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Monday, February 19, 2018

Senior Correspondent Arnold Woodworth's Weekly Web Wrap-up for Saturday 2-17-2018

Tim Cook explains why you're never going to visit the inside of Apple's new $5 billion headquarters
It's because there's a lot of confidential information inside the building, Apple CEO Tim Cook said.
Apple did, however, build a place for tourists on its new campus. It's across the street. 
The Apple Park visitors center is a combination of an Apple Store, a cafe, and a shrine to all things Apple.
Medical Records May Finally Be Coming To Your Apple Smartphone
Google offered a similar service before and it failed. The search giant shut it down in 2012.

Can Apple succeed where Google didn’t?  Dr. Jonathan Slotkin says yes.
How to prevent the Apple HomePod from staining your furniture
Apple's HomePod speaker is leaving ring-shaped stains on some wood surfaces. Here's how to prevent it.
Choose wisely where you place your Apple HomePod. Here are three different ways to keep it from staining your furniture:
Choose a non-wood surface.
Place something beneath the HomePod.
Try mounting it to the ceiling.  There aren’t many mounting options yet.  But there will be.
There are 2 major reasons you should buy Apple's HomePod over an Amazon Echo
1. HomePod is the best way to listen to Apple Music, bar none.
2. HomePod sounds incredible.
If we were grading the HomePod on its sound performance alone it would be a slam dunk. Apple has produced a small speaker that produces a sound way above its stature, in a way that is enjoyable to listen to whatever you music you're in to.

But we aren't grading it on just its sound quality and neither will anyone else - and that's where it all starts to disappoint.  Siri is not refined enough.
We know that this will change and we know that Apple is great at creating and refining user experiences, but this doesn't feel like the £319 breakthrough speaker you might expect it to be.

For now, it's just a speaker that sounds great, that isn't very smart.
Siri lags behind rivals in accuracy on the HomePod
Apple's voice assistant Siri significantly lags behind competitors in terms of answering questions accurately on its smart speaker.
Apple's first smart speaker feels exclusively designed for its most ardent fans.

The whole thing is small, at 5.6×5.6×6.8 inches.  It weighs 5.5lbs.
HomePod’s sound is clean and mostly balanced, with a satisfying but not overwhelming sense of fullness.
To be clear, for its size, and even for its price, the HomePod is above average.
If you think about Siri’s place in the HomePod on Apple’s terms, it’s not a disaster. If anything, it’s pleasant.

A big piece of that is that the HomePod’s mic array is far and away the most impressive I’ve used on a smart speaker to date. With the Sonos One, Echo, and Google Home, I often find myself shouting, pausing, and speaking deliberately to ensure my requests are heard. The HomePod, meanwhile, lets me speak something at least close to natural.
When it comes to those simple things, Siri is fine.  Beyond its abilities with Apple Music, Siri is mostly adequate with the basics.
Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant do considerably more than just the basics.  Siri is limited compared to Alexa and Google Assistant
Those who want a smart speaker and are NOT Apple diehards should buy a pair of Sonos Ones instead.
How to play music on HomePod without subscribing to Apple Music
Follow the steps in this article to stream music from your iPhone or iPad straight to the HomePod via AirPlay.
The HomePod is built like a tank. Durability should not be an issue.
Even though it looks like there ought to be a nondestructive way inside, we failed to decode it. Without a repair manual, your odds of success are slim.
How to limit HomePod access so family and friends can't send texts, create reminders, or hijack your music
There are two different ways to lock your HomePod from outside access.
AppleInsider shows you how to access and control both of these.
8 reasons you should buy a Google Home Max instead of an Apple HomePod
9 reasons you should buy an Amazon Echo instead of an Apple HomePod
How to Listen to Music on Your Apple Watch
You can tune into songs from your own collection, Apple Music, Apple Radio, and other music services right from your wrist.
Apple Now Selling Refurbished Apple Watch Series 3 Models
As of the writing of this article, there are two refurbished Apple Watch Series 3 GPS-only models available at a $50 discount, which equates to 13 to 15 percent off of the regular price. No LTE models or models with stainless steel or ceramic cases are available at this time.
Apple's Excellence in Design Leads to Employees Smacking Into Glass Walls
The glass is so flawless and unobtrusive that employees keep walking into it.
24 hidden settings that can maximize your Mac
iMac Pro review: Hard to upgrade, but holy Jony Ive it’s fast
I can confirm the iMac Pro is an impressive machine. It’s another step in the right direction for some of those same professionals, even though it doesn’t address every need the Mac Pro used to. For the most part, it’s a faster iMac. But it’s also a bit more than that in some areas that count.
If you have an iPhone, better be careful about any text your apps display. A new iOS bug discovered earlier this week by engineers at Aloha Browser will crash your Apple device, whether an iPhone, iPad, Mac, or Apple Watch, if the wrong character comes up on the screen.
There are two non-English symbols that "can crash any Apple device that uses Apple's default San Francisco font." All that need happen is for an app to display one of the characters.

