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Sunday, December 10, 2017

Cristael's Birthday and her Hanukkah message

Today would have the birthday of our late President of MacValley Cristael Bengtson. We miss her so. She kept us going until the end.

In December 2010, she sent me this story about teaching her elementary students at Paradise Hills about Hanukkah. 


In my first year of teaching third grade in Paradise Hills, one of my Jewish mothers came to our classroom for a special event. She brought with her a mystery box, and she also brought some cookies that smelled so good. Both teacher and kids knew that we were all in for a special treat. 

The mother and her two daughters took a beautiful menorah out of the mystery box, along with a lovely cloth to place the menorah on. And then they told the story of Hanukkah, of how the Jews had won a great victory in a war with the King of Syria. 

Right after the victory, the Jews rededicated the Temple in Jerusalem, in order to cleanse the Temple from the desecration it and the Jewish people had suffered under Syrian rule.

But the Jews quickly realized they had a problem. On the day of the rededication, it was found that sacred flame that was always kept burning in the Temple, had only enough oil left to last for one day.  

Yet, to the joy of all the Jewish people, that sacred flame miraculously burned for eight days, which gave the priests time to press, prepare, and consecrate fresh olive oil for the flame. All twenty-five kids listened with wide eyes as they were told the story of Hanukkah. 

Then mother and daughters lit the first candle in the menorah. And they sang a song of praise and thanks for the miracle of the container of the oil. 

Finally, they talked about the joy of the holiday, and all the fun they had as a family. When the daughters told about getting a present for each of the eight days of the Hanukkah holiday, all the kids said, “Wow! You get that many presents?” 

And the mother leaned over to me and said softly, “Yes, until the money runs out.” 

After the telling of the story of Hanukkah, the fun part started. All the children got to play ‘Spin the Dreidel’, substituting toothpicks for the ornamental coins or ‘gelt’ used at home. 

Mother and daughters also brought paper plates and napkins, so that the children got to eat some of the special cookies made for this holiday. Afterwards, everyone agreed they had all had a really good time. 

This was the beginning of what became a yearly tradition in my classroom. I always enjoyed having my Jewish mothers come to our classroom. It was a special time when my third grade children not only enjoyed a little bit of the fun of this wonderful Jewish holiday, it was also a lesson for all my third-graders in valuing diversity, and in seeing the good in everyone. And above all, it celebrated peace. And isn’t that what this Holiday Season is all about. 

In this special season, we wish the Happiest of Holidays to each and every MacValleyite, and throughout all the world may there be Peace.  




Tom Briant

Editor, MacValley Blog







Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Senior Correspondent Arnold Woodworth's Weekly Web Wrap-up for Tuesday 12-5-2017

I wrote about how much I hate my iPhone X — and an army of Apple fans attacked me online
Both my inbox and my  Twitter notifications flooded with reader responses, almost all negative and condescending.
I was prepared for the criticism — but not how ridiculous it all was.
iPhone X Face ID mini review: Better than Touch ID, or a step in the wrong direction?
Before he bought his iPhone X, the author was worried about how reliably Face ID would work.
Two weeks into iPhone X ownership, he decided his concerns were misplaced.
Face ID performs far better than the author was expecting.
Face ID is incredibly easy to set up.
Face ID isn't 100 percent secure. The same is true, though, of Touch ID, which can be tricked with synthetic fingers made from prints lifted from the touch screen. But for 99 percent of the time, it is secure enough.
iPhone X TrueDepth Camera Data Raises Privacy Concerns
In a piece for the Washington Post, Geoffrey A. Fowler is pressing the question of whether and how Apple should be sharing this data with app makers, because of what they can do with that information. Using an app called MeasureKit, Fowler's been able to see the face-scanning data Apple shares with developers.
Apps Might Have Too Much Access to Face ID Data on iPhone X
Like Touch ID data, your Face ID biometrics aren’t stored online or provided to apps directly. However, apps do have access to some less sensitive Face ID data for features like Animojis. This could end up being a much greater privacy concern than the standard front-facing cameras on other phones.

Third-party apps get access to the 3D wireframe data from the iPhone X True Depth camera system. That means they can track the real-time movements of your mouth, eyes, and even subtle changes in facial expression.
After being informed of this potential privacy headache, Apple moved to require apps that use Face ID must have a privacy policy.
Shutterfly lawsuit tags Illinois as battleground in facial recognition fight
A lawsuit against photo-sharing site Shutterfly, which seeks class-action status, joins a string of suits here from consumers around the country who have accused companies of mishandling their biometric information, which includes facial, fingerprint and iris scans.
The state’s Biometric Information Privacy Act is considered the strictest law of its kind in the nation. The 2008 law mandates that companies collecting such information obtain prior consent from consumers, detailing how they’ll use it and how long it will be kept. It also allows private citizens to sue.
Biometric data include biological or physical characteristics, and that’s concerning to people because those are permanent, said Christopher Dore, a partner at Chicago law firm Edelson who is not involved in the Shutterfly lawsuit. If your identity is stolen, you can get a new credit card, but if biometric data is hacked, “you can’t get a new face,” Dore said. “You’re stuck with it.”

