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WWDC wishes galore

WWDC wishes galore
By Harry McCracken • Issue #4 • View online
Hello! This is the fourth edition of this newsletter, and beginning each one with a hearty welcome (thank you, 548 subscribers!) and introductory comments is beginning to feel a tad superfluous. Maybe I’ll try cutting to the chase next time.

Your #1 desire(s) for WWDC
As I write this, Apple’s WWDC keynote is less than four days away. Yesterday, I asked my Twitter pals to provide the single item they most wanted to see announced during the event. They responded in force, offered lots of smart ideas, and—since there was only a little overlap between their requests—made clear that no matter how successful a WWDC Apple has, it’s not going to make everybody happy.
Here are highlights from yesterday’s exercise in wish-listing.
Ernie Smith
@harrymccracken Mac Mini, preferably with nothing soldered
Aaron Holt
@harrymccracken I think a new Mac mini. I need a new Mac and would be very interested in that form factor if they could manage to make it the least bit compelling.
@harrymccracken High-end MacBook Pro's without touchbar.
Kawika Holbrook
@harrymccracken 12" MacBook w/ 2 USB-C ports and better keyboard.
Bob Sutor
@harrymccracken A completely redesigned MacBook Pro keyboard and trackpad
heavinly heifer 🤡
@harrymccracken @bluechoochoo A MacBook that won’t decide to blow itself up during an os update after theee years.
Siri, AI, etc.
Pete Pachal
@harrymccracken Some kind of marrying of AI with notifications to make them less intrusive.
Sam George
@harrymccracken Siri working with multiple languages.
Software n’ services
Ian Lamont 藍毅恩
@harrymccracken Parental controls that limit device usage to n minutes per day.
Colin Weir
@harrymccracken iPhone: Default app preferences in iOS 12

iPad: More computer-y, less iPhone-y

Watch: FaceKit
Kevin Goldberg
@harrymccracken Improved native podcast app with feature parity of Overcast/Pocket Casts/etc and enhanced discovery
Bobby Schultz
@harrymccracken Live tiles.
The Springboard is wasted real-estate that could be so much better than a cluttered Windows XP desktop.
Simon Applebaum
@harrymccracken A major presentation on Apple TV's status, where new apps are introduced and demonstrated in full. Time to stop treating this product as a second-class citizen at WWDC. Ditto time for the press to step up and cover the smart TV set/TV-connected device movement.
John 🇪🇺 Hawksley
@harrymccracken Software quality focus. Oh god please, software quality focu**Mail has stopped responding.
zach holmquist
@harrymccracken Would like to see an iMessages API. Uses cases would include sending 2FA code via API and ability to ingest the code without round tripping into iMessages.
The kitchen sink
@harrymccracken New HomePod software features. Either more solid OS, API, or some other indication it’s developing fast
Laarni Ragaza
@harrymccracken Bring the headphone jack back. Seriously.
Danny Espinoza 🐤
@harrymccracken Event tracking and querying in iTunes App Analytics
Liveblogging WWDC
Along with my colleague Mark Sullivan, I’ll be in San Jose on Monday morning at 1o a.m. PT to cover the WWDC keynote. After skipping liveblogging for this year’s F8, I/O, and Build conferences, we’ll be back at it this time. Given that Apple will be livestreaming the event, we plan to focus on analysis and context rather than blow-by-blow details. It should be fun—liveblogging is one of those things you can never perfect, but merely aspire to get better at through practice-and I hope you’ll join us.
Watch Apple’s WWDC keynote livestream with us
Two visits to Disney
Fast Company‘s Most Creative People in Business, whose 2018 edition debuted on our site on Wednesday (and is our new dead-tree cover story), is one of the most collaborative things we do all year. Along with scads of colleagues, I nominated some honorees and wrote some blurbs. And I did carve off one larger project for myself by writing about CODE: Rosie. The initiative within the Walt Disney Company lets women currently at the firm in non-technical jobs go through 15 months of training and apprenticeship in software engineering, and come out on the other end with a new career. (Disney technology VP Nikki Katz, who spearheaded the effort, is #26 on our MCP list.)
How Disney is turning women from across the company into coders
Working on my story involved a quick trip to the Disney campus in Glendale, California where CODE: Rosie was born. It’s only the second reporting trip I’ve ever made to the company. The first was almost 29 years ago, and I’m fairly confident that it was the first time I ever traveled to a place of business, interviewed its employees, and turned what I learned into a feature article.
Back then, the Disney facility in question was the then-new Disney-MGM Studios theme park in Orlando, which at the time had a working animation studio working on projects such as Roger Rabbit cartoons. I wrote about it for the Winter 1990 issue of my animation fanzine, Animato, before I was gainfully employed full-time as a journalist. I’ll never forget leaving the studio facility with a PR person. When my handler directed me to exit through a door built into a tall fence, I suddenly found myself inside the Disney-MGM park, which I’d somehow forgotten was just a few yards away.
While writing this newsletter item, I discovered that I still had the 1990 article as a text file. Just in case anyone cares, I’ve republished it on my personal site
Welcome to Burbank, Florida – Harry-Go-Round
Sad coda: I also just learned that one of the animators I interviewed for the story, Brigitte Hartley, died in 1994. There’s a garden honoring her at the site of Disney Animation Florida, even though the studio itself closed long ago.
RIP Paul Somerson
I was about to say that I never met Paul Somerson, the veteran computer-magazine editor who died last week. Then I realized that might not be true: My father knew him in the 1960s and early 1970s, when my dad taught at Reed College in Portland and Paul was a high-profile student. As a tot, I spent enough time on campus that it’s possible I encountered him when I was four or thereabouts.
Once I started working on computer magazines myself, it seemed like half my friends and associates in the industry knew Somerson well. He was a vivid personality and a defining influence on Ziff-Davis’s PC Magazine and PC/Computing. My friend Michael Miller has provided a fine remembrance over at
Remembering Paul Somerson |
Someone needs to write a history of the golden age of computer magazines—roughly 1980-1995–while many of its leading lights are still around to be interviewed. The more of them who leave us, the harder it’ll be to do the subject justice.
Drop me a line at with questions, comments, or ideas for this newsletter, and see you in a few days.
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Harry McCracken

A roundup of technology-related stuff I'm writing, reading, and remembering.

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