David Pierini, author at Cult of Mac

Alluring FaceTime photo shoots won’t stop when quarantine lifts


Nick Fancher's FaceTime portraits
Nick Fancher's portraits are "remotraits."
Photo: Nick Fancher

Photographer Nick Fancher has been photographing models in his studio at a time when COVID-19 social distancing rules have forced his contemporaries to cancel portrait sessions.

But the only chances the Columbus, Ohio-based Fancher takes are creative ones. In the very spot where models normally stand for him, Fancher is projecting live images of sitters following his directions via FaceTime.

He calls these the “Remotrait” sessions.

Google is making its own chips for phones and laptops. Sound familiar?


iFixit teardown of pixel
A new in-house chip may power the Google Pixel next year.
Photo: iFixit

Google will take a play out of Apple’s playbook as it reportedly ramps up development of its own processors for use in Chromebooks and Pixel smartphones.

Under the code-name Whitechapel, Samsung is collaborating with Google on the design of the chip. Samsung also supplies chips to Apple.

Will contact-tracing apps do more harm than good?


iPhone showing coronavirus that causes COVID-19
Can a tracing app protect your health and privacy.
Photo: Cult of Mac/Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

The world was starting to develop a healthy skepticism for tech companies and their claims of making data privacy a priority. The Facebook-Cambridge Analytica scandal seemed to get our attention and we began to understand how easy it is for groups to track our digital lives.

Then COVID-19 spread with bullet speed across the world and now surveillance of our movements to track the virus is sounding to many like a good idea.

Quibi quickly captures 1.7 million downloads; fast-tracks plans for shows on streaming TV


Quibi is taking a different approach with streaming.
Photo: Quibi

Quibi, the new smartphone streaming service with 10-minute program, keeps wracking up the downloads and may give viewers a choice to watch its “quick-bite” shows on streaming TV.

CEO Meg Whitman told an interviewer Monday that Quibi has had more than 1.7 million downloads since launching one week ago.

Apple Maps will show you to your nearest COVID-19 test site


screen shot of online application
Test centers will soon appear on Apple Maps
Screenshot: Apple

Apple Maps will soon feature special locators for COVID-19 testing centers.

A testing center’s location will appear with a red medical glyph and a card containing information about the site. The listings will include the name and location of the testing center, the affiliated health care provider and contact information. Apple also asks the testing centers to indicate whether they require appointments or doctor referrals.

Instagram takes DMs to the desktop


Instagram fact checking
Direct messaging via desktop has arrived.
Photo: Instagram

Instagram has been a little more desktop-friendly lately. On Friday, the photo-sharing app gave users the ability to read and send direct messages from a desktop computer.

Facebook, which owns the app, had signaled last year that it wanted to make private messaging easier across all of its apps regardless of device.

Security firm finds sketchy ‘fleeceware’ apps in iOS App Store


The App Store may not always be impervious to "Fleeceware."
Photo: Apple

A cyber-security firm in the United Kingdom has identified 32 iOS apps that it dubs “fleeceware” for subscriptions and in-app fees that amount to a form of online fraud.

More than 3.5 million iOS users installed the apps, most of which were image editors, QR and barcode scanners, horoscope and fortune-telling apps and face filters for selfies. Two astrology apps making the list are among the first 20 in top-grossing iPhone apps in the UK.