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Saturday, July 11, 2015

Senior Correspondent Arnold Woodworth's Weekly Web Wrap-up

Apple Makes iOS 8.4 A Dangerous Upgrade
Apple has stopped ‘signing’ iOS 8.3. What this means is anyone who upgrades to iOS 8.4 and has problems will no longer be able to downgrade to iOS 8.3 and wait for a later release because your iPhone, iPad or iPod touch will treat iOS 8.3 as invalid software since Apple’s servers won’t sign it off.
many users won’t even have had the chance to upgrade yet to see if they encounter any problems and, if they do, they will find their escape route has already been closed. Which begs the question: Why would Apple do this?
Why you might not want to upgrade to iTunes 12.2
If you have a carefully curated music library, manually tagged, with painstakingly chosen or scanned album artwork, stay away from iTunes 12.2.
If, however, you don't have much music, it probably won't affect you. You might find that iTunes 12.2, with Apple Music, is just fine. It's probably fine for a lot of people, but it's toxic for music libraries that have been maintained with care.
2 texting tricks you didn't know you could do on your iPhone

Apple made a tiny change to the iPhone keyboard that everyone has been begging for
Now, when you press the shift key, the letters on the keyboard change to either lowercase or capital. Before, the shift-key arrow would only turn black or light gray to let you know if you were typing in capital or lowercase letters, which was confusing to a lot of users.

The ultimate guide to how and where to use Apple Pay
Construction crews assembling Apple’s new “spaceship” headquarters weren’t prepared for the company’s crazy standards of fit and finish.

What’s got them buzzing is not so much the scale of the building—a $5 billion glass-and-steel ring roughly the size of the Pentagon—but the exacting construction standards they are being asked to meet.
An Apple construction worker told us the new spaceship HQ may change building standards in the US
The project is so extensive — and Apple is so demanding — that Apple Campus 2 has effectively "raised the bar for construction standards," our source tells us.

Rapper Prince Harvey secretly recorded an entire album at the Apple store
He worked exclusively on the stores’ public display computers, laying down tracks and editing his music in a very public space. After working five days a week for four months, he managed to finish a full album.

Apple Watch sales plunge 90%

Sales are far below expectations only three months after hitting shelves.

In an ambitious bid for the luxury market, Apple also unveiled a gold "Edition" model priced at $10,000 or more. So far, fewer than 2,000 of them have been sold in the U.S., Slice contends.


Andy Hargreaves from Pacific Crest wrote that "store visits, Google search volume, third-party data and recent supply checks all suggest demand for Apple Watch has fallen sharply from initial levels."

It’s fashionable these days to be critical of and predict doom for the Apple Watch.

AW comment:  Apple has been a “doomed” company for the past 30 years.  So say countless pundits.
It is always easier to find reasons why things won’t work than it is to predict why things will work.

It was easy to predict that Twitter would fail, when it first emerged. There was a lot of competition (ICQ, MSN Messenger, Orkut) and what the hell could you do with only 140 characters?!

Even looking back it is be hard to explain exactly why Twitter did work and became a worldwide phenomenon.
A similar thing is happening with the Apple Watch.
The Apple Watch is no horse and carriage. It’s a new product category that has only just gone on sale, which still delights most of its users every day, and which will get better with each software update. If you want to focus on its perceived limits, you can easily fill a few 500-word posts. But that just means you lack imagination.
I can totally live without my Apple Watch

When I first made the leap from a traditional clamshell phone to an iPhone 3G, I knew I could never return to an iPhone-less life. The Apple Watch does not have the same effect.
Apple Watch and Fitbit rashes are real (and gross)

Apple today posted a detailed explanation about how two-factor authentication works starting with the public betas of iOS 9 and El Capitan.
Two-factor authentication systems can deter or defeat attempts to log into accounts remotely, as an attack has to not just have a password, but also access to a device, computer, or phone number belonging to the target account. This turns hacking from “wholesale” to “retail”: unless a flaw is found in the underlying system, each protected account has to be cracked one at a time.
The End of Recovery Key
The current two-step system relies on two factors, but also included a third element for regaining access to an account: Recovery Key. The 14-character Recovery Key is generated during the two-step signup process and is meant as a backup. If you forget your password or lose access to all trusted devices and your phone number (but not both), the Recovery Key was the only way to restore your Apple ID account.
Reader Comment:
I hope this two-factor system will be optional, as it is now. Many people I know have trouble enough logging in with their Apple ID and password. As with the current setup, more security will still mean more complexity, more inconvenience and confusion. Many people will find the value of added security outweighs the complexity and inconvenience.

These twenty-something women figured out how to captivate millions of people every single morning

The women took a huge leap of faith and quit their jobs to start the daily email for your "smart friend."
The Death of the PC Has Not Been Greatly Exaggerated
EVERY TIME THE market for PCs doesn’t seem like it could get worse, it does. 

Worldwide PC shipments saw their biggest drop in nearly two years, market researchers said this week, reaffirming the ascendancy of mobile and the steady demise of the personal computer.

Of all PC makers listed, only Apple saw year-over-year growth of 16.1 percent.
But to put that in perspective, Macs overall accounted for less than 10 percent of Apple’s revenue for that quarter. The iPhone? Almost 70 percent.
the trend line [for PCs] is clear: it’s going down. Which points to the same consistent truth: mobile devices have become the dominant computing platform.

5 things identity thieves don't want you to know

1)  They paw through your trash.  Buy a shredder and use it.
2)  They can guess easy-to-remember passwords, and get into your financial accounts.  Learn how to choose passwords wisely.
3)  They might steal documents from your filing cabinets.  Buy a safe and lock important documents in it.
4)  They might open a new credit card account in your name.  Obtain and review your credit reports.
5)  Be very careful who you give your social security number to.


Hacking Team (a surveillance tech firm) gets hacked

A company that sells software allowing governments to hack into computers has itself been hacked, and files posted late Sunday indicate it sold surveillance technology to dozens of countries, including Sudan, Egypt, Russia and the U.S. 

The Italian company, Hacking Team, or HT S.r.l., is among a handful of companies that offer such surveillance tools to law enforcement around the world.

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