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Tom Briant

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Saturday, May 23, 2015

Senior Correspondent Arnold Woodworth's Weekly Web Wrap-up

Apple Debuts New 15-Inch MacBook Pro, 27-Inch iMac With Retina Display

Surprising price cuts too.

Even with free annual upgrades, Apple faces stubborn OS X fragmentation

There's no question that Apple's policy of giving away its OS X upgrades -- a practice begun in 2013 with Mavericks -- has reduced fragmentation by pulling Mac owners onto the newest edition faster than did versions that carried a price tag.

But the annual upgrades, even free, have been unable to eliminate laggards.

By the time Apple issues its next edition of OS X -- like its two predecessors, probably tagged with a California location name -- 25%, or a quarter of all Macs, will still be running Mavericks or earlier.

Those numbers stand in stark contrast to iOS, Apple's mobile operating system. By Apple's tally, 82% of all iOS devices now run version 8

12 lesser-known Apple Watch tips and tricks you should know

With iOS, the "Find my iPhone/iPad" feature is a godsend for those instances where you've completely lost your device.

Here are 5 hard-to-find iPhone tricks only power users know about

Apple Releases First Watch OS Update, It Adds New Emojis And Fixes Bugs

Watch OS 1.0.1 contains performance improvements and bug fixes.

The Apple Watch relies on the iPhone to download the update and install it.

We gave kids an old cassette player and here's what they did next

After being estranged for four years, Twitter and Google have cut a deal on search results because they realize they need each other

Both companies have realized that they have a lot more to gain from being friends than they do from remaining estranged.

Snapchat is hiring 'advocates for free expression who aren't easily offended'

Snapchat ...... hiring their own quasi-journalists to curate news and produce original content.

Why are people so mean on the Internet? It’s a question we have been trying to answer for more than a decade, but the matter seems to be reaching a cultural boiling point.

Read the new book by Jon Ronson, “So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed,” chronicling people whose lives have been obliterated by Twitter mobs.

“I think this conversation has been going on for awhile, but it’s getting this particular kind of attention now because it’s coming to the fore that anyone can be a victim of that kind of shaming,” said Jacqui Shine.

The main obstacle is the lack of empathy. Psychologists say that empathy is learned two ways. The first is by seeing, hearing or even smelling how your action has hurt someone else — something that is not available to those behind a screen and keyboard. The second is to experience something painful yourself.

In the early days of Twitter, I jumped into the fray a few times myself. But since then, having been on the receiving end of several Internet mobs, I think twice before piling on.

As the philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche said more than a century ago, “Be careful when you fight the monsters, lest you become one.”

Russia Eyes Sailfish OS To Loosen Death Grip From Apple iOS, Google Android

Like China, officials in Russia aren't happy that so much of the nation's technology is reliant on software that originates from the United States.

Russia's new mobile OS will be based on Jolla's open-source Sailfish OS.

Why bother? Russia likely fears that having so much software tied to the U.S. makes it susceptible to spy efforts

A disturbing experience made me question whether this wildly popular shopping website is really safe

Selling used clothes online can be highly lucrative; but as I learned recently, it can also lead to some creepy encounters.

Like a man pretending to be a woman when trying to buy clothes from me.

'Swatting' is a dangerous new trend, as pranksters call a SWAT team on an unsuspecting victim while the internet watches

an increasingly popular internet prank in which cybercriminals call in a serious crime — such as a hostage situation or shooter on the loose — in the hopes of unleashing a SWAT team on an unsuspecting person.

Cyber-criminals can use a variety of technical tricks to mask their identities or to make it appear as if the prank call to police originated at the residence of the unsuspecting victim.

If caught, those responsible for a swatting attack can face up to five years in prison.

Cybercrime poses a potential existential threat to our society, and we're completely unprepared

The idea that a criminal group could electronically take control of a plane — or flight control system or power grid — is feasible.

"If want to have this great modern society we're going to have to protect the critical infrastructures that are running the world," says Goodman. "Today all these computers are hackable, which means that the 21st century modern world that we're building is a digital house of cards that can come crashing down at any moment. We need to protect it because right now, we don't have a backup plan."

The process used to edit the genes of human embryos is so easy you could do it in a community bio-hacker space simple, a person with molecular biology skills and know-how could probably do it in a bio-hacker space for less than $2,000, according to experts.

CRISPR is essentially a package of molecules that can find specific sections of genetic code (patterns of the As, Ts, Gs, and Cs that form our blueprint) and snip off specific sections. Even more impressively, CRISPR can actually replace them with a new specific section of DNA.

In humans, this could be used for a variety of purposes.

CRISPR is just as easy to use as any other tool that edits DNA, except it's much more efficient.

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