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Tom Briant

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Sunday, June 21, 2015

Senior Correspondent Arnold Woodworth's Week Web Wrap Up

Apple currently has a flash sale going for its favorite iPhone games — get them while you still can

Apple is currently running a sale on its favorite action, adventure, and fantasy iPhone games, and everything is at least 50% off.

Apple's Latest Selling Point: How Little it Knows About YOU

Apple wants its devices to know everything about you. But more than ever, it wants you to know that Apple doesn’t know what those devices know.

Apple wants to store the personal data its devices silently gather locally, rather than upload it to the cloud. And that privacy-focused marketing continues a push from Cupertino to differentiate itself from Google, Microsoft, and other competitors.

Apple invented a new type of viral advertising that can track users in social media

Apple has been granted a patent for a new viral advertising management system that can track ads or media content as it is shared via different methods.

This does not mean that Apple is going to launch a viral advertising product

New York school district converts 75% of its curriculum to Apple's iPad

All students in grades 3 through 9 in the affluent Mineola, N.Y., school district have been equipped with Apple's iPad

What Apple Did When My Macbook Caught Fire

Apple replaced his Macbook the next day.

Here's why Apple named its new Mac software 'El Capitan'

in 2013, Apple made a change. OS X 10.9, instead of representing yet another cat-like animal, was dubbed Mavericks. At its unveiling, Craig Federighi told the audience the operating systems to come would be named after well-known California locations. Of course, Mavericks is a favorite surfing spot in Northern California. 

Federighi joked, "We don’t want to be the first development team to be delayed by the lack of big cats."

Apple didn’t provide a formal reason for why it chose El Capitan, but the rock formation is considered an important California landmark.

I asked everyone I know with an Apple Watch whether they were happy with it — here's what they said

Apple Watch Is Not Yet A Home Run With Users, Survey Shows

How My Apple Watch Brought Me a Serenity I Haven’t Had In Years

My watch has helped me unplug from technology more frequently and more meaningfully.

I am not the only Apple Watch user to discover that the device unchains you from your phone.

Every other Apple device gives you fun, exciting complications. The Apple Watch simply gives you freedom.

The 12 best new features coming to the iPhone

The 6 best new features coming to Apple computers

Apple invented a way to overcome one of the iPhone's biggest design hurdles

If you look at the back of your iPhone, you'll notice there are two strips of plastic that run across the back of the device. This holds true whether you're using an iPhone 5s, iPhone 5, or iPhone 6. 

That's because that's where the phone's antenna resides — if Apple didn't coat that space with plastic, radio waves wouldn't be able to get through your iPhone's metal exterior to receive and send signals.

The next version of Apple's widely used iOS and OS X operating systems will make it significantly easier for developers to create ad-blocking extensions for the company's Safari web browser.

The 17 highest-paying jobs at Apple

Apple App Security Fails Leave Macs And iPhones Vulnerable To 'Devastating' Attacks

a group of academics have ripped apart the security protections in Mac OS X and iOS to show it's not only possible to create malware and get it onto the App Store, but it's also feasible to launch "devastating" attacks using rogue software to steal the most sensitive personal data around, from iCloud passwords and Evernote notes to dodgy selfies and more.

The attacks, known as unauthorized cross-app resource access or XARA, expose design flaws that allow a bad app to access critical pieces of data in other apps.

What the researchers have highlighted, yet again, is that exploiting Apple software is much easier than supposed.

"These issues completely undermine basic and fundamental design goals of OS X, and in some cases iOS," said Patrick Wardle, an Apple security expert.

My Smartphone Gave Me a Painful Neurological Condition

"occipital neuralgia."

Dr. Cardiel explained how the occipital nerves emerge from the spinal column at the back of your neck and branch out along your entire scalp. Occipital neuralgia is a condition that occurs when the base of the nerves become compressed or damaged.

"What causes it?" I asked.

"What about smartphone usage?" I asked. "I'm constantly craning my neck to look down at my phone. Maybe that has something to do with it."

"You know what," Dr. Cardiel said, nodding. "I've been a practicing neurologist for 10 years, and I've seen cases of this condition skyrocket since smartphones became popular. I should write a paper."

Podcasting Blossoms, but in Slow Motion

the overall audience for podcasts is growing very slowly. In February, Edison Research reported that 17 percent of Americans had listened to one podcast in the previous month. That is up just slightly from Edison’s 2012 survey, when 14 percent of Americans had done so.

don’t call podcasting a bubble or a bust. Instead, it is that rarest thing in the technology industry: a slow, steady and unrelentingly persistent digital tortoise that could eventually — but who really knows? — slay the analog behemoths in its path.

there is a lot about this business that still needs to be worked out. This will most likely happen eventually. Podcasting is destined to be huge, both as a medium and a business. “It’s the future of radio,” Mr. Turck of Panoply said. Just don’t expect that future to come tomorrow.