People are also concerned — and rightfully so, Dore said — about what companies amassing databases of biometric information will do with it.
“Once this info is loose, the possibilities are kind of endless,” he said. “Technology for facial recognition being built into cameras is not that hard to get your hands on. … It’s going to start showing up in more aspects of our lives.”
The iPhone X's Face ID:  What Could Possibly Go Wrong?
Apple Mac security issue may reoccur
Apple produced a patch to fix the security bug less than a day after it was first reported.
The bug let anyone obtain high-level access to a Mac simply by typing the username "root" and leaving the password field blank.
The bug would still be present on a Mac that:
• was running High Sierra 10.13
• applied the security patch
• upgraded to High Sierra 10.13.1
• had not been rebooted
Apple's support page about the loophole stresses the importance of making sure that the security patch is "applied properly".
Apple just announced the 2011 Mac Mini is obsolete
Apple declared the 2011 Mac Mini "obsolete" on Monday (December 4, 2017), which means Apple and authorized repair centers will no longer be able to repair the tiny Mac desktop.
If you've got a 2014 Mac Mini, Apple will still repair it.
Steve Jobs and Apple learned a huge lesson from the failure of the original Macintosh
Clinical trial puts Apple Watch's heart monitoring prowess to the test
Apple hopes to show its watch can effectively detect atrial fibrillation.
Heart doctors and traditional medical technology companies appear to be keeping an open mind so far as Apple launches a massive 500,000-person research study to see whether the Apple Watch can detect signs of the potentially serious medical condition called atrial fibrillation.
Unlike a traditional clinical trial, which requires meeting with a doctor, participants in the Apple Heart Study can enroll just by downloading an app in the U.S. and having internet access on their phone.
Apple has encouraged the development of medical-research apps by releasing an open-source software framework called ResearchKit, which has been used to design apps related to everything from autism to melanoma to postpartum depression.
Hacker culture traces back to an illegal device made by Apple's co-founder. Now it's for sale.
Long before the iPhone, there was the blue box.
On Wednesday, one of Mr. Wozniak’s blue boxes goes to auction for the first time at the Bonhams New York gallery on Madison Avenue. It’s been valued at between $30,000 to $50,000.
“If it hadn’t been for the blue boxes, there would be no Apple. I’m 100 percent sure of that,” Mr. Jobs told biographer Walter Isaacson in 1994.
Apple will stop accepting 32-bit Mac apps starting January 1, 2018
Starting January 1, all new apps submitted to the Mac App Store must support 64-bit architecture, while existing apps must be updated to 64-bit by June 2018. Apple recommends that if you distribute your app outside of the App Store you should update your app to run 64-bit as well. This is due to the fact that macOS High Sierra will be the last macOS release to support 32-bit architecture.
Apple Admits Video Platform Defeat to YouTube
Apple launched an official support channel on YouTube, a de facto admission of defeat in the video platform space to YouTube. The videos on there are typically slick Apple productions. They feature tips on “How to update iOS on your iPhone or iPad” and “How to mute or leave a group conversation”. In a week they have collectively racked up more than 100,000 views.
John Gruber put it this way: “…this is a sign of just how dominant YouTube is. Everyone publishes video on YouTube, even Google’s biggest rivals — Apple, Microsoft, and Amazon.”
Apple Support Comes to YouTube With Official Channel
Face ID not working on iPhone X after updating to iOS 11.2? A reboot should fix it
Some iPhone X owners are reporting that Face ID is not working after updating to iOS 11.2, which was released this morning. The iPhone X instead shows an alert that says it is ‘unable to activate Face ID on this iPhone’. Luckily, the fix seems to be very simple — reboot your phone.
If Face ID does not work after a hard restart, contact Apple Support.
Face ID for iPhone X has stopped working for some users with the iOS 11.2 update: Here's how to fix it
In addition to the Face ID discussion, this article has a list of new features in iOS 11.2.
Apple iOS 11.2 Starts Causing Problems
Apple iOS 11.2 is arguably the most rushed release in iOS history. It was pushed out early to combat a serious restart bug and arrived with its headline feature unfinished, an inaccurate update description, missing security information and - as my iOS 11.2 Upgrade Guide warned - a lot of bugs.
The biggest takeaway once again is atrocious battery life.
Apple SVP Federighi says Touch ID was not intended for multiple users, and Face ID isn’t either
One difference between Touch ID and Face ID (besides the obvious fact that one is a fingerprint sensor and the other is a facial recognition system) is that the former inadvertently supports multiple users, while the latter does not.
Touch ID allows multiple users to sign-in using their individual fingerprints on the same device. If Federighi is right (and he should know), nothing similar will be available for Face ID, at least for a few years.
iOS 11 Encrypted Backup Change Reduces Security, Boosts Data Safety
Digital forensics firm Elcomsoft revealed this week that Apple has changed how encrypted iOS backups are protected, reducing security to improve the overall user experience.
Does this change represent a real risk to the average Apple user?  Yes, but that answer has to be understood in the proper context. In absolute terms, Apple’s change is a step backward for iOS security, but the nuances of real-world usage suggest that Apple believes it’s a net improvement for protecting user data from loss.
While I wish that Apple hadn’t made this change, and I do consider it a hit to my personal security, I can see where Apple is coming from and how the company may see it as enhancing the safety of user data. Let me explain.
Why You Should Lock Your iPhone with a Password, Not a PIN
If you're running iOS 11 on your Apple iPhone, make sure you've got an alphanumeric password, or at least a six-digit PIN, protecting your lock screen.
Why? Because that lockscreen passcode may be the only thing standing between you and complete identity theft.
7 iPhone X power user tricks you need to know
These are the best iPhone X models to buy if you want the flexibility to switch to any carrier
Without fanfare, Apple started offering the unlocked, SIM-free model of the iPhone X on Monday, which can work on "any carrier that provides service to iPhone," as Apple puts it.
A SIM card is the tiny chip inside smartphones that allows wireless carriers to identify and authenticate the device on their networks. Many people take their SIM card with them when they upgrade phones, inserting their old SIM card into their new device.
This isn't a big deal for most. It's only worth considering if you want that flexibility of switching to Verizon or Sprint.
A top indie developer that previously won Apple's app of the year is taking on PowerPoint
Paste is a new app from acclaimed iOS app developer FiftyThree.
It's basically a PowerPoint replacement, but with added emphasis on beauty, collaboration, and on its iOS apps. 
Paste is free to try, and can be downloaded from the Apple App Store. Team subscriptions cost $8 per user per month.
tvOS 11.2 fixes the Apple TV 4K’s weirdest video output setting
Fixing one of the biggest issues with the new Apple TV.
Hot on the heels of iOS 11.2, Apple has just released tvOS 11.2 for the fourth-gen Apple TV and Apple TV 4K.
Apple finally fixes SDR content on the Apple TV 4K with tvOS 11.2
It’s a small update, but it addresses one of the biggest Apple TV 4K complaints.
Every new MacBook Pro owner needs this gadget to solve Apple's USB port problem

The newest MacBook Pro does away with the USB A functionality altogether, leaving you in a bad, bad place when you're looking to plug in your favorite keyboard or tried-and-true hard drive.

HomeSpot USB-C Hubs for MacBook Pro is the exact gadget every new MacBook Pro owner needs.
The best Apple MacBook laptops for every budget
MacBook Pro With Touch Bar: Still Not A Success One Year After Release [Opinion]
On October 27, 2016, the new 13-inch and 15-inch MacBook Pro laptops were announced. Not only were they thinner and lighter, but they added something that Apple said would revolutionize the computer industry — the Touch Bar. It was an OLED strip that allowed you to pretty much do anything that function keys did.
Many people initially liked the Touch Bar.  One year later, most feel that the Touch Bar is nothing more than a gimmick.
Many aren’t keen on the new butterfly keys. They are okay once you get used to them, but when you type on the Surface Book 2 or another device that has keys with normal travel, you realize what you have been missing.
Apple Watch watchOS 4.2 With 1 Great Boon: Apple Pay Cash.
Apple Watch software has come on leaps and bounds this year and, since it left developers’ beta, watchOS 4 has been rock solid. The latest version has just arrived. Here’s the deal on how to download and install it. And whether you should.
Note that you'll need an iPhone 5s or later to update as you need iOS 11 on the phone.
Updating from watchOS 4.1 to 4.2 took in all 45 minutes, including download and installation time.
How to force-quit troublesome Apple Watch apps in watchOS 4
Although Apple Watch apps tend to be well-behaved, there is a way of force-quitting unruly ones if they freeze or fail to refresh data. The process is fairly simple.
Opinion: Why your doctor may soon have you playing video games
Akili Interactive Labs said a trial of its AKL-T101 digital medicine, which it said “looks and feels like a high-end video game,” had a significant effect on fighting ADHD and that it would soon ask the Food and Drug Administration to approve it for treating children and adolescents.
The Case Against Net Neutrality
When you cut through the legal terms and technical jargon, it’s very simple. The plan to restore Internet freedom will bring back the same legal framework that was governing the Internet three years ago today and that has governed the Internet for most of its existence.
Until 2015, the FCC treated high-speed Internet access as a lightly-regulated “information service” under Title I of the Communications Act. A few years ago, the Obama Administration instructed the FCC to change course. And it did, on a party-line vote in 2015; it classified Internet access as a heavily-regulated “telecommunications service” under Title II of the Communications Act. If the plan is adopted on December 14, we’ll simply reverse the FCC’s 2015 decision and go back to the pre-2015 Title I framework.
Here’s the simple truth: We had a free and open Internet for two decades before 2015, and we’ll have a free and open Internet going forward.

