Amazon to acquire Ring video doorbell maker open the door in home security market


Amazon has reached an agreement to acquire Ring, the Santa Monica, Calif.-based maker of video cameras, doorbells and other smart home technologies, GeekWire has learned. The companies are expected to announce the acquisition this afternoon.

The surprise acquisition marks the latest move by the Seattle-based tech giant into the smart home technology market. Financial terms were not disclosed, but Reuters puts the deal at more than $1 billion. Amazon is expected to treat the Ring deal similar to past acquisitions such as Zappos, Twitch and Audible, pursuing product and feature integrations where appropriate but maintaining the Ring brand and largely allowing the company to continue operating as it has in the past.

15 awesome tips and tricks to master Apple’s HomePod

HomePod is primarily a music playback machine. And it’s got Siri, which means it can do obvious things like set timers, take notes, and tell you what the weather is going to be tomorrow.

But it can do more.

It’s no Echo or Google Home in its flexibility, but HomePod has a few neat tricks up its… um…power cord.

Here are some of the things you might not know HomePod can do.

WatchKit Is a “Sweet Solution”

Marco Arment:

In the original 2007 iPhone introduction, Steve Jobs famously derided other smartphones at the time for running “baby” software and the “baby” internet. He was right.

Developers weren’t given access to make native apps until the iPhone’s second year. Before the native development kit was ready, Apple tried to pass off web apps as a “sweet solution” for third-party apps, but nobody was fooled.

Apple wasn’t using web apps for their own built-in iPhone apps — they were using native code and frameworks to make real apps. Developers like me did our best with web apps, but they sucked. We simply couldn’t make great apps without access to the real frameworks.

Apps were terrible, and didn’t take off, until we had access to the same native tools that Apple used.


The separation of Apple’s internally-used frameworks from WatchKit has two huge problems:

  • Apple doesn’t feel WatchKit’s limitations. Since they’re not using it, it’s too easy for Apple’s developers and evangelists to forget or never know what’s possible, what isn’t, what’s easy, and what’s hard. The bugs and limitations I report to them are usually met with shock and surprise — they have no idea.
  • WatchKit is buggy as hell. Since Apple doesn’t use it and there are relatively few third-party Watch apps of value, WatchKit is far more buggy, and seems far less tested, than any other Apple API I’ve ever worked with.

Apple will never have a very good idea of where WatchKit needs to improve if they’re not using it. But this sweet solution is the only choice anyone else has to make Apple Watch apps.

WatchKit only lets us create “baby” apps. That’s all it will ever let us create.


One solution is for Apple to reimplement all of its own Watch apps with WatchKit instead of their internal frameworks, which will force them to fix WatchKit’s many bugs and dramatically expand it.

The much better solution, and the one I hope they take, is for Apple to expose its real watchOS UI and media frameworks to third-party developers, as it has done on iOS.

Jeffrey Zeldman: “we need design that is faster and design that is slower”

Jeffrey Zeldman:

When I say  “we,” I mean our whole industry, when I say “our whole industry,” I mean design, and when I say “design,” I mean: web design and development; digital product design; digital user experience design; digital user interface design; digital interaction design; “mobile” design (which is the same thing as web design and development); graphic design as part of UX, UI, interactive, digital, and web design; publishing and editorial design; and other  design practices specifically empowered by the internet and digital technology and built largely around reading and interacting with words on screens.

A mouthful, isn’t it? Some people mean all the above when they say “UX.” I generally mean all the above when I say “design” and call myself a designer.

I exclude from the category, for this specific discussion, tactile, conversational, and passive design powered by the internet of things. Not because those practices are uninteresting or unimportant—on the contrary, they are fascinating, exciting, and fraught with critical ethical questions—but because they are not specifically screen- and reading-driven. And it’s our screen- and reading-driven design that needs a reset.

