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Saturday, August 16, 2014

Senior Correspondent Arnold Woodworth's Weekly Roundup

Apple Lays Down Law on Toxic Chemical Use

Apple has banned two chemicals considered hazardous to health from use in the late stages of production of its hardware.

Apple Taps China Telecom As iCloud Storage Provider For Customers In China

Apple has begun using Chinese servers to store Chinese user data, the company has confirmed.

Apple said that the data stored on China Telecom’s servers will be encrypted, and that it “takes security and privacy very seriously,” however, in order to curtail fears that  working with Chinese cloud storage services would provide China’s government with easier access to user data.

Apple's new iPhone exposes 4 stages of stock hype

1. The 'hyperbole' stage
   the media reports that a soon to be released product will be GREAT!!

2. The 'from murderously bad to O.K.' stage
   Apple more finely calibrates expectations.  Wild rumors still abound, but
   coverage is generally be more contained and credible.

3. The 'back in bad' stage
   How do you write about an exciting product you haven't handled for long?
   Easy: Just do it.
   Coverage is still over-heated.

4. The 'settle down' stage 
   In may take a week or two after the actual product release,
   but eventually the media will return to what passes for its senses.

The Das Keyboard 4 Is The Hacker’s Choice

Founded in 2005 by Daniel Guermeur, the company’s goal was to reproduce the old “clicky” IBM Modem M keyboards of yesteryear. Beloved by programmers for the key travel and sound, these dense slabs of I/O power originally shipped with the original IBM PCs.

The keys have excellent travel – the distance they move down when you tap them – and the clicky switches make it sound like you’re James Bond tapping in nuclear launch codes in the movie Moonraker.

Why is this important? Well, some programmers and writers like to “feel” their keyboard.

The worlds first bionic eye user

This Is Microsoft's Very First Web Page ... Back In 1994

CFPB to bitcoin investors: You're in the 'Wild West'

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) outlined four major risks: hackers, a lack of protections, cost and scams.
Here are the highlights from the watchdog agency's warning:

Bitcoin users are very, very susceptible to hacks.
Watch out for huge price fluctuations: To call bitcoin's value unstable is putting it mildly.
Bitcoin 'ATMs' are not ATMs at all.
Virtual currencies are still experimental.
You are on your own if something goes wrong.
If you lose your private keys, you're out of luck.

Why It's Now Impossible to Control Information

1. Every individual is a newspaper.
2. Anything can end up in the court of public opinion.
3. Twitter is the world's most important medium.

What's the 'Internet of Business Things'?
As more things get connected to each other, how can businesses capitalize on the growing "Internet of Things"? PricewaterhouseCoopers chief technologist Chris Curran talks.

Consumer Reports says Fire phone is an Amazon trap
Amazon's new phone doesn't host many of the most popular apps

Is artificial intelligence more dangerous than nukes? Could AI replace and even eradicate humans? Some experts say these possibilities are not that far-fetched.

it certainly isn't lunacy-though, at least for now, a machine takeover remains extremely far-fetched.

As we have seen time and time again, too many companies rush too many products to market without adequate consideration for security and outcomes. 

Automobiles and medical devices are now targets. Utility grids and traffic systems have already been exploited. Meanwhile, the Internet of things is opening a connected door to a level of online hacking, attacking and cyber-theft that is almost incomprehensible. 

Perhaps it's time for humans to begin thinking more intelligently-rather than artificially-about the future.

The Internet's Original Sin
It's not too late to ditch the ad-based business model and build a better web.

Maciej Cegłowski is an important and influential programmer and an enviably talented writer. His talk is a patient explanation of how we've ended up with surveillance as the default, if not sole, internet business model.

The internet spies at us at every twist and turn not because Zuckerberg, Brin, and Page are scheming, sinister masterminds, but due to good intentions gone awry. tried several different businesses.  But, as the author writes, "At the end of the day, the business model that got us funded was advertising. The model that got us acquired was analyzing users' personal homepages so we could better target ads to them."

Advertising became the default business model on the web, "the entire economic foundation of our industry," because it was the easiest model for a web startup to implement, and the easiest to market to investors.

Advertising is the original sin of the web. The fallen state of our Internet is a direct, if unintentional, consequence of choosing advertising as the default model to support online content and services.

An ad supported web grows quickly and is open to those who can't or won't pay. But it has at least four downsides as a default business model.

First it's hard to imagine online advertising without surveillance.

Second, it creates incentives to produce and share content that generates pageviews and mouse clicks, but little thoughtful engagement. 

Third, the advertising model tends to centralize the web.

Finally, even attempts to mitigate advertising's downsides have consequences.

One simple way forward is to charge for services and protect users' privacy, as CegÅ‚owski is doing with  What would it cost to subscribe to an ad-free Facebook and receive a verifiable promise that your content and metadata wasn't being resold, and would be deleted within a fixed window?

It's time to start paying for privacy, to support services we love, and to abandon those that are free, but sell us-the users and our attention-as the product.

John Oliver’s segment on net neutrality this past June perfectly summed up what his HBO show Last Week Tonight is so good at: transcending apathy.

the Last Week Tonight team has found a way to take a seemingly complicated issue, remove the talking points and cultural baggage surrounding it, break it into understandable parts.

The Fatal Misunderstanding On "Fast Lanes" on the Internet

The proposal to halt "fast lanes" is in fact a proposal to halt how the Internet has always worked and change how it not only works today but has since I was involved in the building out access for ordinary people from the start -- specifically, from 1993 forward when NCSA Mosaic showed up.

There have always been "fast lanes."  We called them private interconnects, and they were a salient feature of not only the early Internet but have featured in it since.

By banning such things you increase costs, in some cases by a hell of a lot.

The correct solution to the perceived (yet not actual) "harm" people are talking about is to enforce anti-trust laws where actual violations take place.

Here's The Most Common Mistake People Make In Protecting Their Identity

We hardly try to protect ourselves at all.

There are an average of over 11 million identity theft victims a year in the U.S., with an average of over $4,000 lost per incident.

identity theft is "almost the perfect crime." It's rare that thieves are arrested or prosecuted, the payoff can be enormous.

IBM has announced the latest version of its neurosynaptic processor -- that is, a processor whose workings are inspired by the human brain.

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