Many critics don’t seem to understand that we are moving from heavy-handed regulation to light-touch regulation, not a completely hands-off approach.
Here’s How the Average Consumer Can Profit from the End of Net Neutrality
The Federal Communications Commission’s June 2015 net neutrality rules that ban Internet providers from selectively blocking or slowing websites or charging more for faster relaying are about to change.
The bottom-line is, consumers are going to pay more for access, packages, and speed. No matter what the FTC says or does.
There are going to be companies, especially content manufacturers, whose stocks are going to dip on the prospect of increased costs to access what they offer at desirable speeds.

Those dips are going to be buying opportunities.

With the ability to package preferential (company owned) content at desirable speeds and reduced data charges, big broadband companies will be looking for acquisitions. The end of net neutrality will open up mergers and acquisitions floodgates, and knowing which companies are going to make it onto buyers’ lists can make you a lot of money.
I’ll be pointing out who’s in play as soon as the new rules are published.
In the meantime, buying the big Internet providers – AT&T, Verizon, and T-Mobile – is a no-brainer.
Planned surveillance laws in the UK are "totalitarian” and the bulk collection of people’s data makes people "more vulnerable” to terrorist attacks, a National Security Agency (NSA) whistleblower has said.
William Binney, who worked in senior positions at the NSA for 30 years before leaving and speaking publicly about the agencies practices, has said the mass collection "costs lives" as it overwhelms security services with information.
"Retroactively analysing people, anybody you want, any time you want, that's certainly possible with bulk acquisition of data but that's certainly not what democracies are built on. That's what totalitarian states are built on,” Binney told WIRED.
How Driverless Cars are a HUGE Danger to Freedom
The argument is that driverless "cars" (really a box that moves people and can be called on demand) will appear and basically take over.  First slowly, like cars did, and then more-or-less all at once.
You may see benefits here.
I see grave danger.

The freedom to travel has always been one that has centered around some form of personal transportation.  For roughly 100 years after this nation was formed it was mostly from horses.  Now it's mostly from personal motor vehicles.
With transportation becoming centered around a handful of large and in many cases government sponsored and regulated companies the ability to effectively bar someone from traveling where they wish, when they wish will become trivial and, you can be assured, wildly abused.
You will be able to be trivially prevented from going where you want, when you want or even going anywhere at all.  You will have no recourse if it happens to you or if your travels are "redirected" or prohibited outright on the whim of said firms or, for that matter, at the whim of the government.

Sunday, November 26, 2017

Senior Correspondent Arnold Woodworth's Weekly Web Wrap-up for Sunday November 26 2017

Apple's jaw-dropping 'spaceship' campus is open — take a look from above
It's been a long few years, but Apple's $5 billion campus, with its famous "spaceship" building, is finally finished — mostly.
Several good pictures, and a video.
9 accessories that’ll help you get more out of your MacBook
The 20 best smartphones in the world
The Apple iPhone X, iPhone 8 Plus and iPhone 8 are first, second and third, respectively.
Google Pixel 2 XL and Google Pixel 2 are fourth and fifth, respectively.
Further down the list are Apple iPhone 7 and plus, and iPhone 6 and plus.
iPhone X: Everything you need to know about Apple’s top-of-the-line smartphone
Macworld evaluated the iPhone X, and what we found is that Apple delivers not just a great phone; the iPhone X brings back the feeling of the original iPhone, that rush of holding the future in the palm of your hand.
I've been an iPhone user for 10 years — here's what happened when I switched to the Google Pixel 2 for a week
Even though I've been an iPhone disciple for, like, 10 years, I feel like that's just because it's been a force of habit and not really because I felt like iPhones were the best phones. And now that I'm comfortable with the Android operating system, I might be ready to make the switch.
I've been using my iPhone X for nearly a month, and I've decided I hate it
The phone has one crucial flaw, however — it's nearly impossible to use with one hand.
The difficulty has changed the way I use my phone for the worse, so I'm selling mine.
I had assumed that using the new phone would be identical to using my previous phone, but I didn't account for the drastic effect of the larger screen.

A weird thing happened: I would envy people I saw with older iPhones.
Macs Don't Get Enough Love
Which is surprising, because Macs have been experiencing a renaissance. After seeing a -14% and -17% contraction in units sold and sales volume in fiscal 4Q16, respectively, growth has been picking up very fast (see graph below). Last quarter, Mac revenues skyrocketed by about 25% over unimpressive year-ago results.
Apple has a significant advantage [over Windows PCs], in my view, as it has been the only computer maker to successfully carve a niche in the market that cannot be easily pursued by other manufacturers.

With its own operating system and a unique user experience that is now being complemented by the seamless integration among Apple devices (I envy my wife's ability to text my iPhone from her MacBook Air), the brand is becoming stickier within Apple's user base.
Apple has expanded its desktop and laptop computer portfolio. Notice how, today, Macs come in many different flavors and prices ranging from $499 (Mac mini) to an astounding $3,999 (8-core Mac Pro). This will be crucial in ensuring solid growth rates in the foreseeable future. Interestingly, this is the same reason why I believe the iPhone will fare better in the near future than it did in 2016, as the product offering has expanded to become more appealing to both the lower-end (iPhone SE starting at $349) and higher-end consumer (iPhone X for as much as $1,299).
The smartphone business is currently dominated by one brand: Apple. Not in units shipped, but in the commanding lead that Apple holds in industries and markets that matter commercially. That's why Apple has been making virtually all of the money in the phone industry.
Today's iPhone, iOS and App Store is a lot like Microsoft's Office suite in the 1990s: everyone wanted to copy it, or better it in some respect, but it was impossibly difficult to unseat because it was a package of very good tools that resisted encroachment by one new word processor, spreadsheet or email package. Apple is now the Office of mobile personal computing. And iPhone is reaching a spectacular level of broad competence, expanding upon an app ecosystem and hardware integration that was already effectively impossible to compete with.
When net neutrality ends, all internet carriers will soon be able to gouge you in ways you can't currently imagine!
Video: Everything you need to know about Apple's iMac Pro in under 6 minutes
This video talks lots of technical stuff.  It’s aimed at highly technical nerds — as is the iMac Pro itself.
iPhone jailbreaking is pretty much over
While Apple has largely negated the need for jailbreaking by continually adding useful features and flexibility to iOS over several updates in recent years, it’s also become increasingly more difficult to jailbreak iPhones, both for hackers and users alike.