When one of the two symbols is displayed in an app, the software crashes immediately. In many cases, the app cannot be reopened and must be reinstalled. TechCrunch was able to recreate this behavior on two iPhones running an older version of iOS, one iPhone running iOS 11.2.5 and a MacBook Pro running High Sierra.
A new bug has been discovered in iOS 11 that lets people send a specific character that will crash an iPhone and block access to the Messages app in iOS and popular apps
The bug itself involves sending an Indian language (Telugu) character to devices, and Apple’s iOS Springboard will crash once the message has been received.
How to recover lost data from iPhone, iPad, or iPod with iMyFone D-Back for Mac
If you need to recover data from your iPhone, iPad, or iPod, there are a few options including Apple’s own recovery tools. But an app like iMyFone D-Back for Mac makes it easy to see all of your available options and recover specific data from backups via iTunes, iCloud and the device itself even if you don’t know exactly where to look.
12 texting tips you didn’t know the iPhone could do
How a Low-Level Apple Employee Leaked Some of the iPhone's Most Sensitive Code
This is how a small group of friends lost control of the leaked iBoot source code. The story behind one of Apple's most embarrassing leaks.
According to two people who were in that original group, they hadn’t planned on the code ever leaving that circle of friends.
Eventually, however, the code was shared more widely and the original group of people lost control of its dissemination.
Cryptocurrency Wallet Guide: A Step-By-Step Tutorial
A lot of good info here.
One thing about this web page that’s a bit annoying:
After you’ve been reading for 10-15 seconds, it presents a request for your e-mail address that hides the web page.
There is an X that you can click to dismiss it, but that X is not where you would normally expect.
Instead of being at the upper right of the small e-mail address request, it’s at the upper-right of your web browser’s window.
Due to the distance between the e-mail request and the X, it took me a while to notice it.
Although online wallets have proven more vulnerable and prone to hacking attacks than wallets on your personal computer, diligent security precautions need to be implemented and followed when using any wallet. Remember that no matter which wallet you use, losing your private keys will lead you to lose your money. Similarly, if your wallet gets hacked, or you send money to a scammer, there is no way to reclaim lost currency or reverse the transaction. You must take precautions and be very careful!
Equifax Data Breach Was Bigger Than Previously Reported
But consumers may not be at greater risk than before, security expert says
More than 145 million Americans were affected by the Equifax hack last summer. The personal information accessed--which included Social Security numbers, driver's licence numbers, and credit card numbers--would allow criminals to steal a consumer's identity and open fraudulent accounts.
This article also lists steps to take (if you haven’t taken them already).
News Corp CEO Admits He Wants Internet Censored So News Corp Can Make More Money
If those pesky alternative media outlets like Infowars were censored and shadow banned by Google and social media giants, News Corp would make a lot more money.
The Wall Street Journal has led a crusade against independent content creators for the last year, most notoriously smearing YouTuber PewDiePieas a “nazi” as part of a campaign to drown out non-mainstream voices.
This is why people are upset about this Facebook-owned network privacy app
• Facebook is now directing users to download a VPN called Onavo for "protection."
• The VPN is owned by Facebook, and sends information about your app usage habits to the company.
Under the pretense of protecting your account, Facebook is telling users download to a Facebook-owned app that tracks what you do on your phone — and sends that information back to Facebook.
Facebook bought Onavo, an Israeli company, in 2013. Since then, Facebook has been using the data collected from the service to keep tabs on how people use the apps on their phones, even when they're not using Facebook.
When users download Onavo, they give Facebook permission to collect their mobile data traffic. Because Facebook owns Onavo, Facebook gets access to that data. This means that while your ISP won't see what apps you're using, Facebook will.
Facebook already has issues with eroding public trust, amid its public struggles with fake news, propaganda, and misinformation spreading through the social network. The perception that the company is pushing what's seen as a way to spy on users may not be the best look.
Facebook is feeling lonely these days.

The social media behemoth has seen a decline in traffic in recent weeks along with millions of users leaving its platform, and it appears to be taking rather drastic measures to win them back. Specifically, spamming the hell out of them in a most unfortunate place:  Their cell phones.
One Facebook user lamented "I signed up for 2 factor auth on Facebook and they used it as an opportunity to spam me notifications.”
As far as he is concerned, Facebook attempts to woo him back have more or less backfired. "I feel like they are constantly pushing me to come back to the service but this is not the way to do it."

After all, no one likes a desperate ex.
Father Of Artificial Intelligence: ‘Singularity Is Less Than 30 Years Away’
Singularity is the point in time when humans can create an artificial intelligence machine that is smarter than humans. Ray Kurzweil, Google’s chief of engineering, says that the singularity will happen in 2045.  Louis Rosenberg claims that we are actually closer than that and that the day will be arriving sometime in 2030. MIT’s Patrick Winston would have you believe that it will likely be a little closer to Kurzweil’s prediction, though he puts the date at 2040.
Ray Kurzweil said robots “will reach human intelligence by 2029 and life as we know it will end in 2045.”
Why Linux sucks and will never compete with Windows or Apple OS-X
Linux is both the world’s best and worst operating system. If you’re running a server it’s the best. Linux gives you control, sort of. On the desktop however it totally sucks, and over time it’s getting worse.

Linux also, like the Mac is more of a religion where Linux followers praise new features that actually make the user experience worse. The community behaves more like a cult and seems completely disconnected from the reality of making something productive.

Linux is free and is actually not even worth what you pay for it.
Linux as a desktop continues to become less popular and is getting worse even in an environment where Windows is getting worse too. I used to have the illusion that software was supposed to get better over time. That’s not what is happening.
And DON’T bother to complain about Linux.  The attitude is (and there is a lot of attitude in the Linux community), here’s the source code – customize it yourself.

