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Sunday, February 14, 2016

Senior Correspondent Arnold Woodworth's Weekly Web Wrap-up

How Apple is trying to solve some of the world's major health problems

Apple built tools into the iPhone which allow researchers to build sophisticated medical apps. These apps use the iPhone's suite of sensors to monitor location, heart rate, and other factors.

Doctors have embraced the platform and created apps that track and study autism, concussions, heart disease, epilepsy, and other health problems.

Why does Apple keep making the Mac?

The simple reason is this: The Mac is a "halo" product. What this means, essentially, is that the Mac creates an image under which all other Apple products - from the TV, to the iPad, to the iPhone - are viewed.

The Mac mini, the cheapest computer Apple sells, is beautifully tiny, while the iMac has a presence that can be genuinely felt, thanks to a distinctive design that has adorned the desks of almost every film set ever.

The second reason, which is tied into the first, is that because Apple has been making the Mac for so long it has become well known and, as such, defines Apple as a brand and as a company.

The only company that isn't seeing a negative trend for its computers is Apple. So why is that?

The answer is simple: The Mac is so well known, has spawned another well known product, and continues to be the best computer - desktop or laptop - available today. In essence, the Mac is as premium as they come - and this defines the Apple brand.

the loyal following who originally bought the Mac - predominantly creatives and developers - were the first people who bought the iPhone and, more importantly, the people who persuaded their friends, parents, grandparents, and siblings to buy one.

Apple continues to service these users - which could be described as "power" users - with the Mac, adding another reason to keep the line going.

Sleep++ 2.0 Proves That There’s Still A Market For Apple Watch Apps

Sleep++ turns your Watch into a sleep-tracking device and gives you insights about your sleep.

Sleep++ leverages the accelerometer in your Watch to register deep sleep, light sleep, restlessness and wakefulness. I’ve been using it for the past week and it’s interesting to wake up in the morning and get instant feedback about your night. It’s been pretty accurate in my experience.

Trolls are trying to fool people into bricking their iPhones

A newly discovered bug renders iPhones useless if the system date is set to January 1, 1970.

Why would anyone purposely set their phone to a date 45 years in the past? Well, one possibility is that they've been fooled by a troll.

DON'T try this at home
A weird bug will brick your iPhone if you set it to a certain date

For the iPhone, January 1, 1970 was not a good day.

There's a bug that will render modern iPhones, iPads, and iPod touch models useless. All you have to do to turn your expensive iOS device into a brick is set its clock to the aforementioned date.

Manually restoring the device through iTunes doesn't work, so the only fix for victims of the bug is to pay a visit to their local Apple store.

‘Error 53’ fury mounts as Apple software update threatens to kill your iPhone 6

Antonio Olmos had his handset repaired while on an assignment for the Guardian in Macedonia. “I was in the Balkans covering the refugee crisis in September when I dropped my phone. Because I desperately needed it for work I got it fixed at a local shop, as there are no Apple stores in Macedonia. They repaired the screen and home button, and it worked perfectly.”

He says he thought no more about it, until he was sent the standard notification by Apple inviting him to install the latest software. He accepted the upgrade, but within seconds the phone was displaying “error 53” and was, in effect, dead.

When Olmos, who says he has spent thousands of pounds on Apple products over the years, took it to an Apple store in London, staff told him there was nothing they could do, and that his phone was now junk. He had to pay £270 for a replacement and is furious.

How can a company deliberately make its own product useless with an upgrade, and not warn customers about it?

“The whole thing is extraordinary. How can a company deliberately make their own products useless with an upgrade and not warn their own customers about it? Outside of the big industrialised nations, Apple stores are few and far between, and damaged phones can only be brought back to life by small third-party repairers.

Could Apple’s move, which appears to be designed to squeeze out independent repairers, contravene competition rules? Car manufacturers, for example, are not allowed to insist that buyers only get their car serviced by them.

Apple under pressure as lawyers pledge action over 'Error 53’ codes

In the UK, a barrister told the Guardian that Apple’s “reckless” policy of effectively killing people’s iPhones following the software upgrade could potentially be viewed as an offence under the Criminal Damage Act 1971. The act makes it an offence to intentionally destroy the property of another.

If Apple continues with this policy, it could find itself fighting multiple legal battles.

Apple will replace some USB-C cables because of a 'design issue’

Apple has announced a worldwide replacement program for the USB-C cable that it shipped between April and June 8th of last year. The cable was released alongside the 12-inch Retina Macbook and also sold separately at the Apple Store.

The company has already corrected its mistake and has been selling fixed USB-C cables for months, but early MacBook buyers may be stuck with a bum one. If you gave Apple your mailing address when registering your MacBook, you'll receive a new cable by the end of this month. Everyone else can either make a Genius Bar reservation, visit a local authorized Apple service provider, or contact Apple customer support. And if your original cable failed and you bought another one, you may be eligible for a refund.

Walt Mossberg says Apple’s apps need work

In the last couple of years, however, I’ve noticed a gradual degradation in the quality and reliability of Apple’s core apps, on both the mobile iOS operating system and its Mac OS X platform. It’s almost as if the tech giant has taken its eye off the ball when it comes to these core software products, while it pursues big new dreams, like smartwatches and cars.

Let me be clear: most of the time, Apple apps work well enough, sometimes delightfully well.

But the exceptions are increasing.

Influential and beloved iOS developer has some harsh things to say about the Apple Watch

The Apple Watch is far from a failure. It seems to be growing in popularity with each passing quarter and overall consumer satisfaction with the device appears to be extremely high. Still, the Apple Watch hasn’t exactly taken off in the way that some analysts were anticipating.

One of the issues preventing the Apple Watch from picking up steam is that the device still lacks an appealing killer app.

GitHub Users Find Women's Code Better Than Men's — Until They Know Who Wrote It

The community actually approves more code by women... until they know it's by women. A new study published inPeerJfound that software developers on GitHub respond to contributions differently when they know there are women behind them.

Very good Video:
Cops arrest teen for hack and leak of DHS, FBI data

Hacker did more than access info.  He altered the encryption.

Should law enforcement be able to read your text messages?

Law enforcement claims it is so hampered by security measures on electronic communications that it hurts efforts to track down criminals, and has called for tech companies to give them a so-called backdoor. The tech and security industries says there’s no way to do that without also giving hackers a foot in.

two congressmen introduced a bipartisan bill that would stop states from requiring tech companies to build back doors into electronic communications for law enforcement, calling it an issue that requires a national decision.

”If our government can’t keep secret 20-something million security records, the most highly sensitive data the government has, no one should have any confidence our government can keep secret a backdoor encryption key,” Ted Lieu said, referencing the Office of Personnel Management data breach disclosed last year.

Banning Encryption Is Pretty Pointless, Report Finds

The majority of encryption products on the market today are developed outside the United States, according to a new report, raising serious doubts about whether the U.S. government could actually limit encryption tools by building backdoors for law enforcement access.,2817,2499184,00.asp

US intelligence chief: we might use the internet of things to spy on you

“In the future, intelligence services might use the [internet of things] for identification, surveillance, monitoring, location tracking, and targeting for recruitment, or to gain access to networks or user credentials,” Clapper said.

Smithsonian Gives Virtual Look Inside Apollo 11

NASA's Gorgeous New Space Tourism Posters Are Retro-Futuristic and Fantastic

NASA's New Posters and the Retro Travel Ads That Inspired Them

Propaganda Games: Sesame Credit - The True Danger of Gamification - Extra Credits

How the Chinese government might use social media to increase oppression and conformity.

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