Jailbreaking will be relegated to a hobby for nostalgic veterans who’ve grown up patching previous versions of iOS on older devices. And while Apple saw the practice as detrimental to its business and to its product experience, it in fact represented the incredible enthusiasm, curiosity and tenacity of scores of fans who wanted more from the company’s gadgets.
Two Major Cydia Hosts Shut Down as Jailbreaking Fades in Popularity
Apple's cat-and-mouse game with jailbreaking has been ongoing for over a decade, and it may be finally winning the battle given advancements in iOS security and decreasing interest in jailbreaking.
Two out of three of Cydia's major default repositories are no longer active as of this month. ModMy recommends developers in the jailbreaking community use the BigBoss repository, which is one of the last major Cydia sources that remains functional.
The closure of two major Cydia repositories is arguably the result of a declining interest in jailbreaking, which provides root filesystem access and allows users to modify iOS and install unapproved apps on an iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch.
"What do you get in the end?" asked Cydia creator Jay Freeman, in an interview with Motherboard. "It used to be that you got killer features that almost were the reason you owned the phone. And now you get a small minor modification." 
iPhone X Diary: Putting the camera to the test, and being even more impressed
All in all, I’d say the iPhone X is easily $500-600’s worth of camera. So consider you’re buying that plus an iPhone costing the same amount.
For me, the real test of an iPhone camera is how annoyed I am if I spot a nice photo opportunity when I don’t have a standalone camera with me. The answer with the iPhone X is ‘hardly at all.’
Any recent iPhone is a fantastic camera in bright sunlight, so I’m concentrating here on the real test of a camera: low-light performance.
12 iPhone X Tips and Tricks You Need to Know
8 things we love about the Apple iPhone X – and 6 we don’t
This $5 Apple Pencil Hack Changed How I Use The iPad Pro

A repurposed clip keeps Apple’s stylus within reach, which means you’re way more likely to use it for note-taking, sketching, and more.
A Digital Whiz Kid Asks “What’s a Computer?” in Apple’s Spot for iPad Pro
Slide Show:
20 Apple Watch Tips to Help You Work and Play Better
OnePlus’s Face Unlock is faster than Apple’s Face ID, but that doesn’t mean it’s better
OnePlus's technology doesn’t use a 3D sensor to scan the user’s face, and doesn’t let you authorize payments via Apple Pay and can’t be used to unlock certain apps, like mobile banking.
iPhone X users can now use Face ID to make purchases on eBay
eBay announced it now supports Face ID for purchases on its IOS app. The announcement makes eBay the first third-party app to allow Face ID to authenticate purchases.
How to Use the Dock With iOS 11 on iPad
Apple Watch Series 3 Review 
Physically, the Apple Watch might not have changed much, but there’s no doubt that both Apple and the consumers now see the smartwatch as a fitness-focussed device, with everything else intended to complement those functions. Apple has admitted this has been in response to user feedback based on how people were actually using the Watch out in the wild.
Apple claims all-day battery life with the Series 3, and the Watch constantly topped that expectation during our review period. We easily got two days of life out of each full charge.
• Great battery life
• Improved performance
• Altimeter
• watchOS 4 adds useful features
• LTE version not available in India
It’s been two full months since Apple released iOS 11 to millions and millions of devices worldwide, and the software is still just buggy as hell. Some of the glitches are ugly or just unexpected from a company that has built a reputation for flawless software. Shame on me for always expecting perfection from an imperfect company, I guess. But there are some really bad bugs, so bad that I can’t use the most basic features on my phone.
How a Smaller Government Made the iPhone Possible
Ten years and 11 generations later, Apple’s invention demonstrates the power of free markets

From 1913 to 1984, the United States had a government-sanctioned telephone monopoly, in some form or another, with very heavy government involvement in the industry.
That anti-competitive system created by government massively slowed development in residential telecommunications.
Had residential telecommunications been left in the hands of government and AT&T, it’s unlikely that anything like an iPhone would exist today.
Who could possibly have imagined that in 23 years’ time, America would go from having the same old AT&T, 1940s-style phones in so many homes to having iPhones in so many pockets? The old rotary dial phones were put there by a company both heavily regulated and heavily favored by the government, a government and a company both disinterested in innovating.

The iPhone, in contrast, was made popular by companies, engineers, and consumers, who moved too quickly for the government to even be able to understand what was happening, let alone to have enough time to try regulating it.
How Apple and Microsoft Won the Personal Computer Revolution of the 1970s, 80s, and 90s
Platform and ecosystem.
Both Apple and Microsoft are ecosystem companies. They got there by very different paths, and have very different ideologies as to why they’re there and how they make money from being there.

In late 1974, Gary Kildall's CP/M as revolutionary for microprocessor based systems, and was the foundation on which the personal computing revolution launched forward.
In 1977, things changed again. It began to occur to some of the more prescient people in the industry that consumers, in the main, didn’t want science projects - they wanted computers that were more appliance-like. So, in 1977, we saw three new market entrants: the TRS-80, the Commodore PET, and the Apple II.

Note that in this time, Microsoft was just another software house. They had a key product, Microsoft BASIC , which very nearly everyone ran.
The thing that killed all of 8080/Z-80 computers, both CP/M and otherwise, was really the advent of the Intel 8086. It was significantly faster, addressed more memory, and was a 16-bit CPU.
SCP wrote QDOS (for Quick and Dirty Operating System). It was shipping in September 1980.  Microsoft bought QDOS.
And the world as we know it changed, fundamentally.
MS-DOS, the renamed and spiffed up version of SCP’s QDOS.
But that’s not where it got solidified.
Rod Canion and his band of merry men in Houston (the founders of Compaq) set out to make a computer that was 100% compatible with the IBM PC. Your software for the IBM PC would 100% run on the new machine from Compaq. When they pulled it off - and no one really thought they could - it set the market standard.
Apple had been paying attention during all of this, and knew that ecosystem was key.
They sell powerful high-margin hardware with some very basic programs, but count on heavy involvement from a deep and robust developer community to really fill user needs. They have a fully integrated ecosystem. It’s all full circle. Fully closed.
Microsoft on the other hand is all about the software. All your third party applications, beholden to Windows.
Both Apple and Microsoft are ecosystem companies. They got there by very different paths, and have very different ideologies as to why they’re there and how they make money from being there.

But they’re very much both about ecosystem, and being the platform.
Apple: Sure, we banned VPN iOS apps in China, but, um, er, art!
iGiant didn't want to aid censorship, but $10bn in revenue is $10bn in revenue
Apple said in a letter [PDF] to Senators Patrick Leahy (D-VT) and Ted Cruz (R-Zodiac) that while it did cave to China's demands it axe VPN apps from its software store, it only did so in order to continue selling other products that helped advance human rights and speech on the mainland.

"We believe that our presence in China helps promote greater openness and facilitates the free flow of ideas and information," explained Apple's vice president for public policy Cynthia Hogan.
Taylor Swift Schools the Music Industry Once Again, While Streaming Services Wring Their Hands
Every time Taylor Swift releases an album, she decides how to make it available -- and streaming service executives claim she's completely wrong.
Swift's new album, Reputation, sold 1.212 million copies in the U.S. last week.
At some point -- maybe soon, maybe not -- Swift will let streaming services offer all of Reputation.
By holding out, Swift is following a path marked by the Beatles, AC/DC and other superstars, who came late to the iTunes game. They, too, were criticized. But they, too, realized that the right time to start selling $1.29 songs comes when it gets harder to sell $15 CDs.
Technology companies hate this.
Justin Rosenstein belongs to a small but growing band of Silicon Valley heretics who complain about the rise of the so-called attention economy: an internet shaped around the demands of advertising.

