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Thursday, December 17, 2015

Senior Correspondent Arnold Woodworth's Weekly Web Wrap Up for December 18, 2015

The 25 best iPhone apps of 2015, according to Apple

The 27 best apps of 2015 for doing your job

A big Mac initiative by Apple is showing signs of failure

Sketch, a popular Mac app that lots of designers actually liked better than Adobe Photoshop, has left the Mac App Store.  In a blog entry, Sketch developer Bohemian Coding said that there were several reasons why it took the app off the Mac App Store.

Apple forces developers to remove parts of their apps to comply with app-store rules.

Worse yet, it seems as if developers just aren't making a lot of money from the Mac App Store.

The real issue isn't so much Apple's 30% cut, because plenty of developers gladly pay that. It's worth it to have Apple handle hard problems like payments and updates, while also getting the app out in front of more customers.

It's more that Apple is asking developers to make a lot of compromises, on the app itself and on control of their relationship with customers, that they don't have to accept at all if they only choose to publish the app itself.

Finding the perfect email app is hard, especially when the app you love dies

This author loved to use MailBox to read and send E-mails.
To his dismay, the publisher has decided to stop supporting MailBox.
And the author has yet to find another E-mail app that’s anywhere near as good.

Apple has been making a lot of bad design choices lately

The Internet’s Loop of Action and Reaction Is Worsening

there’s also a way in which social networks seem to be feeding a cycle of action and reaction. In just about every news event, the Internet’s reaction to the situation becomes a follow-on part of the story, so that much of the media establishment becomes trapped in escalating, infinite loops of 140-character, knee-jerk insta-reaction.

The spiraling feedback loop is exhausting and rarely illuminating.

The Internet wasn’t supposed to be this ugly. In its earliest days its pioneers harbored grand ideas about the web’s expanding our democratic discourse.

The Internet can make how we talk to one another better or worse. And for now, and maybe for the foreseeable future, we’re leaning toward worse.

IBM's hair dryer hackathon for women in tech doesn't sit well with women in tech

Several social media comments from Women -- working on much more important stuff than hair dryers.

Recovering a Stolen Gmail Account

Google has two plans of action for compromised Gmail accounts, and the one you use depends on whether you can still sign in to the hacked account.

The latest cyberthreat is stealing your house

Deed fraud on the rise in New York, Chicago, Detroit

Interesting story about one person whose home was "sold" fraudulently.

The 14 scariest hacks of 2015

A serious zero-day vulnerability was found in Mac OS X.

A hacker built a $30 gadget that can open car locks.

Just to name a few.

Here's what MacKeeper is — and why you should avoid it

accidentally exposed the details of over 13 million users, according to a researcher.

many users claim that the software doesn't work as advertised.

A Bad Review Is Forever: How to Counter Online Complaints

A good story of a restaurant owner who got bad reviews, made some changes and then got good reviews.

“The minute you see a bad review, look for a shard of truth,” Barbara Schenck said. “Is this something you can improve? Look for what you can fix.” But don’t fight fire with fire by getting into an argument with a reviewer, she added.

NASA, Google reveal quantum computing leap

In an experiment, a quantum computer outperformed a conventional machine by 100 million times

The researchers see it as a promising step, but it comes with some caveats -- not the least of which is that the computer was engineered for the specific optimization task it was tested with.

Quantum computers rely on fundamentally different principles to today's computers, in which each bit represents either a zero or a one. In quantum computing, each bit can be both a zero and a one simultaneously. So while three conventional bits can represent any of eight values (2^3), three qubits, as they're called, can represent all eight values at once. That means calculations can theoretically be performed at much higher speeds.

researchers emphasized that quantum computing is still in the experimental stages and has yet to be commercialized. Rupak Biswas, deputy director of exploration technology at NASA Ames, likened the state of quantum computing to the early development of conventional computers during the 1930s and 40s.

Some scientists have taken issue with D-Wave, which built the quantum computing system at NASA Ames, because they say the machine is not a true quantum computer. They say it uses some quantum computing technology, but that it does not entirely meet their definition because it can only solve a limited range of problems.

This epic slideshow tells you everything you need to know about bitcoin and blockchain right now

two utterly different framings of what surveillance is about: the law-enforcement framing, and the surveillance-studies-style framing. James Comey has come out repeatedly with these sort of talking points from the law-enforcement framing. I don't believe they ultimately stand up to close scrutiny.

It involves a whole bunch of related beliefs, starting with the fact that privacy and security are in opposition with one another, and that there are all these "bad guys" out there, and technology has been a boon to them, because now they have encryption at their disposal.

"We run the risk of going dark." That's the phrase that James Comey uses. A world of dark, locked closets. I think the entire framing is this sort of discourse in fear, to make people believe that we need this almost father figure to protect us, and that we're going to have to give up some civil liberties to do so, but that's somehow for the social good.

I don't think any of it ultimately makes sense, starting from the beginning, that privacy and security are routinely in opposition to one another, and going on through the presumed effectiveness of denying the population access to effective privacy tools, that that will somehow help in a fight against terrorism.

journalism is quite threatened by the possibility of being continually surveilled. It's surprising to me that journalists aren't fighting harder to ensure that they have good and easy access to the tools for privacy.

in a world in which journalists are denied access to sources that can speak up free of fear of governmental intrusion, I think this shuts down an enormously important aspect of what makes democracy work. I don't think you can have a healthy democracy without healthy journalism, and I don't think you have healthy journalism without the ability to conduct a private conversation.

I made a phone call the NSA probably can't listen to with this free app

It's called Signal, and it's an incredibly easy-to-use app for iPhone and Android that allows both encrypted text and voice communications.

It's end-to-end encryption — meaning there is no middleman to intercept — and it just works. 

"I use Signal every day," Edward Snowden tweeted.

There are now programs that anyone can use to extort money from you

Ransomware as a service is a variant of ransomware designed to be so user-friendly that it could be deployed by anyone with little cyber know-how. These agents simply download the virus either for free or a nominal fee, set a ransom and payment deadline, and attempt to trick someone into infecting his or her computer. If the victim pays up, the original author gets a cut — around 5% to 20% — and the rest goes to the "script kiddie" who deployed the attack.

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