Latest stories - Harry McCracken

3 Days Ago   On Tuesday, Facebook held a conference called Flow at a hotel near its Menlo Park, California, headquarters. The event celebrated the company’s Workplace business collaboration service, and among the pieces of news was a new usage stat: Workplace now has three million paying customers, a figure that doesn’t count nonprofit customers who can use the service for free.

11 Days Ago   Microsoft will exit the Surface business by 2019. Two reasons: Satya Nadella is a software guy, he’s a cloud guy. He already allowed [Microsoft’s] mobile phone business to decline.

18 Days Ago   Dropbox is holding a conference in San Francisco today called “Work in Progress.” It includes some sessions on the general topic of staying happy and productive in a world with an ever-increasing number of distractions, culminating in an off-the-record conversation this afternoon with former First Lady Michelle Obama.

24 Days Ago   On September 20, 1989, Apple product chief Jean-Louis Gassée stood on a stage in Universal City, California, and unveiled a new computer, the Macintosh Portable. It was Apple’s first battery-powered Mac, and the goal, Gassée declared, was to build a portable Mac that was every bit as powerful and usable as the familiar desktop models: “No subset of applications, no Mac Jr., no compromise.” As he promised, the Mac Portable was a really good Mac.

28 Days Ago   If ever an area of technology managed to be both long-established and bleeding-edge, it’s artificial intelligence. On one hand, fundamental concepts such as neural networks and machine learning were established before many of the computer scientists currently putting them to work were born.

28 Days Ago   This article is part of Fast Company’s editorial series The New Rules of AI. More than 60 years into the era of artificial intelligence, the world’s largest technology companies are just beginning to crack open what’s possible with AI—and grapple with how it might change our future.

33 Days Ago   Once upon a time, Apple offered two types of iPads. There was the high-end iPad Pro. And there was the, well, iPad—the original version of the tablet, more focused on content consumption than serious productivity.

34 Days Ago   It’s a shiny, tightly framed snapshot of a couple of friends of mine, posing as we share a booth at a New York diner. It’s almost (but not quite) square, with a distinctive white border that’s thicker at the bottom than on the other sides.

36 Days Ago   If you sat down to compile a ranking of the most recognizable top executives at leading technology companies, Microsoft president Brad Smith would probably not make even your long list of contenders.

40 Days Ago   When did you last use a phone that was just, you know, a phone? For me, it was back in 2001 or thereabouts. I don’t recall the model, but I do remember that I gave it up for a Kyocera QCP-3035, which had a rudimentary built-in app store.

48 Days Ago   If there were a Hall of Fame for the internet’s most comfortably familiar offerings, Yelp would be a first-ballot inductee. The service, which is about to turn 15—it went live in October 2004—has long been synonymous with user reviews (almost 200 million of them to date) and facts about restaurants and other local businesses, with a down-to-earth vibe and aesthetic that have remained remarkably consistent over the years.

56 Days Ago   San Francisco’s Moscone West convention center has hosted its share of giant developer conferences over the years, from Apple’s WWDC to Google I/O to Microsoft Build.

67 Days Ago   For years, Samsung’s Galaxy Note smartphones have catered to folks who want a phone with a ton of features and are willing to pay for them.

67 Days Ago   Since 2011, Samsung’s Galaxy Note smartphones have had two signature features: a really big screen and the S Pen stylus. Beyond them, the line has always been about pulling out all the stops for users who see their phones as pocket-sized machines for creativity and productivity—and are willing to pay a price that’s at the high end even among premium phones.

69 Days Ago   Two decades ago, Apple was a troubled company in a time of upheaval. Cofounder Steve Jobs, who had officially returned as interim CEO in September 1997, had a plan to return it to health.

69 Days Ago   Back in March, Apple unveiled the Apple Card, a new credit card—offered in partnership with Goldman Sachs—that’s as much an extension of the Apple Pay mobile payments system as it is a piece of plastic—or, to be exact in this case, titanium.

72 Days Ago   Two of the digital world’s most potent brands are getting a revise. According to a new story by The Information’s Alex Heath, Facebook will rebrand Instagram and WhatsApp as “Instagram From Facebook” and “WhatsApp From Facebook,” respectively.

74 Days Ago   Sometimes it seems like there’s no longer a market for high-end tablets—just ones for the iPad Pro and for Windows tablets, such as Microsoft Surface, that are as much PC as tablet.

81 Days Ago   For all the self-inflicted problems Facebook is dealing with—such as the $5 billion fine it must pay after an FTC investigation into its privacy practices—the news is usually good when it comes to its financial performance as a public company.

82 Days Ago   In a tech industry obsessed with scale, no aspiration is more iconic than building something that reaches a billion users. And nobody has achieved it more often than Google.

90 Days Ago   On Tuesday, Twitter rolled out a new version of Twitter for those of us who use the service in a desktop browser. (The company has been testing the new look for awhile, so you may have already had it.) The redesign is less about all-new features than cleaning up the existing experience and importing some functionality from the Twitter app.

94 Days Ago   VidCon is going on in Anaheim, California. The conference is the most important event of the year for YouTube creators—and therefore the video hub’s annual launchpad for features to help them turn their channels into money.

95 Days Ago   Building great search features for an e-commerce site is never simple. If it were, the results we get would feature a lot more irresistible gems—and fewer items we’d never buy.

96 Days Ago   As part of a refresh of its entry-level lineup of portable Macs, Apple has discontinued the 12″ MacBook—the last laptop it offered without a “Pro” or “Air” in its name.

96 Days Ago   Most of us will best remember Ross Perot, who died on Tuesday at 89, for his idiosyncratic runs for the presidency in 1992 and 1996. But the career of the Dallas billionaire, who made his fortune by founding computer automation company Electronic Data Systems in 1962, is full of fascinating sidelights.

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