These refuseniks are rarely founders or chief executives, who have little incentive to deviate from the mantra that their companies are making the world a better place. Instead, they tend to have worked a rung or two down the corporate ladder: designers, engineers, and product managers who, like Rosenstein, several years ago put in place the building blocks of a digital world from which they are now trying to disentangle themselves.
But those concerns are trivial compared with the devastating impact upon the political system that some of Rosenstein's peers believe can be attributed to the rise of social media and the attention-based market that drives it. Drawing a straight line between addiction to social media and political earthquakes like Brexit and the rise of Donald Trump, they contend that digital forces have upended the political system and, left unchecked, could even render democracy as we know it obsolete.
"The technologies we use have turned into compulsions, if not full-fledged addictions,” Nir Eyal writes. "It's the impulse to check a message notification. It's the pull to visit YouTube, Facebook, or Twitter for just a few minutes, only to find yourself still tapping and scrolling an hour later." None of this is an accident, he writes. It is all "just as their designers intended.”
It was not just shady or bad actors who were exploiting the internet to change public opinion. The attention economy itself is set up to promote a phenomenon like Trump, who is masterful at grabbing and retaining the attention of supporters and critics alike, often by exploiting or creating outrage.
"The dynamics of the attention economy are structurally set up to undermine the human will," James Williams says.
Because of Social Media, There is no winning for marketers in the age of Trump, a divided America and the constant social media outrage loop
The outrage cycle has always been a constant feature of social media.
The outrage cycle today runs on a loop. A marketers finds itself in the middle of a hot-button ideological issue – whether it asked to be there or not. There is backlash. And then there is counter-backlash to that backlash. Until another brand find itself in the thick of a similar maelstrom, and the cycle kickstarts all over again.
Basically, there is no winning for brands in today's hyper-polarized and divisive environment. Take a stand on a hot-button issue, and get pummeled by the conservatives. Or don't, and get roasted by the progressives. Markerters — already wary of entering the political fray — now find themselves are stuck between a rock and a hard place. Almost everything is a potential minefield.
Tech firms are speaking up against the FCC's plan to kill net neutrality
The FCC is planning to kill net neutrality — and some tech companies are starting to speak out.
The plan is expected to pass, and if it does, it will mean ISPs and telecoms firms are able to charge companies for access to "fast lanes," or even block certain apps altogether.
If you want to see what America would be like if it ditched net neutrality, just look at Portugal
"In Portugal, with no net neutrality, internet providers are starting to split the net into packages,” Ro Khanna wrote. "A huge advantage for entrenched companies, but it totally ices out startups trying to get in front of people which stifles innovation. This is what's at stake, and that's why we have to save net neutrality."
Here's what Apple cofounder Steve Wozniak thinks of the net neutrality battle — and why it matters
How to make secure passwords you can actually remember
Begin with a sentence, for example "Cats do not like cucumbers.”
Take away the spaces between the words and it becomes "Catsdonotlikecucumbers.”
Thats a very long password.
So instead, use the first two letters in each word of the sentence.
They are Ca, do, no, li, cu.  Take away the spaces to get “Cadonolicu”.
After that, change some characters to other symbols.
For example, change the “i” to an exclamation point “!” and turn one “o” into a zero “0”.
This transforms “Cadonolicu” into “Cad0nol!cu”.
AW comment:  “Cad0nol!cu” is NOT memorable.
And remembering a dozen passwords can make your head spin.
In that case, forget about the manual method above and use a “Password Manager” app to place the burden of remembering all those passwords onto your computer. When you use a password manager, you only need to remember one password — the one that opens up the password manager.  Once open, the password manager app will let you see all those passwords that
you can’t remember.
Why we can’t trust smartphones anymore
A new class of security problem is caused by smartphone makers that create vulnerabilities deliberately without telling customers.
Facial Recognition is the Ultimate tracking technology
The biggest danger is that authoritarian governments will use the technology to surveil and control their populations. Stanford University researchers made an algorithm that guessed someone's sexual orientation from a picture of their face with 81 percent accuracy; humans managed only 61 percent. In countries where homosexuality is illegal, that could be a dangerous weapon.
How does face recognition technology work?

It scans faces, either in person or on a photograph, and measures distinguishing facial features such as eye position, eyebrow shape, and nostril angle. This creates a distinctive digital "faceprint" — much like a fingerprint — which the system then runs through a database to check for a match. Law enforcement agencies have had faces on file for decades.
Doctors have already started using facial recognition to help them diagnose rare genetic diseases that produce distinctive facial characteristics; as the technology improves, they should be able to do the same for more common conditions, such as autism. Shops will soon be able to identify individual customers as soon as they walk in the store, and try to sell them specific items based on their interests and previous transactions.
Tricking high-end facial recognition systems isn't easy. But there are ways to get the better of less-advanced facial recognition systems.
But there's one major flaw in all these anti-surveillance techniques: They make you stick out like a sore thumb. "The very thing that makes you invisible to computers," says tech writer Robinson Meyer in The Atlantic, "makes you glaringly obvious to other humans."
Former Obama cybersecurity commissioner gives some timely safety tips
MarketWatch Question:
Many consumers are afraid of identity theft, but they are hesitant to take any action to protect themselves. What do you suggest? 

Eric Cole Answers:
Minimize and reduce what you’re not using.
Don’t click on e-mail attachments. That’s the number one method of compromising a system.
Get rid of apps you don’t use.
Don’t give out personal data.
Don’t use debit cards - they don’t have the same protections as credit cards.
Cisco, a major internet infrastructure company, is linking up with Interpol to share data about the cyber criminals it finds on its network
• The data includes information and analysis about security threats that Cisco already aggregates through an existing research arm, Cisco Talos.
• The company said it won't share information about customer vulnerabilities. 
• It's a warm nod to law enforcement in an industry that generally requires search warrants before it shares any data.
Companies like Apple and Twitter, for example, generally require warrants before they will share any data with law enforcement.

Cisco, however, is billing this partnership as a necessary step toward tackling global cybersecurity challenges.
Fake Symantec Blog Caught Spreading Proton macOS Malware
In February this year, HackRead published a detailed report on Proton malware which targets macOS.
On November 20th, the IT security researchers at Malwarebytes Labs discovered attackers using fake Symantec blog website to deliver Proton malware against unsuspected macOS users.
The analysis went on to explain how CoinThief was discovered in 2014 and how users can protect themselves against this threat by installing “Symantec Malware Detector,” a program that does not exist. In reality, the download file was Proton malware created to infect devices and steal data.
“Since Proton is designed to steal login credentials, you will need to take some emergency actions post-infection,” said Reed. “You should treat all online passwords as compromised and change them all. Be sure, while you’re at it, to use different passwords on every site, and use a password manager (such as 1Password or LastPass) to keep track of them. Since 1Password vaults are a target of Proton, be sure that you don’t store your password manager’s master password in your keychain or anywhere else on the computer. That should be the one and only password that you memorize, and it should be strong.”

Thursday, November 23, 2017

My 12 go-to apps for opening data files

Happy Thanksgiving! These are my 12 apps I use for opening data files or solving problems with my Mac.