Our whole industry, as I’ve just defined it, needs design that is faster for people who are trying to get things done, for they are our customers and should not be burdened by our institutional surrenders. We need design that is slower for people who are trying to comprehend, for they are our only chance of saving the world.


How can we tell which sites should be faster, and which should be slower? It’s easy. If the content is delivered for the good of the general public, the presentation must facilitate slow, careful reading. If it’s designed to promote our business or help a customer get an answer to her question, it must be designed for speed of relevancy.

Interesting points from Zeldman

Cheesy Zucchini Bread

Love cheesy bread? But want a healthier alternative that still tastes good? This cheesy zucchini bread is both healthy and tasty.

What you need:

  • 3 medium zucchinis
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 3 cup shredded mozzarella
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • crushed red pepper flakes for taste
  • 2 teaspoons Freshly Chopped Parsley
  • Marinara, for dipping

How to make it:

  1. Preheat oven to 425 and line a baking sheet with parchment.
  2. Using either a box grater or in a food processor, grate zucchini.
  3. Wring excess moisture out of zucchini.
  4. Place zucchini in a large bowl and add eggs, garlic, oregano, 1 cup mozzarella, Parmesan, and cornstarch.
  5. Stir until completely combined.
  6. Transfer “dough” to prepared baking sheet and pat into a crust.
  7. Bake for 25 minutes until golden.
  8. Sprinkle with remaining 2 cups mozzarella, salt and pepper, crushed red pepper flakes, and parsley and bake until cheese is melted for another 8 to 10 minutes.
  9. Slice and serve with marinara.

The #1 reason Facebook won’t ever change

Om Malik:

Google’s core DNA is search and engineering, though some would say engineering that is driven by the economics of search, which makes it hard for the company to see the world through any other lens. Apple’s lens is that of product, design, and experience. This allows it to make great phones and to put emphasis on privacy, but makes it hard for them to build data-informed services.

Facebook’s DNA is that of a social platform addicted to growth and engagement. At its very core, every policy, every decision, every strategy is based on growth (at any cost) and engagement (at any cost). More growth and more engagement means more data — which means the company can make more advertising dollars, which gives it a nosebleed valuation on the stock market, which in turn allows it to remain competitive and stay ahead of its rivals.

Why Can Everyone Spot Fake News But The Tech Companies?

Charlie Warzel, for BuzzFeed:

The companies ask that we take them at their word: We’re trying, but this is hard — we can’t fix this overnight. OK, we get it. But if the tech giants aren’t finding the same misinformation that observers armed with nothing more sophisticated than access to a search bar are in the aftermath of these events, there’s really only one explanation for it: If they can’t see it, they aren’t truly looking.

How hard would it be, for example, to have a team in place reserved exclusively for large-scale breaking news events to do what outside observers have been doing: scan and monitor for clearly misleading conspiratorial content inside its top searches and trending modules?

It’s not a foolproof solution. But it’s something.

Apple Plans Upgrades to AirPods

Mark Gurman, writing for Bloomberg:

The model coming as early as this year will let people summon Apple’s Siri digital assistant without physically tapping the headphones by saying “Hey Siri.” The function will work similarly to how a user activates Siri on an iPhone or a HomePod speaker hands-free. The headphones, internally known as B288, will include an upgraded Apple-designed wireless chip for managing Bluetooth connections. The first AirPods include a chip known as the W1, and Apple released the W2 with the Apple Watch last year.

The idea for the water-resistant model is for the headphones to survive splashes of water and rain, the people said. They likely won’t be designed to be submerged in water. The latest iPhones can survive splashes, while the Apple Watch is considered “swim-proof.” Apple’s plans could change or be delayed, the people said. An Apple spokeswoman declined to comment.

The iPhone X and Portrait Lighting

Take a look behind the iPhone X and discover the process we went through to create Portrait Lighting. Combining timeless lighting principles with advanced machine learning, we created an iPhone that takes studio-quality portraits without the studio.