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Sunday, December 6, 2015

Senior Correspondent Arnold Woodworth's Weekly Web Wrap-up for 12/6/2015

Why Apple Dumbs Down Your Smartphone

FDA regulations.

since many of the more sophisticated offerings help people diagnose their own illness, FDA says they meet the definition of being a medical device. That makes them subject to a regulatory scheme that was crafted more than 40 years ago, before these technologies were ever imagined. tested Apple's new stylus along with four different note-taking apps, to find the best software for hand-drawn text and image markup.

‘Freeform Canvas’ from OneNote gets the job done

I'd never used Notability before my Pencil tests, but it quickly became my favorite tool for marking up and sharing documents.

The other two apps don’t quite get the job done.

New drone flyover gives up-close look at Apple’s rapidly progressing Campus 2

This Is Phil Schiller's Grand Unified Theory of Apple

Apple iPad Pro Claims Its First Victim As It Destroys Google's Flagship
the iPad Pro has killed Google's Chromebook Pixel.
The iPad does everything the Chromebook does, and a load more.
Of course, the Pixel is just one of the devices that run Chrome OS, and I have long said that these devices are absolutely excellent if you need something to do basic surfing, email and writing. I use one all the time, although as I review the iPad Pro I am finding myself using that device more, but purely down to the number of apps. But when it comes to a $200 Chromebook vs. a $700 iPad, there’s no way Apple can win that battle. And when Google moves more Android apps on to Chrome OS then things might start to get interesting.

For now though, the iPad Pro has killed the Google Chromebook Pixel. Google’s over-specified device might be a work of art from design and performance perspectives but it can’t match the flexibility of the iPad, nor can it come close on weight. Even the screen isn’t the triumph it should be.
AW comment:
When I visited this page, it also had a neat video “Unboxing Apple’s iPad Pro: A Knife in the Heart of Laptops” that also showed the unboxing of some accessories.
Half a year later, the Apple Watch feels like a stalled platform
The main issue: I’m still only using it for a few tasks, and those haven’t changed at all.
The watch was designed as a sibling to the iPhone. Its capability feels constrained, because it is. Everything has been optimized for power efficiency. It relies on the iPhone for configuration, intelligence, and internet access. This has been a known issue since the beginning.

But after months of use, it’s increasingly clear that this is what needs to change the most. The watch needs to be untethered from the iPhone for speed, independence, and direct access to the power of the cloud. Or it will never be more than a cute sidekick.
23 iPhone-only apps that will make your Android friends jealous
Should You Update to Apple OS X El Capitan?
This is a relatively recent upgrade.  Not all of the bugs have been quashed yet.
Many people should wait a while longer.
iPad Pro and its rivals are changing the tablet market

The transition to detachable tablets signals a shift in how people are using the touchscreen machines, from casual interaction to productivity
Apple's App Store has a copyright infringement problem, business owner claims

Brian Raub runs a travel review site called that employs 3 editors and 20 paid freelancers who review lake vacation spots across the country. The website's content is original and earns revenue through web advertising, but Raub was recently tipped off to a handful of paid iOS apps that repackage and resell content from his website.

Apple eventually pulled the 11 piracy apps from the App Store.

Why Developers Are Shunning Apple's Mac App Store

The choice of whether to be in the store or not often comes down to what a developer wants a specific app to do. And that choice often hinges on one word: "sandboxing."

Those restrictions were designed to reduce the risks of malware gaining access to your Mac's most sensitive bits. But they effectively tied the hands of software developers.

They also cite Apple's review process.

Developers point out that virtually all these problems are solvable - but they aren't sure Apple has any desire to solve them.

The toys that will actually teach your girls engineering skills

there are great STEM toys that offer exciting opportunities for girls to build a strong foundation of skills in science, technology, engineering, and math. The best STEM toys, like the toys in this guide, will always be the kind that offer a wide range of opportunities at varying levels of difficulty. Metaphorically speaking, these are the kind of toys that grow with a child.

Teens still don't think Facebook is cool but they use it more than any other social site
Controlling the Visibility of Your Facebook Profile
This article has several links to Facebooks instructions for controlling things like privacy settings and whether search engines (such as Google) are allowed to search your Facebook page.
Social media lessons businesses can learn from the Kardashians of the world.

Every social media web site is different
If staying on message is the first rule of corporate communications, it is also the cardinal sin of social media.
Different social media web sites should have different messages.
You don't want to see the same thing everywhere.

Don't disappear.  Always show up.
Companies can get a lot of mileage from posting five times a day on Pinterest, while two posts on Instagram is sufficient.
A restaurant chain can start the day with a tweet promoting its breakfast options and end with a post about its dinner menu.

And three more good tips.
How to Sell or Recycle Old Electronics

The author recently tried out three programs for getting rid of used electronics. The programs, Amazon, Gazelle and Best Buy, are available nationwide. Each one was simple to use and headache-free, and he even managed to get a decent amount of money his my old electronics.

Amazon’s trade-in program was his favorite of the three because it accepts such a wide variety of products

Best Buy says it teams up with responsible recycling companies like Electronics Recyclers International and Regency Technologies. Most gadgets can be dropped off for recycling free at Best Buy, though some states require consumers to pay a small fee to recycle certain items, like old TVs.

AW comment:  Don’t forget about Apple’s recycling program at

A chief scientist at Microsoft says we're less than five years away from computers understanding us perfectly

"In the next four to five years, computers will be as good as humans" at understanding the words that come out of your mouth, Huang says.

10 jobs robots already do better than you
The world's greatest minds have been terrified of AI becoming smarter than humans for 60 years
There are stil compelling criticisms about the whole idea of computational "intelligence." For one, neither hard science nor social science can agree on what intelligence is, and whether it's "computational" in the same way that binary computer code is. Perhaps, as the burgeoning field of embodied cognition is discovering, our bodies are involved in our thinking in crucial ways — which would create some obstacles for creating a computer with general intelligence. 

That's the crazy thing about artificial intelligence and the Singularity. Right now it's a thought experiment. But if it ever comes to fruition, life on Earth will be changed forever.
NSA Surveillance Programs Are Far From Over Despite New Limitations
this individual decision is not likely to meaningfully change the overall level of surveillance and observation of the electronic behavior of American citizens. This is for several reasons. Firstly, this program is a tiny sliver of the collection of electronic data — by both companies and governments — about Americans living in the modern world. The “S” at the end of “governments” is key, because if anyone believes the U.S. government is the only one trying — and likely succeeding — to access these vast troves of electronic information, they are missing out on a major part of the challenge of thinking about surveillance. Additionally, the rise of embedded computing and “the Internet of Things” will only make this omnipresent data creation, collection, and centralized storage more pronounced.
as security guru Bruce Schneier suggests, the modern surveillance state “…is robust. It is robust politically, legally and technically.”What he means is that losing any one program does not seem likely to fundamentally change the level of insight the surveillers have into the lives of the surveilled.

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