1. Commander 1, a free dual-pane file manager for your Mac, It has an in-app purchase to add features.

2. Omnidisksweeper, a handy app for showing you what takes up so much room on your hard drive/SSD.

3. LibreOffice, a donation ware office suite that opens up old and weird formats you will encounter (Word for Mac 5.1, anyone?)

4. Firefox and Chrome, for when Safari doesn’t work. (I love Safari, but not every Web site works with it, though)

5. Alfred or Quicksilver Once you use a keyboard app launcher, you’ll wonder why you spent so much time with the mouse!

 6. Kindle. For all those books you want to get from Amazon, but haven’t the physical space for! And they have lots of cheap and free books!

 7. Parallels Desktop Lite. For keeping around Linux and macOS (but not Windows!) on your Mac

8. VLC media player. For those media files that Quicktime and iTunes won’t play 

 9. Synergy (not free) If you need to control several computers from one keyboard and mouse, this is the app, especially if they’re not all the same kind of computer!

10. Super-Duper! O Carbon Copy Cloner Invaluable cloning apps for making sure you have a backup you can boot from in an emergency. Well worth the license fee

11. Onyx (make sure you get the one for your version of macOS!) Best free utility for keeping macOS in tip-top shape Here’s how to use it for optimize your Mac

12. XnConvert. An invaluable tool for converting image files from old formats 


Tom Briant

Editor, MacValley Blog

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Senior Correspondent Arnold Woodworth's Weekly Web Wrap-up for November 15 2017

Apple Watch retakes the lead in the wearable band market in Q3 2017
Apple retook the lead in the wearable band market in Q3 2017, with shipments of 3.9 million. It posted its strongest quarter so far in 2017, thanks to the release of the Apple Watch Series 3.
Xiaomi and Fitbit are apples main competitors in the wearable market.
Samsung, Apple and Huawei, the top three smartphone vendors by volume in Q3 2017, have positioned smartwatches to complement their premium smartphones.
Several iPhone X Owners Experiencing 'Crackling' or 'Buzzing' Sounds From Earpiece Speaker

Over two dozen users have said they are affected in a MacRumors discussion topicabout the matter, while similar reports have surfaced on Twitter and Reddit since the iPhone X launched just over a week ago. 

On affected devices, the crackling sounds occur with any kind of audio playback, including phone calls, music, videos with sound, alarms, and ringtones. The issue doesn't appear to be limited to any specific iPhone X configuration or iOS version.
A Researcher Says He Fooled Face ID on Apple's iPhone X With This DIY Hack
A researcher in Vietnam has demonstrated how he apparently fooled Apple‘s face recognition ID software on its new iPhone X using a mask made with a 3D printer, silicone, and paper tape.
This 10-year-old was able to unlock his mom’s iPhone using Face ID
A new video has popped up showing a 10-year-old unlocking his mother’s iPhone, suggesting that any family members who bear enough resemblance might be able to bypass the system.
After the mother reregistered her face under different lighting, her son was no longer able to unlock her phone. She reregistered a third time in dimmer lighting to replicate her initial registration, and then, her son was able to unlock the phone again.
We put the iPhone X's Face ID to the ultimate test with identical twins — and the results surprised us
iPhone's Face ID can be hacked, but here's why nobody needs to panic
The release of the iPhone X earlier this month included a new facial recognition security feature called Face ID.
Recently, a Vietnamese company called Bkav has circumvented this technology with a mask made from 3-D parts.
Paul Norris, senior systems engineer at Tripwire, stated that hacks like the one Bkav carried out take a great deal of time and effort.
he said. "What they didn't disclose was how many attempts and what level of effort it took to get the mask to work flawlessly." Norris also pointed out that certain security details built into Apple's Face ID can mitigate risk. Five failed attempts to authenticate users via facial means will force the user to enter a passcode, which is required for Face ID to function.
In addition, there are still more security features.
The Apple Watch Can Accurately Detect Hypertension and Sleep Apnea
A new study from the health startup Cardiogram and UCSF suggests that off-the-shelf wearables like the Apple Watch and Fitbit could be used to accurately detect common conditions like hypertension and sleep apnea. It’s only the latest example in a string of recent studies in which researchers have tapped into the biosensors of wearables to turn them into devices that can detect and monitor serious health conditions.
About 90 percent of the time, the algorithm was able to accurately detect those with sleep apnea; 82 percent of the time it accurately detected hypertension.
That level of accuracy, the researchers concluded, was high enough to serve as an initial screening, with a traditional doctor’s diagnosis getting the final say.
YouTube Promises to Fix iPhone and iPad Battery Issues After Apple Users Report It Is Draining All Their Battery Charge
The YouTube App appears to be secretly draining people's iPhone and iPad batteries at stunning speed.
A number of users of Apple's devices report that the YoutTube app is sapping their battery – even when their users aren't watching videos or even have the app open at all.
Since iOS 11 was launched, a number of people have complained that their updated phones and iPads are running out of battery more quickly. And while it's unlikely that the YouTube problem explains all of those issues, it may help alleviate some of them.
To ensure that YouTube is fully shut and therefore unable to drain your battery, it can be force quit from the multitasking menu.
Apple’s Official “Human Interface Guidelines” for iPhone X
iPhone X ‘notch’ remover now downloadable from App Store

iPhone X owners who are not completely impressed with the so-called camera “notch” on the otherwise all-screen front of their devices now have a workaround through an app.
Appropriately called the Notch Remover, this app disguises the iPhone X notch with a black bar. Doing so makes the top area of the iPhone X appear more traditional.
The app doesn't remove the notch per se, it just makes the notch invisible by placing a black bar across the top.
CNBC reports that the app still has a few bugs to be ironed out.

I've been using the iPhone X for 18 hours, and I'm already sold
The author wrote:
• I've been testing the iPhone for a little less than a day.
• Overall, I enjoy the design and the new, larger screen. And I don't miss the home button.
• Despite some of the concerns over Face ID, it works flawlessly.
AW comment:
Face ID works as well as the author claims, and I’m very impressed.
Click the link after this one to see the video demonstration with identical twins.
iPhone X Review
What I learned after downloading every iPhone App of the Day for a month
it’s actually really expensive to buy apps every day.
A lot of the apps of the day genuinely aren’t made for me.
A lot of people have a vague desire to get more out of their phone, but get overwhelmed by the sheer number of apps available.
Why I Returned My iPhone X
Getting my hands on an iPhone X was hard. Returning it was easy.
I spent a week with Apple’s newest phone, and I’m confident about two things.
First, it’s the best smartphone I’ve used this year.
Second, I’m not ready to spend $1,000 on a phone (or, really, $1,200, since I would really, really recommend getting the $200 AppleCare if you get the iPhone X— repairs are expensive enough to justify it).
 I loved the phone but not enough to spend this much money on it.  I’m OK with playing catch-up down the line.
Apple Pay Cash guide: What it is, how it works, and what it costs
iOS 11.2 adds Apple Pay Cash, which lets you send money to other iOS users right in an iMessage.
It’s an incredibly easy way to send person-to-person money, but it does have a few caveats you’ll need to be aware of.
If you use a debit card, Apple Pay Cash is free. But if you use a credit card, there’s a 3% credit card transaction fee every time you use your card to add to your Apple Pay Cash balance.
Apple iOS 11.1.1 Release: Should You Upgrade?
iOS 11.1.1 is here. Quickly released to correct a bizarre autocorrect bug which caused the letter “i” autocorrect to an “A” with a symbol.
As with all iOS 11 releases, iOS 11.1.1 is compatible with iPhone 5S or later, iPad mini 2 or later and the 6th generation iPod touch or later.
How Apple sold me on buying a Windows laptop
No one thing pushed me to replace my aging 2012 MacBook Air with an HP (HPQ) Spectre x360. But a slew of small issues made abandoning macOS an easier call than I could have predicted three years ago.
That Windows laptop has a touch-screen.  MacBooks don’t.
The Windows laptop has both old and new USB ports.  MacBooks have only the newest ports.
The Windows laptop has a privacy mode for its screen which turns the screen opaque when seen from the side.
The Windows laptop is less expensive.
Apple Expands 'Everyone Can Code' Initiative to Students Around the World
Apple today announced that its "Everyone Can Code" initiative is being expanded to more than 20 colleges and universities outside of the United States.
Apple introduced its App Development with Swift curriculum in early 2017, with the materials available as a free download from the iBooks Store.
Why you should not rely on iCloud Photo Library as your only media backup
Macworld reader Eric wondered if he could rely on iCloud to be his "main backup of images." The short answer is no, but it's not about distrust in Apple's technical abilities. Rather, about the frailty of all material things, and the risk of putting all one's digital eggs in one basket, no matter how firmly the basket-storing company is holding that basket.

