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Tom Briant

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Saturday, March 26, 2016

Senior Correspondent Arnold Woodworth's Weekly Web Wrap-up for March 25, 2016

Apple Posts Updated iOS 9.3 Build For iPad 2 Users Bitten By Activation Bug

Users of some iOS devices, especially owners of second generation iPads, found themselves unable to advance past the activation screen after upgrading to iOS 9.3.

Apple has since released a new build of iOS 9.3, build 13E236, which completely fixes the activation error.

My credit card was stolen, but I found out right away thanks to Apple Pay

Apple Pay sent this person’s iPhone a notification of two purchases he didn’t make within seconds of when they occurred.

The 12 best hidden features in the new iPhone update

11 paid iPhone apps on sale for free for a limited time

These are paid iPhone and iPad apps that have been made available for free for a limited time by their developers. There is no way to tell how long they will be free. These sales could end an hour from now or a week from now — obviously, the only thing we can guarantee is that they were free at the time this post was written (Friday March 25).

the new iPad Pro has a high-performance 12-megapixel camera that can record 4K video. 

It's for capturing super sharp, high-res photos and videos, and working with/on them on the same device.

This is a camera and an editing station for professionals in a single device.

I've been pleasantly surprised by the new iPad Pro

I didn't expect to like the new 9.7-inch iPad Pro.

But ...... it feels as if Apple took the already excellent iPad Air 2 and supercharged it with a better screen, more power, and the option to connect it to a keyboard or use it with the well-received Apple Pencil.

Review: iPhone SE puts the same engine in a smaller exterior

What does SE stand for? Apple says Special Edition, but you could also sum it up this way: Same Engine, Smaller Exterior.

The $400 for this Smartphone Extraordinaire is a Smart Expenditure. Its 1.5-day battery life means that it only Sips Energy. Very Solid Equipment, even if it is a Special Edition for people with Small Extremities.

So who would want a more petite iPhone?

Plenty of people, it turns out.

It’s time to upgrade: iPhone SE vs. iPhone 5S spec showdown

To help you decide if you finally want to upgrade, we’ve pitted the now-discontinued iPhone 5S against the new iPhone SE. This article has a detailed breakdown of the specs for each device.

The iPhone SE has incredible battery life

5 ways you are screwing up your iPhone battery

9 iPhone keyboard tips only power users know about

How Much Money You’ll Make When You Recycle Through Apple’s Renew Program

Why I’m skeptical about Apple’s future

the way innovation happens now: You release a basic product and let the market tell you how to make it better. There is no time to get it perfect; it may become obsolete even before it is released.

Apple hasn’t figured this out yet. It maintains a fortress of secrecy and its leaders dictate product features.

There is nothing earth shattering or compelling about Apple’s new phones — or any of the products it has released since 2007.

Here’s a different view about Apple’s future – MacWorld debunks the Washington Post article.

The Washington Post wrote "You release a basic product and let the market tell you how to make it better."

That’s one way to do it, particularly if you want to end up with the Homer (a television parody of the Edsel). Or Linux. There is another way, though, and that’s by employing people with good taste and having them figure out the best way to make a product.

The Washington Post wrote "Consider that its last major innovation — the iPhone — was released in June 2007."

If that’s the standard for a “major invention” — a device that created the most important industry of the last 10 years — has any other technology company had any “major inventions” in the last 20?

The 32 ads which tell the story of how Apple became the most valuable brand in the world

Consumer Reports just rated Samsung's new Galaxy phone better than the iPhone

Cracking the Mystery of the Missing iTunes Files

How iTunes sometimes loses track of songs and how to re-connect iTunes to the “missing” songs.

Taking Someone Off Your iPhone’s Blocked List

These Apps Promise to Encrypt Your Smartphone Communications

Signal, one of the best known private messaging apps, is free on iOS and Android. Its makers promote it with the slogan “privacy is possible,” and it uses end-to-end encryption, ensuring that only the recipient of the communications can read them. Its encryption and privacy protections are highly rated by the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a digital rights group.

To talk, both parties must have Signal installed.

Several other apps are discussed in this article.

We’re More Honest With Our Phones Than With Our Doctors

in recent years, mobile technology has granted me and countless others the ability to collect an unprecedented amount of information about our habits and well-being. Our phones don’t just keep us in touch with the world; they’re also diaries, confessional booths, repositories for our deepest secrets. Which is why researchers are leaping at the chance to work with the oceans of data we are generating, hoping that within them might be the answers to questions medicine has overlooked or ignored.