DuckDuckGo traffic up after Apple integration and privacy issues

Weinberg said that recent NSA surveillance leaks combined with Apple adding DuckDuckGo as an optional search engine in devices running both iOS and OS X had driven the stellar growth in use.

DuckDuckGo has grown 600% since Apple made it a search option (and NSA revelations)

With iOS 8, Apple added the option for users to choose DuckDuckGo as their default search engine within the operating system.

DuckDuckGo heavily touts the fact that it doesn’t track the information of users and is a privacy-focused company.

EFF’s 2015 Data Privacy Report Lauds Apple, Dropbox, Slams Verizon

Digital rights organization the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) has published its fifth annual Who has your back? report into online service providers’ transparency and privacy practices when it comes to government requests for accessing user data.

The EFF has awarded nine companies a full complement of stars: Adobe, Apple, CREDO, Dropbox, Sonic, Wickr, Wikimedia,, and Yahoo.

The two companies singled out with “especially poor results” are U.S. telcos AT&T and Verizon.

Joe Martin is a manager at the data analysis group Adobe Digital Index that is affiliated with the software maker ADBE of the same name. His job is to watch comments on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram on a film several weeks before its release, and then to predict whether the film will meet or beat its budget in domestic receipts, based solely on social media activity.

Until recently, Martin had a near-perfect record predicting the box-office on a select group of films.

Martin is one of several film watchers in and around Hollywood who think they are close to getting social media "buzz" down to a science. By monitoring the volume of traffic at various online gathering spots, and analyzing what's being said, they think they can get a pretty good idea of whether a film will flourish or flop.

For the most part, they get it right. And the studios are listening.

"Studios can course-correct as they go along rather than brace for impact," he said. "Traditionally, marketing decisions are made in a vacuum. Now, they can actually know if those decisions are resonating with the audience."

I was astounded to discover that there appears to be a fairly wide body of so-called intellectual thought centered in the premise that we, as humans, can design an artificial intelligence that is by definition unable to harm other life (that would be us, by the way) under any circumstances.

From exactly what sort of hubris does one proceed with such a belief?  It assumes that there are no malevolent humans that could or would intentionally tamper with it.

A former Apple exec who now works at Google weighs in on how much customer data companies should give away

Google and Apple have very different ways of looking at how big companies should use people's data.

In response to Tim Cook's statements, Tony Fadell replied:
"If you’re not sharing anything I think that’s wrong.  If you’re sharing everything, that’s wrong too. You have to strike a really good balance and you have to understand what the benefit is for the customer and you have to be transparent about it. And if they don’t want to opt in then you have to realize you’ve struck the wrong balance."

WikiLeaks says it's leaking over 500,000 Saudi documents

If genuine, the documents would offer a rare glimpse into the inner workings of the notoriously opaque kingdom.

WikiLeaks has begun publishing around half a million 'Saudi Cables' documents.

According to the group's statement, the 'Saudi cables' provide an insight into the kingdom's interior and foreign policies explaining "how it has managed its alliances and consolidated its position as a regional Middle East superpower, including through bribing and co-opting key individuals and institutions."

The leaked documents also illustrate a "highly centralized bureaucratic structure" where even the simplest issues are addressed by the most senior officials, it said.

WikiLeaks Unloads Second Batch Of Sony Files Into Its Database

How the super-rich fight cyber criminals

AW comment:  Not much better than the rest of us, as they count on the employees of investment firms.

How I tracked down and anonymously chatted with an insanely private hacker

I was able to communicate with the hacker using an array of online tools so that both he and I were happy with the level of privacy and felt we could speak freely.

spyware discovery in government computers

A Virginia cybersecurity firm said it discovered spyware in the Office of Personnel Management's computer networks in April, raising questions about the government's assertion that it detected the massive intrusion on its own.

CyTech officials now are detailing their role in the breach, potentially the largest theft of personnel records in history, putting the federal agency on the defensive. Congress is expected to sort through the conflicting accounts of the intrusion.

How an obsessive recluse blew the lid off the secret technology authorities use to spy on people's cell phones

last year the world has learned a lot about a jarring surveillance technology. It's called "Stingray," and it's a device used by both federal and state law enforcement agencies to gain access to citizens' cell phone data.

Stingray works by mimicking cellphone towers.

the authorities never wanted people to know that Stingray existed. In fact, according to the latest episode of the WNYC radio show Note To Self, it took an obsessed man in prison to comb through thousands of documents to piece together what was going on.

Daniel Rigmaiden is the man who first discovered Stingray while he was in prison facing charges of tax fraud.

All of this information about Stingray is thanks to one man who was obsessive enough to spend years combing through documents to fully understand what led to his arrest.

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