You're relying entirely on Apple for this backup, and you can't reach out to iCloud and backup that backup. It's a single copy, which means a single point of failure.
All good backup advice recommends you have effectively three copies of a given thing you want to retain forever: a live copy on media you can access; a local copy that's offline or physically and mechanically separate; and an off-site copy that you could retrieve.
How criminals clear your stolen iPhone for resale
Criminals have dedicated themselves to compromising iCloud accounts to wipe clean stolen devices using a set of interesting tools.
In May 2016, a team from Trend Micro (which sells computer security software) stumbled upon an operation in which threat actors were offering tools and services to break open iCloud accounts and unlock stolen iPhones.
Firefox 57 'Quantum' for macOS released, iOS version user interface refresh coming
Mozilla claims that FireFox is twice as fast and uses 30 percent less memory than Google's Chrome. 
According to a blog post documenting the new release, 4.9 million lines of code were added, with 6.9 million lines changed by more than 700 authors. There are over 5,000 compatible web extensions available for the browser.
Versions of Firefox 56 for macOS, Windows, and Linux are available now. The new user interface —but not the improvements to the browsing engine —will appear on iOS and Android in time.
Firefox aims to win back Chrome users with its souped up Quantum browser
Did you know that the charging case Apple ships with its AirPods makes for a surprisingly useful iPhone stand? Well, it does.
It's not perfect. The setup is precarious. Nevertheless, it works well enough.
Samsung makes my favorite wireless charger for the iPhone X

Specifically, I like the Samsung Fast Charge Wireless Charging Convertible Stand W/ AFC Wall Charger.
6 reasons why the iPhone X is better than Google's Pixel 2
1.  Looks better.
2.  Feels better in your hand.
3.  Better screen.
4.  Wireless charging (Google Pixel doesn’t).
5.  Better camera.
6.  Apple Eco-system — meaning:
     better apps,
     more locations (Apple stores) for convenient repairs,
     works well with other Apple products,
     (better than Pixel 2 works with other Google products)
iPhone X Review: So Refined, It Converted This Android User
I'm not exactly an Apple fan. I've been vocal about my preference for Android's endless customization over iOS's controlling, restricting ways.
But even having said that, after testing the iPhone X for a week and half, I've decided to make it my daily driver. This means the X is currently home to my main sim card, and is the phone I bring out and about every single day.
I'm using the iPhone X as my daily driver because of that notch above the screen, and a bunch of little refinements that are not big deals on their own but the combination makes for a compelling package.
I do wish Apple would implement a one-hand mode that isn't trash [something I could have easily via Android customization].
Should you buy AppleCare+ for your iPhone X? It depends
If you don’t buy AppleCare+ and never need it, you save $199; if you buy AppleCare+ and never use it, you might waste $199. All other scenarios will likely pay off if you anticipate accidentally damaging your iPhone X within the first two years of owning it.
This article has a detailed list of repair prices, both with and without AppleCare+ coverage.
Don’t drop it! Shocking repair prices for the iPhone X
The most expensive smartphone on the market is also the most costly to repair.
The cost to fix a cracked screen at an Apple store is $279. That’s significantly more than replacing a cracked screen on previous iPhone versions. If there is other damage, the repair price jumps to $549 – more than half the retail price of that phone. By comparison, the cost to repair a cracked screen on iPhone 8 is $169 and other damage is $349, according to Apple’s repair pricing page
AW comment:  Unless you buy AppleCare for it.
iPhone X Review: One week with the world’s best smartphone
Its “notch” will make it the most recognizable smart phone in the world.
Fantastic cameras.
Better battery life.
Apple usually isn’t first with the newest smart phone features.  But moving first isn’t Apple’s goal in most cases. It’s to offer a product that combines technologies the company thinks are ready for prime-time.
15+ iPhone X Tips and Tricks
Apple 13in MacBook Pro (2017) review: battery life to get through a working day
With its build quality, excellent keyboard and improved longevity, this is one of the nicest computers you can buy – but it will cost you.
Pros: beautiful, great screen, Touch Bar, Touch ID, massive trackpad, thin and relatively light, USB-C, OK battery life

Cons: no USB-A ports, no ethernet, no native display ports, no upgrading after purchase, very expensive
Apple's Mac Sales Up 25% Year-Over-Year in Q4 2017
Apple's iPhone X vs. Google's Pixel 2 XL

Includes a video.
Both devices feature OLED displays, but the iPhone X's display is leagues better than that of the Pixel 2 XL.
So which of these devices is better? It's impossible to say. Both the iPhone X and the Google Pixel 2 XL are entirely different platforms, and each one is the best in its respective category.
Why I loved working with Steve Jobs even though he fired me 5 times and treated me terribly
Before the spaceship: A look back at the previous campuses that Apple called home
Some interesting Apple history.
Tim Cook’s record-crushing tenure as Apple CEO is the most under-appreciated story in business
Jobs did bring Apple back from the brink of bankruptcy to turn it into the most valuable company in the world. But Cook's job in some ways is harder. Jobs was starting almost from zero. Cook has to maintain Apple's growth from an absolutely massive revenue and profit base, while answering critics who long for another world-changing product like the iPhone turned out to be.
Steve Jobs famously said, “Design is not just what it looks like and feels like. Design is how it works.”
Science is a way of thinking much more than it is a body of knowledge.
— Carl Sagan
20 TED Talks on Programming Everyone Must Watch
Why the advertising industry believes that Facebook is invincible
Advertisers essentially have no alternative Facebook.
That dynamic is in stark contrast to Google's YouTube, where some advertisers have stayed away ever since some ads ended up next to hate videos.
Marketers have also gotten accustomed to a certain level of dicey ad practices. "Even with the wrong math — it is really small compared to fraud rates on other platforms," said the ad holding company executive. "In digital advertising, you just learn to live with a certain amount of ambiguity."
Twitter admits overstating user numbers for years
Twitter revealed that it has overstated its monthly active user numbers for years by mistakenly including a segment of users from third-party applications.
Twitter revised its previously reported numbers down by 1 to 2 million users for each of the last three quarters. The error is said to date back to the fourth quarter of 2014.
YouTube to crack down on inappropriate videos targeting kids
Automatic filters that are supposed to strip out any YouTube content that’s not child-friendly, so that it can be streamed on what’s supposed to be the kid-safe YouTube Kids site, are far from foolproof.
Who is evading YouTube Kids’ filters to target children with these bizarre videos? And why are they doing it? To what end does someone want to feature Mickey Mouse lying in the street in a pool of blood as Minnie Mouse looks on?