After a few months, the apps weren’t just a repository of daily facts; they had become a legible map to my body. My period no longer caught me off guard, and I eventually learned to connect the arc of my cycle to changes in mood, appetite, fatigue and sex life, and adjust my routines accordingly. By now, I have years of data about my periods and an extremely accurate understanding of how my body works: when I’m likely to experience cramps and breast pain, when to skip yoga and social outings because I’ll need more sleep. All my life, my doctors tended to be vague, making my bodily functions seem ultramysterious, when in fact they are just individualized, and easily understood with the assistance of software.

By divulging every last detail to these apps, we make them incredibly valuable — but also potentially ruinous, if our most sensitive records were to fall into the wrong hands. Clue repeatedly talked up its airtight security, and I currently believe the company about that, just as I once believed eBay’s, Snapchat’s and Evernote’s claims that their services were safe. And yet each was hacked, eventually.

At least two dozen cars are vulnerable to being remotely unlocked and started with simple equipment that costs about $225, according to research from German automobile club ADAC.

this type of threat has been around since at least 2011, when Swiss researchers demonstrated it. But five years later, car manufacturers haven't done much to fix the problem.

What Is a Robot?
The question is more complicated than it seems.

Humanity, and what it means to be a human, will be defined in part by the machines people design.

“We design these machines, and we have the ability to design them as our masters, or our partners, or our slaves,” said John Markoff.

philosopher Georg Wilhelm Friedrich argues that holding a slave ultimately dehumanizes the master.

Computers help us with information tasks and robots help us with physical tasks.

For a robot to be a robot, many roboticists agree, it has to have a body.

Neil Richards, a law professor, and William Smart, a computer science professor, wrote that it’s essential for humans to think of robots as tools, not companions.

sophisticated autonomous systems may be misunderstood as having free will.

In Apple vs. FBI, Remember the Memory Chip

The Federal Bureau of Investigation said, one day prior to a scheduled courtroom hearing with Apple, that it had learned of a possible alternate means of breaking into the iPhone once used by Syed Rizwan Farook, one of the San Bernardino shooters. Talk about being down to the last minute.

The best rundown I’ve seen of how the method might work was written by Jonathan Zdziarski, a computer forensics expert who specializes in Apple products, on his personal blog.

Report: Apple designing its own servers to avoid snooping
Apple suspects that servers are intercepted and modified during shipping.

the National Security Agency is known to intercept and modify equipmentbefore it reaches the hands of its intended customers.

Apple has used both Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Microsoft Azure to run parts of iCloud, and recently the company began using the Google Cloud Platform as well.

But Apple wants to rely more on its own data centers, hence the project to design its own hardware. This isn't just about security. VentureBeat reported last week that "Apple isn’t happy with the fact AWS is not able to very quickly load photos and videos onto users’ iOS devices," and it's thus building more of its own infrastructure.

Hackers forced Kentucky hospital into ‘internal state of emergency’

A Kentucky hospital says its networks have been restored after “working in an internal state of emergency” thanks to hackers who infected its data system and demanded payment a ransom to turn it back on, prompting the organization to use backup files.

An employee had opened a malicious email that made it past spam filters, infecting part of its data network with ransomware. Ransomware is a computer virus that locks up files until the victim pays a ransom, usually in bitcoin.

The Kentucky hospital did NOT pay any ransom and is working with local police and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

The attack comes just weeks after Hollywood Presbyterian Medical Center was hit with ransomware and paid $17,000 to hackers.

FBI Director James Comey is defending the agency's battle with Apple, saying it is about fighting terrorism and not about setting legal precedent.

The arguments essentially boil down to assertions that the FBI lied when stating that it could not open the iPhone used by San Bernardino terrorist Syed Farook and that it wanted a court of law to compel Apple's assistance in order to set a legal precedent.

Comey emphatically denied this idea and repeated that the FBI did not have the ability to access Farook's phone. Instead, he said that the FBI decided to tentatively retreat once it was presented with a possible viable solution—which happened to come just one day before the court hearing.

Britain’s government wants to spy on its citizens
Six of the biggest American technology firms have combined forces to call for major changes to the Investigatory Powers bill, commonly known as the snooper’s charter.

While the bill contains a number of measures that could be seen as requiring companies to weaken their users’ security, it contains little language to the contrary. In their submission, Apple et al “urge the government to make clear that actions taken under authorisation do not introduce new risks or vulnerabilities for users or businesses, and that the goal of eliminating vulnerabilities is one shared by the UK government”.

The snooper’s charter is flying through parliament. Don’t think it’s irrelevant to you

even as the British media and public follow developments in the Apple case, they seem to overlook its relevance to Britian’s investigatory powers bill.

This can in part be explained by differences in British and American attitudes to surveillance. Edward Snowden’s revelations regarding the surveillance activities of the US government sparked outrage among Americans, but failed to make a similar impact in the UK.

Should the British bill pass in its current form, the UK government will have the power to force Apple and other technology companies to undermine the security of their products and services.

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