Yesterday, Apple released Apple Music Replay, its annual recap of Apple Music subscribers’ listening habits. The site is beautifully designed with images of artists coming to life with video when you’re not scrolling the page. Included this year are:
- A highlight reel
- Top artists
- Top songs
- Top albums
- Top genres
- Top playlists
- Top radio stations
- Listening milestones
As I scroll through my lists, there isn’t anything surprising here. I could have guessed my top artists, songs, and albums and put at least the top five or so in the correct order, which goes to the heart of what I and others have faulted Apple Music Replay for in the past.
The site looks great, and the listening milestones, which explain things like the fact that I crossed 25,000 minutes of listening in early August, are interesting, but they don’t go deep enough. I’d like to know things like which of the artists that I didn’t listen to prior to 2023, did I listen to the most in 2023? What’s a favorite album or band from years ago that I rediscovered? How did the genres I listened to evolve over the course of the year? Which artists took off in my regular rotation compared to past years? There are a million questions that could be answered by Apple Music that aren’t, and that’s a shame.
Spotify does a better job at surfacing interesting data with Wrapped, but if you’re like me and prefer other aspects of Apple Music, sign up for Last.fm, use one of the many excellent indie apps, like Marvis Pro, Soor, Albums, Longplay, Doppler, and Air Scrobble that support the service, and then enjoy your weekly, monthly, and annual reports in Last.fm’s app or on its website.
To view your own Replay 2023 statistics, visit replay.music.apple.com.
Marcos Tanaka’s Play has become the way I watch YouTube, which isn’t something I expected would happen as much as I’ve enjoyed the app since its launch early last year. The app, available on the iPhone, iPad, Mac, and Apple TV, started as a way to save YouTube links to watch later. That made Play indispensable for keeping track of videos in a way that is similar to how I save articles I want to read later in Matter.
With version 2.0, Marcos has transformed Play from a utility where I save links for later to how I find videos and watch them in the first place. The big difference is that Play now allows users to manage YouTube channels inside the app. I still come across YouTube links on social media, iMessage conversations, on the Club MacStories Discord server, and elsewhere that I add to Play using its excellent share sheet integration. However, with support for YouTube channels, I now have a chronological list of everything published by my favorite channels delivered to an inbox where I can quickly pick the ones I want to watch, which is wonderful.
If that sounds a lot like RSS, that’s because it is. That’s how I prefer to scan my favorite websites for articles to read, and now, it’s how I’m watching my favorite YouTube channels.
This week on AppStories, we conclude our tour of their geeky holiday projects.
- Notion – Do your most efficient work with Notion AI. Try it free today.
- Vitally – A new era for customer success productivity. Get a free pair of AirPods Pro when you book a qualified meeting.
On AppStories+, Federico and I address follow up from the first part of Nerding out for the Holidays.
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To learn more about the benefits included with an AppStories+ subscription, visit our Plans page, or read the AppStories+ FAQ.
It seems like every company is scrambling to stake their claim in the AI goldrush–check out the CEO of Kroger promising to bring LLMs into the dairy aisle. And front line workers are following suit–experimenting with AI so they can work faster and do more.
In the few short months since ChatGPT debuted, hundreds of AI-powered tools have come on the market. But while AI-based tools have genuinely helpful applications, they also pose profound security risks. Unfortunately, most companies still haven’t come up with policies to manage those risks. In the absence of clear guidance around responsible AI use, employees are blithely handing over sensitive data to untrustworthy tools.
AI-based browser extensions offer the clearest illustration of this phenomenon. The Chrome store is overflowing with extensions that (claim to) harness ChatGPT to do all manner of tasks: punching up emails, designing graphics, transcribing meetings, and writing code. But these tools are prone to at least three types of risk.
- Malware: Security researchers keep uncovering AI-based extensions that steal user data. These extensions play on users’ trust of the big tech platforms (“it can’t be dangerous if Google lets it on the Chrome store!”) and they often appear to work, by hooking up to ChatGPT et al’s APIs.
- Data Governance: Companies including Apple and Verizon have banned their employees from using LLMs because these products rarely offer a guarantee that a user’s inputs won’t be used as training data.
- Prompt Injection Attacks: In this little known but potentially unsolvable attack, hidden text on a webpage directs an AI tool to perform malicious actions–such as exfiltrate data and then delete the records.
Up until now, most companies have been caught flat-footed by AI, but these risks are too serious to ignore.
At Kolide, we’re taking a two-part approach to governing AI use.
- Draft AI policies as a team. We don’t want to totally ban our team from using AI, we just want to use it safely. So our first step is meeting with representatives from multiple teams to figure out what they’re getting out of AI-based tools, and how we can provide them with secure options that don’t expose critical data or infrastructure.
- Use Kolide to block malicious tools. Kolide lets IT and security teams write Checks that detect device compliance issues, and we’ve already started creating Checks for malicious (or dubious) AI-based tools. Now if an employee accidentally downloads malware, they’ll be prevented from logging into our cloud apps until they’ve removed it.
