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Saturday, April 16, 2016

Senior Correspondent Arnold Woodworth's Weekly Web Wrap-up for Saturday, April 16, 2016

75 percent of teens say their next phone will be an iPhone
a whopping 69 percent claim to be iPhone owners. Better still, 75 percent of teens say they expect their next phone to be an iPhone.
It certainly bodes well for Apple’s future as today’s teenagers become Apple’s future primary market.
These are the apps Apple thinks you should use to manage your money
Here are Apple's top 8 apps for managing your money.
The 7 Best Apple Watch Apps Right Now
Apple Watch's second year: Health apps will make it a must-have
The Apple Watch doesn’t have a “killer app,” critics say.
Apple could turn the watch into a must-have health device, not just a fashion-forward tech access sory. The company’s “most personal device ever” could eventually help you a live a better life. That will justify its existence.
With access to the watch’s heart rate sensor, accelerometer, and gyroscope, researchers, doctors, family members, and watch wearers can already see tons of data.
There are many, many steps for Apple to take between selling the Apple Watch of today and building the game-changing device I predict it could be in the future. Beyond just the technical feasibility of putting those advanced functionalities into the watch, Apple can’t market it as a medical device without approval from regulators.
Apple has suggested it believes you will use your Apple Watch or your iPhone for three years before you're ready to replace them.
The document reads, "Daily usage patterns are specific to each product and are a mixture of actual and modeled customer use data. 

"Years of use, which are based on first owners, are assumed to be four years for MacOS and tvOS devices and three years for iOS and watchOS devices."

AW comment – oversimplified headline:  Your Apple Watch has a Life Span:  Three Years
If you spent between $300 and $17,000 on an Apple Watch, you might be intrigued to know that Apple only reckons with the device being in use for three years.
It remains to be seen if Apple’s prediction of a three-life span for the Apple watch holds true. Certainly, it may be for the lower-end watch products. If someone has spent $17,000 on the top version, however, that’s a lot of money to spend on a watch that will be replaced three years later.
5 fun and addictive Apple Watch games you can play with a flick of the wrist
With two color gamuts, increased brightness, lower reflectance, and the new True Tone color shifting technology, the Retina display in Apple's new 9.7-inch iPad Pro is not only the best in its class — a new analysis has found it's the best performing mobile LCD on the market, period.
When compared to the larger 12.9-inch iPad Pro, the 9.7-inch model's display outperforms it in every category except black luminance, which results in a higher contrast ratio in the dark. Soneira said the 12.9-inch iPad Pro still has "a very good display," but the 9.7-inch model is in a league of its own.
iPhone SE review
Includes a video.
Best new Android and iPhone apps (April 5th - April 11th)

Two slide shows on one web page:
    1)  A slide show for new iOS (iPhone) apps.
    2)  A slide show for new Android apps.

This web site has a list (well, actually two lists) of new apps every week.

iPhone 7 concept video is jaw-dropping
This is NOT an Apple video, but it’s still awesome.
Put together by Glaxon Paul, the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Pro concepts below envision a sleek device framed by an edge-to-edge display with a dynamic home button that can not only change color, but display images as well. Spec wise, the concept dreams of a 4K display coupled with a 20 megapixel rear camera and a 12 megapixel camera on the front.

I've seen my fair share of iPhone concept videos, but this one strikes the right and rare balance of aspiration and realism.
Your iPhone’s 500,000-Mile Journey to Your Pocket
Edward Humes’ Door to Door: The Magnificent, Maddening, Mysterious World of Transportationis excerpted in Wired to show just how far our electronics travel to get into our lives.
3 ways iOS is beating Android and what Google can do to change it

I bought an Apple keyboard from 1990 just for my iPad Pro

Apple found $40 million in gold in used phones and computers last year
Apple released its annual environmental report, and it included some information about just how much it can recover from its old computers — over 61 million pounds of steel, aluminum, glass, and other materials.

As part of that, Apple recovered 2,204 pounds of gold — well over a ton.
I went without my smartphone for 7 days — here's the most disturbing thing I noticed

The first thing I noticed that phoneless week was just how many people stare at their phones all day. I never noticed that before because I was looking at my phone, too.

most startling was the realization that so many people look at their phones while they are walking. The weekday New York sidewalks are almost like that scene from "Wall-E," an animated science fiction movie.

The latest form of animal cruelty – death by camera phone

In Malaysia, the longest python ever discovered, died after lots of pictures of people holding it for pictures.

Find a washed-up dolphin? Great! Now damn well pick that dolphin up and walk around with it over your head so that everyone can get that really good snap for Facebook! (Oh, it died).

If it wasn’t so sad it might be laughable: a love of animals, undermined by thoughtlessness.