Saturday, February 10, 2018

Senior Correspondent Arnold Woodworth's Weekly Web Wrap-up for Thursday 2-8-2018

Apple says a failed component on the logic board of some iPhone 7 devices caused a 'No Service' problem even when cell service was available
iPhone users suffering from a curious "Airplane Mode" glitch that surfaced more than a year ago received a measure of vindication on Friday after Apple acknowledged the problem and to repair the problem for free.
In addition to offering free repairs for iPhone 7s with the Airplane Mode problem, Apple said on Friday that it will reimburse any iPhone 7 owner who already paid to have this problem fixed.
Apple's making more money off the iPhone — even as it sold fewer of them
That's because even though it sold fewer phones, it made a lot more money off them.

Boosted by sales of the company's new flagship, the iPhone X, which starts at $1,000, the average price consumers paid for Apple's smartphones jumped through the roof.
A four-sentence HomePod review (with appendices)
Apple’s HomePod is easily the best sounding mainstream smart speaker ever.
There’s a reason my review is only four sentences: if you don’t like Apple Music, don’t buy a HomePod.
But if you’re an Apple Music subscriber, do buy a HomePod and don’t even consider buying anything else.
Should I buy an Apple HomePod?
Excellent chart to help you decide.
Apple’s HomePod speakers will be the best-sounding ones you’ve ever owned
Comparing the HomePod to my Sonos Play One and my Amazon Echo — what hit me was that once you hear the HomePod, it is hard to unhear it. Once you listen to it and experience it for yourself, there is no going back. My Sonos, as great as it sounds, and my Echos just didn’t sound the same after listening to the same songs on the HomePod. You can’t unhear the quality of the HomePod, and it will change your opinion of many others speakers you may own. There was no going back.
Apple’s engineers designed HomePod to sound the best no matter where you are in the room.  I tried to prove them wrong, and failed.  HomePod truly did sound great from any place in the room.

The other thing that really impressed me about HomePod was how great it sounded at nearly every volume level. If you have any experience with speakers, you know that there is also a sweet spot for volume.
Overall, what stood out to me in my experience was the deeper you are in Apple’s ecosystem, the more value you will find from HomePod.
s HomePod worth the premium over a product like the Sonos One, which is $199 and has Amazon’s Alexa? I’d say absolutely, if you truly care and are picky about sound quality and/or you are deeply embedded in Apple’s ecosystem.
Apple finally lists all the ways you can play audio on HomePod, and Bluetooth isn’t one
Onboard Bluetooth 5.0 can't be used to stream audio
The HomePod is not going to be appealing to many people who aren’t all-in on Apple’s hardware and services ecosystem.
Apple HomePod Review
The HomePod sounds incredible — it sounds far better than any other speaker in its price range — it also demands that you live entirely inside Apple’s ecosystem in a way that even Apple’s other products do not.
You need to place the HomePod on a hard, flat surface: most of its speakers fire down, and it sounds pretty bad if you set it on something uneven or soft. But most of the time, it sounds excellent.
The HomePod isn’t just one speaker, it’s actually eight of them, all controlled by Apple’s own A8 processor and tons of custom software. There are seven tweeters that fire down and out from the bottom, and a single four-inch woofer pointing out of the top for low frequencies. There is also a total of seven microphones: six around the middle for Siri, and a seventh inside that measures the location of that woofer so Apple can precisely control the bass.

What’s important to understand is that all of these speakers and software aren’t trying to add anything to music. Apple’s goal is to eliminate unwanted extra sounds you might get from reflections in the room the HomePod is sitting in. It’s then trying to tune to the speaker to sound as neutral as possible in that room, and this process is very, very involved.
… it’s just trying to get as much from the audio you’re playing as possible, while eliminating the effects of the room you’re in.
HomePod sounds noticeably richer and fuller than almost every other speaker we’ve tested. You get a surprisingly impressive amount of bass out of it, but you can still hear all of the details in the midrange and the bass never overwhelms the music.
However, Siri has some catching up to do before it will be as good as Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant.
The Bose Wave Radio was the original HomePod
The HomePod is basically a Bose Wave Radio for our times.
Apple often describes its products as “magical” or a “breakthrough.” But sometimes, they’re just old ideas wrapped in nicer marketing.
Friends discover they can BOTH unlock the same iPhone X using Face ID, beating Apple's million-to-one odds
Joe Clayton, 23, was shocked when best pal Brad Butcher, 22, unlocked Apple's most expensive phone just by looking at it.
The new iMac Pro is actually cheaper than the original Mac
First, let's do the basic math. The original Mac was priced at $2,495 in 1984 dollars. Thirty four years later, that would be $5,919 in present day dollars, accounting for inflation.

The current-day iMac Pro starts at $4,999.
First 18-Core iMac benchmarks showcase obvious multi-core benefits
For apps like Final Cut Pro X and ScreenFlow 7, the multi-core performance shines.
The 10-core iMac Pro is the best bang for the buck as far as performance goes.
Comparing the 18-core iMac Pro to the 10-core model
Geekbench tests show the 18-core machine score 48,831 on the multi-core and 5,322 on the single core.

Comparatively, the 10-core at 31,361 and 5,084 respectively.
We will continue to update this post as more reviews come out.
Apple iMac Pro 18-Core Vs. 8-Core and 10-Core: Which Is the Best Configuration for Video Editing?
A comparison video that puts the iMac Pro 18-core ($13,199) up against a 10-core ($9,599) and the base configuration 8-core ($4,999) variation to see how they handle under some 3D rendering and 4K video work.
Opinion: Apple’s Product Line is Complex. And it’s Perfect
All models of iMac Pro shipping to customers, 14-core models now arriving
What I Learned from Watching My iPad’s Slow Death
My old iPad just turned five, and it’s starting to die.
Fifteen years ago, before I would replace a desktop computer or a laptop, it would have quite conspicuously broken down, its fans getting louder, its spinning hard drive grinding to a halt. When I would replace it with something newer or faster or more capable, it would enter a promising second life: it could be repurposed as a spare, a computer for a friend, a terminal for playing old games or for doing undistracted work. It could be given to someone who could make use of it.
Today, my old iPad just turned five, and it’s starting to die.
What I find most frustrating of all is the gradual disappearance of all options other than buying a new iPad. I understand the reasons for this. I understand the concept of “planned obsolescence” less as a conspiracy than as the unfortunate but universal prerogative of dominant, profit-driven companies that make their money from selling hardware.
How to use an iPad
We explain how to use an iPad, in our comprehensive guide to the basics of iPad ownership
5 Reasons to Wait for iPad Pro 2018 & 2 Reasons Not To
Wait if You Want the Best Software Support
Wait If You Want Even Better Performance
Wait for Face ID
Wait for Better iPad Pro Deals
Don't Wait for an OLED Display
What’s Wrong With The Apple iPhone X? Steve Wozniak Explains
Apple cofounder Steve Wozniak was very outspoken about the iPhone X from the beginning: he didn't like it that much. It's a great phone, sure — but how much greater than Apple's other iPhone models from last year, and the year before that?

While Wozniak's observations were debatable, he actually had a point. Smartphone design and innovation has come to a standstill not because companies have run out of ideas but that there's simply not that much room for improvement left.
He also says that using the iPhone X is too complicated.
Best virtual machine software for Mac
Our expert buying guide rounds up the best virtualisation and virtual machine software packages to help you run Windows apps and games on your Mac
Apple's solution to the Windows-compatibility conundrum is called Boot Camp.
Boot Camp will allow you to run Windows and Windows apps at full speed, using all the processor power and memory that are built into your Mac. That's the best solution for running games or professional graphics apps that need a lot of power.
The disadvantage of Boot Camp is that you lose access to the Mac side of things while Windows is running.
But there's another option available, called 'virtualisation', that allows you to run Windows, and Windows apps, from right within the macOS itself. In effect, this means that you're running both operating systems at the same time, and can run your Windows apps on the Mac desktop right alongside all your normal Mac apps.

Programs such as Parallels Desktop, VMWare Fusion, and VirtualBox allow you to create a 'virtual machine' (VM), that runs on your Mac just like any other Mac app.
However, virtualisation does have some drawbacks.

Your virtual machine is running a full version of the Windows operating system on top of the main macOS on your Mac, so your Mac is going to need plenty of memory and processor power in order to provide decent performance for the virtual machine. 
Even then, your virtual machine won't be as fast as an actual physical PC.
After the general discussion, this article goes into details for five options to choose from.
The iPad Lost Years for Apple's Media Partners
Eight years ago, Steve Jobs was a true believer that the iPad would be an amazing opportunity for books, newspapers and magazines to reimagine their products, capture readers and patch up their ailing business models.
To book publishers, the iBooks store was his pitch to companies eager for an alternative to Amazon, which then (and now) was a powerful gatekeeper for both print and electronic titles.

The missed opportunity was for Apple's business partners, particularly newspaper and magazine companies, which Apple persuaded to turn themselves inside out to take advantage of the iPad. It turned out that Apple was leading those partners to a dead end.
Open Source Software Turns 20-Something
No single event takes the prize for starting the technology revolution. However, Feb. 3, 1998, is one of the more significant dates.

On that day, Christine Peterson, a futurist and lecturer in the field of nanotechnology, coined the "open source" term at a strategy session in Palo Alto, California, shortly after the release of the Netscape browser source code.
Later that month, Eric Raymond and Bruce Perens formed the Open Source Initiative.
Today, free open source software (FOSS) is almost everywhere. The GNU/Linux operating system (or a variant) powers all supercomputers.
Many people have forgotten or do not realize that 20 years ago the software industry was a world of walled gardens, remarked Owen Garrett, head of product at Nginx. You picked your allegiance -- Sun, IBM, SCO, HP, Windows. That choice defined the tools you used and even the types of applications you built.

"Twenty years ago, it was unthinkable that an enterprise organization would build business-critical services on anything other than a commercial, closed-source Unix vendor's platform," Garrett told LinuxInsider. "Twenty years forward, the complete opposite is the case."
Private texts show FBI agents thought Tim Cook was a 'hypocrite' in the San Bernardino iPhone encryption fight
In February 2016, as Apple and the FBI were quietly sparring over how to unlock an iPhone owned by one of the perpetrators of the mass shooting in San Bernardino, California, two FBI officials unrelated to the case back in Washington DC were privately discussing their distaste for Apple CEO Tim Cook.

"And what makes me really angry about that Apple thing? The fact that Tim Cook plays such the privacy advocate," Peter Strzok, an FBI counterintelligence agent, wrote on February 9, 2016. "Yeah, jerky, your entire OS is designed to track me without me even knowing it."

"I know. Hypocrite," Lisa Page, a lawyer for the bureau, replied minutes later. 

A week after that exchange, the strained relationship between Apple and the nation's top law enforcement agency became international news when Cook wrote an open letter explaining why Apple would not create special software to unlock the shooter's iPhone, defying a request to do so by the FBI.  The FBI eventually dropped the request because it found a third-party vendor who was able to extract data from the iPhone 5C without Apple's help.
Tackling the Internet’s Central Villain: The Advertising Business
Ads are the lifeblood of the internet, the source of funding for just about everything you read, watch and hear online. The digital ad business is in many ways a miracle machine — it corrals and transforms latent attention into real money that pays for many truly useful inventions, from search to instant translation to video hosting to global mapping.

But the online ad machine is also a vast, opaque and dizzyingly complex contraption with underappreciated capacity for misuse — one that collects and constantly profiles data about our behavior, creates incentives to monetize our most private desires and frequently unleashes loopholes that the shadiest of people are only too happy to exploit.

And for all its power, the digital ad business has long been under-regulated and under-policed, both by the companies that run it and by the world’s governments.
In 2015, Timothy D. Cook, Apple’s chief executive, warned about the dangers of the online ad business, especially its inherent threat to privacy.
Twitter Followers Vanish Amid Inquiries Into Fake Accounts
Numerous websites sell fake followers or engagement on Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, Instagram and other social media platforms.
A company called Devumi promises customers “100 Percent Active, English Followers,” but virtually all of the followers and retweets the company provides are fake, The Times found. Twitter prohibits buying followers of any kind.
More than a million followers have disappeared from the accounts of dozens of prominent Twitter users in recent days as the company faces growing criticism over the proliferation of fake accounts and scrutiny from federal and state inquiries into the shadowy firms that sell fake followers.

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Senior Correspondent Arnold Woodworth's Weekly Web Wrap-up for Monday, 1-29-2018

We visited the flagship stores of Apple and Microsoft in New York City — and the winner was obvious
Apple's product strategy and aesthetic brilliance gave its store an edge over Microsoft's. Each of the items in Apple's Fifth Avenue store was intuitive, and the minimalist design never made me feel overwhelmed.
While Microsoft's store wasn't as coherent as Apple's, it gave customers more opportunities to be surprised by items they might not already own.
Apple is testing a new feature to give you access to medical records on your devices
The new tool will be stored in Apple's Health app, allowing the user to add a health provider in the health records section. A few taps and boom, you have access to your records, provided your health care provider has an agreement(more on that in a minute).
Of course, there's a big risk in having that much personal information available on a device, in an age where hacks and device theft are pretty commonplace. Apple says the information — which will include allergies, lab results, and medications — will be encrypted and protected through your personal passcode.
Apple wants to gather all your medical records in the Health app
Apple’s future Health Records feature is not available yet, but Johns Hopkins Medicine, Cedars-Sinai, Penn Medicine and others are already testing the feature with their patients.
What putting medical records on an iPhone means for your privacy
According to Apple, your health data does not touch Apple's servers (unless you want it to), and instead comes straight from your health provider. As far as protecting the data is concerned, the company insists that your medical records are encrypted both in transit and at rest.

This is important, because if Apple wants people to trust it with the details of their "allergies, conditions, immunizations, lab results, medications, procedures and vitals," as CNBC reports, then it needs to ensure that data is secure.
While the benefits of having your medical history at your fingertips may be numerous, so are the potential pitfalls. After all, it's not hard to imagine what could go wrong. As the notorious 2014 hack of celebrity iCloud accounts made clear, Apple can't necessarily guarantee the safety of your data.

Sure, that incident involved targeted phishing, but for many people, a jealous ex is part of a valid threat model — and that's exactly the type of person who would be able to bluff their way into an iCloud account.
Essentially, like so many things in life, proceed with putting your medical records on your smartphone at your own risk.
I advised users to wait before upgrading. Given the extra time that has passed since, I’d reiterate this advice. Even its biggest core feature - HomePod support - is for a product that won’t be released for nearly two weeks. There is no rush. 

Especially with Apple already beta testing iOS 11.3, an update Tim Cook has confirmed will be The Big One…
Apple releases iOS 11.2.5 with HomePod support, minor macOS, tvOS, and watchOS updates
Apple today released iOS 11.2.5, macOS 10.13.3, tvOS 11.2.5, and watchOS 4.2.2 to the general public. Each of the new operating system releases includes bug fixes and stability improvements, following Apple’s rush to address Spectre and Meltdown processor vulnerabilities in an earlier release.
watchOS 4.2.2 is now available for Apple Watch
Release notes simply mention ‘improvements and bug fixes’ without noting any specific changes.
7 ways to use your Apple Watch to get fit
1. Improve your sleep
2. Stand and deliver
3. Use the calorie count as guide
4. Share the load — we run more when our friends do
5. Green means go
6. Create micro goals
7. Listen to your heart
iOS 11.2.5 out for iPhone and iPad, patches annoying 'text bomb’ bug
Time for the second iOS 11 update of 2018. Yes, iOS 11.2.5 is out.
Here's the brief rundown according to Apple's release notes:

     iOS 11.2.5 includes support for HomePod and introduces the
     ability for Siri to read the news (US, UK, and Australia only).
     This update also includes bug fixes and improvements.
This upgrade will extend the life of your MacBook Air for years
If the only problem with your older computer is the battery, there's no reason to spend the money on a new one. Instead, you can buy a replacement battery and fix the problem yourself.

I'm recommending Egoway's battery replacement pack because it's positioned as a kit; instead of just selling a battery. has a set of step-by-step guides for every MacBook Air battery replacement, and I cannot recommend their guides highly enough.
I had an Apple Store experience from hell — and it's clear there are larger problems with Apple's retail presence
One person’s misadventure of trying to get her iPhone repaired.  In the end, she got a new iPhone, but only after problems and confusion and a lot of wasted time.
She wrote:
“ the overall problems with Apple's retail experience were too clear to ignore.  The lack of signage indicating where to stand and who to talk to is extraordinarily frustrating. Having no clear points of contact or direction is confusing.
The biggest issue I had: In Apple's world, every employee seems charged with helping every customer and every other employee, all at once. Nearly every time I spoke with an employee during my weeklong Apple odyssey, they interrupted me to talk to someone else or were interrupted by a customer or fellow employee. That made me feel as if no one was listening to me or taking my concerns seriously.”
AppleCare+ for HomePod will cost $39, covers AirPort products
The coverage includes AirPort products and “adds up to two incidents of accidental damage from handling for HomePod, each subject to a $39 service fee”.
Just this morning Apple announced that HomePod will go on sale Friday January 26 for $349 in the US and starts shipping February 9.
After spending an hour demoing Apple's new HomePod smart speaker, I can say one thing with confidence: it sounds incredible.
Inside HomePod are seven tweeters spaced evenly around the base of the device and a woofer on top. Apple was aiming for a consistent sound all the way around.
Overall, HomePod is both louder and better-sounding than I expected. The bass was strong without being too heavy, vocals were crisp and clear, and the overall sound felt somehow bright and energized.
HomePod only works if you have an iOS device.
There's also the major, almost crippling, limitation on the music side: The device can work with any music streaming service as a typical Bluetooth speaker would, but the Siri part — the "smart" part — only works with Apple Music.

For Apple Music users, this is fantastic.  But for anyone who isn't an Apple Music user, you'll have to control the music from your phone. You can still use HomePod for its other features, but you'll lose out on about half the device's capabilities.
HomePod vs. Amazon Echo vs. Google Home Max vs. Sonos One: Speaker showdown
When it comes to speaker quality and privacy, HomePod has no competition.
What really matters to me is how the music feels in the room — and the price I'll have to pay.
On those fronts, Apple has achieved a monumental feat.
Amazon's Echo retails for under $100 and its speaker-and-microphone array are built more for replying to spoken queries than blasting music. The HomePod retails for $350 and was built for audio above all else.

The Google Home Max is an embarrassment of a speaker for its cost: In isolation, the Max sounds decent enough, but when put in a ring against the cheaper Sonos One and HomePod, it's obvious just how much compression it puts on vocal and mid-tone tracks in the interest of big, booming sound.
While the HomePod has the edge on being the superior speaker, there's no doubt that the Sonos One can hold its own.
In the battle between Sonos and HomePod, the latter is unquestionably the better speaker.  But is it almost double-the-price better.
Read the article for the author’s opinion on what improvements HomePod needs.
Apple HomePod Hands-on: Sounds Great, But Siri Needs Work
When it comes to playing music, the HomePod excels, but in the demo I attended, Apple's speaker didn’t blow away the competition. The HomePod was set up on a credenza next to the Sonos One, the Google Home Max, and the second-generation Amazon Echo; the HomePod definitely sounded the best of the group, but the Sonos One — which costs half as much — kept pace.
On songs such as "Hotel California," the HomePod had a fuller sound, especially in the bass, but the Sonos had clearer and more present vocals. The same songs played on the Google Home Max sounded oddly muddy.
Up close with Apple HomePod, Siri’s expensive new home
If it were only a question of quality, Apple’s HomePod, which, after a months-long delay finally ships on February 9, should be an unqualified success. Its audio quality is excellent, especially considering its size.
It is, in all an excellent hardware package that, unlike most of the other smart speakers, uses its own microphones to adjust audio for each listening environment.
The HomePod setup process is as easy and fast as you would expect from an Apple device.
The combination of Siri and a smart speaker is quite compelling.
What Apple has here is an ultra-high-quality speaker and the first physical instantiation of Siri without a screen.
Apple's new $350 'HomePod' smart speaker is available to buy right now — here are 7 things you should know before buying it
The first ads for Apple’s HomePod are all about music
AW comment:  I think these are some of the worst ads Apple ever made.
I’m not buying Apple’s HomePod for two main reasons
The problem with Apple's new HomePod for me boils down to:

• The HomePod is only intended for people who use Apple Music, Apple Mail, Apple Maps, and Apple everything else.
• Siri, as we all know, is not good. And Siri is the way you interact with HomePod.
Apple Macintosh Then & Now, How the ‘Mac-hine’ Has Evolved
An interesting historical summary of Mac Computers.
Apple's 8 years of iPad: a revolution in iOS computing
Sales of Apple's new "big iOS device" were far higher than analysts had expected. They looked at existing tablet customers, mostly a small niche of people drawn to various fragments of Microsoft's Tablet PC project, and saw very limited potential for a new tablet.
A primary reason why analysts are so frequently wrong about Apple is that they look at the company through the distorted lens of the status quo.
iPad was targeted expressly at iPhone users who wanted to expand their iOS experience.  This strategy clearly paid off.
By keeping its iPad and Mac lines distinct, Apple has set clear expectations for each, and made each very good at different things.
At no point will iPad focus on trying to be a Mac for global iOS audiences who increasingly don't know anything about the Macintosh.
This 1983 Demo Says So Much About Apple’s Past, Present, And Future
The author wrote:
On the evening of January 26, 1983, as a technology-smitten Boston University freshman, I attended the monthly meeting of the Boston Computer Society, which included a demo of Apple’s brand-new Lisa system. Though I know that I came away enormously impressed, I don’t exactly recall the event like it was yesterday.
Now, thanks to the miracle of the internet, I can relive every minute of that 1983 meeting. It was videotaped at the time by BCS member Glenn Koenig, who–with the help of the Computer History Museum–has digitized his work and made it available, along with other vintage BCS meetings, on YouTube.
AW comment:
The presentation of the LISA (precursor to the Mac) begins at about 35 minutes into the video in this article.
The author continued:
What I didn’t realize until I watched the video is that seeing the meeting all over again wasn’t just an act of personal nostalgia. Between them, the IIe and Lisa, and the way Apple explained them to us BCS members, are full of lessons that remain resonant in the era of the iPhone.
One thing that doesn’t come up during the demo is the Lisa’s starting price: a daunting $10,000, or about $25,000 in current dollars.
More than three decades after its demise, the Lisa isn’t exactly forgotten, but it’s most famous for being unsuccessful and short-lived. That strikes me as being terribly unfair, especially after watching the BCS video. Though it was a commercial failure, it bulged with ideas that went on to transform personal computing and that remain as relevant as ever. Any of us who attended that 1983 meeting would have instantly recognized this century’s Macs–and, for that matter, its Windows PCs–as being, essentially, souped-up Lisas.
Face ID Is Unstoppable
Apple got it right, too. I can confidently say that Face ID is the best biometric security technology I’ve ever used, and I’d also argue that it’s the best on the market. Two months after getting my iPhone X, I’ve practically forgotten what it’s like to hold my thumb over a sensor or to type in a passcode to unlock my phone. Face ID is so fast and dependable, my phone is almost always ready to use when I glance at it. I could almost forget that this is because Apple is identifying and cross-checking the most minute details of my face every time I use it. If I thought facial recognition was creepy six months ago, I think it’s incredible now. Face ID works so well, I stopped thinking about the privacy implications last Thanksgiving.
Apple's iMac Pro vs 2013 Mac Pro (Part 2) - photo editing comparison
iMac Pro vs 2013 Mac Pro (Part 3) - video editing
iMac Pro vs 2013 Mac Pro (Part 4) - 3D rendering and thermals
Why I’m keeping the iMac Pro
The more that I use the iMac Pro, the more that I come to appreciate how good it really is for my workflow. In this post and hands-on video, I consider five reasons why I’ve decided to stick with Apple’s professional-grade all-in-one.
Making Lemons Into Lemonade
How a less than desirable situation for me this weekend turned into a chance to improve my business and my approach.
I somehow managed to actually lose my iPad.
The moment of realization that my iPad was ... lost for good is not a moment I would wish on my worst enemy.
Unlike many other purchases, the iPad almost instantly proved it’s worth.  It truly did make the jump from “nice-to-have” to a business critical tool for my business. So, in addition to the pain and frustration of losing a perfectly well functioning device, I was forced to double down on that pain by going out to buy a replacement.
But, like most apparent setbacks in life, if one looks closely, there is always a silver lining.
When I lost my iPad, not only did I lose the physical device, but I also lost the incredibly detailed Foliobook layout I had built on the device. The countless hours and days I had spent putting together the perfect presentation all vanished in a puff of smoke. While I was able to replace the device, it also meant that I needed to rebuild my iPad presentation… from scratch.
But again, as annoying a way as this was to spend several non-returnable hours of my life, was it really all bad? Actually… no.
The point is that having to suffer through that little bit of pain, gave me a great opportunity to have a fresh look at every single image I am using to define my brand. It forced me to look with fresh eyes at how effective I am at relating my message to clients. And that is something we all need to be doing on a daily basis.
Remember to check this web site every day for new bargains on apps for iPhone and iPad.

iPhone X: The five worst features in Apple's best phone
There’s a lot to like, but Apple needs to rethink some things for 2018's iPhones.
Face ID needs improvement.
Battery life needs improvement.
Need to make it easy to check if the alarm is on like iPhone 8.
Apple made iPhone X more complicated to use, not simpler.
I'm a longtime MacBook user and tried Microsoft's new Surface Book 2 for a week — here's what I learned
The Microsoft hardware is spectacular.
Windows 10 is a great operating system that's both powerful and complex.
After using the Surface Book 2 for a week, I was left with the feeling that Windows 10 is an incredibly powerful, flexible, and capable OS that does much more than I need it to. This can be good at times, but it can also feel overwhelming.

It's a double-edged sword. The learning curve is steeper with Windows 10 than it is with macOS, which remains a relatively simple, straightforward OS.
Windows 10 gives its best only if you use Microsoft's software and services.
Microsoft’s suite of software products is the only one that takes advantage of all the hardware and software perks built into the Surface Book and Windows.  If you're already using Microsoft's software, then by all means, go for it.  But my attachment to Google software products prevents me from making the jump to Microsoft’s Surface Book 2.
The MacBook Air: A Decade’s Worth of Legacy
10 years ago, Steve Jobs introduced the MacBook Air.  Here’s the history of the product.
Apple highlights project to teach film production skills using MacBook Pro, Final Cut Pro X
Apple supplied the teams with a variety of hardware to create their films, including the MacBook Pro, iMac, iPad, the RED Raven camera, while Final Cut Pro X was provided to edit together the final product. Apple Retail experts were also provided to help the filmmaking process.
A team of 10 students from Hollywood High School created the film 'The Box' for the project, a story where a boy is transported to another world when he climbs inside a cardboard box.
Four things my old MacBook Pro can do better than my newer model
Instead, my old MacBook Pro is making my new model feel less useful.
My old MacBook Pro has a better keyboard.
My old MacBook Pro has a real esc (short for escape) key, not the poor imitation on the touch bar.
My old MacBook Pro has the better MagSafe power connector.
My old MacBook Pro has more ports (see the photo in the article)
How to permanently display the function keys for certain apps in the MacBook Pro Touch Bar
It’s an option in Apple’s “System Preferences” app.
How to fix macOS Touch ID after High Sierra update
Some upgrades to macOS High Sierra have reportedly caused Touch ID to stop working. If that's happened to you, the author has the fix.
Apple Releases Minor tvOS 11.2.5 Update With Bug Fixes and Security Improvements
Steve Jobs Knew How to Write an Email. Here's How He Did It
How Apple Built a Chip Powerhouse to Threaten Qualcomm and Intel

For several years, Apple has been steadily designing more and more of the chips powering its iPhones, iPads, Macs and Apple Watches.
Today, Apple packs its devices with custom components that process artificial intelligence tasks, track your steps, power game graphics, secure Face ID or Touch ID data, run the Apple Watch, pair AirPods to your phone and help make Macs work the way they do. The result: a chip powerhouse that could one day threaten the dominance of Qualcomm Inc. and even, eventually, Intel.
Mike Olson says that by designing its own chips, Apple cuts component costs, gets an early jump on future features because it controls research and development and keeps secrets away from frenemies such as Samsung.
Apple’s push into the complicated and pricey chips business makes sense so long as the company is selling 300 million devices a year.
Apple watchers believe it’s just a matter of time before the company designs the entire CPU, at which point Intel would lose its fifth-largest customer.

"The meaning of life is to find your gift. The purpose of life is to give it away.”
          —  Pablo Picasso

I’ve tested over 100 headphones in the past year, and I keep coming back to this $25 pair
Of the many inexpensive, beater-level earphones I’ve had lying around, the Xiaomi Mi In-Ear Headphones Pro have emerged as a personal favorite. They have a few clear flaws, but they still feel and sound better than I’d expect from a $25 earphone.
I compared the Xiaomis to Apple’s EarPods , which are the closest thing most people have to beater headphones today. As expected, the tighter-fitting Xiaomis sounded much more aggressive, with deeper bass response, a wider soundstage, and more space to capture fine detail. That bass was boomier with more subdued tracks, but again, if you fit the same niche as me, you’ll probably enjoy how hard-hitting the whole thing is.
Coincheck: Stolen $534 Mln NEM Were Stored On Low Security Hot Wallet
Japanese cryptocurrency exchange Coincheck, one of the largest in the country, was the victim of a massive hack resulting in a loss of 523 mln NEM coins, worth approximately $534 mln.

The coins were stolen via several unauthorized transactions from a hot wallet at 3:00 am local time on Friday, Jan. 26.
According to the exchange’s representatives, the hackers have managed to steal the private key for the hot wallet where NEM coins were stored, enabling them to drain the funds.
It has come to light that the funds were being stored on a simple hot wallet rather than a much more secure multisig wallet.
Hackers Invade YouTube Ads To Mine Cryptocurrency
Ads over YouTube carried a sneaky surprise: a cryptocurrency miner.

The mining software briefly invaded the video platform in an attempt to secretly siphon the computing power from any YouTube viewers who encountered the ads.
The culprit? Hackers who decided to abuse Google's ad network. The bad actors seeded the advertisements with web scripts that'll run over your browser to mine the digital currency Monero.
My Pacemaker Is Tracking Me From Inside My Body
Cloud-connected medical devices save lives, but also raise questions about privacy, security, and oversight. An Object Lesson.
Despite the growing number of pacemakers, not to mention the recent introduction of wireless cardiovascular devices like mine, their long-term effects, risks, and proprietary design are rarely discussed with new patients or their family members.
First, let’s save your life, the medical establishment might surmise, and later we can chitchat about how having a wireless, subdermal implant for the rest of that life might expose you to hacking, infections, and other health hazards.
to me, the idea that my hidden chest box “talks” to others in my sleep is the stuff of nightmares. It is impossible to know for sure whether my data is protected.
In 2013 Dick Cheney told CBS’s 60 Minutes that his doctors disabled his wireless pacemaker to thwart hacking and to protect him from possible assassination attempts.
Health providers can review my data from afar, and unauthorized hackers might have access to it, too. But it proved surprisingly difficult to access these medical records myself.
Data monitoring is threatening because those subject to it don’t know what information is being collected, for what reason, and by whom. And unlike iPhone or Amazon Echo users, I cannot just choose to stop using my connected pacemaker. In a way, my heart is no longer entirely mine: I share it with both Medtronic and with the U.S. hospital in which it was implanted.
In the future, will it be possible to “deactivate” my pacemaker — and me —  from afar?
Facebook’s crushing blow to independent media arrived last fall in Slovakia, Cambodia, Guatemala, and three other nations.

The social giant removed stories by these publishers from users’ news feeds, hiding them in a new, hard-to-find stream. These independent publishers reported that they lost as much as 80 percent of their audience during this experiment.
At the heart of this change is Facebook’s attempt to be seen not as a news publisher, but as a neutral platform for interactions between friends. Facing sharp criticism for its role in spreading misinformation, and possibly in tipping elections in the United States and in the United Kingdom, Facebook is anxious to limit its exposure by limiting its role.
Facebook doesn’t talk to you because Facebook already knows what you want.

Facebook collects information on a person’s every interaction with the site—and many other actions online—so Facebook knows a great deal about what we pay attention to. People say they’re interested in a broad range of news from different political preferences, but Facebook knows they really want angry, outraged articles that confirm political prejudices.



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