Every company will have to craft policies based on their unique needs and concerns, but the important thing is to start now. There’s still time to seize the reins of AI, before it gallops away with your company’s data.
To learn more about how Kolide enforces device compliance for companies with Okta, click here to watch an on-demand demo.
Our thank to Kolide for sponsoring MacStories this week.
This week on MacStories Unwind, it’s Thanksgiving weekend in the US, which means it’s time for Federico to quiz me about American traditions and for us to share a couple of TV show recommendations.
Federico Has Questions About Thanksgiving
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Setup optimization is a never-ending journey at MacStories. We’re always looking for the fastest, most efficient, and often, most portable way to do everything in our lives. The result is constant change. Hardware and apps are swapped in and out of our systems and workflows frequently.
We write or talk about our setups in a bunch of different places, which we realize can make it hard to keep up with the most current version of what we’re using. That’s why we’ve dedicated macstories.net/setups/ to our setups. That way, the next time you wonder, what was that pair of headphones Federico mentioned on AppStories or that giant battery pack John wrote about for Club MacStories, you’ll have a place where you can quickly find the answer. You’ll find a link to the new Setups page in the navigation bar at the top of the MacStories homepage, too.
Our new Setups page is what Apple might call ‘a living document.’ We’ll update it periodically throughout the year with changes we make with links to everything that’s still being sold somewhere.
Also, if you have any questions about the gear and apps listed on the Setups page, feel free to reach out on Mastodon using @viticci or @johnvoorhees, or ping us on Discord.
When we launched Club MacStories+ and Club Premier in 2021, we offered members exclusive deals on around a dozen of our favorite apps and services. In the two years since expanding the Club, our discount program has grown substantially. Now, thanks to the generosity of the developer community, Club MacStories+ and Club Premier members enjoy discounts on 34 apps and services from 24 developers.
To put the Club deals into context, taking advantage of them all would save you more than the cost of two years of Club Premier, the highest Club tier. That’s before you even consider the many other perks Club MacStories and Club Premier members enjoy, including:
- Weekly and monthly newsletters
- A sophisticated web app with search and filtering tools to navigate eight years of content
- Customizable RSS feeds
- Bonus columns
- An early and ad-free version of our Internet culture and media podcast, MacStories Unwind
- A vibrant Discord community of smart app and automation fans who trade a wealth of tips and discoveries every day
- Live Discord audio events after Apple events and at other times of the year
On top of all of that, Club Premier members get AppStories+, an extended, ad-free version of our flagship podcast that we deliver early every week in high-bitrate audio.
That’s a lot, but with Thanksgiving upon us here in the US, I wanted to take a moment to focus on just the discounts and thank the developers who work with us to bring Club members such great deals and spotlight each of them for all MacStories readers. Club MacStories+ and Club Premier members can access all Club deals by visiting club.macstories.net/discounts.
The lineup changes regularly, but here are all the deals that Club MacStories+ and Club Premier members can take advantage of now:
It’s almost Black Friday, and Matt Corey gathered indie developers to organize an app sale that runs from November 24 to November 28th, 2023. Corey, the maker of Bills to Budget, Signals, and other apps that are part of the sale, has put together a collection of over 300 apps that will be offered at a discount tomorrow and Wednesday. The list is too long to publish here but includes many we’ve covered here on MacStories and on Club MacStories in the past, including:
There are a lot of great deals, with many apps discounted by 50%, and what’s listed above is less than a quarter of the participating apps, so be sure to visit Indie App Sales for all the details, including discount codes for the apps that aren’t on the App Store, and support these great indie apps.
Black Friday and Cyber Monday are upon us, and we’ve prepared deals to celebrate the occasion at MacStories: starting today, November 22nd through Monday, November 27th with 20% off the regular prices on:
- Select MacStories Pixel Icon Sets:
- Select Club MacStories Subscriptions:
MacStories Pixel Icons
MacStories Pixel is offering three fantastic sets of icons for 20% from today, November 22nd through Monday, November 27th. Just use the links below.
To purchase MacStories Shortcuts Icons (Classic) for $11.99 rather than the usual $14.99, click the ‘Buy’ button below beginning Friday:
To purchase MacStories Shortcuts Icons (Color) for $11.99 rather than the usual $14.99, click the ‘Buy’ button below beginning Friday:
To purchase our Perspective Icons for $19.99 rather than the usual $24.99, click the ‘Buy’ button below:
Club MacStories+ and Club Premier
Also, for anyone who missed our October Club Membership Event or who has been on the fence about trying Club MacStories+ or Club Premier, both monthly and annual memberships are 20% off from today through Cyber Monday. To sign up and take advantage of these deals use the buttons below and the coupon code
CLUB20 at checkout starting today:
Join Club MacStories+:
Join Club Premier: