Sick and struggling in Coal Country

From Binghui Huang at The Morning Call:

The region is a study in contrasts. Cutting across mountains, waterfalls and lakes, it’s as flush with beauty as it is with coal. Houses peek out of the green, tree-lined valleys that spawned famous Americans such as writer John O’Hara, actor Jack Palance, musicians Tommy and Jimmy Dorsey, and former Vice President Joe Biden. But violence and disaster also mark the rugged terrain — from the massacre of striking Lattimer miners and the hanging of alleged Molly Maguires in the late 1800s, to the tragic breach of the Knox Creek Mine in 1959.

The industry that once defined and supported the people living there has burned out. In its place are poverty, sickness and addiction.

This is the first article in an absolutely fantastic series of articles about the region of PA that I’m from and where we now live (we’re in Tamaqua, a neighboring town of Lansford, which is mentioned heavily in the article).

Things are really, really bleak for a lot of people out here in the sticks and it’s pretty sad.

Apple officially releases Smart Battery cases for iPhone XS/Max/XR with Qi charging support

From 9to5Mac:

Apple today has officially released Smart Battery cases for the iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max, and iPhone XR. This comes after 9to5Mac discovered various pieces of evidence within iOS hinting at the existence of such cases.

The cases are priced at $129 for all three phones. Further, the iPhone XS/Max/XR Smart Battery cases are available in white and black.

You can get the cases here:

Apple says the iPhone XR has been its top-selling iPhone since launch

From Shara Tibken at CNET:

Apple’s iPhone XR has been outselling the iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max every day since the cheaper, colorful phone hit the market last month.

Greg Joswiak, Apple vice president of product marketing, told CNET in an interview Wednesday that the device has “been our most popular iPhone each and every day since the day it became available.”

I can’t say I’m terribly surprised by this at all.

The iPhone XS Max is making me neglect my iPad

From Leif Johnson at Macworld:

I haven’t used my iPad Pro in days. In fact, I kind of forgot it existed, as last week I guiltily realized I’d buried my longtime daily writing companion under a pile of papers as though it were a random piece of trash.

But the guilt passed quickly. Within seconds my attention had already turned back to my new iPhone XS Max, a device that does many of the tasks my iPad Pro does more comfortably and efficiently. And I highly doubt I’m alone in that thinking.

While I hardly consider my iPad Pro “a random piece of trash” and still use it daily for work, I’m finding I use it a lot less when sitting on the couch and doing non-work related stuff than I did before I got the iPhone XS Max XR (ed. note: I swapped out the XS Max for a XR). Perhaps that’ll change if/when the new iPad Pros drop later this month.

iOS 12: The MacStories Review

From Federico Viticci at MacStories:

After years of unabated visual and functional changes, iOS 12 is Apple’s opportunity to regroup and reassess the foundation before the next big step – with one notable exception.

As with every year over the last few years, if you’re going to read an iOS review, make it Federico’s. The amount of time and detail he puts in every year is amazing and definitely worth the read.

How an Ex-Cop Rigged McDonald’s Monopoly Game and Stole Millions

From the Daily Beast:

This was the man entrusted with creating a theft-proof system for one of America’s largest corporations. It was a thrill to protect the Monopoly promotion, and only a natural part of his job to consider the system’s fallibilities. But soon the temptation to steal had become irresistible.

This story is bananas.

Atlassian + Slack

From Slack:

Today Slack and Atlassian are taking even bigger steps to drive fundamental improvements to the experiences of hundreds of thousands of teams and millions of people around the world who use our products together every day. This partnership is about a joint vision of simplifying and automating the huge amount of effort that teams everywhere expend to stay aligned, coordinated, and productive.

I’m so happy about this. We switched from Slack to Hipchat about a year ago since we also use Jira and I’ve missed Slack ever since. After this news, we’ve already started the process of moving back to Slack. Woot.

Microsoft to acquire GitHub for $7.5 billion

From Microsoft:

Microsoft Corp. on Monday announced it has reached an agreement to acquire GitHub, the world’s leading software development platform where more than 28 million developers learn, share and collaborate to create the future. Together, the two companies will empower developers to achieve more at every stage of the development lifecycle, accelerate enterprise use of GitHub, and bring Microsoft’s developer tools and services to new audiences.

It seems like a good fit with Microsoft’s embrace of open source these days.