit for iOS

Panic co-founder Cabel Sasser:

Transmit iOS made about $35k in revenue in the last year, representing a minuscule fraction of our overall 2017 app revenue. That’s not enough to cover even a half-time developer working on the app. And the app needs full-time work — we’d love to be adding all of the new protocols we added in Transmit 5, as well as some dream features, but the low revenue would render that effort a guaranteed money-loser. Also, paid upgrades are still a matter of great debate and discomfort in the iOS universe, so the normally logical idea of a paid “Transmit 2 for iOS” would be unlikely to help. Finally, the new Files app in iOS 10 overlaps a lot of file-management functionality Transmit provides, and feels like a more natural place for that functionality. It all leads to one hecka murky situation.

Was the use case for this app too edge-casey or advanced? Did we overestimate the amount of file management people want to do on a portable device? Should we have focused more on document viewing capabilities? Maybe all of the above?

My optimistic take: we hope that as iOS matures, and more and more pro users begin to seriously consider the iPad as a legitimate part of their daily work routines, Transmit iOS can one day return and triumph like it does on the Mac.

Panic makes three of my main iOS apps: Transmit, Prompt and Coda.

This announcement does not affect the other two apps, and Coda includes full-featured remote file management.


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Apple is being slandered for what chemistry cannot fix

Robert Kientz:

Li-ION is the most advanced, commonly available batteries that are used in portable electronics like laptops and phones. That is because unlike Nickel Cadmium [NiCad], they do not develop ‘charge memories’. And they are better for small electronics than Nickel Metal Hydride [NiMH] because of shorter charge time and higher energy density, both critical for the uses of portable phones.


Li-ION batteries typically fail faster than NiCad because they wear out in less charge cycles, which mean consumers get fewer charges before their batteries will need replacement.


Apple has not designed flaws into its iPhone product with regard to battery management.

What Apple has done is provide software that allows its iPhone users who want to keep their phones to manage their batteries by slowing down the processor during times of lower power and to keep the phones from turning off spontaneously. Contrary to what many have said about this story, what Apple is doing is not abnormal at all.

There are two computer chip manufacturers that you may have heard of, Intel and Advanced Micro Devices, Inc. (AMD), that have built advanced power management technology into their chipset designs.


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