Why Do Older People Love Facebook? Let’s Ask My Dad

seeing photos and video of grandchildren were a powerful lure.

keeping in touch with family and with the friends.

the online lives of older adults, who are a part of the fastest-growing demographic on social media, are much more mysterious than the much-scrutinized behaviors of younger generations.


Facebook's chatbots pave way for centralized mobile platform

"No one wants to have to install a new app for every business or service they want to interact with," CEO Mark Zuckerberg said at the company's annual F8 conference in San Francisco. "We think you should be able to just message a business in the same way you message a friend.”

If Facebook can persuade its huge user population to use its platform not only for all manner of social interactions but also for business interactions, it will become a very different company.

Robots are coming for our jobs — but the best solution is already being tested in Europe

until now most technology has only been able to replace narrow slices of human capability, like physical strength or mathematical calculations.

But things are changing. A recent analysis by McKinsey showed that up to 45% of all current job tasks could be automated with existing technology.

We have of course had disruptive technologies in the past, and significant migration in the workforce from farm to factory to services.

In each transition, we increased education levels and moved human labor into tasks that machines could not yet perform. But the difficulty is that the set of available tasks only humans can do will get narrower and narrower over time.

We need to begin preparing for this inevitability and reimagine a society where most people cannot 'work for a living,” but instead can be liberated to pursue their own vision of a meaningful life.

There is a growing global movement to explore basic income, which can provide economic security to people as we shift into a world where machines do most of the work. This can and should be a very positive development for humanity — we just need to prepare for a potentially difficult transition, as human labor becomes less and less necessary.

Why Artificial Intelligence (AI) still needs us: To build quantum computers

We're doing a lot better than machines are at solving some of the key problems of quantum computing.

Researchers at Danish Aarhus University have created a bunch of online games to turn key quantum problems into fun challenges, and, to put it bluntly, they're finding that humans are whipping AI's pants.

The researchers' games are available online for anyone to download or play.

How Early Computer Games Influenced Internet Culture

“I strongly believe that games have been largely underrated in the spread of what we might think of as our ‘orientation’ toward computing,” said Laine Nooney, a cultural historian of video games and computing. “In the span of less that 20 years, many Americans went from having never seen a computer to interacting with these machines in many facets of their daily lives. Gaming is the first form of computational technology most of us ever handled … Games taught us principles of interaction and screen responsiveness, about coordination between hand and eye, how to type, how to sit, how to look at a screen.”

The original 'Star Wars' trilogy is coming back to theaters in a special presentation

August 6 – Los Angeles, CA / The Theatre at the Ace Hotel

Six tech revolutions you better be ready for

Because you can invest in them.  They are:

Artificial Intelligence
Virtual Reality

there have never been so many tech revolutions setting up to boom over a five- to 10-year period as there are right now.

This warning arrived too late – unless you filed for an extension on your taxes.
But it’s probably a good idea for next year too.

The Internal Revenue Service on Friday warned tax preparers of a new scam in which cyberthieves hijack a preparer's computer system, file client tax returns, and redirect refunds to thieves' accounts.

8 cybersecurity technologies the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is trying to commercialize

The Department of Homeland Security is publicizing eight new cybersecurity technologies developed under federal grants that are looking for private businesses to turn them into commercial products.

FBI Director James Comey said this week, while speaking about privacy issues at Kenyon College, that he places a piece of tape over his laptop webcam to mitigate the danger of secret surveillance.

“I saw something in the news, so I copied it, I put a piece of tape over the camera,” Comey explained, “because I saw somebody smarter than I am had a piece of tape over their camera.”

How Big Data Harms Poor Communities
Surveillance and public-benefits programs gather large amounts of information on low-income people, feeding opaque algorithms that can trap them in poverty.

Once an arrest crops up on a person’s record, for example, it becomes much more difficult for that person to find a job, secure a loan, or rent a home. And that’s not necessarily because loan officers or hiring managers pass over applicants with arrest records—computer systems that whittle down tall stacks of resumes or loan applications will often weed some out based on run-ins with the police.

When big-data systems make predictions that cut people off from meaningful opportunities like these, they can violate the legal principle of presumed innocence, according to Ian Kerr, a professor and researcher of ethics, law, and technology at the University of Ottawa.

Microsoft sues U.S. government over secret customer data searches

The suit, filed in the federal court here, raises a fundamental question about the cloud computing era: Can the government force technology companies to remain silent about when and how federal agents search their customers’ data?

Microsoft says in its suit that it received 5,624 federal demands for customer information in the past 18 months, and nearly half—2,576—came with gag orders preventing the company from telling customers the government was looking at their data.

How a Cashless Society Could Embolden Big Brother
When money becomes information, it can inform on you.