Apparently, the NYT reports, there’s money being made.
Google Youtube says that  the first step in keeping this stuff off YouTube Kids are the algorithmic filters. Then, YouTube says it has a team of humans reviewing flagged videos. If a video flagged in the main app contains children’s characters, it will be sent to the policy review team. YouTube says it has thousands of people, including volunteers, working to review flagged content around the clock, around the world. If the review concludes that a video violates the new policy, it will be age-restricted, automatically blocking it from showing up in the Kids app.
Thirty countries use 'armies of opinion shapers' to manipulate democracy – report
Governments in Venezuela, the Philippines, Turkey and elsewhere use social media to influence elections, drive agendas and counter critics, says report
“Governments are now using social media to suppress dissent and advance an anti-democratic agenda,” said Sanja Kelly, director of the Freedom on the Net project.
In each of the 30 countries, the report found “strong indications that individuals are paid to distort the digital information landscape in the government’s favour, without acknowledging sponsorship”.
By bolstering the false perception that most citizens stand with them, authorities are able to justify crackdowns on the political opposition and advance anti-democratic changes to laws and institutions without a proper debate.
Journalists working for Facebook say the social media site’s fact-checking tools have largely failed and that the company has exploited their labor for a PR campaign.
“I don’t feel like it’s working at all. The fake information is still going viral and spreading rapidly,” said one journalist who does fact-checks for Facebook.
How Fiction Becomes Fact on Social Media
Skepticism of online “news” serves as a decent filter much of the time, but our innate biases allow it to be bypassed, researchers have found — especially when presented with the right kind of algorithmically selected “meme.”
The common wisdom that these rumors gain circulation because most people conduct their digital lives in echo chambers or “information cocoons” is exaggerated, Dr. Brendan Nyhan said. Most people are more omnivorous than presumed; they are not confined in warm bubbles containing only agreeable outrage.
Most lies and false rumors go nowhere, but the rare ones with appealing urban-myth “mutations” find psychological traction, then go viral.
The other dynamic that works in favor of proliferating misinformation is not embedded in the software but in the biological hardware: the cognitive biases of the human brain.
Endless Feeds of Social Media Content Need to Die
Those endless feeds of content are a perpetual source of inspiration, information and amusement. And yet, feeds need to die because they distort our views and disconnect us from other human beings around us.
Facebook is now the worst internet forum you can find. Twitter is filled with horrible, abusive people. Instagram has become a tiny Facebook now that it has discouraged all the weird, funny accounts from posting with its broken algorithm. LinkedIn’s feed is pure spam.
Finally, I realized that constantly checking all my feeds caused be to miss out on the real world. By putting my phone on ‘Do Not Disturb’ for days, I discovered new places, started conversations and noticed tiny little things that made me smile.
Forget about your phone for a minute, look around and talk with people next to you.
Google’s physical authentication keys are effective but limited
Provided you only use Google's apps and services.
You'll only be able to use Google's own apps (like Gmail, Backup and Sync, and the Chrome browser) until the company adds support for third-party apps like Apple Mail or Microsoft Outlook. The third-parties will also have to update their apps to work with the keys.
The site found the security of the new physical key-based system to be solid, even for regular folks. If you lose the keys, however, getting access to your account will take longer than it does without them, up to a few days, said the NYT. Ultimately, if you need the higher-level security represented by physical keys, this seems like it could be a great way to get it. If you rely on third-party apps and systems, you might want to wait.
Use Security Key for 2-Step Verification When Using Your Google Account
With Google's Security Key, you add the security of 2-Step Verification but don't need to re-type codes from your phone.
A Security Key is small enough to fit on your keychain or in your wallet.
Google Security Key works only with Google’s Chrome web browser.
Google Security Key works only with Google apps, not with other companies’ e-mail, calendar or contact apps.
Google Can’t Be Trusted With Your Private Data
Multiple journalists — ironically, not conservatives — reported that they’d gotten locked out of projects they were working on using Google Drive, Google’s cloud storage service. Mark DiStefano of Buzzfeed UKreported the news, and later reported on Google’s “apology” for it, via Twitter. Google explained, “This morning, we made a code that incorrectly flagged a small percentage of Google Docs as abusive, which caused those documents to be automatically blocked. A fix is in place and all users should have access to their docs.”

Google needs to stop treating its users like lab rats for its machine learning. Already, their attempt to crack down on YouTube videos have cost perfectly well-meaning and sometimes entirely apolitical channels thousands of dollars in ad revenues over absurd misapplications of the rules by content flagging bots. To play fast and loose with their producers’ revenue streams like this, despite those people bringing people back to YouTube, showed an extreme level of disrespect for those users.
But Google Drive isn’t just any platform. It’s one where people post their PRIVATE documents. Which brings us to the second, and even worse issue with this story: Why on earth is Google sending bots to scan users’ private content for violations of its Kafkaesque, hyper-PC Terms of Service? Unlike YouTube, where Google can at least give the thin justification that it’s policing bad content seen by the public, there’s no guarantee that anything in Google Docs will be seen by the outside world. So what on earth is Google doing policing it?
AW Comment:
Why do people EVER store their personal information anywhere other than their own computer hard disks?
(assuming they have the option of avoiding it)
So you’ve decided to boycott Google? Congratulations! That’s a great idea! But now, where do you go for alternatives? Are there any other search engines? Join The Corbett Report’s open source investigation into search alternatives as we explore the good the bad and the ugly of online filter bubbles.
This video is about several alternatives.
When you decide it’s time to leave Google for another service, you can download a complete archive of all the files and data you used with Google products.
Google has instructions on how to do this.  Click the links below.
CIA’s Secret Spy Tool Steals Biometric Data From Other Intelligence Agencies
WikiLeaks has published a document of a CIA project called ‘ExpressLane’ that allows the agency to secretly extract biometric data from the NSA, the DHS, and the FBI as well as non-U.S. agencies.
“ExpressLane v3.1.1 provides an ability to disable the biometric software if liaison doesn’t provide the Agency with continued access.”

ExpressLane is installed and run under the guise of upgrading the biometric software by OTS agents who physically visit the target site.
“OTS/i2c plans to revisit these sites with the cover of upgrading the biometric software to perform a collection against the biometric takes,” a CIA document outlining the program read.

The data exfiltration is then disguised behind a Windows installation splash screen so anyone overseeing the OTS officer installing the “update” doesn’t become suspicious. Meanwhile, the program is siphoning out the agency’s database of biometric data.
The files originate from 2009 and were intended to remain secret until 2034.



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