The Future of Workflow

Federico Viticci writing at Macstories:

Apple acquiring Workflow could be a pivotal moment for iOS automation and productivity apps. Two years after the release of Workflow 1.0, we’re at a crossroads: Workflow has shown us a future where automation means an intuitive GUI, native integrations with iOS, and none of the baggage of desktop scripting. There’s a special beauty in Workflow’s underlying message: anyone, whether they consider themselves “programmers” or not, can make a computer their own. The software we use every day doesn’t have to be a static experience; with automation and creativity, any app can be remixed, extended, and personalized to our needs.

Workflow gives power back to the users. Now only Apple can turn Workflow’s promise into a reality, ushering us into a new era of automation for everyone, on every device, in every app.

Federico runs through some possible scenarios with Workflow and Apple; the worst and best options, and an alternative idea that he dubs WorkflowKit. It’s exciting to think where this partnership could go for iOS users.

Republicans Just Voted to Let Internet Service Providers Sell Your Browsing History

Josh Harkinson writing for Mother Jones:

[Senator] Flake has argued that the FCC rules could “limit consumer choice, stifle innovation, and jeopardize data security by destabilizing the internet ecosystem.” Ajit Pai, Trump’s FCC chairman, has argued that the rules put ISPs at a disadvantage to internet companies such as Google and Facebook, which are able to harvest and monetize personal information more freely.
But privacy advocates say stricter rules for ISPs make sense. “Google doesn’t see everything you do on the Internet (neither does Facebook, for that matter, or any other online platform)—they only see the traffic you send to them,” according to an explainer on the rules by Electronic Frontier Foundation. “And you can always choose to use a different website if you want to avoid Google’s tracking. None of that is true about your ISP… That’s why we need the FCC’s privacy rules: ISPs are in a position of power, and they’ve shown they’re willing to abuse that power.”

This is bad news for consumers. I recommend subscribing to a VPN service like Cloak.

Night mode has arrived on Among the Stones! I haven’t found the optimal place for the button yet but you can find it on the bottom of each page.

Apple Acquires Workflow

Matthew Panzarino, writing at TechCrunch:

Apple has finalized a deal to acquire Workflow today — a tool that lets you hook together apps and functions within apps in strings of commands to automate tasks. We’ve been tracking this one for a while but were able to confirm just now that the ink on the deal is drying as we speak.

I’m not sure what Apple has planned for Workflow in the future, but I really hope it sticks around and continues to add actions to make iOS more functional for heavy and casual users. The app has become free but lost a few actions such as Google Maps. I have read that these aren’t necessarily Apple’s doing.

Khoi Vinh, writing at Subtraction:

But this move also hints at what the future of Apple’s strategy for Siri, smart assistants and home automation might be. It wouldn’t be unreasonable to guess that Workflow could play a key role as an elegant, easy-to-learn scripting environment for many if not all of Apple’s future endeavors in cloud-connected, AI-powered, voice-enabled platforms.

We’ll see what happens.

Finally able to install macOS Sierra on my MacBook Air. Only took a few months of uninterrupted wifi. There aren’t many changes and I’m still looking to switch over to iOS more.