In a cashless society, the cash has been converted into numbers, into signals, into electronic currents. In short: Information replaces cash.

But wherever information gathers and flows, two predators follow closely behind it: censorship and surveillance. The case of digital money is no exception. Where money becomes a series of signals, it can be censored; where money becomes information, it will inform on you.

The choke points are private corporations that are not only subject to government regulation on the books, but have shown a disturbing willingness to bend to extralegal requests—whether it is enforcing financial blockades against the controversial whistleblowing organization WikiLeaks or the website Backpage, which hosts classified ads by sex workers, and allegedly ads from sex traffickers as well. A little bit of pressure, and the whole financial system closes off to the government’s latest pariah. Operation Choke Point exploited this tendency on a wide scale.

it is part of a larger trend, pushing us closer to a world where the cashless society offers the government entirely new forms of coercion, surveillance, and censorship.

A cashless society promises a world of limitation, control, and surveillance—all of which the poorest Americans already have in abundance, of course. For the most vulnerable, the cashless society offers nothing substantively new, it only extends the reach of the existing paternal bureaucratic state.

As paper money evaporates from our pockets and the whole country—even world—becomes enveloped by the cashless society, financial censorship could become pervasive, unbarred by any meaningful legal rights or guarantees.

How Technology Helps Creditors Control Debtors
From software that records your every keystroke, to GPS tracking, to ignition kill switches—lenders have more power over their customers than ever.

In 2012, the Federal Trade Commission settled with seven companies over their undisclosed use of the Detective Mode software. Detective Mode webcam activations have taken pictures of children, individuals not fully clothed, and couples engaged in sexual activities.

While few lenders will go as far as to take naked pictures of their debtors, wherever there is an expensive device that can be easily absconded with, it makes sense for lenders to add both a kill switch and GPS.

the history of digital rights management (DRM) has always had a dark side.

wherever DRM went, privacy invasion followed.

How Canadian Police Intercept and Read Encrypted BlackBerry Messages

the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP), Canada’s federal police force, intercepted and decrypted “over one million” BlackBerry messages during an investigation into a mafia slaying, called “Project Clemenza," that ran between 2010 and 2012.

According to privacy expert Christopher Parsons from Canadian security research hub Citizen Lab, the RCMP may still have the ability to read anybody’s encrypted BlackBerry messages, as long as the phone isn’t linked to a corporate account.

The defence initially argued that the RCMP should disclose the global encryption key in court, but it was ultimately considered privileged and withheld. If the key used in Project Clemenza was revealed in open court, Boismenu said, then it would “essentially mean to disclose a key that would unlock the doors of all the houses of the people who use the provider’s services, and that, without their knowledge.”

The key, according to Boismenu, is so powerful that it could be used to “illegitimately” decipher any “prerecorded communications encrypted with that key”—so it’s striking that the RCMP had access to it.

Indeed, Crown attorney Robert Rouleau stated in an ex parte hearing: “So right now, with my device, if I’m not on the [Business Enterprise Server], I’m a dead chicken. That’s the reality of it, that’s what we don’t want the general public to know.”

Disclosing such a key would be disastrous for BlackBerry, the court heard.

The RCMP also used a spy tool popular with US police known as an IMSI catcher, or “StingRay,” which collects phone numbers and other identifying information from devices within a one kilometre radius, according to court documents.

An App That Tracks the Police to Keep Them in Check

data-gathering isn’t just the government’s game. Since recording technology became portable and cheap, citizens have been keeping tabs on their governments, too.

Brandon Anderson wants to systematize sousveillance, by creating a platform for organizing citizen-supplied information about police.

Right now, it can be hard to know what to do with an incriminating photo or a story about a negative interaction with law enforcement. People with a strong following on Twitter or Facebook might be able to broadcast their news widely, but the never-ending sea of social content can swallow others’ stories. If there’s a central destination for depositing data about police, it can become a valuable vehicle for keeping government accountable.

Lawmakers just took a big step to make it easier for outsiders to see everything on your phone

Senators Richard Burr (R-N.C.) and Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) introduced a bill on Wednesday that aims to weaken encryption, thus making it easier for outsiders to see your messages and personal data.

The “Compliance with Court Orders Act of 2016” — which was leaked late last week, but officially released Wednesday — requires tech companies, or really any company or person involved in processing or storing data, to provide a way to access that data if the government asks for it via court order.

Let’s not make secure encryption illegal

The encryption security debate that is the fallout from the FBI-Apple debacle has taken a dangerous — and utterly predictable — turn. Congress has gotten involved, in a most unhelpful way.

A preliminary version of an encryption bill from Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Richard Burr (R-N.C.) and ranking member Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) ... truly secure encryption would be illegal.

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